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      07-23-2009, 08:55 PM   #1
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Interesting feedback on Dinan's alignment settings

I'll start out by saying: No WAY am I trying to start a flamewar, diss Dinan, or in any other way besmirch the name of any company out there. I'm just relaying some feedback I got and wanted to know what M3posters here have to say, because I admit ignorance on this subject.

I have the Dinan stage 1 suspension kit installed in me '08 E90 M3 (fancy name for springs & bump stops) + camber plates, and was getting my first alignment since the installation. I brought it to a local shop that came highly recommended (don't want to give the name so as to avoid sounding like I'm shilling) and when dropping off the car brought them the Dinan suggested settings.

When I came to pick up the car, the tech (and I'm guessing owner) basically said he did it how I wanted based on Dinan's specs, but they're not what he would have used. He offered me a deal if I wanted to bring it back to have them do it their way, but lest you think he's just trying to drum up business he said if I don't like the new (their) settings, he'll put it back to the Dinan recommended specs free of charge. That suggests to me he's not just blowing smoke somewhere dark and sunless but actually does believe Dinan's settings are sub-optimal.

He said he also thought Dinan's note, that all alignment settings should be done with no weight in the car and a full tank of gas, was a little odd given that the car would be driven with a person in it (one would hope) and likely with light fuel at the track.

Anyway, I'm reprinting the Dinan specs here and would like to know what folks think. I didn't get his suggested numbers but I didn't ask, I figured that'd be rude ('Hey, thanks for the suggestions, I'll just bring these along to El Cheapo Car Haus...').

Finally, I assume I'm not violating any copyrights and such by reprinting this - it has no warning not to reprint the numbers and I have to assume they're not a secret anyway.

Dinan's recommended specs for stage 1/2 suspension kits:

Camber: -1.2 +/- 0.3
Caster: 6.5 +/- 0.5
Total Toe: 0.07 +/- 0.07

Camber: -1.5 +/- 0.2
Total Toe: 0.17 +/- 0.08
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      07-23-2009, 09:39 PM   #2
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The only thing funny about those numbers is that they're pretty close to the stock recommended alignment settings from BMW. You would think that since you purchased the camber plates, they would recommend running more camber.
Was the shop under the impression that you were looking for a performance alignment? If so, maybe they were thinking to add more camber -and maybe 0 toe up front (which is actually within the range from Dinan).
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      07-23-2009, 09:47 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure there is something in there saying that you can go up to -1.9 camber up front for "track use only". I have mine at -1.95 and that works out great. I went for ~0 toe front and a little in the rear. "Recommended" front camber is lower than -1.9 probably because they don't want to be responsible for uneven tire wear on the street...
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      08-03-2009, 11:12 AM   #4

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Originally Posted by wolftrouble View Post
I brought it to a local shop that came highly recommended
did you take to Custom Alignment by chance? If so Just trying to gauge the quality of the shop...

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      08-03-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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My guess is that Dinan includes the note to perform the allignment with no weight and full tank of gas to create consistent, repeatable results from car to car. I would further surmise that their numbers seem a little closer to stock because of this. Performing the allignment with a lighter car will result in slightly more negative camber back on the road. Still, I'd want a more aggressive setup than Dinan recommends.
'09 Interlagos Blue E92 M3 (sold to a good home)

Last edited by TLud; 08-03-2009 at 02:14 PM.
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      08-03-2009, 01:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fuzzz View Post
did you take to Custom Alignment by chance? If so Just trying to gauge the quality of the shop...

One of the best bay area shops around. Have always had them do my alignments and mount wheels and tires with no scratches or issues whatsoever. These guys are pros!
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      08-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #7

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BMW's published alignment settings and ride height are all measured with about 400 pounds of weight in the car spread between the front seats, the rear seats and the trunk. If your dealer has the latest equipment, they put the car on the rack, load it down and the computer spits out a report that compares the actual settings with the factory specs.

Because of the preloading, you can't compare OEM alignment specs with unloaded settings.
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