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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 01-20-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
xdave
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Stock sway bar sizes

I'd like to upgrade the sway bars on my car to go with Eibach lowering springs and sport struts.

I'm curious if I can get some sway bars off ebay from a sport model 3 series E46? There are a lot of them on there and they don't seem to want much as compared to new aftermarket high performance stuff.

I've seen different sizes listed. Which ones should I get? There are even bars on there from e46 M3's. I sure what is on my 328i are the smallest wimpiest ones you can get. It would be a fun project and hopefully the end result would be a better handling car.

Last edited by xdave; 01-20-2011 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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Have you tried a search yet? There are some threads with good lists of different size sway bars and which car they came on.

Also, an M3 rear sway bar won't fit a non-M.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:05 PM   #3
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Biggest OEM diameter front sway bar for non-M E46 was 24mm, and relying to RealOEM.com was offered on a verity of E46s in conjunction with sports pack or m-sport 2 pack.

I, myself have only seen a 24mm OEM bar on a 330ci cabrio with sport pack.

My car as well as all ZHPs have 23.5mm bar just for your reference.

Fitting an OEM M3 front bar would be a much better idea then trying to find a non-M 24mm bar.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blocked Out View Post
Biggest OEM diameter front sway bar for non-M E46 was 24mm, and relying to RealOEM.com was offered on a verity of E46s in conjunction with sports pack or m-sport 2 pack.

I, myself have only seen a 24mm OEM bar on a 330ci cabrio with sport pack.

My car as well as all ZHPs have 23.5mm bar just for your reference.

Fitting an OEM M3 front bar would be a much better idea then trying to find a non-M 24mm bar.
But why anyone would want to increase understeer, I do not know.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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But why anyone would want to increase understeer, I do not know.
I dont know that either. Forgot to mention that a front sway bar change should be only in conjunction with a rear bar change.

It just came to my mind that if someone wants to save a few bucks, he can purchase an aftermarket rear bar and an OEM M3 front bar. That will yield savings of around $200 which can be put to use elsewhere.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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Post swaybar sizes

Quote:
Originally Posted by xdave View Post
I'd like to upgrade the sway bars on my car to go with Eibach lowering springs and sport struts.

I'm curious if I can get some sway bars off ebay from a sport model 3 series E46? There are a lot of them on there and they don't seem to want much as compared to new aftermarket high performance stuff.

I've seen different sizes listed. Which ones should I get? There are even bars on there from e46 M3's. I sure what is on my 328i are the smallest wimpiest ones you can get. It would be a fun project and hopefully the end result would be a better handling car.
If your 328i has the Sport Package it has the largest of all non-M3 bars. At 24mm front and 19mm rear.
So to answer your question, I would look for some 1999/2000 Sport swaybars and get new bushings.

*these are not absolute across the board. this is a baseline


1999/2000 Standard......Frt 21.5mm...Rr 15mm
1999/2000 Sport...........Frt 24mm......Rr 19mm
2001+ Sport................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 18mm
2001+ Standard...........Frt 23mm......Rr 18mm
Convertible..................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 20mm
M3.............................Frt 26mm......Rr 21.5mm
M3 CSL ......................Frt 30.8mm...Rr 22.5mm
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Last edited by Alex323Ci; 01-22-2011 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
1999/2000 Standard......Frt 21.5mm...Rr 15mm
1999/2000 Sport...........Frt 24mm......Rr 19mm
2001+ Sport................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 18mm
2001+ Standard...........Frt 23mm......Rr 18mm
Convertible..................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 20mm
M3.............................Frt 26mm......Rr 21.5mm
M3 CSL ......................Frt 30.8mm...Rr 22.5mm
Thanks you guys are awesome! That is the info I am looking for. I noticed there are some on ebay listed with the larger size and the correct year of '99-'00. Pretty reasonable prices too.
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
If your 328i has the Sport Package it has the largest of all non-M3 bars. At 24mm front and 19mm rear.
So to answer your question, I would look for some 1999/2000 Sport swaybars and get new bushings.

