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      03-20-2015, 07:01 PM   #1
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Question Need suspension advice please!

I recently had a go in a friend's e92 330d, he is running M-sport shocks with Eibach springs. I was quite shocked at the difference with my stock M-sport suspension - his felt so much more stable and accurate when taking corners. I decided I need to do something about mine.

I understand the basics but I have never changed the suspension on any of my cars so this is new territory for me. I have done some research but would be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences. I almost bought some BC coilovers after hearing great things about them, but aborted when I heard about the front-left knocking issue which seems to affect most people who run them - I think this would annoy me.

My wish list is as follows:
  • Improved handling, less body roll
  • Comfort levels not worse than M-sport (if such a thing is possible while still getting handling improvement)
  • Slight drop (not looking to slam the car - rear is perfect stock IMO, would like to drop the front a bit though to fix the arch gap and get a bit of the raked look)
  • Not planning to track the car so not really bothered about adjustable damping, etc.
  • Adjustable ride height would be good, but only insofar as I want to get it just how I want it once and then leave it and never change it again
  • Unfortunately I have to consider budget - probably around 800-900 big max for the parts, ideally much less If I can get 75% of what I'm looking for at a third of that budget, I would go with that option.

I'm looking for whatever method/kit will best implement my requirements, whether that is springs, shock and springs, or coilovers - whatever would work best!

What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance
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      03-20-2015, 07:03 PM   #2
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      03-21-2015, 03:04 AM   #3
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^This really^ We've been having this discussion over in another part of the forum.

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      03-21-2015, 04:16 AM   #4
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As above snap Raj's hands off for the Birds its a steal and will meet all your requirements apart from adjustable height. You'll have £300 left over for some new top mounts all round and some fitting costs/alignment.

You can still "adjust" the front if it doesn't go low enough by getting some lowering spring perches from the States.
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      03-21-2015, 04:37 AM   #5
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Apologies just realised you can get a brand new Bilstein B12 kit (Bilstein shocks and Eibach Pro or Sportline) for £520!!

This kit sounds very good as no one has a bad word to say about them.

With the Birds some people i know who have fitted them did say it's a bit on the soft side on the rear. Not a bad thing just an observation.
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      03-21-2015, 08:43 AM   #6
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Anyone here had those Bilstein B12s? I might be looking in buying a set.
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      03-21-2015, 10:54 AM   #7
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or justfo for a b14 coilover , buy from germany and will set you around 500 mark.
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      03-21-2015, 01:17 PM   #8
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Interesting this threads come up Seb, I'm looking at doing a suspension /wheel change in the near future, I've thought about the Birds option, we know Birds quite well having helped them out on a few times on several matters and so I might give them a call to see what they can do as it'll only cost a phone call to find out, buying Bilstein's from abroad has come up here before seems to be a decent route to take to save money and might well be the correct route to take.

Re your requirments Seb

1/ Improved handling, less body roll - this is something 100% I'm looking to achieve though as mines done 78k now I'm of the opinion that although my shicks don't leak and have fair resistance they will be coming to the end of their useful life

2/ Comfort levels not worse than M-sport (if such a thing is possible while still getting handling improvement) I think this come in 2 sections, firstly on the wheel tyre front removing runflats makes a difference which is well documented - however in the back of my mind there is the issue of what if you have a puncture however on the comfort front BMW suspension guru's and British Roads haven't got on too well in the past M Sport suspension IMO can be improved upon as is well documented. I think its a poor mix the big question is where to go to improve.

3/ Slight drop (not looking to slam the car - rear is perfect stock IMO, would like to drop the front a bit though to fix the arch gap and get a bit of the raked look) I'm not that botherd if this is achieved or not. It would be nice but like you Seb, I don't want to see the cars ride height dropped with 25mm or so lowered springs a very small say 10mm drop would be welcome but as it is now wouldn't offend me either.

There's plenty of choices out three my old E46 MSport suspension followed the reciepe of the current car i.e. M Sport crashy ride I changed to EiBach springs Koni FSD's and the car was largly transformed but everyone seems to really point out the way to go is still with EiBach springs but invest in a decent set of Bilstein shocks's question is what spec do you go for B3, B12

I think this isn't a bad move to be fair I therfore if the Birds route doesn't turn out to work then importing Bilstein's shocks (question is what set do you go for ) from Germany might well be worth considering.
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      03-21-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Apologies just realised you can get a brand new Bilstein B12 kit (Bilstein shocks and Eibach Pro or Sportline) for £520!!

