Unofficial BMW

Unofficial BMW

Google Search

What's New

Search (Google!!)









Used Cars




In Association with

Home E12 E24 E28 E30 E34 E36 Z3 E39 E46 X5/E53 ALL
Ron Stygar Carl Buckland Dale Beuning Forums Help

Unofficial BMW Nav Map

From digest.v6.n865 Wed Jul 9 15:53:07 1997
From: Bob Hazelwood <>
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 1997 13:10:26 -0400
Subject: Re:<E34> Suspension Upgrades - Summary

Hi all; A few weeks ago I asked for E34 suspension recommendations and received some excellent responses from many Digesters. Unfortunatelt these all came in while I was away and I had about 80 E-mails to respond to when I got back. As a result I was snowed under with E-mails and responding to the business-related ones had to come first. Therefore I was not able to take the time to answer each respondent and post a summary for those of you who might be interested until now. Sorry this netiquette lapse, but I hope you understand how long it takes to repond to 76 messages! Now that I am caught back up I'll get to individually thanking the respondents and posting this summary.

Basically the consensus was:

  1. Upgrade the wheels and tires to either a +1 or +2 choice, depending on the roads you have in your area. I was originally thinking of going to 16", but looking further into it I will probably now go to 17". Even 45 series tires seem to have a reasonable sidewall height in the 17" size for protection against with wheel bending on less than perfect roads. I am used to thinking in terms of smaller wheels from a previous car, where the sidewall height of a 205-45 resulted in bent rims from some of the more "interesting" New England potholes. The sidewall height of an appropriate 17" 50-series is comparable to the smaller size 60-series, which I have never had problems with.
  2. Don't change shocks without changing springs too. This is logical since once the car is apart it makes sense to avoid having to take it apart again later to change the springs too. H+R springs with Bilsteins were recommended by three respondents. Most, however suggested purchasing the Dinan Stage-1 package at, (I think,) $2k, although one person said he bought his for $1k on sale. "...Compared to stock, it took nearly all of the "wallow" out, but it's still very comfortable to drive. It lowers the car about 3/4", enough to notice but not enought to drag on speed bumps or kiss your fog lights goodbye on parking stall wheel stops, and REALLY firms it up." Buying the H&R and Bilsteins and sway-bar a-la carte seems to be a bit less expensive, but I suppose that having someone like Dinan do all the development work is good insurance that everything will work right together.
  3. The second step is stiffer sway bars. Dinan was the most recommended here, with Suspension Techniques recommended by one respondent.
  4. Add a front strut brace to reduce chsssis flex.
  5. Don't touch the bushings except for track use. Even then, do it as an element of a fully developed package like the Stage 3 Dinan.

But the suggestion which appealed to my bargain-hunter heart was to look for a take-off 540i sport suspension. One person said that he sold his to someone to upgrade their E34, and that that person was very happy with the results. I don't know if there are any installation hassles with my 93 vs a car of the same year as the 540, but BMW seems pretty consistent from year to
year. I have driven my ex-boss' 540i, and was happy with it's ride/handling balance. I have also driven a Dinan stage-1 equipped car and liked it too. I think I liked the Dinan a little better, but it is hard to really know for sure since the test drives were on different roads, with cars of different milage, and separated by 8-months. However, they seemed close
enough that if I can save significantly by buying a take-off I'd go that route. Although before doing that I will have to look into the weight and
balance differences between a 525 and a 540. I seem to recall that the V8 was not all that different in weight from the six, but I'll have to look it up to be sure. Also, I'll need to find out if there are any clearance problems with the sway-bars with the different steering gear and oil-pan.

Best Regards,
Bob Hazelwood
VP Product Management, a/d/s/
'93 525i 5-sp
'87 325 5-sp (250k miles / original clutch!) '92 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS (60k mi. / needs new clutch already!) '85 Dodge Ram D50 (Ever try to haul mulch in a Bimmer?)

Unofficial Homepages: [Home] [E12] [E24] [E28] [E30] [E34] [E36] [Z3] [E39] [E46] [X5/E53] [ALL] [ Help ]