Advice requested from those of you who have successfully checked camber at home

John Harmon posted for all of us...


I know the answers as I have done alignments in the past.
You have repeatedly been given excellent answers without learning.
I think you are a troll and are polluting this thread. Why don't you go over to a BMW group? They are probably not as patient as we are.
I will post what you consider is drivel since you are a troll. I am glad you are the arbiter of this news group, keep up the lousy job.
I suggest that all this trolls "questions" have been answered many times and any more replies be treated as such, but that's just me.
--
Tekkie

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Many of these are known problems. Things like the cooling system you need to plan to replace, and not just the expansion tank but also the thermostat body. You may want to consider one of the aftermarket water pumps that do not fail also, when it comes time to do your next water pump replacement.
If you haven't replaced your air plenum, you're probably about time for doing that to do. Do it before it fails.
These are _maintenance_ items that you know are going to fail, not _repair_ items that you fix when they break. You know it's going to happen, deal with it before it fails.

There's an aftermarket retrofit for this also.

There'a sheet on that one. you're supposed to clean it when you change your oil. And yes, you're supposed to change your oil often. Follow the extreme service schedule in the book or get the "old school maintenance" schedule from the BMWCCA.

Again, a lot of these are maintenance items, others (like the wood trim) I haven't heard of.
You should be on your third set of windshield molding by now if you are replacing it according to normal schedule and keeping the car outside.
The power steering leaks again are what you get if you don't purge the system annually like the manual says and don't change the hoses when they start to fail. By now you should have replaced every rubber part under the hood at least once. If you haven't replaced the pads in the shock towers and the differential mount, do them now.

Most of these things that went wrong are things that a mechanic familiar with the vehicle should have expected to go wrong and should have taken care of before they went wrong.
Yes, there's a lot of stuff to do every 3,000 miles including checking the rubber parts. Yes, there's a transmission fluid change and differential fluid change every 30,000 miles. Yes, you need to change your brake fluid every two years and your coolant every fall. There is a _lot_ of maintenance on these cars.
Do maintenance and you will not have to do so many repairs. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey actually said:

Hi Scott,
I'm extremely familiar with the BMW, but only you and I seem to know what we're talking about here.
Unlike Tekkie, nospam, & Jeorg Lorens (who can only troll), I'm intimately familiar that the cooling system overhaul is a standard maintenance item on the E39, E38, and E46 (all of which use essentially the same Meyle and Nissan components) and I am also intimately familiar with the metal-vaned (petersburgh) water pumps.
The gasket-less MAP thermostat isn't all that bad, but since the water pump has to be removed anyway, we replace them as a matter of course during the overhauls (I've done about four overhauls of my entire cooling system myself).
We all have the special counterholding tools for the fan clutch removal and we often replace the mechanical or hydraulic tensioners (it's arbitrary which any one bimmer has) and serpentine belt at the same time since all that stuff has to come off anyway.
We have it down to a science. In fact, most of us have replaced the expansion tank cap (I think the ORM is 1.2 bar but I'd have to look that up) with a lower pressure cap, which doesn't prevent anything from happening *other* than when it blows, it blows out the cap at a lower pressure so the expansion tank seams don't split.
We also all know to keep the coolant level LOW (at or below the max at all times) since too many people overfill the expansion tank. Admittedly, when it's full, it *looks* empty but that is the way it was designed.

I appreciate the advice, but offhand I'm not sure what you're calling the "air plenum", but if you're talking about that idiotically designed DISA valve which moderates the intake manifold harmonics, I'm completely familiar with the DISA valve engineering flaws and have long ago replaced the innards with re-engineered ones from Gary at German Engineering (replace the plastic pin with titanium).

Again, you and I are probably the only people on this thread who understand what we're talking about so I'm extremely familiar which what breaks on the typical E39, E38, and E46 (which are all essentially the same depending on the years designed).

There are *tons* of aftermarket FSUs, but I'm not aware of any design change to any other component than the FSU itself.

