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Old 01-30-2020, 08:52 AM   #21
mega_stihl
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Originally Posted by MrMCar View Post
One step at a time...

If your car is very modified and the suspension is lowered of track duty, we do alignments with the drivers weight in the seat and a 1/2 a tank of fuel.
"Normal" BMW alignments do not need the driver in the seat. The engineers know this and the specification is designed to allow for the alignment being done with the car with no driver/passengers.

If the toe angle difference is out of specification, this can point to many things, unfortunately.
Such as one tie rod run all the way in and the other side all the way out. The steering rack not being center. The control arm rear mount points (FCAB) not straight and/or bent control arms. There's more but if..... the measurement is no good, I'd start there.

You still haven't answered my question; Is the car lowered?
If not, is the alignment shop weighting the car and measuring the ride height?

Sounds harsh but all but the very newest BMW dealer KDS machines cannot perform a correct alignment without first putting weight into the car and then measuring/correcting the ride height BEFORE any wrench is turned.
I can't emphasize this enough. Can a wheel alignment be done by just pulling the car onto the rack, setting the tire pressure and making adjustments, why yes. It's not correct, BMW has an insane way of doing a wheel alignment and we adhere to it.
Take your case; If it were here in my shop, how can I properly measure setback & toe out on turns if the car is lower or higher that the specification data? I'd be working with false data.
(Tantamount to using engine measurements for a M54B25 when I'm working on a M54B30)
Iirc I mentioned in first post, car is on Bilstein B12 = eibach pro kit springs. Lowered slightly, nothing extreme. Before the alignment started we had to enter the distance from the center of the wheel up to the fender. Funny thing is that we had to cheat by 2-3cm or the system wouldn't accept it and wouldn't continue. It was a brand new hunter alignment system btw.
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:39 PM   #22
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OK I understand the 2 or 3 CM. Did you raise or lower the car 2-3 CM to do the alignment?
Either way that is a lot.
Measurement is from the bottom lip of the wheel to the arch, through the center.

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/e...rement/OvPJlOx
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:25 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by MrMCar View Post
One step at a time...

If the toe angle difference is out of specification, this can point to many things, unfortunately.
Such as one tie rod run all the way in and the other side all the way out.
Wouldn't this cause the steering wheel be off-center?
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:31 AM   #24
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Used as an example, maybe not ALL the way in/out. But if you don't have the rack centered and the steering wheel centered (in the middle of it's ~3 turns lock/lock) you can end up with tie rods of egregiously different lengths.

Good question...
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:16 AM   #25
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OK I understand the 2 or 3 CM. Did you raise or lower the car 2-3 CM to do the alignment?
Either way that is a lot.
Measurement is from the bottom lip of the wheel to the arch, through the center.

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/e...rement/OvPJlOx
This is the first I've heard/read about it. IIRC the hunter alignment device asked for the distance between the center of the rim and the lip of the wheel arch. Is this really so important? I mean: specs are specs, regardless of how high/low the car is at the moment. If it's a lowered car, it is better to use non-stock alignment specs, but how does the input of the ride height affect the actual alignment in its system?
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:25 PM   #26
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Well if that's what the Hunter machine asked for...

BMW can't make up their mind, they keep switching on the factory alignment equipment (KDS) from Beissbarth, then Hunter and back again....

My Beissbarth (older factory machine) has it from the bottom of the wheel lip, just like the specifications are laid out in TIS. So when we do alignments, it's "by the book" on stock cars. Also the greater distance gives more accuracy. Finding the center of the wheel is ambiguous. The lip of the wheel is not. Lowered cars, we use our experience.

We're losing the point... Is your car lower or higher than the specification called for in the machine the alignment shop is using?

As a point of reference: The rear camber is near the maximum point of deflection when the car is weighted down and measured from the bottom lip of the wheel to the wheel arch. Then alignment commences.

That is why cars for track duty or just very low, will often need need aftermarket adjustable arms in the rear. Beyond a certain point the camber actually gets to be LESS mith a multi-link rear suspension.

I hate to argue, but specs are not specs. They only are when the criteria is met. (I didn't write the specs for BMW alignments, the fooking engineers did, at a specific ride height for each car. I hate it but do so...)

