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      02-09-2017, 08:50 AM   #1
CobraMarty
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Commuter Build- '07 E90 328xi

Commuter Build- '07 E90 328xi

History-
I have always had a 2nd car just for commuting to work. I drive 40-200 miles each way to work. Usually something comfortable, safe and that I didn't mind if it got dinged in the parking lot. I live in the NorthEast with rain, ice and snow. The FWD Taurus seemed to fit the bill. Bought first Taurus in 1990, another in 96 and the most recent one in 2000. Bought used '99 with 18k for $12k. It has been my commuter car. Fairly reliable, cheap to repair. Had what I needed heat, A/C, ABS. Drove it to work and now in 2017 it has 225k on it and the trans is slipping and it is on it's last leg. Time for a 'New Commuter' car.
My son has a '07 E92 328xi which he loves. It has been modded some. It got me to thinking about what to get next for a commuter.

NEW Commuter Car- '07 E90 328xi
My son wouldn't let me get a 2 door manual 328xi like his, he is an only child and doesn't share well, Ha. We found a '07 E90 328xi with 81k for $7500 auto 4 door. It is in perfect condition. Dealer maintained, 20+ year detailer's wife's car. Showroom condition inside and out. Stock.

I now work out of town and drive 410 miles round trip 3 times a month. Same route, Turnpike and highway the whole way. The Taurus would make the whole trip on 1 tank of gas and average 29mpg at 64mph.

Modifications to make it more enjoyable
Tired of boring and one to 'never leave it alone' and using what we have learned from modifying my son's 328xi, I'm trying to come up with reasonably priced mods to improve efficiency, looks and handling. Don't need more performance at this time.
It has 16" wheels on it with good tread run flats. I also have another set of 16s and a set of 17" with good treads to use up on the highway commute before I get different tires and wheels.
Mods-
-Wheel spacers to flush with the fenders about 20mm. I like the look.
-Sway bars F+R, upgraded UUC. Use with stock springs and shocks.
-Charcoal delete
-Inlet scoops from ECS. 'Ram air effect' at 70mph.
-Clear front bra
-Tinted windows. I hate the 'fish bowl' look of clear windows.
-Appearance- Front lip spoiler, rear window spoiler and rear lip spoiler. It's a white car and I am not sure about 'carbon fiber' look pieces or white painted.
-Exhaust tips, chrome. Left overs from my son when he got PE.
-? Lowered maybe by cutting a half a loop off the stock springs. Not sure on this one. I want to keep the ride quality but might want the look. My son has UUC sway bars, Eibachs and Bilsteins and I like the look with 18s and handling is awesome but the ride suffers. I will not go this route.

That's about it.
I hope to now be able to drive 70-75mph and get to work in 2.5 hours instead of the current 3 hours with the Taurus at 64mph the whole way. Still get close to 30 mpg and enjoy the ride more.

Yeah it's pretty simple and boring. Maybe in a year I will do some more mods.
LED interior lights, sport seats, steering wheel with paddle shifting, LED halos and fog lights, strut brace, better tires and wheels, PI and PE.
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      02-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #2
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I have a twin to your car 2007 328xi AW and I agree on all your mods.
Be advised that 20mm spacers (I have 15mm front and 20mm rear) will get you a dirty sides in bad weather because tires will be sticking out a bit from well.
Charcoal delete accomplishes nothing at all, but I may be wrong.
Carbon fiber look vs AW painted spoilers - that is a tough one - I was not able to come to a definitive conclusion to that, but overall for stock look AW painted add-ons flow better IMHO.
Sway bars - do they really improve handling and limit body roll? I was under impression that it is springs that really affect ride height, body roll and ride comfort to some degree

P.S. I would change RFT - they are noisy and ride comfort sucks - if you want better comfort fro long commutes I mean
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      02-09-2017, 07:32 PM   #3
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Yeah I was wondering if 20mm front spacers would fit. Maybe on the stock 16" wheels. My son's 18" fronts only uses 5mm spacers.

Heavier sway bars makes huge difference, even with stock springs. I put them on everything, F150, Jeep Cherokees, Excursion, even dodge minivan and taurus. Makes corning more flat and feel like 'ricky racer' ha. Ride height and ride quality is nearly the same, just flatter in the turns.

