First off, thanks to Harold at HP Autowerks on pointing me in the right direction for my first major mod(s); he is always quick to answer my questions which is greatly appreciated. Also, thanks are in order to Orb for posting Robbing the E92 M3 for suspension parts
For a long time I have been debating on what my first real mod for my car would be. I had initially been leaning towards a tune but after driving a lot of the wonderful twisty roads over here, to include the Nürburgring, the under-steer and overall floaty feeling on hard corners became readily apparent and something I definitely wanted to change first as this would give me more overall satisfaction.
Today I placed my order for what I will call stage 2 M3 suspension parts. The following is the list of the parts I ordered:
- Left and Right Tension Strut with Rubber Mounting
- Left and Right Wishbone w/ correct Xenon Regulating Rod
- Rear Subframe Bushings
- Left and Right rear guide rods
- Left and Right rear upper links w/ correct ABS tube bracket
The parts came out to a total of 951.92 Euro which includes the 19% tax which I can take off with a VAT form which makes the parts roughly around 1K USD total.
To order the parts I went to Autohaus Rhein in Würzburg, always received great service there, and they were nice enough to place these parts on express order for me which apparently come from Frankfurt. I was told that parts not available from Frankfurt would be sent direct from the plant in Regensburg.
I should have the parts by Wednesday next week at the latest.
I was also lucky enough to score a great deal on labor for installation from a company called Tauber Motorsport located in Obermichelbach. I have never used them before but heard only good things about them from several coworkers one of which had them do a lot of work on his E46 M3 to include a supercharger install.
Of course I will be updating this thread with pics and reviews (of both the new handling and the installation shop) as things progress so stay tuned!
Today I picked up my parts from the dealership
The parts all arrived at the dealership yesterday so took 1 week for the dealership to get them to include one of the parts that was on back order. I'm sure everyone at the dealership thought I was crazy when they saw me walking out lugging a box and the wife carrying the front wishbones and tension rods.
I was surprised at how small this piece really is, the catalog is very deceptive.
Picked up my M3 sways today.
Next Tuesday cannot come soon enough!
Took the car in today for the install. Got to the shop before 0900 and everything seemed to be on track. Here's where I stand as of 1900hrs. Went to the shop to check on the car and on the way I received a call from the shop saying the rear upper links would not fit. Of course this freaked me out.
When I got to the shop they showed me how the rear sway bar was blocking the rear upper link from being mounted. Luckily the friend that drove me used his E92 M3 so the shop guys crawled underneath the M3 and quickly saw where they had made the mistake in the sway mounting. So the crisis was averted and the car will be ready tomorrow at about 1200 with the alignment and the install of all the pieces complete.
Some quick pics from my iphone. (Thanks to the darkroom app for making the iphone camera useable.)
Left Rear (Backwards Sway Bar)
Right Rear (Backwards Sway Bar)
Before we begin some pics of the old pieces:
Note the very thin rear sway
The sloppy 335i Rear Subframe Bushings
The rest of the pieces
Now on to the review...
I want to caveat this review by saying I have never expected that this process would give me M3 grade handling with a few bolt-ons and anyone wanting to go this route should not expect this either as it simply will not happen. With that being said the results are simply awesome compared to stock!
First off thanks to Harold at HP Autowerks, Orb, and all the others that have helped me with my questions and issues.
I'll start with a few short words about the install shop. Tauber Motorsport http://www.tauber-motorsport.de/
is a company located in Obermichelbach Germany. Like most shops in small Germany towns it may not look like much but don't let the looks fool you. These guys know their stuff. The business is family owned and operated with a history of professional German racing. To install all the M3 parts to include the Rear Subframe Bushings came out to a mere 313 Euro for labor which is a really good rate (57 Euro/hr without tax). The total for everything they did to include alignment (done offsite at another company) came to 423 Euro, still a decent price for anyone who knows how expensive German labor rates can be. These guys performed the work on my car very quickly considering everything that had to be done and only ran into one small problem which is mentioned above due to one tech so I won't hold that against the company. The quality of the work met my expectations and everything seems very solid, I would definitely recommend them and will be using them again in the future.
Now on to the results of the install.
The car finally feels like what it should have felt like from day one. The first thing you will notice is the steering is noticeably stiffer and gives you more feeback from the road, all of which is definitely for the better.
The lateral stiffness is leaps and bounds above the stock set up and the car finally, for the first time ever driving this car, feels fully planted going into the sharp corners. To give you an idea, it is very much like riding on rails now as wherever the car is directed to go it will do so without any hesitation. The added stiffness and increased feedback do a lot to communicate the limits of traction, allowing you to enter that sharp curve, without braking, with confidence. Immediate lane changes are now sharp and direct with highly reduced roll. When stock the car had a tendency to feel a bit floaty when negotiating some of the more sever corners. Not anymore.
Traction at the rear wheels is also noticeably enhanced. Turning onto a road in low gear followed by wide open throttle now leads to the tires hooking up much sooner than the stock setup. I do not have a calibrated 0-60 timer but I would venture to say acceleration runs will now be slightly better by the tires hooking up sooner with the stiffer rear components. There is also a noticeable difference in traction in the wet. DSC is activated much less and for shorter incriments when it does intervene. Finally this car has solid reliable traction.
After doing this install an alignment of all four wheels is definitely needed. Here are the results of my alignment after the install:
This weekend I have plans to run the Nürburgring and will be able to better evaluate the car. As of this posting I was still running my winter tires (Dunlop M3 Winter Sport DSST). I have an appointment to return to summers on Friday. I am sticking with the stock Run Flats for now for the following reasons...
I am currently running the stock springs and dampers and moving to non Run Flats on my current setup would bring out the weakness in the current dampers. So to minimize the effect of the stock dampers I need to stay RFT until I can swap them out. I plan on going with the BMW Performance Dampers and Springs in the near future.
Also, honestly the Run Flats work just fine over here for the simple reason that German roads are not crap like the majority of American Roads. With the roads here being nice and smooth the harshness claimed by everyone in the states is not that noticeable at all.
Overall, while not quite M3 handling, the M3 suspension parts install greatly enhanced the handling characteristics of the car and is something I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to stick with BMW OEM components. For those like myself worried about having to do dampers and springs as well, the car handles very well on those stock pieces with this setup. I plan to change dampers and springs solely for the fact that they are now the weakest link in the system. If you are sitting on the fence about this mod don't worry, you will not be disappointed.
I have fixed the camber issues, now I'm running -.9 deg and -.8 deg, and had the summer tires installed. Everything is working great now, no issues.
High Speed Autobahn & Nürburgring Driving
The car is noticeably more stable at high speed including all the way up to the limiter. At 150mph on the speedo the car feels better planted than OEM.
On the Nürburgring the M3 components were invaluable. I was able to push the car MUCH harder than I felt comfortable with on the stock setup. There were numerous times when the M3 pieces gave me that last little bit of stiffness/grip for situations, which under the stock setup, would have sent me into the wall. I am far from knowledgeable on how to properly drive the ring as I have only done 6 laps so far; which led to me having the wrong line in numerous corners but the M3 pieces (along with cornering brake control, brake fade compensation, and DSC of course
) helped ensure I made it through. Now I just need better dampers/springs and better tires and I'll be set for the track.