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bmw_novice 12-29-2012 05:03 PM

Inexpensive Suspension Refresh - Front and Rear
My project for the 97 328i for the new year includes a suspension refresh - what is required and what is the least pricey option? Yes, I am being a bit cheap but then, $$s are tight as of now. Here is what I am looking to do:

Front Axle:


stabilizer bar bushings

Stabilizer bar endlinks

control arm outer bushings

Driver side sway bar bracket mounting has corroded, will be welded on, just got the part from pelican.

Just did tierods 2 months ago.

What else would be needed here? Ball joints?

Note: I hear/feel the bump pretty well in the rear, however, there is no slippery feel as it was before doing the RTABs.

Did RTABs in february, thing is, I didn't know then that there are upper and lower RTABs, God knows how much was done. Last time a mechanic looked at it, they did not suggest anything needs replacement. But I can certainly feel the bumps - shocks?

Stabilizer bar bushings
Stabilizer bar links.
Shocks and Springs (one spring is broken I believe).

What else needs to be replaced? Anyone knows? What kind of $$s am I looking at if I get all the above done :yikes:

Blast that damned starter!

drivinfaster 12-29-2012 05:59 PM

ball joints are part of the lower control arms. you will need front control arm bushings.

as for inexpensive, good luck with that. cheapy parts tend to give poor performance, and wear out quickly.

rear shock mounts with reinforcements should be used. i like rogue engineering, but have turner aluminum mounts in cadence.

the ti will most likely get the rogue units.

probably your best bet would be to buy an entire supension kit, and even though you have new parts, get them. you could always try to resell them.


ZeGerman 12-29-2012 06:06 PM

What is your total budget?

jmo69 12-29-2012 06:28 PM

Check out FCPEuro, they have kits that can save you some$$$. Contact Gareth Foley and he'll give you a discount for being a forum member. At least he will for Bimmerforum members.

bmw_novice 12-29-2012 08:18 PM

Budget ~ 1000 parts + labor that is, I'll be pushing the envelope since I have to get that damned starter replaced as well! DF, I realize cheap parts are not a good idea, but alas, I am a poor man trying to maintain an older Bimmer.

ZeGerman 12-29-2012 08:51 PM

You should be able to get it done for that amount. My recommendation for shocks & struts for an E36 which won't see track/auto-x are the Koni STR.T line. They're the cheapest that Koni makes, but they're still very high quality and have a lifetime warranty.

Whatever you do, I definitely do not recommend buying cheap control arms. They will fail prematurely, and you'll end up paying more in the long run than if you had just bought the best (Lemforder). Keep in mind, every time you replace the control arms, tie rods, FCABs, etc., you have to get an alignment performed, and those usually run about $80-100.

As far as where to buy from, FCP Euro often has good prices. I've been using lately. They also have good prices and low shipping rates.

OrionsGate 12-30-2012 06:51 PM

Spring for the Powerflex PU bushings for the front sway bar & control arm lollypop. Rear shock mount reinforcements from Rogue are a must (drivinfaster is absolutely correct). And, you should be able to find a set of H&R sport springs on Craigslist.

the fly 12-31-2012 09:50 AM

In case it helps, I am selling new M3 rubber pre-pressed into housings -- centered or offset -- for $75 shipped. Makes the swap easier...

M3 solid rubber bushings are a bit firmer than non-M (with the holes) but not quite as harsh as poly...

bmw_novice 01-04-2013 12:14 PM

^ Thanks mate, I am not sure I can do the front as yet.

By the way, I have one broken spring (left rear), how do I fix this? THought of getting another set of springs but they are expensive and normally tend to come in sets of 4. I just need to do the rear. The 97 328i that I have does have the sport package so what rear springs will fit? Are the EBay ones such as JDM any good? Is there a way to get used springs? Any thoughts?

bmw_novice 01-04-2013 02:05 PM

Some more questions:

1) Is it OK to do rear springs + shocks without doing the fronts? Or do I HAVE to do them together?

2) Can I use Bilstein Touring Shocks with H & R OE Sport Springs?

The current set up is a stock BMW 328i with the M-tech suspension (I confirmed this with a dealership as well as the online bmwvin decoder)

jonesin 01-04-2013 02:29 PM

1. Yes, they can be done separate. Just do each axle together.

2. If you use sport springs, you MUST use sport shocks, else you will prematurely fail the shocks.

Try taking a look for Koni str.t shocks. Great value, and low enough for sport springs.

bmw_novice 01-04-2013 03:27 PM

Thanks Jonesin, I am looking at the Koni STR.Ts @ about $ 80 per shock , the Sachs for about $ 140 for two, bilstein HDs (black) @ $ 65 for 1 (but they are supposedly quite harsh, and I am not much for that. Just want a smooth + tight ride. I have been driving a grocery sedan all my life so far (Ford Taurus) and that too with not very good shocks. So anything will be an improvement.

Will the H&R or Eibach spring set work with the sachs set? Also, is there no other inexpensive alternative to a broken spring than a 4 piece sprink kit such as Eibach or H&R? Thanks for your time.

