ea_sport
ea_sport New Reader
12/29/08 10:53 p.m.

I am a novice autocrosser and I know that the most important mod is increasing the driver's skill . Having said that I also want to have a somewhat decent car. I am currently driving a bone stock E46 330Ci and I am thinking about upgrading the suspension, nothing fancy such as coil over and such just upgrading the springs, struts and shocks. I think the easy way to go is to get the H&R Race springs with Koni Adjustable or Bilstein shocks and struts. I am leaning toward the Konis for its adjustability. I understand that this will put me in STX and my car will not be competitive but I don't have a lot of money to spend on LSD, coil over and such so I'll take what I can get and improve my skills along the way.

Question, is there a better bang for the buck option than H&R and Koni/BIlstein out there? Will I need a new Rear Shock Mounts? Also, is it a good idea to get a camber plate at the same time? Thanks all.

joedapro
joedapro New Reader
12/29/08 11:10 p.m.

i am crew chief on national championship dmod bmw. contact will turner at turnermotorsports.com. he will guide you in right direction. try lito 2 way adjustables, or at least research them. also you could call the master of bmw suspension setups, our engineer, bobby bitterman at specialty automotive in birmingham his number is 205-447-9445

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Reader
12/29/08 11:15 p.m.
joedapro wrote: i am crew chief on national championship dmod bmw. contact will turner at turnermotorsports.com. he will guide you in right direction. try lito 2 way adjustables, or at least research them. also you could call the master of bmw suspension setups, our engineer, bobby bitterman at specialty automotive in birmingham his number is 205-447-9445

I'm not going to contradict this at all, but I would say for a novice driver, fix only what's wrong with the car, and drive that until you feel that you've found the limits of it as it is, then upgrade. If the shocks are tired, I would steer you towards nonadjustables: the price is significantly lower for the same quality of shock, and you'll focus more on your driving, instead of trying to dial in you shock settings.

joedapro
joedapro New Reader
12/29/08 11:24 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote:
joedapro wrote: i am crew chief on national championship dmod bmw. contact will turner at turnermotorsports.com. he will guide you in right direction. try lito 2 way adjustables, or at least research them. also you could call the master of bmw suspension setups, our engineer, bobby bitterman at specialty automotive in birmingham his number is 205-447-9445
I'm not going to contradict this at all, but I would say for a novice driver, fix only what's wrong with the car, and drive *that* until you feel that you've found the limits of it as it is, *then* upgrade. If the shocks are tired, I would steer you towards nonadjustables: the price is significantly lower for the same quality of shock, and you'll focus more on your driving, instead of trying to dial in you shock settings.

i wholeheartedly agree. learn your car first. factory bmw suspensions are far superior to other mfrs. when your driving abilities exceed your factory stuff, then upgrade.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/30/08 1:53 a.m.

+1

Don't go for a fancy suspension package yet. Especially if you're just jumping into it. What you pop for now, you'll probably change your mind on later.

Replace worn shocks if necessary. If you need to replace worn shocks, I would recommend H&R HD shocks. Non adjustable, proven, and rebuildable.

I might upgrade the sway bars, if you're really getting too much body roll. Otherwise, keep it stock.

bludroptop
bludroptop Dork
12/30/08 5:03 a.m.

I think you would be less competitive in STX than DS if all you change is the springs.

First year? I'd run the car in DS with some UHP street tires - not R-comps. Maybe the new Kumho XS. I'd put shocks only on it and keep the stock springs. Yes - you almost certainly want new rear shock mounts - they aren't expensive. Other than shocks and wear items, I'd leave the car alone and focus on driving it as others have said.

Next year, you can decide if you want to graduate to R-comps or start making the transition into ST.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver SuperDork
12/30/08 5:58 a.m.

warning on Rcomps, its like crack and you will be addicted, and they can be expensive!

i did a bunch of upgrades on my mustang AND went to Rcomps over last winter and it took the car from STX to ESP. I already had upgrades on the car when i got it that exempted me from stock, but you probly want to stay in stock if you can because making the car competitive is alot cheaper.

Gimp
Gimp Dork
12/30/08 8:30 a.m.

Put a big honkin' front sway on it and call it a day for now. Upgrade the shocks to at least a set of Konis if you must. Then get a good set of street tires for the stock wheels (Bridgestone RE-01Rs or the Dunlop Star Specs). That will keep you class legal in stock, clean up the handling, and all the mods will transfer later if you want to go to STX.

Second thought - good street tires first, then the other stuff.

Camber plates are good later, as BMWs love as much front camber as possible, but a big front sway will help a great deal for now (prevents the car from gaining so much positive camber in a corner).

ea_sport
ea_sport New Reader
12/30/08 8:44 a.m.

Thanks for the input guys. I actually run Kumho MX 245/40/17 all around on stock 17X8.5 rims in the summer and I ran in a few of local BMW club autocross last season. I am thinking of trying to try the more formal SCCA autocross next summer hence the plan to slightly upgrade the car.

I was actually still not sure whether to go DS or STX but it seems that for now it's cheaper to go DS since I am not planning to get Rcomps tire, for now. I guess I'll just use my Kumho MX for another year (it's barely showing any wear after approx. 5,000 miles and 5-6 autocross) and replace my shocks with something stiffer. I have the sport package so I am not sure if H&R HD or even Bilstein HD will work since the springs are shorter. I may need to get either Bilstein Sport or Koni Sport. Any cheaper option out there?

Another question on DS, since the E46 with ZHP uses, I believe, 18X8.5 all around, can I keep my 17X8.5 all around? My car originally came with sport package rims (17X7.5F and 17X8.5R) but now I am using four rears in the summer to go with my 245 tire. If I have to use 17X7.5 in the front, will a 245 tire fit? Keep the advice coming guys. Thanks a lot.

bludroptop
bludroptop Dork
12/30/08 9:08 a.m.

No updating/backdating in Stock class, but if the ZHP package was available for your model year - I think you could add the whole package (but you would have to change everything to ZHP specs, not just the wheels).

Otherwise I think you are stuck with the stock stagger to be technically legal.

You could probably squeeze the 245s onto a 7.5" wheel.

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