20 years ago I assisted my Hunter repairman/trainer. We went to BMW N.A. headquarters and gave a class to the STEP students on wheel alignments. (Service Technician Education Program) We told the students to read the instructions in TIS group 32, rack up the car and perform a wheel alignment. They did and put the weight in the car (picture on screen with weight bags on both front seats and rear seats.) They performed the wheel alignment then had them drive the car around the parking lot and bring the car back onto the rack.

Now we did things a little different, we did it by the book. We again placed the weight into the car. Then we used a metric tape measure and measured the ride height from the bottom of the wheel to the wheel arch. One part of the car was high and another part was lower than the specification. We then had the students add/remove/move weight around until all 4 wheels had the correct dimension +/- 2mm per wheel! (You are allowed no more than 10mm in TOTAL around the entire car.)
Then after we did that we had them re-sweep the caster and display the alignment they just performed 30 minutes ago. Guess what, it was off!

The students then aligned the car again (weight and ride height is now correct, remember) a 2nd. time. When finished we had them print out the finished alignment.

When done they removed the weights from the car. Before driving off the rack, just to prove a point to them (remember we're trying to teach apprentice students.) we then had them re-sweep the car and check the alignment (weight out of the car, remember?) a 3rd. time, and print.
The unweighted car was out of specification.

Seems like a convoluted thing to do, but when we were done, the students fully understood the importance of placing weight into the car, adjusting/adding/removing/moving weight around until the ride height is met. Only then can the wrenches be used on the car.

Why did BMW do it this way??? Who the f&@k knows. I think the engineers want the suspension at a certain height near maximum deflection point for a given chassis.
They must take 10 cars off of the very early production runs, put them onto the alignment rack and place weight into the car over and over again and watch lower control arm deflection points. Then read angles and then and only then enter values into the TIS data for all alignment machines. That is my guess.

Can an alignment be done skipping the above steps, sure.
However I'm trying to help you with a odd issue. Without a "proper" alignment and a printout not within the criteria, how can I?

The newest BMW KDS machines (now Hunter yet again) is a target machine. (Reflective targets placed onto the wheels.) For decades factory technicians did not properly weight the car down and measure. So the engineers wrote the software yet again and the machine can take a measurement of the car after you place the targets on the wheels. After the machine takes a (static) ride height measurement, the machine compensates and the desired place to turn the tie rods and camber toe eccentrics (for the rear) are automatically compensated for.

Now my fingers are tired.... BMW Wheel Alignment by the book class is over.
Go home and have a cocktail.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:00 PM   #27
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So, as a matter of fact, all of this "unstable handling/steering" geometry issues started AFTER I replaced my steering rack. When I bought the car, it drove just fine, but after experiencing some play on my steering rack, I bought a new aftermarket TRW. TRW was a good choice I thought.
So replacing a steering rack caused all of this problem.

New steering rack is the cause? As long as the rack moves with the round steering wheel and its 2 output shafts have zero plays then it should be good, period. Just check the rack for any plays when steering from end to end.

If the car felt twitchy on straight and the rack has zero plays on the tie ends then how can the rack is the problem? Something was output alignment during the rack replacement. check the lower control arms bushings.
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Old 02-02-2020, 09:58 AM   #28
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Thank you for your info. But What still seems odd to me is that you have to add weight to get the car to a specific height before you can do the alignment, but to me that wouldn't make any sense, as the specs will be off as soon as you remove that same weight. I must say I understood most of what you said, but not everything, probably because my English is not good enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapote View Post
So replacing a steering rack caused all of this problem.

New steering rack is the cause? As long as the rack moves with the round steering wheel and its 2 output shafts have zero plays then it should be good, period. Just check the rack for any plays when steering from end to end.

If the car felt twitchy on straight and the rack has zero plays on the tie ends then how can the rack is the problem? Something was output alignment during the rack replacement. check the lower control arms bushings.
you mean the lower control arm bushings that are brand spanking new and have been replaced twice over time? (OEM --> powerflex --> Z4M)

What I also noticed is that the "new" steering rack has 3 1/4 turns lock to lock, as my old one had only 3 turns lock to lock? Not sure this is a problem, but I'm starting to guess they sent me the wrong rack somehow. I'm gonna try my spare OEM rack I got from a donor car. See what this is gonna give. I'm leaning towards betting all-in on a faulty rack.

Thanks for everyone's input, guys. Once I have this issue fixed, I'll post here so others know what the problem was, in case someone has a similar issue.