Yeah run flats suck but they probably have 1-2 year/30k left on them.

I have never done the charcoal delete but everyone raves about it. Our other BMW has the EURO intake which really made a big difference. And charcoal delete is free. I have a new EURO kit in the box on shelf at home and a 3 stage intake but I really don't want to spend that much on this car.
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      02-09-2017, 11:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CobraMarty View Post
Yeah I was wondering if 20mm front spacers would fit. Maybe on the stock 16" wheels. My son's 18" fronts only uses 5mm spacers.

Heavier sway bars makes huge difference, even with stock springs. I put them on everything, F150, Jeep Cherokees, Excursion, even dodge minivan and taurus. Makes corning more flat and feel like 'ricky racer' ha. Ride height and ride quality is nearly the same, just flatter in the turns.

Yeah run flats suck but they probably have 1-2 year/30k left on them.

I have never done the charcoal delete but everyone raves about it. Our other BMW has the EURO intake which really made a big difference. And charcoal delete is free. I have a new EURO kit in the box on shelf at home and a 3 stage intake but I really don't want to spend that much on this car.
Oh 20mm would fit no problem, it's just that I have to clean side panels almost every other day from dirt tires are throwing at them - they just stick out too much, but I agree they look good

Yeah, I only mentioned sway bars, because when I wanted to reduce body roll, on suspension forum everyone said to not touch sway bars or change them as a last resort. It was implied that for e9x stock sway bars are matched precisely and exchanging it for a aftermarket sway bar will throw suspension out of tuned balanced and will degrade the ride. But hey, I have no idea if that's true or not

Good luck with mods
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      02-26-2017, 11:10 AM   #5
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Installed 20mm front spacers and they fit and don't rub. Just where I want the tire/wheel. I see what you mean about the tire sticking out and flinging dirt up onto the side of the car. Bought some BMW mud flaps and will see how they look. Will paint them white to match car.

Installed rear 20mm spacers and they are not enough. Ordered set of 30mm spacers. 40mm spacers might be just a bit too much and rub on the inside lip of the fender.

Installed ECS front inlet scoops. Nice and easy drop in install. Don't expect any performance difference but hoping for a mpg increase.

Went to replace the battery, slightly slow crank. They recommend group 48 but it is about 2" shorter lengthwise compared to the stock bmw battery. Now back to the shop and get a group 49 battery which should be the same size as stock battery.
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      03-08-2017, 08:20 AM   #6
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Replaced the battery with a group 49. Works great, no reprogramming required.
On closer inspection, the battery box has multiple holes for the battery hold down bracket, so the smaller, shorter, lighter batteries could be used. I am out of town a lot and with NE winters, I wanted the biggest battery available.

Did the charcoal delete and added an aFe air filter.

Today going for the front clear bra paint protector and tinting.

Have a set of 30mm spacers for the rear to add.

Bought a set of F+R BMW mud flaps. Gotta see how they look and maybe install and maybe paint them white to match.

Added the paint matched rear lip spoiler. Small one, looks great.

Stock brake pads are way to dusty for me. I hate cleaning rims. Bought a set of ceramic pads to add for less brake dust. My son had a set of these pads and he thought they had slightly less braking and changed to EBC. Work great but the EBC still have to much brake dust.

Gonna install the UUC F+R sway bars when I do the brake pads.

Wrapped the interior door trim pieces with white carbon fiber. On the black interior the white contrast really looks great. Starting on the dash in the next few days. Way better than the wood grain that was in it.
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      03-08-2017, 10:55 AM   #7
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You don't need sway bars or cutting the springs. If you want to lower it do it the right way buy coilovers. As far as looks that's a personal preference.
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      03-09-2017, 01:57 AM   #8
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Please post some pics when you have time! I have 18' style 162 staggered setup and 20mm is just fine, but for stock 16' rims you are right rear 20mm is not enough to sit flash. I'll post mine in a few days. You can also consider painting/plastidipping grill to black - it's subtle, but changes the front look for better imho
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      03-09-2017, 02:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Underground6t9 View Post
You don't need sway bars or cutting the springs. If you want to lower it do it the right way buy coilovers. As far as looks that's a personal preference.
I ordered the box of KW V1 coilovers, but I'm on a fence now - a lot of people say ride will get stiff. Looks will be great I agree and it will improve handling and less body roll, but I can't compromise on ride comfort. I had Honda on coilovers previously and I felt every bump on a road - was fun first couple miles - and then living hell to my spine for next 30k miles lol
I am now hesitant to install them - but want to try, since I still hope KW V1 can compare to sport suspension in terms of ride comfort. Anything firmer than that - would be back to spine crashing Honda lol
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      03-09-2017, 09:38 AM   #10
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My son's '07 328xi coupe has lowered Bilsteins and Eibachs with UCC sway bars F+R and bushings and 18's and rides and handles amazingly well. Ride is a little rough but not bad. Runs circles around coilover cars. VAC did some work on it years ago and couldn't believe the ride and handling compared to coilover cars that they have done in the past.

