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      11-13-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
RedmumbaSeattle
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Recommendations for uneven roads

I live in Seattle, and the roads here are marked with, at lack of a better word, craters. Not to mention the large amounts of uneven pavement. I currently have a 2007 328xi, and hitting the bumps is painful--the car hasn't been "lowered" or anything, and as far as I know, is largely stock. What would be a good recommendation for helping to give me a smoother ride?

I appreciate any comments you can provide!
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      11-13-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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are you on run flat tires? switching to a regular tire will soften up the ride a little bit as they are not as stiff as the run flats
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      11-13-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Sounds like you need an SUV not a sports car...
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      11-13-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedmumbaSeattle View Post
I live in Seattle, and the roads here are marked with, at lack of a better word, craters. Not to mention the large amounts of uneven pavement. I currently have a 2007 328xi, and hitting the bumps is painful--the car hasn't been "lowered" or anything, and as far as I know, is largely stock. What would be a good recommendation for helping to give me a smoother ride?

I appreciate any comments you can provide!
Koni FSD's + run flats + 17" wheels + extreme vigilance
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      11-13-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil325i View Post
Sounds like you need an SUV not a sports car...
haha, there are times that I think exactly that! >.< I just moved to Seattle from NYC, and I used to think the BQE was bad! We're not even talking about highways here--local roads, even major ones, tend to have a ton of uneven pavement--not to mention potholes, patched potholes, manholes that are projected out from the pavement, holes in the roads, construction, etc.. I do steer around many of the big obstacles, but quite frankly, some of them are unavoidable and I can really feel them.

They are actually not run-flats--I bought the car used and the previous owner had replaced them, which I consider to be a great deal. I apologize for not mentioning this in my original post.

I've noticed other cars (hatchbacks, sedans, coupes, etc.) and they definitely seem to exhibit less movement than I do in my car. It just sounds to me like there's not a whole lot of dampening going on at all, and I'm wondering if it has to do with the quality or age of the existing shocks. Will going with something like the Koni FSD's provide a more stable ride?
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      11-13-2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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I am a Puget sound guy too. My solution is two cars. X5
For the bad roads. 325is for the country Drives.

And yes the roads are bad here. Little or no maintenance oh and I have les Schwabe tires for those times when my run flats fail.
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      11-13-2012, 10:49 PM   #7
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Unfortunately, I only have one parking space--so two cars is not an option. Although there are times where I think an SUV would be more suited to city driving...
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      11-14-2012, 12:39 AM   #8
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it could be your aging strut. mine used to be harsh because the strut were worn out. i swapped with koni fsd and non run flats and i got the most comfy ride in any track event lol. it won't compete with Buick but it sure is smoother than most track car I've been in.
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      11-14-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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335okc has a point - how many miles are on your suspension? Dampers lose their effectiveness over time. Uncontrolled motion is what makes a car's ride feel, well uncontrolled/unnatural. The stock dampers are underpowered as-is to provide the illusion of a 'supple' ride hence you get bounced around (the damper design philosophy of even big name suspension companies is to do as little compression damping as possible when in fact they should be doing the opposite).

Side note: thanks for the descriptive, concise, and properly punctuated explanation of your issue; lately we've experienced a tragic shortage of intelligence amongst thread starters.
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      11-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedmumbaSeattle View Post
I live in Seattle, and the roads here are marked with, at lack of a better word, craters. Not to mention the large amounts of uneven pavement. I currently have a 2007 328xi, and hitting the bumps is painful--the car hasn't been "lowered" or anything, and as far as I know, is largely stock. What would be a good recommendation for helping to give me a smoother ride?

I appreciate any comments you can provide!
Post your wheel and tire specs including tire brand.

As a first step you could possibly get 17" rims (assuming you have 18) and tires with larger sidewall to help dampen road imperfections before you start replacing suspension bits. Tire type and brand can impact the ride quality significantly. But no matter what rim and tire you have if you hit a "crater" you will feel it. This is what I would do.

Hope this helps!
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      11-14-2012, 01:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ421 View Post
335okc has a point - how many miles are on your suspension? Dampers lose their effectiveness over time. Uncontrolled motion is what makes a car's ride feel, well uncontrolled/unnatural. The stock dampers are underpowered as-is to provide the illusion of a 'supple' ride hence you get bounced around (the damper design philosophy of even big name suspension companies is to do as little compression damping as possible when in fact they should be doing the opposite).

Side note: thanks for the descriptive, concise, and properly punctuated explanation of your issue; lately we've experienced a tragic shortage of intelligence amongst thread starters.
I've been perusing these boards (and posting occasionally) for months, and I agree--so I tried to include everything I could in my first post! Thank you, as well, for your detailed response--when people reply "Use this" with no explanation, it means I have no clue as to why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NokTurNaL 330i View Post
Post your wheel and tire specs including tire brand.

As a first step you could possibly get 17" rims (assuming you have 18) and tires with larger sidewall to help dampen road imperfections before you start replacing suspension bits. Tire type and brand can impact the ride quality significantly. But no matter what rim and tire you have if you hit a "crater" you will feel it. This is what I would do.

