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E46 Convertible
The E46 vert forum. Talk about dropping your E46 top here.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:31 AM   #1
M3 Adjuster
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Hello All.

Newb here to this forum for the most part... not that new to BMWs but definitely new to E46. I've spent over a dozen years driving and wrenching on E30 M3s

My 16 year old daughter has received a hand me down 2001 325ci convertible (redundant, I know) with 220K miles and what feels like is probably the OEM suspension. It's absolutely horrible, pogo style floaty, and downright dangerous on some undulating Texas urban roadways. I'm also not used to convertible body flex.. but that's another story.... At any rate..essentially at this point I want to upgrade the suspension to something that's not a decade old.. and I want to do it on the cheap... remember it's a 16 year old.. it could get totaled next week, and frankly she's not that thrilled with the car, she covets a late model Ford Mustang.

The car currently has 17" seven spoke wheels... is this a sport package? any other way to confirm?

A quick perusal of TMS and Bimmerworld and then a drop to bargain basement Auto parts fare both left me with sticker shock, for different reasons. I can do the work, but looking for a good set of baseline upgrades for the suspension and i'm looking for direction and being unnaturally drawn to cheap ebay options such as the following ....


Is this actually BMW parts?
SEE ebay item Bay item number:290960043699

Please Help!_a_

Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 11-07-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:19 AM   #2
dknightd
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Easiest way to confirm sports package is the seats. Sport seats have a movable thigh support.
I've heard conflicting reports, but I think all 330 verts had sport suspension. Not sure if that
applies to 325. You might try running the VIN. If she does not like the car, and you are trying to be cheap,
you might consider replacing shocks and struts with cheapest you can find. I'm surprised you can detect body flex
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:39 AM   #3
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A BMW that doesn't drive like a BANK VAULT? This post make absolute no sense. OP is an idiot. There is NO FLEX on an E46.
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Last edited by beeemerdude; 11-07-2013 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:37 AM   #4
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

I have been a de instructor since 2001, so I have a finely tuned arse.




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Old 11-07-2013, 07:48 AM   #5
M3 Adjuster
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Quote:
Originally Posted by beeemerdude View Post
poster # 1.

A BMW that doesn't drive like a BANK VAULT? This post make absolute no sense. OP is an idiot. There is NO FLEX on an E46.

Sorry to offend your sensibilities, but if you are attempting to state that shaving the roof off a vehicle and adding reinforcements yields a vehicle with the same rigidity as it's closed roof countertpart, then I will *definitely* have to look for a different forum.




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Old 11-07-2013, 07:55 AM   #6
M3 Adjuster
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post
Easiest way to confirm sports package is the seats. Sport seats have a movable thigh support.
I've heard conflicting reports, but I think all 330 verts had sport suspension. Not sure if that
applies to 325. You might try running the VIN. If she does not like the car, and you are trying to be cheap,
you might consider replacing shocks and struts with cheapest you can find. I'm surprised you can detect body flex


The seats are power seats and also do have a moveable manual support for thighs which moves fore and aft within the front lower part of the seat.

The car is quite solid but yes, the entire chassis shudders on certain impacts.






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Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 11-08-2013 at 07:45 PM. Reason: manual suport for things > thighs
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
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pics?
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
dknightd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Adjuster View Post
The seats are power seats and also do have a moveable manual support for things which moves fore and aft within the front lower part of the seat.

The car is quite solid but yes, the entire chassis shudders on certain impacts.


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sounds like sports package (unless somebody changed the seats which is possible but unlikely)
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:25 AM   #9
M3 Adjuster
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manny04 View Post
pics?
Click image for larger version

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Click image for larger version

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Old 11-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #10
M3 Adjuster
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Originally Posted by dknightd View Post
sounds like sports package (unless somebody changed the seats which is possible but unlikely)
that's what I figured... See the ebay item # updated in my original post.


loooks like it may not work for sport susp cars...
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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Sports package. Not bad. I imagined it in worse condition because of mileage.