This one I'm also intimately familiar with, simply because, if you know the bimmer, you know one of the most difficult standard jobs is to overhaul the CCV because it's in the middle of the engine so to speak.
What we have all done is we have modified our oil dipstick tubes, because the CCV dumps cold oil into the dipstick tube, which hardens with contact with water vapor into the extremely badly designed teeny tiny concentric-circle space in the two-tubed dipstick.
Also we've all changed the CCV components into the modified cold-weather ones (insulated) but they're a bear to put in because they're fatter and there's precious little room in the first place.
Suffice to say that you and I are the only two people here who actually know what we're talking about (Tekkie, nospam, Jeorg, and a bunch of the other fools don't have a clue what we're talking about when they bash BMW).
It's nice to know that there are some intelligent people here. Thanks for being intelligent!

I left off a few things because that was an ad-hoc list, but just like the fact that *all* the cluster and MID pixels go bad, all the wood trim cracks.
It's not actually the wood that cracks; it's the super thick coating of varnish on the outside that cracks. It's a warranty repair and I had all my wood trim replaced under warranty, but the replacement wood trim cracked just the same.
It's a manufacturing and design flaw that they all have.

The good news about the windshield molding is that it doesn't affect anything other than looks and noise. It's not a weather item so it doesn't keep out water.
The bad news is that the Germans use too much recycled rubber, which is the problem with that windshield molding.
Again, I'm impressed that you're the only one on this newgroup who knows what he is talking about with respect to bimmers. You'll find I know my model extremely well (probably better than almost any non mechanic you have ever met).
That's because I "think" about what I'm doing. And I collaborate with others to learn from them.
Which is the reason, after all, for this thread.

I have done an overhaul of the rubber from buna to viton long ago, and the worst were the SAP/SAS valves in the back of the intake manifold. They're impossible to get to under the best of circumstances.
The power steering isn't so bad if you clean the power steering reservoir filter once every few oil changes with gasoline (most people don't know that it's even there) and if you replace the oetiker (sp?) clamps with standard hose clamps and replace the hoses.
The V8 has special problems with the power steering pump bracket breaking, so a standard maintenance item is to check the bolts every oil change.
The I6 isn't bleedable so you have to suck the fluid out the reservoir with a turkey baster, but it's not all that bad to do. It's just ATF Dexron IV (now Dexton VI since Dexron IV lost its copyright long ago).

I learned of all the issues by running into them and then learning how to re-engineer them. My point is that most of these known problems span models, so, BMW *knows* that they build crappy components but they don't fix them. So that's just bad engineering on BMW's part.
All BMW cares about is the handling and performance, and, those components are engineered fantastically well.

I disagree with *some* of what you just wrote.
Most bimmer owners have learned NOT to change the "lifetime" transmission fluid for two key reasons. The first is that many people have had failures just *after* changing the fluid where the hypothesis is that "stuff" got mixed up and moved about (like crud). The second is that it's actually not trivial to change the transmission fluid because of the specific temperature requirements (which most people skip).
Just like most people skip the 500 pounds of weight to set the ride height to "normal" when aligning the car, most people skip steps when changing the transmission fluid - and problems arise as a result.
But I do agree that BMW used crappy BUNA rubber for things that get hot, such as the valve cover gasket (which fails on almost every engine!). BMW has since replaced BUNA with Viton but they didnt' tell their customers that so for years customers were replacing the buna VCG with another crappy buna VCG.

BTW, are you the "Magnum" "Scott" of BMW fame? If so, we actually know each other and we have common friends who have both beemers and bimmers.
Either way, it's a *pleasure* to speak with someone who is not only intelligent, but who knows what he's talking about (which most of the fools in this thread don't).
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What I am talking about is mostly that maintenance and repairs are different, and there are vehicles that require a lot of maintenance and if you don't do that maintenance you get repairs.
Maintenance you can do at your convenience in a heated or air-conditioned garage. Repairs are not so clean.
The Japanese cars... you don't do a lot of maintenance, instead you do a lot of repairs all at once. The BMW, you do a lot of maintenance.

