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      11-21-2016, 06:28 AM   #1
zippyonline
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Suspension, Alignment and tyre shredding woes - help please!

Hi All,

I’m after a bit of advice please.

I fairly recently bought a late 2005 BMW E91, 330i M Sport. It had a 181k on the clock when I got it, and has 183k on it now. It has a full BMW service history, and a load of other bits and pieces, but no paperwork to back it up particularly. To note though, it does have a Bird B3 Bilstein suspension kit on it.

Anyway the back story, when I test drove it etc. I hadn’t driven a bmw with the birds kit on it before, and the body felt a bit wobbly over certain bumps and did the BMW shimmy thing at the back end, but was assured it was all ok – and I ended up buying it as I did seem to drive alright overall. After a while and thinking “nah, this isn’t right” and then noticing that the fairly full treaded continental tyres on them were a bit shredded, the huge amount of rear toe on the rear wheels was then noticed. Also the roads locally to me are a bit bumpier than the test drive route I did, and it’s really unsettled over bumps. So a full alignment later on a hunter jig on 05-10-2016 @ 182,726 miles (even though I had a printout of an alignment done about only 2.5k miles previous to this @180,234 on 21-05-2016, so I’d discounted an alignment issue) – well, the car then still handled like a dog because the rear tyres were all stepped due to the previous rear toe in! As one of the rear wheels had a crack in it I discovered when I took them off (18” MV3’s), I sourced a set of second hand wheels (17” bmw style 188s) off the e90post forum with some Michelin Pilot Sports on them – unfortunately when I picked them up, I was quite tired and didn’t notice that the front tyres had a strange wear pattern on them. So after fitting this new set of wheels with new tyres, the car wandered all about the place from the front as these were shot!

Anyway, after then buying a set of new front tyres (pilot sport 4’s) and the pilot sport 2’s on the back, all 4 tyres were good with decent tread on them – the car was a lot better handling, but I think the subframe bushings need changing after reading up on “the bmw shimmy” on the internet and it was still doing this – and it still didn’t feel right.

Basically the back end tramlines a lot and shimmy’s about, like the back of the car isn’t connected to the wheels…so I guess subframe bushings?

Now the crux of this story is – last weekend (11-11-2016 @ 183029) I had an MOT done, and the car passed with no advisories. I then drove to Wales this weekend (circa 250 miles) and when it started raining on the M4, to be honest the car was a bit scary to drive, and I had to take it really gently – the tramlines caused by the trucks on the inside lane were murderous. Driving back home, I only made it about 50 miles or so, and I pulled into the motorway services to have a pee stop, I took a cursory glance at the rear tyres – and saw that the tyres were down to their canvas on the inside edge…and well past the steel bead too. Cue a lot of phone calls later and I ended up forcing my Dad to drive out 200+ miles with my front wheels from the 18” MV3’s that I still had so I could limp the car home…. Not fun for anyone involved – but it was Sunday and nothing was open and I couldn’t get hold of any recover that day – you would not believe how grateful I was! That said, it was lucky I checked my tyres to be honest, that could have been nasty if I’d carried on driving unaware that my tyres were utterly shredded as if I’d done a drift day… They’ve basically gone from a set of full depth tread tyres to totally shredded in 718 miles (when I swapped tyres at the motorway services).

Now extreme tyre wear like that seems a bit more than just subframe bushings? I’ve had a recent alignment too, and the guys didn’t feel anything loose – although it is all under tension so I guess it’s difficult to tell. The car looked like it was aligned properly – they even loaded it full of water and everything to get the correct preload. I guess I should mention it’s running the staggered wheel setup – 225 wide fronts, 255 wide rears.

Help please!

I can also post photos and copies of the printouts from the alignments if that helps.

Cheers
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      11-21-2016, 07:24 AM   #2
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Hi Chris,

Sorry to hear that you're having issues with the car. Sounds like you're having a nightmare.

