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Tire Rack's Tires, Wheels, Brakes & Suspension
Discuss everything about wheels, tires, suspension and brakes for your BMW.

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  #1  
Old 04-28-2004, 05:53 PM
BostonBimmer BostonBimmer is offline
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Question Help with lowering suspension/new rims

I have a new 325i that I am planning on modifying one step at a time. I want to have the car lowered and have wider and bigger tires put on, but I'm not sure whats the best fit for what I want.

I have the stock 16" Style 45 rims on the car at the moment. The plan is to keep these tires on the car till next spring (planning on putting snow tires on these rims this winter and keeping as dedicated winter tires). So what I want to do this summer is have the suspension lowered. 2 questions pertaining to this:

1. Does lowering the suspension entail new springs and shocks, or can I just have the springs replaced. Whats the average cost of having the suspension lowered. I'd like to have the car lowered without stiffing the suspension!

2. I have not decided on whether I want the 17" or 18" rims yet, so based on this fact I dont know how much to lower the car?!?! Is there a height that I can go down that will make either rim/tire size I eventually choose fill the wheel well perfectly without the top of the well covering the tire? Will go with 3 1/2 inch sidewall tires for either size rim.

This leads me to my next question:

My main concern over the size of the rims is that I want them to fill the wheel well perfectly. As you know, the 3 series has flared fenders and I want the rims to fill the wells out to the edge (without having the car's overall height go up because of the rim/tire size). The rims that I think I will go for are going to be replica's because I want to keep the original BMW look minus the price (most likely the Style 71 rim).

If anyone has pictures of their car that has been lowered as well as upgraded on rims, please let me know.

As I am totally new to the modification game, I need advice because I want to tastefully customize my new car!! Any good advise would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks guys
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2004, 07:09 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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What are you trying to accomplish?

Just looks, or do you want the car to handle better?

If looks, you can do just springs, but if you want to slam the car, you need to go to some form of adjustable setup such as coils overs, but Ground Control, H&R or Billstein PSS9 setup.

As for wheels, Ihave no idea, since that is never been a cocern of mine. Be cautious though, if you move the wheel and tire out far enough, when the suspension compresses the tire will hit the body work, unless you run a lot of negative camber.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2004, 08:55 PM
BostonBimmer BostonBimmer is offline
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I am actually just focusing more on looks. I dont race the car where I need to have increased performance. I'm a spirited daily driver and find this car to handle exceptionally well as it is. I just want my car to be a bit more distinguished from the other bmw's on the road.

You actually brought up another question I had which I forgot to ask before. There is something available on the market to push the wheels out right? What is it called and is it worth putting that on? Does that void any factory warranties by putting it on?
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  #4  
Old 04-29-2004, 12:47 AM
wrwicky wrwicky is offline
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BB,
I'm not trying to flame the other board or you but for sure you will find more people trying to make the same mods on e46fanatics.com, it's a good board with good mods and a younger demographic.

That said for an e46 (98 on) you want 18's to fill the arch completeley, any good aftermarket spring will work (I like H&Rs) you only NEED springs but those will soon kill your stock shocks so instead of paying for the labor twice (which is a big chunk of this job) pop for some nice Koni Single adjustable shocks from the start. That will maintain as much of your ride as you can, AND handle better.

Don't worry about spacer rings (to push the wheels out) as most after market wheels will have less offset (go to Tirerack and get yourself a free education on wheels, then reference Gary/Bimmerfest as your contact if you buy there - good price, selection, fitting guide, and our board will get more support and our mod gets credit for his good work)
What you want to do is totally doable and there are lots of folks doing exactly that who can help you out on fanatics. Enjoy your rig, and save your stock springs and wheels for a couple of months, you never know.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2004, 12:43 PM
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Brashland Brashland is offline
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Similar note, but with a different focus.

I'm getting more serious about tracking my car (just for fun) but other than just lowering it or getting stickier tires, am unsure what to do.

My car is a daily driver (99 323i convertible E36), will need new tires w/in the next 4 months, and I'm planning on attending a driver's school in late June.

I'm looking for improved performance on an otherwise stock car and don't have a lot of money to throw at it:
-I've read a little about 'oversizing' the tires on the rim for a bigger footprint, works well? Go for low profile tires?
-Shocks, struts, springs, etc. So many options that I don't know where to start. Roads here are pretty bad.
-I was having problems with understeer and was told to 'just upgrade to M3 sways'. But now I'm hearing I would have to get M3 struts as well as the mounting point is different. Comments on this?

I realize much of this like asking "I like spicy food. What is the best spicy food you can get?"
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2004, 06:09 PM
philippek philippek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK
If you've never had spicy food before, make sure you start with mild instead of the medium and spicy stuff first, instead of trying to eat spicy food right out of the box or be prepared to play "ring of fire" as you poop.

Same goes for modding for track.
That is some funny poop.
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2004, 06:31 PM
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BahnBaum BahnBaum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK
If you've never had spicy food before, make sure you start with mild instead of the medium and spicy stuff first, instead of trying to eat spicy food right out of the box or be prepared to play "ring of fire" as you poop.

Same goes for modding for track.


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  #8  
Old 04-30-2004, 06:46 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brashland
Similar note, but with a different focus.

I'm getting more serious about tracking my car (just for fun) but other than just lowering it or getting stickier tires, am unsure what to do.

