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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 12-12-2010, 03:06 PM   #1
johntrhodes81
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Suspension Maintenance

Question. My car is a 2004, 7 yrs since production date and about 72,000 miles on it.

The suspension feels stiff or harsh now when going over bumps, not the way it did originally when new. Not talking stiff like a stiffer suspension I had that on an '85 e28 with eibach springs and sways and koni sports. I didn't really like that ride.

I am thinking I need new shocks. I am not noticing any weird sounds, clunks or pulls to one side or the other and had an alignment done within the year which the shop didn't recommend and replacements. It was a speed shop and not a tire store. So I am assuming I don't need any bushings etc.

I have OE sport springs which I like the ride height and firmness, so I was going to use Bilstein HD shocks. Which might be a little firmer but that is ok.

Is there anything else I should look out for maintenance wise or should I just change the shocks?

I was thinking of adding a front strut brace, the BMW M3 factory one from tischer.
Also It would be nice to have less body roll and understeer so thinking of adding a UUC swaybar set. Would that work well with OE sport springs and Bilstein HD shock.

Thanks for help.
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Old 12-12-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
Levi@AvTechParts
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Shock tower mounts (If needed) - http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...ID=31336752735

Strut Tower Reinforcement Plates - http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...ID=51717036781

Repair Shop Rear Shock Tower Mounts (They carry a lifetime warranty as long as you own the car) - http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...ODUCT_ID=JRDRP

Rear shock tower reinforcement plates
- I'll be getting some made next week if you're interested. They will be stainless steel, 5/32" thickness, and oem gaskets included.
http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/k...-41-57_595.jpg

You still might want to get all the bushings and swaybar endlinks looked at to see if they're on their way out. If your doing suspension work, you might as well get all the little things done at once and get your alignment instead of changing parts here and there and going back for multiple alignments.

Last edited by Levi@AvTechParts; 12-12-2010 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:19 PM   #3
johntrhodes81
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Thanks for the reply. How do I tell if I need the shock tower mount? When you say all the bushings which ones exactly do you mean? Thanks. John
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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If you didn't like the koni's you sure wont like the bilstein shocks, as they are stiffer.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:07 PM   #5
darkapollo
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Never seen or heard of a suspension getting stiffer with age.. always softer as the seals wear and don't compress as well..

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Old 12-13-2010, 10:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johntrhodes81 View Post
Question. My car is a 2004, 7 yrs since production date and about 72,000 miles on it.

The suspension feels stiff or harsh now when going over bumps, not the way it did originally when new.
A new car's rubber suspension components give it a supple firmness & controlled isolation which is what I think you're talking about. I bet those parts are pretty worn out, even if they appear to be intact.
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Last edited by McSpeed; 12-13-2010 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:26 AM   #7
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Koni vs. Bilstein. Ok Koni's are softer. But wouldn't Bilstein HD's with OE sport spring give a less firm ride than Koni's with lowering springs?

McSpeed: So you are recommending like Levi just replace all the rubber? Would you change shocks as well?

Thanks, John
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:40 AM   #8
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Is this what is meant by all the rubber?
* front control arms
* FCABs
* RSMs
* RTABs
* strut mounts
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by johntrhodes81 View Post
Is this what is meant by all the rubber?
* front control arms
* FCABs
* RSMs
* RTABs
* strut mounts
Yeah. The control arms have 2 ball joints per side, which aren't rubber, but which are worth checking out when you're replacing FCABS.
Also, the rear end has:
4 subframe bushings
upper and lower control arm bushings (3 bushings plus 1 balljoint per side)

If you'd rather not do them all, someone more experienced than I might be able to pinpoint the ones that would make the most difference. I'd guess the strut mounts, RSMs, RTABS and the rear upper and lower control arm bushings would have the most impact on what you're describing. If you noticed it more in the front than the back or something that could help pinpoint too.

