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      08-17-2011, 11:53 PM   #1
kitw
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H&R coilovers - Installed E93

I've been through a number of suspensions on my 2 E9x cars. My E90 M3 got Eibach Prokits, then a Dinan Stage 1 suspension, that got upgraded to stage 2 and 3. I knew I wanted to do something different with my E93. I purposely got one without EDC, because I was pretty sure I was going with a coilover setup, and why pay for an option that I won't use?

I hated the Eibachs. They were ok at first, but after only the second day, I realized that the car was way more bouncy than it needed to be. Plus, I hated hitting bumps in corners because the car would hit the stops and skitter around. It drove me so nuts that I went out and bought the Dinan Stage 1. And I liked it but didn't love it. Asethetically, the car looked better, but was not low enough for me. The rice boy inside me demanded better! It did ride really nicely, but I didn't feel like it was a huge improvement. Turn in was definitely improved, and it dealt with bumps in corners fairly well, but it wasn't hugely better than stock. The Dinan stuff is a great setup, especially if you want to retain EDC.

I sold the E90 M3 in June and switch to an E93. It's a big pig but putting the top down on a warm summer evening is sooo worth it. For some reason, the wind in my hair melts off the stress of a hard day at work like nothing else.

I picked up a set of TE37s for the car, and it definitely needed to be lowered. I went with 265/30r19 and 285/30r19 tires which are slightly shorter than stock, so it made the wheel gap even more painfully obvious. I was shopping for coilovers, but knew I wanted something fairly street oriented. After all, this is the car I use to cart around my little ones, so it couldn't be too uncomfortable... and, while I have done a ton of track days, I haven't done any this year and realized after switching to the E93 that I probably wouldn't. So, anything with a noisy spherical bearing was out. I considered moving the Dinan setup over to my E93, but since I could replace the shocks, I figured that I'd just do Prokits with a shortened upper guide support and Bilstein Sports.

However, I found out that the off the shelf Bilstein sport shocks were not significantly shorter than stock shocks, so wouldn't give much more travel. I knew I didn't want garbage coilovers and having tried Megans on my Evo X (yuck tossed them after 3 days) and BC Racing on my S2000 (yuck, they lasted less than a full day) I knew I wanted something a little better. But, I wasn't willing to pony up for the ASTs or Motons, nor did I want to run either KW or Ground Control sleeve kits. I was going to get KW v3, but even they are fairly expensive and ride stiffer than stock unless you turn the damping down. Tirerack had a blowout sale on the H&R coilovers so I took a leap.

I knew that the E46 M3 H&R coilovers had all sorts of problems, shocks prematurely blowing, and the rear height adjustors breaking, plus getting riding like crap. The ones I had on my E36 M3 were great, although too soft for hardcore track use. (I eventually revalved them for stiffer springs and they were great.) I ran Moton clubsports on my E46 M3 and loved them, but they were a bit noisy for the street (although they rode really nicely.) I had a bunch of different suspension for my 5 different s2000s (from PSS9s, to motons, JRZs and Penske autoX shocks... all the way down to crappy ricer springs and crappy Tien and BC Racing coilovers.)

The H&Rs use what looks like a progressive spring but really isn't. There are inactive coils that end up fulling coil bound when the car is set down on them. Those coils are really just there to keep tension on the spring when the coilovers at are full droop, for TUV certification. But, they don't hurt and keep the spring seated, unlike some coilover setups I've seen.

The H&R coilovers use a non adjustable, inverted strut for less unsprung weight upfront, that is significantly shortened to allow the car to ride well, despite being lowered. Damping is set from the factory and not adjustable, although Bilsteins can be rebuilt and revalve very reasonably. (I think I paid less than $300 the last time I had a set revalved for stiffer springs.) The steel bodies have the threads cut directly in them for strength. They have a pretty decent range of height adjustment, from almost stock to totally slammed (quite a bit lower than I have my car set.) Since the front struts are inverted, you don't reuse the stock bumpstop or dust boot, they include a bumpstop inside the strut body, and a dust boot as well as a wiper and a seal on the actual shock body to strut body connection. The rear shocks are not inverted and use the factory dust boots, but again, are significantly shortened so they retain plenty of travel when the car is lowered. Again, I raised the car quite a bit from the lowest point and my car is still pretty low.

l wasn't expecting greatness out of a cheap set of coilovers but I really hoped they'd have better damping than street springs would, and would be able to maintain that performance (due to shortened bodies) at a lower ride height than the Dinan setup. I wasn't disappointed at all, and in fact was impressed at how stock like the ride is. It absorbs big bumps no problem, especially at highway speeds, it feels very stock like.

It's definitely stiffer than stock, and especially at low speeds, smaller bumps can be felt more, but it's never un-composed and seems to have very appropriate damping for the spring rates (which H&R didn't release when I asked.) It never gives that floaty feeling that I got all the time with the Eibachs (And felt in cars with both the KW sleeve kit and Ground Controls.) It also rides better than both, although not as well as the Dinan kit... but it's pretty close!

Plus, I was able to get a nice looking ride height.

