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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 10-29-2010, 11:22 PM   #1
TwoDuckDad
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dealer price for new struts (shocks)

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
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:21 AM   #2
surf2salsa
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Originally Posted by TwoDuckDad View Post
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
Why the dealer? On a practically 10 year old car!
While you replace these you might find that other things need work. There is a good chance your rear springs are broken, mine were. I just had control arm bushings replaced as well. I installed Eibach springs and Koni shocks, the car did not drop and ride is great, not harsh or stiff at all. My handling improved significantly. The rear Koni's just arrived yesterday, I'm waiting for the rear strut mounts to come in, I'm replacing them also, that's another weak point in the suspension on the E46.
I paid $180 for the Eibach and front Koni install. The dealer would have charged me a fortune.
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:40 AM   #3
xi_ter
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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/how...hp?howto_id=12. Even if the rear spring is not broken yet, it is a failure prone part.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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My problem is that, while I am moderately mechanically capable, I don't have the time to commit to the project should anything go wrong. Others on this forum have suggested the front strut work is a 6-7 of 10 on the difficulty scale. If I had time and another car to drive in case the project took too long I'd probably do it myself. I travel each week for work and if the work isn't finished by Mon at 5am I'm screwed.

I was looking at this set as an option and may ask my dealer if they'll install it. Alternatively I may ask a local indy shop with a good reputation. If they charged me 5 hours labor the total price would be reasonable for what I'd get. http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...vers/ES248323/

Additionally, I think too many people have taken their car to a dealer who found something else wrong besides the problem they took the car in for and blame the dealer. Do you think they broke something just to fix it? I'm lucky enough to have a great dealer (Rasmussen BMW) in Portland, OR with an outstanding service guy who has treated me very well.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:55 PM   #5
xi_ter
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^ You might need 8mm spacers too this these see http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=762656 There are workarounds like using OEM strut mounts in the post.
Not sure about FK spring stiffness - xi's ride best on springs that are of less stiff steel. So the Eibach ProKit gives a better ride than H&R Sports.
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TwoDuckDad View Post
My problem is that, while I am moderately mechanically capable, I don't have the time to commit to the project should anything go wrong. Others on this forum have suggested the front strut work is a 6-7 of 10 on the difficulty scale. If I had time and another car to drive in case the project took too long I'd probably do it myself. I travel each week for work and if the work isn't finished by Mon at 5am I'm screwed.

I was looking at this set as an option and may ask my dealer if they'll install it. Alternatively I may ask a local indy shop with a good reputation. If they charged me 5 hours labor the total price would be reasonable for what I'd get. http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...vers/ES248323/

Additionally, I think too many people have taken their car to a dealer who found something else wrong besides the problem they took the car in for and blame the dealer. Do you think they broke something just to fix it? I'm lucky enough to have a great dealer (Rasmussen BMW) in Portland, OR with an outstanding service guy who has treated me very well.
Wouldn't that be stiffer than OEM? I am hearing people would prefer to stick to stock for that reason. Not sure if xi are any different in handling. May be the extra AWD weight may have something to do with?
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:10 PM   #7
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all good questions. Thanks for the food for thought. I'm just getting started in the process and will inquire further for sure. The kit I listed above shows it is specifically meant for the xi but I'll have to see about other components to make it work. It appears by the adjustable feature that I could adjust the rebound and/or damping. If this allows me to adjust those and possibly ride height that would be grand. Higher when traveling in snow and lower when not. Possibly best of both worlds. I plan to own this rig for 100k more miles so putting some dough into the suspension makes sense...especially since I don't believe it has been done prior and I'm about to hit the first 100k.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:51 PM   #8
mp333
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TwoDuckDad - Not sure if you have read this. Click on the link below to see opinions of others with after market suspension.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=703929
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:22 PM   #9
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yes but found most of the input useless. "I have the "abc123" setup and love it" doesn't tell me squat. Too many people post useless info on forums. I need something similar to a stock set up or adjustable so I can select the best ride for me. Funny...after a bunch of threads and a few people commenting on a particular set up some will say "Well, it looks like the best set up would be the "xyz456"" just because a few people have made claims about "loving it". Interestingly, even the online vendors don't offer info comparing their suspension components or kits to stock or describe the best use for a particular set up.

