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Discussion Starter #21
TiAgXi - great input. thanks

mvrk10256 - thanks. I appreciate it. I'll do the rear shock mounts as well.

I inquired with a couple of manufacturers and got additional input to my decision making. Since I need to keep the orig ride height due to traveling in snow and the liklihood I'll have to chain up on Siskiyou Pass. It appears the Bilstein HD may be my best choice and a good value too.

Thanks to those who took the time to give quality input. Hope to do the same for you one day soon.
 

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According to RealOEM.com prices the Front shocks are $290 each and the rears are $142 each for a total for the 4 of $862. There is also a high chance you have a broken rear spring with a dealer part price of about $200. The install might be $500 and a dealer alignment another $150. So possible dealer price is $1700.

Look at Koni Yellows and Eibach ProKit for a better ride than OEM . Use this DIY http://www.e46fanatics.com/howto/howtodetail.php?howto_id=12. Even if the rear spring is not broken yet, it is a failure prone part.
Just found out Husker BMW is offering Employee pricing + shipping. All four shocks would be about $540. They are very competitive.
Check the link below. Just thought I pass this on.
I am in the market for Stock type suspension and stock feel.

http://www.bmwmercedesparts.com/partlocator/index.cfm?siteid=215771
 

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Discussion Starter #24
If you care about ride quality Bilsteins are a mistake. Please post your results once you get it installed. :thumbup:
Based on the info I posted above what would you recommend? You'll be competing with two very reputable manufacturer's reps who steered me away from their product to Bilsteins based on my needs. This should be interesting...
 

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Based on the info I posted above what would you recommend? You'll be competing with two very reputable manufacturer's reps who steered me away from their product to Bilsteins based on my needs. This should be interesting...
How much are the Bilsteins?
Not sure if anybody mentioned but Sachs are OEM also.

I would be interested in getting feedback which ever route you go.
 

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Based on the info I posted above what would you recommend? You'll be competing with two very reputable manufacturer's reps who steered me away from their product to Bilsteins based on my needs. This should be interesting...

OP,

Trust me on this. I just went through Bilsteins and ended up getting direct OE replacements. I am much happier. Billys are not great for the rough NYC roads and I found them to be too stiff on rough roads. On the highway, they are absolutely incredible. Tight and zero roll. I loved how they road, but I really ddint like driving around the NYC boroughs with them.

If I were you, I would buy direct SACHS damper replacements and get some new springs as well. You will also need new mounts, spring pads, bump stops, dust boots, reinforcement plates for front and rear, new bolts and nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Bilsteins HD are about $450-$500 depending on the vendor. I'll post what I go with. Also, for what it's worth, the BMW dealer will install the whole kit for $425 and recommends a 4 wheel alignment for another $199. Since I don't have the luxury of time this seems reasonable but I'm going to check with my most trusted indy shop for comparison. The dealer also offered to put the car up on the rack and have me accompany their mechanic to do an inspection of the shocks, springs, etc. so I only order shocks & struts if the springs are fine. No charge for the inspection :)

Before you dealer haters reply...I'm sure there is an indy shop that would only charge me $300 + $150 for the job but I'm more comfortable with the dealer because if anything goes wrong I believe they will make it right sooner than 'most' indy shops. Just my $.02
 

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Bilsteins HD are about $450-$500 depending on the vendor. I'll post what I go with. Also, for what it's worth, the BMW dealer will install the whole kit for $425 and recommends a 4 wheel alignment for another $199. Since I don't have the luxury of time this seems reasonable but I'm going to check with my most trusted indy shop for comparison. The dealer also offered to put the car up on the rack and have me accompany their mechanic to do an inspection of the shocks, springs, etc. so I only order shocks & struts if the springs are fine. No charge for the inspection :)

Before you dealer haters reply...I'm sure there is an indy shop that would only charge me $300 + $150 for the job but I'm more comfortable with the dealer because if anything goes wrong I believe they will make it right sooner than 'most' indy shops. Just my $.02
An indy will charge like $300 for installation. A 4-wheel alignment on a Hunter will cost $100. No needto have the dealer do the work.


When they do the inspection, pay close attention to your rear springs. Mine were broken. It seems very common with the e46, in fact, there is a TSB on it.
 

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who has had the dealer install new struts (all 4) on their E46 xi? What was the cost of the parts vs. labor? I'm guessing about about a grand. Do they only offer OEM or will they install Bilsteins I supply? Any opinions on OEM vs. Bilsteins? I DO NOT want anything stiffer than stock as I spend most of my miles on the interstate.

