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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > installing Koni FSDs, is alignment necessary?



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      01-24-2017, 05:42 PM   #1
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installing Koni FSDs, is alignment necessary?

I saw that written in a couple places, but am finding it hard to believe. I just had it aligned, and all I'm doing is replacing all 4 shocks. Does replacing the fronts on these cars somehow affect alignment? No joints are being loosened during this install. Want to do things right but don't want to spend money I don't need to.
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      01-24-2017, 05:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklicker View Post
I saw that written in a couple places, but am finding it hard to believe. I just had it aligned, and all I'm doing is replacing all 4 shocks. Does replacing the fronts on these cars somehow affect alignment? No joints are being loosened during this install. Want to do things right but don't want to spend money I don't need to.
Technically, yes.

Soon as you undo a lower control arm you need another alignment. Now it may or may not be the end of the world, basically, you're toe could be out enough to cause uneven wear, in the extreme you'd notice a handling drawback. Then again, it depends on who did your alignment and who set it up. If they went with stock settings, you are at a disadvantage already. Alignments are extremely accurate and the slightest difference will affect them. Adding 20 lbs to the trunk or shifting your weight in the seat all affect alignment.

For example my car as it's sits has front camber at -1.3 and -1.5. As soon as I sit in my seat my alignment is -1.4 and -1.4. That's just camber but toe would react similarly. I had my car aligned for 0 toe all around, night and day compared to stock. Also dialing out some negative camber in the rear and adding some in the front helps too. I prefer small adjustments for people not familiar though, so start with a perfect 0 toe all around.

If your alignment guy doesn't get a perfect 0 0 0 for toe, find a better shop. Good alignment people are very picky and hard to come by.
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      01-24-2017, 05:51 PM   #3
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I'm doing the install. I have not loosened anything on the LCA, just compressed the springs and rotated the wheel hub downward per several guides floating around, which allowed clearance for the McPherson to be pulled out of the knuckle.
I could see there being some unusual stress on the LCA bushing in this position but I haven't touched a single joint. Car is an XI.
How can the alignment get off? That is what I'm trying to understand, as it seems to me it would be exactly the same.
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      01-24-2017, 05:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklicker View Post
I'm doing the install. I have not loosened anything on the LCA, just compressed the springs and rotated the wheel hub downward per several guides floating around, which allowed clearance for the McPherson to be pulled out of the knuckle.
I could see there being some unusual stress on the LCA bushing in this position but I haven't touched a single joint. Car is an XI.
How can the alignment get off? That is what I'm trying to understand, as it seems to me it would be exactly the same.
That's the front. I'm talking about the back. As far as technically being off in the front,minute differences in shock length and bushings, depending.

Only way to prove or disprove the theory is to check alignment after doing the install.
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      01-24-2017, 06:01 PM   #5
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Oh okay. I'm doing the rears this evening, I just figured they wouldn't be the issue because rears are usually so trivial on most cars! Sounds like I better make another expensive appointment.

Also, thanks Jeff, appreciate the knowledge
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      01-24-2017, 06:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklicker View Post
Oh okay. I'm doing the rears this evening, I just figured they wouldn't be the issue because rears are usually so trivial on most cars! Sounds like I better make another expensive appointment.

Also, thanks Jeff, appreciate the knowledge
Rear is actually just as important.

Before my last alignment my rear toe was way out, whereas the front was good, not perfect but really close.

After dialing in that rear toe back to 0 it was a completely different car.

In the future, try to do those alignments after suspension mods. Trust me I feel the pain on doing things twice, I had to do my alignment twice too. If you know any auto x guys locally they usually know the best alignment places and with referrals they usually cut you a break too. Given that you just got an alignment it's still going to be close, might even be close enough where a typical shop might say "you don't need an alignment".

So it depends on how serious you are about your alignment.
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      01-24-2017, 06:10 PM   #7
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Oh I wasn't discounting the importance of rear alignment, I just didn't know the LCA was involved with a rear swap. Other brands I've worked on it's just lift the body and R&R with two bolts, no touching the aligning parts. Much like my German camper van though, it sounds like BMW has found a way to make the ordinary extraordinary (expense, that is).
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      01-24-2017, 06:57 PM   #8
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Been considering Koni FSDs.
Some people say they're great, others say they're inconsistent.

Look forward to your review
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      01-24-2017, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatjoez View Post
Been considering Koni FSDs.
Some people say they're great, others say they're inconsistent.

Look forward to your review
Considering the Koni yellow are cheaper and adjustable, I tend to persuade people that way so there is no compromise. Some people still love their FSD others say they are bouncy. The thing with suspension and shock valving is everyone has a different idea of what is best for them, that's why I always encourage adjustable options.
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      01-25-2017, 10:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@TopGearSolutions View Post
auto x guys locally they usually know the best alignment places
That's because all the good auto x guys do their alignments at home in the driveway
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      01-27-2017, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatjoez View Post
Been considering Koni FSDs.
Some people say they're great, others say they're inconsistent.

