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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 11-17-2013, 08:29 AM
Tbarb Tbarb is offline
Location: Denver
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: Z3
Front tire inside wear

I have a 98 Z3 with 85k on it and I have owned it since 2000. Really like it but I'm getting frustrated now putting on my 4th set of front tires. After the second set of Z rated performance type tires wore out to the cords in 22k mi; I put on all season tires which have now lasted about 25k mi.

After the second set wore out I took the car to a frame shop to check alignment. I was told it was within spec and that is the way these cars are set up. I have since heard of some bushings that can be replaced (with larger ones I think), that will straighten or bring the tires more upright. This is where I get lost as I do not know much about alignment parts and only the concepts of camber and such.

Can anyone tell me if Z3's are really set up this way and they really go through tires this fast? And is putting different bushings on to change the alignment a good idea? And where could I go to get them presuming I can convince a local mechanic to make the change for me since I am sure it would not be BWW spec so top speak?

Thank you,
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:37 AM
khammack khammack is offline
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,248
Mein Auto: 2002 M Roadster/2014 435i
It's a sports car designed for sporty driving so yes they are setup this way. You can mitagate the issue a bit by adding a couple of pounds of pressure and/or having the tires flipped on the wheels then put them on the opposit sides. Flipping them will put the outside of the tire on the inside and evens them out. The extra air will cause the center of the tread to take a little stress off of the inside of the tire.

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Last edited by khammack; 11-17-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:45 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,992
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
Are you rotating the tires? On these cars, it's the rear tires that normally wear on the inside edge due to increased negative camber and a bit of toe out. Camber is the tilt of the wheels, and is what wears the inside edge. This problem is far worse if the vehicle has been lowered or if one or more springs are broken. As khammack says, these cars are made for hard turning and the rear geometry is made such that, as the outside wheel is pushed upward, it toes out and cambers (tilts) inward, which helps turn the car. If anything else makes the wheel move upward, such as a broken spring or lowering suspension, the rear tires will have too much negative camber and toe.
The only alignment adjustment on these cars is front toe-in, although there are aftermarket products such as weld-in rear camber and toe adjustable rear trailing arm mounts and front camber plates that replace the top strut mounts. You could benefit from the rear camber and toe adjusters, but you certainly don't need more front camber. That helps in making faster turns on the track at the expense of tire wear.
Some people do change the front control arm bushing (FCABs) to ones with holes that are offset, but this is normally done to increase the caster for more precise turning, normally on track cars. The effect of the increased caster is that the camber is increased for turning geometries, but not for straight geometry, which provides more stability in turns. It certainly does not help front tire wear, in fact, it makes it worse.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:50 PM
Tbarb Tbarb is offline
Location: Denver
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: Z3
Thanks you both for replies.
Yep, the back tires wear inside too, but I stopped changing all 4 of them at the same time and now stagger them to get the most wear out of them since I became aware they wear this fast. Not it's time for the front again. Thanks for the tip on rotating - I had not thought of 'flipping and rotating' them that since they are directional.

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