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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I recently picked up an 03 4.4 with sport and 19" wheels, (my third BMW). Love the car but the ride is clearly too stiff.

Being a suspension guy in the motocross world I have a good understanding of how suspensions work and on the most part, know how to feel something out.

In this case, it appears that the overly stiff ride is from the springs (metal on the front, air in the rear). However, I don't think I would completely rule out the dampers as of yet either.

So I'm curious if any one has made any changes to the spring or damping systems on this car and what effect it may have had, or if you guys may know of someone in the BMW suspension business that may be able to address this problem.

Thanks!

Dave
 

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Check the tires first. Pressures may be too high. After that, I think you would get more impact trading to 18" wheels than trying to rework the suspension.

I hear you, I wouldn't have the sport on an X5, too harsh for me.
 

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The firmness sometimes gets on my nerves when driving around intown Atlanta's pothole strewn streets. But on smooth roadways, it handles like a sports car. Life's about trade-offs, I guess.

Prior to getting the X5, I came straight from driving an E46 M3, so the harshness doesn't seem so bad in comparison. If I had come from driving a softer car, then I think the harshness would seem worse.

I agree with the previous poster -- swap out the 19" wheels for some 18s and that should help a lot.
 

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Mine is a little rough with Sport Package but I love the BMW-esque handling. And P.S. I have the BMW "19 inch wheels aswell.





-e60lover
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I think the 19" can stay. I don't think the problem are the tires, (profile) it's either the spring or the dampers.

It just progresses way too quick in a short amount of distance. I can barely push it down when I jump up and down on it in the driveway.

My earlier bimmers were perfect or perhaps a bit too soft.

When my wife and I were driving down a relatively smooth road the other day she could barely keep a conversation going on the phone without me hearing the strain in voice each time we hit a bump. It's overkill.

It really is on par with a track set-up and to the point that it makes me wonder if someone hasn't done something to it or perhaps that the rear airbags are not operating properly.

In either case, it appears that no one in the aftermarket seems to be willing to jump in with any real information so I'll most likely begin some testing and see what I can come up with. Too bad the dampers are rebuildable/adjustable.

Thanks for all the input and I'll keep you guys posted if I come up with anything.
 

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You can swap out those sport package shocks/springs/struts with the non-sport version. I have a non-sport X5 with 19s and it rides perfect for my tastes (sure...it's still a bit more jarring than any other makes, but then again, it does still handles like a BMW should).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dkl,

Good input.

Have you compared how your X5 feels and handles to the non-sport version?

And do you have air springs or metal springs in the rear?

Thanks!

Dave
 

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MotoBMW said:
Well, I think the 19" can stay. I don't think the problem are the tires, (profile) it's either the spring or the dampers.

It just progresses way too quick in a short amount of distance. I can barely push it down when I jump up and down on it in the driveway.

My earlier bimmers were perfect or perhaps a bit too soft.

When my wife and I were driving down a relatively smooth road the other day she could barely keep a conversation going on the phone without me hearing the strain in voice each time we hit a bump. It's overkill.

It really is on par with a track set-up and to the point that it makes me wonder if someone hasn't done something to it or perhaps that the rear airbags are not operating properly.

In either case, it appears that no one in the aftermarket seems to be willing to jump in with any real information so I'll most likely begin some testing and see what I can come up with. Too bad the dampers are rebuildable/adjustable.

Thanks for all the input and I'll keep you guys posted if I come up with anything.
You should really check the tire pressure first.
Did feel the same as you but i did lower the pressure to the right.
You find the right pressure at the left door inside.
After that it was nearly another car.
 

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Daniel B said:
You should really check the tire pressure first.
Did feel the same as you but i did lower the pressure to the right.
You find the right pressure at the left door inside.
After that it was nearly another car.
Actually, I find that the car rides (and handles) much better at 36psi all-around rather than the recommended 32psi.
 

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MotoBMW said:
dkl,

Good input.

Have you compared how your X5 feels and handles to the non-sport version?

And do you have air springs or metal springs in the rear?

Thanks!

Dave
My non-sport with 19s actually rides similar to the sport version with 18s (remember that my experience is with the 3.0i, so the 4.4i may differ). BTW, I have the regular rear springs (no air springs).
 

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MotoBMW said:
Hey guys,

I recently picked up an 03 4.4 with sport and 19" wheels, (my third BMW). Love the car but the ride is clearly too stiff.

Being a suspension guy in the motocross world I have a good understanding of how suspensions work and on the most part, know how to feel something out.

In this case, it appears that the overly stiff ride is from the springs (metal on the front, air in the rear). However, I don't think I would completely rule out the dampers as of yet either.

So I'm curious if any one has made any changes to the spring or damping systems on this car and what effect it may have had, or if you guys may know of someone in the BMW suspension business that may be able to address this problem.

Thanks!

Dave
Yea I agree. I had the exact same car as you and when it was time to hand in the lease I made sure I didn't go for the sport suspension. Naturally I miss the seats in the sport package and the steerign wheel but other than that I think the ride more than makes up for it.
 

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BMW made some changes to the sport suspension starting with MY 2004. I have driven an 03 w/sport suspension and 19" wheels back to back with my 2005 w/sport suspension and 19" wheels and the difference was quite noticable. Same great handling but without the jarring bumps. So I guess there is some level of suspension tuning that can be done to make the difference.
 

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I have a 4.4 with sports! 2005, and find it a bit too stiff and pretty bad turning radius!! Reason I think sports package for extra stiffness!? I'll try adjusting tire pressure so to make it bit softer which number is better? 36psi or 32psi?
 
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