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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am ready to buy a new suspension, since my Original Factory Sport setup is showing its age at 121k miles on my 01' 330ci.
I was dead set on Bilstein Sports with H&R Sport springs, since this seemed to offer a firmer ride, and a small drop. I am not interested in anything lower than what the H&R Sports offer. I want something a little stiffer, and the Bilsteins seem to be about 10-20% stiffer than the factory ZHP shocks, which seems reasonable to me. I don't want a rock hard suspension.
But I have been hearing a lot of chatter about Bilstein quality not being what it once was. So, that has me considering another brand.
I am considering the Koni Yellow adjustable shocks, with the same H&R Sport springs.
I would like to hear from anyone who has either of these setups. Should I have any concerns about the H&R springs with the Koni's? Should I pay attention to the recent talk about Bilstein quality?
I like the idea of adjustable shocks, but I have read that the Koni rears have to be removed in order to adjust them. Is this still true?
In the end, I just want a small drop, and a slightly firmer setup. I think that both options would give me what I am looking for, but I would like to hear from anyone running either of these setups, and see if anyone regrets their choice.
Also, I will be moving to an 18in wheel, and I would like to hear about any issues with this, or if it can be done without any modifications. The wheels I want have a et35F and et38R. Will all of these changes play well together, without rubbing issues and fender rolling? I want a set of LM Reps, and it seems that I will have to move up to 18's, since there are almost no decent 17in LM Reps available. Any advice on brand and offset for the LM Reps would be appreciated as well. Just remember, I do not want to have to roll fenders, etc to make them fit. I really want something as close to stock fit as possible.
And yes, I have searched, and I have read a lot of threads, but I am just looking for the most current info, and would love to hear from anyone who has one of these 2 specific setups, as well as the 18in wheels. Thanks!
 

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Short and sweet. Setups I've had on my 330ci.

Stock = too soft, too much lean, understeer.
Stock with 27/24 bars = still too soft but balance perfect!
PSS9 with 27/24 bars = so good but bars now too stiff.
PSS9 with stock bars = much better but dreaded understeer returns.
PSS9 with stock front bar and H&R 21 mm rear bar = out freaking standing!
But PSS9 to low = pot hole causes strut blow out and suspension damagel

My solution to all this:
Bilstein sports, H&R sports, stock front bar, 21 mm rear bar, Powerflex FCAB,
M3 RTAB with Turner limiters = once again, OFS! This setup is just slighly lower than stock with a slight bit more rake. Fender gap is equal front to rear. On normal roads, the ride is firm. On rough roads the ride is well, rough.
But, I wouldn't have it any other way!

I believe that Bilstein's problem is with a poor design E46 rear shock. I hear that the E36 shock is better. I did have to replace one rear under warrantee but the fronts have been fine. I would still choose them over Koni. They might be a better choice if ride is more important to you.

Wheels = staggered setup basically sucks! Understeer and can't rotate.
Snows 17 x 8 x 40 with 225-45
Summer 17 x 8 x 35 with 235-45 done because of our crappy roads.
For the front, anything wider or lower offset can be a problem.
18 will be harded ride.

Caution: excellent handling is the result of proper suspension. NOT ever bigger tires, wheels and stagger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@Hummer - Thanks for the input. I pretty much agree with you about the wheels. I am not thrilled to move up to 18's. The problem is that there are so few aftermarket wheels available in 17in for our cars anymore. I am not making the change for wider tires. I am doing it because there are very few options left for 17in wheels, and I really do not like my factory wheels. I really want a set of BBS LM reps, because there is no way I am spending $2-3000 for real BBS's, on a car that is only worth about $10k. I am well aware that bigger wheels and staggered setups don't really improve handling, and the extra weight can actually make things worse. But thanks for pointing it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Short and sweet. Setups I've had on my
My solution to all this:
Bilstein sports, H&R sports, stock front bar, 21 mm rear bar, Powerflex FCAB,
M3 RTAB with Turner limiters = once again, OFS! This setup is just slighly lower than stock with a slight bit more rake. Fender gap is equal front to rear. On normal roads, the ride is firm. On rough roads the ride is well, rough.
But, I wouldn't have it any other way!
I have another question, at the risk of sounding stupid. With the Bilstein Sport and H&R Sport spring lowering the car a little, will that change the geometry of the front sway bar link? I am thinking no, because the drop is in the springs, and the strut to swaybar geometry should remain the same. Am I right? Or do I need to replace the sway bar link.
I know this is an issue with the coilover crowd. They try to reuse the stock link, and it bends or breaks, or it breaks the mounting tab off. But ai don't think this applies to me.
I took your suggestion, and ordered a 21mm H&R rear bar today.
 

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This is good stuff!

However, I opted into buying a brand that came with a lifetime warranty.. Dirt roads and rural streets can ruin a set of shocks/struts.

The higher priced brands didn't offer an actual lifetime warranty when I was purchasing, which would be better to have in the long run.
 

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I have no issues with using the stock configuration sway links front and rear. While you're in there it may be worth installing new front links when the sports go in. Currently have Meyle front links and original OEM rear links. Only problem was mine loosened up at the strut mount. Turner said you gotta use an air wrench! These things will never last very long due to the strut mounting and rotation. Sways should mount to the control arms! What brand offers a lifetime warranty?
 

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No new swaybar end links were needed with my H&R Race springs, so of course you won't need any the the H&R Sport springs. As to the swaybars, if any other subtle tuning is necessary, buy the Powerflex swaybar bushings for the front. The rear bar should have at least two mounting holes in it, always start on soft, then increase if necessary.

Here are a few wheels to consider, left to right:

1) 17X8 22lbs (equal to stock), about $600 shipped for all four

2) Kosei K4R lightest wheel I currently know of 17X8.5 $200 per wheel

3) D-Force LTW5 second lightest wheel 17X9, 6-8 ounces heavier, $250 per wheel

Rob
 

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