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Meat Puppet
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 330i without the sport package. (Long story wife hated the sport seats..)

For the past few months I've been autocrossing regularly. I'm looking for ways to better balance the car, it pushes far too often, and seems to lack grip in a big way. (I'm regularly getting beat by modded civics and celicas.)

The car is a daily driver, take co-workers out to lunch etc, so it's not a good canidate for the lowered look, nor would a ride that is much harsher than the stock sport suspension be a good choice.

Anyone have some suggestions? Ideas to consider?

Thanks!
 

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Crazy Canadian
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1,095 Posts
You should check and see if someone has the stock sport suspension struts and shocks for sale. A lot of people that are modding their cars right now are going to coilovers so you might be able to find a good deal with someone parting our their stock suspension(check dtmpower.net and e46fanatics.com)

Otherwise some springs(H&R, eibach, etc) and some antisway bars are your best bet
 

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I like cookies.
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18,102 Posts
First thing to to is get some better tires. I would say 225/45 17" S-03s.

Your 330 has the sports suspension though? right. Using performance tires makes a huge difference.

If you want a suspension kit that won't lower it much, than Dinan (or a combination of simlar parts) will only lower the car 1/4" or so. Talk to 31st330i
 

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Addicted To Autocross
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191 Posts
Some Info and Tips (long)

JT - '02 330i said:
I've got a 330i without the sport package. (Long story wife hated the sport seats..)

For the past few months I've been autocrossing regularly. I'm looking for ways to better balance the car, it pushes far too often, and seems to lack grip in a big way. (I'm regularly getting beat by modded civics and celicas.)

The car is a daily driver, take co-workers out to lunch etc, so it's not a good canidate for the lowered look, nor would a ride that is much harsher than the stock sport suspension be a good choice.

Anyone have some suggestions? Ideas to consider?

Thanks!
The push you're referring to is the natural understeer of the car. Here's some tips on dialing it out mechanically:

  • Higher Tire Pressure In Front, Lower In Rear - anywhere from 2 to 5 PSI difference
  • Adjustable Sways - Softer in the front, Stiffer in the Rear
  • Uniform Wheel Setup - The sport package comes with a staggered setup. Less understeer if all the wheels were the same width
  • Shocks - If adjustable, softer in the front, firmer in the rear

Here's some tips on dealing with it at the AutoX
  • Slow In, Fast Out. This means REALLY slowing down into a corner as needed and accelerating out. The more your tires are squealing, the slower you really are. It will actually seem that you are going slower, but trust me, its better.
  • Look ahead. And I Mean 2 turns ahead. If you plan your attack, you won't be reacting to a turn, but attacking it instead. A better line into the turns at the right speed will prevent plowing into cones when you go in too hot.
  • DSC level 1 off for sure. DSC level 2 off if you can control the car, when the rear end swings out (and yes it becomes alot easier with the 2nd level off).

As for suspension, I have Dinan Stage III. The drop is small, and handling is improved, but a word of warning: even on the softest shock settings, the difference in ride is noticable. More so, if you ride on performance tires where the sidewall is very stiff.

Upgrade the driver first. You can reduce understeer and your AutoX times, by simply gaining better driving techniques. When you're ready, tires offer bang for the buck. Kuhmo Victoracers are relatively cheap ($150 per), offer outstanding grip and will reduce your times by 2-3 seconds. Suspension mods next, and then tire pressures to fine tune. Engine mods won't make much of a difference in Autocrossing, although I do recommend Dinan Stage I at least as that improves throttle response noticeably.

Here's what can happen if you take my advice:

http://shinobi.bmw330ci.com/Awards/default.htm
 

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Registered
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Shinobi covered all the points I would've... :)

Now Albert, forget the AutoX and hit the track ;)
 

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Addicted To Autocross
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In Due Time...

JawKnee said:
Shinobi covered all the points I would've... :)

Now Albert, forget the AutoX and hit the track ;)
I have a New Year's Resolution to get better at driving and to get to 20 awards by the end of the year. I've got 12 now, and I think I can do it. :thumb:

As for the track, I'll get serious about it when I get proficient with driving a stick. I might try it with the steptronic, but I think that its more of a handicap on a big track than at an autocross.:tsk:
 

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Registered User
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Why do you think the step is more of a handicap on the track? I shoulc think that with the low speeds of an autocross, the inability to force a downshift is far more crippling than on a track where you can keep your speed up.
 

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Addicted To Autocross
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191 Posts
Nick325xiT said:
Why do you think the step is more of a handicap on the track? I shoulc think that with the low speeds of an autocross, the inability to force a downshift is far more crippling than on a track where you can keep your speed up.
In a typical Autocross, for cars with stick, its usually 1st to 2nd and then 2nd all the way. Its rare to have to downshift to 1st or upshift to 3rd since speeds rarely go over 70MPH.

At the track, I rode with a friend in his s2000 and he was constantly upshifting and downshifting. He did very well and the instantaneous response of his transmission is something I can only desire in my Auto. We managed a bit over 100MPH on the straights. With the Auto, I'd be using the brakes ALOT more and the shifting lag times and difference in acceleration compared to a manual would hurt me over the course of several laps around a road course track. :bawling:
 

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Sounds like I'd get to do a lot of shifting in an autox, since 2nd gear in my car only goes to about 55. :p
 

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I may very well. It would be a LOT of fun. I'll have to see how my schedule works out. :)
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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bol said:
You should check and see if someone has the stock sport suspension struts and shocks for sale. A lot of people that are modding their cars right now are going to coilovers so you might be able to find a good deal with someone parting our their stock suspension(check dtmpower.net and e46fanatics.com)

Otherwise some springs(H&R, eibach, etc) and some antisway bars are your best bet
'02 330i's already come with sports suspension.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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Nick325xiT said:
Sounds like I'd get to do a lot of shifting in an autox, since 2nd gear in my car only goes to about 55. :p
You've got shorter gears than my 323 did, but I found that for the short courses around here, 2nd was fine. I'm not sure I ever shifted into 3rd (maybe just briefly). My impression is that the course in California tend to be in bigger lots, and thus tend to be faster. The NCC autoxs are all held in pretty cramped lots.
 

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If I really got into that sort of thing, I'd probably chip it, just so I could reach 7K rpms. Plus, as I recall, the I6 really screams nicely at 7K. :) Had a conforti chip in my 325i, and it was very nice provided that one's expectations weren't too high power-wise.
 
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