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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 10-10-2013, 03:03 PM
onnad onnad is offline
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Location: Illinois
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550i X Drive M Sport
2013 550i X Drive M Sport Suspension Upgrades

I'm new to the forum and have read the multiple posts about the poor handling of the 2013 550i X Drive M sport (due to no 704 suspension). I've also notices folks have tried multiple approaches to improving the base suspension (aftermarket springs, installing sway bars).

I like everything about my 2013 550i X Drive M Sport except for the handling. I agree with other posters that the car rolls too much when cornering and tends to float a bit. I'm not interested in race car handling or even M5 handling, I just want the car to roll less and for the handling to be a bit more crisp and responsive but not at the expense of having a punishing ride.

A couple questions:

1) I read the extensive posts on retrofitting the M5 front sway bar and 550d rear sway bar to improve handling. I noticed lots of folks have successfully installed on either the 550i non M sport or the 535 X Drive M Sport. Do the M5 and 550D sway bars also fit easily on a 2013 550i X Drive M Sport? If so, how is the handling and ride after the sway bar installation?

2) Any posters with good results putting Dinan springs on a 2013 550i X Drive M Sport? If so, how does the car handle and ride after installing the Dinan springs? I like that Dinan only lowers the suspension by 0.5 inches so I'm not really interested in the other aftermarket spring options which lower the car more.

3) Has anybody successfully retrofit a 704 suspension on a 2013 550i X Drive M Sport? I noticed some posters have recently tried to do it on different model years (i.e. 2014's that were shipped without the 704 suspension). I recently test drove a 2013 550i rear wheel drive with the 704 suspension and it was great so I might consider retrofitting it on my X Drive, as another way to improve the suspension.

4) Which option would be better to minimize the body roll and tighten up the handling without causing a bone crushing ride - the sway bars or the springs?

Many Thanks for views of forum members - if I can get a little bit better suspension on the X Drive, I'll move from really liking the car to loving it.
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2013, 05:44 PM
berkel berkel is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 57
Mein Auto: 2013 550i xdrive
Hi,

I also have a 2013 550ix. Loved the power with Dinan S2, and even more with Dinan S3, but handling felt vague, floaty, with too much roll, dive, and squat. Actually, the roll didn't bother me too much, since the floatiness and dive/squat were more pronounced....

For my susp upgrade, I stuck with Dinan so I could get everything installed (and discounted) from my dealer. I got the springs and the drop is barely visible. It works out to one finger lower, although it may settle over time (I just got the springs and upgraded to Stage 3 software last week).

The springs provided exactly what I was looking for. First, the ride is just right. It is still plenty plush, and I don't think people would know it had an aftermarket suspension when cruising in it. I think it is an ideal balance of comfort and sport. Bear in mind, I drove an Evo VIII for the past decade on coilovers, but still I think the comfort is excellent from the perspective of a "normal" person .

Dive and squat are noticeably reduced and the car feels more "planted". There is actually some feedback from the surface now and it's enjoyable to drive on a nice back road.

If you're looking for a lowered aesthetic, these won't work and the ACS would probably work better. I have minimal risk of bottoming or scraping, so I'm happy.

My tip if you decide to go Dinan is to negotiate the price. Obviously, Dinan retail prices are very "high", but you can always ask for a better deal, even if there is no sale. The springs list for $499, but the standard dealer install was astronomical (10 hours @ a lot/hour!). I got a better price and it did include an alignment, which is a good idea... I'm in MA, which may be too far for you....

With all that said, I will do the sway bars soon as a DIY project. The sway bars should have no impact on ride, so people may suggest that first. The roll actually didn't bother me as much as the other bad aspects of the handling, but now I notice it more that the other things have been addressed. Soooo, I would recommend doing both springs and sway bars, but I have no personal feedback on the sway bars yet.

If you can demo a car with the springs, definitely try it, since everyone's tastes are different.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2013, 06:12 PM
onnad onnad is offline
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Location: Illinois
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550i X Drive M Sport
Thanks for the feedback on the Dinan springs - very helpful! Keep me posted on how the sway bars work out when you complete that project on your 550ix.
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  #4  
Old 10-13-2013, 10:17 AM
onnad onnad is offline
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Location: Illinois
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550i X Drive M Sport
Anyone try to retrofit the m5 front and 550d rear sways on a 550i x drive m sport?
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2013, 05:30 PM
berkel berkel is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 57
Mein Auto: 2013 550i xdrive
Hi,

An update after living with the Dinan springs for awhile, I have been very happy. I was almost hesitant to change anything else since it seems to be going so well for my Daily Driver.

