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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Basically, how much lenghth is each thread on the adjuster "worth" I'm assuming 1/16th of an inch?

Why do I care?
I'm thinking of experimenting w/ different toe settings myself. If I know how much longer or shorter each turn of the adjuster nut makes the rod- I can figure out how many minutes of toe angle is being added or subtracted (for a given size of wheel). So, assuming that my tire's diameter is 25 inches, each 1/16" of additional tie rod adjustment would equate to approx 14 minutes of a degree. Given this knowledge, I'd know whether to use increments of a full turn, half turn, quarter turn, etc when playing w/the adjustment (while performing the same amount of adjustment on both sides to keep the steering wheel centered.

I'd like to do this myself to quickly get a feel for the results of more or less toe on my steering and get a feel for where I like it-- then I could take it to a real alignment shop. Right now, my car feels a little dead or vague on center, and I think its due to having to much toe in.

A related question, does anyone know what size wrench(es) I will need to make these adjustments?

Thanks.
 

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that won't be very accurate. even if you're very careful, you'll still throw the alignment out slightly. when you tighten the locknut, it pushes slightly on the tie rod end and you can actually see this change on the alignment rack.
 

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Robg,

I had thought of doing the same thing since we have the same problem.

Although, I think you and I have both finally lost it over the steering woes!!!

Let me know if you find out.

P.S. The steering is enorously improved from previous. I tried the 33 psi up front and the tramlining with the s-03's disappeared, however the dead spot rears it's ugly head a lot.

Hang in there.

-RChoudry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
RChoudry-

Yeah- I may have lost my mind a little bit over this. I'm glad that the S03s helped so much. SO, the dead spot is there sometimes and gone other times? What factors seem to influence it? Temperature?
BTW, Friday could be a big day for us-- PG is taking his car into his dealer and is going to have the tech drive his car back to back w/ 2 other cars (which presumable won't have this dead spot). If all goes well, they'll feel the difference and can figure out what's wrong. I'll let you know.

330-

Interesting. HOw do professional aligners deal w/ this problem? Even w/ a nice laser alignment machine you still need to ultimately turn adjust the tie rod and tighten the lock nut-- so if they're tightneining the lock nut and see the toe changing on the screen--what do they do? HOw "slightly" does it knock it out of alignment? Are we talking like 1 or 2 minutes of a degree? or something more significant? Since I'd be tightening the lock nuts on both sides, wouldn't this kind of balance it out- meaning the steering would be still be straight (although I'd still have a tad more or less toe than I'd intended based on how many times i'd turned the adjusting nut)? I could live w/ that-- remember my goal is not to set it to an exact number but rather to get a feel for what more or less toe feels like w/ my new steering and then to take it to a professional alignment shop. Also after reading dozens of how-tos and stories on the internet, it seems like a fairly common practice for people who take their cars to tracks to adjust the toe manually (for more toe-out) for racing and them back to toe-in for street drving.
 

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robg said:
330-

Interesting. HOw do professional aligners deal w/ this problem?
simple. recheck your work after tightening versus ripping the sensors off of the wheels and parking the car. furthermore, I used to push out on the wheels and then pull them back in to sort of center them in the middle of the play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
31st330-

So you really would never recommend that I attempt to adjust toe-in w/o a real alignment machine?

I remember you said you used to be a mechanic in a previous life-- if I go to a good alignment shop is it reasonable to ask them to let me try out several different toe settings? Or, is it normal for them to charge for each individual adjustment ( I know what my dealer would say to this)? Thanks for your help.
 

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robg said:
So you really would never recommend that I attempt to adjust toe-in w/o a real alignment machine?
now I didn't say that. I used to do "eyeball" alignments all the time, especially when all that was required was straighteing the steering wheel under warranty. I've even done eyeball alignments on my own cars or friend's cars. what you can do is lift the front of your car off the gound then give each wheel a spin. while the wheel is spinning, hold a pen or pointed object to the center of the wheel and draw a line. you can now measure the distance between the lines at the front of the tires and at the rear of the tires. you'll want to set the front wheels on something that slids around so that when you lower the car back down, the wheels will spread back out properly. it will also help you turn the whells one way or the other with the engine off.

[QUOTEI remember you said you used to be a mechanic in a previous life-- if I go to a good alignment shop is it reasonable to ask them to let me try out several different toe settings? Or, is it normal for them to charge for each individual adjustment ( I know what my dealer would say to this)? Thanks for your help. [/QUOTE]
well, they may at least charge you each time for a two wheel alignment because before you can drive the car on the road, the tech will need to remove all of the alignment gear then put it all back on and recalibrate. each wheel jig has like 3 or 4 little fingers that poke in between the rim and the tire so each time you uninstall and reinstall them it's not perfect and they need to be calibrated individually then to each other. when they're putting the jig on each wheel, you'll usually se the tech raise one wheel at a time (alinment racks usualy have small pneumatic bottleneck jacks buit into them) and spin each wheel as he tweaks some knowbs on each jig. the idea is to center them so that when you spin the wheel the jig (which is on a bearing) seems to not move.
 

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ok, I found your post! :D

I went for an alignment today. Gosh...had I known you are planning to align yours, I would have taken some pictures. So, my original problem was that the steering wheel deviates about 5deg to the right in order to keep the car straight.

Yes, there is a calibrator like device attached to each wheel. Then the mechcanic lifted up the rear chassis to rotate the wheels and did the same to the fronts. This is to setup the laser alignment. Next, he inserted the key and unlock the steering, center the steering wheel by using a locking device. Next, he proceeded to go under the front chassis and adjusted the toe. Each time he loosen or tighten the nuts, he referred to the computer screen. One thing that he also did was to shake the car a bit, then check the alignment on the screen again.

And indeed, my front wheels are misaligned. Everything else is good (camber etc). The entire process took him 1 hour and costs me $70 (4 wheel alignment). If I had brought mine to the BMW dealer, it would have cost me $130. :D

And don't you adjust the toe yourself. Go to your local AAA, ask about who they recommend for wheel alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Arggh! Vince you're so lucky to find a good alignmen shop! actually this isn't the psot I was referring to in my PM-- check the general board--I did go to an alignment shop but the whole experience had me wishing I did do it myself!! You probably didn't find my post because it I just posted it a few minutes ago.
 

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Thread pitch

According to the parts CD the lock nut is a M14x1.5 for my '01 M-Z3 coupe. For the E46 the parts CD doen't show what size it is.
M14x1.5
M = Metric
14 = Diameter in milli meters
1.5 = thread pitch in milli meters
Assuming that the E46 uses a 1.5 mm pitch, each turn would = .059 inch which is just under 1/16 inch (.0625 inch).
 
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