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· Registered
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34 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that Andy's suspension has been dialed in, and we don't need to beat
that mule anymore....

What is the specific or valid reason local alignment shops
that have done autox/performance alignments on previous
cars won't touch my 04 330ci?

Techs will say it's too complicated, or there's too many
computers involved, or their service manual says a BMW
dealer is recommended. Should I insist harder?

Have others run into this reluctance?

Do people really use BMW dealers for alignments that
may not necessarily follow factory specs?

thanks for the input....
 

· Living on the redline
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32,613 Posts
they don't know WTF?! they're talking about, if they're referring to weights forget about that crap and just align it to your own specs

assuming you don't have camber plates or lowering springs generally speaking you're going to want the following to start:

front camber: max negative (must remove the centering pins)
front toe: zero

rear camber: middle of the adjustment range
rear toe: 1/16" in per side


and then make future adjustments from there based on how you feel the car behaves


fwiw, I do my own alignments so how complicated can it be? :confused: :tsk:
 

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TeamM3 said:
... to start:

front camber: max negative (must remove the centering pins)
front toe: zero

rear camber: middle of the adjustment range
rear toe: 1/16" in per side
...
This is exactly what I had done at a local shop here in Phoenix. They had no problems or apprehension, let me watch as they worked and told me to come back after the next track/auto-x for tweaking if I needed. I used an experienced shop and went in when their most experienced guy could help me with set up advice. I got more than I had expected and would go back to the shop in a heartbeat.

You might think about just finding a better shop in your area. I got a recommendation from my local auto-x section forum.
 

· Living on the redline
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32,613 Posts
Pinecone said:
Is the 1/16" rim or tire measurement? Just making sure.
that doesn't apply to an alignment rack

if it makes you feel better use 0.040 deg instead of 1/16", it doesn't get any more universal than that ;)
 

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682 Posts
TeamM3 said:
front camber: max negative (must remove the centering pins)
Some questions. Are these the same as "crash bolts"? Do I have to remove them or can the alignment place do it? If they are the "crach bolts", how much of a difference does removing them make? I'm a little concerned about removing something meant to help "fix" the car after an accident.
 

· M Mad
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10,530 Posts
And if you REALLY want some negative camber, get some M3 hats and swap them left for right. I get about 2.4 degrees on the left, it will go to 3 degrees on the right. :)
 

· Living on the redline
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I think he plans to run in the SCCA Stock class, he has a very nice set of Koni DA's on his 3er :eeps:

crash bolts don't apply to E46 and newer models, BMW finally wised up and slotted the strut towers for +/- 0.5 deg camber or so. Instead, the the strut tower top has a small hole drilled in it and the camber plate has a matching threaded hole that they screw a pin into. This aligns the camber plate up in the nominal camber position of the tower during production. The service manual states that the pin must be removed to make camber adjustment and can be discarded. This is what I was referring to earlier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for replies...

TeamM3 said:
I think he plans to run in the SCCA Stock class, he has a very nice set of Koni DA's on his 3er :eeps: .
Yes I do, thanks to TeamM3...and they'll really help with getting the car to work like I want.

Previously I had played with alignment in the garage on my own in an effort to tune and learn about autoxing the car. But now I can do this with the shocks so I wanted to actually take it in and get alignment done at a shop (actually quite along the lines like TeamM3...see above.... suggested)...and forget about it for now.

There's a local (1/2 mile away) shop that been helpful with tires/mounting that I wanted to continue to work with...but a decently experienced alignment guy there had heard that they aren't set up to do e46's. I started this thread to see if anyone knew a bona fide reason why this is so...and no one has come up with one. So I'll give them another chance...tell 'em set it and I'll take responsibility.

There's a good BMW dealership 45 minutes each away...longer drive at rush hour...that I will use if the local shop declines. Dealer knows I autox the car, and would set it like I want.
 

· Ring Junkie
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467 Posts
I took mine to the dealer for an alignment and they told me they outsourced alignments anyway... So I just went to the alignment shop that the dealer uses, no problem. In fact, they were so helpful that when I came back the next day because the alignment didn't "feel" right, they threw the car back on the rack and re-aligned it, twice, for free. Now my car is rock steady at 140+ mph :D (of course, I have mine set up to BMW spec :dunno: )
 

· M Mad
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10,530 Posts
Yeah, I know that M3 hats don't work for everyone. But others do lurk and think, and do what they want. :)

I don't see any reason that an E46 should be hard to align. Maybe they just don't like to deal with the typical BMW owner? I know of at least one shop that is that way. They don't mind those of use who track or autocross and are into the cars, but they do NOT want the customer who owns a BMW purely to have a Roundel.
 

· M Mad
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10,530 Posts
True, but we have been working on that. :)

But if someone would get off their rear and order the stuff to do toe, we wouldn't have to worry about that. :) Just kidding.
 
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