E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-10-2013, 10:40 PM   #1
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
Bilstein Strut Sit High

2000 323i, I replaced my OEM struts with the Bilstein "OEM equivalent" struts. Now the front end sits about 1/2" higher than it used to. It is visible and obvious, at least to me. Everything is installed correctly, and springs are properly positioned on the perches.

I took a new Bilstein same as what is on my car to the dealer to compare it to the factory unit. Dimensionally it appears the same. Differences are that the shoulder on the lower end that seats inside the knuckle is not as sharply defined, but it appears to be in the right place. And, the rod on the Bilstein runs all the way out by itself, whereas on the OE unit, it does not. So when the the two are side by side, the rod is fully extended on the Bilstein, and on the OE is is not sticking out as far, maybe 1.5" less. I think the OE struts are not gas charged.

Anybody else run across this when installing aftermarket struts? I don't like the look at all. I've had them on the car for 25K miles, and they still sit high.
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 01-11-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
ryannel2003
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 973
My Ride: '04 Cadillac Deville
Yes this also happened with the Bilstein's on my 2000 323i. At first it took a few days to get used to the look but afterwards I realized it's an old car and the only one that would even care is myself. Mine seems to have settled down a bit since first taking the car off the lift. It no longer bothers me because the ride and handling is so much improved.
__________________
ryannel2003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 11:59 PM   #3
always-there
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 1,220
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330I
Reason why Bimmers demand OEM on anything, lol. I'm happy with the lowering springs I added. Sure they're stiffer making for a more stiff ride but, the handling increased. I sent you a message. If you're ever in the area you can compare my cars ride height (with the same dampers), and Megan coils so if you end up liking it you can do it. Of course, I have a 330 so I'm positive I ride a little lower stock.
always-there is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2013, 09:55 AM   #4
ryannel2003
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 973
My Ride: '04 Cadillac Deville
The 323's and 325's (unless equipped with sport suspension) sit a little higher than the rest of the E46's so when you add the strut it makes the car seem tall. You can put on lowering springs but be warned, this suspension is not designed for lowering springs. The Bilstein Heavy Duty or Bilstein Sport's are designed for aftermarket lowering springs and if you do install the springs that might void your warranty. If it bothers you so much, you could probably just put OEM sport springs from a sport package car to lower it and stiffen up the suspension.
__________________
ryannel2003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
It sits higher to the point that it is slightly higher than max height defined in the Bentley manual. It should not be this way, and Bilstein can and should do better than this. There is no excuse for it. Did they not test fit these struts on the car they are designed for? No excuse.
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2013, 05:41 PM   #6
///MPR77
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,852
My Ride: 02 ///M3 Tri-Ped
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkrab View Post
It sits higher to the point that it is slightly higher than max height defined in the Bentley manual. It should not be this way, and Bilstein can and should do better than this. There is no excuse for it. Did they not test fit these struts on the car they are designed for? No excuse.
Are you sure the struts are fully seated into the knuckles?

This will raise the height if not fully seated.
__________________

Bewahren Sie ihre ultimative fahrmaschine

Last edited by ///MPR77; 01-13-2013 at 05:43 PM.
///MPR77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2013, 06:50 PM   #7
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by ///MPR77 View Post
Are you sure the struts are fully seated into the knuckles?

This will raise the height if not fully seated.
Yes, I double-checked that, and made sure the springs are correctly seated and oriented on the spring mounts, top and bottom. Everything is assembled correctly. It is the struts, absolutely no doubt about it.

There is no excuse. Bilstein did not do their homework.
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 01:52 PM   #8
always-there
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 1,220
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330I
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkrab View Post
Yes, I double-checked that, and made sure the springs are correctly seated and oriented on the spring mounts, top and bottom. Everything is assembled correctly. It is the struts, absolutely no doubt about it.

There is no excuse. Bilstein did not do their homework.
If you get a chance take a picture of the strut and the knuckle area so we can determine if it's completely in. I feel the same way about the touring struts but hey, what can you do. I had the misfortune of finding out they weren't completely seated, so I ended up using a hammer and hit the knuckle while pushing up with a jack. Of course, it still had more to go and little by little it went in completely. You have to keep in mind they are Bilstein Touring's, so they sit higher. If you wanted the car to be lower you should've gone with the dampers you mentioned earlier; the heavy duty/sport Bilsteins, or gone with the Sachs. Aside from the obvious you need to focus on how you'll adjust to your original height. You've already mentioned you won't pay for the oem struts so let's focus on the solution. I went with the lowering springs and honestly it lowered it 2 inches front/ 1.5 inches in the back; that's low. I like how it looks, but if I could go back I'd do coil overs for the better handling, lower center of gravity, hard cornering and what not, but it's expensive. So with all that said and I know you don't want low, you can't go with the coils, I'd probably lower it too much for your like. You can go with the zhp springs, but I don't think it'll suffice with the huge gap the struts added. It's your choice of course, but I would look into replacing the perches since it lower it just enough.
always-there is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 07:54 PM   #9
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
They're fully seated in the knuckles. No hammering needed (you shouldn't HAVE to hammer them in!). I double-checked by completely removing the struts, and re-seating them. They slide into the knuckle easily, and solidly hit the shoulder. The bottom of the strut sticks out below the knuckle by a couple of inches or so.

