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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 10-10-2012, 07:29 AM   #1
jlgone
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: DE
Posts: 317
My Ride: 2002 330 CiC
Need advice on vert suspension upgrade

Any one out there upgraded sway bars on a cabriolet?? Mine is all original Sport susp with 60 k miles now and I am getting ready to update everything.

From what I've read, cabriolets have 23.5 or 24 mm F and 20 mm R, which is thicker than coupes with sport suspension or even coupes with ZHP suspension. What are recommended sways for a cabriolet?

The reason I ask is I only want the drop of H&R sport srings or Eibach Pro-kit but I am afraid they won't offer the level of handling improvement I want. I was thinking the sways would help but also if I do spirings, shocks and sways I am in coilover territory for cost.

Should I just go with PSS or KW 1 coilovers and leave the sways as-is. I don't was to spend 1700 for adjustable coilovers but would be willing to go 1100 for non adjustable dampning if it gives me the stiffness I am looking for witout excessive drop. I know there are lots of advocates for coilovers, but almost all are on a coupe or 4 door and verts are obviously different based on the factory set up for sway bars.

Anybody have experience with just PSS vsH&R sports with upgraded sways??
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:56 AM   #2
lucky_doggg7
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: OC
Posts: 282
My Ride: 2005 M3
On my '05 E46M coupe with ZCP "competition package suspension", I switched to Bilstein PSS9's and that made a huge improvement. With the PSS9, you can dial in a stiffer damper setting as you experiment with different settings. I happen to buy a set of CSL bars for a steal, and I began to experiment with my damper settings; I went "one click" stiffer front and rear on my PSS9's to complement the CSL bars. My setting is 3 in the front, and 5 in the rear.

This is similar to your quandary concerning suspension replacement of stock for aftermarket and being able to get the most benefit from the changes. I am very happy with the PSS9's. About more commentary on the PSS9's, some track junkies on the forums say it is bettered by say Ground Control or TC Klein, and that may be so, but you take a ride in PSS9 car on a regular road and you will be happy wth the smooth ride. BTW, I autoX a half dozen times a year and do a few track days a year and I have NEVER gotten a bad comment about my car's handling from a BMW CCA Instructor who has piloted my sled.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:11 AM   #3
jlgone
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: DE
Posts: 317
My Ride: 2002 330 CiC
Thanks. My car will a daily driver and I won't autocross or track it. I also don't want much of a drop and won't adjust the height once I am done.

My question seems to boil down to which set up would give me the best handling with good ride quality for the amount I want to spend (approx $1300).

1. H&R Sport Springs with Koni (yellow adjustables or FSD) plus some quality aftermarket sway bars (need to know which ones fit)

VS.

2. KW v1 or PSS (non adjustable coilovers) with just factory sways (24 mm F 20mm R)

Opinons Please!

Last edited by jlgone; 10-11-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:11 AM   #4
lucky_doggg7
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Just thinking about your request, let's first consider your vehicle's platform. It's a vert, it's some 300 lbs heavier than a coupe, and since the tin top has been chopped off to allow wind in your hair, and just because it's a vert, the chassis is going to flex more and the added weight doesn't help.

This being the case, my simple approach would be to replace as much hardware as possible, so this means dampers, springs and anti-roll bars. My advice for hardware would be seriously considering Bilstein Heavy Duty dampers, which are marginally stiffer than stock and they provide a great ride. Between the choice of H&R and Eibach springs, H&R in my experience takes away some overall comfort, especially at lower speeds and choppy roads, but if that general comfort is not topping the list, H&R will allow hard cornering. As for anti-roll bars, try to buy adjustable one's, which will allow you to tailor the car's handling. There is nothing spookier than a tail happy rear drive car. That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps; good luck modding your sled.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
jlgone
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Join Date: Jun 2002
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My Ride: 2002 330 CiC
The increased weight and flex of a convertible is exactly why I am seeking out specific advice. I beleive the extra weight is primarily in the rear. H&R has a specific spring for convertables while Eibach does not, plus I want a firmer spring. I haven't heard anyone compalin about the adjustable Koni yellows (mixed on the other Konis). Some say Biltein HDs will wear too quickly and the Bilstein Sports are too harsh for a DD.

Your point about chassis flex is somthing I hadn't considered and I agree you are onto something really important that will help with this decision - a H&R sport/Koni yellow (adjustable) spring/shock combo may be on par with the non-adjustable PSS or KW V1s (assuming I am happy with the fixed ride hieght, which I am). I am sure some will want to argue about the coilovers!. If they have comparable progressive spring rates, neither set up will help with chassis flex right?

Strut braces will help flex some. I have never seen any rear strut braces for verts (I gave up on that). Assume I would do the front regardless of my chocie of springs/shocks.

So back to my dilemma

For a convertibel with more chassiis flex, will stiffer sway bars will help with handling MORE that any incremental improvement KW v1s would give over H&R sport/Koni yelows?. Help please!

Last edited by jlgone; 10-11-2012 at 01:25 PM.
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