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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 06-03-2004, 07:01 PM
airckarc airckarc is offline
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Location: Sacramento Ca
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 99 Z3 2.3
Please, help with suspension question

Hi everyone. Iíve been a lurker here for a while and Iíd like to say ďthanksĒ for all of the information thatís been posted. Much of it has been a great help to me. As an educator, I have to plan my mods wisely. (Read: I have to save-up) Iíve wanted to do my suspension for a while (for a 99 2.3). Itís my daily driver and I take it to a road track when I can afford to do so and Iíve never auto crossed. Roads here are pretty good so Iím not too worried about a stiff ride. I already have the SS/BS. Here are my options as I see them:

1. Do nothing, just replace with OEM.
2. Just replace shocks with HD shocks (Mechanicís Advice)
3. Replace shocks and springs
4. Coil Overs

The reason I bring-up coil overs is because Iíve found a set at for less than $600 which is about the same as option # 3. So here are my questions:

1. $600 No Name at Bekkers vs. $1200 for Bilsteins--- a $600 difference is quite a bit. Do you think the products are $600 different?
2. Besides front adjustability, are there any other good reasons for coil overs?
3. Which of my above options do you think would be best? (Keep in mind that $800 is my limit for this mod.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:59 PM
Daver Daver is offline
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Location: Folsom, CA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 398
Mein Auto: 2003 325iT
Another advantage to coil-overs (at least Ground-Control), is that is gives you a lot more options for coil length and spring-rate. But, if you're happy with the setup of a fixed package, then the only real advantage to a coil-over package is ride-height adjustabilty.

One disadvantage to coil-overs is there isn't a lot of coil space in the rear, and the adjuster rings consume some of that space. This results in reduced travel, and you have to be careful with your coil selection to avoid binding (when the coil has compressed to the point that the windings are touch each other). On my Z3 Roadster, a 425 was way too soft, but a 475 was fine... never bound. On my Z3 Coupe, that same 475 coil would bind occasionally, but moving up to a 525 eliminated the problem.

Note that binding in the front is pretty much a non-issue.

The fixed setup will definitely improve handling, and they're pretty well dialed in to retain a reasonable ride (from what I've read). Cost is lower as well... if it meets your desires, then it's not a bad way to go at all.

daver -- 2003 325iT
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:32 AM
songziou songziou is offline
M Fans
Location: Canada
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 88
Mein Auto: S54 M ROADSTER
I'll choose #2 for staying at the stock height.
I really wonder the quality of the no-name coil-overs, any testimonials??
2002 S54 M ROADSTER(second engine)
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:59 AM
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Mpire Mpire is offline
The Anti-Rice
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,388
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Mein Auto: S54 M Coupe x2, M52 Z3
Yeah, so with coilovers, whats the biggest set of tires you can fit on a M coupe? Can you get 245s in the front? How about 255s?
2001 Alpine / Schwartz Coupe
2001 Estoril / Estoril Coupe
2001 Steel Grey / Estoril Coupe
1999 Estoril / Estoril Coupe

Sunroofs are for girls.
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Old 06-04-2004, 10:16 AM
Unicron Unicron is offline
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Location: Houston
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: 00 M Coupe

I'm running the GC coil-overs, but I haven't checked to see how much more clearance I have in front now. Let me do that, and I'll get back to you.

As far as the $600 coil over kit goes...I would check to see if anyone has any tried them before. I think from the picture on bekker's site, the stickers say "SuperSport" as the brand.

I say get a full coil-over kit. Being able to tune the height is worth it in my books.
But whatever you decide on, make sure that the rear springs you are getting are barrel shaped:

I am running the Ground Control coil-over setup (rear springs are not barrel shaped), and am coil-binding all over the place. I'm running a 625 spring rate.
The barrel shaped rear springs allow for more travel; and that's the way the stock spring is shaped also.

Just so happens, I currently have the TC Kline rear barrel shaped 600 rate springs on order to fix my binding problem.
00 M Coupe
Dinan intake & stg. 2 software, Unorthodox underdrive pulleys, GC coil-overs

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Last edited by Unicron; 06-04-2004 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:04 PM
scottjan scottjan is offline
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Location: philadelphia
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: jaguar xjs
Spring Swap

I recently bought a 99 M Coupe. The original owner used it as a weekend toy and had set it up with lower, stiffer springs (Eibach or H&R, I'm no sure which) and a high performance exhaust, chipped it, different air intake, strut brace, etc.

With the lousy roads in the Philadelphia area, I'm thinking about going back to stock springs. These are great on smooth roads, the car sits lower and looks terrific, but on uneven pavement and concrete expansion joints it is a bit much for daily use. Interested in an exchange? I can give you measurements on the ride height. No issues with clearance or scraping, just fairly limited travel. Probably a great set-up for track or autocross. If there is anyone else out there with a set of stock springs they want to get rid of, let me know.

Also, I've already dumbed it down by putting the stock exhaust (which came along with the car) back on. The B&B Exhaust was gorgeous, sounded great, but was too much noise for the daily driving I do, particularly below 2,000 RPM where it gets "boomey". Unfortunately, a noticeable difference in performance going back to the stock. Anyone interested in practically flawless, polished stainless steel cat-back exhaust that sells new for $1,100? Two oval tips, 4.5" wide by 3" tall, bolts on using stock hardware and hangers and your car will weigh 30 lb (I weighed 'em) less! Check out (Billy Boat Exhaust).
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:13 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Location: Maryland
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 10,479
Mein Auto: M Roadster/M3
It all depends.

I would not put stock shocks back on the car. Either Bilstein or Konis.

As for springs, I have H&Rs with Konis on the LTW. The ride isn't bad at all. I am going to put H&Rs and Bilsteins on the Roadster. I have stock springs and Konis on the E46.

I have had lowering springs on many cars over the years, and I like the better handling over the slightly reduced ride quality. YMMV.

I would NOT go with no name coil overs. I would not put Bilstein coil overs on my car (but I REALLY like Bilstein shocks). Their coil overs tend to have too soft of springs leading to all sorts of wierdness. H&R coil overs are more race oriented.

Bang for the buck - Bilsteins with H&R or Eibach springs. Throw on a set of Ground Control rear shock mounts while youa re at it. The next step up, add RD sway bars (or others if available).

For most people coil overs are overkill. And may lead to more problems than solutions if you can
't/won't/don't understand adjusting everything.
Terry Carraway

'95 Alpine M3 LTW
'00 Dakar M Roadster
'02 Topaz M3
Red/White SRF #4 (Chassis 561)
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