I decided I didn't want to wear the RFT tires down, then have to replace them before returning the car off lease. So, I purchased a compact spare and just had Michelin A/S 3 installed today in the stock (squared) size. Only been 1 day, but the car feels even better. It rides better, yet it is more responsive. I may play with the tire pressures, they set them to the same as the RFT (35F 39R), so I may try bumping them down a tiny bit. The A/S 3 are visibly wider than the GoodYear RFT in the same size. Now it looks like I actually have some rubber sticking past the wheels, lol. It's like the tires bulge on the wheel more, which looks better and hopefully provides some protection. Tires definitely deal with bumps and holes in the road better and I will eventually learn not to cringe and expect the wheel to shatter when I hit a bump....

Earlier this week I confirmed that my 2013 550ix mSport has a puny 14mm Rear sway, so I ordered the M5 front and 650i rear sway bar with bushings from Tisher and they arrived today. I'll be putting them in this weekend, which I think it will tie everything together and be my ideal street setup. I may run the car in a laid back Autox this week in RI as well with ADSI. When it was stock, I wouldn't have done it since I think the wallowing and floatiness would have been frustrating, but now I'm looking forward to it.

I'll update after the sways.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2013, 05:38 PM
Kjellster Kjellster is offline
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Location: Seattle, Wa
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550ix
Thanks for the reports.. Good Info...
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  #7  
Old 11-01-2013, 05:53 PM
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dunderhi dunderhi is online now
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Location: MD
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 5,600
Mein Auto: '13 X5M, 650xi
Here's my summary: Dinan Suspension Review
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2013 X5M ........ 2013 650xi ...... 2011 550xi (ret) 2011 335d (ret)
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2013, 10:08 AM
berkel berkel is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 57
Mein Auto: 2013 550i xdrive
Recap of my 550ix Susp Tuning (VERY LONG!)

Update:

I installed my M5 front sway with a 650i rear sway last night with a friend. Received from Tisher on Friday 11/1 after ordering on Tuesday evening 10/29. Great service.

Here is the summary:

Items Ordered:
Item: Genuine BMW F10 M5 Front Sway Bar
Price: $254.00
Qty: 1

Total (before taxes or discounts): $254.00

Item: STABILIZER BAR 650i xDrive; w/o Dynamic Drive
Price: $154.26
Qty: 1

Total (before taxes or discounts): $154.26

Item: STABILIZER RUBBER MO
Price: $20.71
Qty: 2

Total (before taxes or discounts): $41.42

I had planned to do this on my own, but very glad I got help from a knowledgeable friend with power tools. I enjoy the challenge and reward of DIY, but my skills are fairly basic. I would have had trouble and it would have taken me a lot longer by myself with my equipment. It was harder and more time consuming than I thought, the bolts holding the front swaybar require an e18 socket, which I didn't have, so we had to make a run to harbor freight. The ends links were somewhat of a PITA since you need a Torx to hold the bolt and ideally a ratcheting open end wrench at the same time. Removing the rear sway without removing the rear wheels is also a little tricky, but possible. In the end, I only had a few left over parts and we were able to down some celebratory beers, so I would consider it a success.

The 16 mm 650i sway bar looks thin, until you compare it to the 14 mm pencil I had on my 550ix. The stock front bar seems beefy, but the M5 is noticeably thicker in direct comparison.

On a side note, there is a gigantic heavy ass weight on the rear sway bar connected to the bracket for one of the bushings on the passenger side only. I was tempted to remove it, since the weight savings would probably shave a few tenths in the 1/4 mile . We decided to leave it since BMW must have put it there for a reason, even if we couldn't figure out what it was. Maybe to deaden sound or counter the weight of the driver??? It probably weighs almost as much as me... I may try removing it as a test in the near future.

With everything installed, we set out for a test drive before cracking our celebratory beers. First, a recap of the susp evolution of my 550ix:

- Purchased my 550ix with MSport package and Dinan stage II software. Base suspension, no ARS or adjustable dampers.

