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      05-07-2019, 02:17 PM   #1
chris82
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Struggling to get any camber adjustment on front left side

Hi guys, I just had my car into the shop for alignment, which was done in house by the techs. I trust the mechanics here and their clientele is mostly porsche and bmws, most of them track cars. Point being I trust they can do an alignment, it's a pretty legit shop.

Anyways, I had a long discussion with the tech as they struggled to get any camber adjustment from the front left of the car.

I have new m3 control arms installed which have less than 1000 miles on them. They checked the arms and everything they could, all is good parts wise. Other than that, I am on the stock 128i front struts and springs, which are original to the car. Currently at 85k miles. Alignment pins are removed, and they moved the strut inward on the strut mount as far as it goes which I can visually confirm.

Right now my camber is at -.1 degrees left, -.6 on the right. This is as much as they could go on the left side and they didn't want to go further on the right (right side they can get over -1 degree).

The car drives fine, always has. Everything feels tight and connected at high speeds, it rides fine, turn in is good, etc. Suspension looks fine in terms of ride height as well, nothing seems or feels off to me and I've been driving it for 8 years now.

Other info: caster, toe is easily adjustable to whatever spec, rear alignment is perfect within spec.

I've never had issues with alignment on this car. Used to have JRZ & camber plates on, never had problems getting any alignment spec I wanted. After I had these parts removed I had the stock suspension put in and drove it that way probably 10-15k miles until now, again, no alignment problems.

So what could be the issue here as to why I can't get more negative camber, even with the M3 arms? Any ideas, suggestions would be great. Thanks
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      05-07-2019, 03:46 PM   #2
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did you look at the tops of the struts, make sure they are pushed all the way inwards (the slotted bolt holes)
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      05-07-2019, 04:03 PM   #3
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did you look at the tops of the struts, make sure they are pushed all the way inwards (the slotted bolt holes)
Yup! I looked at it with the tech to confirm, they pushed the left all the way in
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      05-08-2019, 01:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
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did you look at the tops of the struts, make sure they are pushed all the way inwards (the slotted bolt holes)
Yup! I looked at it with the tech to confirm, they pushed the left all the way in
Subframe must have a little offset. One idea is maybe to loose the screws and realigned it.
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      05-08-2019, 02:58 AM   #5
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Where pins knocked out in place or out of car?
If the pin hole can't be seen through both towers, maybe there is camber built into them mounts and one is turned?
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      05-08-2019, 09:59 AM   #6
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Where pins knocked out in place or out of car?
If the pin hole can't be seen through both towers, maybe there is camber built into them mounts and one is turned?
Unsure when they were removed. Looking at it, it's just a hole, don't see any sign of a pin
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      05-08-2019, 10:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by chris82 View Post
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Originally Posted by 519.E82 View Post
did you look at the tops of the struts, make sure they are pushed all the way inwards (the slotted bolt holes)
Yup! I looked at it with the tech to confirm, they pushed the left all the way in
Subframe must have a little offset. One idea is maybe to loose the screws and realigned it.
That's interesting, how is the front subframe attached?
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      05-08-2019, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris82 View Post
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Originally Posted by ornicar View Post
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Originally Posted by chris82 View Post
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Originally Posted by 519.E82 View Post
did you look at the tops of the struts, make sure they are pushed all the way inwards (the slotted bolt holes)
Yup! I looked at it with the tech to confirm, they pushed the left all the way in
Subframe must have a little offset. One idea is maybe to loose the screws and realigned it.
That's interesting, how is the front subframe attached?
with x6 screws
#2, 3 & 4
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      05-08-2019, 10:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Where pins knocked out in place or out of car?
If the pin hole can't be seen through both towers, maybe there is camber built into them mounts and one is turned?
I'm liking this direction. If someone else has already done work, maybe it wasn't performed properly. If not the rotation of a part, perhaps L & R were swapped. *If* there is a built in camber of some sort on this or another part, it could be very easy to miss.

Also FWIW it might not just be the left but both, I'd expect more from each side w/ your M3 arms.
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      05-08-2019, 08:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by iminhell1 View Post
Where pins knocked out in place or out of car?
If the pin hole can't be seen through both towers, maybe there is camber built into them mounts and one is turned?
I'm liking this direction. If someone else has already done work, maybe it wasn't performed properly. If not the rotation of a part, perhaps L & R were swapped. *If* there is a built in camber of some sort on this or another part, it could be very easy to miss.

