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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:11 AM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Need New E46 Struts: Koni Yellow or FSD?

I have a 2002 E46 with standard suspension at 144K miles and going strong. Overdue for new struts. I did much research on the net and all things considered narrowed my selection down to the Koni's. I read the Tire Rack evaluation of Yellows vs. FSD's which was done several years ago. FSD's appeared to do better overall against the Yellow's at the full soft setting. That would suggest Yellow's cranked up to mid setting would out perform FSD's in the balance between sportier and comfort rides. Price is essentially comparable. Anyone out there have any experience with these two great top of the line poducts that can offer some advice on which way to go? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:30 AM
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Koni Yellows have a pretty good following around here. You can start by reading this:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...low+comparison
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  #3  
Old 10-04-2012, 05:31 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Fast Bob: Thanks for sending the link. I read through all of that and much more. Most of the dialogue took place in 2007 when the FSD came on the market. I am wondering if it all still applies 5 years later. I am looking for recent discriminators between the two. Were there any engineering improvements to the FSD's over the years? Is it now a better damper in 2012? I can't seem to find any recent reviews or evaluations. The discussions on the forum seem to be pro Yellow's and I have not read much about FSD's.

I do not track and do not have the capability or the time to adjust rear Yellow's. If I bought Yellow's the rears would most likely stay at the same adjustment when installed so what should that be? I read on your referred link that Yellow's dialed in a 1/2 turn front and back were equivalent to the FSD ride. If that is where one ends up with Yellow's whats the point?Most of my driving is on the interstate. I have some time to evaluate and will make a decision between Yellow's and FSD's in a few weeks. Would really like to hear from those that have or had FSD's so I can appreciate the pro's and con's.
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  #4  
Old 10-04-2012, 06:07 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Haven't had FSD's, but I too did exhaustive research before making the call to go with Yellows. I spoke with several members who have recently (within 5 months) put FSD's on their cars. The general feeling is simple. Yellows for more performance minded driving, FSD for more soft and cushy ride. Most people who have them always say the car feels really, really soft (something I personally don't like, even on the interstate) and they wish the normal driving was slightly firmer. Around corners though they say they firm up nicely. But honestly, there is no free lunch. I should also mention both people I talked to bought the FSD/Eibach spring kit and didn't re-use stock springs as I did with the yellows.

I am sure you'll be happy with either as they both are light years ahead of the stock units IMO. I don't know if you have seen this, but here is a test of both. http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/tests/koni_fsd.jsp. While I thought it was a good article I'll restate the benefits of the yellows after some 15k miles of driving with them installed.

1. Adjustability. After a couple thousand miles of break in I was able to firm them up slightly as they began to feel a little softer than when new. I am sure I can continue this throughout their life span and keep them performing as I like right until they need to be replaced. Adjustments aren't hard, the link to youtube in my sig has a video on it.

2. Performance. They handle better than I expected, even when really firm. A BMW 3'er is a sport sedan, not a luxury sedan (that is what the 5 and 7 series are for) so I do not believe in a soft ride ever. I log a lot of miles (30k miles since Jan 1st) and can say I feel very confident with my setup on the interstate and it handles well over long trips.

3. Lifetime warranty. When they wear out, send em to Koni, they rebuild them and send em back. Thank you Koni!
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  #5  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:17 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Thanks Smolck. I read in your past posts about your adjustments on the rear Yellow's. How many times since install have you adjusted them before you settled on a final setting? Is it stable now? Is this simply a matter of jacking the car up, removing the lower mount bolt, pushing in the shock and turning it with the top of the shock in place?
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  #6  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:28 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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P.s.

I received a few labor estimates to R&R the struts, shocks, mounts which seem very high to me. What is a reasonable amount of labor time to replace all four corners by a competent shop?
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  #7  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNMNL52 View Post
I received a few labor estimates to R&R the struts, shocks, mounts which seem very high to me. What is a reasonable amount of labor time to replace all four corners by a competent shop?
First, from your above question, I messed with mine a lot for fun. Probably 2 maybe 3 adjustments would be fine for normal people. Rears are easy, 3 bolts and no jack needed if you really want to. If you have a few extra bucks, koni makes a top adjustable rear for about $250 more total.

As for labor, what is fair and what you will pay are different. Rears are a JOKE to replace. Actual time is less than 45 minutes. Fronts are more involved, but a couple hours each is fair. Then you need an alignment.
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2012, 02:56 AM
Robin427 Robin427 is offline
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i bought the FSD's last month after reading many threads and after a long time for consideration, beacause i bought new sachs advantage only two years ago.
for me this was a very good decision, like the conclusion of the threads i've to confirm the realy better comfort for daily driving and a solid performance on race tracks --> could test it last weekend at the nurburgring
my car hast the factory sporty suspension
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2012, 12:39 PM
ventsyv ventsyv is offline
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I'm in the market for new struts as well, the car has 125k miles on the original ones and they are probably due for a change. Any opinions on "original" sachs?

Last edited by ventsyv; 10-05-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:27 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
First, from your above question, I messed with mine a lot for fun. Probably 2 maybe 3 adjustments would be fine for normal people. Rears are easy, 3 bolts and no jack needed if you really want to. If you have a few extra bucks, koni makes a top adjustable rear for about $250 more total.

