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Old 06-13-2007, 05:49 PM   #1
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Thumbs up New front end overhal. Detailed ride review.

Hi Guys,

I just did a complete front suspension overhaul, that included: Bilstein sport shocks, Bav Auto sport springs, Meyle all metal ball joint control arms, 96' M3 solid control arm bushings, sway bar links with new brackets, Sach's new front and rear shock mounts, and of course, alignment and balancing.

I acquired a 1998 red 318ti sport through e-bay 2 month ago. The car has 116,000 miles and felt very loose in the front end, thus the complete overhaul. I did my upgrade in steps so I can better determine what each component's improvements were.

My Honest Unbias Review (with costs breakdown):

1. Tie-Rods ($98 each.): After the new tie-rods was put in, I noticed a much better control and tightness in steering. But the overall suspension slopiness is still noticeable.

2. Control arms ($100 each): This is what made the most improvement. I did install a solid-rubber-core M3 control arm bushing so it added to the tightness feel. The car responded better to the imperfections of the road.

3. Sway bar link($27 each): I kept the original sport bar because it was enough for our 2759 lb car. I lubed the bushings with grease and replaced the link. I made a mistake of not tightening the nuts with the wheels compressed, so it make clacking noises afterwards. Make sure you press your rotor up with a jack to tighten the link bolt. This upgrade did not produce any noticeable improvement to the ride.

4. Shocks and springs ($575 kit) Strut mounts ($100 total): The original boge and sport springs were more firm, but a little more britle than Bilstein-bavauto combo. I felt that the car is much better damped but the bav-auto springs were a little softer than stock. The new springs lowered the height in front by .75" and back by .4" over stock sport set up.
The Bav springs promised to lower the car without punishing ride of the other sport springs, and they're right. But the car felt heavier in the front with their springs. I would keep my old springs and change them back in a few months if I can't get use to it. I love the Kart-like nimbleness of the original sport springs, but I definitely love the bilsteins. One benefit with my new set up is that high-speed freeway ride became more stable and refined. The bilsteins dumpens the smaller, high-frequency bumps very well.

Overall, I would recommed any high-mileage Ti's to do a front suspension overhaul. The choice of springs is a matter of personal taste. I hope my experience would help those who likes to renew that lengendary BMW ride.
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Old 06-15-2007, 12:48 AM   #2
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going to do mine this summer.. 107,000 miles.. it is time
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