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  #1  
Old 04-22-2018, 07:02 PM
bimmerbingo bimmerbingo is offline
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Driving on unpaved roads. What problems should I expect?

My wife and I are considering a move to the countryside, the road leading up to our next house is about 2 and half miles and is unpaved (no pot holes, just very rough). I am driving my 435i on 20" tires (p-zero rft - I also have 18" tires that I'm only using during the winter season) and my heart is breaking every time I drive it there (should also mention that I drive between 20mph-30mph). What things should I expect breaking from driving on those roads? I really don't want to to give up on the car and buy an SUV or truck now that I just paid it off.
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Last edited by bimmerbingo; 04-22-2018 at 07:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2018, 07:27 PM
John in VA John in VA is offline
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Prepare for lots of rock chips on the lower aspects of the car! You say no pot holes - how long can that last? Damage to wheels is a potential issue.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:25 PM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Experiment with different speeds. You want to match the natural resonance of the suspension to the road's imperfections. Most roads have some regularity to them. Don't be afraid to drive on the wrong side of the road to get a smoother surface.

You're not hurting the car - the suspension doesn't really care - other than some rock dings, especially on the rear door or behind the rear wheel. Might have to replace the shocks early.

My old driveway, and our vacation home drive, and my cabin's drive, are all varying grades of gravel and dirt. I've had two alignments in my 335d in almost 130K miles.
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:01 PM
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mr_clueless mr_clueless is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerbingo View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to the countryside, the road leading up to our next house is about 2 and half miles and is unpaved (no pot holes, just very rough). I am driving my 435i on 20" tires (p-zero rft - I also have 18" tires that I'm only using during the winter season) and my heart is breaking every time I drive it there (should also mention that I drive between 20mph-30mph). What things should I expect breaking from driving on those roads? I really don't want to to give up on the car and buy an SUV or truck now that I just paid it off.
Look into getting the road paved.

I used to drive an unpaved road once a week to visit some place out in the boonies. I hated what it did to my car and my back. The unpaved road develops potholes very easily in the rain and must be maintained regularly, but the the neighbors there didn't want to pay for it, so it would get really bad before they did anything about it. When it was bad, even my old E46 with a non-sport suspension and 16" wheels felt it bad. The F30 with 18" wheels and DHP in comfort also did. It got so bad for my back that I stopped going there. Lots of dust in the dry summer months so everything would get coated with a layer of dust -- engine, etc.
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:47 AM
GA335i GA335i is offline
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I live down a mile of dirt road and it's part of the reason I leased my F30. I don't go over 12mph or so and weave around to the smoothest areas. I don't know what's more annoying, the roughness or the ridiculous dust cloud that forms and covers everything when we go a few weeks without any rain. I drive my truck anytime it rains and gets muddy.

My E92 had issues with light bulbs front and rear dying, and I'm pretty sure the vibrations had a lot to do with it. Not to mention rattles developing more quickly. Jet black drove me to near insanity also.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:04 AM
FaRKle! FaRKle! is offline
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Wow you guys are so gentle with your cars. I drive off pavement all the time (was just doing a bunch of it this weekend) without any qualms. The car can handle it just fine. If you have DHP put it in sport mode so the dampers are stiffer. This will prevent you from bottoming out.

If I'm on a smooth dirt/gravel road (no potholes) I have no problems taking it at 40-50mph. If there are pot holes, I take it as quickly as I can comfortably see pot holes ahead of me. For this past weekend that meant between 25-35mph on a road with plenty of rocks sticking out of the clay, and scattered pot holes.

Saturday I went to an old quarry accessible by unpaved logging roads with the BMW wagon. My buddies were in a highlander. We had to park 150-200yds away from the actual quarry because the highlander couldn't make it over some bumps/crests that I had already gone over. When the highlander tried going over them it was bottoming out and struggling for traction. Because my friends wanted to go back a bit, I had to turn around on this road, causing some 3-wheel moments, and go back over the terrain. The BMW handled it like a champ and made it look easy. Have faith in your car!

I will add, that having clearbra applied to the lower parts of my car gives me a peace of mind when it comes to worrying about rock chips/scratches.

I can imagine 20" wheels make the ride more rough. Your 18" winters should be much better.

