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      11-27-2019, 09:56 AM   #1
BSG335
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As the car ages various components wear as well and some of the most easily noticeable will be suspension / shocks. Most if not all N54 cars should be changing out these components for at least thr first time if not more by now. And so I can't ignore mine anymore and it's no fun driving around in what feels like an early model Toyota Avalon as I waft down the road.

So let's look at budget coilovers options without getting too cheap and nasty. Because I haven't found anything about these options either because nobody is buying them or nobody wants to admit they bought them I'm ask the question here.

I'm curious and interested in learning from people who have more experience and more knowledge on this stuff than me (yes, I mean all you guys!). I've been looking at eBay stuff like this:

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F153524221954

or

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F113978368904

or

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F274100209683

or

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F282008037125

I'm not after superlow or back breaking hard/harsh. Equivalent to factory M-sport. What should I or anyone looking at these be looking for? Of course there will be a difference between budget stuff and say BC BR/ER or PSS10s or KWs but for something to daily drive on in Sydney and wanting something not bone jarring harsh.

What other alternatives are out there? Constructive comments welcome. Thank you

Last edited by BSG335; 12-03-2019 at 11:05 PM..
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      11-27-2019, 02:49 PM   #2
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Stay away from Chinese coilovers including BC, they are junk. They have done no development. They come with spring rates which are suitable for street/track use and quite decent values 6kg/12kg, but the dampers are absolutely crap. They are not valved properly and have quite soft compression damping, but have really stiff rebound. Just feels really underdamped. really stiff over small bumps but really soft over large bumps. Terribly setup.

Entry level coilovers I would suggest buying ST X, or Bilstein B14 or KW V1. They'd achieve your goals of fixing the shocks and not an uncomfortable ride. Forget fixed lowering spring options they're all hopeless, height adjust is vital since the fixed options all seem to get it wrong.
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      11-27-2019, 03:05 PM   #3
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I would suggest just replacing your shocks with something oem just like bilstein. I would not reccomend any unknown brands as you will be most likely up for a replacement set after finding issues with them. Anything from a stripped grub screw to a leak or poor fitment will cost you the cash you were saving.

No reason to get coil overs unless you are doing serious track days. Just getting new shocks will make it feel much better.
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      11-27-2019, 03:11 PM   #4
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+1 to avoiding cheap brands. As Brule said replace with OEM parts or as Vince said a set of KW v1s. Suspension is not a system on the car to cheap out on
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      11-27-2019, 03:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brule View Post
No reason to get coil overs unless you are doing serious track days. Just getting new shocks will make it feel much better.
I'd definitely disagree that coilovers are only for track days. On the e8x and e9x platform, 99% of the coilovers available are comfort oriented setups. KW V1-V3 for example have way too soft spring rates for really hard street driving or track use. Very very few shocks for this platform are valved to handle higher spring rates such as 6-10kg fronts and 10-14kg rears which is what I would consider suitable for hard street driving/track driving

Replacing shocks only and retaining the stock springs is definitely an option (such as Bilstein B8) and it works well. But brand new, 4 Bilstein B8 shocks will be not far off the price of a set of Bilstein B14 or ST X coilovers. Not to mention the stock front springs will be very difficult to handle for most DIYers, the spring is very long and compressed a lot. Personally I end up needing to use 3 spring compressors, and can only grab on 3 of the 5 spring coils (so you need to compress those 3 coils a lot) so its quite difficult without a wall mounted strut compressor. Coilovers you simply wind the lower spring perch down to install the spring, very easy.
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      11-27-2019, 05:16 PM   #6
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Hi , ive been running BC BR Coilovers for around 3000 K's, not as comfy as stock but its fair better than blown shocks , for $1400 i think they are great.

PS had them on 4 cars now.
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      11-28-2019, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
I'd definitely disagree that coilovers are only for track days. On the e8x and e9x platform, 99% of the coilovers available are comfort oriented setups. KW V1-V3 for example have way too soft spring rates for really hard street driving or track use. Very very few shocks for this platform are valved to handle higher spring rates such as 6-10kg fronts and 10-14kg rears which is what I would consider suitable for hard street driving/track driving

Replacing shocks only and retaining the stock springs is definitely an option (such as Bilstein B8) and it works well. But brand new, 4 Bilstein B8 shocks will be not far off the price of a set of Bilstein B14 or ST X coilovers. Not to mention the stock front springs will be very difficult to handle for most DIYers, the spring is very long and compressed a lot. Personally I end up needing to use 3 spring compressors, and can only grab on 3 of the 5 spring coils (so you need to compress those 3 coils a lot) so its quite difficult without a wall mounted strut compressor. Coilovers you simply wind the lower spring perch down to install the spring, very easy.
I was about to buy v2 are you saying they arnt any good or just not good for track purposes. I Just want to lower the car
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      11-28-2019, 08:35 AM   #8
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Why are you set on coilovers? Are you constantly going to be raising and lowering the car? Are you going to put it up on pressure pads and set specific weights for each tire?

