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From digest.v7.n1074 Wed Feb 4 19:37:11 1998
From: Duane Collie <>
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 17:21:50 -0500
Subject: Trick Aligments E36 M3

>My question is :
>What is the TOE OUT angle that would improve my baby's handling.
>I was planning to go TOE out 1.5 degrees. Are there any handling gurus
>that can shed some light to us simple folk ?
>TOE can be adjusted on the M3 and I would like to experiment with
>different dial ins.
>I have not messed with sway bars since I have taken weight off the car
>(now tips the scale at 2750 lbs/1250kg with 5 gallons of gas).
>I feel that since the car is lighter, the OEM sway bars are much more


Noooooooooo!!! Ya don't want toe OUT. Not unless you ever want to drive the car over 50 mph in a straight line. What E36 M3's want...nay, what they CRAVE (other than a breathless Lisa the 02 Princess sitting in the seat after a sweaty bike ride) is great big gobs of NEGATIVE Camber and an itty bit of Toe IN.

Aftermarket Sway bars will make a very large difference BTW. Its quite noticeable. Don't dismiss them as your suspension mods are not complete until you do the sways (rear is a PITA to install - front is one beer easy).

Best mix of settings for the track:

1/16" toe IN on the front. (and the Dinan "street" - 5/8 degree Camber Plates unless you want to replace your street tires every 6,000 miles by using the more aggressive track plates. This will give you about -2 degrees total neg camber on the front with a lowered car.) 1/8" toe IN on the rear.

  • -2 Degrees negative camber on the rear - that's about the max you can dial in.

When you go to put your car on the rack, have a full tank of gas in it and sit yourself in the drivers seat when they do the adjustment. MAKE SURE THE TECH SETTLES THE CAR ON THE RACK.

The toe IN on the rear keeps the car stable. With Zero toes settings all around, the car corners like a banshee but becomes seriously nervous at over 80 mph and will jump left/right when you stomp the brakes at speed. This would be a great set-up for an all-autocross car, but will scare the whee outta you at the track. When the car is at speed, the aerodynamic and friction forces will realistically convert that 1/16" toe in to an effective rate of ZERO toe for the front (Thanks Pete Read for this tip!). If you start with zero settings you will be at toe out when the car is moving.

How to I know all this?? Three trips to the alignment rack in the fall and lots of conversations with Will Turner and TC Kline.

Come to Summit in March or PizzaFest in April and you can take a spin in the Rabidmobile and see how you like the set-up I have.

Duane Collie
National Capital Chapter

P.S. I'm insanely jealous that Bob Stommel has bought a LTW M3! Now I haveta upgrade again (*sigh*).

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