My car is a daily driver (99 323i convertible E36), will need new tires w/in the next 4 months, and I'm planning on attending a driver's school in late June.

I'm looking for improved performance on an otherwise stock car and don't have a lot of money to throw at it:
-I've read a little about 'oversizing' the tires on the rim for a bigger footprint, works well? Go for low profile tires?
-Shocks, struts, springs, etc. So many options that I don't know where to start. Roads here are pretty bad.
-I was having problems with understeer and was told to 'just upgrade to M3 sways'. But now I'm hearing I would have to get M3 struts as well as the mounting point is different. Comments on this?

I realize much of this like asking "I like spicy food. What is the best spicy food you can get?"
A lot depends on how serious you want to get, how much you have to spend, and whether you want to do it right the first time, or spend less to start, figuring you may want to go nuts later, and remove all the stuff you got and put other stuff on. ??

Don't worry about the oversized tires that much. If you get serious about tracking, you will want to eventually get R-comps. But if you want wider tires, you want to get lower aspect ratio to keep the same or a smaller diameter. Larger diameter will reduce acceleration.

For really bad roads, adn lots of street driving, I have always liked beefing up the sways. This doen't change the ride over rough stuff much at all, but realy helps control the body roll. M3 sways are stiffer than your stock ones, and they are pretty cheap to pick up used from someone who have moved higher. Other possible ones are Eibach, H&R, UUC, and Ground Control. Personally, I consider the Groudn Control ones to be the top, infinately adjsutable, and tubular so lighter.

For lowering, the low end is a set of H&R or Eibach springs, and a set of Koni or Bilsteain shocks. Places like Turner Motorsport has kits of Bilsteins and springs complete for your car. About $750 or so for the set, plus install. My LTW has H&R sport springs on it, and I was surprised how well it rides, but it is stiff. When I bought it, it had the H&Rs on it. Nice thing is, they work, and you don't have to mess with tuning them. A set of Bilsteins and H&R springs are sitting in teh garage to go on our Roadster.

The high end is a full coil over setup. Depending on options you can run from about $100 up to well over $2000 all up. I like Ground Control, and their setups allow you to start with the bottom setup, and add pieces later without throwing away your initial investment. The Bilstein PPS9 setup has great shocks, but the srpings seem so-so but a couple of shops (I have heard Turner does) can convert them to H&R or Eibach springs.

The neat thing about Ground Control or converted PSS9 setup is you can change the springs to suit your needs. TOo stiif, get a set of softer springs. Too soft, get stiffer, too much undersetter, tune with springs. LOTS of stuff to play with. And lots of stuff to get lost in. The E46 M3 will eventually get GC coilovers and GC sways.

Don't forget used parts. A good way to try things out without sinking a lot of cash in it, especially if you can do the work yourself. You buy a set of springs used, and they don't work for you, you can sell them for about what you paid for them.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2004, 10:17 AM
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mjames mjames is offline
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I have a similar vehicle to BostonBimmer and am more interested in getting higher-profile tires/rims than altering my suspension. My question is will 17s fit on my non-SP 325i? Ideally, I'd like to put some better tires and rims on without having to touch other things. I am interested in appearance mostly, but I do think I will get slightly better handling with performance 17s compared to my all-season 16s.
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2004, 02:50 PM
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Brashland Brashland is offline
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Hey Pinecone/Terry,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I'll chew on that and invariably ask for more help.

One issue though, was on the way to purchasing some used M3 sways and someone posted that I couldn't do that w/o replacing my struts to M3 struts because they have a different mounting point.
Is it true that I can't use M3 sways on a stock E36 convertible suspension?
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2004, 03:17 PM
flashinthepan flashinthepan is offline
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Re: Springs only

H&R sport springs are slightly firmer than Eibach pro-kit springs ?? So the Eibachs are better matched to around town driving ?

I just want a small street drop. not at the track ??

Any opinions ?
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2004, 06:11 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Know-It-All
Why not get the springs from Ground Control, where they can customize your spring rates to suit your driving style?
EXACTLY.

To me, the GC kit with shocks and springs, custom tuned to what YOU want makes the most snese. And you can tune the drop to YOUR desires. A little more money, but a LOT more capability.
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2004, 06:12 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brashland
Hey Pinecone/Terry,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I'll chew on that and invariably ask for more help.

One issue though, was on the way to purchasing some used M3 sways and someone posted that I couldn't do that w/o replacing my struts to M3 struts because they have a different mounting point.
Is it true that I can't use M3 sways on a stock E36 convertible suspension?
Not sure. Sorry.

E36 or E46?
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2004, 06:33 AM
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Brashland Brashland is offline
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Anyone?

It's an 1999 E36. That's the first year they made the E46 but since I have a convertible, my car is one MY behind the others.
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  #15  
Old 05-05-2004, 06:26 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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BimmerForums has LOTS of E36 guys who can answer the exact requirements needed.

I hate to mention another forum, but for E36s there are more guys there.
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  #16  
Old 05-07-2004, 08:06 AM
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Brashland Brashland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
BimmerForums has LOTS of E36 guys who can answer the exact requirements needed.

I hate to mention another forum, but for E36s there are more guys there.
I'm a regular there, and unfortunately there are no definitive answers. I think I'm going to go ahead with the purchase, and either resell or upgrade to parts as needed if they don't fit.
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