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      08-24-2015, 01:55 PM   #1
Ali-323i
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Help - Non-sport suspension replacement

I tried searching, but I'm so confused (and the stickies are SO long) that I was hoping someone might be able to help me out fairly easily.

My non-sport Pre-LCI e90 (323i, Canadian 2.5L N52) needs to have the shocks replaced. I'm weighing my options which essentially include either OEM replacements, or coilovers.

What are my best options? Here are my priorities:

1. Softish ride - not interested in a harsh ride, I don't track my car and only rarely drive very hard on the streets. Streets in Toronto aren't always the best, so something comfortable is important.

2. Not trying to slam my car - I wouldn't mind a very minor drop, but definitely not about "dat low life" (plus running OEM M3 wheels, so a drop will likely rub whereas right now I don't)

3. Value - I'm not looking for the best performance, just something as a replacement to a stock part, but don't mind upgrading to a coil if it makes sense.

There are so many options out there, and most are starting from a sport suspension, are interested in dropping their cars, or want maximum performance, that I feel those threads are less applicable to me.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!!
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      08-24-2015, 02:29 PM   #2
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If that's the case, just find some OEM sport springs and pair them with Bilsteins or Konis.
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      08-24-2015, 03:41 PM   #3
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Billstein B4
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      08-24-2015, 05:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCobra94
If that's the case, just find some OEM sport springs and pair them with Bilsteins or Konis.
I'm planning on keeping the non-sport springs I already have. Will that still work?
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      08-24-2015, 06:09 PM   #5
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The B4's will work.
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      08-24-2015, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by FCobra94
If that's the case, just find some OEM sport springs and pair them with Bilsteins or Konis.
I'm planning on keeping the non-sport springs I already have. Will that still work?
Yeah, definitely. You said you wanted a minor drop though; hence my recommendation for sport springs.
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      08-24-2015, 08:09 PM   #7
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+1 for the bilstein b4
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      08-24-2015, 09:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCobra94 View Post
Yeah, definitely. You said you wanted a minor drop though; hence my recommendation for sport springs.
I don't mind a drop, but not specifically looking for one. If getting coils maybe, but if just replacing my shocks I wouldn't spend extra to get lower springs also.

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      08-24-2015, 11:09 PM   #9
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Bilstien B4 are simmilar to OEM sport shocks but from Bilstien vs Sachs
or for budget and longevity 2011+ e9x Msport shocks.( I love mine, unexpected fix went well last year)
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      08-24-2015, 11:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrey_gta
Bilstien B4 are simmilar to OEM sport shocks but from Bilstien vs Sachs
or for budget and longevity 2011+ e9x Msport shocks.( I love mine, unexpected fix went well last year)
Are you suggesting OEM m-sport shocks for a 2011+?
I don't have sport springs though, would they still work or would I have to get the sport springs too?
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      08-25-2015, 10:22 AM   #11
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I wouldn't put the OEM non-sport springs with the any upgraded shock. The above recommendations are all good, I would suggest Eibach pro-kit springs with any of the above shocks. I went with Eibachs with Koni yellows and love them. They are progressive springs so they handle the rough roads well and offer a very nice drop that isn't slammed.
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      08-25-2015, 10:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volasko View Post
I wouldn't put the OEM non-sport springs with the any upgraded shock. The above recommendations are all good, I would suggest Eibach pro-kit springs with any of the above shocks. I went with Eibachs with Koni yellows and love them. They are progressive springs so they handle the rough roads well and offer a very nice drop that isn't slammed.
So to paraphrase: either buy OEM non-sport shocks (or bilstein equivalents) or buy springs too and lower the car. Right?

I don't really want to pay extra to lower the car, and my stock springs are fine, so perhaps I'll just stick with non-sport OEM shocks too.