Last edited by FaRKle!; 04-23-2018 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:16 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerbingo View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to the countryside, the road leading up to our next house is about 2 and half miles and is unpaved (no pot holes, just very rough). I am driving my 435i on 20" tires (p-zero rft - I also have 18" tires that I'm only using during the winter season) and my heart is breaking every time I drive it there (should also mention that I drive between 20mph-30mph). What things should I expect breaking from driving on those roads? I really don't want to to give up on the car and buy an SUV or truck now that I just paid it off.
20 inch run flat tires are not going to have much shock absorption so the ride will be quite rough. And remember every trip will actually be 5 miles of rough road...not 2.5. Dirt roads can washboard and pothole after a rain so take it slow. At 20 mph to 30 mph your car could kick up stones that would chip some paint. Your car will pick up dust and dirt. Over time the added vibration will loosen body parts.

A Subaru Outback or similar with much higher aspect ratio tires might be a better choice for daily commuting on the dirt road. Or a pickup truck.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:59 PM
BMW 3 BMW 3 is offline
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Some car companies have shorter change intervals for the air filter. Change it more often if you drive a lot on unpaved roads. Maybe every 20,000 miles or maybe every 2nd oil change if you follow the oil change monitor interval.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:09 PM
bald bald is offline
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I live on a long gravel road. Drive the car. I absolutely do not baby it. Sometimes certain parts squeek from the dust, but since I don't wash it the squeeks go away when it rains. BFD.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:19 PM
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mr_clueless mr_clueless is offline
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ultimately it depends on the quality of the unpaved road. i've seen unpaved roads where one can easily drive 40-50 mph. on the other hand, the unpaved road i used to drive on, even 20 mph was too fast for certain sections--the car would literally be bouncing and if i wasn't constantly steering around potholes, it would be a disaster for the suspension/wheels/etc.

for the good roads, the only issue would be dust. it will get everywhere and be a pain to clean.
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Last edited by mr_clueless; 04-24-2018 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:22 PM
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CALWATERBOY TRE CALWATERBOY TRE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerbingo View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to the countryside, the road leading up to our next house is about 2 and half miles and is unpaved (no pot holes, just very rough). I am driving my 435i on 20" tires (p-zero rft - I also have 18" tires that I'm only using during the winter season) and my heart is breaking every time I drive it there (should also mention that I drive between 20mph-30mph). What things should I expect breaking from driving on those roads? I really don't want to to give up on the car and buy an SUV or truck now that I just paid it off.

Whelp, the washboard will cause your BMW to vibe like a jackhammer. Dude! Is that what you want?
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:23 PM
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CALWATERBOY TRE CALWATERBOY TRE is offline
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.

If ya do, trade those city slicker 20" Dubs fer 17" Country Boy rims. You'll thank yourself for that.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:48 PM
rbreding rbreding is offline
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Did someone mention dirt?
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Old 04-24-2018, 05:51 PM
KWStandard KWStandard is offline
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Time for an X3....
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:33 PM
bimmerbingo bimmerbingo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
ultimately it depends on the quality of the unpaved road. i've seen unpaved roads where one can easily drive 40-50 mph. on the other hand, the unpaved road i used to drive on, even 20 mph was too fast for certain sections--the car would literally be bouncing and if i wasn't constantly steering around potholes, it would be a disaster for the suspension/wheels/etc.

for the good roads, the only issue would be dust. it will get everywhere and be a pain to clean.
Road looks more like the picture on the right, it's very compacted but has many pebbles. I am considering an X3, or get a cheap Jeep/SUV to commute to work and use the 435 as a weekend car only. Paving the road is not an option... the land is owned by the city and probably costs in the millions anyway. Changing tires is a common sense option and first on the to-do list, I want to enjoy the car for a bit longer before trading it if that's the decision I'll end up making.
Thank you all for the posts, they were all informative!
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2015 435i M-Sport (mine), x-drive, CPO, sapphire black metallic, MPPK, MPBK, MPE
2015 X5 50i M-Sport (hers), x-drive, CPO, carbon black metallic
2015 328i M-Sport (hers), x-drive, new, alpine white
2007 328i (mine), rwd, used, silver
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  #16  
Old 04-25-2018, 02:35 PM
austfrechette austfrechette is offline
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You could always soften the suspension so it takes the bumps a bit better, and take the road of lifetime warranties on suspension parts so you are only paying for labor and not the parts itself.
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