Shocks are supposed to be needing replacement around 80K so you could hold out- also I'm not sure shocks would help restore the suppleness - I think it's mostly the rubber that maintains that nice isolation.

(EDIT: ^that's my theory, anyway - I'm after the same thing as the OP. I'll know more in a week or so when my car is off the jackstands: All rubber suspension bushings & rear balljoints have been replaced. Shocks, springs, the 4 shock mounts and swaybars haven't been touched- I'll be doing those when I get coilovers. It'll be a neat experiment as to what does what.)
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Last edited by McSpeed; 12-14-2010 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:36 AM   #10
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Springs affect ride smoothness, shocks affect bump dampening. Just buy Sachs brand shocks, they are the OE replacement and will be the least firm option.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johntrhodes81 View Post
Is this what is meant by all the rubber?
* front control arms
* FCABs
* RSMs
* RTABs
* strut mounts
At 72K I would not expect the front strut mounts to be bad. But, I can say that as the OEM gas struts and shocks wear out, they will develop the hashness that you are getting. Add front sway links to the parts to be replaced and check the tierods. Get OEM ride from Sachs or Bilstein Touring.
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate it.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:45 PM   #13
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Do they make Koni FSD for your car? They are the best option for ride smoothness and even better handling.

And at 72k miles, you should replace the shocks, FCABs (OEM or Meyle), RSMs (JTD or RE), Ball joints aka control arms (OEM ZHP or Meyle), and RTABs (Updated OEM).
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Last edited by kuksul08; 12-18-2010 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:04 PM   #14
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^ That list is good but are the RE and JTD RSMs really worth $60 more that the repair shop rear shock mounts? The repair shop ones even have a lifetime warranty as long as you own the car.

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...ODUCT_ID=JRDRP

I'm planning on upgrading from my Meyle HD shock mounts ($25) once they go bad.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black E46 sedan View Post
^ That list is good but are the RE and JTD RSMs really worth $60 more that the repair shop rear shock mounts? The repair shop ones even have a lifetime warranty as long as you own the car.

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...ODUCT_ID=JRDRP

I'm planning on upgrading from my Meyle HD shock mounts ($25) once they go bad.
I'm not sure, I've never seen or used the repair shop mounts. I just know that my JTD are excellent quality and still look new after 10k miles.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by kuksul08 View Post
I'm not sure, I've never seen or used the repair shop mounts. I just know that my JTD are excellent quality and still look new after 10k miles.
Alright thanks, I'll do some searching. I really haven't heard a whole lot about the repair shop mount but they seem like a good deal.

*Sorry, I'm on my phone and thought I was logged into my personal account.

Last edited by Levi@AvTechParts; 12-18-2010 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:14 AM   #17
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Please consider strut mounts, they are likely very loose at this age, especially with worn out struts.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:27 PM   #18
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We have multi level suspension rebuild kits available below...

Take your suspension rebuild to the next level. The front suspension on the BMW is prone to failure. After time, the front of your vehicle can clunk, make grinding noises, or wander around when going down the highway.

Our Stage 2 front suspension rebuild kit has everything that you need to get your vehicle handling like it should. Includes all parts that commonly fail in one convenient package.

Not only does our E46 suspension rebuild kit replace those common wear items we upgrade your units with Meyle upgraded all metal ball joints & Meyle upgraded suspension bushings.

Change the way your E46 feels & even upgrade further than parts available from your BMW dealer. These control arms feature replaceable ball joints.

Our E46 suspension rebuild kit includes the following:
* Meyle all metal ball joint control arms (left & right)
* Meyle upgraded control arm bushings
* Meyle related hardware
* Sway bar link
* Left tie rod assembly
* Right tie rod assembly

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Please let us know if you have any questions! Feel free to shoot me a PM or email.

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Old 12-21-2010, 10:41 PM   #19
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is it a dumm question... can i just buy stage 2 for 500 whatever dollers without buying stage 1 or what?? it seems like the description for both has the same matierials..
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