Alignment

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Manufactured from 2004 to 2013

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YLS
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Alignment

Post by YLS » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:32 pm

I've just had an alignment done (4 wheel Hunter) and the steering wheel is about 2-3 degrees left of centre (anti-CW, around 11.30am ish) when the car is driving in a straight line. I gave up debating with them. Trying to understand what's going on now. Here's a timeline:

Tracked straight, with completely uniform tyre wear over the last 1.5 years/25k miles.

Last week I fitted a new tie rod end (drivers side). Counted the turns etc, and the new one went on as close as I could to the old one. Identical parts. The steering wheel was now 2-3 degrees left of where it was before. Driving without hands on the wheel and it would pull to the right a bit. Only very slightly, but obviously needed an alignment.

Wheel alignment today. They adjusted the front tie rods only (I watched them throughout). The printout showed a fair few red areas at the rear after their alignment (it was all green when it was last done). I got them to put it back on the ramps but all they did was show me the rear bolts were seized. I started asking a few Qs about what various bolts were for, and they were coming out with wrong answers, so I just left it at that. I'll take it somewhere else.

It now drives straight, not pulling to either side. But the steering wheel is still off centre to the left by a few degrees. So I can go armed with knowledge, what is causing this? Considering all that has happened is I've replaced a tie rod end and they adjusted toe on both front wheels. Has this put the thrust angle out, as in the front axle is on a different path to the rear axle? Do both front wheels need to be adjusted one way (keeping same total toe between the wheels) so that the front and rear axles align? Would this make the steering wheel straight again? I'd like to understand it a bit so when I take it somewhere else I know what I'm talking about. Thanks.

Rear thrust angle is 0deg 13min, right on the crease in the paper.
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marco_polo
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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:52 pm

From that printout, you're crabbing down the road. The rear is a long way out, front looks acceptable?
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THETYRANT
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Re: Alignment

Post by THETYRANT » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:11 pm

Take it somewhere else as thats a right balls up and possibly they didnt even have the equipment on right, if rear adjustment is seized then it needs unseizing and not just leaving as its a fair bit out as MP says.

Steering wheel should be set level before they start and adjust tie rods accordingly to keep it tracking straight with wheel centered, lazy/shoddy operator.
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Now on my 3rd 130i, this time a nice E81 in Graphite, Previously 2 x 130i and 2 x 135i

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CoupeSilver
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Re: Alignment

Post by CoupeSilver » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:52 pm

On those hunters printouts which side on the diagrams is the drivers side (right hand drive car) and which is the passenger side? I've seen conflicting info on forums etc.

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Re: Alignment

Post by YLS » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:54 pm

Thanks, I thought as much. I gave up debating with them - blood was starting to boil after it was up on the ramps the second time. The steering wheel was fixed in place, but couldn't see how well they lined it up before they fixed it. All the staff gave off an atitude of couldn't give a F. I should've trusted my senses and left while I was waiting for them to look at the car...

What needs to be adjusted to fix it? Just so I know if the next place is going about things the right way. Is it as 'simple' as to fix the crabbing, you adjust the toe on an axle (back for example) so that the back axle lines up with the front axle, and then adjust each wheel in/out the same amount to set toe on individual wheels?

Their final line was they didn't want to try the rear adjustment bolts too hard in case they snapped. How likely is that to happen? The eccentric bolts look pretty sturdy to me... Perhaps I'll start spraying oil on all the rear adjustments bolts and free them up before I take it back to another garage.

What I wouldn't give for my own workshop. Almost every single effing garage cocks something up!

Here's the last alignment done by another branch of the same garage. Trouble free driving for the last 25k miles.
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THETYRANT
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Re: Alignment

Post by THETYRANT » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Going from your previous printout and the fact all you have changed is 1 front tie rod i would say they havent had the equipment set right on car which is all to common these days, take it somewhere else and i would not be surprised if all that is needed is the steering wheel centralising and front tie rods adjusting a little each side to get wheels pointing straight again.

If rear is still out when they put equipment on it could be a lot more work, rear adjusters can be prone to seizing up but usually can be free'd without damage, it could be worse than that though and bolts do snap if they are badly siezed in, rear adjustment is finicky to get right on these cars so all adjusters needs to be nice and free to allow fine tuning.

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Now on my 3rd 130i, this time a nice E81 in Graphite, Previously 2 x 130i and 2 x 135i

Camber plate project - http://www.babybmw.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=96465

Suspension Quest thread - http://www.babybmw.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=80208

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Re: Alignment

Post by YLS » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:25 pm

Thanks, that's slightly reassuring! Fingers crossed you're right, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you are. The only thing is when they put the car back on the ramps today I was looking to see if the figures were consistent with the first session. I only spotted a few, but they were almost identical unfortunately.

Anyway, I'll find another place and try my luck there. I'll try to loosen (but not adjust) the rear bolts beforehand so they don't have any excuses. Thanks for letting me vent!

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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:27 pm

Get happy with the Plug Gas in advance, fingers crossed they'll free up.
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Re: Alignment

Post by YLS » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:09 pm

Already on it - thanks.

I'm slightly more optimistic that they didn't put the sensors on correctly. The current printout (1st image at top of thread) shows a very slight positive camber on the front left. Looking at the wheel I can see negative camber on both front wheels just by eye... It also had negative camber last time, and I've done the camber pin mod since then (and yes I moved them the right way, by the same amount). An the rear right wheel has apparently lost a whole degree of camber since the last time too...

Fingers crossed the next place is better. Won't be able to do that for a week or so now though.

Thanks for the tips.

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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:58 pm

Did they weight the car down correctly to the Hunter Computer specs?

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Re: Alignment

Post by YLS » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:49 pm

No they did not. Any idea what the weight should be? I'll make sure it's in before I get it done again.

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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:20 pm

It's not a specific weight, it's a specific ride height. You can't set the suspension from an arbitrary ride height as the camber, toe and caster all vary with compression.

The Hunter computer will specify the exact height the chassis needs to be, but some complete cowboys skip that vital step out of pure laziness.
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Re: Alignment

Post by YLS » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:31 pm

Haha they did nothing of the sort. I'll do some digging to see if I can find the required ride height, and add some weight to get close to that before I take it in next.

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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:37 pm

BMW are contradicting me!

32 00 Chassis/wheel alignment - normal position E81 / E87

Car loaded down to normal position Vehicle with complete equipment for normal operation with:
2 x 68 kg on front seats (seats in central position);
1 x 68 kg on rear seat (centre);
1 x 21 kg in luggage compartment (centre) and full fuel tank.
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Re: Alignment

Post by marco_polo » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:40 pm

My Hunter Operator (Jags at BM Sport @ Bexleyheath) is very particular about ride height, and will happily spend half an hour making sure the car is at the correct height, perfectly level, etc. He uses large sealed jugs filled with wet sand.
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