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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2008, 10:31 AM
old-skule old-skule is offline
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Location: Atlanta GA
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328i
New Shocks for my 150K mile 1997 328i

Hi all. I'm new to the forum. Did a search but couldn't find much.

I need to replace the stock shocks on my 328i. They finally gave up the ghost about 2000 miles ago. Interesting, in that they seemed to work fine and then in just a few miles became pogo sticks!

Here are my questions. My neighbor is telling me that the car came stock with rebuildable Bilsteins. I can't find any bilstein labeling on the shocks! Google searches didn't turn up anything, so I suspect this is bad info but I figured I would ask. Is this true? If so I was always happy with the stock performance - and would likely just get the stockers rebuilt!

If the stockers aren't rebuildable (as I suspect), is there a consensus in the forum on what makes a good replacement shock? I wouldn't mind stiffening up the suspension slightly, but wouldn't want it to be any stiffer than say a stock miata. Afterall, it's a 4 door daily driver!
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2008, 10:38 AM
rwg rwg is offline
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Location: Acton CA
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,711
Mein Auto: '08 Z4
The stock shocks are not that good. Yours really needed some work about 100k miles ago.

I replaced the suspension on my '98 328i at about 200k miles. It was the first thing I did after I bought the car. I can look up what I used if you have the time to wait - it will take me a day or two to find the invoice I am afraid. Mine were not rebuilt, they were replaced. The difference in ride before and after is more than remarkable.

But you may have more to do then just the shocks and struts. My stuff was all original as well (the shocks still had cosmoline on them), but all the rubber underneath the car had to be replaced as well. Some bushings were simply missing. Others were torn in half. You might be able to replace the bushings in your control arms, but they probably need work too.

When you are done, the rear end will follow the front end again, not sort of wander around trying to check things out.

It's not cheap. I think the bill was close to $3k. Oh, and if anything is "rebuildable", it probably would have been the front struts as some had cartridge replacement ability to avoid replacing the entire unit. Mine were not that type, but my car does not have the sport package. I don't know if that was the difference.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2008, 10:55 AM
old-skule old-skule is offline
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Location: Atlanta GA
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328i
Mine is a base model as well, and I'm pretty much the original owner. Bought it in 1998 with 23,000 miles on it. Actually about 120,000 miles I noticed it starting to drive more like a Honda than a BMW. In the last 2500 miles it's started driving more like an old Caddie than a Honda! Maybe it's just the slow progressive nature of wear but I've never really noticed it falling off dramatically until recently. I was 27 when I bought the car and drove it like an absolut jit for the first 5 years or so. Turning off the traction control and driving sideways through the corners as much as possible.... age has caught up with me though and now I only drive fast on rare occassions - which might also be why I haven't noticed the handling degrading over time.

I actually use the car to tow my Ducati (about 750 pounds bike and trailer) to the race track. And soon after starting to use it for that (about 100K miles) I had to get the front suspension bushings replaced - the stock soft bushings didn't seem to like the trailer! So the bushings should be tight at this point still. Just looking for dampers and springs now I think. Although most performance kits seem to lower the car. I have clipped numerous curbs parking at stock ride height! So I don't think I want to go lower. I hope to spend only about $1500 or so....

If you could forward your setup that would be great!
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2008, 12:18 PM
rwg rwg is offline
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Location: Acton CA
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,711
Mein Auto: '08 Z4
I will try and find the invoice to see what the parts were. I did not lower anything. I didn't use stock parts either, as my shop thinks the parts I did use are significantly better. At least you won't be stuck doing every bit of rubber at once like I was.
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2008, 02:14 PM
rwg rwg is offline
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Location: Acton CA
 
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Mein Auto: '08 Z4
I used Bilstein heavy duty replacements for shocks and struts. The car rides well now. I paid about $550 for the shocks and struts through my mechanic.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2008, 02:32 PM
estoril blu estoril blu is offline
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Location: london
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 170
Mein Auto: e36 323 convertable
i just fitted bilstein shocks myself nice gas shocks 220 for the two
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2008, 02:38 PM
rwg rwg is offline
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Location: Acton CA
 
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Mein Auto: '08 Z4
If it were a car I was intending to drive for fun, I would probably have put the Bilstein sports on, but since it's a commuter, it wasn't worth the cost.
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