Thanks in advance xifanatics
I was in the same situation as you are, and I'm not a dealer hater. I bought a set of Bilstein sport shocks and Eibach springs for my 2003 325xi and had the dealer install them. They were happy to do the work. In fact, more times than not, they'll give me ~10% discount just because I have the majority of my major work done there, and I've never had a problem with shoddy work. Prices were:
Install front struts, strut mounts, springs - $440
Install rear shocks, shock mounts, springs - $330
4 wheel alignment - $200

As for the ride, it got stiffer, but that may be because the shocks are not 95,000 miles old. It's still not harsh over bumps, but there is noticeably less body roll on highway entrance and exit ramps. The decrease in wheel gap brings the car to standard non-XI height. It's by no means "slammed" but it doesn't look like its on stilts anymore. When I had the work done, I also had the front control arm bushings and rear trailing arm bushings replaced. It was expensive (another $500) but they were nearly rotted out.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Thanks gents for the input.

Orientblau - I hear you regarding crappy roads. Fortunately in OR we have really good roads (somewhere OR was rated as best roads in the country). I'm not concerned about borough roads. I think I'd have the good highway experience you have but in town too. According to the two manufacturer reps they said the only reason to replace the springs is if broken or you want a different spring (progressive, shorter, etc.) I will use new mounts on the rears and for a few bucks extra new nuts & bolts. The inspection will reveal if I need new boots or stops.

LittleChrist12 - As you probably know, and I learned from this homework process, the sport shocks are shorter but have the same rebound & damping characteristics as the HD shocks. Sounds like you have an enjoyable ride with the new set up. I already replaced my control arm bushings and the remainder of my front end is good. I would easily decide to go with the Bilstein sport set up with Eibach springs but can't risk not being able to chain up on the passes. Could you easily install cable style chains with the clearance you have now?
 

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Based on the info I posted above what would you recommend? You'll be competing with two very reputable manufacturer's reps who steered me away from their product to Bilsteins based on my needs. This should be interesting...
Do you even read the replies on the threads you make. :hmm: Here is a quote from earlier in this thread:


This.

Honestly twoduckdad, I've tried to help you too.

With shocks, I can tell you that Bilstien is stiffer than OEM. Most shops, especially dealers, don't like using customer supplied parts. If you find a shop willing to use a supplied shock from you, I'd suggest a brand called Sachs. They are the OEM supplier for BMW.

Personally, I chose to replace with Koni, they are an excellent alternative that does not significantly negatively affect ride quality, and they are much cheaper.


If ride quality is important to you, stay far away from any sort of coilover.

Part of what makes a good suspension and feeling of ride quality is the springs, if your not changing yours, get Sachs (OEM brand) or Koni (Way cheaper) and you'll be fine.


Dinan setups are no longer available for the e46 xi...I've checked. Also, the shocks for Dinan were sourced from Koni.
I bolded the important bits.:hi:
 

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Thanks gents for the input.

Orientblau - I hear you regarding crappy roads. Fortunately in OR we have really good roads (somewhere OR was rated as best roads in the country). I'm not concerned about borough roads. I think I'd have the good highway experience you have but in town too. According to the two manufacturer reps they said the only reason to replace the springs is if broken or you want a different spring (progressive, shorter, etc.) I will use new mounts on the rears and for a few bucks extra new nuts & bolts. The inspection will reveal if I need new boots or stops.
Thats all that I ask of anyone! :thumbup:

New nuts and bolts for most applications is a must and a crusade of mine!



EDIT:

Yeah, Bilsteins will suit you well if you have smooth roads. They're not practical for me as I only drive in the city or on city highways (both of which are horrible), 90% of the time. Its rare the car goes on long highway trips.
 

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I was in the same situation as you are, and I'm not a dealer hater. I bought a set of Bilstein sport shocks and Eibach springs for my 2003 325xi and had the dealer install them. They were happy to do the work. In fact, more times than not, they'll give me ~10% discount just because I have the majority of my major work done there, and I've never had a problem with shoddy work. Prices were:
Install front struts, strut mounts, springs - $440
Install rear shocks, shock mounts, sprints - $330
4 wheel alignment - $200
Those are expensive dealer prices for labor only. I bought direct OE SACHS online and had the front and rear struts/shocks/mounts/springs all put in for $300 at an indy shop. A 4-wheel alignment on a Hunter machine only cost $80.

So for ~$380 you could've had an indy do the work, instead of $970.

I can understand wanting to have the dealer fix certain things, but shocks and struts are very basic and really any shop could handle it, even if they dont work much on BMWs.

