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      05-13-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
Fireflyer239
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New Mods - BMWP springs and Bilstien HD's...OUTSTANDING!

Lease is over, I love her so I bought her. Other mods performed along with springs and dampers are: Michelin PSS tires, CDV delete, and HD control arm bushings from HP Autowerks.

It's obviously difficult to quantify the improvements (in comfort, handling and response) attributable to individual components when they are installed at the same time, so I'm reporting on the net result here. My goal was: improved handling with a willingness to sacrifice some ride comfort, improved steering response without going to the M3 component set, and the usual improvement in clutch action gotten when deleting the CDV. My net result?

THIS is how a BMW should come from the factory! 200 miles since picking her up, and my expectations are exceeded. I feel like I am driving a new car. My '09 has factory Sport Package, and 2 years ago I installed a Hotchkis front anti sway which was a big inprovement at the time. At 30K miles the stock dampers had gone floppy and the Michelin PS A/S Plus's reached the end of their service life, just as my lease was ending.

I live in CT and do a lot of driving on our pothole-ridden, frost heaved secondary roads, and did not want a setup which would be harsh or too low. This combination does not lower the car at all. I understand the BMWP suspension kit is supposed to lower by 10mm over the the factory sport package, but perhaps the Bilstien spring perches sit up a bit higher. I've seen several owners here express that they'd like a firmer spring without a drop (me being one of them) and with this combination, you'll get exactly what you want.

In a nutshell, this combination gives an amazing improvement in control on all types of roads, with a firm but definitely-not-harsh ride, and no handling quirks of any kind. Body roll is now negligible. Accellerating out of tight corners previously had the stability control light flashing and the back end doing wierd things. Now there's only smooth, flat acceleration. High-speed stability is much improved - no more bobbing and dancing when hitting the evenly spaced steel strips on the Quinnipiac Bridge, which is a long, high-speed sweeping turn - only composure now. And on those lumpy bumpy local backroads where I spend so much time, the tires feel as if they never leave the pavement. Hitting bumps (even sharp-edged ones) gives a luxurious and high quality feeling muted thump. I know much of this can be credited to these crazy-good Michelin Pilot Super Sports but again, I can only report on the net result. I have pushed the car hard but these things stick like gum to your shoe on a hot day. By the way, Bilstiens come with their own bump stops.

The HP Autowerks control arm bushings cost $70-something bucks for the set. Thanks to forum member GaryS (I think it was him!) for pointing me in that direction. Steering is now a bit lighter but with better feel and very little on-center play remaining.

CDV (Clutch Delay Valve) delete means I now have better take-up feel and an improved 1-2 shift. Shifting finally feels "normal".

I realize many forum members have gone with either Koni Sports or FSD's when replacing dampers, but being the willing Guinea pig that I am (I was also a Beta tester for the BMS Powerbox), I had to try the Bilstiens. I am so glad I did, and feel they will be very durable for the long run. 1 series owners seeking an ideal street package with an eye toward their budget might want to try the same combination I have. Please hit me up for any further testimonial or with questions.

Many thanks to Dan at United BMW for the springs, Jon at Turner Mototsports for the dampers, HP Autowerks, Butch at Tire Rack, and Joe at Nino Performance in Bethany CT. All provided excellent customer service, knowledgeable assistance and fast shipping where applicable.

Next round of mods will be the BMWP Aero front bumper for a more classic and sporty appearance, the BMWP exhaust, and perhaps a SSK (Short Shift Kit). Happy motoring, fellow 1ers...Cheers!
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Last edited by Fireflyer239; 05-13-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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      05-14-2012, 10:10 AM   #2
AudiS4
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Thanks for the write-up. A frew questions/comments.
1 -Just curious as to why you did not go with the full BMW PS.
2- I just returned to stock from the TC Kline coilovers. Frankly the coilovers were too stiff (nice for a year - but wearing on me now). But the stock SPORT suspension does exhibit all the flaws you noted. If i am to keep this car, i will need to go PS or the route you took.
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      05-14-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Nice choice! I have had good experience with Bilstein dampers on other models so I am sure they are great on the 1 also. You are actually super close to us. We are in Bethel, CT.