But I'm not interested in either setup, coilovers or Bilstein/Eibachs, $$$$ or ride. This is a commuter car and I drive 210 miles each way on the turnpike.
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      03-09-2017, 09:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CobraMarty View Post
Replaced the battery with a group 49. Works great, no reprogramming required.
You do need to reset the battery. You'll kill that new one in no time if you don't. Its literally 5 minutes with INPA, just do it.
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      03-09-2017, 09:57 AM   #12
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10-4, Will have my son dig out the cable and laptop.
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      03-09-2017, 06:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rothwem View Post
You do need to reset the battery. You'll kill that new one in no time if you don't. Its literally 5 minutes with INPA, just do it.
That's a bit of exaggeration.

Just a rant.
Battery registration mainly affects alternator load - basically how often and to what extent new battery will be charged. Considering stored values will be for old battery - new battery will be overcharged. Amount of overcharging is unknown to me, but I know that bmw keeps battery charged up to 80% of its rating capacity. So even slight overcharging won't kill battery in no time. In the long run, yes, it will affect battery life. Instead of 7 years you may get 5, but it's not going to be damaged or "killed" in a week or month

Besides, as it turns out Bentley manual uses BMW tool to register some other brand cars and it turns out bmw still checks level of battery charge - meaning there is a feedback. It's not like car will operate blindly relying only on stored during registration battery age. Think about it - a new battery put in instead of old could have been sitting on a shelf for 3-4 years already and buyer doesn't know that. It would have been a huge omission from bmw to not control battery values in real time and adjust accordingly alternator load etc.
What I'm trying to say in this rant - is that battery won't die suddenly in no time. No sir. However, registering it is still a good idea as I suspect it plays other roles (like bmw can decrease power to some electrical components thinking battery is old etc)
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      03-09-2017, 07:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CobraMarty View Post
But I'm not interested in either setup, coilovers or Bilstein/Eibachs, $$$$ or ride. This is a commuter car and I drive 210 miles each way on the turnpike.
Yet you are considering slicing up your springs? Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you mean but suspension geometry is an extremely complex topic and throwing in massive spacers and cutting your springs will have some serious consequences not just on ride quality, but on your safety, braking ability, life of your tires, etc. When you get a minute I strongly recommend you watch this video. Also, lowering your car will increase negative camber. Make sure you get an alignment done afterwards. Just my $0.02

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      03-10-2017, 01:20 PM   #15
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His presentation really just seems like his opinion and 'general mis-info' that is found on the internet. No hard evidence or testing. I don't buy it.

Cutting Coil Springs
Here is a good explanation on cutting springs to lower-
http://www.eatondetroitspring.com/cutting-coil-springs/
"The first thing you need to know is that cutting a coil spring will not only lower the vehicle, but it will also stiffen the spring making the ride and handling a bit firmer. But this is a good thing because lowering a vehicle reduces the amount of suspension travel. A stiffer spring will help reduce bottoming out."
A 200lb/in spring with 10 coils, 1" movement requires 200lbs and each coil moves 0.1" with 200 lbs. If this coil is cut in half, to 5 coils, that same 1" movement will require 0.2"/coil compression and that will require 400 lbs for 1" compression. So now the same spring when cut is rated at 400lb/in. The spring material/thickness is the same, but the spring rate is different.

