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      09-03-2012, 04:23 AM   #1
JonEdwards
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Bilstein B4S and Eibach pro upgrade - done!

So Saturday was spent underneath the beastie swapping the stock dampers (2 leaky ones) and springs . Pre-LCI E91 320D M-sport .

I've read around the subject a fair bit on here and on other forums - the DIY guides say most of what needs to be said I think, but one or two things I found out might be handy for others. I'm a decent mechanic, but by no means an expert.

Back end.
Piece of piss. Hardest part was getting the interior trim out, followed by lining up the swing arm and hub carrier when reassembling. First side took me an hour, the second 20 minutes. Happy days.

Front end.
The advice about taping up the edge of the wheelarches? Do it. No more than that. It's a proper fight bouncing the strut from inside the arch to outside. The DIY guides say "stand on the hub". That might work if your a 16 stone sceptic, not so if you're a 10 stone skinny git like me. No damage caused either in dis- or assembly, but it was a pretty close thing. On reinserting the strut into the wheelarch I covered the top in a sheet of lino as another layer of protection.

Screwfix spring compressors are not the right tool for the job - they don't clamp down tight enough to compress the spring as far as it needs to go - not far off mind. I got away with it, but it was more nerve-wracking than it needed to be - I needed a ratchet strap to deal with the last 1/4" of compression. the B4S front strut is VERY short. You won't get a stock M-sport spring on it. The Eibach Pro was hard enough!

Swan neck spanners don't fit the strut top bolt. You ideally need a vortex ratchet. I got the old nuts undone without needing the allen key, but tightening the new nuts up was significantly more challenging. I ended up calling upon the powers of the mighty Bodgykantus and sacrificed an old socket with a pair of molegrips until the top plate bottomed on the taper of the damper shaft at which point it all locked together solidly and the torque wrench could come out.

My top mounts were fecked. Proper rattly. That was quite annoying, as I wasn't going to get any more on the middle of a Saturday afternoon. So it's gone back together with the old ones in. Not sure how much difference it actually makes once they've got weight on them, but if you have decent miles on the car (I'm on 118k), then I would budget to change them whilst the car is in bits. Make sure you put the washers between the spring plate and the top mount in correctly or the top mount won't spin...

The old struts came out of the hub carrier pretty easily. Cold chisel (gently) down the slot to spread it a bit and a copper mallet to knock the strut out from beneath, I was expecting LOTS of naughty words to be uttered over this bit of the game, so it was a pleasant surprise!

Overall the car was a pleasure to work on. All the fastners came loose easily and all the bolts were easily extracted (the last time I played this game on my old Passat it took 4+ hours to remove one bolt from a balljoint pinch clamp).

Visually? So far after 75 miles the front is 5mm lower. The back is 10mm higher...

Driving? Mixed so far. It certainly ain't any more comfortable! I'm on 18" runflats at the mo (relatively new to them - been on 17" non-RFT for the last 2 years - thanks ctch22 for the BBS 216s). When cold, it frankly feels bloody awful. Once the tyres have warmed up, its OK, but nothing more. Cornering poise is MASSIVELY improved though. It just grips and grips and grips. The back end feels oversprung and still kicks back over ripples, but the dampers bring it back under control earlier than before.

I'm going to give it a week or so to settle, then get the car aligned see if it makes much difference.

Pics? Maybe once it's clean... Hell, you all know what an E91 looks like!

Cheers,

Jon
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      09-03-2012, 06:03 AM   #2
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Sounds good. Definately put some pics up!

Im thinking of getting some B4 or B6 shocks can't decide.
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      09-03-2012, 06:24 AM   #3
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Nice effort, but how can we compliment you if there are not photos :P
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      09-07-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Sounds good. Definately put some pics up!

Im thinking of getting some B4 or B6 shocks can't decide.
B4 all day long. B4S if you are putting them with lowering springs.

B6 are very, very stiff dampers, and from teeth-rattling experience, way too firm for UK roads.
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      09-07-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
So Saturday was spent underneath the beastie swapping the stock dampers (2 leaky ones) and springs . Pre-LCI E91 320D M-sport .