Why not go with something like the Bilstein B12 pro kit that comes with the Eibach springs? I think the entire kit is around $800 or less.

You get an awesome ride for a daily driver, and for track days...I would think that setup would work much better than a cheap eBay coilover setup......

Just an idea....
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      11-28-2019, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant_McGrath View Post
I was about to buy v2 are you saying they arnt any good or just not good for track purposes. I Just want to lower the car
They're good coilovers and would still be a massive upgrade over stock. Definitely would be adequate for what you want. Just for hard performance driving the spring rates are quite soft (35N/mm front, 79N/mm rear).

Given the weight of these cars you really at least need higher spring rates to control the weight transfer and roll and get a really fast responding car imo. I get why KW has chosen those softer spring rates though, they're designed for a stock chassis with stock tyres and soft rubber subframe bushes.
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      12-01-2019, 06:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
Why are you set on coilovers? Are you constantly going to be raising and lowering the car? Are you going to put it up on pressure pads and set specific weights for each tire?

Why not go with something like the Bilstein B12 pro kit that comes with the Eibach springs? I think the entire kit is around $800 or less.

You get an awesome ride for a daily driver, and for track days...I would think that setup would work much better than a cheap eBay coilover setup......

Just an idea....
Where are you getting a set of B12s for $800
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      12-01-2019, 04:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussieatlarge View Post
Where are you getting a set of B12s for $800
Bilstein B12 Pro Kit with Eibach springs. $832 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-46-1.../dp/B009FU9J3K
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      12-01-2019, 05:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
Bilstein B12 Pro Kit with Eibach springs. $832 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-46-1.../dp/B009FU9J3K

Price $832.92
AmazonGlobal Shipping + $157.48
Estimated Import Fees Deposit + $200.99
Total: $1191.39 USD
Total: $1760.99 Australian Dollar


Good work, great bargain!
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      12-02-2019, 04:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
Bilstein B12 Pro Kit with Eibach springs. $832 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-46-180650-Suspension-Front-Rear/dp/B009FU9J3K

Price $832.92
AmazonGlobal Shipping + $157.48
Estimated Import Fees Deposit + $200.99
Total: $1191.39 USD
Total: $1760.99 Australian Dollar


Good work, great bargain!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
Bilstein B12 Pro Kit with Eibach springs. $832 on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bilstein-46-1.../dp/B009FU9J3K

Price $832.92
AmazonGlobal Shipping + $157.48
Estimated Import Fees Deposit + $200.99
Total: $1191.39 USD
Total: $1760.99 Australian Dollar


Good work, great bargain!
Sarcasm?
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      12-02-2019, 05:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
Price $832.92
AmazonGlobal Shipping + $157.48
Estimated Import Fees Deposit + $200.99
Total: $1191.39 USD
Total: $1760.99 Australian Dollar


Good work, great bargain!
Aren't those fees going to apply to anything you buy?

Sure....go ahead and roll the dice on a set of $200 eBay coilovers......I'm sure they will be fantastic!
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      12-02-2019, 06:33 AM   #15
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Where did I say go buy a set of eBay coilovers?
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      12-03-2019, 09:13 AM   #16
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Yeah I have no plans to track the car. I want some comfort left in the car also. Just lower it and improve the stability a little
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      12-03-2019, 09:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant_McGrath View Post
Yeah I have no plans to track the car. I want some comfort left in the car also. Just lower it and improve the stability a little
Bilstein B12 Pro kit.....best deal out there.
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      12-03-2019, 11:22 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone for your comments and advice, much appreciated. I'm really just thinking of what can be achieved on a budget for this platform and as much as I would love to go all out on FBO++ etc. like some of you have done there are practical limitations to doing so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
Stay away from Chinese coilovers including BC, they are junk. They have done no development. They come with spring rates which are suitable for street/track use and quite decent values 6kg/12kg, but the dampers are absolutely crap. They are not valved properly and have quite soft compression damping, but have really stiff rebound. Just feels really underdamped. really stiff over small bumps but really soft over large bumps. Terribly setup.