This kit sounds very good as no one has a bad word to say about them.

With the Birds some people i know who have fitted them did say it's a bit on the soft side on the rear. Not a bad thing just an observation.

Where can you get b12 at that price? might be interested myself
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      03-21-2015, 04:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Game_0ver
Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Apologies just realised you can get a brand new Bilstein B12 kit (Bilstein shocks and Eibach Pro or Sportline) for £520!!

This kit sounds very good as no one has a bad word to say about them.

With the Birds some people i know who have fitted them did say it's a bit on the soft side on the rear. Not a bad thing just an observation.

Where can you get b12 at that price? might be interested myself
Here you go mate: http://www.fahrwerke24.de

It's a very well known retailer in Germany and has been verified by some very senior members, perhaps mods, on here. They also sell the B14 coilovers for around £900
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      03-21-2015, 06:16 PM   #11
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Hey let me get in on this too lol.

As with my feeler thread, the Birds setup is very good and I'm not knocking it at all but my thoughts were more that I had been offered a V3 kit and the ability to fine tune the height and compression/rebound is just very appealing. I've tried many different setups on different cars and tracked a lot of them but sometimes a kit that works well on one vehicle may not be as good on another. Also too much adjustability can be a bad thing lol.

One thing I've learned over the years is that you should choose a suspension setup based on the majority use of the car. I know however that I have ignored this quite a number of times and gone V3's/PSS9's when there has been no need lol. Also always try to stick to a budget lol.

Birds setup (non adjustable): Tailored to the 335i by Birds/Bilstein/Eibach. Superb road holding and actually quite comfortable. Absorbs undulations and bumps etc very well in quite a controlled manor. Haven't tracked it yet so unsure how they will perform on that front.
Ideal for fast road use from my own experience and on our not so great roads.
960+vat from Birds.

KW V3 (3 way adjustable): Can be a little harsh at times even when settings are turned down to a softer setting. Performance wise, on smoother roads etc they come into their own and will outperform the Birds (IMO and previous experience) as turn in and lateral movement are dealt with a lot better. However they do need to be setup correctly otherwise they'll be crap.
Bit compromised for normal road use but track work are excellent.
1300 (on sale) from KW UK.

Bilstein PSS* (2 way adjustable): Surpass the V3's on both track/road and easier to setup as the compression/rebound is set at the same time. But you pay for the quality of them
Good setup for all round use.
1700 approx

Koni / Eibach / H&R coilovers (height adjustable only): tbh all are much of a muchness. They do what it says on the tin and great for getting the look but are all ok for both road and track use. All I've found are a little hit and miss depending upon the road or track you are driving. Some circumstances they've been good others not so. Great if on a bit of a budget really and the vehicle tbh.
Anything from 600 - 800.

Koni shocks with H&R/Eibach springs (FSD's are non adjustable, koni yellows damping adjustable): I've rated this setup on a few cars and always been pleased for the outlay. Only issue is fixed ride height (and as we've all discovered Eibach/H&R lowering is always a little hit and miss depending on the car). Pretty good for road use but tbh not really ideal for track daying.
500 - 600 (back in the day lol)

Ohlins (2 way adjustable): I personally don't have experience of them on any of my own cars. Have heard mixed reviews too from research and a couple of friends (so I'd be very interested from those here that do have them). Due to the technology they employ in their shocks they seem to be excellent for road use but perhaps not quite as good on track. Also one friend did mention (from a few years ago mind) that Ohlins dampers needed to be rebuilt quite often (which is additional cost to factor in if that is the case still). Also a lot of people seem to have to swap the rear springs out for stiffer rated ones, which to me seems a little odd to have to do this. You are paying quite bit for these and to have to change rear springs is a little off putting (so again appreciate anyones input to this).
1500 from Ohlins UK.

I admit these are only my own experiences (and quite brief overviews) and we are all very different and have different expectations so please don't feel the need to shoot me down for maybe disagreeing with any of your own experiences.

Thanks,

Raj
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      03-21-2015, 07:02 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies guys, your advice is most useful. I will compose a full reply with my current thoughts tomorrow.
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      03-22-2015, 04:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RajB View Post
Hey let me get in on this too lol.