Have you checked the control arm bushings that tend to need replacing after time? I wouldn't b surprised if those are shot.

Other then that, a good exterior/interior detailing would really make that car look a lot better.
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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best place to ask about suspension, even for verts, is in the suspension forum

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/forumdisplay.php?f=97
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by M3 Adjuster View Post

loooks like it may not work for sport susp cars...
the parts look like the parts my sport suspension has, although I don't know how different the parts to the standard suspension are.

Send the seller a massage to verify before ordering.
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:46 AM   #14
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OP, ignore the dumbass, any car with 220K miles is going to need a suspension overhaul and drive like @$$.

Since you don't plan to keep the car I would go with one of the cheap suspension kits off eBay and replace virtually the entire front end. Wandering is usually associated with FCABs and RTABs, yet at 220K miles the wandering is probably control arms and tierods.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-Cont...-/321217285936

Throw in new RTABs and RSMs (~$100), the cheapest struts ($300) and you're in for $600 total for almost a complete suspension refresh if you can do the work yourself. That seems reasonable to me.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:13 AM   #15
M3 Adjuster
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Click image for larger version

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Managed to pick up a set of full struts and rear shocks for $399 from fleabay. The old items were original to the car. Click image for larger version

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Rear shock mounts were about $30. Worse RSM I have ever seen come out. That explains the clunk!!




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Old 12-29-2013, 11:35 AM   #16
M3 Adjuster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
OP, ignore the dumbass, any car with 220K miles is going to need a suspension overhaul and drive like @$$.

Since you don't plan to keep the car I would go with one of the cheap suspension kits off eBay and replace virtually the entire front end. Wandering is usually associated with FCABs and RTABs, yet at 220K miles the wandering is probably control arms and tierods.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-E46-Cont...-/321217285936

Throw in new RTABs and RSMs (~$100), the cheapest struts ($300) and you're in for $600 total for almost a complete suspension refresh if you can do the work yourself. That seems reasonable to me.
This is exactly the route I went. It was $600 and all ordered via ebay ... rear shocks and complete front Struts for $399, RSMs for $30, and the front control arms and links and trailing arms for $170 with free shipping for all. Everything arrived in a week. I did the shocks and struts with new mounts and sway bar links this past weekend and will wait to do the tie rods, control arms and lollipops, and rtabs with a friend that can help that has toe plates for an initial alignment.

So far just getting the old shocks off has been awesome. The car was bouncing off the front bump stops just pulling out over the 1" drop coming out of the garage! The front ride height is higher.. however my teen is still working on the finer things like.. Angling the car to avoid the " subdivision lip" scrape/partial removal of the front bumper when backing down the driveway, so she actually welcomes the additional ride height. Overall ride has improved. Sportiness on smooth roads however has taken a step back of course, but that's to be expected. These are differences that many drivers probably wouldn't notice.. well apart from the bouncing off bump stops.

Last edited by M3 Adjuster; 12-29-2013 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #17
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Regardless of make/model, your daughter recieved a FREE car and isn't thrilled? Sheesh.


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Old 12-29-2013, 01:18 PM   #18
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Regardless of make/model, your daughter recieved a FREE car and isn't thrilled? Sheesh.


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I got my first car in 1996. It was free and I was not thrilled at first but it didn't take long until I loved that thing. A 1984 Ford Escort 2dr hatchback....Brown. And it WAS awesome!
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:22 PM   #19
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325ci suspension update - kid's car

Exactly correct Natban.

My daughter still has dreams of a brand new mustang but has definitely come to accept that a car ( nearly any car, even a hand me down ) is better than none.

Many of her friends and many of mine comment that is a more than adequate car for a new driver. Heck i myself would probably prefer it over my daily driver expedition.

recently she indicated that she doesn't want anyone else other than me to drive her car. An RF Modulator for Christmas will allow for her to connect her phone and play music which is a big item that she wants. She also values the E46 over, say, a brand new focus, so she is definitely coming around !





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