Btw, last alignment spec in attachment. Yes, camber is about half a degree off, but that shouldn't make the car twitchy afaik. The BMW performance guy who drove my car told me his WOT M3 (that's what he calls it, because his car has so much grip that regardless what turn, regardless wet/dry, he could give wide open throttle any time and his car would still grip like crazy and not break out) also has half a degree difference in camber, and he didn't even notice. Tracks stable and straight.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:58 AM   #29
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Thanks for finally posting the alignment. My family is Dutch (arrived here in 1625) and I struggled with the terms but got it. At least it's not Flemish...

I agree in that I don't see anything very bad, however I do see that there are issues with the corners of the car.
The right rear camber is too low, and the left front camber is too low also.
Setback & KPI are good enough.

Is the shop using the slots on the front shock mounts fully? Can the two front camber be brought closer together?

Why is there such a difference in the rear camber? Can any more adjustment be made?

Often with cars that can't get to specification, we will sacrifice red numbers so that left/right are close.

If the car was here in my shop I would try to get the left/right much closer before I condemned the steering rack.
I still am very suspicious of RTAB bushings changing position under driving conditions. I know you changed them. Are you 100% sure they're right?
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:56 AM   #30
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Thanks for finally posting the alignment. My family is Dutch (arrived here in 1625) and I struggled with the terms but got it. At least it's not Flemish...

I agree in that I don't see anything very bad, however I do see that there are issues with the corners of the car.
The right rear camber is too low, and the left front camber is too low also.
Setback & KPI are good enough.

Is the shop using the slots on the front shock mounts fully? Can the two front camber be brought closer together?

Why is there such a difference in the rear camber? Can any more adjustment be made?

Often with cars that can't get to specification, we will sacrifice red numbers so that left/right are close.

If the car was here in my shop I would try to get the left/right much closer before I condemned the steering rack.
I still am very suspicious of RTAB bushings changing position under driving conditions. I know you changed them. Are you 100% sure they're right?
First of all: Flemish is just a Dutch dialect. So written, it's exactly the same In The Netherlands, they speak Dutch. Belgium is split on 2 halves, Flanders and Walloon (or Wallonie, dunno how you write it in English). In Flanders they speak Dutch (Flemish), in Wallonie they speak French.

I think I mentioned this in my first post, but I might be mistaken. The front camber used to be exactly the same, but after installing the Z4M offset bushings, camber was off. One side is already at its lowest while the other one is at it highest. So the one at -115' can't go more positive, and the other one can't go more negative. The rear is a mistake the alignment tech made, and is still denying it. Before the actual alignment starts, I sit my ass in the car so the hunter device can calculate the difference in camber with my weight in it. After I exit the vehicle, it should hold those specs, but it didn't. Meaning that he aligned the car to -130' in the rear without the "weighted memory". Meaning that once it's loaded with my fat ass, it's -150'. But this isn't the issue, as my camber was 100% symmetrical before, and the issue has been exactly the same.

I'm gonna try the OEM spare rack I have lying around here. The only thing I'm embarrassed about is asking the alignment shop to do yet another (5th over the past 2 years) alignment on my car. The tech is like "holy ****, there he is again ...)

Once I (hopefully) resolve this issue, I'll post here to let others know what the actual problem was.

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Old 02-03-2020, 12:14 PM   #31
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specs are specs, regardless of how high/low the car is at the moment.
If you want to disprove this for yourself, take a rear spring out, jack the car so it sits at ride height, and
push the wheel up into the fenderwell. The toe, caster and camber measurements will all change very visibly.

BMW (and anything better than a cheap go-kart) suspension angles and rates of change vary with suspension height for cornering
reasons- as you load the car into a corner, the settings that are optimal for straight- ahead driving suddenly become huge liabilities.
If you went nuts with active suspension, there'd be powerful actuators at all 4 corners twisting the wheel angles around- and you'd corner VERY much
faster than you can now.

But our suspensions are not active, so BMW chooses some compromise settings, some compromise geometry, and compromise transition behavior
based on 60 years of experience, math, guesses, marketing and cost. Thus, we still have struts in front, and significant static camber in back.

So as ride height changes, the car HAS to assume that's from cornering, and wheel angles change accordingly. You've seen it-
3 people in the back of a 1 series, and the rear wheels are probably at -3 degrees negative camber. The rear is down, and the
car is now in a 'cornering' mode, even though it's just loaded. If it had active suspension, none of this would happen,
but it has passive suspension. So it does.

