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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Let's have a coilovers - springs - shocks discussion!



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      09-20-2008, 10:12 AM   #1
stressdoc
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Let's have a coilovers - springs - shocks discussion!

We have a lot of E90post members that have changed suspension components. With the engine tune mods having reached a period of some stasis, I expect that many more enthusiasts will now turn their attention to mods that improve handling.

Part of the goal is to create a thread for advice, and let the parts sticky be restricted to data.

We have lots of members with KW v1-2-3s, Bilstein PSS9-10s, Koni yellows-FSDs, H&Rs, AST+Swift, even TCKlines and new BMW Performance kits.

Some members have experience with more than one combo, and some have driven other cars with different systems. Their comparisons are of great help to potential modders.

I thought it would be useful to try and get summaries of all this information -- there is tons of it embedded in various threads, but it would be nice to have a single quick source that we can refer to.

One issue that should be clear to potential modders is the importance of figuring out what their priorities are. Suspension mods are suited to more specific conditions than engine tunes and most other mods. Street vs. track. What kind of track; what kind of street. Comfort versus performance. Actual performance versus 'feel'. Looks. Price. Reliability, including noise, loose fittings, etc.

If this attracts interest I'll sticky it.
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      09-20-2008, 10:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stressdoc
Let's have a coilovers - springs - socks discussion!
Ok, I wear boring white tube socks.
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      09-20-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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Seriously,
I have experiece on E90s with H&R Sports/Yellows, Eibach/FSD, and PSS9s.

If I rated them, the H&R/Yellows were the worst combo. Ride was always harsh, even on soft settings and performance was not up to par at the softer settings. 1-1.5 turns made the cornering awesome, but the ride, well, ouch is all that comes to mind. It was tolerable, but certainly not ideal.

Next best was Eibach/FSD. Decent ride quality, with good looks and good handling. The only real drawback was when carrying passengers. With two in the rear the car lost its composure. It must have something to do with the way the shocks work as they are pretty unique. But for the price, and very good combo, and I would purchase again.

The PSS9s take the cake. Ride ride quality is awesome, and the cornering is a thing of beauty. On this E90 I have yet to install my H&R sways, but can only imagine that with the addition of the front/rear sways, handling will be amazing. I have them set pretty soft, 7f/5r. and its a decent setting even as is. There is some roll which is not a bad thing, but you truly feel you are driving a luxury sports car. Great handling with a great ride. I rarely feel abused with this setup as I did daily with the H&R/Yellows. But, the cost is pretty high, with install they were nearly 2k, and that certainly is a drawback for many, including myself.

Well, thats my .02,
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      09-20-2008, 10:37 AM   #4
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I. The basics.
A. OEM suspensions: standard, sport/ZSP, M-sport/performance. Stiffer springs, dampers, sways as you move up.

B. Mods
(1) Change shocks/dampers. E.g., Koni yellows/FSDs, Bilstein HDs, BMW Performance (see sticky). Ride will feel more controlled and stable. Price for parts about $400-700; labor $350-500; moderately difficult 4-6 hour DIY. Sticking with OEM springs usually fine, but changing springs an option to consider (see #2 below).
(2) Change springs. E.g., H&R, Eibach. Ride will feel stiffer, less roll, more bounce off bumps. Usually lowers ride height/ground clearance. Price for parts about $250; labor about same as dampers -- change of springs should always be accompanied by change to a matching damper.
(3) Change springs and dampers as a coilover set. E.g., KWs, Bilsteins. Most have some adjustments for height, and some for dampening. Allows for more flexibility, change settings for different conditions. Parts $600-2500. Labor same as above, $350-500.
(4) Other components: Strut and chassis braces, Camber adjusters, Alignment, Corner balancing, LSD ... Other nice stuff to firm up chassis and provide fine tuning of how the rubber meets the road.

C. What mods are best for you? What parts should you buy? What labor and adjustments do you need?

Here is where I am hoping that members will provide helpful advice and comparisons. Post away!
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      09-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #5
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Wow, thanks Fraggy, awesome comparo. I guess you concur with Will Turner's (of Turner Motorsports) advice that PSS10s are "Hands down, the best single modification that you can make to this car." Most of the moderate - high end coilovers (KWs etc.) provide similar results. But pricey -- 1500 parts, 500 labor.

Direct comparisons among coilovers would be helpful here -- what specific characteristics make one or the other better suited to your driving needs.

Posts with objective data -- e.g., dampening curves, race results -- and subjective SOP feelings are both useful.
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      09-20-2008, 02:49 PM   #6
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i know there are alotta reviews, each with their own threads but if we can summarize all of them in to here, DEFINITELY STICKY THIS

But any ways I would love to hear from those people with:

1. Eibach with stock/aftermarket shocks
2. H&R with stock/aftermarket shocks
3. Eibach coilovers
4. H&R coilovers
4. KW 1/2/3
5. ST coilovers
6. Bilstein PSS9/10s
7. Dinan stage 1/2/3
8. Bav Autosport coils
9. BMW performance suspension
10. TC Kline coilovers

Thanks to Fraggy, we got 3 to compare but to hear more about the others would be great!

