Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 11:02:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Ron Browne <r_browne_at_yahoo.com>
Subject: <E36>Suspension Installs
Did a fair amount of E36 suspension work this weekend
on my car and my brothers, and thought I would pass on
Car A(his): 1993 E36 325ia. Appr. 60,000 miles, Stock
suspension. 16 inch wheels with 205-55 Bridgestone's.
Car B(mine): 1992 318is. 114,000 miles. OE rear
shocks and springs. OE front springs. 1 year old
Boge/Sachs Gas Struts. 16 inch wheels with 205-55
Car A received a like-new Sachs Sporting Suspension
kit, (matching springs, struts, shocks) normally sold
at Bekkers for around $650 or so. This particular set
was purchased slightly used from a digester.
Car B received new Bilstein HD shocks at the rear,
retained stock springs at the rear(couldn't really find
a good used E36 Sport Package set of rear springs for
the rear), and a used (less then 20,000 miles) set of
318ti Sport package front springs and struts.
Why didn't I just get a used E36 M3 or used E36 Sport
package suspension set from the Roundel classifieds?
Well, in my limited suspension research, it appears
that BMW makes the coil springs tailored for each
vehicle, taking into account (obviously) the weight of
each vehicle. Since the weight of the front of a Ti is
closer to my cars weight than the front of a 6 cylinder
BMW, I opted for the Ti pieces. Who knows...maybe the
E36 M3 springs would have worked just fine on my car.
Then again, maybe they would not have. Regardless, the
pieces I obtained were in fine shape, at a great used
Car A's before measurements: (all measurements takes
from the center of the wheel up to the fender.)
Front-Appr 14 3/4ths inches
Rear- Appr 13.00 inches
After the install
Front-Appr 13.00 inches
Rear-Appr 12 3/4ths inches
Car B's before measurements
Front-Appr 14.75 inches
Rear-Appr 12 and 7/8ths inches
After the install
Front-Appr 14.5 inches
Rear-Appr 13.0 inches.
Yes, I know..Car B actually went UP slightly in the
rear ride height...I attribute that to the dead old
shocks in the rear. They were not leaking, just
Car A's front end drop was visually
noticeable...significant decrease in the ugly wheelwell
gap. Car B's overall drop was slightly noticeable
visually..as was expected.
Car A's ride was not as bad as expected. Much firmer,
handling much more precise, body roll significantly
reduced. Braking nose-dive all but eliminated. Total
test drive was only about 10 miles, so couldnt draw too
many conclusions. A slight pull to the left was
noticed, as well as slightly increased steering
Car B's ride was much improved. Much more controlled,
less pitch...the annoying excess brake dive was
significantly reduced, as was the porposing between
high-rpm gear changes. Car B had the rear shocks
installed a week before the strut job, as I wanted to
experiment with the effects of certain parts. Amazing
how just the rear shock change had a noticeable effect
on reducing the brake dive. Putting on the new
struts/springs helped even more. That annoying dip in
the road on my street, that usually resulted in an
annoying excess rebound at 40mph, with the old stock
setup, now results in the struts feeling like they are
grabbing the car and pulling it back down when the car
attempts to go upwards. Yet, overall ride quality
(which is what I have to live with everyday) is still
I'm satisfied and my brother is satisfied. We'll see
how things pan out in the long-term. I may opt to
purchase some OE BMW Sport Package rear springs in the
future. Or maybe I won't.
Borrowed a relatives Craftsman 3hp, 12 gallon
compressor and Craftsman Impact gun. Horrible
performance. Gun did not have enough torque to remove
most of the strut to hub bolts. Sucker kept getting
hot when using it on the spring compressors to compress
the spring, tripping the circuit breaker fo my garage.
And, cheap Chinese spring compressors were a bear to
get the spring compressed enough to get the top strut
bearing/washer/nut on there.
That's it...I'm beat.
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