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HalfJobHarry

Coilovers or not on E82 135i? School me!

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So I'm starting to plan short/medium term upgrades for my 135i. 

Suspension changes is not something I have much experience with beyond swapping like for like....

I'm not interested in lowering really from the current ride height, seems low enough already really....this seems to be one of the mainly described benefits of going for coilovers (I appreciate they will need certification). 

However with that in mind and there being plenty of good aftermarket shock and spring combos (or even plenty of love out there for Bilsteins with the stock springs), do I even need/want coilovers? 

Any experiences, advice or war stories are much appreciated. 

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If I had kept mine longer this was the next thing I would've invested in. Did a bit of research on it over the years and I came to the conclusion that the Bilstein B8/eibach springs combo was the most ideal. I don't believe the drop is too significant and the Eibachs seemed to have a smaller drop than the H&R's from memory.  

The factory E82 M-sport suspension just doesn't suit our roads at all. 

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Suspension dynamics are complex, unless you're prepared to learn all about it, and have the ability to undertake back-to-back assessments at a track then coilovers are a waste of money, most people set-and-forget and if you're going to do that then you'll get a better result from an off-the-shelf combo.

Assuming the E82 is as horrible as the E87 off the production line then read up here:

https://www.babybmw.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=80208

https://www.babybmw.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=126836

TLDR; a matched Bilstein and Eibach setup works well off-the-shelf.

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Id wager most put them on for ride height adjustment\stance. They obviously don't care too much about handling because most of these cars with them fitted (esp Jap stuff) are typically on some sh*t spec rubber.

Edited by Eagle
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biggest upgrade you can do would be to install an LSD, transfers all that power into actual usable power

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Ive done it to various cars with different brands (KW, fortune auto, bilstein) and usually regretted it, never used the super cheap junk especially after seeing some shock dynos.

If you go for camber plates then you need bearings or it will bind and your car with groan and clunk all over the place. If you go bearings and camber plates then you wont have a rubber strut mount and you will feel tiny imperfections all day long.

Then the cert is a pain +$4-500 and then you are fixed to a width and size of wheel permanently, you cant even return to OEM without re certifying for another $4-500.

 

If you have $4k+ spare and are fitting kw v3 or anything better(ohlins) then go for it, if you are wanting anything less then dont bother.

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7 minutes ago, qube said:

biggest upgrade you can do would be to install an LSD, transfers all that power into actual usable power

If you've got the budget - that would be a big upgrade. And you would get a massive portion back if you ever sold it separately. 

4 minutes ago, andrewm said:

Then the cert is a pain +$4-500 and then you are fixed to a width and size of wheel permanently, you cant even return to OEM without re certifying for another $4-500.

Beat me to it. That is what really kills the idea of coil overs in NZ. 

Different chassis, but I got Koni 'yellows' recently and am very happy. 

Post pics

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On 9/8/2020 at 7:01 PM, andrewm said:

Ive done it to various cars with different brands (KW, fortune auto, bilstein) and usually regretted it, never used the super cheap junk especially after seeing some shock dynos.

If you go for camber plates then you need bearings or it will bind and your car with groan and clunk all over the place. If you go bearings and camber plates then you wont have a rubber strut mount and you will feel tiny imperfections all day long.

Then the cert is a pain +$4-500 and then you are fixed to a width and size of wheel permanently, you cant even return to OEM without re certifying for another $4-500.

 

If you have $4k+ spare and are fitting kw v3 or anything better(ohlins) then go for it, if you are wanting anything less then dont bother.

Thanks! Based on the input from everybody on the thread, coilovers seems to be a step too far. I'll look at shock/spring combos.

On the camber plate thing. The 'sages out there' seem to suggest that putting the E82 front to about -2 degree of camber is a big help on understeer. Just changing the camber plates is touted (again by the sages 'out there on the web')  as the way to do this. In the non-coilover scenario i'd also need bearings? 

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On 9/8/2020 at 5:19 PM, M3AN said:

Suspension dynamics are complex, unless you're prepared to learn all about it, and have the ability to undertake back-to-back assessments at a track then coilovers are a waste of money, most people set-and-forget and if you're going to do that then you'll get a better result from an off-the-shelf combo.

Assuming the E82 is as horrible as the E87 off the production line then read up here:

https://www.babybmw.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=80208

https://www.babybmw.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=126836

TLDR; a matched Bilstein and Eibach setup works well off-the-shelf.

Thanks! I wouldn't say it's bad at all really, but there is clearly room for improvement. My shocks are old and to me the damping doesn't feel great (a commonly reported E82 complaint). I mean relatively not great...not Renault Espace 'not great' 

Suspension is so far out of my wheelhouse , I really don't want to become an expert on it. A known recipe of shocks and springs is probably the way I'll go.  