I've read around the subject a fair bit on here and on other forums - the DIY guides say most of what needs to be said I think, but one or two things I found out might be handy for others. I'm a decent mechanic, but by no means an expert.

Back end.
Piece of piss. Hardest part was getting the interior trim out, followed by lining up the swing arm and hub carrier when reassembling. First side took me an hour, the second 20 minutes. Happy days.

Front end.
The advice about taping up the edge of the wheelarches? Do it. No more than that. It's a proper fight bouncing the strut from inside the arch to outside. The DIY guides say "stand on the hub". That might work if your a 16 stone sceptic, not so if you're a 10 stone skinny git like me. No damage caused either in dis- or assembly, but it was a pretty close thing. On reinserting the strut into the wheelarch I covered the top in a sheet of lino as another layer of protection.
Yeah, that bit worried me too. I'm not quite 16 stone, but it was unnerving putting that much weight on a compressed strut to get it out from under the wheelarch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
Screwfix spring compressors are not the right tool for the job - they don't clamp down tight enough to compress the spring as far as it needs to go - not far off mind. I got away with it, but it was more nerve-wracking than it needed to be - I needed a ratchet strap to deal with the last 1/4" of compression. the B4S front strut is VERY short. You won't get a stock M-sport spring on it. The Eibach Pro was hard enough!
Hmm, I haven't seen the screwfix ones but mine are only Machine Mart cheapies and they worked just fine. If you grab 3 coils with the first one and compress, you can just about grab 4 coils with the second one, then remove the first one and grab 4 coils with that too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
Swan neck spanners don't fit the strut top bolt. You ideally need a vortex ratchet. I got the old nuts undone without needing the allen key, but tightening the new nuts up was significantly more challenging. I ended up calling upon the powers of the mighty Bodgykantus and sacrificed an old socket with a pair of molegrips until the top plate bottomed on the taper of the damper shaft at which point it all locked together solidly and the torque wrench could come out.
I've had this problem on several cars now. Each time I've had to use an old spark plug socket with a pair of mole grips to take the old strut apart - but the Bilstein dampers are a pleasure to put back together with vortex sockets or swan neck spanners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
My top mounts were fecked. Proper rattly. That was quite annoying, as I wasn't going to get any more on the middle of a Saturday afternoon. So it's gone back together with the old ones in. Not sure how much difference it actually makes once they've got weight on them, but if you have decent miles on the car (I'm on 118k), then I would budget to change them whilst the car is in bits. Make sure you put the washers between the spring plate and the top mount in correctly or the top mount won't spin...

The old struts came out of the hub carrier pretty easily. Cold chisel (gently) down the slot to spread it a bit and a copper mallet to knock the strut out from beneath, I was expecting LOTS of naughty words to be uttered over this bit of the game, so it was a pleasant surprise! Overall the car was a pleasure to work on. All the fastners came loose easily and all the bolts were easily extracted (the last time I played this game on my old Passat it took 4+ hours to remove one bolt from a balljoint pinch clamp).
Same here. The last car I worked on with a pinch bolt at the bottom of the strut was a friend's Seat Ibiza, and it must have taken us 2 hours or more to get the strut out of the hub. The struts on my E91 just pulled out with a gentle twist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
Visually? So far after 75 miles the front is 5mm lower. The back is 10mm higher...
Did you compare the back springs? My Eibach springs were an identical size to the OE springs that came off. Rear ride height is virtually unchanged, which is what I wanted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
Driving? Mixed so far. It certainly ain't any more comfortable! I'm on 18" runflats at the mo (relatively new to them - been on 17" non-RFT for the last 2 years - thanks ctch22 for the BBS 216s). When cold, it frankly feels bloody awful. Once the tyres have warmed up, its OK, but nothing more. Cornering poise is MASSIVELY improved though. It just grips and grips and grips. The back end feels oversprung and still kicks back over ripples, but the dampers bring it back under control earlier than before.