Have I missed something? What is the best value (quality & price) that will offer me a similar ride to stock. I don't track the car and don't want a stiff ride. Sure, I appreciate the handling of the E46 in the curves but don't want to make the suspension stiffer than stock...nor do I want to pay a premium for OEM equip if aftermarket is available that better suites my needs.

Thanks for any input. Hope to do the same for you soon.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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I have a 2003 325xi sedan. I spent almost 3 months looking into my suspension upgrade. The XI is a complete different setup than the 2wd version. Ride height and ride quality options are very limited on this car.
From other BMW owners and mechanics in my area I was clearly warned that the H&R with bilstein setup will be to harsh and stiff for the NYC area. That the best option was the Eibach and Koni combination. My rear springs were broken, I knew of the rear passenger side being broken, when I did the install we found the other rear spring was also broken. The thing with the Koni's is that they are usually on back order or out of stock, even the Bilstein's are in limited supply. This car has a particular strut/shock fitment that is not always available. I don't like harsh rides, and I'm very pleased with the Eibach Koni combination on my car, I'm going to play around with the Koni adjustment this week to see what the differences feel like. That's the other thing, based on your original post and comments I think the Eibach / Koni combo will be a good combination for you. The fact that the Koni's are adjustable is a plus.
So far I've done the front control arm bushings (rear bushings on the front control arm), all 4 Eibach's and the front Koni's. The rear Koni's just arrived and I'll be doing the shock mounts with those, it's another E46 weak point, might as well do it now and save on labor.

Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:39 AM   #11
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Ohhh, and xi-ter's comments were right on the money and very helpful on other posts on my car.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TwoDuckDad View Post
yes but found most of the input useless. "I have the "abc123" setup and love it" doesn't tell me squat. Too many people post useless info on forums. I need something similar to a stock set up or adjustable so I can select the best ride for me. Funny...after a bunch of threads and a few people commenting on a particular set up some will say "Well, it looks like the best set up would be the "xyz456"" just because a few people have made claims about "loving it". Interestingly, even the online vendors don't offer info comparing their suspension components or kits to stock or describe the best use for a particular set up.
TwoDuckDad-

I find everything you say on this forum completely useless. You know nothing about e46's or BMW for that matter. And you are now insulting people who have tried to help. Congratulations- you read some older posts that have nothing to do with a lame dude in his 50's who bought a 100k mile xi and wants to know how much a dealer charges for OEM shocks. Are you friggin kidding me? Dealer? OEM shocks? This is e46FANATICS. It's not called OldGuyAskDumbIrrelevantBMWQuestions.com.

Call the damn dealer yourself. And do me a favor- if you read any of my posts just ignore them. They weren't written to help a housewife type driver like you.
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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Surf2Salsa - thanks for the quality input. I appreciate it very much!

Kubica - Do you feel better now? I remember when I was your age and thought I knew everything. Trust me, even when you are your father's age (like me) you will still have much to learn. I learn something every time I'm on this forum. BTW I never claimed to know much about this car and always willing to learn more. My xi is simply a commuter for me. I looked at newer xi models but didn't think it would be smart to dump a bunch of money into a car that I would put 2500 or more miles on it each month. Besides, I'm putting two sons through college. So give an older guy a break and offer something useful like Surf2Salsa. Save your 20 something attitude for your friends on facebook.

I promise to avoid all of your posts as I'm sure they won't offer me any useful info.

The trouble with many posts on this forum is that the input typically lacks enough detail for the reader to get any value from it. "I love it" doesn't tell anybody much.

