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  1. #1
    michaelgvh
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    need a big alignement after adjusting coilovers?

    so I bought a car with coilovers with the intention from the start to raise it up from the lowered position it was in. I took it to my BMW shop and they said I needed to do some sort of a weight adjustment and alignment if they raise it back up. They said it's actually like a half-day process. What's the point of having coilovers that are so easy to adjust if you have to do a massive alignment each time you change them?
    Am I being jobbed here or are they just being perfectionists and it should be done?


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    The problem with alignment is you can't just look

    at your car and tell if you need one. You actually have the car aligned to find out if you need it.
    Are you hearing that they have to weigh the car to load specs when they do the alignment? Because that's so.
    Seems to me if you change the ride height, you'd best have the car aligned.

    Can you explain how the height will be changed with coilovers? Where do you make that adjustment?

    In the real world, I'll always choose the factory ride height as I scrape enough driveways, etc, as it is. Lower would kill me watching out for road irregularities.

  3. #3
    michaelgvh
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    Re: The problem with alignment is you can't just look

    The adjustment is basically to the height of the spring perch. So it doesn't change the spring height, it just changes where the low point on the spring is. On the fronts the adjustment is about at the bottom third of the strut, I think. I haven't looked at it closely.

    I'd want to raise my car by at least an inch. It's that low right now and I don't dare take it in to work because I'm worried about the getting in to the parking garage without scraping the hell out of it.

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    Makes sense that that is the way you change the

    ride height. I'd get it up as quick as I oould if I were you. That's why when I put on my KONI FSD shocks, I stayed with stock oem springs. Could not find a sport spring that did not lower the car.
    My car is stiff enough for the road and handles much better with the KONI shocks.

  5. #5
    c.d.iesel
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    Makes sense, ........ if

    any change in ride height changes alignment

    and the car should be 'weighted' with sand bags
    while performing the 4-wheel alignment

    150lbs in each front seat
    150lbs centered on the back seat
    150lbs centered in the trunk
    FULL TANK of gas . . . . . . then the alignment

    'weighting' the car gives a more accurate,
    real loading of the chassis.

    not 'weighting' the car gives marginal results for
    optimum handling and steering

  6. #6
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    typo of course; all you say is accurate


  7. #7
    michaelgvh
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    my shop guy implied it was unsafe ...

    to neglect the corner balancing after raising the suspension...

    It sounds like that's a it excessive, especially since I'm sure the car isn't balanced now after 9 years. How would raising it really mess up any weighting?

    I'm now planning on bringing it to another german car shop just to do a raising and alignment. I don't want my shop to [Oops!] at me about it. (I'm about to drop a pile of cash on them to fix a bunch of nagging issues so it's not like they need my extra business.) If it drives like crap after that, I'll let them go nuts, but I would be amazed if that's the case.

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    What we're saying is get the height adjusted and

    then have the car four wheel aligned at a place that will 'weight' the car properly as they align it.
    If your shop is trying to scare you, I'd just plain quit them and go somewhere else. They have no respect for you. Or they know nothing themselves.

  9. #9
    michaelgvh
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    the whole thing is...

    I've posted this question in a few places and the consensus seems to be that doing the corner weighing process is overkill. My shop wants to do it... and charge me for 3 or 4 hours of labor for the whole shooting match. I'm inclined to hold off on the weighing and just do the alignment after I raise it back up. I'm about to blow a ton of cash on this car so I'd like to save the extra $150-200 and use it elsewhere... as long as I'm not doing something that is truly unsafe.

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    Sounds like a race shop

    and they know how to set the corner weights properly on a full coilover suspension to get them as equal as possible for optimal handling. For each height adjustment, they have to at least unload the weight (jack it up) and they might have to remove the wheel to get the wrench in there. They will also have each swaybar disconnected at one end. The ride height isn't going to affect toe-in, and front camber cannot be adjusted. But, 3-4 hours is reasonable, including alignment. If you just ask them (or anyone) to raise it one inch all around and align it, regardless of corner weights, you will save some money and it will not be unsafe. It will just not be optimal. If you intend to go back some day and have it weight balanced, then you will have paid extra to do parts of the job twice. "Pay 'em now or pay 'em later" in that case.'03 525i Sapphire Blu/Grey, SP, Nav
    '02 325it Orient Blu./Grey, SP, Nav
    '98 323is Arctic Sil./Blk, SP
    '95 M3 Cosmos Blk./Blk

  11. #11
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    thanks for the confirmation...

