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Old 01-01-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
silp3
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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My Ride: 02 325
My Review: Bilstein Sport and Eibach Pro-Kit

Car: 2002 BMW 325i, Sports Package.
Out Going Suspension: Stock sport springs and struts. Original with 150,000 miles.
Replacement: Bilstein Sport struts/Shocks, Eibach Pro-Kit springs. E30 rear shock mounts.

Eibach Pro-Kit Part Number: 2067.140 purchased from Amazon.com with free shipping. Total for Springs: $207.10
Bilstein Sport Struts/Shocks: purchased from Turner-Motorsports, delivered in one day with standard shipping (I live close by). Rear Strut Mounts were also purchased from Turner. Total for Struts and mounts: $670

Install was done myself.

When noticing my rear shocks were worn and a visual check of the rear springs, I noticed some serious aging, and decided to refresh all four corners. I, within the last year, replaced the FCAB and the front sway bar end links. Further, while driving, I noticed rear wheel hop on corners from road imperfections, unusual sway, bouncy ride, and overall soft feeling in normal and spirited commutes.

As I was looking for a new setup, I first sought for my goals. I am not much into lowering my ride; on my previous car, I had Bilstein PSS kit and for lack of better words, I hated it. The PSS system was awesome but expensive and I often found myself adjusting ride height and comfort at least twice a week. Not to mention in the winter months, I would have a difficult time adjusting height with salt, debris and surface rust (not that it is the fault of Bilstein, but all coilovers alike probably face the same issues). But on a positive side of the PSS kit, it was fantastic on a smooth road with some twist and turns. However, living around Boston, and not much of a track star, the PSS kit was not worth it for me. Therefore, my goals were simple: A comfortable, Sport setup close to stock.

When it came to my BMW, I did some heavy research. First I would like to say that there is absolutely NO REASON to make new threads regarding suspension. There is so much information on this forum, that with a little time and dedication, you will find every piece of information necessary. It is not as common to see a Bilstein Sports coupled with Eibach Pro-Kit. More commonly seen is Bilstein and H&R or Koni and Eibach. I did not choose a Spring/Strut combo because I could not find Bilstein/Eibach setup. When I found out I could get the springs as cheap has I had from Amazon, I just ordered the system in two parts.

Why did I choose Bilstein and Eibach you may ask? Bilstein has a legacy. They have been producing a product with solid blueprints. The way I looked at it was similar to the way I look at BMW. The E46 platform is an unbelievable chassis. Had BMW continued the same chassis, and modified it accordingly, the E9x would not be a lifeless, no soul mainstream machine. Don't get me wrong, I love our 335 and 330 in the family, and it is not in anyway an insult to E90 owners, it is just my opinion. What I am trying to get at is: Why change something if its already good- Just improve it. Bilstein has been manufacturing affordable, valuable and excellent products for decades. There are not as many durability issues as Koni has with its FSD. Also, the Bilsteins are more performance oriented as the FSDs are aimed for comfort as well. The comfort part was derived from the Eibach Pro-kit. Nearly identical to my stock sport setup, the Pro-kit offers a much wiser economical value than the OEM springs valued at nearly twice as much. Furthermore, H&R springs offer a reverse rake that does not do it for me. I wanted to stay away from that and did not want to be as low as they offer. There you have my reasoning for my choices.

If you have basic tools and a basic understanding of how to use those tools, pair that with your mechanical inclination and you can bang this install out in an afternoon. I had jackstands set up on all jack points, and all four wheels were taken off. My rear shock mounts were very chewed up and worn out. I did not purchase new front mounts initially, because they are not often replaced. I did however, take in consideration the possibility of purchasing new ones once I had the originals removed. If you are not familiar, the front mounts are in a metal casing. The rubber on mine was very solid, with no signs of deterioration or worn aspects. I did not have them replaced, just reused them. Once I removed my front pinch bolts, which by the way, came out very easily (PB Blaster), I decided to clean them up a bit. I used my propane torch to head them up, and used a metal wire brush to remove some build up and got them good as new. You will need two people to install the rear springs. I tried a crowbar method, however, I couldn't find the ideal spot to use for leverage. I had a friend put weight on the rear control arms, and I simply pulled the spring out. It was very straight forward, nothing to fuss about.

