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R50/53 - R50/53 Excessive negative camber with stock suspension

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R50/53 - R50/53 Excessive negative camber with stock suspension

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Old 05-14-2019, 11:38 AM
studio47
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Excessive negative camber with stock suspension

Just put 2 new front tires on my 04 MCS with stock suspension (at least as far as I know) and got an alignment. The shop said that the front was out of spec and obviously aren't adjustable. The readings are left front = -2.3C and 0.15T and right front = -2.1C and 0.16T (C- Camber and T = Toe). The rear is -1.6C and 0.17T for left and -2.0C and 0.15T for the right. I bought the car at 82k miles and it now has about 147k miles. I was in the process of getting ready to do struts and shocks and stock mounts. Could normal wear of these items result in the excessive negative camber? Any other wear items could result in this? Within the last 5K I had to do both front wheel bearings. As far as I know the car hasn't been lowered, and I didn't have an issue the last time I got it aligned, which seems like I would have if the previous owner lowered it. Just curious if I NEED to consider adjustable camber plates instead of stock. Looking for other items I need to consider. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:51 PM
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Did the shop put the correct weight in the car while doing the alignment? It can throw off the numbers. Worn out struts or bushings can also play a role in this. Mini put pretty aggressive camber on these cars from the factory. The only way to fix this is with camber plates up front and adjustable camber arms for the rear.. I just did both and am very happy with the results. I also set toe to 0 degrees to wake up the handling a bit.
 
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:14 PM
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The Front Strut Towers sound like they have mushroomed......there are a ton of threads on this.
Get them flattened out as stipulated in the thread.
Get the alignment checked done by MINI dealer.
 
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:28 PM
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Sorry, I meant to write in the original post that I had already fixed the mushrooming and installed the strut tower plates when I bought the car so I don't think that's it, unless it's possible for them to mushroom around those somehow?
 
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:41 AM
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How the heck are you getting that much negative camber in the front with a stock suspension? I had to install camber plates in the front to get -2 degrees camber I use for autocross. If I'm not mistaken stock front camber values are supposed to be between -0.9 and -1.4. Something is out of whack. Wondering if the car has something like IE fixed camber plates in the front and adjustable lower control arms in the rear.
 
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:16 AM
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Actually, stock front camber specs are
-0.5 +/- 0.4 degrees ( -0.1 to -0.9).
 
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:42 PM
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Front struts are shot... At least that was the problem with my car. I had an extra -0.5 of extra (as in - not wanted) camber. The internals had slop in them that caused them to “cave in”. The MINI shocks are less then good. Bilstien B4 (B6 if you want performance), Koni special actives (Reds if you want performance). Unfortunately I can’t tell you how to check the struts as they seem “oK” but soft when they came out of the car. But with 80+ k miles on the car, they are likely shot no matter what. The ride will be so much better too.
 
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Minibeagle View Post
How the heck are you getting that much negative camber in the front with a stock suspension? I had to install camber plates in the front to get -2 degrees camber I use for autocross. If I'm not mistaken stock front camber values are supposed to be between -0.9 and -1.4. Something is out of whack. Wondering if the car has something like IE fixed camber plates in the front and adjustable lower control arms in the rear.
I think you've touched on the reason for my question, which is what are all the other things that are the likely culprits other than my car is lowered or the towers area mushroomed? There are definitely no adjustable suspension parts on the car. Sounds like the most likely culprit is struts and the strut mount bushing assemblies. I do them all and see where it goes after that. Thankfully, I already did those on my wife's 05 MCS a year or so ago, so I know what I'm in for there. She didn't have a negative camber problem on hers though, the ride just sucked.
 
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddie07S View Post
Front struts are shot... At least that was the problem with my car. I had an extra -0.5 of extra (as in - not wanted) camber. The internals had slop in them that caused them to “cave in”. The MINI shocks are less then good. Bilstien B4 (B6 if you want performance), Koni special actives (Reds if you want performance). Unfortunately I can’t tell you how to check the struts as they seem “oK” but soft when they came out of the car. But with 80+ k miles on the car, they are likely shot no matter what. The ride will be so much better too.
Thanks for the feedback. I've been slowly collecting these parts to do all the struts/shocks/bearings, etc...as I figured it was about time (mileage wise.) Hopefully this will solve the negative camber issue as well.
 
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:52 AM
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My shocks died at a little over 50k miles and I replaced them with Bilstein B8s. I track the car, so I figured this was a good upgrade. In all respects it was. I had an alignment done prior to this and they reported a front camber that was -2.1 or so. I have IE fixed camber plated which give a max camber of -1.5 on the R56. With the replacement of the shocks the camber reading went back to -1.5.

Hope it does the same for you. Let us know how you make out...
 
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:17 PM
ptkacik
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My daughters '05 Mini is stock but sits very low up front and the result is very negative camber. No fix, just live with it. It handles nicely and rides well though. I did the mushroom strut plates but it really didn't do anything except make a creaking noise when turning sharply coming out of the driveway. Maybe a small camber improvement but I didn't record the difference.

The real fix may be new springs but it doesn't bother me enough.

Regards,
Peter
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:58 PM
studio47
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Interim Update: While climbing under the car to start the replacement of the shocks/struts and associated wear items, I noticed that the rear control arm bushings are toast. Seems like this would also result in the lower half of the spindle to "kick-out" resulting in the excessive negative camber. So now this project got a little bit bigger.....
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:24 PM
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Studio: How exactly did you determine that the rear control arm bushings are "toast?"
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by JAB 67 View Post
Studio: How exactly did you determine that the rear control arm bushings are "toast?"
Grab a pry-bar and check for flex or visually inspect them for damage.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:43 PM
studio47
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What Veedubpat said, although with mine, I didn't need the prybar; I could see the arm wiggling around in the bushing by hand. I'm not sure why I couldn't feel that more during driving.
 
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