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Old 10-10-2015, 10:41 AM   #1
66
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Advice on replacing rear coil springs.

Like everyone else, my rear coil springs are both broken.

The car passes inspection, and I have been told I will probably never notice any difference if I replace them with OEM coil springs, but I'd still like to swap them out.

My problem:

How can I tell if a pair of coil springs that I buy will work with my car and leave it at the same height that it currently sits?

There are a number of threads describing markings on springs. There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to the markings that are on the springs from the factory. According to a note I read out here, someone was trying to compile a complete list of coil spring markings and they compiled quite a large list. However, someone who said they were from BMW said that those markings were just markings from whatever supplier they were using at the time, and there was no real correlation between those markings and the small differences in vehicle packages. Yes, the sports suspension was different than the e46 sedan, but people were reporting they had different springs with virtually the same car. Heated seats vs. no heated seats, for example. Or someone has a 6-cd changer in the trunk and someone else didn't. It made little sense to me that BMW would have specific spring sets for every possible combination of options ordered on vehicles, and the response from the BMW person confirmed this.

However, here is where I get confused.... Aftermarket springs have markings. I have picked up a set of used springs with two sets of 3 blue vertical stripes for markings, and they are virtually brand new. They came from a car that looked like it had an upgraded suspension. I am fine with that, however I don't want the springs to lower my car.

Questions:

1) is there any way to tell who manufactured these springs just by the marking? I have looked all over both springs for a part number or a manufacturer name, and have come up empty. (Photo is coming as soon as I get home and take a picture). However the markings look like a blue football (an oval sitting on its side) with two vertical breaks in the paint. A quick glance makes it look like three vertical blue stripes.

2) other than putting one of these new springs next to the broken one to check the height, is there any way to confirm the spring specs before I take them out?

I know there are a ton of variables with springs, so even if the springs visually look the same, they most likely will not be the same. They could be made from different strength materials, one might collapse a bit easier than the other, etc.

There seems to be a lot of confusion on rear coil springs, and there doesn't seem to be a consensus as to what the answers are. Right now, I have 2 broken rear coil springs, and I have never noticed a difference in the car's performance. That is all I know.

If anyone can identify the manufacturer of the new set of springs I have just by the marking description, that would be a start.

Thanks for any info you can provide!
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:46 PM   #2
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I moved your question to the general E46 3 series forum, you will get more help in here.

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Old 10-11-2015, 11:06 PM   #3
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I don't think I have ever heard of springs being broken.
Are the just worn out, sagging?
I would just put your new springs in. It is a 15min job. Super easy. If you don't like how the cars sits order up another set.
Still don't really know what you mean by broken?
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:21 PM   #4
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What Exact model BMW do you own ?



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PS, rear spring failure is semi common.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:06 AM   #5
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Wow you are right . I looked it up and the rear springs do break. Never seen anything like that before.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ojai330i View Post
Wow you are right . I looked it up and the rear springs do break. Never seen anything like that before.
Nice discovery. Now add to that that there are no one model spring you can just purchase from BMW.
They must look up your specific car's parameters and match the model spring to the car if you want to duplicate the original.

It is virtually impossible to buy aftermarket springs which do not lower the car. I wanted stiffer springs, but not to lower my ride height. Could not find any.
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:05 AM   #7
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Did you, yourself see the broken springs?

I had one broken one...the other has been good for 300K miles.

If you're hearing a slight rattling over bumps and maybe the traction control light comes on, it could be the shocks...just saying. Easy repair if it is that.
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:05 AM   #8
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Did you, yourself see the broken springs?

I had one broken one...the other has been good for 300K miles.

If you're hearing a slight rattling over bumps and maybe the traction control light comes on, it could be the shocks...just saying. Easy repair if it is that.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by tim330i View Post
I moved your question to the general E46 3 series forum, you will get more help in here.

Tim
Thanks!

Sorry about the incorrect location. Appreciate the help.
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ojai330i View Post
I don't think I have ever heard of springs being broken.
Are the just worn out, sagging?
I would just put your new springs in. It is a 15min job. Super easy. If you don't like how the cars sits order up another set.
Still don't really know what you mean by broken?
Seriously? Yeah, they are broken. As in, snapped off. Quite a common problem on the e46.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
What Exact model BMW do you own ?

PS, rear spring failure is semi common.
I have a 2003 325xi. Both rear coil springs are broken at almost the exact same spot. Right at the tip of the bottom pigtail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
Nice discovery. Now add to that that there are no one model spring you can just purchase from BMW.
They must look up your specific car's parameters and match the model spring to the car if you want to duplicate the original.

It is virtually impossible to buy aftermarket springs which do not lower the car. I wanted stiffer springs, but not to lower my ride height. Could not find any.
This is what I am searching for. The key for me is height. I don't want the car lowered at all. I'd prefer it be an exact match of the OEM height. If the spring is a bit stiffer, that is fine.

You couldn't find anything that matched the OEM springs? Even from a dealer, or one of the many vendors? Wow, if true, that is not good news for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Did you, yourself see the broken springs?

I had one broken one...the other has been good for 300K miles.