As far as wheel alignments, Ive had them done by the dealer and twice it was not done well. This is a grunt job and the low guy ends up doing it. If you go somewhere where they specialize in suspension and wheel alignments you mihgt just findthey do a better job. I sure did and will never take it to BMW again for a $200 alignment. Thats just robbery.
 

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Install front struts, strut mounts, springs - $440
Install rear shocks, shock mounts, sprints - $330
4 wheel alignment - $200

When I had the work done, I also had the front control arm bushings and rear trailing arm bushings replaced. It was expensive (another $500) but they were nearly rotted out.
:facepalm:
 

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When I had the work done, I also had the front control arm bushings and rear trailing arm bushings replaced. It was expensive (another $500) but they were nearly rotted out.
You could've purchased a set of BMW OE FCABs for $120 and pair of RTABs for $50, online. Many of the site sponsors sell it for these prices.

Labor would take maybe 2 hours (probably less) and @$75 a shop hour, thats $150 or less on labor.

~$320 for parts and labor, out the door.


Fanatics need to avoid the dealer as much as possible. They are performing highway robbery. Buy from site sponsors, ask questions (or read up on DIYs) so youre at a minimum, knowledgeable about the installation process and wont get jerked around. GoingNuts likes to call it the Jiggery Pokery. I find that term hilarious!
 

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If you are mechanically inclined at all, you may want to consider replacing your own rear shocks. Besides removing a couple of trunk trim panels it is really only a couple nuts on the top and a bolt on the bottom and the rear shocks will literally fall out. The biggest pitfall people encounter is not re-using the cupped washer at the top and bottom of the rear mount. Don't integrate the washer and the piston from the rear shock will blow through the mount in a matter of days or weeks (depending on driving conditions). If you need help then a Bentley manual should be able to walk you through the job. There may have even been posts on this site with nice photos, I have not looked.

I liked my factory ride height so I did not change springs when I did my shocks. I chose Bilstein for my car an exercise in brand loyalty. I have used them on other vehicles over the years and have always had good luck with them. I would say they are a little stiffer than the factory struts, but the factory suspension also had 100k on it. Sorry, no quantitive notation of change over stock but at risk of rebuke, I love them!
 

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If you are mechanically inclined at all, you may want to consider replacing your own rear shocks. Besides removing a couple of trunk trim panels it is really only a couple nuts on the top and a bolt on the bottom and the rear shocks will literally fall out. The biggest pitfall people encounter is not re-using the cupped washer at the top and bottom of the rear mount. Don't integrate the washer and the piston from the rear shock will blow through the mount in a matter of days or weeks (depending on driving conditions). If you need help then a Bentley manual should be able to walk you through the job. There may have even been posts on this site with nice photos, I have not looked.

I liked my factory ride height so I did not change springs when I did my shocks. I chose Bilstein for my car an exercise in brand loyalty. I have used them on other vehicles over the years and have always had good luck with them. I would say they are a little stiffer than the factory struts, but the factory suspension also had 100k on it. Sorry, no quantitive notation of change over stock but at risk of rebuke, I love them!
+1

and Bilstein HD is definitely stiffer than Sachs(OEM).
Installing new front struts requires patience and time, which you claim you don't have, because of the springs. But the rear shocks are really really easy. It will probably take you an hour or two and there isn't much, if anything at all, that will go wrong during the installation. Make sure you have a vice grip ready when tightening the nuts on top because a shock will spin. That will save you some money... oh I installed Sachs for mine and they are exactly OEM ride feel.
 

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Why not coilovers for that kind of cost? If you're willing to spend over $1000 on parts, wouldn't coilovers be the best option? I've heard they maintain the soft ride. Not so?
 

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I just replaced my suspension, the comprehensive way, and here is the order list:

OEM BMW Parts:

07119900402, 33521136283, 33531094518, 33531136385, 33526772864, 33531136395, 33521092362, 31356778832, 31336752735, 31331091867, 31331096664, 31311139453, 31336752832, 31316769731

2x of each, and 6x of the last part (strut nuts).

Vendor Website

Eibach:

2089.140
Vendor Website

Koni:

8741-1481RSPORT
8741-1481LSPORT
8040-1343SPORT
Vendor Website

There is all the part numbers and links for all the shocks, springs, bearings, strut mounts, spring pads, shock bumpers, dust covers, bolts and replacement strut nuts you will need for a comprehensive suspension replacement.

My total parts cost: $1160.47.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Sorry Dreamliner330...I guess I got wrapped up with all the rhetoric. Good input and appreciated.
 
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