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'98 323is DINAN Stage 1 (Bilstein) - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by DRP, Apr 12, 2010.

    DRP guest

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    I have a '98 323is and I am thinking about the Dinan Stage 1 (Bilstein) suspension kit. Does anyone out there run this set-up and are you happy with the ride? I am a bit worried about ride harshness. Also, how much does the kit lower the car? I love the comfort of the stock suspension but the car could benefit from a lower CG. Any thoughts?
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    I don't have experience with the kit you are inquiring about. BUT I do have the Dinan Stage 2 kit on my E36 328is. This kit has the adjustable Koni shocks. The car handles great and the ride is not too harsh. I run H&Rs w/ Bilsteins on two of my E30s and the ride is significantly firmer in the e30s.

    Here is a picture of my car to get an idea of rid height.
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    Brian A

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    I have a Dinan Stage I suspension with the Dinan-Blistein option in my 1991 318i which I installed myself in December 2008. I also installed Eibach adjustable sway bars at the same time. My car is an E30, but I think some of the observations will apply.

    Because I live near the Dinan facility, I drove out there myself to save the shipping costs. Doing so was pretty cool actually because I got a tour of the facility as well as got to ask a few questions.

    First off, the Dinan suspension does not feel much firmer than the stock suspension. There IS a profound change in the handling of the car but not through a substantial stiffening of the springs. The combination of springs and shocks is magic. There is just this sort of "tautness" to the whole system now. That may sound like a flaky description, but it seems all descriptions of suspension systems are inadequate, so I won't even try. All I can say is, I like it.

    Regarding your question on center gravity, the front of my car dropped about 1 inch and the rear of the car stayed at its stock height. Dinan said that, if anything, they try to increase suspension travel rather than decrease it. If you phone them they can tell you how much your car's height will change.

    I decided not to buy the adjustable Koni shock option because Steve Dinan is famous for getting things right and I couldn't imagine how I would use the adjustability. The Koni option was a lot more expensive too.Dinan DID recommend the Konis though, but more because of the style of bump stops than anything.

    I got the Eibach adjustable sway bars on sale at Tire Rack and they were half the price of the Dinan sway bars. Again,Dinan probably would have nailed the sway bar stiffness settings and I wouldn't have spent the last year twiddling with the stiffness settings. Springs, shocks and sway bars work together as a system which needs to be optimized.
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    I have Dinan products on my car and for the suspension, I would suggest to get the Bilsteins yourself. Most of the Dinan suspensions won't lower your ride very much and the feel IMO isnt anything signicantly different than getting the same setup from from Bilstein directly.

    Why pay the extra markup when you can easily DIY? I know the warranty is worth something, but in this case, I wouldnt do it.

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