I mean the big rubber hose going between the throttle body and the airflow sensor. It cracks and then the airflow data becomes invalid and the car starts running lean. You can patch the cracks with 3M weatherstripping adhesive for a while until after a while you can't.

The issue on this one is that the they are using that TO220 FET as a linear regulator to adjust the voltage on the motor, and it develops a lot of heat of course. In Germany it's not a problem, but in Florida it fails pretty promptly. There are a couple places that have retrofit ones with big heatsinks. There have been a couple people talking about making PWM retrofits but nobody has done it yet that I know.

If you are changing oil every 3,000 miles you shouldn't need to do any of this. Just swab it out when you cahnge.

Tried Formby's Furniture Refinisher or maybe just xylene on it to liquify the varnish and redistribute it?

This might be the same issue as the fan controller and the exterior rubber: stuff that works just fine in the German climate but doesn't do so well in places in the US.

If you keep changing the fluid, the rack seals don't fail. If you don't change the fluid, the rack seals will fail. Changing to viton isn't a bad idea at all, but constant maintenance reduces the need to do that.

I would tend to disagree, with a few exceptions like the cooling system which really IS shameful.

Okay, I was making the assumption of the manual transmission. Why would anyone get a BMW and then put a slushbox in it?
If you DO have a slushbox, regular fluid changes are even MORE important although not at as short intervals, because if you don't do it regularly while the transmission is young, you're going to get exactly into that situation when the transmission is old. (Note also that a fluid change is NOT the same as a complete flush.... the complete flush is a bad idea in any case... just drain what comes out and refill it. It won't change all the fluid in the case but that's okay because you're going to do it again soon enough anyway).
Agreed that if you're stuck with a high mileage automatic that has been abused in its youth by a lack of proper fluid changes that the best thing to do is just keep your fingers crossed and hope it doesn't fail. (Well, really the best thing to do is trade in the car before it does fail but that's another story).
This is a case of repairs vs. maintenance again.

Nope, I'm just a guy who likes to drive cars for a long time, and I like BMWs for the reason that if you do put the proper maintenance into them you can just keep driving and driving them. I just rolled over 360,000 mile on the E28 this week coming home from work and it's still almost new.

I don't claim to be intelligent, I just claim to be able to keep cars running. A good argument could be made that if I were intelligent I would have traded the E28 in twenty years ago and I wouldn't be driving the 2002 at all. Certainly my wife makes that argument often. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey actually said:

Oh, yeah. I know it all too well.
My first smoke test for a lean condition showed a crack on the *underside* of that large ribbed tube. A few years later, my second smoke test showed that the tubes sticking out had leaks.
It would have been cheaper to just replace the damn things, instead of doing all those expensive smoke tests, which was your point, I agree!

Maybe you can answer a question which has irked me for years. As you know, the AC/Heating system is "fully automatic" meaning it's not intended for manual control, so, the blower starts at whatever settting it wants to start at when you start the car, no matter what setting you left it at when you last shut down the car.
I *always* adjust that, either to *off* or to the midway position.
But what I always wondered was, if the blower is on at all, whether the full on, or midway position caused less stress on the FSU?
I'm guessing from something a guy named cn90 and jim cash wrote that I found by googling, that the midway position is least stressful for that TO220 FET (there are three of those MOSFETs aren't there?).
Which blower position do you think is least stressful on that MOSFET driver if the blower is on?
1 bar 5 bars 10 bars

I know when my FSU failed the first time, it was so hot I burned my hand trying to get it out of those Germanic clips. The second one failed without heat, as did the others (where they failed in a way that gave the AC/heater controls a mind of their own).

Nope. I didn't know about that trick. Maybe I'll try since it's just the varnish that is cracked.

