01-29-2012, 03:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Eugene, OR USA
My Ride: 2000 323i
Thank you, mkodama, for your reply. I appreciate any input, and the time it took you to write. However, I would like to exchange some ideas with you. First, if I am on a budget (which I am), it makes sense to upgrade to better than stock if it lasts longer. In the long run, that will save me time and money.
Originally Posted by mkodama
If you are on a budget, for the most part you should stick with stock parts.
1. The simple answer is no, M3 parts do not fit on an non-M. Some parts do, some parts fit in some circumstances, and some never do, so it's a case by case situation.
2. Anything that is "solid" or "track use only" you should avoid. Most stock parts hold up fine for track use and autocross, but many solid track items will not hold up to the different loads in street use. Many of the "solid" items only benefit race/track cars that are being pushed to the limit, and need to prevent their alignment from changing fractions of degrees. Until you are on race tires and are doing custom alignment settings, you should save your money on these.
3. BMW front control arms are frequently replaced when the bushings wear out, as they are press-fit. If your control arms are "bad" you could have a variety of problems related to the steering and front suspension. A search will give you lots of details about this.
4. If your are talking about the sway bar mounts, don't bother unless they are damaged, and if you are talking about the rubber bushings, only replace them if they have damage or excessive wear and slop.
5. Anything with a ball joint should be replaced if it has excessive play, does not articulate smoothly, or shows any visible damage such as tears in dust boots, leaking grease, bends, etc...
As to point number one, I guess your answer should be obvious to anyone, even a new guy. Thanks for helping me see the obvious.
On the second point, I am confused. To my ameture thinking, anything that will hold up to the rigor of racing should work well on the street, even if it does compromise comfort of ride. In other words, I feel "if it's good enough for the track it is good enough for me". Please correct me if I am wrong.
As to the third point, perhaps some more searching would serve me well.
Fourth, point taken. Thank you.
Fifth, I was asking because I was told OEM ball joints in these areas are not near the quality of the aftermarket offerings. Since I will be working in the area anyway, I thought it might be a good time to firm up the whole front end, so I don't have to worry about it anytime soon.
Please do not misunderstand my reply. I often play devil's advocate just so I can understand a subject better. Thank you for your informative reply.