Now that I have had the install completed for a few days, I can give me opinion on the setup. It is unjustifiable to compare an original, worn our 150,000 mile setup to a brand new setup. With that said, the difference is night and day. I am so happy with the setup, I basically fell in love with my car again. Boston had a snow storm recently, so the roads are still wet from melting snow, salty from plow trucks, and filled with potholes from snow plows. Nonetheless, I did experience the roads I most often travel on and can say a few words. Imperfections in the road are felt. They are not painful in anyway. The reaction of the car, however, is very solid and when hitting a bump, a reassuring and confident feeling is present. If you are looking for a softer ride, get a new car. This setup is the epitome of sport, and not race. I would imagine it would do fine on a track- but like I said previously, I have no experience. To me, sport is a street worthy setup that offers a sure-footed and tight, yet with a moderate comfort feel. This setup will give you a bone chilling effect if you hit one of those craters in the road (Northeast peeps will know what I'm talking about) but aside from that, there is not much to notice as far as imperfections.

What I like most about this setup is the planted and grounded feel. Sway is much less noticeable as well as the hopping effect on turns. For those that might not usually associate struts with braking, think again. As you apply those brakes, weight shifts more so to the front. With a worn out setup, one will notice a significant "squatting" effect as there is not enough resistance to support the added pressure. This set up definite eliminates most squatting, as I think all would be very difficult.

What I did like about this setup is the bounce. With slightly shorter spring, and a stiffer setup, there is one road in particular that has, over the years of excessive road use, created a waving effect on the road surface. They are not potholes, but rather wrinkles in the road. A similar way to understand what the hell I'm talking about is a road with excessive road usage that over time and heat, have tire tread depths from where cars continuously travel. Or, next time you drive through snow, the center of the road will have a higher degree of snow compared to where the tires are always packing in the snow. The bounce I notice is absolutely normal for a sport setup, there is no way around it, and therefore, one will just have to live with it.
As far as the drop, visual, I do not really notice a difference. I didn't go out of my way to measure, nor do I really care too much. The drop was minimum, a quarter in the front and a three quarters in the rear according to Eibach. I only know I am lower because of certain places where I would not scrape, now I will. My driveway is an example, my girlfriends driveway, and at work.

If you haven't given up on the reading, and have more questions feel free to ask. I know that review was pretty intensive (or maybe not ), but if I think of anything else, I'll post it up.

Thank guys, here is a picture after I gave it a nice scrub down. I have the before picture of how dirty it was too!



PS Can anyone make me a signature with this picture?

Last edited by silp3; 01-01-2011 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:47 PM   #2
franz
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I have that exact same set up and love it. I also have a track coil-over set up but I am going to swap between it and the Eibachs for track days (perhaps 3 weekends/year) because the comfort level is not there on the track coil-overs.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:54 PM   #3
ChiMaster
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Nice write-up

That bounce you feel is inherent to the Bilstiens. I had the same feeling in 99.5 A4 with H&R's and Bilstiens. I loved the setup in every other respect.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:36 AM   #4
genuity
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Did you ever consider going with new genuine OE springs? I am at the crossroads right now...my 330 came with the sports package of course and I figured I would go with Bilstein Sports. I do not want the ride height any lower because even at this standard sport height (still original sport suspension...sport springs and sachs...some leaky at best) and I have to really watch where I am going for steep driveways, etc.

I was told that Bilstein Sports and genuine OE sport springs would leave the ride height the same but other springs like Eibach will lower it just a tad, exactly as you mentioned.