As for labor, what is fair and what you will pay are different. Rears are a JOKE to replace. Actual time is less than 45 minutes. Fronts are more involved, but a couple hours each is fair. Then you need an alignment.
Watched your video on adjusting rears - very informative (thanks) which brought to mind a question. I read where you replaced all of the ancillary components - mounts, boots, stops, spring pads, etc. I intend to do the same - certainly for the fronts since the springs are coming off. But can the rear shocks be replaced by not removing the springs and pads? Is it really necessary to replace the rear spring pads if the spring can remain in place during the R&R of the shocks? I did not see you do that in your video.
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  #11  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:28 PM
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Get the Rogue Engineering RSEs, you won't regret it, best $100 you'll spend along with the Koni yellows.
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  #12  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:29 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin427 View Post
i bought the FSD's last month after reading many threads and after a long time for consideration, beacause i bought new sachs advantage only two years ago.
for me this was a very good decision, like the conclusion of the threads i've to confirm the realy better comfort for daily driving and a solid performance on race tracks --> could test it last weekend at the nurburgring
my car hast the factory sporty suspension
Thanks for your comment on FSD's. I would be interested in how they perform on the track when you do that.
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2012, 03:41 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Get the Rogue Engineering RSEs, you won't regret it, best $100 you'll spend along with the Koni yellows.
Is this the same as the Rogue Engineering RSM?
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:48 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNMNL52 View Post
Watched your video on adjusting rears - very informative (thanks) which brought to mind a question. I read where you replaced all of the ancillary components - mounts, boots, stops, spring pads, etc. I intend to do the same - certainly for the fronts since the springs are coming off. But can the rear shocks be replaced by not removing the springs and pads? Is it really necessary to replace the rear spring pads if the spring can remain in place during the R&R of the shocks? I did not see you do that in your video.
I replaced the rear shock mounts and that was it in the rear. No need to mess with the springs at all.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2012, 04:10 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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Originally Posted by av98 View Post
Get the Rogue Engineering RSEs, you won't regret it, best $100 you'll spend along with the Koni yellows.
Just went on the Rogue Engineering website and looked at their RSM's. Makes sense. Other than being a bit stronger than OEM mounts, are any other performance advantages? I assume they would work equally as well on FSD's?
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  #16  
Old 10-05-2012, 05:36 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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I replaced the rear shock mounts and that was it in the rear. No need to mess with the springs at all.
Thanks. Did you replace the front spring pads?
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  #17  
Old 10-06-2012, 12:00 AM
Robin427 Robin427 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNMNL52 View Post
Thanks for your comment on FSD's. I would be interested in how they perform on the track when you do that.
on track it's better than with the sachs. before sometimes i felt a little bit wobbly in very hard driven corners. now its like the suspension absorb bumps nearly without any following reaction of the car - i couldt drive hard on the sometimes bumpy track with the feeling of a roughly flat track.
the precision on change directions is also a little bit better but this is not a remarkable difference to before
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:42 AM
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Thanks. Did you replace the front spring pads?
Yes. Pads, mounts, the whole smash. Got em from Max at www.oembimmerparts.com, you should too.
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  #19  
Old 10-06-2012, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JNMNL52 View Post
Just went on the Rogue Engineering website and looked at their RSM's. Makes sense. Other than being a bit stronger than OEM mounts, are any other performance advantages? I assume they would work equally as well on FSD's?
They don't require removing from above in the trunk.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:07 PM
airboy86 airboy86 is offline
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I've had the FSD on stock springs (ZHP) for the last 2ish years and logged 50k ish miles. They've been reasonably comfortable although with a bit more body roll than I'd like. However, lately they've started to feel quite loose and floaty and unpredictable body movements over uneven roads. I really expected them to last longer...

One complaint is how they react when there are wavy sections on the road--car tends to float a bit. The pavement is still smooth, so I really expect to be firm.

They do perform as advertised. I think with the eibach pro-kit and a sway bar kit, it'll be just right. I drive clients around a lot and if I can get some plush without the body-roll, that would hit the spot.

I think I am due for a new set soon. Not sure how to invoke the Koni warranty...
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by airboy86 View Post
I've had the FSD on stock springs (ZHP) for the last 2ish years and logged 50k ish miles. They've been reasonably comfortable although with a bit more body roll than I'd like. However, lately they've started to feel quite loose and floaty and unpredictable body movements over uneven roads. I really expected them to last longer...

One complaint is how they react when there are wavy sections on the road--car tends to float a bit. The pavement is still smooth, so I really expect to be firm.

They do perform as advertised. I think with the eibach pro-kit and a sway bar kit, it'll be just right. I drive clients around a lot and if I can get some plush without the body-roll, that would hit the spot.

I think I am due for a new set soon. Not sure how to invoke the Koni warranty...
Hotchkis sways are your solution for the body roll. I've had my Koni yellows + Hotchkis sways for 2 years and 54k without much body roll + very flat rotation. Just test drove a stock E46 M3 ZCP with SMG II and I felt that suspension (which is the best for a stock setup) was less precise and rolled more compared to my current setup.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:12 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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They don't require removing from above in the trunk.
I would assume also that since the RE RSM's are much sturdier and stiffer than OEM RSM's, the RE RSM transmits the vehicle G forces more efficiently to the car body allowing the shock to do its job better.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:49 PM
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I would assume also that since the RE RSM's are much sturdier and stiffer than OEM RSM's, the RE RSM transmits the vehicle G forces more efficiently to the car body allowing the shock to do its job better.
Not really, it is stronger and won't fail, that is true. But what av98 is getting at is that if you get them, adjustment of the rear shocks is much simpler in that you don't have to remove the trunk liner and pieces to remove the shock for adjustment. That shaves a good 20-30 minutes off the adjustment time.
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  #24  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:32 PM
JNMNL52 JNMNL52 is offline
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I thought I would close the loop on this thread and state that after much analysis and all things considered I purchased Koni FSD's with Rogue Engineering RSM's and I could not be happier after driivng for a couple of months. The ride is stiff yet comfortable on the interstate. My E46 is tight and drives like it did on day one.
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