I picked the "Touring" because Bilstein advertises them as direct OEM replacements, to replicate the the OEM strut perfectly. I figured, why pay extra for teh Sachs when the Bilsteins are available? Bilstein has a good reputation. I should have been able to buy them and install them with complete confidence. The ride is fine, but they sit higher. Bilstein did NOT do their homework.

I will post links to photos in a moment, as soon as I upload them....
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 08:04 PM   #10
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i




That wheel gap you see is from jacking the car up. The ride is a bit high, but not THAT high!
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 11:06 PM   #11
///MPR77
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,852
My Ride: 02 ///M3 Tri-Ped
Kind of hard to tell, but that seems really close to fully seated, I wish we could see the rivets, or the top of the knuckle.

Is it me?
The spring looks rotated too far on the bottom, In that pic at least.
On mine, I lined up the end of the coil to the indent where it sits. I believe that is there to keep the spring from spinning around on the seat...could that be on wrong, or am I mistaking?
__________________

Bewahren Sie ihre ultimative fahrmaschine

Last edited by ///MPR77; 01-14-2013 at 11:08 PM.
///MPR77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2013, 11:32 PM   #12
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
Rivets? Are you referring to the alignment pins that fit in the slot in the knuckle?

The spring is seated correctly. It is oriented exactly like it was on the original strut. The spring is actually eccentric, so you cannot just turn it around on the strut. If you orient it incorrectly it just doesn't fit right. You can force it, but it is obvious when it is right.
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
CSR74
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
My Ride: Bmw e46 320i
Just did a full front end rebuild on my 320i (guttered and replaced everything) including new bilinstiens. Sits sweet still.
Is your rear end the issue and needs a look at to compensate and balance the ride height?
CSR74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013, 10:01 PM   #14
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by CSR74 View Post
Just did a full front end rebuild on my 320i (guttered and replaced everything) including new bilinstiens. Sits sweet still.
Is your rear end the issue and needs a look at to compensate and balance the ride height?
Which Bilsteins? Mine are the "Touring". They market them as direct OEM replacements, not an "upgrade". Also, it is possible the units for your E46 are different from mine, since I think yours has a lighter 4 cylinder engine in it. That could be the difference. I just want to make sure this is an apples-to-apples comparison.


The Bilstein part numbers for my car are:
VNE-A309-BG (LF FR.) VNE-A310-BG (RT. FR.)
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013, 10:07 PM   #15
always-there
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 1,220
My Ride: 2002 BMW 330I
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkrab View Post
Which Bilsteins? Mine are the "Touring". They market them as direct OEM replacements, not an "upgrade". Also, it is possible the units for your E46 are different from mine, since I think yours has a lighter 4 cylinder engine in it. That could be the difference. I just want to make sure this is an apples-to-apples comparison.


The Bilstein part numbers for my car are:
VNE-A309-BG (LF FR.) VNE-A310-BG (RT. FR.)
We have inline 6's..and the e46 320i definitely..comes with one, no 4 bangers here.
always-there is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2013, 01:20 PM   #16
CSR74
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Australia
Posts: 2
My Ride: Bmw e46 320i
That's correct, I have the 6 pot.
CSR74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2013, 10:54 PM   #17
belmarBMW
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Belmar NJ
Posts: 40
My Ride: 2002 330xi
did you figure this out?
belmarBMW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013, 12:11 AM   #18
dkrab
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 333
My Ride: 2000 323i
Yes. They do sit higher, and there is nothing you can do about it. I went to the BMW dealership with the Bilstein strut and compared it to the BMW strut (Sachs) side by side, with no load on either, on the countertop. The shaft on the Bilstein sticks out much farther. On the Sachs strut, the shaft looks much shorter, but it actually can be pulled out and extended. On the Bilstein the shaft is all the way out. It is as if the Sachs has a spring inside pulling the strut in. The force it takes to push the Bilstein shaft in to match the free length of the Sachs is the difference, that force lifts the car. There is no fix.
dkrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2013, 02:37 AM   #19
ryannel2003
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 973
My Ride: '04 Cadillac Deville
My car has settled and now looks perfectly normal. I have 7k miles on this suspension and it is great. I recommend it.
__________________
ryannel2003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use