Even now though, in order to reach both the front and rear center jacking points, I have to put the car up on 2x12's...just one one inch higher is enough for me to slide in the 3.5 ton low profile floor jack. If the car was any lower...I mean even 1/4 inch, with the car sitting on a flat floor, I would not be able to put that same lower profile jack under the factory jackpoints. Now, it currently slides under those fine.

Great review. Thanks
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:14 AM   #5
silp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genuity View Post
Did you ever consider going with new genuine OE springs? I am at the crossroads right now...my 330 came with the sports package of course and I figured I would go with Bilstein Sports. I do not want the ride height any lower because even at this standard sport height (still original sport suspension...sport springs and sachs...some leaky at best) and I have to really watch where I am going for steep driveways, etc.

I was told that Bilstein Sports and genuine OE sport springs would leave the ride height the same but other springs like Eibach will lower it just a tad, exactly as you mentioned.

Even now though, in order to reach both the front and rear center jacking points, I have to put the car up on 2x12's...just one one inch higher is enough for me to slide in the 3.5 ton low profile floor jack. If the car was any lower...I mean even 1/4 inch, with the car sitting on a flat floor, I would not be able to put that same lower profile jack under the factory jackpoints. Now, it currently slides under those fine.

Great review. Thanks
Truthfully, the Eibach's aren't much off from the ZSP (sport) springs. If a height is an issue, pairing the Bilstein and Sport spring will be pretty much the same as the Eibach. If my rear springs were not in rough shape, I would have kept them.

Believe it or not, the front struts were actually still in good shape, and the springs as well. But, as I mentioned, paying the premium for oem springs was not worth it in my mind.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:16 AM   #6
silp3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiMaster View Post
Nice write-up

That bounce you feel is inherent to the Bilstiens. I had the same feeling in 99.5 A4 with H&R's and Bilstiens. I loved the setup in every other respect.
Thank you!

The bounce is not much to really think about, it really only is every so often on particular roads. Nonetheless, I absolutely love this set up. I am curious, though, to know what it is like with HR springs.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:34 AM   #7
azshorty
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I also have the eibach pro kit. not to sure about the shocks and struts, but i also experience a little bounce I'm my drive, especially at higher speeds. (70mph+) its a little stiffer at these speeds.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:56 AM   #8
sprintman
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Same springs but Koni FSD shocks on mine. Didn't want the Bilstein stiffness reported by many and what I have experienced on an older non BMW I owned. Good product though.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:57 AM   #9
Andy2108
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I still think Ill go for Bilstein PSS's
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:03 AM   #10
BodyMan
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I have Bilstien Sports and Eibach Pro Kit setup. Its stiff, not really bouncy.After 50k+ miles, I would say its became a bit more bouncy. Could be in my head, but don't think so. Hard to say if its the springs or the struts.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
azshorty
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I believe these springs are soft at low speeds, and become more responsive as they compress in spirited driving. I.e fast cornering, highway speeds, feels more connected to the road. I think that's how these springs work. I remember I read some article about that's the way these springs work.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:52 PM   #12
silp3
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Originally Posted by azshorty View Post
I believe these springs are soft at low speeds, and become more responsive as they compress in spirited driving. I.e fast cornering, highway speeds, feels more connected to the road. I think that's how these springs work. I remember I read some article about that's the way these springs work.
In your current sig, is that the Pro-Kit? The drop looks pretty good, but I still have a gap on mine. I imagine you do not because of the larger wheels.
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:55 PM   #13
silp3
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I still think Ill go for Bilstein PSS's
Too each his own. Like I said if you track the vehicle, obviously coil-overs are the better option. Do you live in a warmer climate or in a region with smooth roads? I mean every upgrade has a purpose it serves depending on the drivers needs. This setup is just an option to the expensive OEM product with slightly stiffer feel, lower appareance and better handling. Though, some might argue it handles better/the same/worse
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:36 PM   #14
Andy2108
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Originally Posted by silp3 View Post
Too each his own. Like I said if you track the vehicle, obviously coil-overs are the better option. Do you live in a warmer climate or in a region with smooth roads? I mean every upgrade has a purpose it serves depending on the drivers needs. This setup is just an option to the expensive OEM product with slightly stiffer feel, lower appareance and better handling. Though, some might argue it handles better/the same/worse
Yes and no. We hit above 100 each summer and negatives in the winter. There are some good roads but also alot of bad ones. My main problem would be scraping at my house and at school so the PSS's would be set at the minimum lowering of 1" which is fine for me. I do hope to get my car out on the track a few times in the next coming season.

