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ode2joy 02-03-2013 12:23 AM

Touring suspension gone wrong
 
I can't figure this out. My 323iT came with an H&R sport cup kit on it but the roads I live on are rough and I just shuttle kids in it these days so I found a salvage car and got the OEM stuff to put back on it. This is an expirement, so bear with me. I found the same year car, 2000 323i sport pkg, but a sedan. The suspension did NOT go as planned. Basically, the rear is sitting just as low as it was with the H&R kit. I suppose this could just mean its worn out, but it rides really good. In fact, im happy with the height of the rear with the stock smooth ride.
The big problem is the front. It's sitting higher than stock, like xi high. It looks wrong and I won't be leaving it this way. I'm lookin' for answers though.
I have looked at several unmolested sport pkg tourings in the last few days and my car is NOT sitting like it should. I have taken measurements and compared to the ride heights listed in the Bentley and I'm getting the non-sport measurement on the front wheels, which is something like 24 inches IIRC from fender to bottom of front wheel. OEM 17 inch style 44 wheels/tires on car.
The only thing I can figure is that someone put non-sport suspension on the front of the car I got the parts from, which sounds really out there. I have disassembled and reassembled and everything is seated and mounted properly. I have also driven a couple hundred miles now and nothing has settled.
I have found no info anywhere definitively on whether the OEM suspension on tourings and sedans is any different. Everyone I've talked to says they are the same.

Help!

peytonracer4 02-03-2013 12:29 AM

First of all, did the springs all have the same color codes? There's little stripes painted on the springs. Hand painted.
They should all be the same color.
Second, the most common mistake when installing the front suspension is lining up the spring. The spring does not sit all the way against the lip on the lower perch. It sits about an inch away in its own little slot. Hard to explain but there's pictures all over the internet and in the service manual.

MJLavelle 02-03-2013 01:29 AM

Don't the wagons have different springs than the sedans? I would think that they would.

ode2joy 02-03-2013 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peytonracer4 (Post 15124083)
First of all, did the springs all have the same color codes? There's little stripes painted on the springs. Hand painted.
They should all be the same color.
Second, the most common mistake when installing the front suspension is lining up the spring. The spring does not sit all the way against the lip on the lower perch. It sits about an inch away in its own little slot. Hard to explain but there's pictures all over the internet and in the service manual.

Yes, color codes the same, as far as I can tell.

Yes, I know the strut (I think you mean strut), sits about an inch up, or rather, the strut, goes through the perch about an inch below. The pins are aligned in the gap where the bolt tightens (whatever that's called) and they are seated all the way.

ode2joy 02-03-2013 08:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MJLavelle (Post 15124155)
Don't the wagons have different springs than the sedans? I would think that they would.

Not as far as I can tell. I can't find this anywhere. If anything, though, I would think the rear springs were a little beefier to handle the extra weight, but my problem is in the front, which is identical to a sedan or coupe.

Passnu2 02-03-2013 09:04 AM

first where these mounted on the car "or" already off when you got them?

a few things come to mind, possible the springs were off and the prior owner installed them but have the springs swapped. This would explain exactly what you have going on. I actually did this to one of my car years ago putting it back to stock not paying attn and once I had the car back together I ended up with the same results you have now.

the other thing is if the springs are different for the sedan in the rear this could be throwing off the suspension more making it seem like you have an issue up front when maybe the fronts are just fine.

I have the same car but my car came with lowering springs so I haven't touched my set up yet. I would have swapped for your suspension for my oem:) If the set up is bad or wrong and you want to swap out after you dig in shoot me a PM:)

Passnu2 02-03-2013 09:18 AM

:facepalm:

NVM you cant install the springs wrong so maybe they are specific to a sedan or the shocks could be blown?

what if you try to install the springs from the HKS set up just to see how the car sits, assuming this is even an option.

peytonracer4 02-03-2013 10:41 AM

You can instal the springs in the front wrong.

ode2joy 02-03-2013 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Passnu2 (Post 15124617)
first where these mounted on the car "or" already off when you got them?
:)

They were on the car, but it had been sitting wrecked for awhile, so I couldn't tell how it was sitting really.

Passnu2 02-03-2013 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ode2joy (Post 15124926)
They were on the car, but it had been sitting wrecked for awhile, so I couldn't tell how it was sitting really.

Yea I was thinking that you could swap front and rear springs and maybe the prior owner had done this just to take off any aftermarket parts. But that's not an option...

I would think, even if the front's are not right, the rear wouldn't sag unless the rear struts or spring were bad. I would think struts first but either are possible. Does the rear feel bouncy at all?

Its possible the springs & struts that came off the car were also wrong. If it was my car and I wanted to grab parts off I would toss what I could find locally for cheap and same would go for the struts. Are there any part numbers on the struts or springs that you can reference just to rule this out?

maybe post a pic if you can others have more experience with this car and maybe that will help:)

peytonracer4 02-03-2013 12:18 PM

^ it is absolutely not possible to swap rear springs with front springs.

Passnu2 02-03-2013 03:00 PM

^ lol yea I caught that after I had posted the first time:loco:

drumsauce 02-03-2013 04:43 PM

Awe man! After all the trouble of the swap, to be left with this. We will help you work it out.

The non-sport springs in front sounds like a possibility. But here are a few thoughts I had that could be wrong:

1. Rear spring broken. Did you notice if the rear springs were broken at the top or bottom during the install? One of mine was snapped at one end where it connects to the spring pad. That caused one side to be about 3/4 lower than the other. Possibly both were broken? (unlikely, but an idea)

2. Front assembly installed incorrectly somehow. Spring not sitting right in perch.

3. You have an xi front spring perch/strut bearing. I remember the "rough road package" being a different perch or bearing for the xi. Again, a long shot, but another possibility.