As with my feeler thread, the Birds setup is very good and I'm not knocking it at all but my thoughts were more that I had been offered a V3 kit and the ability to fine tune the height and compression/rebound is just very appealing. I've tried many different setups on different cars and tracked a lot of them but sometimes a kit that works well on one vehicle may not be as good on another. Also too much adjustability can be a bad thing lol.

One thing I've learned over the years is that you should choose a suspension setup based on the majority use of the car. I know however that I have ignored this quite a number of times and gone V3's/PSS9's when there has been no need lol. Also always try to stick to a budget lol.

Birds setup (non adjustable): Tailored to the 335i by Birds/Bilstein/Eibach. Superb road holding and actually quite comfortable. Absorbs undulations and bumps etc very well in quite a controlled manor. Haven't tracked it yet so unsure how they will perform on that front.
Ideal for fast road use from my own experience and on our not so great roads.
960+vat from Birds.

KW V3 (3 way adjustable): Can be a little harsh at times even when settings are turned down to a softer setting. Performance wise, on smoother roads etc they come into their own and will outperform the Birds (IMO and previous experience) as turn in and lateral movement are dealt with a lot better. However they do need to be setup correctly otherwise they'll be crap.
Bit compromised for normal road use but track work are excellent.
1300 (on sale) from KW UK.

Bilstein PSS* (2 way adjustable): Surpass the V3's on both track/road and easier to setup as the compression/rebound is set at the same time. But you pay for the quality of them
Good setup for all round use.
1700 approx

Koni / Eibach / H&R coilovers (height adjustable only): tbh all are much of a muchness. They do what it says on the tin and great for getting the look but are all ok for both road and track use. All I've found are a little hit and miss depending upon the road or track you are driving. Some circumstances they've been good others not so. Great if on a bit of a budget really and the vehicle tbh.
Anything from 600 - 800.

Koni shocks with H&R/Eibach springs (FSD's are non adjustable, koni yellows damping adjustable): I've rated this setup on a few cars and always been pleased for the outlay. Only issue is fixed ride height (and as we've all discovered Eibach/H&R lowering is always a little hit and miss depending on the car). Pretty good for road use but tbh not really ideal for track daying.
500 - 600 (back in the day lol)

Ohlins (2 way adjustable): I personally don't have experience of them on any of my own cars. Have heard mixed reviews too from research and a couple of friends (so I'd be very interested from those here that do have them). Due to the technology they employ in their shocks they seem to be excellent for road use but perhaps not quite as good on track. Also one friend did mention (from a few years ago mind) that Ohlins dampers needed to be rebuilt quite often (which is additional cost to factor in if that is the case still). Also a lot of people seem to have to swap the rear springs out for stiffer rated ones, which to me seems a little odd to have to do this. You are paying quite bit for these and to have to change rear springs is a little off putting (so again appreciate anyones input to this).
1500 from Ohlins UK.

I admit these are only my own experiences (and quite brief overviews) and we are all very different and have different expectations so please don't feel the need to shoot me down for maybe disagreeing with any of your own experiences.

Thanks,

Raj
Considering where I work, what I do the aftermarket suspension scene is still almost virgin territory to me the one thing I do know though is its just as easy to get it wrong as it is to get it right. A mismatch of component can spoil a recipe and I dare say this has been done by many. The other thing of course is fitting/set up best equipment doesn't mean best results if the set up and fitting is suspect.

Very detailed answers aboveI'm still unsure the Birds set up seems on the surface to suit the 335 owners as its a specific application so it's is on my radar re the Ohlins set up Mo's got it on his 335d remember seeing it last year build quality wise looked a well presented package when I spoke to Mo he quite clearly stated that the setup was in a different league to the OEM set up and their reputation re what they do would ensure a quality product was produced.

But it's something like Seb I'm going to do...... question is where to go.
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      03-22-2015, 06:13 AM   #14
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Just my quick points on Ohlins.

Comfort is second to none, you just glide over bumps and the ride just oozes quality.

It is 2 way adjustable but there's one knob to turn and the compression/rebound is changed together.

I have put it on max hard front and rear and that transforms it even more and you feel like you are driving a racecar, the way you feel every little bump, not a bad bump but controlled. Full soft is for transporting the elderly

Linear springs. Massive difference in cornering. With progressive springs you get a bit of compression/roll on the outside in a corner before you feel the resistance, with linear you feel the resistance A LOT earlier. And the roll you get (obviously you get some roll with stock ARBs) is much more predictable, and A LOT less than stock. It feels like im dancing and in harmony with the car when cornering hard, much more predictable and confidence inspiring!

