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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
avincent52
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 412
My Ride: 325iT 5 speed/Sport
What to replace in a Wagon suspension refresh? And what to upgrade?

I've got a 2002 325it Touring with the sports suspension. I like the stance,
I'm happy with the ride.
It's got 120,000 miles on it, but the suspension seems to be working pretty well--even the FCABs are asymptomatic.

My question is both simple and complex. How much and which pieces should I replace?

While I'm at this I'm hoping for an upgrade in the handling. I don't plan on tracking the car, but a little more precision would be great (without getting beaten up on New Jersey's potholed roads)

I"m thinking about Koni Yellows (with e36 M3 rears) or Koni FSDs with stock sports springs or maybe a very mild drop like the Eibach Pro Kit.

But I gather that the shocks/springs have the largest effect on ride, and other suspension parts (control arms? sway bars?) will affect the handling more.

In short, I'm looking to be smart about this and get the most bang for my buck, replacing the parts that really need to be replaced, and the ones that'll have the most positive effect on the ride and handling

thanks in advance
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:39 PM   #2
johnb325i
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Bay area CA
Posts: 9
My Ride: 2003 325I wagon (red
325 wagon suspension

aVincent.

Hi there I'm considering the Koni FSD package for my 2003 325i wagon. I have not found much info on wagon suspension. The BavAuto has a sale on now. See my post in Bimmerfest. About 650 for all 4 corners. No spring change. I'm fine with the height and do not want to lower it as it has the factory sport suspension. Sale is good through May, 2015. Let me know if you have any thoughts. We use ours as the dog car, truck, hauler, etc. Use roof rack a lot. Suspension is having too much car movement on hard driving. Diving, dipping and body roll.

John
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #3
Jonathan @ BimmerWorld
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My Ride: M3/LMR-3
I went with a track-oriented coilover setup on my old '02 325iT, but it was a bit much for the new owner. He swapped with a ZHP owner and has been happy with the ride, etc. My only caveat with that setup would be that the rear spring rates might not be enough, but he's had no issues, and I know of a few others who've run that with no complaints. The benefit of going with something more "custom" like TCK or GC coilovers is that you can get a nice spring rate split front/rear because of the extra weight in the back of the wagon (and the potential for lugging even more around in it). I've never been in a wagon with the H&R Touring Cup Kit, but I've heard good results from those.

If you can find local owners with setups you're thinking of, that would be optimal. That's not the easiest thing with a wagon, though.

You're right that shocks/springs have the biggest effect on ride quality, but they're also a bigger part of the handling equation than sway bars, etc. Ideally, you want them all to work well together, but for the sake of a street car, yes... You can go with soft springs for ride and bigger bars to prevent body roll. With the mileage and age of your car, it's very likely that most suspension bushings are due for replacement, but many are relatively easy to get to...

My biggest piece of advice is regarding the rear end, and not just the suspension setup you choose... Aside from everything under the car, plan ahead for taking care of any rear issues while you're back there. Rear shock mounts aren't fun to access on the wagon, but you'll need to get in there to change dampers, and they're probably ready for replacement. If there's anything else you need to do in the back, do it while you're there to avoid going in again.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:53 AM   #4
avincent52
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 412
My Ride: 325iT 5 speed/Sport
Johnb: One small thing--the Koni sale continues through the end of August on Tire Rack and probably elsewhere. ($632 for the package.)
For the moment I'm leaning toward the FSDs and debating about the Eibach ProKit springs or existing/new stock sports suspension springs.
I'm going to do the upgraded Meyle HD control arms and the Z4M FCABs.
Thanks, Jonathan, about the suggestions of replacing the shock mounts etc. I've already bought those.
That's why I'm planning on having this done on a Saturday so that the dealer will be open if any small parts need to be replaced unexpectedly.

Last edited by avincent52; 05-17-2015 at 08:03 AM.
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