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Old 06-18-2015, 05:46 AM   #1
CliveBixbyXO
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Is There A Need For Coilovers If The Car Isn't Going On A Track?

FIRST THING: I am straight up admitting I know very little about the technical side of cars. I'm pretty switched on with the style side, however I know nothing about engine work, suspension etc. So please forgive my ignorance.

I am modifying my e46 325Ci at the moment and pretty much changing everything, wheels, bumpers, lights, suspension and exhaust etc. I also happen to be 20 with only a part time job so I'm trying to save money wherever I can. At the moment i'm tossing up between getting coilovers for like $1200 or just lowering on springs for obviously far far cheaper. The car will never see a race track and is just my daily drive so i'm unsure on what to do. I can't really ask a workshop because i've found they are always biased to whatever product they want to shove down my throat.

So, if its just an A-B, are coilovers necessary or are springs fine? It's probably also important to mention I want some camber aswell, if that makes any difference.

Thanks for any help guys

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Old 06-18-2015, 06:22 AM   #2
ChiMaster
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Coil Overs allow you to adjust the ride height, Springs are fixed.

If you are just lowering the car for aesthetics and you are not ever going to change the ride height go with springs. I've tracked a car with stiffer springs and upgraded shocks, it's not necessary to run coil overs at the track.
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:42 AM   #3
CliveBixbyXO
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How about as far as the feel of the ride? Generally.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:05 AM   #4
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If you don't need linear springs or the ability to adjust ride height or camber, then go with H&R Springs and Koni Yellows or another similar setup.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ChiMaster View Post
Coil Overs allow you to adjust the ride height, Springs are fixed.

If you are just lowering the car for aesthetics and you are not ever going to change the ride height go with springs.
^This. And in addition, if you would like the ability to raise and lower the ride height for shows or whatever reason, get the coils. Lowering these cars is a bit of a hassle to do correctly in my opinion, and not cheap. You can lower them cheap but the ride will suffer and you'll chew up tires.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:39 AM   #6
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Ok...so I'll be 'that guy,' who would come here eventually, anyway, I know.

You're 20 with a part-time job and you're spending all your money on aethetics...just the 'look.'

I'm 59, my car now has 293k miles on it...it's been the cheapest car I've ever owned and it drives like a new 328i, largely because all my time and effort has been kept keeping it on the road, running like new. You keep on with aesthetics, with limited resources, you'll end up with a beautiful car, no doubt...no doubt sitting on your driveway not running because you didn't spend the money on the important parts of the car...the parts that keep it running, performing, and handling as it should.

Read fanatics a bit more--you'll see that you are going to run into mechanical issues...many of them, no matter what your year or mileage.

The ladies won't be impressed with your bmw when you have to take her to see it on a bus....

Sorry, buddy...as mean as that sounds, trust me when I tell you that I'm one of the nicest fanatics here! Looking out for you is all.
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Old 06-18-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
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Ok...so I'll be 'that guy,' who would come here eventually, anyway, I know.

You're 20 with a part-time job and you're spending all your money on aethetics...just the 'look.'

I'm 59, my car now has 293k miles on it...it's been the cheapest car I've ever owned and it drives like a new 328i, largely because all my time and effort has been kept keeping it on the road, running like new. You keep on with aesthetics, with limited resources, you'll end up with a beautiful car, no doubt...no doubt sitting on your driveway not running because you didn't spend the money on the important parts of the car...the parts that keep it running, performing, and handling as it should.

Read fanatics a bit more--you'll see that you are going to run into mechanical issues...many of them, no matter what your year or mileage.

The ladies won't be impressed with your bmw when you have to take her to see it on a bus....

Sorry, buddy...as mean as that sounds, trust me when I tell you that I'm one of the nicest fanatics here! Looking out for you is all.

1 million fvcking likes
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:20 AM   #8
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1 million fvcking likes
How is Clement Poon doing? Say hi to him for me if you see him around!