Car had good power, but not as explosive as I thought it would be. I have other threads with details, but I was only seeing 12.5 PSi peak, although I had 15 degrees of timing. Smooth ride, but car had vague steering, lots of dive and squat, and a general floatiness. Turn in was not crisp, and large bumps or potholes sounded like the wheel and/or RFT tire would explode. Tires looked almost stretched on the wheel, and made me nervous with the edge of the wheel exposed. Car was a nice daily driver, but handling was below expectations. Like a German luxury muscle car.

- Purchased Dinan springs and upgraded to Dinan Stage III software installed at BMW Gallery in Norwood with an alignment to Dinan specs.

Car has more power and more thrust, now hitting 14 PSI peak with almost the same timing.

Dive and squat are much better. MUCH better. I didn't notice roll as much before, but it is more apparent now that the dive and squat are improved. Turn in is more crisp, ride qualities have barely changed. Still plush, but more hunkered down with actual feel for the road, steering is not as vague. I actually enjoy country back roads now! Hitting bumps or potholes still makes me cringe, and I check daily for a dreaded RFT bubble.

- Replaced Good Year LS2 RFT with Michelin A/S3 in factory size. Purchased, installed, and road force balanced at Direct Tire in Norwood, MA. Essentially matched Tire Rack pricing. Purchased a full size spare from Bimmerzone.

Still not a lot of miles on the tires, but wow ride is now sublime. It will take a while before I don't instinctively brace for every pothole and bump, but now it is not as harsh. Tires seem quieter as well. I would expect a trade-off with a better ride, but instead turn-in and response are sharper and crisper. I think this is classified as a win-win! Steering effort is reduced, somehow it has become lighter. I think I know what people are referring to when they rave about the BMW balance of ride and sporty handling. Can it get any better? Car is definitely fun to drive now.

- Installed the M5 front sway and the 650i rear sway. Only a few quick drives, but this is the final link that ties everything together. Everything is a little more direct, no affect on ride, roll is very controlled. It is a joy, why didn't the car come like this again? It's almost all OEM parts, and this could definitely be a package direct from BMW.

I will learn more after some daily commutes and back road drives. If all goes well, I will run the car at the last ADSI autox of the season this Sunday 11/10. This is a charity event and something to consider if you want to try a laid back autox that focuses on fun and plenty of laps. http://hpds.1adsi.com/
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2013, 12:00 PM
onnad onnad is offline
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Location: Illinois
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550i X Drive M Sport
Berkel

Thanks for update. This is exactly the type of info that I was looking for to upgrade the suspension and handling of my 2013 550 xdrive m sport

Please give an update after a few daily drives with the sways

Sounds like handling is vastly improved after Dinan springs and M5 front / 650 rear sways - how is the ride quality? Close to original suspension or significantly more harsh?
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2013, 12:11 PM
berkel berkel is offline
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Location: MA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 57
Mein Auto: 2013 550i xdrive
I think with the Dinan springs and stock RFT tires the ride was "slightly" more harsh than stock. The Dinan springs are obviously stiffer, since they control sway, roll, and dive better, but they only lower the car about the breadth of one finger, so there is plenty of travel. This difference is very slight and not really noticeable, and if you didn't tell someone they probably wouldn't complain. Of course, I drove an Evo VIII for 10 years with Bilstein PSS coilovers so most cars ride great from my perspective.

When switching to the non RFT Michelin A/S 3s, I think you essentially get back to stock ride or better. Again, with my setup the ride is plush, just more controlled and really an ideal balance IMHO for a daily driver. It is now a sports sedan.

The sways really don't affect ride at all, which makes sense. They just help control the car from rolling in the horizonal plane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onnad View Post
Berkel

Thanks for update. This is exactly the type of info that I was looking for to upgrade the suspension and handling of my 2013 550 xdrive m sport

Please give an update after a few daily drives with the sways

Sounds like handling is vastly improved after Dinan springs and M5 front / 650 rear sways - how is the ride quality? Close to original suspension or significantly more harsh?
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  #11  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:29 AM
onnad onnad is offline
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Location: Illinois
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 2013 550i X Drive M Sport
Berkel / Dunderhi:

Thanks for input on Dinan springs. I've read a couple posts on this forum (and other forums) where F10 owners installed the Dinan springs and even with the slight 1/2 inch drop still had issues with the stock front or rear struts failing. Either of you have any problems with OEM struts failing after installing the Dinan springs?
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