The photos show what I installed. H&R coilovers with shortened Guide Supports (almost identical to my Dinan setup) and Dinan fixed camber plates. I ended up with:

Front:
-2.4 / -2.4 degrees of camber up front
7 degrees of caster
0.04 / 0.05 in toe in
16.4 / 16.3 degrees SAI
14 / 13.9 degrees Included angle

rear:
-2.1 / -2.1 degrees of camber
0.08 / 0.09 in toe in

The rears have a ton of room for adjustment, probably almost 3" of ride height, although I'm sure you wouldn't want to run them all the way up (as it'd be higher than stock and the upper spring perch would not be very stable.) The fronts probably had about 2.5" of overall travel, but I'm sure you couldn't run them all the way down without rubbing. You could get near stock height if you wanted, though.

The last picture is of my car, with the stock non-EDC suspension.
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      08-18-2011, 12:02 AM   #2
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Looks good KitW. Once again, another good read... =)
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      08-18-2011, 12:53 AM   #3
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I like the picture with the kids in it.

reminds me when my daughter sits in my car
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      08-18-2011, 01:27 AM   #4
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I had H&R coilovers on my Evo X. They started clunking because the shock shaft had play in it. I warrantied it, the new one was fine for a while and then started clunking too. Then the other front shock started clunking too... it was like stereo clunking and it drove me nuts. I warrantied that and just sold them. I have no idea why the shocks go bad so fast even though they were Bilstein manufactured.

I hope the M3 shocks are different.

Here were the H&R I had:

Last edited by Z K; 08-18-2011 at 01:45 AM.
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      08-18-2011, 01:52 AM   #5
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Huh, are you the same ZK from EvoX forums? I had an Apex Silver Evo X, that Bryan tuned. I ran several different setups on mine, KW V3, springs from Works, some crappy BC racing, and the A'pexi S1. Bummer that you had those problems, the E46 M3 guys ran into similar ones. Inverted shocks, in general are more resistant to side loading (since they have both the strut housing and the shock housing to leverage, but yeah, I hope mine don't clunk either. Did they ever give you any sort of explanation?
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      08-18-2011, 02:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitw View Post
Huh, are you the same ZK from EvoX forums? I had an Apex Silver Evo X, that Bryan tuned. I ran several different setups on mine, KW V3, springs from Works, some crappy BC racing, and the A'pexi S1. Bummer that you had those problems, the E46 M3 guys ran into similar ones. Inverted shocks, in general are more resistant to side loading (since they have both the strut housing and the shock housing to leverage, but yeah, I hope mine don't clunk either. Did they ever give you any sort of explanation?
Yeah, That is me. I'm on all the Evo forums as I had Evos for the past 6 years. H&R never gave me any kind of explanation. The shocks had a lifetime warranty so they just kept replacing mine but changing out shocks every 2-3 months got old real fast.

Like you, I ran all sorts of coilovers on my Evos. I ran Megan, BC Racing (both junk), HKS, Tein, Ohlins DFV, H&R, Swift Spec R springs. The closest I got to having a favorite set up was the Ohlins - those felt great. HKS came in second because they were pretty durable and lasted quite a while. Tein were not bad actually. Always felt a bit bouncy but they were super durable and never broke on me. I put 70K miles on a set of Tein coilovers on a previous car and they still felt like new.

I might have met you before.. do you know Hunpin and Terrance Seto? I used to help instruct for Unlimited Laps track days.
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      08-18-2011, 12:23 PM   #7
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^ yup, that's me! funny, small world!

Yeah, Tiens are surprisingly well built, but I think their performance leaves something to be desired. the newer monoflex are better and their track suspensions are surprisingly decent.

Hopefully I don't run into the same thing. The H&Rs are the only decent quality $1000-$1300 coilovers out there for the E9x, hopefully they aren't a reliability problem. I put 75k miles on a set on my E36 M3! revalved them once but they were in perfect internal condition when I did... I just wanted to go with stiffer springs.
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      08-18-2011, 01:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitw View Post
^ yup, that's me! funny, small world!

Yeah, Tiens are surprisingly well built, but I think their performance leaves something to be desired. the newer monoflex are better and their track suspensions are surprisingly decent.

Hopefully I don't run into the same thing. The H&Rs are the only decent quality $1000-$1300 coilovers out there for the E9x, hopefully they aren't a reliability problem. I put 75k miles on a set on my E36 M3! revalved them once but they were in perfect internal condition when I did... I just wanted to go with stiffer springs.
Yes, it is a small world! I think at the time you had a 335i sedan? I haven't seen Hunpin, Hsin and the others in a couple of years. Terrance, I run into now and then and Steve I see pretty often.

Yeah, the Tein worked okay, I competed with Tein Type HA in autocross about 12 years ago and finished 1st in my class for the season but they were never comfortable nor refined.

I did like the H&R on the car. It felt very tight, definitely no bouncy feeling but it was aggressively sprung and damped so it felt stiff on the Evo. The Evo X had stock metal upper mounts so they had no give at all when you hit bumps. That might have contributed to the short shock life in combination with SF's messed up roads.
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      08-27-2011, 06:20 PM   #9
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How do you like them so far?
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      08-27-2011, 06:37 PM   #10
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Still love them! they ride nicely and are very composed and definitely make the heavy E93 feel like a much smaller car.

(but, they're also going up for sale, as I'm selling the car... time to return to arse engined cars!)
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