How to Adjust Camber and Caster in your BMW E30 1984-1992
If you own an E30, then you have no doubt experienced some of the inconveniences that go along with driving that wonderful car. Though it is still God’s Chariot, the E30 chassis has some drawbacks. Namely, the factory suspension is not adjustable for camber or caster. This alignment problem causes serious issues for the crowd who likes to live a little lower. If you want to lower your E30, you will definitely want to take camber and caster adjustability into account for the sake of your tires and suspension geometry.
With camber adjustments, you can correct excessive negative camber that is caused when the ride height is lowered but nothing else is changed. You need to be able to correct in the front and rear for that camber and there are a few ways to go about this. Below, you can see an E30 experiencing severe camber angles as a result of a lowered ride height.
If you chose to purchase coilovers, like Fortune Auto, BC Racing, or CATuned, then you already will have front camber and caster adjustability in the strut mounts. Camber plates can also be purchased individually made by companies like KMAC and SPC. The adjustable settings will depend on which kit you purchased, but they all function about the same way. The camber adjustment will let you add or remove camber as you need based on your ride height and will significantly reduce ‘camber wear’ on your tires and allow you to find that perfect balance for cornering and daily driving.
The rear is more involved. Even with most coilover kits, the rear E30 suspension is fixed. Some high-dollar kits and custom setups involve new trailing arms and true coilover style suspension, but these are not recommended unless you are doing some serious competitive driving and your crew chief has done the math and budgeting necessary to justify purchasing them through the race team you would probably own in order to be at that level. For everyone else, adjustable rear trailing arm bushings allow you to dial in camber settings much like you would in the front with camber plates.
Adding camber and caster adjustability to your E30 is more than just a suspension upgrades to help improve cornering. Camber plates and bushings help extend the life of your tires and other suspension components by allowing you to maintain factory specifications for alignment settings even with an extremely modified ride height or suspension setup. Don’t be the E30 chewing through tires when a few dollars can give you better handling and longer-lived parts in your favorite car.