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Old 03-29-2013, 12:49 AM   #1
Ziradog
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Question New guy needs basic strut/shock help

So I have inherited a 1996 318ti California with 5-speed transmission, 168K miles. This is a daily driver, not a track, autocross, etc. Cost is a big concern. I will be doing most/all work myself & have very little experience doing suspension work.

The front strut assemblies are BADLY worn out - car just bounces up & down. I assume rears are also shot. I have two sets of questions. The first ones are basic - what parts (besides the shocks & strut assemblies) will I need need to do the replacement? What other parts should I do at the same time?

Second questions are the basic "What to buy". Searching here & parts places, it looks like the choices break down as follows:
A. Gabriel, Munroe, etc. Cheap. As best I can tell, admitting I buy these will get me tarred, feathered, and run out of the forum. Is this because they do a bad job, don't last, or both?
B. KYB, etc. As above but slightly more money and slightly better reputation. Popular on other brands of cars, don't see much about them on BMW's.
C. Sachs. OEM supplier, are the ones I see the OEM part?
D. Bilstein. Twin tube is priced about the same as Sachs, is performance similar? The Heavy Duty obviously more money. What are the advantages for a daily driver other than longevity? Since I don't have sport suspension I assume that the sport is not relevant. Also see that there are several part number listed as Bilstein Heavy Duty for this car (besides the right/left difference) - what would I look for?

Not even considering adjustable, coil-over, etc. due to price.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:12 AM   #2
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Id look into KONI Str.t shocks, they're pretty reasonably priced, good quality and have a lifetime guarantee
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:40 AM   #3
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If it is just a daily driver get a set of Monroes, no need to get anything fancy.

Since you're taking the struts and shocks out you should do new strut mounts and shock mounts at the same time. You should probably also get new bolts for all those, check realoem.com for the part numbers and good diagrams of how everything goes together.

As long as the springs aren't broken just reuse them and your spring pads.

You'll need spring compressors to swap springs between the struts, they can be rented from most auto parts stores.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:52 AM   #4
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IMO, there's a reason why Monroe is one of the cheapest shocks you can buy... for about the same price you can get KYB's, and you'll be glad you did, but definitely replace all the mounts as well at the same time. For a daily driver, no need to buy Bilsteins/Konis/coilovers/etc.

Parts Geek has a pair of KYB struts for under $200 w/ free shipping. You can often find coupons for PG online as well.

Link to Parts Geek
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:41 PM   #5
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Idk, I've never personally put monroes on my car but I know Bluebimma had them on his 318ti before he got coilovers. From what I recall he was happy with them.

I just took a look at what Tire rack offers, they have Bilstein Tourings for a very reasonable price.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:26 AM   #6
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So strut mounts, shock mounts, and bolts. Thanks, that is most helpful.

The Koni Str.t look interesting but I don't see where they have them to fit the ti. A brief search here shows up the same concern from others. Can someone point me to part numbers or similar?

I have no experience with KYB's but the price is really good. Are the Biltstein Touring better?

Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:28 AM   #7
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So strut mounts, shock mounts, and bolts. Thanks, that is most helpful.

The Koni Str.t look interesting but I don't see where they have them to fit the ti. A brief search here shows up the same concern from others. Can someone point me to part numbers or similar?

I have no experience with KYB's but the price is really good. Are the Biltstein Touring better?

Thanks.
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