-Josh
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      05-14-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
Fireflyer239
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EFI Logics View Post
Nice choice! I have had good experience with Bilstein dampers on other models so I am sure they are great on the 1 also. You are actually super close to us. We are in Bethel, CT.

-Josh
Wow I will certainly have to pay you a visit, as I am in Naugatuck. Thanks for lettting me know Josh!
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      05-14-2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudiS4 View Post
Thanks for the write-up. A frew questions/comments.
1 -Just curious as to why you did not go with the full BMW PS.
2- I just returned to stock from the TC Kline coilovers. Frankly the coilovers were too stiff (nice for a year - but wearing on me now). But the stock SPORT suspension does exhibit all the flaws you noted. If i am to keep this car, i will need to go PS or the route you took.
Only reason I didn't go with the full BMW PS is because I had already done a front antisway upgrade which I am very pleased with. Of smaller concern was the fact that I'm disappointed the stock dampers went floppy after only 30K miles and I guess I wasn't ready to fully trust another BMW branded damper. I understand the PS dampers may be of much higher quality, but I wanted to use either Koni or Bilstien.
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      05-14-2012, 12:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fireflyer239 View Post
Wow I will certainly have to pay you a visit, as I am in Naugatuck. Thanks for lettting me know Josh!
We are actually hosting our annual Mega Meet this Saturday if you want to come by and check it out. It should be a good time if you don't already have plans.

EFI Logics Mega Meet

-Josh
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      05-16-2012, 10:28 AM   #7
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I would be interested to hear your thoughts after more seat time with your new suspension set-up. I'm looking to upgrade my suspension this summer and am intrigued by your choices. I ran Bilstiens on my Audi and they were great. What was your all in cost for the suspension components, minus the MPSS and CDV delete, and install cost?

Congrats on the upgrade and TIA -
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      05-16-2012, 11:09 AM   #8
Fireflyer239
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaC-N54-E82 View Post
I would be interested to hear your thoughts after more seat time with your new suspension set-up. I'm looking to upgrade my suspension this summer and am intrigued by your choices. I ran Bilstiens on my Audi and they were great. What was your all in cost for the suspension components, minus the MPSS and CDV delete, and install cost?

Congrats on the upgrade and TIA -
Thanks! I do plan to update after further seat time but it's been 300 miles so far and I am extremely pleased. In addition to the flat cornering and surprising comfort, I've now had a chance to do some extended highway driving at elevated speeds and I'm blown away by the increase in high speed stability and overall control. This was something I loved about my '03 330xi and found lacking in my 1er until now. Now, there is a temptation to drive faster (I know, not good!) because the car feels so darn stable. I think the Bilstiens are a perfect match for these BMWP springs, not over- or under-damped, but just right. The HP Autowerks control arm bushings were well worth the $77, now there is much less play on-center. Combined with the MPSS's, turn-in is sharp and feel is very good. I have found while playing with tire pressure that a couple psi can make a noticeable difference in comfort and response, right now I'm at about 35 psi cold at all 4 corners.

Springs were $500 including shipping from Dan, Bilstiens were $107.48 each for rears and $231.51 each front from Turner, and I also bought from Turner their front and rear mount kit for $238.39 so I'm starting fresh with that. The bearing in one of the stock strut mounts was already very rough, so I'm glad I did the mount kit.

Labor cost not including the tires or CDV totaled $696, and this included doing the front and rear mount kits and the control arm bushings, which must be carefully pressed out (old ones) and in (new) without damage to the control arms, which I believe are aluminum. I also had my tech lube my sway bar bushings and do a general/safety check of the underside of the car while he had it up on the lift.

I think these Bilstiens are a great alternative. Let us know which way you go with your suspension, I'm interested to hear!
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