11 How to - Suspension

Quick Links: Wheel Alignment   Coilovers    

Wheel Alignment

One of the essential factors that determine the way your car handles is the wheel alignment. A good point to start is by understanding the various elements in the wheel alignment and their influence. This video gives a good introduction to the subject:

Suspension Geometry - Part 1 (Camber, Toe, Caster, KPI, Scrub Radius) and
Suspension Geometry - Part 2 (Roll Center, Double Wishbone, MacPherson Strut)

Within limits it’s a personal choice at which values you want the wheel alignment to be adjusted. The stock values are a compromise – however compromises that the engineers at BMW found the best for the general handling of the car. If you go on track, these values will not be optimal since cornering is essential on a track.  On the other hand, you shall be a really hard core enthusiast to prefer the track set up on your daily driver.

The two above videos discuss the various compromises.

The stock values can be seen in the table to the right.

If you are only interested in “looks” and don’t give damn
about the handling, there is no need to read more here.

It’s debatable if the wheel alignment is a job for professionals
only or you can do it yourself. Personally I would go to a BMW
M3 specialist who has the newest equipment for this job.

If you want to DIY this video may be a very good help.

Don’t forget the specified load: 2 x 68 kg on front seats in center position
plus 14 kg in luggage compartment (center) and full tank.

At Home Alignment Made Easy - How To Use String To Align Your Car

The conversion table mentioned in the video can be found here.

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If you choose to replace the stock springs and chocks with an aftermarket
coil-over kit, there may be some issues to attend.
The mere choice of brand and type of the coil-over kit is to some degree
personal, a question of taste. Naturally it’s not advised to choose a
sub-quality kit – it will most likely be a disappointment.

My personal choice was KW Coilover kit V3 after recommendation from
Everything M3s – a choice I am very happy with.

Since I have 8,5x19” CSL rims with 235/35x19” tires in the front, the
clearance between the tire and the spring is very small – actually too
small for comfort.  The solution is a 5 mm spacer (see spacers ).

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