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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 02-20-2005, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've had my e36 for a couple of weeks now. I'm just using for a daily driver (I have another car that I track and use for more driving enjoyment). However, I'm really annoyed by the stock suspension on the bmw. It's really, really bouncy. I've looked through the archives and I have some questions.

1. taking springs and struts from an m3: People say this is too much trouble and the cost is near aftermarket setup. Could someoen please explain to me what's involved? Cost wise, it shouldn't be too much. I've seen m3 springs go for $50, and I can't imagine the used fronts struts being more than $100. Work wise, I'll do it myself. So, $150 for the whole set up. Am I missing something here? How is the M3 setup compare to the stock IS?

2. H&R springs/ Bilstein struts: While ideal, it is $740. I don't really wnat to spend that much money. I won't be tracking this car, I'm just annoyed by the way the stock suspension drives and I'm looking for cheaper alternatives.

3. How about just springs? Has anyone just put on the H&R springs with the stock struts? How did that turn out? Or can I go with a set of progressive springs with stock struts to tighten it up a bit?

I'd appreciate any feedback.
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Old 02-20-2005, 04:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've learned that to do a m3 suspention swap you need the sturts, springs, sway bars (those are the parts I know of, but there is probably more). The sway bars connect to the back of the struts, so your non m sway bar cant be used. I was also told that the m3 springs can slip out because they are a diffrent diameter. I have bilstein sport shocks right now and the ride is wonderful, Im still using stock springs. Dont bother doing the m3 suspention is what most will say, and after lookin into this more it makes more sence to get aftermarket parts. Start by getting some bilstein sport shocks and see where that takes you.

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Old 02-20-2005, 11:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It sounds like your shocks may be shot if the ride is really bouncy. So unless you are looking to upgrade the handling anyway, I would check out your shocks and see if they are busted. From what you have said I would think that they are, unless you are used to driving cars with aftermarket suspensions. If it turns out that your shocks are fine, I would go with Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks, unless you want to lower your car, then H&R's with Bilstein sports is the way to go.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have replaced my M3 shocks/springs with bilsteins and bavauto sport springs... found them to be much tighter... the lifetime warranty bilstein has with their shocks is also a plus
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dont bother doing the m3 suspention is what most will say, and after lookin into this more it makes more sence to get aftermarket parts.

Serge, I think you're right. Does seem like a lot of hassle for USED parts. The few hundred that it might save me probably isn't worth the hassle.


I would check out your shocks and see if they are busted. From what you have said I would think that they are, unless you are used to driving cars with aftermarket suspensions.

TheKid, the former owner said that he just replaced the suspension. He didnt' know what was replaced... just took it to a shop and they "took care of it." I haven't had the chance to look yet (It's still cold here!), but I can tell from the way it drives the suspension is not "broke." Yeah, I am used to driving stiff cars. Actually, my Porsche came from the factory in stock form with koni adjustables. But regardless, I have to say I'm disappointed with the e36 suspension. I think even the Mazda Protege has a better feel. For a daily driver, I don't need it to be so firm that I feel every bump on the road... but at the same time, I don't want to bounce after a dip in the road.

Right now, I think I might just bite the bullet and pay for H&R sport and Bilstein sport.

Does anyone know of a good progressive spring?
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