From digest.v5.n94 Sat Aug 10 08:03:38 1996
From: pos_at_lanl.gov (Page O. Stoutland)
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 21:13:30 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: <E36> M3 Suspension on a 325i: How to do it...
I recently completely the installation of a 1995 M3 take-off suspension on
a 1994 325i. Since there was a lot of confusion about how or if to do this
when I started this project, I thought I would provide the details. Given
that M3 take-off suspensions are numerous and relatively cheap (~$400),
this is an upgrade many 325i owners should consider!
What you need:
Springs, shocks/struts, sway bars. The going rate for slightly used parts
is about $400. When I bought mine I also got the rear sway bar rubber
bushings. Depending on how the M3 owner is upgrading you may get additional
Additional part needed:
(2) M3 thrust rods P/N 031-35-2-227-203 (to connect sway bar to strut)
(2) Rubber mounts P/N 031-35-1-090-300 (these are front sway bar bushings)
(2) Absorber P/N 033-53-1-138-109 (rear bump stops)
(2) M3 Absorber P/N 031-33-2-225-377 (front bump stops)
(2) Spring pad P/N 031-33-1-124-322 (pads for front springs)
Total cost for these parts was about $140 with BMW CCA discount from Peter
Jack up rear of car. Remove sway bar using "top" nut on each endlink and
the bolts holding the rubber bushings in place. Remove shock absorbers. Do
do this you'll need to remove rear speakers and trunk carpeting. The CD
changer cables need to be disconnected as well as the emergency gasoline
"door" release. Both of these are a pain. To remove springs support the
differential with a jack and remove the two bolts which attach the
differential to the body. Lower differential a couple of inches and the
springs can be removed. Put in new springs and shocks. Loctite, etc.
Endlinks on old sway bar can be used for M3 sway bar. You'll need a puller
to remove the endlinks. I got the endlinks onto the new sway bar with a
little soap to lubricate it. Time: a few hours.
Jack up front of car. Remove sway bar. Remove strut which is held by three
bolts on the top and three on the bottom. The strut can be wiggled out--be
careful to put brake lines out of the way. Compress the spring using a
strut compressor and remove strut bearing/spring perch. The top spring
perch and the strut bearing from the 325i can be used on the M3
strut/spring. Note: while the 325i spring is bigger on the bottom, the top
is the same diameter as the M3 spring. Reassemble. Put struts back on car.
Locktite, etc. The M3 sway bar mounts differently from the 325i sway bar.
The M3 sway bar attaches to the strut with the "thrust rods". Front will be
about 0.75" lower with M3 suspension. Time: a few hours.
Get alignment checked...
I found the car to be much more responsive--a very nice upgrade for about
$500 if you do the installation yourself. A couple more comments...The
suspension will not have quite the same geometry as an M3 as the M3 has 1
degree (I think) more castor. In principle this means the M3 will be a bit
more stable at high speeds. Also, if you don't have a strut compressor or a
puller, AutoZone "loans" both of these (for free!!).
If anyone needs more details, email me at pos_at_lanl.gov.
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1994 325i "M"