Because of this, BMW HAS to set a ride height for 'nominal' alignment. As Don says above, otherwise there IS no standard. And the 'standard'
numbers are really just what compromise BMW thinks is best for the average motorist,
based on experience, safety, math, marketing and tire wear, not necessarily in that order.


I still say something's wrong with that rack-

and I HEARTILY agree with your expert who said that adding more toe in is a 'crutch'-
it DOES cover up slop in other places.

t
rerack it!

(and be thankful it's not like my pickup- who in their right mind thought that swing arms in the FRONT of a vehicle was a good idea???)
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:41 PM   #32
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If you want to disprove this for yourself, take a rear spring out, jack the car so it sits at ride height, and
push the wheel up into the fenderwell. The toe, caster and camber measurements will all change very visibly.
I think you misunderstood me.

I do know that when you align a car, and then lower/raise it, your camber will change. That's exactly why my rear camber is off in the latest alignment. But what I mean is: why would you have to add weight to set your car at a specific height before aligning it? Once your alignment is set to your preferred specs, your specs will be off because you have to remove the weight you put into the car in order to lower it. So you align a lowered vehicle, only to drive a raised vehicle. I'm talking about lowering springs btw, not stock ones. If you have OEM springs, and align it to OEM specs, and you do heavy cornering, or have 3 passengers in the back, it will increase the camber, because the car is a lot lower in the rear, but that doesn't mean that because you have lowering springs, that you have to align it to those same high camber specs it would have when it's lowered with OEM springs + weight in the rear. Right? Not sure if this last sentence was more or less understandable. If not I apologize.

What would make sense to me is to put your own weight on the driver seat.

Also in attachment my former alignment specs, before the Z4M bushings.
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Old 02-04-2020, 03:08 PM   #33
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If you've read my posts on other threads, you know I'm going to say-

the improvement in handling was due to the increase in front toe in.

Below is all predicated that we're talking about an E46.

Camber has very little effect on straight- line handling, especially on smooth roads.
As it goes up, the car's tendency to follow xender discord omegle pavement grooves increases, and its ultimate
cornering grip goes up, but it is otherwise pretty transparent.
And tire wear is affected only slightly. In fact, if you like some toe- in for stability
then a little negative camber can actually balance that out.

Toe has a big effect, especially when your tires are all almost at zero toe.
Increasing toe- in in the range of 0 to .25 degrees you'll feel as increasing stability,
resistance to side winds, and predictiability.
The trade off will be that you start to lose responsiveness- it'll take an increasing amount of
wheel movement to get the car to turn 'right now'.
Depending on your tires, toe over about .25 degrees will increase wear at an exponential rate, AND
the car will feel 'numb'

Caster also has a big role in feel, and also in cornering grip, but with fewer tire costs.
The more caster, the more stable the car feels, the higher steering effort there is, and often,
the more cornering grip the front has, from the camber gain that you ... gain.
It is also very hard to adjust on the front of a stock BMW without plates, bending things, or moving suspension points.

Most of this is based on tires being compliant- 'rubbery', if you will. They distort significantly in outside diameter
with the car's weight, and also laterally when you corner. Since they are really very dynamic springs as you are driving,
a small amount of 'non parallel' movement from toe- in is absorbed by 'springing' the sidewall of the tire.
So wear, at first, doesn't go up, as the tire deflects slightly. It also pre- loads against the other tire, so that as weight
transfers from side to side, the car tends to 'self correct' against outside loads.
Heat DOES go up, as does rolling resistance, but not enough to matter for our purposes.

The other upshot of all this is, that since the tire's a conforming spring, precise alignment becomes less and less important
as you approach exact accuracy- that last tenth of a degree of camber might only be felt on a racetrack at full cornering load,
and then ONLY as a 'the front goes away first' sensation.
So since toe is such a powerful tuning tool, if everything else is within the BMW spec, it's quick and easy to adjust the car
with it.
In fact, I keep less toe on for commuting, and will toe the car in a little bit more when I know we'll be on long freeway trips, when there's very little
actual driving to be done, just so it's easier to be lazy....

way more words than you needed,

t
After these new specs, the car tracks more confident at higher speeds. Its still slightly twitchy, but lets say that driving 95mph feels about the same as 75mph felt before. So I see this as a win. But I do feel that there is still something off. When I drive high speeds and want to manouver or change lanes, it still feels like something is off, but I cannot say what (front/rear). Maybe anyone can chip in and advice on these specs?

