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  1. #1
    piperguy
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    Advice wanted - Suspension Mods

    Have a 2001 540iT Wagon, base suspension, 16" wheels. Also have a 2002 530i / 5spd M Sport. I truly love the way the 530 handles and corners but have to say the wagon has a much better (comfortable) ride. Also the wagon is fast as stink and the constabulary doesn't even look at it .....

    My question = I just put the winter Generals on the stock wagon wheels and am going to put a set of either 17's or 18's with summer rubber on in the spring. I know the suspension is different on the wagon so lowering it really isn't an option. Is there an aftermarket sway bar and shock setup that I should consder to give me better cornering and response ? I truly love the wagon but am beginning to regret that I didn't hold out to find one with the Sport suspension....

    Any advice from anyone who has "been there and done this" will be much appreciated.


  2. #2
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    Almost bought one a few years ago. Do you have (m)

    the auto leveling rear suspension? I've seen kits in the past (don't remember where) to remove them and put regular shocks in their place.
    If you don't you should have a rear sway bar that could be upgraded.


  3. #3
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    I've done this

    My 2001 540iT (non-sport) suspension upgrade summary:

    Parts
    -- Eibach front springs (2): 2054.001
    -- Koni FSD kit: 2100-4032
    -- M5 front sway bar: 31-35-2-229-080
    -- Front sway bar bushings (2): 31-35-2-229-544
    -- M5 rear sway bar: 33-55-2-229-136
    -- Rear sway bar bushings (2): 33-55-2-229-604
    -- Dinan camber plates: D160-0390

    Adjustments
    -- Rear suspension height reprogrammed to “sport” setting: dealer
    -- Four wheel alignment: dealer

    Results
    -- Reduced gap between front wheels and fenders
    -- Better handling
    -- Smoother ride
    -- Flatter cornering
    -- Improved turn-in

    Wheels
    Summer: staggered 8.5x18, 10x18 (BBS RC)
    Winter: 8x17 (Style 66)
    Logging road: 7x16 (original Style 48)

    I've had this suspension setup for 3.5 years -- it's awesome.

    Hope this helps,
    Mark

  4. #4
    piperguy
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    Re: I've done this

    Thanks Mark !!

    This is exactly what I was hoping for - someone who had already been there and done that. This site is truly an awesome resource. I only hope I can contribute further.

    btw, I'm also planning to go to a staggered setup this spring. Probabl 18x8.5 front and 9.5 rear with General Exclaim UHP's (have them on the 530 and can't believe how good they are, especially for the price).

    One question, did you encounter any problems from the dealer in asking them to reprogram the height on the rear suspension ?? Our local dealer can be a bit of an a#$%. Also, any special alignment settings used ??

    Thanks again, Vaughan

  5. #5
    piperguy
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    Re: Almost bought one a few years ago. Do you have (m)

    Hi Jim, yes, it has auto leveling, I think all the wagons do but not sure. Mark's response above was just what I was hoping for. I think I'll go the same route as he did as soon as funds allow.

  6. #6
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    Dealer was extremely cooperative (more)

    The service manager at the time was an enthusiast.

    There was no problem setting the rear height. Apparently the dealership method is:
    - measure the actual rear suspension height (both left and right)
    - enter the measured values into the dealership computer
    - choose the desired height (either regular or sport)

    Note that the car could be "fooled" into any desired ride height if false actual readings are entered.

    The service manager also specified rear camber settings on the mild end of the range in order to counteract excessive inside tire wear at the rear.

    Regards,
    Mark

  7. #7
    piperguy
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    What tires are on your 18's ?

    Hopefully last question Mark. What tires, size and brand, are on your summer 18's and would you buy them again ? Any issues with clearance with them ?

    Thanks, Vaughan

  8. #8
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    Re: What tires are on your 18's ?

    Sumitomo HTRZ III; 245/40ZR18, 275/35ZR18.

    No clearance issues at all (wagons have roomy rear wheel wells).

    The tires are good value and I would buy them again, but I think I might like to try something different when these wear out.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  9. #9
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    After I changed my suspension I also had the (m)

    dealer set my rear camber to the minimum spec and now get very even tire ware.
    Have fun changing the front sway bar, it's a 6+ hr job if you don't have a lift. It's well worth doing, I'd do it again if I had to.

  10. #10
    Panos
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  11. #11
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    Good price for a 540 bar, he should get the M5 bar






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  12. #12
    Michael in MD
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    How big / bad a job WITH a lift?


  13. #13
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    Probably a 4 hr job. The front suspension needs (m

    to be disconnected, the steering box needs to be unbolted. The engine needs to be supported so the subframe can be unbolted and dropped a few inches. Both front wheels removed.
    Might be a few more minor things, I did it about 5-6 years ago. The front and rear M5 bars make a difference, I love the handling. There are bigger bars availabe for more $$, but at the time I got a good deal from my local dealer. Think it cost me $200 for both and then I sold my 540sport bars on ebay for close to that amount.

  14. #14
    Michael in MD
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    Damn! (can I say that here ;-)

    Think I'll have to save that for one of those days when a lot of front end parts are being replaced anyway ... sort of a "while you're in there" kind of job

    I'm still doing the rear bar in the spring though ... too easy to pass up ;-)

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