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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Best shocks for OE sport feel



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      01-24-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
Craigito
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Best shocks for OE sport feel

At 101k miles on stock suspension and it feels like new shocks are not too far away. Id love to get something that just replicates the stock OE sport suspension. 2007 e92 335i. Sounds loke bilstein and konis are good options? Thanks guys
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      01-24-2012, 10:23 PM   #2
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I've heard good things about the blistein HD.
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      01-24-2012, 11:32 PM   #3
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A lightly used set of sport shocks will give you the exact same feel and cost you a lot less.

Konis and bilsteins will give a significant upgrade from stock.
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      01-24-2012, 11:40 PM   #4
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Yes, used shocks are the best deal. 2nd best deal: Sachs OEM replacement shocks, or Bilstein B4 "Touring Class" shocks. These are all aimed at people who just want to replace their shocks with the same thing.

Bilstein HD or Koni Sport are much better made, last longer, and will give you a slightly stiffer and better ride.
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      01-25-2012, 09:48 AM   #5
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I went with Koni FSDs from HP AutoWerkes after talking with Harold. As my car isn't tracked, I kept the OEM sport springs, and didn't see the need to go to Koni Yellows.
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      01-25-2012, 01:34 PM   #6
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Good choice. I'n not a fan of Bilsteins - too harsh especially on bumpy roads. They use a LOT of gas pressure and compression damping. They're more suited to smooth roads or for people who don't care about the harsh performance over bumps. I've had customers put them on and then ask us to take them back off after just a few months.
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      01-25-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM3M5 View Post
Good choice. I'n not a fan of Bilsteins - too harsh especially on bumpy roads. They use a LOT of gas pressure and compression damping. They're more suited to smooth roads or for people who don't care about the harsh performance over bumps. I've had customers put them on and then ask us to take them back off after just a few months.
James, I think you're right, Bilstein HDs have more bump damping than Koni sports. And, your customers have every right to choose a suspension that's right for them. But, I think you came to the wrong conclusion. Bilsteins are not harsh. Not even close to harsh. All the shocks we're talking about are relatively soft, and so are the E9X HDs.

I want to caution people from drawing conclusions from a few customers' experiences. When customers install HDs they often combine with lowering springs, and when they do that they often slam the car and combine that with ultra low sidewall tires and extremely heavy wheels. It's not a good recipe for a suspension. But, I have no idea if that explains these customers' experiences. Maybe they're just used to softer suspensions, who knows.

There are, I don't know, maybe a hundred reviews on Tire Rack where people are perfectly happy after installing HDs on their car, some of them BMWs and some of them not. Many of these people have no real expectation or desire for performance, and they are perfectly happy with HDs. These shocks are designed to be, and are, high quality replacements for original equipment. Bilstein makes bones about high performance but the difference is small.

HDs have been the go-to shock for BMWs for decades. They are almost universally liked as a replacement for OE. Check out Roundel magazine.

I have HDs intended for the M3, so that's *two* steps up in bump damping from OE sport, and it's softer than my E36 non-sport.

Finally, the high gas pressure adds maybe 2# to the spring rate, and has a negligible effect on bump resistance. The gas has nothing to do with the resistance properties of the shock; resistance is effected by forcing oil through small holes. The gas serves to keep the oil under pressure so that it doesn't foam up, and the only side effect is the 2# air spring, which as I said you're not going to feel.

-Luckyu, resident Bilstein apologist

P.S. I do not sell Bilstein or Koni or any other shock.
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      01-25-2012, 04:05 PM   #8
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And if I were to go with the new BMW perf. suspn. including front sway on Tischer, how would you compare it to HD's? From me coming from a non-sport, 18inch squared non-RFT's, 40 profile all around. Then eventually going to 19s staggered, non-RFT's 35 front, 30 rear, about 25lbs per wheel.

This is ultimately my first and last susp. set up for my E90. And I'm at 50,100 miles. At this rate should I be replacing any other stock parts, end links, arms, bushings, anything that is potentially worn and could be worn out faster with newer parts installed. I just came from an indy shop to inspect my susp., it "looks" tip top, handles the same as it ever did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyu View Post
James, I think you're right, Bilstein HDs have more bump damping than Koni sports. And, your customers have every right to choose a suspension that's right for them. But, I think you came to the wrong conclusion. Bilsteins are not harsh. Not even close to harsh. All the shocks we're talking about are relatively soft, and so are the E9X HDs.

I want to caution people from drawing conclusions from a few customers' experiences. When customers install HDs they often combine with lowering springs, and when they do that they often slam the car and combine that with ultra low sidewall tires and extremely heavy wheels. It's not a good recipe for a suspension. But, I have no idea if that explains these customers' experiences. Maybe they're just used to softer suspensions, who knows.

There are, I don't know, maybe a hundred reviews on Tire Rack where people are perfectly happy after installing HDs on their car, some of them BMWs and some of them not. Many of these people have no real expectation or desire for performance, and they are perfectly happy with HDs. These shocks are designed to be, and are, high quality replacements for original equipment. Bilstein makes bones about high performance but the difference is small.

HDs have been the go-to shock for BMWs for decades. They are almost universally liked as a replacement for OE. Check out Roundel magazine.

I have HDs intended for the M3, so that's *two* steps up in bump damping from OE sport, and it's softer than my E36 non-sport.

Finally, the high gas pressure adds maybe 2# to the spring rate, and has a negligible effect on bump resistance. The gas has nothing to do with the resistance properties of the shock; resistance is effected by forcing oil through small holes. The gas serves to keep the oil under pressure so that it doesn't foam up, and the only side effect is the 2# air spring, which as I said you're not going to feel.