I read that OEM shocks are calibrated to be extra "soft" due to RFTs. I'm no longer on RFTs, will this be an issue for me?
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      08-25-2015, 12:03 PM   #13
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Basically the spring needs to be matched to the shock, if you upgrade the shock but keep the soft stock non-sport springs your car will not handle well. I don't know why you would go through the effort of upgrading/swapping the shocks and not spend the extra 300 dollars for proper springs. They transform the look of the car and can improve handling, it is a win/win in my opinion.
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      08-25-2015, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-323i View Post
I don't really want to pay extra to lower the car, and my stock springs are fine, so perhaps I'll just stick with non-sport OEM shocks too.
No, please don't do that. OEM shocks, in any capacity, are utter crap. Save yourself the heartache and just do it right the first time with either the Bilstein B6 or Koni Yellow offerings if you wanna keep your stock springs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volasko View Post
Basically the spring needs to be matched to the shock, if you upgrade the shock but keep the soft stock non-sport springs your car will not handle well.
False. When swapping B6s onto stock non-sport springs, the car handles infinitely better (there are plenty of reviews out their stating the same). Sure, upgrading springs can make it that much "better" but not everyone wants more low. Since shocks alone get you ~90% of the way there, most are more than happy with the trade off.

Besides, one could also argue that going from stock sport springs to Eibachs is a waste of time as well given that they both pretty much have the same exact spring rates. I bet you the "better handling" that most realize when switching from sports suspension to Eibachs and Bilsteins/Konis has to do more with the upgraded shocks than the springs themselves. Just my $0.02
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      08-25-2015, 02:21 PM   #15
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Appreciate all the feedback.
I think the biggest concern I have with springs is that I'm currently running OEM M3 wheels & tire sizes. No issues right now because I have plenty of clearance, but dropping the car may likely result in some rubbing and I want to avoid that. I don't mind the look of the car, the larger diameter wheels/tires help fill in some of the gap in my wheel arches.

So from what I read (here and elsewhere) so far:
- Bilstein B4 are essentially OEM replacements - may be ok
- Bilstein B6 can be used with non-sport springs (need to confirm) and may provide superior comfort and performance
- spring/shock combos are likely not going to work for me because they will lower my car (need to confirm if I have any clearance to lower even a bit)
- coilovers are expensive and may not last as long (got a great quote for custom Broadway Statics, which I understand can be as "soft" as I'd like, and maintain decent ride height - but is still twice the cost of replacing shocks alone)
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      08-25-2015, 03:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-323i View Post
Are you suggesting OEM m-sport shocks for a 2011+?
I don't have sport springs though, would they still work or would I have to get the sport springs too?
2011+ sport shocks worked well for my 1 series. I do think they will pair well with Eibach springs. Dont think NonSport spring is a good idea.

I guess Bilstien B4 shocks will be better for NonSport springs
Bilstien HD = Bilstien B6 they work with NonSport springs and mild drop like eibach (See B12 kit)
B8 is for lowering springs like H&R


Just so you know, replacing shocks is the same labor cost as Shocks + Springs for e9x e8x. I think you can refresh springs, the old may be rusty in some places and just show some age.

Mild springs are:
OEM Sport for your Body type, engine, transmission, sunroof spec ( more weight = one step up in rate)
Eibach
H&R Touring
BMW Perf yellow
Dinan =like BMW Perf
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Last edited by andrey_gta; 08-25-2015 at 03:07 PM.
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      08-28-2015, 11:33 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the helpful info!

IF I go with coils, I've been recommended brands called fortune auto, and Broadway static. They make custom setups, in the U.S., have decent reviews, and are affordable.

A) any of you have an opinion on these brands?
B) what spring rate should I go with? 8k/11k was suggested to me.
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      08-28-2015, 08:52 PM   #18
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there seems to always be confusion with the bilstein b6 and b8 shocks and spring combinations. here is what i learned from bilstein themselves and several reputable bilstein dealers when i was doing my upgrade.

the b6 (HD) shocks are made for both sets of oem springs, both the sport and non-sport. I paired them with my non-sport springs and the ride is great and the car handles better and takes pot holes with aplomb.

the b8 (sport) shocks are shorter but valved the same, they are made for aftermarket springs (eibach) this is the b12 kit, and H&R sport springs and the like.
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