Lately, the ass end of my car is all over the place - I know for a fact that it is a suspension problem - it's way too bouncy. My question is, how can I tell if I should replace the shock, or spring - the problem seems as if it's only on one side of the car?
Everything seems to be going wrong with this POS lately...
More likely its your shocks. You should always replace them in pairs! This may be prime opportunity to upgrade your whole suspension if you werelooking to do so int he future. Sport shocks and springs at all corners can greatly improve hnadling while giving your car a more agressive look
Actually come to think of it, since you do own a e36 and your rears are a problem, it may be your springs. I had a buddy with a e36 whos rear springs BROKE! Ride height in the rear was slightly lower and it had broken a long time befor ehe even knew. About 1 inch of the coil at the bottom of the spring had snapped off and was sitting int he little hub deal. Take off your tire and insepct the bottom parts of your springs. Hopefully this is the problem, because then you can just buy a paint of rear springs and install them easy cheesy. Rear springs are easy to install on the e36. We've done it.
If you are sagging that is a different story, but a visual inspection of the spring should tell you whether that is the problem or not. No clue on the actual ride height though.. I guess I could measure mine then add 1.5 inches to it... but wheel/tire size would change the height...
You probably have a blown shock back there; you're bouncing up and down because you're riding on only the spring. Inspect the shocks for fluid seeping out and down the shock housing. That'll tell you for sure. And like these guys say, replace both sides at the same time.
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