I'm going to give it a week or so to settle, then get the car aligned see if it makes much difference.

Pics? Maybe once it's clean... Hell, you all know what an E91 looks like!

Cheers,

Jon
Low speed comfort is no different really, the springs are still firm and you can still feel the bumps in the road. As soon as I got it on the motorway though, the difference in the dampers was obvious immediately. So much more control at 70mph, no more bouncing over bumps and cat's eyes.

Hope it settles and you enjoy it
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      09-07-2012, 11:15 AM   #6
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Just wondering if keeping the std M sport springs and fitting the B4 dampers would show any improvement? I can't really go any lower due to the car already getting beached on the entrance to my folks driveway

Jason
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      09-07-2012, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jasonprice07 View Post
Just wondering if keeping the std M sport springs and fitting the B4 dampers would show any improvement? I can't really go any lower due to the car already getting beached on the entrance to my folks driveway

Jason
They cannot be any worse than the stock dampers, it's not possible! I'd expect an improvement if you did that - don't know if anyone has done this yet or not.
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      09-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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Hi Paul,

Sorry to ressurrect an old thread!

I'm looking into some suspension options. I previously had a Bilstein kit which basically featured B6 dampers and Eibach springs on the Golf and thought it was pretty good.

The B4S kit you have fitted to the BM sounds awesome too. I'm struggling with some of the packaged options though and have been looking into the B12 kit which is basically dampers and Eibach springs in one, but I've not idea if they are B4, B4S or B6 dampers including in that package.

Can you direct me to where you bought the kit so I can have a look into some of the credentials please?

Thanks
Matt
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      09-15-2012, 04:42 AM   #9
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Matt,

I'd written you a beautifully long and detailed PM, then hit the back button on my browser and lost the lot! In a nutshell:

There's no 'kit' of B4 and Pro-Kit springs. B6 are very hard but designed for full length springs, the B8 are the equivalent for lowering springs but IMO they're way too hard for normal road use. The B12 kit is, AFAIK, B8 dampers with Pro-Kit springs.

I found the part numbers on the Bilstein and Eibach websites, then googled to find the cheapest retailers - all of which happened to be on eBay.

The springs came from Demon Tweeks' eBay shop: http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/demontweek...id=p4340.l2559

The dampers all came from this guy: http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/suspension...84.m1439.l2754. Great customer service, parts came direct from Bilstein but very very fast, so he must be switched on with regards to ordering.

Still very pleased with the ride, can't fault it at all

HTH
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      09-16-2012, 04:18 AM   #10
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Paul,

Thanks you've said enough and that's a great help. Just to clarify is there such a thing as B4S dampers (in addition to B4 with no S) or have I misunderstood?

If there is such a thing, should I be looking for the S version?

Thanks
Matt
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      09-16-2012, 07:27 AM   #11
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Yes, that's absolutely correct.

Not sure how well this link will work - it should show the BMW 330d damper options from Bilstein's online catalogue. Top of the list is the standard B4, the OEM replacement. Second one down is the B4 for 'vehicles with sports suspension' which is what we're referring to (hopefully correctly) as the B4S.

http://web1.carparts-cat.com/default...C018004&12=130

Hope that helps?
Paul
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      09-16-2012, 01:09 PM   #12
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Hi mate,

Yep found the ones I would need. Thanks mate.

Matt
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      09-16-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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OK, it's taken a while - been kinda busy, but car is now clean and pics now taken...

As an aside, I got the alignment checked on Friday (Autodynamics, Sheffield. Great service, hugely enthusiastic). The amount of weight they needed to stick in the back to get the suspension sagged to the correct settings was staggering. Basically equated to 4 people plus full luggage, which I never ever have in. The steering had got noticeabley heavier straight after the damper change. It's now lighter again.

Anyway - on with the pics!















Front bumber does need a wee re-paint, although next thing on the list is the droopy exhaust!

Should be racking up some miles next week, so I'll be able to report back on how it goes now.

Cheers,

Jon
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      09-16-2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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Lovely shiney car! Like a blue mirror
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      09-19-2012, 07:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
B4 all day long. B4S if you are putting them with lowering springs.

