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12 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I would like a second opinion on the wheel alignment I have had from fellow land members. I used to find a local family run outfit to do the work.

Quick Overview
- Right Hand drive 2003 E46 320ci Sport (Automatic).
- At 56000 Miles (90000 KM), Front Control Arm Bushes changed and subsequently a wheel alignment carried out afterwards.
- Wheel Alignment centre used a Hunter System.

Before Alignment:
* Front tyres - Even wear across front tyres
* Rear tyres - Centre/Inside wearing away. Characteristics of rear wheel drive.

During Alignment:
- The engineer said he had to set the Front Left settings to Max as anything less remained red. He could not find a problem with the shock absorber, etc.

After Alignment:
Nearly 4000 miles (6400 KM) later since the Wheel Alignment:
- Car drifts around.
- The ride has become progessively unbearable where i feel every bump on the road.
- The front outer edge of the tyres are wearing away.
- The read outer edge of the tyres are wearing away. Inside was worn before the alignment and characteristics of rear wheel drive.
- Print out viewable via URL:-[email protected]/6039425991/

Clearly the alignment has caused adverse wear on all four tyres. Before I take it back to the Wheel Alignment centre, can anyone suggest what the correct settings should be?


777 Posts
Those "AFTER" settings look okay to me, that is they look like close to the specified settings for an E46 with sport suspension, which is basically negative camber front and rear, with more negative camber in rear than front; and toe-in front and rear, with slightly more toe-in for rear than for front. But having the spec settings usually causes extra wear on the inside edges of the rear tires, not the outside edges. So I can only speculate that one of the following has happened:
  • The Hunter machine they used was off, or the wheel reflectors weren't attached properly so didn't measure actual camber
  • Danni the tech thought you had an AWD Subaru
  • You're suddenly doing a lot of AutoX, gymkhana or drifting
  • Tech didn't tighten up camber bolt on rear lower control arm, so camber changed after you left
  • Tire pressure is far too low, letting tires roll over in turns
  • Danni aligned you for left-hand-drive roads in the US and Germany, but you've been driving on the left side of the road!

Feel every bump in road could be
--Went to 19" rims with low profile tires
--You switched to run-flat tires
--Springs broke, lowering your car; rear spring coils can break
--Front strut mount and/or rear shock mount worn out
--Tire pressure too high
--Struts or shocks worn out so can't control springs
--Replaced FCABs, RTABs, and subframe bushings with polyurethane
--Wife changed car to coilovers while you weren't looking
--Car is same but you're getting old!

Front of car is all over the road, could be:
--You switched to wider front tires
--FCABs were installed incorrectly so wore out prematurely
--Tie rods are worn and need replacement
--Steering guibo is worn out, needs replacement
--Front wheels set for toe-out instead of toe-in
--Control arm ball joints (not bushings) are worn out
--Roads got worse because of British budget crisis

Rear of car all over road could be
--Your RTABs are worn, allowing rear toe to change while driving
--Rear lower control arm bushings are worn out
--Rear wheels set to toe-out or zero toe instead of toe-in
--Rear wheels set to positive camber instead of negative camber
--Tires lost grip as they got worn out
--Looters left roads coated with gravel, broken glass, and mashed bananas

My suggestions would be 1) Check tire pressures; 2) take it to a different alignment shop just to verify your current settings really are what the other shop wrote on the sheet; and 3) Let an experienced BMW owner or indie shop owner drive it with you to verify the handling problems. Maybe GoingNuts could take a look under your car with you...

2,595 Posts
Looks good. Would be worth your while to do the following
'Just an observation.

I had my car aligned months ago, albeit I think it was a poor job. Ever since the rear end of my car felt very bouncy and odd;my tires were also wearing very oddly in addition to the rear end wobbling when going over bumps or the rear end wandering when changing lanes at speed. (passenger side rear was wearing on the inside very badly, while the driver side rear was wearing on the outside?)

I was never given a before and after alignment sheet at this place which made me very weary as to their accuracy.

So I decided to look into it and this is what I did.

I got under the car with it's weight on all 4 and loosened the rear wheel camber nut--all of the sudden as it's breaking loose I hear a "pop" and see the camber arm move in relation to the spindle. The pop was caused because the shop I took it to placed pre-load on the bushing (he probably tightened it while it was in the air which is a big no no) The whole reason alignment racks have steel plates sitting on steel bearings is so the platform moves with the tire or maybe the shops alignment rack needed to be serviced and the platforms weren't as free moving as they should have been... Anyways I repeated the same on the driver side.

I then proceeded to drive not thinking much of it; holy hell the rear end is now virtually bounce less and not only that but it made the rear more resistant to body roll. It felt great! and it no longer wobbles from side to side when changing lanes at speed as it did before!

I have no clue how the shop managed to F tightening that bolt up. Not only that but it was excessively tightened.

If only I had access to an alignment rack myself!!!

So if your rear end feels weird give this a shot and report back!"

During Alignment:
- The engineer said he had to set the Front Left settings to Max as anything less remained red. He could not find a problem with the shock absorber, etc.

In regards with that-- you may have mushroomed strut towers.
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