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Thread: Lscman: you still here?
11-24-2010 12:05 AM #1
12-14-2010 11:12 PM #2
12-28-2010 11:49 AM #3
Looking to talk about suspension
I've read a number of your posts here and on other bimmer forums (via google) and you seem to be a guy that I need to talk to concerning choices for spring/shock replacement on my E39. Forgive me if I get a little bloggy and ramble.
I drive a 1998 528i w/ sport package (called M Sport or M Teknik I on the option sheet in Canada I think). In 2005 @60k mi I did a suspension refresh keeping the factory springs, replacing the rear wishbones, putting Powerflex bushings on, replacing the front wheel bearings and fitting Koni sport yellows. I'm at about 110k mi now and contemplating another move next year including springs this time and I need help. Here are my observations, complaints and "requirements":
- I chose Konis because of solid reputation, advertised durability (lifetime warranty, ads portraying long life) and the fact that they were confirmed to have perch settings which don't add rake and provide factory ride heights with factory springs. Adjustability wasn't a big thing for me since the rears are so difficult to adjust once installed. I intended to pick a spot and leave it, not have "date night" and "track day" adjustments like the ads say.
- When I picked the car up ride heights were great, the ride (compliance) and handling were fantastic. However the Konis are steel tube and not very well rust protected. After my first salty winter, rust was visible and the paint started cracking even though I hit them with rust prevention products in the fall. 5 years later there's only patchy yellow left and the tubes are rusty and covered with protective coatings and black rust paint as I try to keep it from getting ridiculous. I also started observing wheel bounce starting after only 18 months (remember - only 10k mi per year). Since the Koni yellows are only rebound adjustable, cranking them up only stiffens rebound and doesn't make this completely go away. This isn't a sloshing, but a feeling of hop in the steering wheel. Koni did not live up to my durability and service lifetime expectations which were supposed to exceed the factory Boge equipment (which were at least aluminum tube so they didn't rust).
- The urethane bushings really tightened things up but there was a definite increase in harshness (expansion joints sent a cracking jolt into the frame, for instance) and some of them were crumbling after only 3 years. I just recently finally replaced the last of them (tension struts) with OE again a couple of weeks ago.
- My factory springs are likely getting saggy. The RF is drooping an extra 1/4-3/8" compared with the LF and there's a bit more rake creeping in overall. I'm thinking about springs/shocks in summer 2011.
- I do not want rake. I do not want to lower the car any further than factory - the main issue is snow and ground clearance, although I don't want to scrape on any more driveways and entrances than I already do either.
- As far as I know, and I don't know why I think this, I believe the factory springs to be linear. I believe every aftermarket supplier advertises their springs as progressive and tout it as a feature. I like the OE springs and I like linear behaviour and predictability - I hate bouncing off of a higher rate section setting into a turn.
- I asked at my dealer about springs, and my normally awesome parts guy was dodgy about the issue. He couldn't give me a part# or price, and suggested that I talk to the service dept about a spring/shock/installation package which would probably be on sale.
- I have thought about simply returning to Boge factory shocks and accepting that they may need changing twice as often as I'd like. I could not DIY my 2005 change, but I think I'm ready to do it now, so the cost shouldn't be all THAT bad since I get parts from discount OE parts houses. Googling around I found even more posts from you condemning the factory Boge setups for being underdamped in very short mileage, though, and I thought about contacting you directly.
So, I want: factory ride height, factory "rake", factory-ish linear springs, a well dampened (slightly over dampened?) but not harsh ride, corrosion resistance and/or Al construction (unsprung mass) would be a huge plus.
I've seen the KW Coilover Variant 1 (InOx line) that might be great, but it's pricey. I'm not sure if my 13 year old, year round (incl. salty winter) daily driver with child seats in the back needs coil overs either. They're still on my list but I'm looking for more traditional and less expensive options. Eurodavid here has suggested that Vogtland made the factory springs and might be a good option. I attempted to contact Vogtland to confirm some things (linear, rake, ride height relative to factory sport package) and never received any reply. All of the usual favourites (like Eibach, H&R) seem to be progressive, raked and lower than factory.
I'd like to know what your feelings and recommendations are for my situation.
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