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  1. #1
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    2007 X3 suspension upgrade suggestions?

    Live in SoCal. Just bought a CPO 2007 X3 with sport and premium packages. Test drove it around the dealer's neighborhood and on the freeway (very short stretch). Seemed fine. The X3 has everything we want, but since we took it home, we've found out that the ride is way too stiff. Our 2000 323Ci and MB CLK350 (both with sport packages) are comfortably stiff, but the X3 redefines stiff!!! When driving on the 10 freeway, the jolts over some of the expansion joints almost make you pop out of your seat. I didn't expect that the ride of the X3 Sport would be so different from the 323Ci Sport.

    We have a baby due in December. (We bought the X3 in anticipation of her arrival.) I'm afraid that our baby won't be able to withstand the ride.

    Am willing to spend a few grand to improve the ride, any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    FloydR
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    Buy a set of non-sport wheels/tires

    The non-sport rim is a 17"; the sport package has 18" or 19".
    If that doesn't work, buy a set of non-sport shocks.

  3. #3
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    Re: Buy a set of non-sport wheels/tires

    Thanks for the suggestion. The car came with the 19" low profile mixed performance tires. Do you think that switching to the 18" all season tires will help considerably?

    One service advisor at the dealer told me that the sport suspension is more than just the shocks, struts and sway bars, and that changing these items to the standard ones will not necessarily improve the ride. In your opinion, what should I change in order to achieve a discernible difference?

    We really like the car otherwise. We even bought the 2-year extended maintenance program (to 2013) since we want to keep it for a long time. I don't mind the ride, but I'm concerned that it may be too rough for a baby. Do you think I'm just being overly worried?

    We don't really want to take it back or exchange it because that opens up a whole 'nother set of issues: We would have to take a loss on it and probably write-off the $2,000+ that we spent on the extended maintenance contract.

  4. #4
    FloydR
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    Several things

    1) Dealers (salesmen) are always suspect. The dealer is right that those three items aren't the only things, but the others are tires/wheels and bushings/ball joints.
    2) The tires and wheels are by far the largest contributer to harsh ride. The 19" wheels are optional with the sport package; 18" is standard. However, 17" wheels are standard on vehicles without the sport package. Going to a 17" wheel with markedly reduce jarring; it will also reduce cornering ability and make it softer in steering response. If you're going to change wheels/tires, you might as well go all the way.
    3) Shocks are also easy to change, and have a large effect on stiffness. However, the ride height (springs) and roll bar stiffness won't be a good match. They likely will affect over/under-steer and body roll.
    4) I think you're worrying too much about the baby. I doubt it will even notice. Babies are tough; it certainly won't hurt them. Think of all the babies in the world that ride in un-sprung carts. If you're worried about jarring waking them up, forget about it, since individual characteristics dictate whether they like to sleep in the car or not. One of ours didn't, the other did.

  5. #5
    Tim G.
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    It's understandable to be a little concerned...

    about your baby, but there is absolutely NO GOOD REASON to go and start changing pieces of your suspension. On the other hand, going with a 17inch wheel and an all-season tire wheel help noticably. Thats as far as you need to go. On another note, you didn't happen to buy the X3 because you saw that commercial with the bruised and battered X3 with the completely unscathed woman and her kid did you? =)

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    Re: It's understandable to be a little concerned...

    I really appreciate the responses. We've decided to stick with the suspension and tires, for now. If we are ever on a bumpy freeway, we'll just slow down. When we took the X3 on the eastbound 10 freeway (downtown Los Angeles to San Bernardino) we got bounced around quite a bit. The X3's ride is much, much stiffer than our 323Ci (with sport package) and our 318ti with Bilstein sport shocks. I didn't realize that the wheels could be a big factor.

    We did see that commercial, but not until after we purchased the X3. We had been "anti-SUV" for quite some time, not because they are gas guzzlers, but because they are just too darned big. Here in Los Angeles, majority of the huge SUVs you see on the road have just one person in them. With our baby coming(she is due in December) we had to do something about our three 2-door cars. We figured we'd try a "small" SUV.

    We chose the X3 because of our positive experiences with the handling of our 323Ci and 318ti. I saw an Explorer almost rollover on the freeway a few weeks ago. The driver simply made a quick lane change at 65 mph and she momentarily lost control of her car when it swayed dramatically. She tried to correct it and it swayed the other way. This happened at least four times before the Explorer settled down. I was right behind her. Really scary. I doubt that the X3 will ever become that unstable from a quick lane change.

    We also chose the X3 because of its design. Others may disagree, but we think the X3 will "age" well. More so than the current 3-series. In addition, men don't mind driving an X3 the way they might mind, say, a Honda Odyssey. (We want to keep the car for 10 years to bring down our cost-per-mile.)

    We've since sold the 2000 323Ci Manual (Really sorry to see it go. The smaller engine permitted shifting at higher rpms at modest speeds. Driving a 328 or 330 the same way would've resulted in speeding tickets.) The CLK350 is leased. Finally, we don't ever want to sell the 1998 318ti Automatic. (It's a solid, low maintenance car. It's fun to drive, even when you aren't really going fast.)

    Thank you for understanding our concern regarding our baby. After the really bumpy ride on the 10 fwy, we became very worried. This will be our first child!


    Thanks, again.

  7. #7
    Mitch
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    Re: 2007 X3 suspension upgrade suggestions?

    I have an 07 and had the same feeling about my non-sport with 17" wheels. Have a 5 month old and he and the wife sit in back. The X3 is a great car but for a slightly stiff and busy ride no matter what surface. It is the only thing I would change. Maybe 10% more rebound compliance. I have thought about Bilstein's but nobody seems to have done it or commented whether it would help the ride.

    I can't imagine sport pack and 19". Sorry, but I used to have a sport pack 3 series and rode way better then my non-sport.

    Having said all that I do not hate the ride because the handling and hwy manner are so precise and the car is just amazing in terms of xdrive (I'm in Canada) space and economy.

    Btw, I also only drove the car for 10 minutes before buying and the crusty ride does not seem noticeable until you've owned the car a few weeks.

    I do love it though...just a little more compliance...

  8. #8
    twodnaiphn
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    Re: 2007 X3 suspension upgrade suggestions?

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