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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 08-27-2009, 04:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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aftermarker suspension search

So now that the little bugs are out of my car its time to look for a suspension. i live right by the infamous Glendora Mountain Road and the canyons are def. my thing.

So what im looking for is some feed back from people with personal experience on any suspension setups on there bimmers (strut/coil or coilovers). Thanks so much guys!
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a 1994 E36 since it was new. It is a 318IS. I built a sleeper. That is it has Bilstein Sport struts in fromt and sport shocks in the rear. I added M3 Racing Dynamics sway bars with urethane bushings. Left the springs alone as I wanted a smooth ride, not a total track car. The rear sway bar has heim joints so it is fully adjustable for a set up. I kept the stock rear alignment settings as they are perfect for street. The fromt toe got set at zero & has Bridgestone 760 AS ploe Position tires in the stock P205/60 X 15 size. Little motor, don't want high rolling resistance tires. Added to that is the B&B exhaust along with an Autothority K&N air intake & chip programmed for the B&B system. I can keep with E36 M3s at Firebird raceway BMW track days! It rocks, sort of like a modern 2002!!!

Almost forgot, it has an X brace underneith and a Racing Dynamics strut tower bar under the hood.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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sounds very custom trailer to you and your likings, i like that. off the suspension topic, how much power increase would you say you got with the intake exhaust and chip?
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Old 08-28-2009, 12:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have no personal experience on aftermarket suspension. I thought of going for H&R and Bilstein sets for my 530-2002, but I’ve been told by a friend that it will be extra stiff to feel the bumps & manhole covers that are along the way. Is that right?
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have no personal experience on aftermarket suspension. I thought of going for H&R and Bilstein sets for my 530-2002, but I’ve been told by a friend that it will be extra stiff to feel the bumps & manhole covers that are along the way. Is that right?
Yep, those low profile tires take even higher tire pressures to keep them up. That is one reason I didn't change from the stock 60 series tires on my car. I have a set of 225 / 50 X15 for track days & they ride harshly.

As far as a power increase, I think we went from 130 to almost 174 according to the chassis dyno at B&B exhaust. It really comes on after 5500 rpm! At 5800 to 6500 it is like a house on fire for a 1.8 liter engine. It is LOUD but in a nice sort of way. It doesn't bother me but passengers tend to complain after an hour or so. Needs a resonator. Once you get it over 4000 rpm things quiet down (around 82 mph) and you cruse very nicely. Now that is with 15 year old exhaust technology. B&B isn't far from my home & they are building me a new muffler using the newest technology to help quiet it down a bit.

The car is actually quicker and handles better than an E36 M3 in a tight autocross situation as a friend of mine has one of those and it's stock. We both were using racing DOT tires at the time trials.

All in all, a very enjoyable car to drive.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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wow 44 hp, thats good! got to keep that in mind.
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I do not have an E36 but I do have a pretty decent knowledge in suspension set ups for BMW's in general. On my E39 I had a tough decision to make between coil-overs and a run of the mill (so to speak) sport/race strut lowering spring package.

Coilovers: They are fantastic in terms of ride height adjustability, dampening adjustability, and overall adjustability. However, some are a real PITA to setup properly and can take some time to reach a compromise between street driveability/race car handling. You're also going to want adjustable caster/camber arms, camber plates, etc which will also factor into the already high cost of some coilover systems.

Sport struts/lowering springs: Headache free and require minimal additional modification to setup (caster/camber plates, adjustable control arms, etc.) Ride height will be as is for the most part which is a good/bad things depending on what you want. Great option for a street car but a compromise if you ever plan to track the car. Relatively cheaper to do than a coilover system and you do not need to worry about constantly adjusting ride height and dampening which definitely makes life easier.

I inevitability decided to go with sport struts/shocks and lowering springs at first. I bought a Bilstein/H&R package from Turner Motorsport and it made a huge difference in handling right away. However, I also had to replace the factory strut bearings and rear shock mounts as they were showing signs of wear and tear. I completed that first suspension mod in June of 2008. This summer I kicked it up a little by adding Powerflex control arm and swaybar bushings to my front/rear suspension. I needed to replace my factory UCA's and LCA's and decided to give Powerflex bushings a shot and I could easily tell it firmed up the front suspension a little bit. During this time I changed my rear subframe bushings (which looked to be in good shape) with OE bushings and the rear ride definitely improved drastically. I also added a front strut brace which tied things together nicely and I'm hoping by spring of this year to install Eibach sway bars both front and rear.

Currently my setup is as follows...
Front:
Bilstein Sport struts
H&R lowering springs -1.3"
OE UCA+LCA's
Powerflex control arm and sway bar bushings
HD strut bearings
Racing Dynamics strut brace

Rear:
Bilstein Sport shocks
H&R lowering springs -.75"
HD shock mounts
Powerflex sway bar bushings
OE subframe bushings

I like the setup overall but in some ways I wish I had coilovers...

I also went from 17x8 ASA AR1 wheels all around with 235/45 rubber to 18x8.5" front and 18x9.5" rear with 245/40 front and 265/35 rubber rear. That made a huge ride difference and handling difference in two ways.
1) I feel everything on the road
2) Wider tires have given me more grip and the lower profile tends to flex less

Those are just my observations though...
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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what did you do to gain 44 hp on a 1.8?
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CanadianWraith View Post
M E
what did you do to gain 44 hp on a 1.8?
I'm interested in the answer to that as well. I didn't think it was even possible to get that much more power N/A...
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I didn't do the dyno work, the guys at B&B exhaust did. I changed to a B&B exhaust, added an Authority air intake with a K&N filter system, all powder coated. Then came the Autothority chip programmed to be used with the B&B system. Those were the figures B&B gave me after all the mods were done.

I don't even know if Authority is still around.
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