As you know, when I owned the car I had it aligned, but obviously Pro Tyre didn't do a good enough job. It still drove straight and true mind you. When I bought the car, the rear tyres were worn on the inside edges, so were replaced. I wouldn't have said that the wear was any different from previous E9*'s I'd owned. However, it's odd, and definitely not right that it's eaten a healthy set in under 1k miles.

My only suggestion would be to give Birds a call and see if they have any recommendations for set up?

Cheers
Matt
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      11-21-2016, 08:21 AM   #3
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for the response, have you got any other thoughts from the brief period you owned it? The rear toe was really straightening out the steering, and it does drive fine in a straight line on a smooth road!

It's clearly more than a setup issue, and something is seriously out.


Alignment 1


Alignment 2.

I'll take a photo of the tyres once it's stopped raining and I fish them out of the boot. It's past the canvas and the steel bead...
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      11-21-2016, 10:18 AM   #4
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And the tyres...



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      11-21-2016, 12:18 PM   #5
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1, Is everything tight on the suspension, bushes/ball joints etc?

2, Is the Birds suspension lower than a stock M Sport? If it is then the geo settings will not be correct. Camber change due to bump and bump steer are not linear and normally exponential. That is in relation to bump, the first 30mm of compression may add 0.15deg of camber, the next 30mm may add 0.45deg of camber. The further through the travel, the more camber gain is apparent.

3, are you driving with any significant load in the car, i.e four fat mates ;-) This will compress the suspension a exaggerate the camber gain.

Birds would be my first port of call for the geo settings.
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      11-21-2016, 03:12 PM   #6
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Those tyres
It seems that cars not been set up properly for a while, as rear tyres had worn the inners when previous owner got it.
My e92 has been lowered 35mm for 3 years now & once the springs had settled in I had mine geod on the same machine as your printout using sport suspension settings & there's no uneven tyre wear. So I don't get why yours should be that bad.
Maybes after having test driven it & thought it didn't feel right you should have walked away, hopefully there's not something to expensive that needs sorting.
As others have said speak with birds, good luck.
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      11-21-2016, 04:14 PM   #7
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If the b3 kit has adjustable rear control arms maybes they aren't set up properly.
Possibly the guys (boys most likely) that did the geos didn't know about or how to set up adjustable rear arms?
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      11-21-2016, 04:27 PM   #8
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Have you got a picture looking straight along the car? With tyres that bad the camber would be very pronounced even to the eye if it was well out. My suspicion is there is extreme wear on one if not more of the rear bushings which would still allow the car to be tracked but would go way out under movement/load.
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      11-21-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies chaps. I think I know what I'm doing next. Statically the car is alright - and I'm gonna test the car gently under small tractive forces. Someone I trust reckons the culprit is excessive toe compliance, and I should be able to see that - especially given how bad the issue is - it should be fairly obvious!

I shall be contacting Birds tomorrow though - good idea, I didn't really think of that.
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      11-21-2016, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chappers 71 View Post
If the b3 kit has adjustable rear control arms maybes they aren't set up properly.
Possibly the guys (boys most likely) that did the geos didn't know about or how to set up adjustable rear arms?
The car does have the adjustable rear arms on it.

Chris, I reckon a call to Birds would be a good starting point.
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      11-21-2016, 05:51 PM   #11
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Interestingly, having a dig around the internets, alignment alteration should not be needed for the B3 kit as lowering is minimal vs. the M Sport.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showpo...2&postcount=28

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birds BMW View Post
We do check and realign the front end tracking as part of the job, but given the lowering effect on M Sport equipped cars is minimal, adjustment is only ever required if the tracking was out in the first place, or if the car has SE spec. suspension (very rare).
On the rear, adjustment should not be required, but normally we would discover if the rear end does need alignment on the final road test, but a 4 wheel alignment is not included in the price.

As regards responding to this offer, please do it via our website link below, giving as much detail as possible and including E90post group buy in the comments box.
http://www.birdsauto.com/parts/L9231928335

Thanks, guys, for the interest.