Look forward to your review
My last car was a Mazdaspeed 3 and that crowd goes performance even more than this one but those who wanted to maintain a semblance of ride comfort while upgrading all raved about the FSDs. I always wanted them but never pulled the trigger. 1 month into owning this BMW and I get the pothole explosion bending 2 brand-new winter rims so to prevent that from happening again I finally get to try out the FSDs, albeit on a new platform. Turbo Subie Legacy drivers also like them as a stock-ish upgrade (a very comparable car to my 328xi e91). I'll share my thoughts once driven.

Last edited by Rocklicker; 01-27-2017 at 02:59 PM. Reason: I kan haz english gud
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      01-27-2017, 05:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCobra94 View Post
That's because all the good auto x guys do their alignments at home in the driveway
Yes, I know a bunch of those guys. You know you found one when they want to come out and check your camber, just cause they can... LOL
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      01-29-2017, 06:05 PM   #13
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Nice please post your review when they're installed
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      02-10-2017, 06:45 PM   #14
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Initial review

Okay they're installed on the car and I've driven them for about two weeks now. Installing the fronts on a macpherson strut on an XI was a royal PITA. I'ts not too bad if you do everything exactly right but if you don't it's really difficult. And the Bentley is worthless, zero XI-specific guidance. Anyways, I digress...

So I REALLY like these. The only con I can think of is driving over uneven concrete section (AKA, a shit road), where the block spacing is a bit less than the wheelbase they have a bit more bounce to them. But the positives are that they have the same or slightly better cornering flatness and general rebound as the OEM shocks, while showing a simply phenomenal improvement in absorbing potholes, joints, and surface roughness. It is just so buttery smooth over rough roads! And that significantly improves the NVH in the cabin.

The vehicle is an E91 xi with M-sport package, so that is literally the heaviest 3 series made. the M-sport package does NOT include stiffened suspension components on the XI models, so the comparison is to standard OEM dampers, not M-sport dampers. I use this vehicle for everything and it will be a family vehicle, so honestly I wanted to stay well away from anything that made the vehicle stiffer or lower. This improves performance just a hair over stock while providing a significantly smoother ride. Honestly I got these though because I bent two winter wheels immediately after buying them due to the "pothole explosion" phenomenon. These are supposed to stop that, but I haven't had the guts to aim those same (replacement) wheels and one of the open-pit quarries that count as potholes on my street to test that out.

I should add that there is a certain size of bump past which the magic stops working and it just feels like you're hitting something large and unpleasant, same as any shock, no matter the speed. I'd guess the frequency of the hit can remain tight but if the amplitude is too large the shock fights back. If anything this is what will stop the pothole explosions.
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      02-13-2017, 02:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@TopGearSolutions View Post
That's the front. I'm talking about the back. As far as technically being off in the front,minute differences in shock length and bushings, depending.

Only way to prove or disprove the theory is to check alignment after doing the install.
Why do you need to remove/disconnect the rear control arms?
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      02-24-2017, 04:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklicker View Post
Okay they're installed on the car and I've driven them for about two weeks now. Installing the fronts on a macpherson strut on an XI was a royal PITA. I'ts not too bad if you do everything exactly right but if you don't it's really difficult. And the Bentley is worthless, zero XI-specific guidance. Anyways, I digress...

So I REALLY like these. The only con I can think of is driving over uneven concrete section (AKA, a shit road), where the block spacing is a bit less than the wheelbase they have a bit more bounce to them. But the positives are that they have the same or slightly better cornering flatness and general rebound as the OEM shocks, while showing a simply phenomenal improvement in absorbing potholes, joints, and surface roughness. It is just so buttery smooth over rough roads! And that significantly improves the NVH in the cabin.

The vehicle is an E91 xi with M-sport package, so that is literally the heaviest 3 series made. the M-sport package does NOT include stiffened suspension components on the XI models, so the comparison is to standard OEM dampers, not M-sport dampers. I use this vehicle for everything and it will be a family vehicle, so honestly I wanted to stay well away from anything that made the vehicle stiffer or lower. This improves performance just a hair over stock while providing a significantly smoother ride. Honestly I got these though because I bent two winter wheels immediately after buying them due to the "pothole explosion" phenomenon. These are supposed to stop that, but I haven't had the guts to aim those same (replacement) wheels and one of the open-pit quarries that count as potholes on my street to test that out.

I should add that there is a certain size of bump past which the magic stops working and it just feels like you're hitting something large and unpleasant, same as any shock, no matter the speed. I'd guess the frequency of the hit can remain tight but if the amplitude is too large the shock fights back. If anything this is what will stop the pothole explosions.
I also have Koni FSD and they seemed to be better than stock in every regard. That being said, my stock shocks had 103k on them when replaced, so I imagine anything would be an improvement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by feuer View Post
Why do you need to remove/disconnect the rear control arms?
I'm wondering the exact same thing
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      03-01-2017, 04:07 PM   #17
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You don't need to remove the control arms. FWIW I had my alignment checked afterwards and it was still true.
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