ZeGerman 01-04-2013 03:32 PM

If you just want to replace your springs, get on Craigslist and pick up a used set for next to nothing. You shouldn't have to spend more than $50 for a set of used non-M sport package springs.

bmw_novice 01-04-2013 04:15 PM

^ I thought I would need m technic specific springs for this car since it has that suspension and since those are insanely expensive and difficult to get, thought I would need a set of springs as well. BUT, if I can just make do with any other e36 spring set (will an M series also work?), that'll really help pull the cost down since the cheapest springs I can find are these:

And I don't know if those will work for the M-technic spec either as the sticker states. Btw, my rear tires are 225/16/55 - will there be a problem if I HAVE to get aftermarket springs say Eibach Prokit?

At this point, I am pretty satisfied with my car's ride height and all, just want to get a better ride. Btw, a local chap is fixing the starter motor with an aftermarket (New) piece for $ 270 - thought this is a good deal.

So what else will i need with the rear shocks and springs? Bumpstops, Shock mounts and reinforcement plates. Anything else?
WIll also do swaybar links + bushings. That is all I can afford for now. And may be if I get lucky get that damned front swaybar bracket mount welded on as well.

bmw_novice 01-05-2013 05:47 PM

Hello again gentlemen,

So, can I use any e36 model springs for the rear on my 328i w the m tech sport suspension? Let us say Joni sport str.ts or Sachs w a set of springs from an m3 or 325? Please let me know, gracias


bmw_novice 01-06-2013 02:21 PM

Hello? Anybody?

jonesin 01-06-2013 02:22 PM

You must match lowering springs to lowered shocks/struts.

If going OEM height, then use OEM height.

bmw_novice 01-06-2013 02:43 PM

THanks Jonesin, however, my confusion is about what German pointed out - that I could replace the springs with used ones from Craigslist/ebay - can these be from any e36 (non - M3)? And then how do I know what type of shocks to get since the OEM set up is slightly different for the 328i M tech suspension? Take these for example:

will they work? If so, what sort of shocks should I be using - sport or non sport?

Do let me know, and my apologies for being so dense - am totally new to this stuff.

jonesin 01-06-2013 02:49 PM

Give this a read, it'll go into more detail than I can on my phone.

bmw_novice 01-06-2013 03:05 PM

THanks, just went through the above linked write up - not that I could understand it much, but this worried me a bit:


To upgrade the suspension on one of these early cars, you need to do the whole package including sta-bars (due to the width of the stock bar relative to the control arm mounting locations), but that package can be intended for any E36.
I assume this is only applicable to the early e36s and since mine is a 97, should be OK to get springs from another e36 (non m) and stick them in there irrespective of the m-technic suspension. Since, also from above:


First, be aware that all E36 coupes and sedans have the same chassis mounting points.
But then, I might have completely misunderstood the writeup. Can you tell me if I can use the ebay springs I quoted in my previous post with a particular shock such as Koni (non sport) or the Sachs non sport or the biltstein tourings?

bmw_novice 01-11-2013 12:41 PM

Hello Again,

Would someone please help me out - can I use non m technic/sport e36 springs for the Bmw e36 328i with the mtechnic suspension, if so, what particular type of shocks should I use to go with these? sport or non sport.

petriej 01-11-2013 02:24 PM

I wouldn't advise it.

Honestly I'd just save money until I could afford a complete set and not mismatch. Suspension is a large factor in safety with a vehicle. Braking, turning, general grip of the road all depend on proper suspension. Compromise could be dangerous...

ZeGerman 01-11-2013 05:23 PM

Just out of curiosity, what are the last seven digits of your VIN? I'm curious to see if your car actually came with M-Tech springs in the first place.

bmw_novice 01-11-2013 06:32 PM


Originally Posted by petriej (Post 7306721)
I wouldn't advise it.

Honestly I'd just save money until I could afford a complete set and not mismatch. Suspension is a large factor in safety with a vehicle. Braking, turning, general grip of the road all depend on proper suspension. Compromise could be dangerous...

I think you misunderstood me Petriej, I don't plan to mix and match. I am just wondering how I can replace the rear springs as one of them has broken. Since I need to replace the pair, would it be an issue if I chose to go with another e36 set (Non m technic) with just normal (non sport) shocks?

An indy shop I go to in Indy (ha ha), suggested replacing the rears with E30 springs - said it would not be any issue! At least I am still thinking of replacing with non m technic e36 springs.

bmw_novice 01-11-2013 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by ZeGerman (Post 7307043)
Just out of curiosity, what are the last seven digits of your VIN? I'm curious to see if your car actually came with M-Tech springs in the first place.

YOu have PM. A nearby dealer did confirm this, so did an online decoder. But who knows. I can see an M technic spring (only 1) on ebay from a 318ti. Will this work for the left rear spring, which is broken?

There are quite a few M3 rear springs for sale as well (H&R), would these work if I replaced the set? I read somewhere that using this would entail replacing a lot more than just springs and shocks though.


Can i just buy a non m tech e36 spring set and hook it up with non sport shocks?


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