Hope this helps!
I actually took a look, and they look like 16" rims. I've attached a photo, but I'm at work right now, so I don't really want to be crawling around. The tires themselves say "TO BE USED WITH 16" RIMS" or similar on the edge, however. Also, pardon the nastiness--it's rainy and nasty out here in Seattle.

(click for larger image)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 335okc View Post
it could be your aging strut. mine used to be harsh because the strut were worn out. i swapped with koni fsd and non run flats and i got the most comfy ride in any track event lol. it won't compete with Buick but it sure is smoother than most track car I've been in.
When I had my PPI done at the BMW dealership (I bought from a private seller), they mentioned that there were cracks in the suspension cover, but nothing about the suspension itself. Based on the history of the car, the suspension has never been altered, which means there's about 52k miles on them right now--and since the car has always been in Seattle, that number probably carries more weight!
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      11-14-2012, 05:05 PM   #12
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Those are 16" rims....

I used Koni FSD dampers on my E91 wagon for over 5-years, and that was to improve the ride quality on bad roads. I researched the subject and the Koni FSD appeared to be the best on offer to soften and improve the secondary ride quality, without losing primary ride control. I'd do it again if necessary. I was running 17" wheels with non run-flat and the Koni FSD, one of the best riding E90/1 cars I drove.

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      11-14-2012, 05:23 PM   #13
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Do you recommend upgrading to the 17" rims? There's definitely space enough for them, but if it's not going to be a noticeable improvement, I'd rather spend the money elsewhere.
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      11-14-2012, 06:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedmumbaSeattle View Post
Do you recommend upgrading to the 17" rims? There's definitely space enough for them, but if it's not going to be a noticeable improvement, I'd rather spend the money elsewhere.
Going to 17" from 16" is not going to improve your ride quality. I have similar issues with our roads as they all suck. My final decision has been to get through the winter, then upgrade to a good coilover to be able to set damping for where I plan to drive. Coilovers worked very well on a previous car so it stands to reason that it should work for this one too.
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      11-14-2012, 08:25 PM   #15
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Hm, that is good to know, Vreimann.

With the Koni FSD and the coilover suggestions in mind--which one is preferable? Since they overlap, can you use both?
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      11-14-2012, 09:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedmumbaSeattle View Post
I've been perusing these boards (and posting occasionally) for months, and I agree--so I tried to include everything I could in my first post! Thank you, as well, for your detailed response--when people reply "Use this" with no explanation, it means I have no clue as to why.



I actually took a look, and they look like 16" rims. I've attached a photo, but I'm at work right now, so I don't really want to be crawling around. The tires themselves say "TO BE USED WITH 16" RIMS" or similar on the edge, however. Also, pardon the nastiness--it's rainy and nasty out here in Seattle.

(click for larger image)



When I had my PPI done at the BMW dealership (I bought from a private seller), they mentioned that there were cracks in the suspension cover, but nothing about the suspension itself. Based on the history of the car, the suspension has never been altered, which means there's about 52k miles on them right now--and since the car has always been in Seattle, that number probably carries more weight!

How many mi on vehicle?

How many miles on tires?

This will help determine if you should upgrade one or both items.
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      11-15-2012, 12:01 AM   #17
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those are 16s and with thick Eagle RSA tires. you dont need to change tires as those are soft enough for your needs. what you do need to do, is check to see if your struts/shocks are done. Those are what dampens the ride. if the ride is still terrible with newer struts/shocks, you're probably just better off in an X3 or whatever different car if you're not happy with the 3-er on nonsport suspension and wheels. I have a friend who still lives in Seattle and he used to have a slammed e46 sedan on 18s and he was fine with it. some people's tolerance of "harsh ride" is just higher than others.
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      11-15-2012, 12:14 PM   #18
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      11-15-2012, 11:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedmumbaSeattle View Post
Hm, that is good to know, Vreimann.

With the Koni FSD and the coilover suggestions in mind--which one is preferable? Since they overlap, can you use both?
Before looking into the coil overs, you may want to try non run flats and as previously mentioned check the factory dampers to see if they are shot.

I get to drive both my D and my wife's 323i which is pretty similar in suspension to a 328. There is a big difference in having the 16's on the 323i vs the 18's on the D. I switched to a normal 18" tire on the D and the difference is very noticable for the better. The 18's are now more comfortable than the 16" run flats. Once the 323i tires wear out, they will go to normal tires too.

When I do go coil overs it will be either JRZ or Ohlin's but I have been leaning towards Ohlins because of the ability to hit stock height to clear snow and deep ruts.

Our city only clears the main arteries and leaves the rest of the streets alone to build all sorts of ice ruts holes and they won't blade until the ruts are 6" deep.

Good luck in finding a solution.
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      11-25-2012, 02:11 PM   #20
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Hmm, I actually reached out to Amy at Broadstroke (they've done some work on my car previously), and requested a quote. I should be hearing back from them this week! So I will definitely let everybody know how this turns out.

And of course, thank you for all your suggestions!
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