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Discussion Starter #1
After my slight dilemma with where to get an alignment done on my 540, I finally caved in and went to a dealer near me. Much to my surprise., they were very nice to me, they didn’t break anything and they didn’t try to sell me anything else. However after it was done, it drove straight but the steering wheel was not straight, it’s noticeably to the left. It didn’t pull in any direction but the car behaves as if that’s the center steering position. Most of my front end is less than a year old so unless something is really messed up down there, I have no idea. Can anybody shed some light on this?


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They're supposed to clamp the steering wheel straight before doing the alignment. A "trick" to getting it straight after an alignment would be to just loosen the steering wheel and move it. But, that screws up your turn signal cancelling, and maybe on some cars it's not possible.

The only what to get it right to align the front wheels' toe-in again, but this time with the steering wheel clamped down straight.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They're supposed to clamp the steering wheel straight before doing the alignment. A "trick" to getting it straight after an alignment would be to just loosen the steering wheel and move it. But, that screws up your turn signal cancelling, and maybe on some cars it's not possible.

The only what to get it right to align the front wheels' toe-in again, but this time with the steering wheel clamped down straight.


Just to be clear, is this an alignment issue or is there some underlying problem with steering box and or the center steering link?


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02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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Just to be clear, is this an alignment issue or is there some underlying problem with steering box and or the center steering link?
Read your car’s alignment procedures at www.NewTIS.info to see that there is no mention of clamping the steering.

There are straight-ahead match marks on the steering box.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Am I just really unlucky? It’s been aligned 4 Times and every time this issue has still remained


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Nuclear engineer
02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 99K miles NOKIAN WR G3 12K miles
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I believe that (BMW) alignment shops depend on credulous and easily satisfied owners. I haven't looked at your alignment specifications, but I'll bet that they are so wide as to be meaningless. You owner must understand the effect of your numbers and tell the mechanic to what numbers you want your car aligned. If you have any doubt then get an alignment check somewhere else.

A BMW should be aligned with the KDS system that fits the five little holes in BMW wheels.

My X5 is aligned to 0.02° (zero decimal zero two decimal-degrees) toe-in all around for minimum squirm with little chance of more than transient toe-out. Camber is set to mid-range and similar left and right. This alignment is intended to produce maximum tire mileage. I got 40K miles from CPO OE before I changed them, this on a near 6000# xDrive AWD highway cruiser.
 

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You might have some bent up front end parts. I have seen lots of old muscle cars with the wheel slightly to the left or right.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You might have some bent up front end parts. I have seen lots of old muscle cars with the wheel slightly to the left or right.


Everything is relatively new though. Even before all the work was done the wheel was never straight. The only time it was ever straight was when I got new tires last week


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Just for the fun of it, connect INPA and see what your steering angle sensor is reporting. If it agrees with what you see then have them "fix" their alignment job.
 

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You paid a dealer for a wheel alignment. If your steering wheel is not aligned straight with your wheels go back to the dealer and have them correct it.
 

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The first step of a wheel alignment is to check for any damaged or worn out parts that will prevent doing a proper job. Getting the toe in correct with the steering wheel straight is part of the process. Tell them their error and have them fix it. It is a simple fix of adjusting both tie rod ends in the correct direction to center the wheel.
 

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4 times they can't get it right? Post the alignment sheet w/before & after settings that they should have given you. Lets be sure they were able to get the rear aligned correctly. An unresolved rear end alignment issue could cause car to 'crab', forcing a steering correction.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
4 times they can't get it right? Post the alignment sheet w/before & after settings that they should have given you. Lets be sure they were able to get the rear aligned correctly. An unresolved rear end alignment issue could cause car to 'crab', forcing a steering correction.


I probably should have said 4 times at different places. This was my first alignment at a dealer though.


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Agree.. The shop messed your alignment. Have them redo it right.
Also, as you have INPA, it may help to recalibrate the SAS (steering angle sensor). Although I think the BMW shop should recalibrate it as part of the re-alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
This is what happens when you’re born on Friday the 13th :). I’ll give the advisor a call tomorrow. Thanks for the advice everyone
Also what is INPA? I’ve heard it used a couple of times on forums


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It is a rookie mistake.

Either lock the SW during the alignment.

Or after alignment is done, make note of the current position of tie rods. Then adjust equal amounts on both sides until it is straight. This requires test drive between adjustments. But you have to know what you are doing, it is basic math and geometry.

For example, if the car drives straight but the SW is crooked to the LEFT a bit, then.
So when the SW is straight, the wheels are pointing a bit to the RIGHT, now you need to:
1. Adjust the R tie rod so the RF wheel goes in a bit.
2. Adjust the L tie rod a bit so the LF wheel goes out a bit.

It is trial and error until the SW is straight. Whatever you do, adjust them equally in opposite directions.
 

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This is what happens when you’re born on Friday the 13th :).
Also what is INPA? I’ve heard it used a couple of times on forums
Hahaha, I was also born on a Friday the 13th...
INPA is the dealer software to "talk" to the car. It shows faults and many many other things. It can activate solenoids, the fan, etc.
Most people download it and install it on an old laptop and connected the laptop to the car with the appropriate cable.
 

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how much to the left?

take a picture

its not really a big deal.

This is more of a personal issue.. It does not effect anything.. other then your mind,

If you want to spend the time get them to do it again.. you might pay again, you might not.. Depends on how valuable your time is

dealer did the same thing to me..

The wheel is slightly to the left,
years ago
 
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