Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Suspension Opinions Sought

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by jojomosgo, Mar 10, 2008.

    jojomosgo guest

    Post Count: 6
    Likes Received:0
    I know a lot of this is subjective, however, I'm hoping you guys can help steer me in the right direction here. Some background:

    I have a 2003 330ci Convertible with 50K miles on it. I've just replaced the lower control arm bushings. The mechanics I was working with at a NCCBWM DIY told me my lower control arms were the newer ones and did not need replacement, but it was obvious the bushings did and it made a very big difference in overall feel of the car. I bought the car used after a lease with 38K miles on it.

    I verified by VIN that it does not have the sport suspension package on it and I am looking to replace the shocks to as it feels to me that although the shocks are not completely gone, they are degraded enough for it to be noticeable.

    My question is which way to go on a suspension upgrades. I am not interested in tracking the car. I am looking for a comfortable ride with out a lot of body roll. Firm but not harsh. I've looked at three options:

    1) Sachs replacement shocks - currently on sale at BAV, roughly $588 for the set front & rear and rear shock tower bushings
    2) BMW performance retrofit kit sport suspension - roughly $1173, includes shocks, lower control arms, stabilizer bars (front & rear), bushings, springs
    3) Dinan D190-3251K Stage 1 suspension system - convertible, $1235.00

    Money of course is an object, but what are the characteristics one should expect from each of these setups, and what's the right one for me?:confused:
    • Member

    mjweimer

    Post Count: 140
    Likes Received:0
    Another alternative to the options you mention is Koni FSD struts and shocks.

    For more info you can go to http://www.tirerack.com, search by vehicle and select the suspension listings.

    You can use these with your stock springs or you could get a new or used set of cabrio sport springs and install them at the same time. I don't know if these particular shocks can work with any of the aftermarket springs but I do know that some Koni FSD's applications can come pre-packaged with Eibach springs.

    Based on the reviews I have read, I would choose these in a heartbeat over stock BMW Sach's replacement parts.

    I don't have any experience with the Dinan package or the BMW performance package parts but I do know that these are well engineered systems and they should provide excellent results.

    My E46 Touring currently is running Bilstein Sports with H&R sport springs among a few other goodies. The ride is pretty firm and the handling is great though I think most folks would think the ride is too stiff.

    Matt

    jojomosgo guest

    Post Count: 6
    Likes Received:0
    Matt,
    thanks, over on the NCCBWM board I have been given similar advice. Can I use the the FSD with the stock non-sport springs? Any idea what I should expect between the non-sport and sport springs concerning ride?
    Joe
    • Member

    mjweimer

    Post Count: 140
    Likes Received:0
    Yes, you can use the FSD with the stock non-sport springs, no issues there.

    The sport springs will lower the car slightly (think several millimeters) and will tighten the suspension up a bit. The ride should still be quite comfortable with the sport springs and good shocks.

    I do not know the exact change in spring rate between the sport and non-sport springs. If you can find some old sales literature, etc. it may be helpful.

    As an example, the 330 performance package cars list the front springs at a +6% rate and the rear springs at a +8% rate over the standard sport package springs with a 15mm decrease in ride height. I would think that the spring rate increases and ride height drop would be similar between the non-sport springs and the sport springs...just a guess of course.

    Matt

    KrisL guest

    Post Count: 8
    Likes Received:0
    I can also recommend the FSDs. If you want to decrease body roll without other significant changes in ride, get a set of Turner swaybars. Best bang for your buck modification there is in my opinion.
    • Member

    Brian A

    Post Count: 657
    Likes Received:7
    I think KrisL makes a good point about sway bars.

    Since you've still got some miles left in your existing shocks before they need replacement, maybe consider changing sway bars first and seeing if that gives you the feel you're looking for. Stock spings are great for swallowing the freeway bumps; stiffer sway bars will keep the car flatter in corners without affecting the overall ride quality.
    • Member

    327350

    Post Count: 75
    Likes Received:1
    You forgot one more candidate...

    The Koni FSD struts/shocks. I have had them on my 330ci for almost 30k now and I will not consider anything else. For a good review go to www.tirerack.com and check out their opinion of them.

    Since I put them on my car, my driving style changed completely. I no longer fret about rough patches of road coming up - with the FSD's I just blast through the rough stuff in real comfort. And don't think that because they are comfortable they will be sloppy handling.No, no.

    My favorite playground is the FM road between San Marcos and Giddings - highway 21, I believe. When I visit my Dad in San Marcos, I leave out on Sunday AM early and that stretch of road is a real blast. Before I got the FSD's, I could maybe get a ticket. After the FSD's I'd go to jail. Just google them and you'll see.....Cheers!

    originalkeyster guest

    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    Does anyone have any experience w/ Tokico HPs? They were recommended to me for my 323i w/ sport option by its previous owner.

    snikwad guest

    Post Count: 142
    Likes Received:0
    H&R Cupkit FTW, and i think tirerack was giving them away a few weeks ago too.

Share This Page