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Old 02-05-2020, 06:06 AM   #34
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wut?
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Old 02-05-2020, 07:47 AM   #35
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I think you misunderstood me.

I do know that when you align a car, and then lower/raise it, your camber will change. That's exactly why my rear camber is off in the latest alignment. But what I mean is: why would you have to add weight to set your car at a specific height before aligning it? Once your alignment is set to your preferred specs, your specs will be off because you have to remove the weight you put into the car in order to lower it. So you align a lowered vehicle, only to drive a raised vehicle. I'm talking about lowering springs btw, not stock ones. If you have OEM springs, and align it to OEM specs, and you do heavy cornering, or have 3 passengers in the back, it will increase the camber, because the car is a lot lower in the rear, but that doesn't mean that because you have lowering springs, that you have to align it to those same high camber specs it would have when it's lowered with OEM springs + weight in the rear. Right? Not sure if this last sentence was more or less understandable. If not I apologize.

What would make sense to me is to put your own weight on the driver seat.

Also in attachment my former alignment specs, before the Z4M bushings.
I think I understand your question. Why wouldn't you align the car exactly as it sits with the driver in the seat?
You have somewhat of a point, however any wheel alignment on any car is a compromise. The data points on the screen (target values) are the best overall.
Are the numbers on the screen the best for a car full of people and luggage? NO
Are the numbers best for 2 people in the car only? NO

The numbers are the best overall (compromise) for the car in ALL conditions.

Furthermore Hunter, Ravagioli, Beissbarth or Bosch (Beissbarth machine in a different cabinet) do not write the specs, They are in TIS groups # 31 & 33, written by BMW engineers with the car loaded down to XXX ride height.
Silly, yes but that's how it's done.

The wheel alignment is designed to be performed with no driver in the car.
Good thoughts and questions.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:22 AM   #36
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I understand, but this goes for a stock car. If you have lowering springs and P/U bushings, it's not such a bad idea to use slightly different specs, imo

Nonetheless, my M54B30 rebuild project is nearly done, but before I swap the engine into my car, I'm gonna make sure the steering is fine and swap the replacement rack to see if it's resolved. If I swap the engine only to see that this steering/alignment problem remains, I swapped a good engine in a worthless car

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Old 02-06-2020, 01:15 AM   #37
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If you have lowering springs and P/U bushings, it's not such a bad idea to use slightly different specs, imo
Oh, hell, yes! You're right, I missed the point. Yes, if your springs are lower, then you'll want to align it differently-
but now you have to become the expert. Are they lower and stiffer? Are you doing fast cornering, or high speed touring?
Are your dampers the correct rate? And so on- and then you start making your expert guesses based on what you want.

For example, it's pretty easy to add front camber to an E46 by using an offset bushing- and that will help with both higher steering feedback AND cornering.
But you'll have some tradeoffs in camber and in how it follows ruts in the road, yadda yadda.

It's fun! There are few 'right' answers.

And I STILL think you should swap the rack!!!

heh
t
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:02 AM   #38
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Oh, hell, yes! You're right, I missed the point. Yes, if your springs are lower, then you'll want to align it differently-
but now you have to become the expert. Are they lower and stiffer? Are you doing fast cornering, or high speed touring?
Are your dampers the correct rate? And so on- and then you start making your expert guesses based on what you want.

For example, it's pretty easy to add front camber to an E46 by using an offset bushing- and that will help with both higher steering feedback AND cornering.
But you'll have some tradeoffs in camber and in how it follows ruts in the road, yadda yadda.

It's fun! There are few 'right' answers.

And I STILL think you should swap the rack!!!

heh
t
I think you mean caster instead of camber. And yes, I will swap the rack
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:41 AM   #39
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The steering rack is the key component to determining the direction a vehicle takes. Having the rack replaced by someone who does not have the capability to set the toe in/toe out is a huge mistake.
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:55 AM   #40
mega_stihl
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Belgium
Posts: 603
My Ride: E46 & E32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Major2 View Post
The steering rack is the key component to determining the direction a vehicle takes. Having the rack replaced by someone who does not have the capability to set the toe in/toe out is a huge mistake.
Replaced the rack myself, just as I'm gonna replace it again in a few weeks along with my engine swap.
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