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1 hour ago, HalfJobHarry said:

Thanks! Based on the input from everybody on the thread, coilovers seems to be a step too far. I'll look at shock/spring combos.

On the camber plate thing. The 'sages out there' seem to suggest that putting the E82 front to about -2 degree of camber is a big help on understeer. Just changing the camber plates is touted (again by the sages 'out there on the web')  as the way to do this. In the non-coilover scenario i'd also need bearings? 

I've just purchased an E82 and have been looking into this aswell. You can buy Dinan fixed camber plates that give about 0.7 of a degree extra camber and keep the original BMW top mount. When the alignment pin is removed this should get close to the magical two degrees.

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1 hour ago, HalfJobHarry said:

On the camber plate thing. The 'sages out there' seem to suggest that putting the E82 front to about -2 degree of camber is a big help on understeer. Just changing the camber plates is touted (again by the sages 'out there on the web')  as the way to do this. In the non-coilover scenario i'd also need bearings? 

Camber plates officially need a cert but if you get fixed ones nobody can tell. M3 LCA's will also help increase the camber.

3 minutes ago, c.robertson00 said:

I've just purchased an E82 and have been looking into this aswell. You can buy Dinan fixed camber plates that give about 0.7 of a degree extra camber and keep the original BMW top mount. When the alignment pin is removed this should get close to the magical two degrees.

Yes, remove the camber pin first, then I'd say add M3 arms and finally camber plates. I'm sure the Dinan ones are hella expensive but you can get some from the UK for peanuts.

I'll check my alignment sheet when I get home, I've removed the camber pin and added M3 LCA's, I think I've got about 1.5 degrees max.

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1 minute ago, M3AN said:

Camber plates officially need a cert but if you get fixed ones nobody can tell. M3 LCA's will also help increase the camber.

Yes, remove the camber pin first, then I'd say add M3 arms and finally camber plates. I'm sure the Dinan ones are hella expensive but you can get some from the UK for peanuts.

I'll check my alignment sheet when I get home, I've removed the camber pin and added M3 LCA's, I think I've got about 1.5 degrees max.

The plates are about $250 landed. That's through Turner Motorsport.

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1 minute ago, M3AN said:

Camber plates officially need a cert but if you get fixed ones nobody can tell. M3 LCA's will also help increase the camber.

Yeah I've been eyeing the turner motorsports blue fixed camber plates, spraying them to make them not stand out and then who'll know....still got a fair bit of reading to do to really understand this. 

1 minute ago, M3AN said:

Yes, remove the camber pin first, then I'd say add M3 arms and finally camber plates. I'm sure the Dinan ones are hella expensive but you can get some from the UK for peanuts.

I'll check my alignment sheet when I get home, I've removed the camber pin and added M3 LCA's, I think I've got about 1.5 degrees max.

Ah...camber pins, good ideal. Some "free negative" adjustment there. Any idea how much negative just the pins would get..less than half a degree? 

 

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Stuck a set of of Konis in a E87 (120d) recently - very nice improvement to the ride quality and handling - Same models are listed for the E82 

135 would definitely benefit from a smart diff 

I'd agree with most in terms of coil overs - they have never really stacked up for a road car - do it well once  with good spring and shocks  selection. 

I'm not sure why there is an obsession with running so much static negative camber on the front - the chassis runs decent caster and develops  dynamic camber when turned so high static is not necessary and the roll centres are quite low so the body roll is minor unless you are a stomp-chuck-stomp style driver . 

 

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1 hour ago, M3AN said:

Yes, less than half a degree.

I've just checked my alignment sheet, camber pin mod + M3 front arms = 1*34' so 1.5 degrees 1*12' (was reading the wrong column!).

FYI: https://babybmw.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=96465

 

 

Thanks that's a good thread. Somebody from NZ asking for a set at the beginning of August....wish I could have piggy backed on that! :D

Edited by HalfJobHarry
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1 hour ago, 3pedals said:

ith running so much static negative camber on the front - the chassis runs decent caster and develops  dynamic camber when turned so high static is not necessary and the roll centres are quite low so the body roll is minor unless you are a stomp-chuck-stomp style driver . 

 

That's interesting actually...I'm just following the herd without the suspension knowledge myself. 

I do know enough to know that  camber changes due to many things, so it makes sense that -2 degrees static camber might not be the "magic number". 