If you're hearing a slight rattling over bumps and maybe the traction control light comes on, it could be the shocks...just saying. Easy repair if it is that.
Yes. I noticed them myself a while ago when I was replacing my rear brake pads.

I was surprised because I never noticed any difference, or heard any sound indicating any problem. I forgot all about it until I got my car inspected, and they asked me if I knew about it. I said "yes", and they said "well, the car passes inspection, so you don't have to replace them right away. If you haven't noticed any difference, you might not notice much change if or when you do swap them out."

No rattles, and no traction control light issues.

I know this is a pretty easy fix. That isn't the issue. I really don't want to waste a lot of time swapping out springs until I find one that matches the current height.

I will post a picture of the spring I was planning on putting in. I cannot find any manufacturer or part number on these springs, but they do have the blue tri-stripe marking on two different middle coils. Maybe that is manufacturer specific, or maybe that is specific to the spring rating. I don't know.

I have done a number of searches on coil springs out here, and there doesn't seem to be much consistency with the markings from the factory. However, I would think an aftermarket vendor would mark their springs in some specific way. But other than the blue stripes, I see nothing on these.

Other than putting them on the car, is there any way to find out the specs of a spring? Right now, I'd settle for manufacturer.

(I know it is tough without a picture... I'll get one up ASAP, but the description in my OP is what you will see. Two blue ovals (looks like the Ford emblem without the word "Ford" with both ends of the ovals clipped off, and two vertical black lines through the ovals. A quick glance makes it look like three vertical blue lines).

Last edited by 66; 10-12-2015 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #11
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Since you have a Xi sedan, read this if you haven't already.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...09&postcount=1



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NEW E46 Xi COILOVERS DISCOVERED FOR ~$729 SHIPPED
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Inexpensive Coilovers Like: Jom, RL, SE, RK, SW, & FK.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:02 PM   #12
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You couldn't find anything that matched the OEM springs? Even from a dealer, or one of the many vendors? Wow, if true, that is not good news for me.


Didn't say I couldn't find springs with the same ride height. What I meant was I looked for STIFFER springs with the same ride height and could not find them.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:04 PM   #13
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Didn't say I couldn't find springs with the same ride height. What I meant was I looked for STIFFER springs with the same ride height and could not find them.
Are you still looking for Stiffer rear springs with the same ride height ?



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SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 S.C.C.A.
(DynoDynamics https:vimeo.com/8486878 Dyno Video)
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

NEW E46 Xi COILOVERS DISCOVERED FOR ~$729 SHIPPED
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Inexpensive Coilovers Like: Jom, RL, SE, RK, SW, & FK.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:26 PM   #14
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Are you still looking for Stiffer rear springs with the same ride height ?
Was when I installed my FSD's, but no longer.
Would have done Eibach front and rear (KONI package), but they lowered the car.

Thanks
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:29 PM   #15
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Both of mine broke around 90,000 mles
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:23 PM   #16
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Are you still looking for Stiffer rear springs with the same ride height ?
So all these other guys are scaring me with their broken spring stories.
If mine ever broke, is there a source for stiffer springs for all four corners that will not change the ride height?
I cannot afford to go any lower than the ground scraping factory height that I ended up with.
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:48 PM   #17
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So all these other guys are scaring me with their broken spring stories.
If mine ever broke, is there a source for stiffer springs for all four corners that will not change the ride height?
I cannot afford to go any lower than the ground scraping factory height that I ended up with.
Well what I was going to say was to first look for & buy:

1) Lower mileage E46 rear Xi Touring springs.

2) Lower mileage E46 rear Vert springs

Then to make any needed adjustments, use the 3mm to 14.5mm rear BMW OE spring pads.



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SUMMIT POINT WV 1:24:229 S.C.C.A.
(DynoDynamics https:vimeo.com/8486878 Dyno Video)
"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

NEW E46 Xi COILOVERS DISCOVERED FOR ~$729 SHIPPED
Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX View Post
Nitrous is a little trickier than boost, but it's not the spray that kills motors, it's STUPIDITY!!
I Know How To Fix The Rear "Bouncing" Problem On Your Inexpensive Coilovers Like: Jom, RL, SE, RK, SW, & FK.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:01 PM   #18
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Here is a picture of the spring I was going to pop in. Anyone know anything about this based on the marking?
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
Well what I was going to say was to first look for & buy:
1) Lower mileage E46 rear Xi Touring springs.

2) Lower mileage E46 rear Vert springs

Then to make any needed adjustments, use the 3mm to 14.5mm rear BMW OE spring pads.
Very creative.
I guess that handles the rear, but I suspect the front is less adaptable?
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob43 View Post
Well what I was going to say was to first look for & buy:

1) Lower mileage E46 rear Xi Touring springs.

2) Lower mileage E46 rear Vert springs

Then to make any needed adjustments, use the 3mm to 14.5mm rear BMW OE spring pads.



Rob43

Rob43,

Are you saying the rear springs on an e46 xi sedan are different than any other e46?

If so, HOW are they different? (Height, stiffness, etc).

Thanks

Last edited by 66; 10-12-2015 at 06:22 PM.
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