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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I replaced my steering center link, left and right tie rods, and idler arm. Brought the car to the alignment shop today to have my front toe corrected but found that most other alignment specs on the car are way off. I doubt replacing those parts caused the alignment issue though, I've been noticing uneven tire wear side to side over the past few months. My thrust arms were also replaced in January.

Current suspension mods:
Dinan lowering springs
Dinan camber plates (non-adjustable)
Koni shocks
10mm spacers in the front
18x9.5 Apex ARC-8s front and rear

Considering my Dinan camber plates, my minimum camber should be -0.6 spec, however my right camber is only -1.0, the BMW minimum camber spec.

Car has never been in an accident, I'm the 3rd owner. Previous owner was an older gentleman who bought the car in 2006 with 52k miles.

When I asked the guy at the alignment shop about the camber he said it's due to my car's suspension being lowered which is BS considering I'm using non adjustable Dinan parts, no coilovers.... if BMW approves of Dinan springs and camber plates they definitely DON'T screw with alignment like that by default.

Front Camber: L -2.9 R -1.0
Rear Camber: L -3.2 R -1.1
Rear Toe: L 0.25 R -0.30

This is... concerning. While I don't do burnouts or donuts, I DO take advantage of the car's handling prowess on curvy mountain roads. I want my alignment spec PERFECT, this is way off. I won't be able to sleep well at night knowing how f#ked up my alignment is.

I hope someone here has a clue as to what could possibly be going on...

Below is picture of my full alignment sheet. Feel free to also comment on the fact that the machine measured a 0.8" track width difference and a 0.3" wheelbase difference.

Help!

937005
 

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Discussion Starter #2
After doing some research I found that rear camber and toe is in fact adjustable on the E39 chassis, the alignment shop just didn't bother adjusting them. Gonna go back and have the rear adjusted.

However this doesn't solve my front camber issue, considering front camber isn't adjustable? Any ideas on my front camber problem?
 

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Something is bent or has enough play to let that camber discrepancy happen. I know a lot of “old guys” who beat on their cars a lot worse than I do.
 

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Was the alignment off before you replaced the steering link, idler arms and tie rods? You state in your other post your vibration started after you replaced these parts- did you do that work yourself or did the shop that did the alignment do it for you?

Since the vibration started after the work was done seems likely something was done wrong. I highly recommend you take the car to someone who is excellent with BMWs and can give the front end a proper inspection, fix the issue and align the car properly.
 

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The most camber you can get with the Dinan camber plates is about 1.75. So your left side front is definitely off.

Check the thrust arm, either it was replaced or removed to press in the new bushing. If you used the X5 bushing (a popular upgrade), it has to be installed with the keyway 180 degrees from stock.


Regards,
Jerry
 

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why are there no caster #s, the rear toe is way off. you need to see how even they can get all # side to side 1st but looks like you need to replace or double check some stuff.
 

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I would go to another shop and get a second opinion. The numbers presented are too unreal. To me it looks like an error in something the tech did. But first I would park it on level ground, nice flat garage and measure the bottom of the wheel fender flare to the ground, just to confirm it sits level and the springs have not sagged and the car sits too low and uneven. Then get a road force balance done on the tires this will also confirm your rims are not bent and the wheels spin true, after all that is what the alignment is based on.
 

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I would definitely go to another shop. Any newer Hunter alignment rack will show the mechanic where adjustments can be made and even tell you the tools to use. If they didn’t know how to do it, they’re either lazy or have an old rack.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Was the alignment off before you replaced the steering link, idler arms and tie rods? You state in your other post your vibration started after you replaced these parts- did you do that work yourself or did the shop that did the alignment do it for you?

Since the vibration started after the work was done seems likely something was done wrong. I highly recommend you take the car to someone who is excellent with BMWs and can give the front end a proper inspection, fix the issue and align the car properly.
I did the work myself, matched the tie rod length as close as possible and drove to the alignment shop the next day.

I actually just realized I also changed my spacers to 10mm from 15mm so the issue could be caused by them. I don't even know where I got the 10mm spacers, they must've been in my garage for years. Hopefully that'll solve the vibration!

Will be replacing them with the 15mm spacers tomorrow when I stop by my friends garage to pick up my jack, I'll update if that solves it.

The most camber you can get with the Dinan camber plates is about 1.75. So your left side front is definitely off.

Check the thrust arm, either it was replaced or removed to press in the new bushing. If you used the X5 bushing (a popular upgrade), it has to be installed with the keyway 180 degrees from stock.


Regards,
Jerry
I had the full thrust arms replaced in January by a board member in NY who's well experienced, so if it's an issue with that I'd assume my parts are defective. Not too late for a warranty replacement so I'll measure my thrust arms and see if there are any differences in them.