Spacers
Sure spacers move the wheel out, but his recommendation of wider wheels also moves the wheel out and 'increases' the force/leverage on the wheel bearings. The real question is how much is this increase? Actual tested value and does this increase force really cause wheel bearings to fail? I've had more wheel bearings fail not using spacers than with spacers.

Increase Camber
Yes to a degree this does help some cars keep the tire in contact with the road in turning. Done extremely for 'show car' just looks dumb.

Sway Bars
They can improve and worsen understeer and oversteer. Most manufactures use smaller diameter sway bars for 'comfort' and use larger bars for performance. Here on the E9x chassis, 328/335/M3 all use increasing thicker sway bars. Don't go overboard. Again not using a 2" sway bar. Testing not opinion.

Spring Compressors/Expanders/spacers/cups
All attempt to change spring length and affect ride height. Many times there are no readily available springs with different lengths, so this can make minor adjustments in spring length. Those bolt on coil compressors are a little hockey.

Just take what you read or hear on the internet with a grain of salt and not as gospel truth. All cars are different and making general statements without being specific is of little value.
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Last edited by CobraMarty; 03-11-2017 at 08:38 AM.
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      03-21-2017, 09:57 PM   #16
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Today got the coolant flushed and oil changed to Mobil 1.
Didn't pass inspection for front lower rear control arms. Ordered a set and will get them installed and then a 4 wheel alignment.
Tires are right on the edge. 2 barely pass and 2 are a bit better but not by much.

So do I get a set of new tires now and have no worries for the next few years or try to eek out another 10k on the tires currently on there.
I don't recall the make but they are 205 55 16 runflats.

I have been checking out all the usual venders for tires. My son has a set of BFG g-force Sport Comp-2 225-40-18 and 255-35-18s and loves them. I can upgrade slightly on my tires width to 225-50-16 and they are the same diameter as the 205-55-16s, 24.9".
On Ebay there is a sale with Discount Tire Direct with Ebay giving $100 off any tire purchase over $450 from DTD. A set of 4 225-50-16s is $460, less $100 from Ebay, with free shipping and no tax and 3 year free replacement warranty!!
Ordered.
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Last edited by CobraMarty; 03-22-2017 at 08:01 AM.
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      03-22-2017, 03:05 AM   #17
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Nice pick up on those tires. Saw those prices and they're good!
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      03-22-2017, 07:58 AM   #18
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And the shop charges $10 mounting and $10 balancing, $80 total. So total cost for 4 new tires mounted and balanced for $440 total. Can't beat that.
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      03-30-2017, 10:13 AM   #19
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Picked up yesterday from the shop.
-Mobil 1 oil and filter change
-radiator flush and fill
-new front rear lower control arms
-tires mounted and balanced
-alignment
-emission and safety inspection

Tires- quieter, better ride, 225/50 vs 205/55 slightly improved cornering/handling

Today bolted on the BMW Strut Brace. Shinny!

With the new bigger tires, at the front there is a bit too much 'poke' with the 20cm spacers. Kinda like a little too much 'NASCAR' look. Going to change the spacers out to 15mm instead of the 20mm which looked right with the smaller 205 tires.
On the rear still gonna change the 20mm to 30mm and see if they rub.
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      03-30-2017, 12:12 PM   #20
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Which strut brace? The aluminum one?

Would be nice to see a pick - of the shiny and the poke.
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      04-10-2017, 12:12 AM   #21
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Yep the shinny aluminum one, ECS $253 free shipping and no tax.
My son has the CF one that we got at a super price years ago. Today like over $1000.
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      04-10-2017, 08:59 AM   #22
gunnerxq
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Drives: e90 "325i"
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Staten Island and Albany

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Convert it to a manual, just kidding. I was under the impression that unless you get a limited slip differential in the rear your handling actually suffers with sway bars? I would recommend a 3 stage intake manifold either old or new. Then a tune either AA or BPC. And then you will see where your car is lagging in the handling category. And 18's NON run flat with Eibach PRO-KIT matched with BILSTEINS, should be more comfortable then your current ride. Run-flats are dumb because you WILL need new tires if you ride on them with low air. I once had a puncture in my tire and pulled over every 5-10 min to check and fill it with air if necessary, the tire was saved. Ride quality always suffers with run flats because of their stiff sidewalls.
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