B6 are very, very stiff dampers, and from teeth-rattling experience, way too firm for UK roads.
Should the B4s be used with the stock m sport springs? My rears are leaky and need replaced.
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      09-19-2012, 08:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEdwards View Post
The amount of weight they needed to stick in the back to get the suspension sagged to the correct settings was staggering. Basically equated to 4 people plus full luggage, which I never ever have in.
Hmmm, not sure about that.

I've had mine aligned 4 times (once by BMW and 3 times elsewhere) including a motorsport prep shop, end never was any weight added.

It doesn't really make sense to do it that way and isn't specified in the aligment data that I've seen.

The geometry dictates that the negative camber and rear toe-in angles will increase as the car depresses, so if you set them to spec when fully loaded, the neg camber will DECREASE as the car rises to the unloaded height, and the rear will toe-in less a little (making steering sharper).

I suppose they do it for some reason, maybe their machine specs include for loading, but as the figures are from BMW originally and BMW don't load for a KDS i'm not sure....

BTW - car looks great
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      09-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by docwalker View Post
Should the B4s be used with the stock m sport springs? My rears are leaky and need replaced.
Standard B4 if you're not using shorter springs. The B4S dampers are a LOT shorter, I don't think they'd physically fit without.

Quote:
Originally Posted by doughboy View Post
Hmmm, not sure about that.

I've had mine aligned 4 times (once by BMW and 3 times elsewhere) including a motorsport prep shop, end never was any weight added.

It doesn't really make sense to do it that way and isn't specified in the aligment data that I've seen.

The geometry dictates that the negative camber and rear toe-in angles will increase as the car depresses, so if you set them to spec when fully loaded, the neg camber will DECREASE as the car rises to the unloaded height, and the rear will toe-in less a little (making steering sharper).

I suppose they do it for some reason, maybe their machine specs include for loading, but as the figures are from BMW originally and BMW don't load for a KDS i'm not sure....

BTW - car looks great
When I had mine aligned, the guy said they have to add weight for the standard and MSport setups. I had mine done to the ZSP settings as it's lowered and he said for that, no weight was needed.

He didn't know why, it was just because.
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      09-20-2012, 01:46 AM   #18
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hi paul

cheers for the info, i was confused by the bilstein website which suggests the b4s for those with sports suspension.
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      09-20-2012, 03:20 AM   #19
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I'm not entirely sure what 'ZSP' is, I thought that was the US code for their US specific sports models?

AFAIK The US ZSP models are softer spung / damped and probably aligned for slower steering than the EU M sport models, so ZSP might be a downgrade from M sport?

You'd have been better asking for M3 settings (E90 if you have a tourer) which really do give an improvement in steering response and turn in.
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      09-21-2012, 12:07 PM   #20
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ZSP if I understand it is the american version of the "aftermarket" suspension kit - basically the B4S dampers and shorter springs. It's the next step up from M-sport - I think it might be "BMW Performance kit" in the UK or something similar.

As far as the weighting goes, the machine gave them a dimension for ride height measured from the bottom of the wheel rim to the top/centre of the wheel arch. The front was spot on. The back was about 20mm out, hence the weighting to bring it in spec.

After a week of blatting round the Welsh borders, I do think the steering is now a bit too light - very little feedback through the wheel. Handling still seems pretty precise - no understeer even when turning over a crest or dropping off a mian road onto a lower side road, and once the tyres are warmed up the ride is not too bad either now.
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      09-22-2012, 01:48 AM   #21
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Nice car

One point though, looking at the pictures, the rear looks too high.
Photo of rear wheel shows a fair gap at top of the tyre.
Maybe that's why the alignment guy had to Put some ballast in the rear.
Springs will settle with time so gap may reduce.
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      09-22-2012, 03:32 AM   #22
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I already have Eibach Pro springs and will be fitting B4 Sport shocks next month.

What would be the best alignment setting for me to ask for n can anyone recommend a decent place in the NW? (pref near Manchester)
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