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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 10-27-2008, 09:49 PM   #1
fieroturbo
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: A pile of snow somewhere in Brunswick, Maine
Posts: 83
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330xi
Angry xi lowering thoughts

I'm a bit overdue on this, as I did the mod in early August. I did it out of necessity, as my left rear spring was broken. Considering the 4 springs in an Eibach Pro-Kit were cheaper than 2 new stock rear springs, it was a no-brainer to go aftermarket. Also, with there being 90k on it, I figured shocks and struts needed to go, so I did Blisteins.

VITAL TIP: If you have a 2002-up xi, you have the front strut reinforcement plates, therefore, you do not need to buy them. Not sure on earlier years, but my 2002 xi had them, so I wasted some $$$ because I didn't know.

INSTALLATION: There were headaches because the factory manual and the guide on this site are both WRONG in certain cases, but I'll get deep into that in another post. Basically, be prepared for headaches (like everything else with these cars), and have another car handy to make runs to get tools, because what's needed for the old parts are completely different for the new parts.

A big thing I recommend is taking your struts to a pro to get it them assembled, cause it's a pain in the *** to it yourself. The upper plate is in two pieces, but there's no guide nub to lock them together till you get the strut shaft in there, so a wall-mounted compressor alone won't work... but an auto parts store rental compressor doesn't compress it enough. I had to use a FUBAR combination of the two types of compressors to get it all to work right... plus, impact sockets won't fit in the hole: you need to use non-impact sockets with an impact gun... all in all, it was a miracle I got it together.

DRIVING: Alot of people say the ride is harsh when you get away from stock; I'm stuck up here in Maine... New England roads don't get any worse than up here, but it really wasn't any harsher than the stock suspension. Granted I had 90k on my stuff, but the only increase in harshness I felt was on the ungodly huge bumps that deserve traffic cones over them.

The surprising improvement was during braking, and clutch engagement from zero MPH. WAAAAAY less body shake... feels more hovercraft than car.
Obviously, the car handles better. I was constantly complaining about the body roll on the E46, as my Pontiac Fiero has none whatsoever, but this upgrade helped with that quite a bit.

Overall, it's worth it if you have suspension parts that need replacement... but holy crap... BMW needs to rethink this design, cause it's insanely stupid. I like my Fiero's suspension better... easy to work on, it doesn't take deep prayer to get it together, and frankly, the fact that I've pulled my neck muscles because of how tight I can take the turns in it just goes to show that American's do it a bit better (in my opinion).

More to come.
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2002 BMW 330xi - 5-speed (manual)
1994 Chevy S-10 Pickup - 4.3L Vortec
1988 Pontiac Fiero - 2.2L Ecotec Turbo
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:43 PM   #2
winston330xi
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: illinois
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My Ride: 2001 bmw 330xi
congrats on the new mods! please post pics! i have hr sport srings and it is a bit harsher than stock, maybe the eibachs are better with giving a more stock like ride. i still have the stock shocks at 75k, but im planning to switch to bilsteins by 80k. did you get the sport or hd version of bilsteins? did you take some pics of the front strut plates you were talking about? thanks.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:27 AM   #3
chanlon7
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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My Ride: 03' BMW 330xi
nice write up... how low are you now? pics?
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:31 AM   #4
kylezee
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Buffalo New York
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My Ride: 2004 Jet Black 325XI
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i have the same problem! (with the broken rear left sping that is) i don't know what to do. i thought about getting newq springs but i can't get new shocks too. mainly because i don't have the money right now. can i get the new springs and deal with the shocks i have now, or do ihave to get new everything???
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:32 AM   #5
kylezee
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oh and where did you get the spings and shocks?
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