*the rear on the convertible is 20mm


1999/2000 Standard......Frt 21.5mm...Rr 15mm
1999/2000 Sport...........Frt 24mm......Rr 19mm
2001+ Sport................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 18mm
2001+ Standard...........Frt 23mm......Rr 18mm
Convertible..................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 20mm
M3.............................Frt 26mm......Rr 21.5mm
M3 CSL ......................Frt 30.8mm...Rr 22.5mm
wow, and here i was thinking the ZHPs had something on my 328i sport.
thanks bro


ive always been of the impression tho, that bigger sways are not a substitute for a better suspension. and if u have suspension, sways arent really worth it if youre gonna track or auto-x it?

wouldnt you guys agree?
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by snikwad View Post
wow, and here i was thinking the ZHPs had something on my 328i sport.
thanks bro


ive always been of the impression tho, that bigger sways are not a substitute for a better suspension. and if u have suspension, sways arent really worth it if youre gonna track or auto-x it?

wouldnt you guys agree?
I'd agree. Swaybars in my opinion are good at reducing body sway without excessively stiff springs and also adjusting front to rear grip. I don't push my car hard enough and often enough to even tell the front to rear grip difference.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
If your 328i has the Sport Package it has the largest of all non-M3 bars. At 24mm front and 19mm rear.
So to answer your question, I would look for some 1999/2000 Sport swaybars and get new bushings.

*the rear on the convertible is 20mm


1999/2000 Standard......Frt 21.5mm...Rr 15mm
1999/2000 Sport...........Frt 24mm......Rr 19mm
2001+ Sport................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 18mm
2001+ Standard...........Frt 23mm......Rr 18mm
Convertible..................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 20mm
M3.............................Frt 26mm......Rr 21.5mm
M3 CSL ......................Frt 30.8mm...Rr 22.5mm
The front sway on my vert is 24mm, p/n 31351094542
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mtnbound View Post
The front sway on my vert is 24mm, p/n 31351094542
yep,
seems there are a few variables. let me guess your convertible is an early pre 4/01 build 330cic ?


i will make an edit/note these are not absolute across the board.
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CF CSL RACE LIP - NAVI - BMW PERF CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC SS BRKLINES, TRANS MNTS, RTABs - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF

Last edited by Alex323Ci; 01-22-2011 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
If your 328i has the Sport Package it has the largest of all non-M3 bars. At 24mm front and 19mm rear.
So to answer your question, I would look for some 1999/2000 Sport swaybars and get new bushings.

*these are not absolute across the board. this is a baseline


1999/2000 Standard......Frt 21.5mm...Rr 15mm
1999/2000 Sport...........Frt 24mm......Rr 19mm
2001+ Sport................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 18mm
2001+ Standard...........Frt 23mm......Rr 18mm
Convertible..................Frt 23.5mm...Rr 20mm
M3.............................Frt 26mm......Rr 21.5mm
M3 CSL ......................Frt 30.8mm...Rr 22.5mm
great info here... any idea if there was any difference on a touring or a ZHP? I have a touring sport with full ZHP suspension and was trying to justify the $500 on the 27mm(f) 21mm(r) H&R swaybar kit. Thanks..
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Old 01-25-2014, 04:16 AM   #13
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lol 2011. What ever happened to Miles anyway?
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:14 PM   #14
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Hello BMW Experts!
I upgraded my bars ('01 330i) to 24mm frnt (OEM sport pack) & 20mm rr (Touring) and like the balance & anti-roll power fine. This is an increase of 0.5mm frnt & 2mm rr. The car still understeers, but noticeably less, and the roll is noticeably less, but the ride & bumpy road grip is hardly diminished if at all. On dry roads it is pretty hard to make this rear end misbehave!
I didn't want to go too stiff because tying the wheels together side to side does deteriorate the ride & grip on bumpy roads, especially skitter bumps. I like the front/rear balance better, maybe because this is my first BMW that didn't have the old semi-trailing arm rear, which actually could oversteer (but I liked that too!). I think BMW set up the E46 to be safe but a little boring in this regard.

Murf
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:39 AM   #15
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First off, I detest understeer. Yeah, I used to drive a 911! There are a lot of people that like understeer and they should have what they want! For me, a car setup like BMW does with practically every setup point biased this way didn't make me happy. First mod was RDS 27/24 sways which improved the situation dramatically and resulted in the balance I wanted. When I added PSS9 then Bistein/H&R sports, these sways were way too stiff. I'm so happy with the way the car drives with stock front bar and H&R 21 rear bar and squared up tires/wheels. It has nothing to do with "when pushed". The entire driving experience is better with a balanced suspension. It feels different with every twitch of steering wheel input. I guess some people just can't FEEL it? Always suspension first, sways second!

Last edited by hummer; 01-27-2014 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #16
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I'm with Hummer on this. I kept my stock factory 'sport' springs (low enough), went with Koni FSDs, Motorsport lite front discs & lighter wheels (225 tires), aligned to more neutral specs. Very sharp, but maybe I should go back to the 23.5mm front bar because it still understeers almost always. I could get it to oversteer sometimes when my DSC was broken!
I think the newer 3 series cars understeer even more.

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Last edited by LittleBear; 01-31-2014 at 11:00 AM.
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