I would go to another shop and get a second opinion. The numbers presented are too unreal. To me it looks like an error in something the tech did. But first I would park it on level ground, nice flat garage and measure the bottom of the wheel fender flare to the ground, just to confirm it sits level and the springs have not sagged and the car sits too low and uneven. Then get a road force balance done on the tires this will also confirm your rims are not bent and the wheels spin true, after all that is what the alignment is based on.
I definitely hope it's somehow their error. Unfortunately my go-to shop is closed so I had to settle for a muffler shop that had a cheaper alignment rack. The car does track mostly straight but doesn't feel totally perfect yet.

I'll check my ride height and report back. Hopefully I can find a shop with a roadforce balancer, my go-to shop has one but I'm not sure when they'll reopen. The shop I had this alignment done at had a normal wheel balancer which I can also try as a last resort.

I would definitely go to another shop. Any newer Hunter alignment rack will show the mechanic where adjustments can be made and even tell you the tools to use. If they didn’t know how to do it, they’re either lazy or have an old rack.
Agreed, I'm guessing laziness in this case. I'll go back for another measurement and to see if I can get them to adjust the rear. Gotta find another alignment shop that's staying open nowadays.
 

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You went to a muffler shop. They didn't know the rear camber and toe were adjustable? You are chasing your tail. Find some pros.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Every Honda Dealer has a road force if that helps.
I didn't even think about going to a car dealer for a balance :LOL: I'll probably give them a shot. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I changed my spacers back to the previous ones I was using and that totally solved my wobble at highway speeds. I suspect the bad spacers may have also played a part in my alignment issue, when I took the spacers off I noticed my wheels weren't even seated correctly on the spacer ring! I'll be stopping by the alignment shop tomorrow to see what, if anything, that changed and to get my rear toe/camber adjusted as well. Hopefully that was causing the issue but if not I'll continue trying to diagnose it.

I also found an alignment sheet from February 5th 2020 right after switching my PSS9s for Koni/Dinan setup. Back then my alignment was very close to perfect with the exception of rear toe (though they messed up and listed my car as a 540 so the specifications are a little off, the alignment was free though so no big deal).

Also, this alignment sheet lists my ride height as perfect on the left and right so hopefully that's still accurate but I'll double check when I find some flat ground. here's a pic:

937255
 

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Hopefully it was the spacers and maybe a bad shop. If the wheel was not flush against the spacer/hub the camber reading could definitely be off.

Did the shop weight the car as per BMW procedure? This will effect the alignment.

Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Went to the alignment shop today, I'll give details tomorrow as I'm busy at the moment but I've got a quick question.


My rear control arms may be slightly worn because I was able to find a slight play when checking with a pry bar.. I've been focusing on the front of the car lately and haven't started overhauling the rear yet. My other rear suspension parts (ball joints, integral & sway links) aren't noticeably worn but I have no record of replacement in the past 60k miles so they'll all be replaced soon.

However worn my rear upper control arms may be - 2/5/20, 2 months/1000 miles ago, my alignment sheet (posted above) showed with the exception of my rear toe, my front and rear camber was close to perfect.

This was barely 1000 miles ago and the only relevant changes since have been replacement of spacers, center steering link, tie rods, and idler arm. Considering this, nothing could've worn my rear upper control arms much in the past 1000 miles so certainly I would now be able to achieve at least close to the camber I had on 2/5/20.. right?

How much deviation in rear camber would slightly worn rear upper control arms cause?
Also, I assume they caused the bad rear toe I've found in all my previous alignments? Or would that also be able to be dialed out temporarily with an alignment?


Rest assured, all rear suspension parts will be replaced soon followed by another alignment, I just need to temporarily get my alignment as close to perfect as possible for the next few weeks to save my tires until then.

Hopefully it was the spacers and maybe a bad shop. If the wheel was not flush against the spacer/hub the camber reading could definitely be off.

Did the shop weight the car as per BMW procedure? This will effect the alignment.

Fingers crossed.
 

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How much deviation in rear camber would slightly worn rear upper control arms cause?
Also, I assume they caused the bad rear toe I've found in all my previous alignments? Or would that also be able to be dialed out temporarily with an alignment?
I don’t know, it’s a good question though. I’ll text the foreman at the shop I use and ask (chance to learn something) in the meantime maybe someone else here knows the answer.
 

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The shop foreman at my garage says- "Any ball joint or bushing that has play on a control arm in the rear can affect the alignment". Guys a BMW master tech with over a decade of experience, owns an e39 M5 (as does the head of the service department). In other words he knows a lot more than I do...
 
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