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Old 06-18-2015, 01:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiMaster View Post
Coil Overs allow you to adjust the ride height, Springs are fixed.
If you are just lowering the car for aesthetics and you are not ever going to change the ride height go with springs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RudyT View Post
If you don't need linear springs or the ability to adjust ride height or camber, then go with H&R Springs and Koni Yellows or another similar setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brea View Post
^This. And in addition, if you would like the ability to raise and lower the ride height for shows or whatever reason, get the coils.
all 3 good answers. "coil-overs" are overkill for most drivers. another benefit of coil-overs is they're usually lighter. but quality kits will run you.
stock design is pretty quiet/isolated. some coil-overs can clunk from time to time.

for some, H&R "progressive" rate lowering springs and Koni Sport adjustable dampers and you've got a great street set-up. (or similar)

"linear rate" vs "progressive rate".
linear springs have evenly wound coils, springs compress evenly and for track is more predictable. but less forgiving with bumps in roads.
progressive springs have different windings of coils, so the first level of compression is softer and gets firmer lower you go. this is to give a comfortable ride on street.
most coil-overs have linear rates and most street springs are progressive rates. (Bilstein PSS-9/10 use progressive rate H&R)
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:03 PM   #10
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I rock Bilstein sports and OEM zhp springs, and for regular driving, you definitely don't need coilovers. They're nice to have, but 9/10 times overkill.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:36 PM   #11
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Here are some questions I give to you...
1.) How much did the car cost you?
2.) How much money have you put toward maintenance?
3.) How much money do you plan to put toward the "goodies"?
4.) How much money are you willing to part with on what you spent on goodies when the car dies and you have to get rid of it? (Provided your answer to #2 is little to none)
5.) How long would you like to keep the car?
6.) What is your money worth to you?
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:53 PM   #12
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coilovers aren't necessary for daily driving dutys but they do offer the look and definitely a better handling car in corners.

You can achieve this with a nice spring and bilstien/koni setup. Also ST makes a good kit. My buddy has it on his e39 and loves it.

I have HSD monopros which are a bit overkill for daily driving but I also have done some autocross. They have definitely made the car more fun to drive and handle well in the twistys.

Make sure your car is up to date though. Coilovers put more abuse on tired bushings.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:12 PM   #13
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Depends...if he wants just springs to lower the car on tired sachs shocks it will be a harsh bouncy ***** ride. You have to match spring rate with damping. And a full kit with springs and dampers is the best way.

Koni cup kit or ST make a good kit for reasonable price. many others as well, and you will be happy with performance. But also budget in money for install and a proper alignment and any bushings that need replacing.

But nothing beats oem for all around daily driving.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:37 PM   #14
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If you want to save a few bucks on a suspension refresh, Bilstein's B4 (touring) shocks and struts with H&R springs is a good option. TBH though, your stock ride height is already on the relatively low side, since you have a coupe and therefore the sport springs. I would put new shocks/struts/bushings, and it will handle a world better. I've never been to Oz, but my girlfriend (from Warnertown, near Adelaide) tells me often that my car wouldn't make it over there, as it's too low to drive on the dirt roads and such. But I've no idea where you are in Australia, just food for thought.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:05 PM   #15
CliveBixbyXO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Ok...so I'll be 'that guy,' who would come here eventually, anyway, I know.

You're 20 with a part-time job and you're spending all your money on aethetics...just the 'look.'

I'm 59, my car now has 293k miles on it...it's been the cheapest car I've ever owned and it drives like a new 328i, largely because all my time and effort has been kept keeping it on the road, running like new. You keep on with aesthetics, with limited resources, you'll end up with a beautiful car, no doubt...no doubt sitting on your driveway not running because you didn't spend the money on the important parts of the car...the parts that keep it running, performing, and handling as it should.

Read fanatics a bit more--you'll see that you are going to run into mechanical issues...many of them, no matter what your year or mileage.

The ladies won't be impressed with your bmw when you have to take her to see it on a bus....

Sorry, buddy...as mean as that sounds, trust me when I tell you that I'm one of the nicest fanatics here! Looking out for you is all.
Cool, thanks for opinion. I've owned the car for a few years now so this isn't some teenage mod spree, it is part of a BMW family and my brother in law also owns a BMW Mechanic. Services have always been before the due date and preventative maintenance has been done for many things. Sorry if it seems I'm angry, I just hate the stereotype that people my age seem to get. The car is powerful enough for me, i've lost my license too many times to go for performance mods and I just want a car that I can enjoy for the looks. It was either blow my money and buy an e92 or tone it back and spend some thousands on modifying the aesthetics so I enjoy my e46 more.

