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      12-31-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
sle39lvr
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E90 Suspension Upgrade: Opinions

Car:
-08 E90
-Non-Sports
-70K Miles

Mods:
-None

Wheels/Tires:
-OEM 18" Staggered Set up (Style 162)
-Michelin PSS

Current To-Buy List:
- SilverLine Plus X Coilover System - Adjustable Dampening (Link)
- M3 Front Control Arms (Link)

Future Wish List:
- M3 Rear Sway Bar
- M3 Front Sway Bar (After front one, if needed)
- M3 Rear Subframe Bushings
- M3 Rear Control Arm Bushings (at the very end...)

What I don't like currently:
I know this is the base model, but even for that this car is too soft but under-damped. Suspension has 'skipping' effect and feel floaty on highway. Worst is the steering. It feels over boosted and sloppy mid-corner. Steering has no feel (comparatively) and same with the rear end. Car understeers more than any other and I know I do have staggered and sticky rubber being culprits. I know most of these issues are due to BMW calibrating the car for RFT's.

What I want:
FEEL! I want more steering feel..more road feel. Of douse, I want the car to handle better, but that's secondary. I want this keep this car few at least 4 more years and def for over 150K miles. I have been doing thorough research and above list is what I came up with minimum cost for most gain. I do not track this car, just spirited driving. E46 ZSP is my Holy-Grail.

Due to my current financial situation and to getaway with minimum alignments after installs, I decided to go with control arms and coil-overs first. So with those two items, what do I need to replace while I am at it? Shock mounts? Are there M3 shock mounts that would fit? Please give me some detail on this.

PS: Above coil-overs are listed as back-ordered on ECS and says ETA is April. Anyone know the truth to this? Anywhere else I can buy these?
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      01-01-2013, 06:56 AM   #2
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I replaced front struts at 92k but didn't replace guide supports. No problems but I've read plenty of recommendations since that suggest "replace" in order to avoid more labor should they go bad.
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      01-01-2013, 08:19 AM   #3
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That's a big shopping list for more feel. Have you considered replacing the struts/shocks with the bilstein oem replacements (~15% stiffer than your stockers when new), get an alignment and have them set camber to the max they can within the specs plus inspect all other joints and bushings that might need replacement. Add an e93 M3 front sway bar. This will tighten it up nicely. Also add a few psi extra to your your non-rf tires.
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      01-01-2013, 08:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgatti View Post
That's a big shopping list for more feel. Have you considered replacing the struts/shocks with the bilstein oem replacements (~15% stiffer than your stockers when new), get an alignment and have them set camber to the max they can within the specs plus inspect all other joints and bushings that might need replacement. Add an e93 M3 front sway bar. This will tighten it up nicely. Also add a few psi extra to your your non-rf tires.
since OP has non-sport, would he/she need new springs if going with bilstein replacements?
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      01-01-2013, 08:25 AM   #5
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No - he can use the twin tube B4 (for non-sport, they're longer) or the B6 monotubes, both work with stock bmw non-sport.

If he wanted to go more agressive another great option is the BMW PS (new shocks/srpings/front bar).
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      01-01-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Unless you want to go low.....

-oem BMW sport suspension springs
-bilstein or koni yellow shocks
-m3 front sway

Try this , then evaluate how the car feels. The next thing which will help a lot is m3 subframe bushings.

The coilovers are a cheap brand and will make the car ride badly. The setup I list will ride very well and better than stock due to being at stock sport height and high quality dampers.
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      01-01-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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I also have the base model suspension (2011 E90 335d). After driving my new (as of May 2012) "d" I felt the same way about the suspension, not so much about the steering. Maybe I didn't notice it. So, the first thing I did was a conservative, although expensive since I didn't want to install myself, upgrade by replacing the four dampers with Bilstein B6, OEM height. It made a big difference, at least to me, in getting rid of the wallowing and small road imperfection jostling. I was reasonably pleased with its track performance at Summit Point Jefferson Circuit. The limiting factor was me, not the car.

But after driving a friend's Sport package and M-Sports "d", I know what the car can feel like, and so I have the itch. ALthough not finally decided yet, I am leaning toward an all BMW-parts upgrade using a combination of BMW Perf kit and M3 parts, including sway bars and maybe also a strut brace. Am also strongly considering a rather expensive Quaife LSD installation to replace the open diff. Tuning will come somewhere in time independent of the suspension work. But this all won't come cheap, so the budget constraints are definitely a consideration for upgrades.

