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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Suspension & Braking

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

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Old 01-06-2011, 11:42 AM   #1
UpOn3
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Which springs for the smoothest ride?

I'm ready to replace the shocks and springs on my 330 sedan DD w/ Sport Pkg. This is mainly my wifeís car, so Iíd like to prioritize the ride to be as smooth as possible but have it well, if not overly, dampened. My goal is to have the ride super tight but not rough and I think the springs and tire profile play a large roll in how rough the ride is.

To qualify my position, I usually upgrade my car with track duty parts and have always been satisfied with my choice. I especially enjoy tuning my shocks to be as tight as possible. However the car Iím talking about here is cruiser with a slushbox, so there are no plans to take this one on track.

Iíve searched the forum, but there doesnít seem to be a definitive conclusion on which springs are most comfortable. Here are some of the candidates, UUC, BavAuto, Eibach ProKit, HR Cup kit. Should I stay with the factory Sport springs? As far as shocks go, I was leaning toward the Bilstein Sport as Iíve had good experience with PSS9, but I know these are unadjustable and Iíve had a set of Bilstein HD on a Benz that was underdampened. What setting on the PSS9 is equivalent to the valving on the Bilstein Sport, 6? Is the valving the same on both the HD and Sport with the diff being the length of the shock body? How about Koni FSD? Can these be adjusted to be very tight or should I be getting the Koni Sport? Iíve had the Std Koni red shocks in the past (on a different car) and those were not tight enough even at the highest setting. Adjustable shocks would allow tuning flexibility, but not absolute if Iím assured that the shock valving is tight.

Although lowering the car slightly would be desirable for aesthetics, it is not necessary and will like become a problem with my wife behind the wheel. I just donít want the car to be raised from performance shocks as Iíve read possible w/ Bilstein Sports.

Which springs and shocks should I get for a smooth but tight ride?

Thanks.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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Your best option if you are concerned with ride quality are the OE springs. OE Non-Sport Springs will be as smooth as you can get, aftermarket versions will lower the car and firm up the ride. If you are looking for an improvement in handling, I'd suggest sticking with the H&R Sport Springs or Eibach Pro Kit with Koni FSD or Bilstein shocks. These are among the smoothest aftermarket options for the car.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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my H&R sport springs on OEM sport suspension runs just fine... they are a tad stiffer but give probably the closest to OEM comfort you will find. The < 1 inch drop is subtle and just enough to fill out any wheel gap in the car, love the way it sits
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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From what you are describing, I'm going to guess that, subconsciously, you want a Bilstein Sport. That said, I would either get Bilstein PSS (it's a sport shock with heigh adjustment) or a set of PSS9 at 6 (the comparably dampening of a Sport). At least, that's what I would do.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:50 PM   #5
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thanks for the replies and the confirmation that the Bilstein PSS/Sport is roughly at setting 6 on the PSS9. I have the PSS on my Miata and it's underdampened for my taste, so I'm afraid of getting these for the E46.

Is there a shock equivalent to a setting of 3 or 4 on the PSS9? Which Koni model has the tightest valving?

I'm not looking to gain cornering performance over the factory Sport. I'd use the Standard suspension (non sport) springs for its compliance, but I don't like how high it rides. Is there an aftermarket spring that is as soft but slightly lower, like the factory Sport spring?

Are the Eibach ProKit springs softer than the factory Sport springs? The one time I've used them they seemed like they were softer than the factory springs with Koni red shocks, but that was on a Mustang.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #6
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Honestly, your "demands" from a shock/spring combo are pretty specific (dare I say unrealistic). I think that something like a PSS9 is going to be your best bet. I honestly don't think that you're going to get a "softer" progressive spring than the progressive springs that come in these off-the-shelf coil-over kits.

The factory sport springs are certainly a little lower and stiffer - you could always go with the ZHP springs which are lower and a bit stiffer than the OE sport springs. The next step would be the OEM "BMW Performance" springs for the E46 (lower and stiffer than ZHP) - although I'm willing to bet they aren't worth the money. You could certainly get those and pair them up with some off the shelf sport shocks or, if you want the adjustability, buy PSS9 shocks and use the OEM "BMW Performance" springs on them - at that point, however, what's the point between an off-the-shelf coilover kit?

Honestly, I think you're being way too picky and unrealistic here (no offense intended at all). I would buy PSS9s and fiddle with the settings until you're happy with a ride-height and stiffness. Otherwise, be prepared for a big headache and disappointment because I don't think you're going to find exactly what you're looking for.

You're ultimately going to have to compromise - and since you want something stiffer than a PSS shock, a PSS9 set below the "6" baseline sounds like it would be your best compromise...
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nick@Jlevi SW View Post
Your best option if you are concerned with ride quality are the OE springs. OE Non-Sport Springs will be as smooth as you can get, aftermarket versions will lower the car and firm up the ride. If you are looking for an improvement in handling, I'd suggest sticking with the H&R Sport Springs or Eibach Pro Kit with Koni FSD or Bilstein shocks. These are among the smoothest aftermarket options for the car.
If I am looking for minimal drop with the front and back, would I go with Eibach Pro Kit or H&R Sport Springs on Bilstein Sports? My coupe originally has a sports package setup. Minimal drop based on this latter fact, of course. I mainly do not want any lower ride than what I am currently experiencing now. It's low enough for me to really have to watch where I am going.

I was thinking about going with OE springs, but after paying for two of them (not installed yet), I realized that I could have gotten all four aftermarket for that price.
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:03 AM   #8
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=813838
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #9
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If you want to maintain comfort, stay away from H&R sport springs and certainly do not combine them with Bilstein sports or HD. I have this combo and comfort is not their thing. Handling was the total objective here and it works. My wife refuses to drive the car - that's a good thing! I have also had PSS9 and comfort is not their thing either! Even on the softest setting and the highest setting. But, then again comfort means totally different things to different people!
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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If you want to maintain comfort, stay away from H&R sport springs and certainly do not combine them with Bilstein sports or HD. I have this combo and comfort is not their thing.
Thanks, I think this confirmed more that I have been reading...I guess I know which one to go with now. Thanks
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Old 01-07-2011, 05:52 PM   #11
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Thanks for that thread.

Judging from the fact that the Eibach ProKit has the reputation for being the softest aftermarket spring and most similar to the OEM Sport and the Bilsteins have a reputation for being stiff (at least for the E46), I'll likely try that combo or stick with my stock springs w/ Bilsteins only, if there is no fear of the car rising. My second choice would be the PSS9/10, but it's cost prohibitive for our family beater.

I read in many posts that ZHP springs are the same as the ZSP springs. It's only the shocks that are different. I wasn't aware of a BWM Performance spring, but, as mentioned, probably not worth it. I don't need new springs; I was thinking of replacing them with softer ones, if possible and ProKit may be the answer, as I have experienced with a different car. Are ZSP springs progressive too?
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genuity View Post
If I am looking for minimal drop with the front and back, would I go with Eibach Pro Kit or H&R Sport Springs on Bilstein Sports? My coupe originally has a sports package setup. Minimal drop based on this latter fact, of course. I mainly do not want any lower ride than what I am currently experiencing now. It's low enough for me to really have to watch where I am going.

I was thinking about going with OE springs, but after paying for two of them (not installed yet), I realized that I could have gotten all four aftermarket for that price.
Eibach Pro Kit offers less of a drop between the two.
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