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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

 
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#1 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 10:26 AM
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I have taken my car to the dealer on three occasions to have the check the alignment. The first time I took it it was out. No problem. But when I got the car back, it was still pulling a hard left. Each time I take it back, they tell me the alignment is not out. Is there something that they could be overlooking or something that is worn that they may have missed?
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 10:34 AM
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Try an alignment shop instead of the dealer... get a second opinion. Has the car ever been in a collision? How wide are your tires? My car tracks (catches ruts or dips in pavment that cause sudden steering movements often because of the tire width.

Have you checked your rear control arm bushings? The control arm is the thick piece of metal that goes into the body of the car in front of the rear wheel. These bushings are $35 Can. but not extremely fun to change. My 318 used to track right all the time even after an alignment. I went to an old man who aligns manually with a broom stick instead of a machine and he spotted the issue very quickly.

Good Luck
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 11:09 AM
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I have experienced the tracking problem with different sized tires. What are some of the signs the bushings are bad? Will these alone cause alignment issues?
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 11:25 AM
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I called it a control arm... my mistake... it's a trailing arm... see the link below.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?mo...004&hg=33&fg=30

Items 18, 4 and 12 fasten the top of the trailing arm into the body of the car. The rubber mounting will fail depending upon the climate your car is in and driving style. The winters up here are pretty harsh and they tend to do a number on rubber. If the part fails the trailing arm loosens and puts stress on item 17. Total failure and your rear wheel will rotate inwards towards the center of the vehicle... and you will a knocking noise coming from the side that failed... have you ever pushed a shopping cart with a bad rear wheel... you constantly have to point the cart a certain way to keep it straight. Well your car will subsequently have directional issues because your rear is tracking differently from the front. With wider tires the effect is worsened. Been there done that... you will also have extremely uneven tire wear on the side of failure. As you can see the parts are relatively inexepnesive... as with brakes and bearings etc. etc. change both sides...
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 11:36 AM
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I will get this checked out.
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#6 (permalink) Old 05-17-2005, 07:52 PM
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For everyone that has read so far, I have an update. I took my car to the dealer today, not the same one that did the alignment. First, I thank them for diagnosing the car becuase I know exactly what "I" can do to fix it. It will help me save a bundle. Best of all, I got to go in the garage with the mechanic to see exactly what he was informing me of. I since have referenced everything with the TIS software and they are not trying to rip me off, but I still want to do the work to save money. Here is a list of what they found wrong:

Steering rack bad
Both inner and outer tie rods are bad
Leaking power steering hoses
Warped rotors and needs pads

They are putting it back on the alignment rack tommorrow to see if there are any rear problems. I will update with the results.
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#7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2005, 10:28 PM
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Alignment is corrected now. The dealer in the other city did not do the alignment correctly. What a slap in the face when the dealer in the another state called and billed them for what they charged me... LOL!
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