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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
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Old 11-30-2002, 11:58 AM
AndyM's Avatar
AndyM AndyM is offline
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Location: Kansas City
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,437
Mein Auto: '02 3.0i Z3 Coupe
The Big Book of Suspension Installation

Overview and General Information

I love my Z3 Coupe. One of the few things I have never liked about the car is the ride height. I think the car sits too high for such sporty and aggressive character. It reminds me of a Conestoga wagon. Here is the car in its stock form:

To solve the problem, I decided to replace the stock BMW Shocks and Springs with H&R Springs and Bilstein Shocks. The setup dropped the ride height from 24" in the front and 23.5" in the back (I measured from the bottom edge of the wheels, not the ground) to 22.5" in the front and 22 1/8" in the back. In the end, I am very pleased with the result. Here is how the car looks with the new suspension:

Here is a comparison of the height of the front end:

And here is the same comparison for the rear end:

Project Time and a Few Notes (After the Fact)

The total amount of time I spent on this project was: 8.5 hours

*I took my time, took a ton of photos, documented everything on paper and researched the project thoroughly. I have never changed a suspension before in my life, and only got basic pointers over the phone from my brother. I also spaced the project out over several weekends to cut down on time pressure and other factors. I got an estimate from several shops locally that were recommended to me and they all quoted around 6 to 8 hours of work for the installation with hourly rates ranging from $60.00/hr to $115.00/hr for the Ferrari mechanic. The Ferrari mechanic would not do the installation unless I installed Camber Correction Plates. Looking back on the project as a whole, it was well worth it and was an extremely good learning experience. When considering if this is a Do It Yourself project, keep in mind that it is probably too much work for one person alone, get a second set of hands for help. This project also requires a good amount of general mechanical ability. Take all of these factors into consideration before deciding on whether or not you want to tackle this project. Even if you do the installation yourself, you will still need to get the car professionally aligned when you are finished.

Words of Caution

Installation of suspension parts is extremely dangerous. You will need to use a Spring Compressor which a very dangerous tool. Improper use can and most likely will kill you or someone else or at the very least put a hole in one of your walls. Do not screw around with a spring compressor. Do not under any circumstances attempt installation unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing.

Up Front

I want to mention right from the start that I did not document the installation of the rear shocks at all. I installed them just before Homecoming this past August and with everything we had going on, we were a bit pressed for time. I suggest taking the time to install Ron Stygar's Rear Shock Mounts. The stock shock mounts require that you disassemble the entire trunk area of the Coupe in order to remove the shocks. With Ron's Mounts, you no longer need to do this as you can now remove the shocks from underneath the car (Yes, you still need to take apart your trunk to get the stock shocks and mounts out). This will help you in the long run if you ever need to replace the shocks. The stock mounts are reversed from the picture, the bolts face up into the trunk area of the car with the nuts on the inside of the car. A big thank you to Ron for yet another excellent product! Here is a picture of the installed Stygar Shock Mount:

Last edited by AndyM; 06-23-2016 at 01:27 PM.
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