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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 11-05-2012, 05:52 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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broken springs - upgrades?

So I found BOTH rear springs broken in my wagon, and I know they were new when I got the car 3 years ago. Considering I do put a good amount of weight in the car, and also drive it hard over bumpy roads all the time, I would really like to put heavier springs in there. The problem is, it's a sport package AWD wagon.

I called bavauto and they only had one set of springs that they said would work for my setup, @ $148 each. For that kind of money or maybe a little more I would love to upgrade to something a little more durable.

I know it's a shot in the dark but does anyone have suggestions or better yet experience with upgraded springs for a sport suspension-equipped wagon? Or are the rear springs even different from sport to regular? Or maybe the sport springs ARE heavier and someone put in regular springs, thus they broke? Or maybe I should not drive like a nut with a car full of skis all winter?

FFEJ I'm looking at you... your wagon driving makes me look like a granny.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2012, 06:54 AM
TannerT TannerT is offline
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Have you checked pelican yet? Also I believe I read a thread at E46F talking about the differences in springs in all E46 models. Google E46 spring color codes.

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  #3  
Old 11-05-2012, 07:05 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TannerT View Post
Have you checked pelican yet? Also I believe I read a thread at E46F talking about the differences in springs in all E46 models. Google E46 spring color codes.

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Will check out the e46F thread... pelican's springs that match my car all say "not for cars with sport suspension..."
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:12 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1972ford View Post
So I found BOTH rear springs broken in my wagon, and I know they were new when I got the car 3 years ago. Considering I do put a good amount of weight in the car, and also drive it hard over bumpy roads all the time, I would really like to put heavier springs in there. The problem is, it's a sport package AWD wagon.
...
I know it's a shot in the dark but does anyone have suggestions or better yet experience with upgraded springs for a sport suspension-equipped wagon? Or are the rear springs even different from sport to regular? Or maybe the sport springs ARE heavier and someone put in regular springs, thus they broke? Or maybe I should not drive like a nut with a car full of skis all winter? .
Don't know about the wagon, but since you have AWD you don't actually have sport springs: you have AWD springs, which are taller than the regular ones. The AWD springs (I'm speaking about sedan) ALWAYS break. Both mine in my 330xi broke before 100K miles; I wouldn't be surprised if the wagon ones are in the same boat. The extra height but same size metal just is too stressed.

I suggest you check the threads for solutions for sedans; I believe that there are a couple.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:57 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Don't know about the wagon, but since you have AWD you don't actually have sport springs: you have AWD springs, which are taller than the regular ones. The AWD springs (I'm speaking about sedan) ALWAYS break. Both mine in my 330xi broke before 100K miles; I wouldn't be surprised if the wagon ones are in the same boat. The extra height but same size metal just is too stressed.

I suggest you check the threads for solutions for sedans; I believe that there are a couple.
Interesting, so "sport package" with AWD just means different steering wheel and seats? Or would the shocks be different, just not the springs?

I still don't know if wagons use the same overall height and spring rate as sedans for the rear, since there's more weight. Realoem doesn't show part numbers for springs due to so many differences.

The thread on E46F led me to a nice PDF of aftermarket option & specs, but it looks like every option involves lowering, which means 1. replacing all 4 and 2. lowering my snow car (no thanks). AND I can't tell if an aftermarket sedan spring would be appropriate for the wagon. Am I totally overthinking this?
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:21 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1972ford View Post
Interesting, so "sport package" with AWD just means different steering wheel and seats? Or would the shocks be different, just not the springs?
...
Am I totally overthinking this?
Yeah, the AWD gets you taller, stiffer (so that roll is still controlled) springs, and different shocks - you should replace the shocks if you lower it because the valving is different, too. No AWD bmw has a sport suspension (well, not quite true but close enough.)

And you may be over-thinking this. I think that if you look around, you can find OEM springs around $95 or so. Lot cheaper to just replace them when they break than change the whole works.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2012, 04:39 PM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Sedans and tourings have the same suspension parts, so an i sedan = an i touring and an Xi sedan = an Xi touring. Same is true whether its sport suspension or not. And yes, an Xi does not have sport springs.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:05 PM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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I did read about spring color codes but didn't find conclusive info on my original question because there are so few sport package xi wagons... However I now know that sedan and wagon springs aren't different, and that my xi doesn't have sport springs. So l may end up with stock or equivalent if I want to maintain original ride height. I still think a heavy duty option would be preferable and may call my nearby specialty shop and ask them for suggestions. I'd like not to buy two more springs next year.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:15 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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In talking to a BMW tech I know this morning, he said that while they might share a lot of other suspension parts, sedans and wagons would have different rear springs, and that (as I've found) the part number application is very specific to your vehicle layout and options, which is why you generally need your VIN to order springs (OEM anyway). He also said that going heavier would just make for a harsher ride with no likely benefit of longevity. When his shop has to replace broken springs, they use OEM and never have them come back broken (at least not in as short a time as mine broke). I'm curious if I can get a part # off the springs that are in my car now, I bet they're not the right ones, because they were new in August '09. Or I need to dial back the driving style a bit, but that's no fun.

End result: the part number I got is consistent with the part number I got from Bavauto, so I'll be replacing with OEM and hopefully this set of springs will last a little longer.
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