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From digest.v7.n845 Mon Dec 29 20:12:53 1997
From: Duane Collie <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 18:33:36 -0500
Subject: Suspension Mods E36

>Thanks for the feedback. I would normally do everything listed in Duane's
>email. My quandry is that there was a post from another member listing

>rates. There was a mention that the rates on '98s might be different.
Then you

>don't just add sway bars; you have different thicknesses and torsional

>from each vendor. I DO want the car lower but not to look 'Kewl' as Duane

> I just want a lower center of gravity. In fact a lower car in California
is a

>major PITA. In my old 325i I had to watch for curb stops in parking lots to
>keep from scraping the front. Also going over speed bumps was a major
>adventure. Abd all of that was with Eibach/Bilsteins. It looks like H&Rs

>favorite in CA) are even lower. Now, how much camber do you get with

>- -vs- H&Rs?? Will H&Rs give enough negative camber or do I still need

>H&Rs are stiffer. Will Bilsteins work well with them or do I need Koni
>adjustable? If so which setting gives a similar ride to Eibach/Bilsteins??
>If I get H&R/Koni which sway bars should I get?? I bought Eibach sways last
>time because they were set to work as a system with the Eibach springs.

Ron & Jim,

Couple of things to consider when working the suspension is that while the aftermarket springs will certainly the car, if you install Dinan Camber Plates they will RAISE the front of the car 1/2". Here's how my car is set up and I'm quite happy with it:

  • Bilstein Sports all around * H&R Springs (street) * Dinan Camber Plates * Dinan Adjustable Sway Bars * Zero Toe Front and Rear with 210 lbs in the front seat, - 2 degrees negative rear camber (front is non-adjustable).

Total set up lowered the front by 1 1/2" and the rear by 1". I find it to be no less objectionable or difficult to drive than stock heights and you'll find that this is the correct height for an M3 in Europe (U.S. cars are raised to meet bumper height requirements).

How much better does it make the car? It's improved the car by roughly 2 to 2 1/2 seconds on a 60 second autocross course, which is fairly significant.

As far as sway bars go, I'd NOT normally buy the Dinan's (they are not much larger than stock and a real PITA to adjust - you won't do it very often and it requires lifting the car off the suspension ) - just that I got them brand new at a very good price. Most the other guys are running Racing Dynamics sways as the current fav of choice.

You're only gonna pick up a half a degree or so of negative camber with a spring swap - not much. Be sure to re-align the toe on the car afterwards

  • - especially if you add in more negative camber with plates.

For E36 M3's the camber paltes are ONLY for 1995 models - for '96 and later you rotate the existing strut mounts 180 degrees to accomplish the same thing (see? you just saved $ 200!).

Best thing to do? Drive a few cars that are modified first before you make the jump. You really don't need all that extra camber for street driving - really. Unless you are running in CSP class or are a dedicated track junkie, its overkill. And - in my humble opinion, Dinan stuff is WAYYYYYYYYY overpriced for what you get (I hear the masses cry "Blasphamey! Heretic!" - "Burn 'em at the stake!").

Duane Collie
National Capital Chapter

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