The part that I am still uncertain about are wheels and tires. I have stock 17x7.5 (I think the 7.5 is right) and OEM all-seasons, although now I have BLizzak LM-25 RFT's mounted. When spring comes back in a few months, I need to decide on whether to go to different wheels. I didn't really want to mess with more expense, but it seems most of the really nice wheels don't come in 17", but frankly haven't done much research. I want to get all the mileage out of my OEM RFT tires that I can, and they only have about 8k on them at the moment.
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      01-01-2013, 09:58 AM   #8
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Thanks for your replies.

My last car, I decided to do mods little by little ...ie: shocks first, springs next..that route. At the end there were so many swaps and ended up waisting money. My last car had FK coilovers with Koni for over 8 years and I love them and wouldn't trade them for anything else.

My biggest fetish is the 'steering'. I can drive an old truck if it has lots of feed back. I gave M3 control arms a high priority just because of that. May be it's on my particular car, steering is so vague right at the center, where I am most of the time down here in straight Florida highways.
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      01-01-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for the comments on the M3 control arms. I must admit that the best my steering felt was after the B6 installation and the speed shop did a high-quality alignment. It was like on rails on the freeway after that. But recently I swapped for winter tires (not an issue for FL I'm sure) and somehow the BMW dealer (or maybe it was just the tires themselves) managed to dork up the steering feel and so now mine is a bit vague and pulls ever so slightly to the right, so now I am hoping to move on with my suspension upgrades so I can get another good alignment. I can't remember without looking at my notes whether the control arms come with the M3 upgrade kit or whether I need to buy them separately.
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      01-01-2013, 11:07 AM   #10
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I've done all the M3 suspension parts, aftermarket dampers, springs, custom bearings and so on. Here's my three cents.

1. Upgrade to the M3 front control arms/tension struts. The part # on www.getbmwparts.com is: PKE9XM3ARMS
These will noticeably improve the road feel through the steering wheel. The M3 suspension components use harder bushings which contrary to popular opinion, don't make the ride harsh (harshness is totally attributed to the damper/spring combo).

2. Upgrade the dampers and springs. Everything else in the suspension save for the tires is of tertiary importance as far as performance goes. The BMW Performance kit is a safe bet. Springs and Koni Yellows/Sports are a midrange choice and TC Kline is a high-end option.

3. Get camber plates; I like the Ground Control ones. These will add to the steering feel too and let you get more camber in the front = more grip through turns. I run 2 deg. which is as far as you can go on the street without excessive tire wear. I would do 1.5 deg. for a street-only car.

Spend money on upgraded dampers and springs before considering a stiffer sway bar. The purpose of a sway bar is to add spring rate in turns by connecting one side of the car to another - a tuning tool. They're pretty much last on my list of things to address upgrading a suspension.

Best of luck.
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      01-01-2013, 12:33 PM   #11
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I think I need to replace the strut bushing/bearing parts that sits above the shocks. Are there M3 ones for these? or ZSP ones?
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      01-01-2013, 12:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyPowers View Post
Unless you want to go low.....

-oem BMW sport suspension springs
-bilstein or koni yellow shocks
-m3 front sway

Try this , then evaluate how the car feels. The next thing which will help a lot is m3 subframe bushings.

The coilovers are a cheap brand and will make the car ride badly. The setup I list will ride very well and better than stock due to being at stock sport height and high quality dampers.

Good juju.

But, forget Bilstein - Koni Yellow is excellent. Consider linear springs a la Ground Control [Eibach] t'replace crash bang progressives. DIY replacement not difficult at all, front struts and rear shocks/springs. With exception of top shock mounts, rear, a minor pain.

OP, resist rear M sway until after you have a LSD. Front sway's an easy R&R; yields good result. Rear sway + LSD after front sway is stellar.

Stock rear subframe bushings are an abomination and crime against mankind. $300'll get you M bushings + install tool rental from HPAutowerks. Far easier to drop subframe than most imagine.

Hava good year!
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      01-01-2013, 06:14 PM   #13
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Don't think OP needs an LSD with his 328.
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      01-01-2013, 06:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Don't think OP needs an LSD with his 328.
why's that?