Rear springs. Raj is right some people have swapped them out for stiffer springs, which cost 250 incl labour. Personally i find the stock ones great, and trust Ohlins to know what they are doing, and they work well with the stock rear. When i upgrade the rear subframe bushes and control arms, then i would probably change the rear springs. As i think this is when its better to do so, especially when tracking. So stock wise the original are fine, and confirmed by Alpina_b3_lux who is probably a better driver than us all. Uses the Nurburgring quite a lot.

Servicing/rebuilding. Many people get confused but the 30k servicing ohlins recommends is only a visual inspection. Just to see if all is ok. If you are tracking hard, and i mean a full season, then obviously it would mean maintenance, just like any other coilovers.

All in all i would say these are the best coilovers i have used on the road. Track will have to wait for a few months as i want an LSD before that

Oh and steve, welcome to try it out next time im down yours
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      03-22-2015, 07:14 AM   #15
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Just had the KW V3 put on my LCI E91 335d M-sport about a week ago by my dealer (car still on PS warranty). They put all the settings on halfway and without further experimenting/finetuning I already love it! Had this car for about a year and before this one drove a similar pre-LCI E91 335d M-sport. The ride of the latter was more firm and handling a bit more sorted than the LCI, which I thought was too soft and had too much body roll.
The KW is both more comfortable and more firm with way less body roll than the stock M-sport car. I love the way the car drives now, even before some further tweaking 😉. This must have been what the guys who designed the suspension had in mind, before the Finance and Purchasing department had their say 😂😂
I've owned/driven quite a few different BMW's (starting with a UK-reg. black E36 320i btw), including an E46 M3 SMG and in terms of everyday driveability, practicality, fun etc, this one with this set up is my favourite.
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      03-22-2015, 09:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Just my quick points on Ohlins.

Comfort is second to none, you just glide over bumps and the ride just oozes quality.

It is 2 way adjustable but there's one knob to turn and the compression/rebound is changed together.

I have put it on max hard front and rear and that transforms it even more and you feel like you are driving a racecar, the way you feel every little bump, not a bad bump but controlled. Full soft is for transporting the elderly

Linear springs. Massive difference in cornering. With progressive springs you get a bit of compression/roll on the outside in a corner before you feel the resistance, with linear you feel the resistance A LOT earlier. And the roll you get (obviously you get some roll with stock ARBs) is much more predictable, and A LOT less than stock. It feels like im dancing and in harmony with the car when cornering hard, much more predictable and confidence inspiring!

Rear springs. Raj is right some people have swapped them out for stiffer springs, which cost 250 incl labour. Personally i find the stock ones great, and trust Ohlins to know what they are doing, and they work well with the stock rear. When i upgrade the rear subframe bushes and control arms, then i would probably change the rear springs. As i think this is when its better to do so, especially when tracking. So stock wise the original are fine, and confirmed by Alpina_b3_lux who is probably a better driver than us all. Uses the Nurburgring quite a lot.

Servicing/rebuilding. Many people get confused but the 30k servicing ohlins recommends is only a visual inspection. Just to see if all is ok. If you are tracking hard, and i mean a full season, then obviously it would mean maintenance, just like any other coilovers.

All in all i would say these are the best coilovers i have used on the road. Track will have to wait for a few months as i want an LSD before that

Oh and steve, welcome to try it out next time im down yours
detailed reply: they looked very decent quality when I had a little look last year. Oh lions have a decent reputation. Saw these on an 6 month IFC credit deal which makes them all the more tempting.
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      03-22-2015, 10:22 AM   #17
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I took the 6 month IFC deal

And i think they are 1570 incl VAT now, when i bought them last summer they were 1765!

Good time to buy, the price does fluctuate yearly as it's based on the swedish krona.

When i was looking at them in 2013 they were 1580, then 1765 in 2014 and now back to 1570!
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      03-22-2015, 01:18 PM   #18
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I had ruled out Ohlins as I assumed they were too expensive.
At 1500 they are right in there!

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      03-22-2015, 01:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windymissile View Post
I had ruled out Ohlins as I assumed they were too expensive.
At 1500 they are right in there!

WM
Are you still on stock M Sport suspension?

