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      12-25-2011, 06:02 PM   #1
kawchkjf
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Ride height, stock vs. springs - unbalanced?

Hey guys,

Picked up a E92 M3 few weeks now. Coming from a 1er...

It seems like most people here are doing springs strictly for look. Now, I am EDC equipped and that's unfortunate. It seems like my route is only coilovers at this point after reading several threads.

I bring this case up because lowering the car, for looks...will disturb the height of the vehicle. Giving the vehicle such a raked look. Why are we all happy with this in the first place is what I am not understanding.

If the height is measured front and rear at stock, it should be a balanced height. Is this something we have all over looked?

Now, you may see that coil overs is right for me if I am concerned about the height and balance of the vehicle. But I just want to know if there is a better solution in correcting the wheel gap. As well as measuring the ride height correctly, front and rear.
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      12-25-2011, 06:42 PM   #2
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Here is my theory. The OEM ride height leaves the car level which also creates a lot of wheel gap in the front. From my limited understanding of EU rules, BMW leaves at 12mm gap for snow chains. BMW leaves more room in the front because the front wheels turn.

Most spring manufacturers make springs for looks...read...reduce/eliminate wheel gap. In order to eliminate the wheel gap, most setups will lower the front more than the rear which creates the raked look.

I've been told that BMWs in general actually handle better when level or even a tad higher in the front...which would look horrendous to the stance, tuck, stretch, flush crowd.

My 330 used to understeer a bit, even with more front neg camber. I increased my front ride height by a 1/4" and it felt so much better.
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      12-25-2011, 08:07 PM   #3
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I agree with you completely.

So are there springs that levels out and lowers the vehicle entirely? Or is Dinan/KW Sleeve the only way?
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      12-25-2011, 08:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawchkjf View Post
I agree with you completely.

So are there springs that levels out and lowers the vehicle entirely? Or is Dinan/KW Sleeve the only way?
Among the commonly known brands, I believe Dinan has the least aggressive drop. I think it is the only setup that does not create a rakish look at all...hence their unpopularity for their price
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      12-26-2011, 11:43 AM   #5
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After-market springs should be designed to maintain the front/rear rake and balance. The car has little excess suspension travel, so you should be careful in lowering it much. Regarding raising the front relatively more than the rear, generally speaking this would have the effect of increasing rather than decreasing understeer, since it results in more weight and traction in the rear. It would also have an undesirable impact on aerodynamics, and I would not consider it. If you are interested in lowering just for looks, then do what looks right to you and forget the rest. If you are more performance oriented, then consider a good adjustable coilover suspension in which you have choices of spring rates, and can properly corner balance the car for the desired handling.
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      12-28-2011, 02:18 AM   #6
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Yes, a lot of people here put $200 springs on their $60k+ car and care only about looks. They have no understanding of strut/shock travel or of the car's daynamics. Putting lowering springs (or fancier "sleeve over" kits) on stock struts/shocks reduces (possibly eliminates?) an already very short stock travel.

It's well known (and has been for ages) that lowering springs on stock struts/shocks is a far from optimal setup yet everyone here does it and it's cool


Sorry for the rant.

If you want to lower your car get a set of quality coilovers which will have shortened struts/shocks designed to work with the shorter springs and a certain adjustment range.

Information is not easy to get though. I'm still playing with my coilovers figuring out optimal height. I'd want to say that you want to keep the front/rear height ratio close to stock but then the car from the factory is tuned in to understeer. Granted a good alignment and bigger/better tires in the front do wonders; I also wonder if tweaking front/rear heights can help dial in more neutral handling.
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      12-28-2011, 02:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiv View Post
Yes, a lot of people here put $200 springs on their $60k+ car and care only about looks. They have no understanding of strut/shock travel or of the car's daynamics. Putting lowering springs (or fancier "sleeve over" kits) on stock struts/shocks reduces (possibly eliminates?) an already very short stock travel.

It's well known (and has been for ages) that lowering springs on stock struts/shocks is a far from optimal setup yet everyone here does it and it's cool


Sorry for the rant.

If you want to lower your car get a set of quality coilovers which will have shortened struts/shocks designed to work with the shorter springs and a certain adjustment range.

Information is not easy to get though. I'm still playing with my coilovers figuring out optimal height. I'd want to say that you want to keep the front/rear height ratio close to stock but then the car from the factory is tuned in to understeer. Granted a good alignment and bigger/better tires in the front do wonders; I also wonder if tweaking front/rear heights can help dial in more neutral handling.
Although I agree with you about coilovers it VOIDS your warranty and most of us still have the warranty till 100,000 miles and Springs are ok and not an issue here in the PNW. So its a no-brainer to get springs. Lowering springs have been fine on most every car since I have been modding cars since 1990. So to me springs are fine on a BMW with a warranty. If your car is out of warranty I would go with coilovers. Simple.

I will tell you if my M3 was out of warranty I would pick up a set of KW3s. I had them on my E46 M3 and they were awesome. Not the best setup, but by far the best bang for your buck. I ran about 20 different suspension setups from $12000 to $900 on my S2000, NSX, and Z4MC. I have also ran dozens of springs set ups. So I have a little experience with good and bad setups.
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      12-28-2011, 08:59 AM   #8
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How do coilovers void your warranty, except relating to the suspension? My warranty has been honored since installing coilovers.
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      12-28-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgdog View Post
How do coilovers void your warranty, except relating to the suspension? My warranty has been honored since installing coilovers.
It depends on your dealer. Some take a very unreasonable (yet legally arguable) position on after-market mods. It's a good thing to discuss up front.
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      12-29-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
Here is my theory. The OEM ride height leaves the car level which also creates a lot of wheel gap in the front. From my limited understanding of EU rules, BMW leaves at 12mm gap for snow chains. BMW leaves more room in the front because the front wheels turn.