-Luckyu, resident Bilstein apologist

P.S. I do not sell Bilstein or Koni or any other shock.
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      01-25-2012, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoko kai View Post
And if I were to go with the new BMW perf. suspn. including front sway on Tischer, how would you compare it to HD's? From me coming from a non-sport, 18inch squared non-RFT's, 40 profile all around. Then eventually going to 19s staggered, non-RFT's 35 front, 30 rear, about 25lbs per wheel.

This is ultimately my first and last susp. set up for my E90. And I'm at 50,100 miles. At this rate should I be replacing any other stock parts, end links, arms, bushings, anything that is potentially worn and could be worn out faster with newer parts installed. I just came from an indy shop to inspect my susp., it "looks" tip top, handles the same as it ever did.
Yoko, I am a stiff shocks, soft springs man. I just like the way a well damped suspension feels. I really like the way Bilsteins feel on my car. On the highway especially the car's ride is just fantastic. It is soft and supple, stable and flat with only the slightest float, and responsive.

What springs do you propose using with the HDs... sport springs? HDs with sport springs would be analogous to what I have, maybe 15% less stiff. I think it will feel very good.

The new perf kit, shocks + springs, will also be good. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these options.

If I have to guess, the HDs with sport springs will be better damped. I don't have direct experience with the new performance kit.

Front tension struts and rear shock mounts (upper) may be worth changing now. At 50K they're not worn out, but it saves you going back at 80K. RSMs especially are cheap and you save 100% labor by doing it now. This is based on data from others, not my personal experience. You probably don't want to know about all the other rubber stuff that's wearing out down there!
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      01-25-2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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Ok...decided to go with bilstein hd. Thanks for the responses guys.
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      01-26-2012, 01:31 PM   #11
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Good choice! I put HDs in my E91(Xi) last summer and could not be more pleased. When I ordered in April there were no HDs available and I had to wait until around August to finally get a complete set. Bilstein was pretty much the only option for an aftermarket shock/strut (for an Xi Wagon) that maintained factory ride height. With high mileage ( I was at ~100K) I would recommend replacing all the mount components as well just to make the install bullet proof. I've got about 5K miles, an autocross and a winter road rally on the HDs since the install and no clunks, thumps etc...
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      01-26-2012, 01:35 PM   #12
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+1 on Koni FSD's on stock sport springs. If you still want a close stock feel but more performance, go with Koni Yellow + Eibach springs.
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      01-27-2012, 08:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicategt View Post
+1 on Koni FSD's on stock sport springs. If you still want a close stock feel but more performance, go with Koni Yellow + Eibach springs.
This is what I'd recommend, too.

We have some pretty crappy, poorly maintained roads here in Northern VA, and YMMV.

Gas pressure absolutely increases harshness on a damper. Gas force is (relatively) constant and requires a bump to exceed the gas force to get the suspension moving, which is why we tune dampers with proper compression characteristics to reduce gas pressure yet prevent cavitation. This is also why the most expensive dampers are "through-rod" where gas pressure has no effect on gas force - it is zero.

I'm a soft damper / soft spring guy, even for full out race cars. I've used Bilsteins in the past for many years, but I have not been happy with them lately. They have toned it down in the past, but still not to my liking.
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      01-27-2012, 02:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesM3M5 View Post
We have some pretty crappy, poorly maintained roads here in Northern VA, and YMMV.
That's true road quality is an important factor.

Quote:
Gas pressure absolutely increases harshness on a damper. Gas force is (relatively) constant and requires a bump to exceed the gas force to get the suspension moving, which is why we tune dampers with proper compression characteristics to reduce gas pressure yet prevent cavitation. This is also why the most expensive dampers are "through-rod" where gas pressure has no effect on gas force - it is zero.
Wait. You believe that the high-pressure nitrogen gas behind the floating wall makes it harder for the shaft to move in the compression direction?

Quote:
I'm a soft damper / soft spring guy, even for full out race cars. I've used Bilsteins in the past for many years, but I have not been happy with them lately. They have toned it down in the past, but still not to my liking.
Fair enough. You know though, what you consider soft in your racing application, might be really stiff to me!
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      01-27-2012, 03:07 PM   #15
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I wouldn't mind you telling me what should be replaced, as long as I can change it and keep it rideable for the long haul and it keeps the wife and baby happy in the backseat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyu View Post
Front tension struts and rear shock mounts (upper) may be worth changing now. At 50K they're not worn out, but it saves you going back at 80K. RSMs especially are cheap and you save 100% labor by doing it now. This is based on data from others, not my personal experience. You probably don't want to know about all the other rubber stuff that's wearing out down there!
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      01-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoko kai View Post
I wouldn't mind you telling me what should be replaced, as long as I can change it and keep it rideable for the long haul and it keeps the wife and baby happy in the backseat.
The only additional thing I would consider mentioning are the rear subframe bushings, because my understanding is they might wear out or start leaking before 100K.

But they might not. And, they're very expensive to change (at least $800), unless you're already installing a rear sway bar. So I would leave them be. If you do change them, switch to the M3 bushings.

So I would recommend the tension strut and the rear shock mount, and I would upgrade to the Meyle HD tension strut. That will be a little better and the baby can still experience a smooth ride...
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      01-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoko kai View Post
I wouldn't mind you telling me what should be replaced, as long as I can change it and keep it rideable for the long haul and it keeps the wife and baby happy in the backseat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckyu View Post
But they might not. And, they're very expensive to change (at least $800), unless you're already installing a rear sway bar. So I would leave them be. If you do change them, switch to the M3 bushings.
I wouldn't switch to M3 subframe bushings if he's going to have a wife/baby in the back, it will stiffen up the ride. Stick with OEM 335i with those. I'm all for M3 bushings if you don't mind sacrificing some ride comfort.
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