Regards, Kevin.
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      11-21-2016, 06:46 PM   #12
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BMW 's generally have more negative camber setup. However, this should not eat the tyres especially after 700 odd miles. The person you trust is correct. This is a toe problem indicating worn out bushes. The aggressive B3 setup will only aggravate the problem
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      11-22-2016, 06:41 AM   #13
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Destroying tyres in 700miles?! Wow!!
That's definitely a toe issue. I reckon the bearings / bushes in the toe arms have gone bad.
Crazy steering suggests toe out - which would make sense and worn out bushes would push the arms outwards when moving forwards.

Odd that the MOT didn't detect any play though.
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      11-23-2016, 03:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abeardo83 View Post
Odd that the MOT didn't detect any play though.
This is probably what caught me out. There's limited tugging I can do when under the car on axle stands, nothing detected during alignment time, or MOT.

The car does appear to have some serious camber going on (visually, not measured with string yet) - but that's developed over the last trip - because I would have noticed if it was that far out previously.

Some Lemforder bits have arrived on my doorstep today - and will be doing some rather more intrusive investigation at the weekend.

Thanks for all the replies.
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      11-23-2016, 04:35 PM   #15
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Its not camber that will eat your tyres, it's toe.
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      11-23-2016, 06:56 PM   #16
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And excessive toe compliance combined with excessive camber would be even worse

At least I can count my lucky stars for it being a rather close call than an actual incident and a significant learning experience.
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      11-27-2016, 03:38 PM   #17
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Any joy this weekend Chris?
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      11-27-2016, 04:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattOz View Post
Any joy this weekend Chris?
Yup!

In a nutshell the rear wheels are wobbling all over the place - mostly though they lack any kind of toe compliance at all. Also measured the camber with a bit of string and did some trig, the camber is sitting at 4.5 degrees! - and it definitely wasn't that after I got it aligned, coz I would have definitely noticed it!

What I did was rig up bit of masking tape across the rear wheel to add a frame of reference to the wheel, and used a gopro looking from above onto the wheel. I drove over to a car park in the village and lashed the back of the BM to another car and gently pulled away to see if I could see the wheel move under tractive load but not subjected to bump (also setup was another camera on a tripod to have another angle). I also left the gopro running for a bit and took the car for a gentle drive afterwards (but also did load it up a bit and with gentle throttle I can make the car gently fishtail and cause the electronics to kick in).

Anyway, the most tell-tale sign was actually when I went from driving forwards, then to reverse and forwards again – basically the toe angle completely changed (although didn’t snap back to a neutral position or anything).

Oh, and when there is no wind noise on the gopro – you really can hear the rubber wearing away - like literally eating themselves. The original front wheels I used in the emergency have cupped and I've essentially ruined them too over the course of the 220mile snail pace journey home in the rain. Oh, and the tyres were warm over the 2 miles I drove the car for the investigation and I didn't go above 35mph!

I’m off to find “my first book on suspension and geometry” and change all the bushings and control arms on the car (and the tyres obviously!).

This lot have landed:


329 (23-11-2016) by Chris Reeves, on Flickr

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      11-27-2016, 04:56 PM   #19
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Bloody hell! Sounds like you're getting to the bottom of it, but what a ball ache. Let's hope that all those bits sort it for you.
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      11-27-2016, 05:49 PM   #20
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hopefully you have the swing arm ball joint in that little lot as these can get sloppy. I'd quickly see if the eccentric washer/nut on the inner side of the swing arms is holding/torqued as I suspect it's not and may be causing the misalignment once you're off the ramps.
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      11-27-2016, 06:48 PM   #21
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Yep, whilst I'm there, I'm getting every single bush, ball joint and a fresh set of all the nuts, bolts and eccentric washers. If you're gonna do a job and all that. Will also see to the surface rust on the subframe too whilst I'm doing that task.
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      11-27-2016, 06:54 PM   #22
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A tip for the surface rust - wire brush it then apply a rust converter like bilt hamber's hydrate 80. Cover with BH Dynax UB wax (it's black and quite tough). Spray some Dynax s50 into the small holes in the sub-frame and you should be good for a few more winters.
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