I can't think of anything other than that. Even worn out struts won't make it that different front and rear.

Keep us posted.

peytonracer4 02-03-2013 07:24 PM

^ I think it's #2
Please post picture of where the end of the spring is in the front.

ode2joy 02-03-2013 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peytonracer4 (Post 15126031)
^ I think it's #2
Please post picture of where the end of the spring is in the front.

I will tomorrow, but i'm pretty sure it's correct. The guy at the yard helped me swap the stuff out (at their location, on their lift). It's a pretty laid back, small operation and I have bought several parts there, so they were nice enough to do this. I was primarily working on replacing a leaky valve cover while he swapped the suspension, but I was half paying attention and it's a job he's done many times. After I got the car done, I expected some settling to occur, but it hasn't. It looked wrong to me but not nearly as wrong UNTIL I looked at some other touring pics online (on un-lowered cars). This of course was after I drove the 3 hours home.
I will post pics tomorrow but I have taken things apart to verify his work, looked at the job several times on Youtube and in the Bentley. It's not exactly rocket science and I do all of my own maintenance, I just haven't done any suspension work to speak of before.
I think I have a combination of non-sports up front and a worn out rear, but I still have no way to verify whether the touring spring rates are actually different from the sedan this came off of. Some aftermarket companies have different part numbers for tourings, some don't. I don't have the official BMW info.

Drumsauce, thanks very much. It is definitely NOT an XI (rough road) setup. I looked at that strut assembly in the Bentley and I do not have the risers that XI models have.
I have not talked to the guy again, but I'm hoping to tomorrow. I'm sure he will be helpful, as he always has, but either way it's a 6 hour round trip and another day for me to get anything solved here. That or lots of money lost in shipping of course.

drumsauce 02-03-2013 11:30 PM

No problem Ode. That's what makes this forum great...well, most of it. ;)

I am pretty confidant that the tourings DO have stiffer springs in the rear than sedans...I can't confirm anything, but remember reading about it and from the BMW guy who sold my touring to me mentioning that is why people feel the tourings handle better.

Yeah, post some pics up, that will give us a sense of how far off it is. Here is mine when I first got it, 115K on stock sport suspension:

 photo IMG_0177.jpg

And here are the measurements for the front (center of the hub to fender) about 14"
 photo IMG_0258.jpg
 photo IMG_0257.jpg

rear measurements (again, center of hub to fender) about 13"
 photo IMG_0256.jpg
 photo IMG_0259.jpg

A cheap fix might be to raise the rear using a 15mm spring pad. It will probably not sit the way you like, but at least it will be closer to the original weight distribution.
15mm spring pads
And it is very easy to pop out the rear springs on these cars after you have the shocks off.

ON a side note, what did you not like about the H&R cup kit? I know lots of folks love those, so I wanted to know your thoughts. Heck, lots of people love the Bilstein PSS, but they weren't for me!

MJLavelle 02-04-2013 12:35 AM

Someone mentioned blown shocks, so I thought I would add this:
The shocks will not affect ride height, if they are blown or not. Now, a strut that is not seated correctly can cause a height difference.

ode2joy 02-04-2013 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MJLavelle (Post 15126791)
Someone mentioned blown shocks, so I thought I would add this:
The shocks will not affect ride height, if they are blown or not. Now, a strut that is not seated correctly can cause a height difference.

Thanks, I understand that and the shocks feel great anyway. The car actually drives pretty good and feels great all around as well, even though the ride height is messed up. I have seated the strut correctly but haven't had a chance to show you guys a pic, so I know I am still suspect in the eyes of anyone on this forum. I know the general mindset that anyone who asks a question on a forum is guilty until proven innocent. I've been on both sides of that many times. Will post pics tomorrow. :D

Drumsauce, as soon as I have a chance to crawl under and take pics, I will also compare the measurements you provided. Thanks!

I talked to the guy I traded with (the shop) and he is looking around to see if he has any touring specific springs. More info to follow, work calls..............

ode2joy 02-05-2013 05:41 PM

Update: still haven't taken some pics for you guys, but I did find out today that the factory touring rear springs ARE different than the sedan. They are beefier to handle the extra weight, confirmed by BMW. I have sedan springs and the guy I traded with is sending me the proper ones. He just so happened to still have a set from a touring he parted out awhile back. This will fix my rear end sag, but I'm still thinking the front is a little high. Perhaps it's just drastically different than my car was lowered.

Also, I have a feeler ad posted and might have this car for sale. I have found a 330 I'm very interested in, though I can't decide whether I would sell me touring or not. I know I'll never find another one like it. This feeler thread should give a few of you touring guys an idea of what these cars might be worth.

drumsauce 02-05-2013 06:52 PM

The rear springs will definitely make a difference. As you can see from my pics, the rear is a little sagged from the front due to the age, I assume.

As far as selling your touring...NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! ;)

Just playing. A 330 would be a nice upgrade from the 323. I was just thinking today how nice it would be to have that extra "uph" for the onramps.

The question is: do you used the touring capacity? That really dictates it. If you can fit everything in a trunk, then why not have some extra horsepower?

Of course, nice tourings are rare, but you really have to decide if you enjoy it anymore. My touring is great for me, but with 3 kiddos, drums, bikes, teaching supplies, it fits my needs. But...more power would be nice! ;) (Hmm, there may be a swap in my future..mwahahaahah! don't tell my wife!)

Keep in mind, you KNOW this car and what has been done. New (to you) cars will always leave a learning curve of maintenance. But, that can be fun too.

Cheers!


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