Coilovers are supposed to ride better than stock, lowering springs are supposed to be terrible (what Ive been told, dont shoot the messenger)
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:47 PM   #15
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Lowering springs like Eibachs aren't terrible as they are progressive rate springs.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:55 PM   #16
azshorty
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In your current sig, is that the Pro-Kit? The drop looks pretty good, but I still have a gap on mine. I imagine you do not because of the larger wheels.
Yes, that is a pro kit. Wheels are an 18 inch staggerd set up. I had a square 18 inch set up when I first got it, and still sat low . I measured 25 inches all the way around at the Horst point of the wheel are to the surface.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:26 PM   #17
genuity
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Funny how there are not that many user reviews on the Eibach pro-kit on tirerack.com. Amazon has none--maybe you should submit...still a bit on the fence about whether to go with Eibach or H&R. H&R sport springs look visually similar to the Eibach sportline. Those on tirerack.com say that H&R lowers a bit too much and rides harsher. Also had one or two reviews in there state that the springs blew their shocks...bilsteins at best, or even had a spring crack them IIRC. I am leaning more towards the pro-kit reading about how closer to OEM it is. What does not seem to make sense is that H&Rs are advertised as extreme lowering, yet their estimated lowering from stock height had lower measurement than Eibach's, so that was why I was at first leaning towards H&R.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:48 PM   #18
Andy2108
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H&R's ride really bad...

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Old 01-07-2011, 08:25 PM   #19
silp3
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Funny how there are not that many user reviews on the Eibach pro-kit on tirerack.com. Amazon has none--maybe you should submit...still a bit on the fence about whether to go with Eibach or H&R. H&R sport springs look visually similar to the Eibach sportline. Those on tirerack.com say that H&R lowers a bit too much and rides harsher. Also had one or two reviews in there state that the springs blew their shocks...bilsteins at best, or even had a spring crack them IIRC. I am leaning more towards the pro-kit reading about how closer to OEM it is. What does not seem to make sense is that H&Rs are advertised as extreme lowering, yet their estimated lowering from stock height had lower measurement than Eibach's, so that was why I was at first leaning towards H&R.

I am having a hard time understanding how springs would cause a shock/strut to blow. Only way I can make sense of that is if the springs were used with OEM shocks (whether sport or non-sport). Lowering springs are specifically made to be matched with a sport strut in which they can handle the extra work caused by a shorter, stiffer spring.

The Eibach's, as mentioned above, are a progressive spring rate. As explained by Tirerack.com in this Comparative test between OEM springs, Eibach Pro-Kit Springs, and H&R Sport Springs.

Quote:
"Eibach Pro-Kit - Our next test car was equipped with Eibach Pro-Kit sport springs. As in the case of this test, vehicles equipped with higher performance tires which generate more traction than stock tires usually result in additional body lean when the vehicle is cornered at its limit. While Eibach Pro-Kit sport springs use progressive spring rates to minimizing disturbances to the vehicle's ride quality, they are designed with overall higher than stock spring rates to help control the additional body roll at the limit to maximize improvements in handling.
"

http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/t...bach_hr_rd.jsp

As I said, for ride comfort as well as a solid performance increase over sport suspension, the Eibach's paired with the Bilstein are an incredible mixture.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:35 PM   #20
genuity
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I pulled the trigger a couple hours ago for the Eibach pro-kit on Amazon. It's a deal no one can beat. Now I need to put my new and never used genuine OEM front sports springs up for sale and see what I can recover back.
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