And yes I know the irony of if I have so many BMW connections why am I asking on a forum, the reason is my family are die hard racers and won't have anything but the best for their cars. I'm trying to compromise.
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:50 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CliveBixbyXO View Post
Cool, thanks for opinion. I've owned the car for a few years now so this isn't some teenage mod spree, it is part of a BMW family and my brother in law also owns a BMW Mechanic. Services have always been before the due date and preventative maintenance has been done for many things. Sorry if it seems I'm angry, I just hate the stereotype that people my age seem to get. The car is powerful enough for me, i've lost my license too many times to go for performance mods and I just want a car that I can enjoy for the looks. It was either blow my money and buy an e92 or tone it back and spend some thousands on modifying the aesthetics so I enjoy my e46 more.

And yes I know the irony of if I have so many BMW connections why am I asking on a forum, the reason is my family are die hard racers and won't have anything but the best for their cars. I'm trying to compromise.
Fair enough. So you know...I've been here 9 years...read thousands of posts...so you understand I was going by the 'odds' and tried not to assume you were, you know, an idiot teen wannabe poser. I'd have no objection what you do in any case, but I'm a big proponent of maintenance...and here, the real fanatics forecast failure items before they fail and replace them preventatively.

Enjoy your ride!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:05 AM   #17
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What about considering this?

Brand new suspension (OE) all the way around is most likely over a grand, considering you need all 4 shocks, 4 new springs (OE's or Koni/H&R combo) then strut tower mounts, spring pads, bump stops, etc etc etc there are a ton of other parts that integrate with the struts that need to be replaced as well. I found that this can easily exceed $1000 even when done yourself.

Brand new BC Racing Coilovers for the E46 are around a grand. From what I understand, they come with basically everything you'd need to do the entire swap. No need for strut tower mounts, spring pads, etc etc etc. And then you have suspension that can be adjustable, which is handy here in the northeast if you want to lower your car in summer and raise it up a bit in winter due to the snow.

OE/Koni/H&R setup, that ride height is your ride height and you're stuck with it like that unless you swap springs which will only cost more.

So I think the rule I'd play by here is, if there are some components that need to be replaced, or you just want to lower the car on springs, this can be relatively cheap compared to a full blown replacement. But if the entire thing needs to be done, you should definitely consider the cost of a coilover kit and the benefits of raising and lowering the car because that may be cheaper than replacing everything else with OE.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:15 AM   #18
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OP if you want to lower the car without losing to much of a stockish feel I would get Koni FSD Pro kit. I redid my friends 325 and liked it more then my KW V2's. If you are not going to track your car then get the FSD.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:19 AM   #19
zander271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Ok...so I'll be 'that guy,' who would come here eventually, anyway, I know.

You're 20 with a part-time job and you're spending all your money on aethetics...just the 'look.'

I'm 59, my car now has 293k miles on it...it's been the cheapest car I've ever owned and it drives like a new 328i, largely because all my time and effort has been kept keeping it on the road, running like new. You keep on with aesthetics, with limited resources, you'll end up with a beautiful car, no doubt...no doubt sitting on your driveway not running because you didn't spend the money on the important parts of the car...the parts that keep it running, performing, and handling as it should.

Read fanatics a bit more--you'll see that you are going to run into mechanical issues...many of them, no matter what your year or mileage.

The ladies won't be impressed with your bmw when you have to take her to see it on a bus....

Sorry, buddy...as mean as that sounds, trust me when I tell you that I'm one of the nicest fanatics here! Looking out for you is all.

btw D... I understand now why you don't want to lower your car. NJ and NY have the worst roads.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:29 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by CliveBixbyXO View Post
It's probably also important to mention I want some camber aswell, if that makes any difference.
Why? Because racecar? No you don't. These cars already eat the inside edge of the tires with stock alignment settings. You want to make that worse? And screw up the handling on a great-driving car? Just to follow a stupid fashion?
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