Most spring manufacturers make springs for looks...read...reduce/eliminate wheel gap. In order to eliminate the wheel gap, most setups will lower the front more than the rear which creates the raked look.

I've been told that BMWs in general actually handle better when level or even a tad higher in the front...which would look horrendous to the stance, tuck, stretch, flush crowd.

My 330 used to understeer a bit, even with more front neg camber. I increased my front ride height by a 1/4" and it felt so much better.
+1

I had a local performance shop do the install, and they talked me into lowering the rear quite a lot with front drop of less than 1/4" (almost none). Works VERY well for both track and city, actually - a bit more front suspension travel than stock, and more stable braking and acceleration. The downside is that the car does look a bit weird when it has 2 people in the back and full truck.
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      12-29-2011, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I've been told that BMWs in general actually handle better when level or even a tad higher in the front...which would look horrendous to the stance, tuck, stretch, flush crowd.
Actually, let me reword this. I've been told that the generally optimal height is a little bit of wheel gap in the front and the rear tire slightly tucked.

Which in my 330 puts the car about 1/8" lower in the front when taking measurements from the rocker panel.
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      12-29-2011, 12:39 PM   #12
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Springs will work just fine on your EDC equipped car. Lowering/performance springs have been manufactured for long enough now that the good companies know what they are doing and are not just haphazardly making cars a certain amount lower. If you are worried about travel issues, you could always install a set of older M3 bumpstops in the front. There are plenty of good threads regarding this already. Coilovers aren't necessarily the only option.
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      12-29-2011, 05:15 PM   #13
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Has anyone had tire wear issues? I put H&R sports on my E36 325is and had trouble with the insides of the front and rear tires wearing out very prematurely.
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      12-29-2011, 05:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slapshot9 View Post
Has anyone had tire wear issues? I put H&R sports on my E36 325is and had trouble with the insides of the front and rear tires wearing out very prematurely.
Alignment?
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      12-29-2011, 05:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THE TECH View Post
Springs will work just fine on your EDC equipped car. Lowering/performance springs have been manufactured for long enough now that the good companies know what they are doing and are not just haphazardly making cars a certain amount lower. If you are worried about travel issues, you could always install a set of older M3 bumpstops in the front. There are plenty of good threads regarding this already. Coilovers aren't necessarily the only option.
To add to this, the most important thing you can do to maintain similar ride characteristics to stock is to choose a spring that does not lower the car too much. This is one of the main reasons that eibach springs ride better than H&R. And also why dinan springs ride well

I chose to go with eibach for this reason.
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      12-29-2011, 06:09 PM   #16
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Alignment?
Did'nt want to pony up for the Camber Plates to correct the negative camber as a result of the lowering as per the alignment shops. Think it will be an issue with E9X lowering springs?
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      12-29-2011, 06:36 PM   #17
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No unless you drop it significantly more than what H&R or Eibach offers.
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      12-29-2011, 11:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawchkjf View Post
Picked up a E92 M3 few weeks now. Coming from a 1er...

It seems like most people here are doing springs strictly for look. Now, I am EDC equipped and that's unfortunate. It seems like my route is only coilovers at this point after reading several threads.

I bring this case up because lowering the car, for looks...will disturb the height of the vehicle. Giving the vehicle such a raked look. Why are we all happy with this in the first place is what I am not understanding.

If the height is measured front and rear at stock, it should be a balanced height. Is this something we have all over looked?

Now, you may see that coil overs is right for me if I am concerned about the height and balance of the vehicle. But I just want to know if there is a better solution in correcting the wheel gap. As well as measuring the ride height correctly, front and rear.
I think the EDC with the Dinan sport springs, together with spacers or different wheel offsets gives a non-raked perfect street fitment. I'm very happy with mine after 2 1/2 years.

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      12-30-2011, 12:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgdog View Post
How do coilovers void your warranty, except relating to the suspension? My warranty has been honored since installing coilovers.
Not mine and both BMW dealers I have been to do not honor it. I got it in writing on the springs and coilovers.
They had a laundry list of things that a really altered suspension would do. To tired to list.
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      12-30-2011, 12:07 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by elh0102 View Post
It depends on your dealer. Some take a very unreasonable (yet legally arguable) position on after-market mods. It's a good thing to discuss up front.
Exactly this!
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      12-30-2011, 12:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW / Oregon View Post
I think the EDC with the Dinan sport springs, together with spacers or different wheel offsets gives a non-raked perfect street fitment. I'm very happy with mine after 2 1/2 years.

Greg, your car looks great. So in 2 1/2 years you have not seen a change in tire wear after installing Dinan springs?
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      12-30-2011, 01:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slapshot9 View Post
Greg, your car looks great. So in 2 1/2 years you have not seen a change in tire wear after installing Dinan springs?
No change. Had alignment done initially and have not touched it since. I'm running 255 & 275/35s with 1/2" wider wheels than stock.
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