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Most of my knowledge comes from older cars like Alfas and E36 Bmw but have kept up to date 

Stock on my E36  328 was 4'50 caster and about -0.5 camber - with the same caster kicking the camber out to -1'40 was good 

Having changed the whole front set up it now has 6'50 caster and runs -0.8 camber  which is close to what the same year M3 runs 

Tyre wear with this set up is superior to the previous and handling is also a notch or 5 better - I've been running this geometry for about 100,000 k and been through 4 sets of tyres and all were perfect wear acrosss the tread and it works from normal driving to a decent session on a nice twisty road.  

The old rule of thumb  for a good road set up on the Alfa was 3 deg caster & - 2 degrees camber -  4 degrees caster & -1.5 camber 

The E36 picks this up stock  at +/- 5 deg caster  & -1 deg camber - early M3 has 7.5 caster & -0.75 camber later M3 9 deg caster & 0.5 camber 

There is a fairly consistent pattern in the numbers 

From memory the 120 is at about 6 deg caster and -0.5 camber , it could do with a gnats more camber or caster 

Edited by 3pedals

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1 hour ago, HalfJobHarry said:

Thanks that's a good thread. Somebody from NZ asking for a set at the beginning of August....wish I could have piggy backed on that! 

If you decide to get some I'll get a set as well (stage 1) so we could split the shipping.

-2* camber up front is no problem, there's no disadvantage so it's sort of a "why not?" equation.

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12 hours ago, M3AN said:

-2* camber up front is no problem, there's no disadvantage so it's sort of a "why not?" equation.

You could take the 'why not' approach or: you could take a more scientific approach which starts with asking: 

Where am I going to drive and how do I drive --- then you can work out geometry / alignment that works for you.

The legendary Leon Marshall didn't know me from a bar of soap when I first rocked up with my Alfa on a set of Pirelli  P5's . He ignored me, walked around the car and said -  You drive quickly through corners, you don't use the brakes much and you are early on the gas out of corners  and most of your driving is above 70kmh --- step up to the P7 - we will increase your front caster to give more feedback, set the toe neutral (was toe out) and keep the same camber  and you should look for some stiffer front torsion bars. 

In short he read the car and then derived the driving environment and style and then proposed a suspension set up and alignment to match.

 You can read all you like on forums but if they don't give the context of the where and how,  it is only good luck if it works for you, so:  ask yourself where and how  and then start  developing a set up.

Downsides of increased negative camber without changing other alignment elements are:

  • inside shoulder wear,
  • more tyre scrub in straight ahead position, 
  • wandering under braking,
  • turn in understeer, 
  • front /rear dynamic imbalance, 
  • slower steering reaction.    
Edited by 3pedals
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My point being that -2* is nothing, it won't adversely affect you in any way unless you're running around with the wrong pressures.

All the things you mention need to be considered once you start winding in excessive camber, 2 degrees isn't excessive.

 

 

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16 hours ago, M3AN said:

If you decide to get some I'll get a set as well (stage 1) so we could split the shipping.

-2* camber up front is no problem, there's no disadvantage so it's sort of a "why not?" equation.

I need to signup over on that forum and ask how much they are even selling the stage 1 for. Totally up for splitting the shipping if they are selling at a fair price. 

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On the topic of adjustable coilovers, I had 2 sets on my some of my Subaru Legacy's and they were AMAZING.  The Legacy already handles as well as most BMWs anyway but the adjustable suspension improved both the handling and the comfort.  Around town was firm but not jarring and on the open road at 100 literally everything was soaked up, it was SO much better.  These particular units were a niche Subaru specialist brand called Prova though and had nothing more than a basic install and alignment done.  Height was maybe a little lower than factory but not much.  On the same note I had Ohlins coupled with Swift springs in one Legacy and they were so hard that they were dangerous, no traction at all and braking distance was terrible as it would skip over the ground.

I'm not sure what the likes of BC and KW are like in BMW offerings but when I looked at M5 suspension they consensus was that KW was much better than stock.

YMMV as always but I suspect a KW setup would do a decent job of things.  Certainly my experience has shown that BMW do a pretty average job of suspending their cars, probably cheap $$ targets, cheap components and a weird desire to have adjustable suspension modes from comfort to sport.

 

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1 hour ago, HalfJobHarry said:

I need to signup over on that forum and ask how much they are even selling the stage 1 for. Totally up for splitting the shipping if they are selling at a fair price. 

I'll send him a PM over there and ask.

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4 hours ago, M3AN said:

All the things you mention need to be considered once you start winding in excessive camber, 2 degrees isn't excessive.

Simply not true.  2 degrees negative will be wildly excessive in a vehicle that runs 9 or 10 degrees of caster and travels at speed on largely straight roads. Context is everything. 

2 degrees negative is also considerably too much for  my daily open road drive on windy roads in an E36 - it's fine on the track.

Define the context then do the engineering 

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