As in my previous threads, im still waiting for BMW performance to come out with something for the E92s but if nothing really comes up by this fall, im gonna get ST coils
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      09-20-2008, 05:43 PM   #7
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I am right in the middle of making a decision on this myself. I plan to make the upgrade in about 2 weeks. I am either going with FSDs/Eibach or Koni Yellows/H&R. I have also heard some concerns about clearance at the back when running 19" wheels so that might be a factor as well.
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      09-20-2008, 08:22 PM   #8
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ya i'm sort of lost to!
i basically need daily driving suspension, with a descent drop, i'd like the ride to be stiff, i hate roll, so the less the better...and not tooo bouncy,but obviously bounce is acceptable...
wut's the closest i can get to that? haha
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      09-20-2008, 11:06 PM   #9
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I have the JIC Magic Cross Coil-Overs along with the UUC adjustable sway bars.
This suspension is FABULOUS! The feedback through the steering wheel is addictive. It feels so connected to the road, but not harsh at all. It's a cross between the Boxster and Elise for feel.
My wife initially thought it rode too rough, but shortly afterwards she got used to it and said it’s no problem (this is a HUGE bonus as she likes to drive my car because it’s manual and quicker than hers). Turn in is very crisp and body roll is controlled very well. Hitting larger bumps is a non-issue. The car just soaks them up very quickly and the car just settles in. I had the ZSP suspension and the ride is comparable. It is a little more abrupt in it's reaction, but the control is so much better. You can tell the wheels are staying on the ground better, which is what you want. I did loose about 12lbs per corner with my new wheels and tires.
I have the front end stiffened up more than the rear to promote a little understeer to keep things safer. The front shocks are set at 9 and the rears are set at 5. This is out of 15 different settings front and rear.

I have the UUC adjustable sway bars too. The front is set in the middle setting and the rears are set on the softest setting. The roll control is perfect. It tilts slightly and bites quickly.

Overall, I'm so pleased with this set-up. I initially was worried the ride would be too harsh because JIC valves their shocks pretty high and the spring rates are on the high side too (450lbs front and 674lbs rear). The more I drive it, the better I like it.

On the track the suspension is totally in it's element. I set the car up to be neutral and it works fantastic. I could really feel the balance change on the car as I played with the throttle during long turns. The bite on turn-in is great and it just stays put (very hard to push wide) with no oversteering issues either. I was really able to push the car HARD and it was completely stable the entire time. Braking is flat and controlled too.

Just a note: this suspension system is very similar to a race set-up. Height adjustments are not easily done and I had to cut access holes in the trunk panels to adjust the rear shocks easier.
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      09-20-2008, 11:28 PM   #10
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Suspension kit?

Does anybody make a suspension kit for the e90/e92? Meaning, springs, shocks, swaybars, etc. that is totally balanced and made for the car.
I had a Datsun 280Z that I tried various componets with little success. Untill I bought a complete suspension "KIT" for the car. It transformed that car and made it handle like magic. My 335i coupe doesn't even come close to the way that car handled.
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      09-21-2008, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRICKE90 View Post
Does anybody make a suspension kit for the e90/e92? Meaning, springs, shocks, swaybars, etc. that is totally balanced and made for the car.
I had a Datsun 280Z that I tried various componets with little success. Untill I bought a complete suspension "KIT" for the car. It transformed that car and made it handle like magic. My 335i coupe doesn't even come close to the way that car handled.
Dinan does
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      09-21-2008, 12:29 AM   #12
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Dinan does
+1. They're the only one with a complete suspension solution.
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      09-21-2008, 12:39 AM   #13
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one thing is for sure. i have ZSP shocks with H&R sport springs and the ride sucks. when i hit bumps it just makes a big thump sound, and it feels like the wheels hop all over the place. definetly not a good setup at all. i am never just putting springs on a car again! my next car will have coilovers for sure!
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      09-21-2008, 01:26 AM   #14
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Well - this adds another level of complexity then I guess. Is a coil over kit that much better than a shock/spring kit?

Given that the Koni FSD & Eibach Pro-Kit Suspension System costs $929.00 and an H&R Coilover Kit costs $1199.00, is it REALLY worth the extra $270? Is it night and day difference between the two?

I would hate to buy the FSD/Eibach kit and realize if I had waited another few weeks for the extra $300 that I could have had a MUCH better setup.

What is the major difference between a coilover setup vs shock/spring setup?
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      09-21-2008, 02:42 PM   #15
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ill let you know when i get my set of kwv2.haha
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      09-21-2008, 02:59 PM   #16
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Right now I am riding on H&R Sport/Stock Shocks and while it is not a bad ride it does not handle well at all well for how our cars should handle at least. I have KW V2's in and sitting in my room right now. The ride will be a lot better
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      09-21-2008, 07:28 PM   #17
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I have read that some members had the H&R Sport springs/Koni Yellow Combo and did not like it, either too harsh, bouncy or ride height not good etc. etc.