Entry level coilovers I would suggest buying ST X, or Bilstein B14 or KW V1. They'd achieve your goals of fixing the shocks and not an uncomfortable ride. Forget fixed lowering spring options they're all hopeless, height adjust is vital since the fixed options all seem to get it wrong.
Yeah this is the kind of feedback I needed - I don't know enough right now to understand how to assess manufacture quality. I have used BC BR on a previous E90 (non M-Sport) and with some adjustment of height and damping I was quite happy with the ride but that's comparing to old, worn out shocks. I agree that they were soft over large bumps and hard over small bumps despite whatever damping setting was used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brule View Post
I would suggest just replacing your shocks with something oem just like bilstein. I would not reccomend any unknown brands as you will be most likely up for a replacement set after finding issues with them. Anything from a stripped grub screw to a leak or poor fitment will cost you the cash you were saving.

No reason to get coil overs unless you are doing serious track days. Just getting new shocks will make it feel much better.
This could be a good option. No plans to track the car and no plans to regularly raise / lower ride hide. However like most here there is the occasional spirited drive and back roads when the opportunity arises!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jivejelly View Post
Hi , ive been running BC BR Coilovers for around 3000 K's, not as comfy as stock but its fair better than blown shocks , for $1400 i think they are great.

PS had them on 4 cars now.
Yes, had them before but for a short while before I moved on to the current E92. Much better than worn out components and I suppose good enough for most people and good enough for most road use, if you spend sufficient time fine tuning the set up. Even then, as vtl points out, they are lacking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
Why are you set on coilovers? Are you constantly going to be raising and lowering the car? Are you going to put it up on pressure pads and set specific weights for each tire?

Why not go with something like the Bilstein B12 pro kit that comes with the Eibach springs? I think the entire kit is around $800 or less.

You get an awesome ride for a daily driver, and for track days...I would think that setup would work much better than a cheap eBay coilover setup......

Just an idea....
Not set on coilovers at all. For almost the same price (and in the eBay examples, less) than the price of a fixed set up it is possible (although maybe not advisable) to purchase a coilover set up with adjustable damping and height. Some set ups provide adjustable rebound as well but do cost more. And, as usual, we pay a lot more down here for the same stuff that is really accessible / cheaper for US or Euro based people. Otherwise, seems like many people are happy with the option of the B12s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtl View Post
They're good coilovers and would still be a massive upgrade over stock. Definitely would be adequate for what you want. Just for hard performance driving the spring rates are quite soft (35N/mm front, 79N/mm rear).

Given the weight of these cars you really at least need higher spring rates to control the weight transfer and roll and get a really fast responding car imo. I get why KW has chosen those softer spring rates though, they're designed for a stock chassis with stock tyres and soft rubber subframe bushes.
It's stuff like that I don't fully understand yet. What are the factory M-Sport spring rates? How do you compare spring rate and damping / rebound? How does this all factor in together to give the kind of ride someone is looking for? And so on...
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      12-04-2019, 01:25 PM   #19
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I think the key message from everyone is budget = poor. Might take a little longer but save up the $ to buy a good (not competition) set of coil overs and do the job right. This is hard won experience from all of us who have been down this path and have learned the hard way of wasting money on budget Chinese eBay parts etc. That said itís your car and your money so do what feels right to you. Good luck
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      12-04-2019, 04:08 PM   #20
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The factory suspension has incredibly soft springs but this is only part of the story. They are very soft and designed for runflat tyres and do not control the body much at all. They are used in conjunction with the bump stops to produce a very progressive spring rate (ie very soft and gets harder as it's compressed) infact the bump stops are engaged even at ride height and basically is always in use. They pair these with pretty cheap twin tube shocks and they wear out really quickly. They rely more on the bump stops to control the bumps rather than using the shocks.

In contrast, if you double the spring rates and use a quality damper, you can use the shocks to control the damping and the bump stop is only used to control the max compression on massive bumps. This results in a setup that can be as comfortable as stock but control the body and weight transfer a lot better.

I have driven many coilover setups on this platform and have owned Bilstein B12 and KW V2 and now KW competition. Out of all of them, the KW competition is the stiffest and the most comfortable out of all of them. That's not saying you should get racing dampers, its just a testament to good dampers make all the difference.