Are you planning on upgrading your rear subframe bushes and rear arms? If so Harold at HPA can sell you a kit with swift springs instead of the Ohlins ones, that's if you wanted to. Or you could just buy the original and see how you go, as Alpina_B3_Lux uses originals with all M3 bits on his 335i.

But, using man maths, at 6 months IFC it makes sense! Would compliment your LSD very well. After fitting the Ohlins, i can certainly feel the weak parts of the car more, so it kinda makes you want to do more, but i guess that's just progression.
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      03-22-2015, 01:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Are you still on stock M Sport suspension?

Are you planning on upgrading your rear subframe bushes and rear arms? If so Harold at HPA can sell you a kit with swift springs instead of the Ohlins ones, that's if you wanted to. Or you could just buy the original and see how you go, as Alpina_B3_Lux uses originals with all M3 bits on his 335i.

But, using man maths, at 6 months IFC it makes sense! Would compliment your LSD very well. After fitting the Ohlins, i can certainly feel the weak parts of the car more, so it kinda makes you want to do more, but i guess that's just progression.
Still stock 'M Sport' suspension pal.
Everything is on hold now until the summer. I'm just going to have to enjoy it as it is. If my missus sees any more shiny parts, the wedding will be off. I managed to sneak the diff in under her nose but a full spring kit ain't going to wash.
RB and VTT are about to announce turbo upgrades too...

I think Marcel paid a lot for the Ohlins suspension when he fitted it (3 years ago ?). That's what made me assume it was in another league. I see the prices have come right down down though.

Other than the occasional Nurburgring trip, my car won't see a track. But it does get abused on the road. Bushes and an anti roll bar would probably go in at the same time. I don't want to compromise the "whole" car by firming everything up. Balance with suspension is critical on a road car.

WM
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      03-22-2015, 05:55 PM   #21
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Just wanted to say big thanks to all who have taken the time to provide detailed feedback, it is most appreciated. The Ohlins are tempting but sadly out of my budget.

Currently at the top of my shortlist is the Bilstein B14 coilover set imported from Germany. I've found a site which sells it for 600 and I have confidence in the Bilstein build and brand quality.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know who is the manufacturer of the stock M-sport suspension?
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      03-23-2015, 04:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Just my quick points on Ohlins.

Comfort is second to none, you just glide over bumps and the ride just oozes quality.

It is 2 way adjustable but there's one knob to turn and the compression/rebound is changed together.

I have put it on max hard front and rear and that transforms it even more and you feel like you are driving a racecar, the way you feel every little bump, not a bad bump but controlled. Full soft is for transporting the elderly

Linear springs. Massive difference in cornering. With progressive springs you get a bit of compression/roll on the outside in a corner before you feel the resistance, with linear you feel the resistance A LOT earlier. And the roll you get (obviously you get some roll with stock ARBs) is much more predictable, and A LOT less than stock. It feels like im dancing and in harmony with the car when cornering hard, much more predictable and confidence inspiring!

Rear springs. Raj is right some people have swapped them out for stiffer springs, which cost 250 incl labour. Personally i find the stock ones great, and trust Ohlins to know what they are doing, and they work well with the stock rear. When i upgrade the rear subframe bushes and control arms, then i would probably change the rear springs. As i think this is when its better to do so, especially when tracking. So stock wise the original are fine, and confirmed by Alpina_b3_lux who is probably a better driver than us all. Uses the Nurburgring quite a lot.

Servicing/rebuilding. Many people get confused but the 30k servicing ohlins recommends is only a visual inspection. Just to see if all is ok. If you are tracking hard, and i mean a full season, then obviously it would mean maintenance, just like any other coilovers.

All in all i would say these are the best coilovers i have used on the road. Track will have to wait for a few months as i want an LSD before that

Oh and steve, welcome to try it out next time im down yours
Nice informative reply.

I'd certainly consider the Ohlins route (esp. with their interest free option lol).

If you could answer the following would help me with where I'd put the Ohlins on the list.

How are the shock bodies holding up as I'd read somewhere they can corrode due to the nature of their coating?

Also, again the reasoning for the replacement springs? As you've said you'd kind of hope Ohlins would have matched up and tested and decided on the best springs to match the dampers, but if people are having to replace them then seems a little off to me? Are they way to softly sprung to really utilise for normal or track use?

Thanks,

Raj
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