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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > All-Wheel-Drive (Xi / xDrive) Talk > Has anyone made their Xi off-road worthy?



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      01-16-2016, 06:22 AM   #1
AcridPorpoise
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Has anyone made their Xi off-road worthy?

I'm into the idea of modifying my sport wagon to tackle some light off-roading and rally around in the desert a bit. I'm inspired by the rally Porsches and Subaru in the pics. It's been tough to find good, longer travel suspension upgrades, though. Finding tires shouldn't be too hard. Any recommendations? Anyone ever done this before? Thanks!
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      01-16-2016, 07:59 AM   #2
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I use (rally) mine in the snow all the time with a good set of Blizzaks but snow doesn't cause as much wear and tear as sand/dirt getting all up in your undercarriage. I'm not sure there is a suspension lift for these cars but if you go ahead and start a project I'd love to follow the thread!
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      01-16-2016, 10:40 PM   #3
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Good to know about the tires. I'm upgrading the intake this weekend, so that's a start. Still on the hunt for some mud flaps/splash guards that are larger than the plastic ones from the BMW shop, too I'm going make it happen!
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      01-25-2016, 02:02 PM   #4
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I haven't, but you need to post pics if you do. Sounds like an awesome project!

I think you could start with X1 springs to raise the ride height, or maybe some hyperco springs and HPA manual height adjusters. Fortune auto makes coilovers for the E9x platform, and they have a "gravel coilover" that they offer for Subaru applications. You might be able to get them to adapt the gravel damper/spring to the BMW mounting configuration.

Lots of cool ideas out there, but I'm not sure anyone has gone through with anything yet.

I think a couple of your limitations will be:

-Fragile rear suspension - A lot of the rear suspension is designed to break away in an accident so nothing punctures the gas tank in a wreck. The trailing arms, in particular, have been known to fail during track "offs".

-Lack of droop/shock travel - When you raise your stock suspension without lengthening the control arm, you're increasing ground clearance, but lowering droop travel. Droop travel is crucial for maintaining traction over rough terrain at speed. On offroad trucks, one of the things to worry about when you get new springs is "topping out". Basically, since you've increased the length of your spring, you've increased travel of the suspension without increasing the length of the shock, so the shock becomes your "limit strap". Topping out a shock is often as destructive as bottoming one out.

-CV angle - This is really only an issue if you're lifting several inches, but if your CV angle is too far from parallel to the ground, best case is you wear and tear your CV boots faster than usual, worst case is they bind and destroy themselves.

If I was going to go big, I'd see about fabricating some longer control arms and then trim the fenders for more tire clearance. I'd aim to keep the ride height ~1-1.5" higher than stock, and use some custom Icons or King coilovers.
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