Heres some of the suspensions I've fitted to cars:

The Bilstein B12s were terrible. The front springs sagged and kept getting lower and lower over time. The eibach spring rates were barely any stiffer than stock but lowered the car massively, so it would scrape over everything, and compress so much over speed bumps. It was riding so low that any small bump would bottom out the suspension onto the bump stops so it was very uncomfortable. There's a lot of variants in the E8x/E9x platform to different engines and different corner weights. If you look at all the springs in realoem they are all different for each variant. The ride heights for the B12 kit are all over the place, only the E90 variant seems to have it right, all the other variants seem to slam the front of the car. Better off just getting coilovers so you can set the height to where you want it rather than hoping it'll be good and finding out you have no way of raising the car.

Koni Yellows - These shocks are very comfortable and appear to soak up the small bumps really well. They work with a large range of spring rates and still retain the ability to soak up small bumps even with much stiffer rates. Although if you do put coilover springs on will probably find the compression damping is not enough once you start driving hard and hit the bigger bumps. These shocks work really well with the stock springs and they're a nice comfortable setup.

The KW V2s I had on my car, and were a massive step up from the B12s. The spring rates are much stiffer, but comfort wise they were much better since they were riding a lot higher and weren't sitting on the bump stops. The adjustable damping aspect of them is mostly a gimmick, i have never found single adjustable rebound shocks to be good in dialing in the car in or fixing the shocks from feeling underdamped. Ultimately these performed quite well and would satisfy most people, and I suspect KW V1 would be quite similar in performance. They were just a bit too soft for my tastes as I wanted stiffer rates to control the body roll and make the car more responsive. The adjustment ranges for the height are excellent and you can run the front end quite high if you wanted to. The ST suspension all feels very similar to the KW V1 and V2s (ST X, XT and XTAs) so theyre a good option if you want the same thing for less money.

Bilstein B14 - Have fitted a bunch of these to E9x cars and they perform quite well, the monotube dampers feel a bit stiffer than the V2s, but have similar spring rates. The front springs are a bit short for my liking, on max front height, the front end is still quite low (although adding camber plates and spacer can help)

KW V3 - These feel like a much bigger step up from V1 and V2. The Compression and rebound adjustment is useful in dialling in the damping and the dampers are valved for a lot more compression over V2. The spring rates are still the same as V1 and V2, so they are still a bit soft, but the dampers at least control the body a lot better.

MCA street ultimate- These run proper spring rates for hard street and some track use, and you can spec them to have any springs you want. These feel like they are valved a lot better than most aftermarket shocks and have much better compression. These are great out of the box coilovers. The single damping adjustment I found theres really only 1 sweet spot imo. Increasing it just makes the car more uncomfortable and pogos over bumps (this is the same with pretty much all single adjust shocks ive found). Out of the box these are probably the best bang per buck on this platform for serious driving.

KW competition 2 way - These are what i'm running on my car, they were off a 130i that was racing in the improved production series. I modified the shock mountings to suit street use and fitted softer springs. These dampers are a massive step up from the consumer stuff and the dampers really work well in keeping the car settled over bumps, and getting the energy dissipated as quickly as possible. Can hit massive bumps mid corner and the car will not unload and feel unsettled, very happy with these.

Ohlins R&T - These coilovers come with a good front spring rate but a terrible rear spring rate (on non M) which is too soft. Most people just replace the rear springs with stiffer units. Because the rear spring rate is so much heavier (i think around 70% stiffer) the rear is quite underdamped on large bumps, but since most people have not experienced anything better, they just assume thats as good as it gets. The dampers do work well but they do feel a bit underdamped, even on the M3/1M variant.
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      12-05-2019, 01:54 AM   #21
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My 2c worth is that I had Koni Yellow's on my daily driver E92 with Eibach springs and found them too firm for Sydney roads. As vtl mentions the springs whilst only slightly lower did scrape a lot, I was also running 18" wheels with Hankook Ventus tyres. One trick I did find out about with the Koni's (a little too late) is the standard bump stops fitted to the rear shocks are meant to be cut in half to give slightly more shock travel before they come into play, this may have helped but really whilst the handling wasn't near as good at least the car is more pleasurable to drive back on the standard m-sport suspension. If I was to change the shocks I would look at Koni FSD's with the standard springs.

Last edited by badmanners; 12-05-2019 at 01:54 AM.. Reason: Typo!
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      12-05-2019, 02:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
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The factory suspension has incredibly soft springs but this is only part of the story. ............ The dampers do work well but they do feel a bit underdamped, even on the M3/1M variant.
Another excellent write up from the master
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