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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 01-04-2012, 03:46 PM   #1
schulmann
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Question Hotchkis or TMS sway bar ?

I have been lapping with my 330ci for 4 seasons and it is time now to upgrade my sway bars. I am using the Bilstein heavy duty sport suspension on the front and rear. The car is lowered to the minimum but I don't remember what springs I have installed.

The alignment is F:-2.5 R:-1.5 with a little toe in 1/8.

I want to reduce the body roll to the minimum.
I don't care about street ride as long as I can drive to the race track.

Should I also replace the rear sway bar or just the front one ?
I don't want the car to become loose in the rear ...


Which one gives the stiffest ride Hotchkis or TMS sway bars ?


.
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Last edited by schulmann; 01-04-2012 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
murph1379
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You should definitely do both bars. Hotchkis is stiffer, TMS will require less maintenance over time. (teflon-lined bushings that don't need grease)
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:49 PM   #3
blacktalons
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Tms!!!
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
TxZHP04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
Hotchkis is stiffer
Has this actually been proven or is this just assumed based on the larger OD?
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:22 PM   #5
murph1379
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Originally Posted by TxZHP04 View Post
Has this actually been proven or is this just assumed based on the larger OD?
Good question... Since H&R don't publish the rates for their bars (TMS is rebranded H&R) I've used estimates from online calculators for my suspension tuning calculations. I haven't been terribly confident in the calculators, as these bars have a bunch of bends, and who knows if they use the same steel.

So this winter I've been working on a project to directly measure the sway bar rates myself, by bolting it to a table, and using scales and a jack.

I have the H&R non-M, (27mm) M3, (30mm) and stock front bars, as well as the H&R non-M (21mm) and stock rear bars. I'd like to buy the Hotchkis bars this winter, budget permitting.

My testing isn't perfect, and I'm working on improving it, but so far it's showing a little softer rates than the calculators would suggest based on dimensions. As I work to improve the measuring, I've only tested one bar thus far, the H&R 27mm. So far it says the bar exerts ~275 lbs per inch that the bar moves, at its' stiffest setting. So as the car rolls 1", that would be 550 lbs, since each side of the bar would move 1". (useful when comparing to springs) The calculator says this should be about 655 lbs/in in roll.

The Hotchkis website quotes their 30mm bar at 470, 540, and 630 lbs/in, double that for the car rolling 1". That's pretty close to what the calculators say for the H&R 30mm M3 bar, which I'll test when I'm more confident of the results.

So the Hotchkis bar at full stiff is about twice as stiff or more than then H&R (TMS) non-M bar on full stiff.

The difference based on the calculators' estimate of the rear bars are even more pronounced.

Yes, some of these bars are a lot stiffer than even the most hardcore race team would use spring-wise. The BMW Motorsport bar is a whopping 40mm!

I hope that helps. FWIW, I'm running the H&R 30mm M3 bar on full stiff with my winter setup.

Last edited by murph1379; 01-04-2012 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:59 PM   #6
TxZHP04
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Interesting info. Hope to see an update on your testing when/if you're able to get your hands on the Hotchkis bars. Even if your testing isn't perfect, I'd still like to compare the results of both bars tested via the same procedure.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:08 PM   #7
schulmann
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But I still don't have any track comparaisons for both sway bars.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:19 PM   #8
murph1379
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I've run both H&R bars quite a bit, and the stiffer H&R front bar is similar to the hotchkis front. The only time I go down to the softer bar is when it's cold and wet, like 40ish degrees. (550/650 or 600/750 spring rates on 265 street tires)

If you're not going to use a bar in the rear, the hotchkis or the big H&R bar will be too much, you'll understeer. Either the hotchkis set or the TMS set will be well matched together on the track, the hotchkis being stiffer.

Either give you some adjustability on both ends, though the rear is a very fine adjustment, and the front a relatively large one. That's ok, because the rear is fairly sensitive, and the front fairly insensitive, to a point.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
TxZHP04
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Originally Posted by schulmann View Post
But I still don't have any track comparaisons for both sway bars.
Honestly, sway bars should be used to fine tune balance not minimize body roll (especially when track performance is the primary goal). Generally speaking, springs govern the amount of body roll and rebound damping controls the roll rate. Either set of bars will give you plenty of adjustability along with less body roll than the stock bars. If you're still getting too much body roll with either of these, it might really be time to think about upgrading to more track worthy springs and dampers.

What tire setup are you running on track?
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:53 AM   #10
schulmann
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Tires ?

245/40/17 on all 4 wheels. Either Hoosiers or Dunlop Star Spec.

I have to change the swaybars. It is a must in my case. Yes maybe I will buy more expensive suspensions but I am running on budget. So the swaybar upgrade for $400 is well spent. The 330ci will be much better balanced.
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