    That's pretty much what I figured.
    I'm not tracking or auto-x-ing. I just want the car so I can pass over some reasonable speed bumps without bottoming out.============================================== ===========

    Michael G. vH

    1999 528it
    1994 325i (sold)

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    Yes | No

    what setup do you have? PSS10?

    The need for alignment is usually there if you change out the suspension, but I would *assume* that a setup meant adjust would keep the geometry correct throughout the range.









  13. #13
    michaelgvh
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    PSS9

    I'm actually not changing the shocks, just sending them out to be remanufactured then I'll put em back in.
    Once I get them back, I'll raise the car up an inch or so and get an alignment.

  14. #14
    michaelgvh
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    OK these PSS9s are shot... new options?

    They are frozen stuck and won't budge... probably have not been moved in 9 years. (Torch used and failed.)
    Also 3 are leaking. So, basically I'm thinking I may go to something closer to stock.
    What are the suggestions?
    Anyone have a low-miles ZHP setup?
    M3 setup?
    Bilstein Sports and sport springs?

    How do they compare?

    Anything I would need to get to return back to stock aside from Shock/Struts and springs?

    Figure I'll get Z3 RSM plates and new RSMs while I'm at it.


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    Yes | No

    Koni FSD's and stock springs

    Give you ride comfort and improved handling.

    Throw in some shock tower reinforcement plates when you have things apart.
    Turner sells 'em


    And this is interesting info

  16. #16
    michaelgvh
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    Planning on getting the Z3 reinforcement plates

    I have a Strut tower bar that covers the whole front strut tops, so I wonder if the front tower reinforcement plates are necessary. I figure that tower plate on the strut bar is doing the same thing.

    I also went and picked up the incredible deal on the ZHP retrofit kit. So I'm going to go with ZHP shocks and struts, I now need to find some good springs to match.

    For those not aware... check out this kit...
    BMW part number 33500429577

    This Genuine BMW performance suspension kit includes:
    1 - left front control arm - ZHP - 31122282121
    1 - right front control arm - ZHP - 3112228212
    2 - locking nuts - 32216769539
    4 - locking nuts - 31106774714
    1 - left front sport shock - 31312282459
    1 - right front sport shock - 31312282460
    2 - front bump stops - 31306757046
    6 - locking nuts - 31316769731
    1 - front sway bar / swaybar - 23.5mm - 31356757168
    2 - sway bar bushings - 23.5mm - 33556751269
    2 - hex nuts - 33306760587
    8 - locking collar nuts - 07119904295
    2 - rear sport shocks - 33522282461
    2 - rear shock bump stop - 33506757047
    2 - locking nut - 33521137360

    $450 at Tischer... WOW!

  17. #17
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    Yes | No

    I don't think the strut tower bar completely

    obviates the need for the tower plates. The ramming effect you are trying to isolate the towers from comes from underneath, not above. So just because you have a cap over the top of the towers, does not protect them from below. And then you are adding stiffer shocks with the listed kit, so the recommendation increases.
    You're investing lots in this car with sport shocks all around plus thicker sway bars and HD control arms. And then you'll pay for labor if you're not mechanically inclined. Don't over-invest for a used car.
    But if you do go thru with the above additions, do investigate the Powerflex Control Arm Bushings. They are fantastic with no drawbacks except the slightly higher price. With new control arms, you will be buying new CAB's.
    And consider some aftermarket rear shock mounts to insure against failure. Check out Turner Motorsports.
    Oh, and one more thought; consider the sport springs that come with the e46 sport suspension. Don't drop the ride height of your car if you want to avoid scraping hassle.

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