Also FWIW it might not just be the left but both, I'd expect more from each side w/ your M3 arms.
Yes I'd expect more camber too, even from stock.

M3 arms are properly installed. I looked at them visually, the shop did, they don't seem to be the problem. My thoughts are possibly a bent strut, a bad top mount, or some sort of frame misalignment. In the past I've never had alignment issues but the last time I had an alignment was 10-15k miles ago at least. Something could have happened between then and now which I'm not thinking of.
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      05-09-2019, 08:42 AM   #11
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Arms are probably fine but has anything else ever been replaced like the struts or the mounts? Or is it all original? I meant to say that if that kind of work was done in the past, perhaps things didn't go back together 100% correctly.
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      05-09-2019, 10:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
Arms are probably fine but has anything else ever been replaced like the struts or the mounts? Or is it all original? I meant to say that if that kind of work was done in the past, perhaps things didn't go back together 100% correctly.
Struts and springs are original. Maybe something is off with how they are mounted? They need to come out for the m3 arms to go in right?

I think my first step will be to have the shop look at the front frame and do some measurements to see if something is off or misaligned. Once that's eliminated they can take a look at struts and mounts. I'll probably throw on the ground control camber plates at this point just in case so I can get the camber I want regardless.
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      05-09-2019, 01:02 PM   #13
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Here's the frame alignment specs
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File Type: pdf frame alingment.pdf (543.0 KB, 14 views)
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      05-09-2019, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris82 View Post
Struts and springs are original. Maybe something is off with how they are mounted? They need to come out for the m3 arms to go in right?
Hmm, if they're original... they are probably installed correctly.

I don't think they need to come out to do the arms, but that said I don't know for sure as I haven't installed them myself (had a local shop do it, I'm a DIYer generally but I had the parts in my garage > 1 year and hand't gotten around to it w/ a newborn kid, and didn't see myself getting around to it anytime soon).

I was going to ask about wiggle room up top but you said the struts are bolted down moved as far inwards as they can go and the pins were knocked out.

I'm at a loss... Any chance at all the wrong parts were put on? Probably not, but if you got shipped the wrong things to start with?
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      05-09-2019, 04:26 PM   #15
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99% something is bent, both sides should be fairly symmetric.
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      05-09-2019, 05:26 PM   #16
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Could just be the top mount for the struts are spun from where they should be. I don't remember what indicator might be available, but I assume that if you can see through where the alignment pin used to be then it was removed and the top mount is aligned correctly.
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      05-09-2019, 10:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris82 View Post
Struts and springs are original. Maybe something is off with how they are mounted? They need to come out for the m3 arms to go in right?
Hmm, if they're original... they are probably installed correctly.

I don't think they need to come out to do the arms, but that said I don't know for sure as I haven't installed them myself (had a local shop do it, I'm a DIYer generally but I had the parts in my garage > 1 year and hand't gotten around to it w/ a newborn kid, and didn't see myself getting around to it anytime soon).

I was going to ask about wiggle room up top but you said the struts are bolted down moved as far inwards as they can go and the pins were knocked out.

I'm at a loss... Any chance at all the wrong parts were put on? Probably not, but if you got shipped the wrong things to start with?
Well they're original, but for about 30-40k miles I was on coilovers. They came off and the original springs and parts went in.
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      05-09-2019, 10:27 PM   #18
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99% something is bent, both sides should be fairly symmetric.
This is my worst fear and probably the case if it's this off....
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      05-09-2019, 10:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Struts and springs are original. Maybe something is off with how they are mounted? They need to come out for the m3 arms to go in right?
Hmm, if they're original... they are probably installed correctly.

I don't think they need to come out to do the arms, but that said I don't know for sure as I haven't installed them myself (had a local shop do it, I'm a DIYer generally but I had the parts in my garage > 1 year and hand't gotten around to it w/ a newborn kid, and didn't see myself getting around to it anytime soon).

I was going to ask about wiggle room up top but you said the struts are bolted down moved as far inwards as they can go and the pins were knocked out.

I'm at a loss... Any chance at all the wrong parts were put on? Probably not, but if you got shipped the wrong things to start with?
All looks good down there. I will check part numbers.
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      05-10-2019, 02:43 AM   #20
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This is my worst fear and probably the case if it's this off....
Doesn't have to be the frame itself, arm or carrier most likely.
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      05-12-2019, 01:36 PM   #21
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Alright so I had to car at Pocono yesterday. Happy to report back that it felt great. Of course I could use more camber, so will probably just throw on some camber plates and call it a day Appreciate the suggestions all
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