The ABS "trifecta" failing on the E38, E39, and E46 is also shameful. So is the trunk wiring loom fraying on almost every vehicle. And the headlight adjusters crumbling on some of the models like mine.

Thanks for your insight. Very interesting!
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First of all, if you'd had a competent BMW mechanic, he would have replaced it before it failed.
Secondly, when it DID fail, he would have looked at that and at the hose underneath it as the first things that cause leaks into the throttle body.
Thirdly, if he didn't know any of these things, it should have taken him less than five minutes to find the leak with a can of starting fluid. There is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for someone to bring out the smoke machine for that sort of leak unless they are trying really hard to find ways to bill their customers for something.
This is an EXACT example of what I am talking about when I say that doing maintenance is cheaper than doing repairs.

If you have it on full, the transistor is completely turned on and so there is less heat being generated in that configuration. However, if you have to worry about what position of the heater puts less stress on it, something is wrong. Put a retrofit one in there and it won't fail.

ABS I don't know about... but everybody knows about the loom so everybody wraps it. If yours wasn't wrapped, it will fail.
Likewise the headlight assemblies can be replaced with European spec ones in some cases, which don't fail. It's only the wacky DOT ones for the American market that are an issue.

I just rolled over 360,000 miles on the new car this afternoon. Should have it at 400,000 before 2018 starts. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey actually said:

This is dead wrong. Everyone knows that hack. It doesn't work for the E39. It might have worked for 1970's era cars, but not the E39. There just isn't any change in the engine speed no matter where or how or what you spray on the underside of the plenum. The leak is just too slight and the difference in engine speed too slight and the chance of getting the fuel from the plenum to the plugs too slight.
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If you're just spraying and not poking and prodding that's likely true, and a lot of less severe hose cracks won't get found that way unless you are pulling and stretching on the hose as you're hitting it.
But the plenum is easy, you just squeeze the body and shake it back and forth. Of course, likely you won't even need the spray because it'll come apart in your hands.
You are definitely right that the E39 is a lot more of a pain to find leaks in than the E30 and earlier vintage cars and more sensitive to smaller leaks. Sometimes the smoke machine IS needed. But sometimes you should be able to look at the plenum and see cracks and just replace the damn thing whether or not it's leaking, because you know it's going to start leaking soon. --scott
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John Harmon posted for all of us...

Doesn't seem like it from your postings.

You sir, are the troll, asking the same questions repeatidly without learning.

Overhauls?

German 'engineering'?

No you don't you know it all.

That's good then take it to email, I hope Scott has time to deal with you.

Scott it sounds like you know vs the troll.

So now you are using the tailpipe for coitus?
--
Tekkie

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Scott Dorsey actually said:

Hi Scott,
In the case of the brake fluid, most of us use the ATE super racing blue stuff (even though blue is not an official DOT color) and then the "amber" ATE DOT4 where we alternate from non-DOT blue to DOT-amber.
However, this is normal maintenance for any car, since brake fluid is hygroscopic,
The bimmer has 6 brake hoses though, two of which fray because they're too close to the exhaust manifold on the I6 (just behind the ABS control module, which is also too close to the exhaust manifold, even with the heat sheild that BMW added), so *they* have to be periodically replaced.
Again, I do appreciate that you are one of the very (very) few people on this newsgroup who know what you're talking about.
Many of the others (e.g., nospam, Tekkie, Jeorg, etc.) are clueless fools who wouldn't know a bimmer from a beemer if it hit them.
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On Sun, 11 Dec 2016 00:08:52 -0000 (UTC), John Harmon

I've never changed brake fluid in 50 years of car/truck ownership. So it's not "normal" to me.
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On 12/10/2016 6:57 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

None of my cars have dual-diagonal lines so I purge the brake fluid annually on each of them. A burst rusted brake line can be a memorable experience- it sure was for me. OTOH I wouldn't tell anyone else how to maintain their vehicles, YMMV.
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I've had 3 brake line failures. All rear wheel and all on cars that had +20 years driving in salt. Had one a few months ago. They've all been on my "emergency" cars. I was very close to home every time, and I always have a working e-brake. In every instance the lines were heavily corroded salt corroded. The only maintenance I could have done to prevent it was to replace the lines, which I should have done.
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On 12/11/2016 4:18 AM, Vic Smith wrote:

Just anecdotal evidence, but brake line replacement seems to be much more common in the past 15 or so years. I had the lines of my 5 year old Buick corrode. I know others that had to replace them on 5 to 8 year old cars.
Either new snow removal materials are being used or the lines are thinner, or both. This suppoerts it http://www.wfsb.com/story/23874231/mechanics-blame-winter-road-treatment-for-damage-to-cars
Connecticut auto mechanics told the I-Team they are concerned over a recent rash of rust and they blamed the need for so many rust-related repairs on the way cities and towns in the state treat the roads during winter storms.
The I-Team heard it at the Vernon Collision Center where they said, "everything just seems to rust. Five or six years ago, we didn't do nearly as many brake lines as we're doing now."
It was the same story at the Canton Gulf, where the I-Team heard, "I've been here 35 years and in the last three or four years we've done more brake lines than I have in the first 30 years."
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Vic Smith actually said:

We're delving off topic, but if you live in a wet or dusty clime, your brake fluid will "suck up" water and dust, which, on a 10-mile long mountain pass, might make a difference in not so good a way.
Even if it doesn't, the alcohol in the fluid will slowly erode your gaskets in your master cylinder (and slave cylinder if you have a hydraulic clutch).
It will likely still work all dusty, wet, and black; but it won't work as well if you live in the mountains.
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And... on a Japanese car you can get away with that and not have any issues. Some of them don't even list the brake fluid on the maintenance schedule.
Unfortunately you _cannot_ get away with that on the BMW. It is NOT forgiving about maintenance. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Fri, 9 Dec 2016 17:58:43 -0000 (UTC), John Harmon wrote:

Same here, but about temperatures using wall thermometers: people always spec out temperature in degrees but all I see is how many inches the column of mercury is, no idea how to convert degrees into inches here either :-) .
Can you help :-) ? Cheers, -- tlvp
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Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP.

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tlvp wrote:

Smartphones contain 3-axis accelerometer chips and magnetic compass chips, but AFAIK (unlike digital levels) they don't contain an inclinometer chip, so the accuracy from a phone is not likely to be high, the "bubble level" apps you can get for phones are a bit of a joke, they'll probably be influenced by large chunks of metal nearby.
The spec of the MEMS inclinometers in digital levels seems to be +/-6 minutes when measuring horizontal or vertical and +/-12 minutes for other angles, so even they would be marginal.
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Andy Burns actually said:

Thank you Andy for staying on topic and helping to increase the tribal knowledge here with respect to the accuracy that a smartphone has for measuring angles.
Apparently a smartphone accelerometer is used for measuring angles, which fits a camber measurement application, but for the life of me, I don't see how a smarphone accelerometer can fit a toe-angle application.
Can you?

Thanks for explaining that the accuracy of the MEMS inclinometer in digital levels is six to twelve minutes.
This Home Depot blurb says a common 10-inch Husky is "Accurate to 1/10 of a degree", which is in the range you stated. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-10-in-Multi-Function-Standard-Digital-Level-THD9403/205999357
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tlvp actually said:

I think you (yet again) completely missed the point.
The math for single-wheel toe is trivial which even you seem to understand.
https://s18.postimg.org/fq07txfih/11_toe_is_a_triangle.gif
However, I said I was confused about total toe.
The toe in the front of a wheel/tire combination is the same in degrees as the toe at the rear of that same wheel/tire combination (and, in fact, no matter what size the wheel/tire combaination, the toe is the same degrees of angle).
Yet, total toe is merely the difference in toe from the rear of the wheel/tire to the front.
And total toe is specified in degrees.
https://s23.postimg.org/ajrtf269n/10_total_toe_angles.gif
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