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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Wed, May-15-2019, 06:13:11 PM   #1
R60BBA
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Default Wheel Alignment Query

M3forum members,

After recently installing KW V2s to my E46 M3, I will be putting the car in for a 4 wheel alignment (full geometry) at the weekend.

However I have question as to which set-up you would recommend: Standard or CSL?

I welcome answers from those with experience of both and taking into account the information below.
  1. Standard E46 M3 CSL alignment tolerances
    Front axle:

    Total toe
    0 16' 7' Camber
    (difference between left/right max. 30')
    -1 20' Track differential angle with 20 lock on inside wheel
    - 1 32' 30' Caster
    (difference between left/right max. 30')

    With 10 wheel lock
    7 25' 30' With 20 wheel lock
    7 40' 30' Front wheel displacement
    0 10' Maximum wheel lock

    Inside wheel approx. 40.90 Outside wheel approx. 33.81 Rear axle:

    Total toe
    0 22' 6' Camber
    (difference between left/right max. 15')
    - 1 45' 15' Geometrical axis deviation
    0 4'

  2. E46 M3 CSL alignment tolerances
    Front axle:

    Total toe
    0 4' 7' Camber
    (difference between left/right max. 30')
    -1 45' Track differential angle with 20 lock on inside wheel
    - 1 40' 30' Caster
    (difference between left/right max. 30')

    With 10 wheel lock
    7 34' 30' With 20 wheel lock
    7 48' 30' Front wheel displacement
    0 10' Maximum wheel lock

    Inside wheel approx. 40.85 Outside wheel approx. 33.65 Rear axle:

    Total toe
    0 4' 6' Camber
    (difference between left/right max. 15')
    - 1 50' 15' Geometrical axis deviation
    0 4'

The car is lowered to 13.5” all round (from centre cap to bottom of the arch) and is on CSL wheels running CSL tyre sizes (front 235/35/19, rear 265/30/19). However, as my car is a pre-facelift (2002 build), it still has the MK20 DSC module (as opposed to the MK60 DSC module found in the facelift M3s) and is on the standard E46 M3 1:15:4 steering rack as opposed to the 1:14:5 CSL rack.

The car is currently within standard tolerances, and is used for fast road performance with the odd track day. I am happy with the way it drives, but wouldn’t mind more grip, but then at the same time do not want to make the car more twitchy when sitting on the motorway at 70mph, nor do I want to wear out my tyres more quickly.
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Last edited by R60BBA; Wed, May-15-2019 at 06:17:02 PM.
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Old Wed, May-15-2019, 08:05:18 PM   #2
nowanker
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Query

If you have a dual purpose street/track car, everything is a compromise between the two. It just depends where you want to make the sacrifices.
Increasing negative camber in the front will buy you more grip for the track, but at the expense of increased inner edge wear on the street. My magic number/best compromise is around -1.5 degrees. Some here run all the way to -3 or more, and claim no ill effects... but that is not what I've seen (many cars in my sample, alignments in my business).
Tires are pretty forgiving of excess camber... you can get a big benefit at the track with only minor penalty on the street. Not so forgiving with toe! F. Toe out will give you minimally crisper turn-in at the track, at the expense of trashing the tires on the street.
Forget factory specs...
My recommendations:
F toe: .05* in each wheel
F Camber -1.5* or as close as you can get to it. If the car is lowered, it might be greater already
Caster: whatever you get. Not adjustable, unless you have camber/caster plates. Make it even side/side if you do.
R toe: .10* in each
R Camber: -1.5* (maybe a little less...)

And now, stay tuned for a thousand other posters to chime in about how bad those settings will work!
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Old Thu, May-16-2019, 12:46:37 AM   #3
M3 dude
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Query

if you are running front wheels with a larger offset (stick out more), i'd suggest dialling in a bit of toe in.
the larger offset forces the wheels to toe out during driving.

i used to scrub tyres at a phenomenal rate even after dialling in 0 front toe, til i realised that my wheels (+29 offset) are the main culprit
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Old Thu, May-16-2019, 02:02:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Query

Hey
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 dude View Post
if you are running front wheels with a larger offset (stick out more), i'd suggest dialling in a bit of toe in.
the larger offset forces the wheels to toe out during driving.

i used to scrub tyres at a phenomenal rate even after dialling in 0 front toe, til i realised that my wheels (+29 offset) are the main culprit
What toe degrees are you running with 29 offset?
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Old Thu, May-16-2019, 03:20:06 AM   #5
ZHPNC
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 dude View Post
if you are running front wheels with a larger offset (stick out more), i'd suggest dialling in a bit of toe in.
the larger offset forces the wheels to toe out during driving.

i used to scrub tyres at a phenomenal rate even after dialling in 0 front toe, til i realised that my wheels (+29 offset) are the main culprit
That's a great point. I knew that the fronts would tend to toe out at speed due to rolling resistance, but I never thought about a lower offset essentially increasing the length of the lever arm in that situation so you toe out even more.
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Old Thu, May-16-2019, 09:46:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel Alignment Query

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokgo20 View Post
Hey

What toe degrees are you running with 29 offset?
i'm still experimenting with this, but currently just running a slight toe in (0.5-1mm in each side)
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Discussing Wheel Alignment Query in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)