LSD gives you better control in corners. Confidence to keep the hammer down in a turn instead of lifting to avoid oversteer.
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      01-01-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Good juju.

But, forget Bilstein - Koni Yellow is excellent. Consider linear springs a la Ground Control [Eibach] t'replace crash bang progressives. DIY replacement not difficult at all, front struts and rear shocks/springs. With exception of top shock mounts, rear, a minor pain.

OP, resist rear M sway until after you have a LSD. Front sway's an easy R&R; yields good result. Rear sway + LSD after front sway is stellar.

Stock rear subframe bushings are an abomination and crime against mankind. $300'll get you M bushings + install tool rental from HPAutowerks. Far easier to drop subframe than most imagine.

Hava good year!
I am getting these bushing's...easier to install....by buddy likes his better than the M3 bushings (not saying they are better). I am also using the DIY tool below...worked on my buddies very well.

Powerflex:

http://www.bimmerzone.com/product/PW...0-422-E9X.html

Tool:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1278591
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      01-01-2013, 09:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I am getting these bushing's...easier to install....by buddy likes his better than the M3 bushings (not saying they are better). I am also using the DIY tool below...worked on my buddies very well.

Powerflex:

http://www.bimmerzone.com/product/PW...0-422-E9X.html

Tool:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1278591

Keep us post on how that turns out - interesting.
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      01-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Keep us post on how that turns out - interesting.
Will be hard to tell the difference from stock because I am putting coilovers, sways, wavetrac LSD & differential lock down kit in at the same time. My buddy who just did the powerflex bushings loved them.
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      01-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #18
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why's that?

LSD gives you better control in corners. Confidence to keep the hammer down in a turn instead of lifting to avoid oversteer.
Don't think they're popular with the 328, just not enough power to warrant it.
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      01-01-2013, 10:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ421 View Post
I've done all the M3 suspension parts, aftermarket dampers, springs, custom bearings and so on. Here's my three cents.

1. Upgrade to the M3 front control arms/tension struts. The part # on www.getbmwparts.com is: PKE9XM3ARMS
These will noticeably improve the road feel through the steering wheel. The M3 suspension components use harder bushings which contrary to popular opinion, don't make the ride harsh (harshness is totally attributed to the damper/spring combo).

2. Upgrade the dampers and springs. Everything else in the suspension save for the tires is of tertiary importance as far as performance goes. The BMW Performance kit is a safe bet. Springs and Koni Yellows/Sports are a midrange choice and TC Kline is a high-end option.

3. Get camber plates; I like the Ground Control ones. These will add to the steering feel too and let you get more camber in the front = more grip through turns. I run 2 deg. which is as far as you can go on the street without excessive tire wear. I would do 1.5 deg. for a street-only car.

Spend money on upgraded dampers and springs before considering a stiffer sway bar. The purpose of a sway bar is to add spring rate in turns by connecting one side of the car to another - a tuning tool. They're pretty much last on my list of things to address upgrading a suspension.

Best of luck.
Definitely get camber plates. If you are going to go with Coilovers, get the camber plates because you can control the height. The camber plates add front neg camber and will really help with your turn in and front end grip at the limit. I love mine.

Everything on this post is bang on.

Have you been in a car that has coil overs? More specifically, has your WIFE been in a car that has coil overs? The ride can be FIRM if not harsh. My wife won't go in the car for long trips and I only have the dinan springs....

Try before you buy. There is a CON for doing this to your car, the ride will suffer from stock - you need to know what it is before you do this.

My 2 cents.
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      01-01-2013, 10:13 PM   #20
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My wife thinks my car on stock struts (100,000 on them) with H&R springs is smooth lol!!
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      01-11-2013, 10:53 AM   #21
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I just got M3 front arms put in. Non-sport suspension, after the alignment, I got -0.7 camber now. I WILL get coil overs soon and have about an inch drop soon (this drop will give me more camber I assume). So should I take out the pin? I do want the maximum chamber I can get without wearing out tires unevenly.
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      01-11-2013, 11:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sle39lvr View Post
I just got M3 front arms put in. Non-sport suspension, after the alignment, I got -0.7 camber now. I WILL get coil overs soon and have about an inch drop soon (this drop will give me more camber I assume). So should I take out the pin? I do want the maximum chamber I can get without wearing out tires unevenly.
Take out the pin and max out camber (struts push all the way towards motor).
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