May I suggest a good book:
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:14 PM   #14
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OP,

Buy shocks/struts/mounts/reinforcement plates from an online sponsor who sells direct OE stuff. It will be much cheaper to buy the parts yourself. Take it to an indy and for ~$300 they'll install all four corners. Figure in another ~$100 for a 4-wheel alignment.
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Old 10-31-2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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TwoDuckDad-

I find everything you say on this forum completely useless. You know nothing about e46's or BMW for that matter. And you are now insulting people who have tried to help. Congratulations- you read some older posts that have nothing to do with a lame dude in his 50's who bought a 100k mile xi and wants to know how much a dealer charges for OEM shocks. Are you friggin kidding me? Dealer? OEM shocks? This is e46FANATICS. It's not called OldGuyAskDumbIrrelevantBMWQuestions.com.

Call the damn dealer yourself. And do me a favor- if you read any of my posts just ignore them. They weren't written to help a housewife type driver like you.
Why u guys gotta be like dis son??? Stop this asap and kiss and make up and then go driving in your cars and enjoy!!
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:55 PM   #16
Kubica
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yes but found most of the input useless. "I have the "abc123" setup and love it" doesn't tell me squat. Too many people post useless info on forums.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoDuckDad View Post
Kubica - Do you feel better now?

I promise to avoid all of your posts as I'm sure they won't offer me any useful info.
Yeah I do feel better now. And I'm not here to get any life lessons from some dude with a keyboard and a BMW. The bottom line is that after supposedly reading through every xi suspension thread you have declared all the information completely useless. That's an insult to everyone on here who has actually turned a wrench and then given their opinion. Insulting your audience while asking for their help is novel approach to problem solving.

Apologies to anyone here I've given bad advice. I'd definitely like to hear about it if I have.
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Old 10-31-2010, 06:55 PM   #17
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I have a Dinan stage 1 suspension. . .


. . . AND I LOVE IT!!!





When I was looking for suspension parts, I was in the same boat. I didn't want to slam the car, I didn't want to have a harsh ride, etc. The price of OEM parts deterred me from looking for OE stuff. It's more expensive than pretty much anything aftermarket. Dinan advertises its setup as a modest drop and soft feeling. I read a few threads where people had compared suspension parts and jumped in. It's a good setup.

I don't think anyone on here is going to have the experience or knowledge to tell you which setup is closes to OEM. No one has done the kind of test-result type knowledge that you seem to want.

Basically, if you're looking for anything but anecdotal evidence, you're at the wrong website. There is some quality info here, but you're going to have to sift through mountains of "search noob" type bs before you find it.
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:10 PM   #18
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Personally I think you will be better of with a new set bilstien HD's. IF your springs arnt broken now, it will befine. e46s are sometimes know to break rear springs but spare sets can be had for cheap on these forums if you wanna replace yours for newer/ones of a southern car. But realistically if you need to replace your shocks cause they are blown, take it to an indy rather than the dealer. I would also replace the Rear Shock Mounts as well, they are about $30 and a must.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:41 AM   #19
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TwoDuckDad-

I find everything you say on this forum completely useless. You know nothing about e46's or BMW for that matter. And you are now insulting people who have tried to help. Congratulations- you read some older posts that have nothing to do with a lame dude in his 50's who bought a 100k mile xi and wants to know how much a dealer charges for OEM shocks. Are you friggin kidding me? Dealer? OEM shocks? This is e46FANATICS. It's not called OldGuyAskDumbIrrelevantBMWQuestions.com.

Call the damn dealer yourself. And do me a favor- if you read any of my posts just ignore them. They weren't written to help a housewife type driver like you.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoDuckDad View Post
I was looking at this set as an option and may ask my dealer if they'll install it. Alternatively I may ask a local indy shop with a good reputation. If they charged me 5 hours labor the total price would be reasonable for what I'd get. http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...vers/ES248323/
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgXi View Post
I have a Dinan stage 1 suspension. . .
Dinan setups are no longer available for the e46 xi...I've checked. Also, the shocks for Dinan were sourced from Koni.

Last edited by Dreamliner330; 11-01-2010 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:15 PM   #20
TiAgXi
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Dinan setups are no longer available for the e46 xi...I've checked. Also, the shocks are Koni on Dinan.
Oh well...they were overpriced anyway.
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