I had mine installed last week and compared to the OEM Sport Suspension, which hopped around like crazy on bumps (read: Montreal street is really a war zone), this combo IMHO drives much smoother and tighter. No more bouncing around, oh by the way, I am still with the runflats. So even with the runflats it's smoother. The car now sits without any gaps between the tires and the fender (tires slightly inside the fenders at all corners).

The reason I decided to do suspension is that I occasionally track the car and on high speed curves, the car was rolling (leaning) too much. I did not pick the H&R Race setup, cos it would have been a killer on Montreal roads. I will be going to the track (HPDE) next weekend and will report back what I find.
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      09-21-2008, 07:31 PM   #18
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I just got h&r sport springs and I was going to use them with my zsp shocks but I think I might just sell them and leave the suspension alone. I can get them installed for free just to try them out but it might be a waste of time.
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      09-21-2008, 07:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotios330i View Post
I just got h&r sport springs and I was going to use them with my zsp shocks but I think I might just sell them and leave the suspension alone. I can get them installed for free just to try them out but it might be a waste of time.
If your not gonna track it then it should be fine for just the
street, but save for coils. If you can install for free hmmm. It will looks a ton better, wheel the stance will, but then will have some camber
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      09-21-2008, 08:25 PM   #20
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I had H&R Sport/Koni Yellows installed last Friday

and I'm very happy. I have an E-92 with ZSP, and the handling with the stock set up was skittish at best in corners (especially when the road is bumpy). Sometimes, the car would shimmy and float at the same time when I hit a series of bumps. That was not exactly a comfortable feeling. With the Konis, the car is now exceptionally connected to the road and the ride is slightly better than stock. I'm running with a full twist on the rears and 7/8 of a twist on the fronts. The steering is far more precise than stock, and body roll has diminished to a great degree. The car feels tighter and more competent. I don't track the car, so I really can't speak for people who are using a highly adjustable coilover set up at extremely high speeds. But on the street, at speeds up to 80 mph, my set up has been very effective and I highly recommend it.

I should note what my benchmark is. My last car was an E-46 M3. That car was an amazing handler -- precise, balanced, unflappable. My E-92 with the Konis feels better, except for the lack of an LSD (which is not something shocks and springs can overcome). But the ride with the Konis is much smoother than the M3's, which could become harsh very quickly on bumpy roads.

I should also point out that I considered getting sways, but decided to wait and see how the shocks and springs felt first. I'm glad I did, because I don't need sways with the Konis on the street (maybe I would if I tracked the car).

By the way, I'm guessing that the Dinan Stage 1 package is very much the same as what I have. Yes, I know that Dinan claims to have custom spring rates and perhaps even custom valving on the Koni shocks in its package. But I doubt that my set up is fundamentally any different and I saved more than $600....
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      09-22-2008, 07:34 AM   #21
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and I'm very happy. I have an E-92 with ZSP, and the handling with the stock set up was skittish at best in corners (especially when the road is bumpy). Sometimes, the car would shimmy and float at the same time when I hit a series of bumps. That was not exactly a comfortable feeling. With the Konis, the car is now exceptionally connected to the road and the ride is slightly better than stock. I'm running with a full twist on the rears and 7/8 of a twist on the fronts. The steering is far more precise than stock, and body roll has diminished to a great degree. The car feels tighter and more competent. I don't track the car, so I really can't speak for people who are using a highly adjustable coilover set up at extremely high speeds. But on the street, at speeds up to 80 mph, my set up has been very effective and I highly recommend it.

I should note what my benchmark is. My last car was an E-46 M3. That car was an amazing handler -- precise, balanced, unflappable. My E-92 with the Konis feels better, except for the lack of an LSD (which is not something shocks and springs can overcome). But the ride with the Konis is much smoother than the M3's, which could become harsh very quickly on bumpy roads.

I should also point out that I considered getting sways, but decided to wait and see how the shocks and springs felt first. I'm glad I did, because I don't need sways with the Konis on the street (maybe I would if I tracked the car).

By the way, I'm guessing that the Dinan Stage 1 package is very much the same as what I have. Yes, I know that Dinan claims to have custom spring rates and perhaps even custom valving on the Koni shocks in its package. But I doubt that my set up is fundamentally any different and I saved more than $600....

When you mean full twist on the rear and 7/8 twist on the front; is it 1 full twist and 7/8 twist from the softest setting to the stiffest setting? Thanks.
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      09-22-2008, 07:45 AM   #22
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When you mean full twist on the rear and 7/8 twist on the front; is it 1 full twist and 7/8 twist from the softest setting to the stiffest setting? Thanks.
Yes, that's it.
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