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      11-23-2012, 09:07 PM   #1
MA128
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Smile 128 Sport - Suspension Upgrade (Street)

[01/01/2013 EDIT]

I'm re-posting this because my impressions have changed a great deal in 3 months.

2009 128 Sport Package 58,000 miles (3 months ago)

The car had become really loose so I did the following:
  • M3 rear subframe bushings
  • M3 front sway bar
  • M3 front upper and lower control arms
  • Koni FSD shocks
  • 4-wheel alignment

Total cost (parts and indie shop labor) = $3,300

As I had expected, things tightened up quite a bit and the instability I had on the highway is much diminished. Nevertheless, the rear is still a little soft so the car rocks from side to side in tight turns and on bumpy roads. I also have some additional NVH from the M3 rear subframe bushings.

Initially, I felt that the end result was a car that feels over-sprung (over-bushinged really) and under-damped. The FSDs handle large bumps and aggressive turns well but the smaller stuff doesn't get damped as well as I would like.

Other posts dealing with progressive vs linear springs lead me to think that the rear springs allow too much initial motion and the FSDs (by design) have too much initial softness to counteract the springs' weakness. Perhaps new linear rear springs (2011+ E82 OEM) and rear guide rods (not M3)?

Now that I have ~5,000 miles on the new suspension, the harshness is completely gone. In the first few thousand miles after the installation, sharp road impacts would slam through the structure and actually rattle the dashboard. After this break-in period for the bushings, the car rides as comfortably as the day it was new but is better controlled.

Just need a little more work at the rear and I think I'll have this perfected, although I still wonder if I spent more money than necessary. Would I have achieved 80% of the improvement at 30% of the cost by just replacing the worn OEM shocks with Koni yellows? Oh well, live and learn!

Happy New Year to all.
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      11-23-2012, 09:37 PM   #2
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Sounds like you overdid it on the m3 bits. Everything you did stiffened the suspension. Unfortunately it's really hard to get no body roll in the hard turns, and a Cadillac ride when cruisin'.
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      11-24-2012, 06:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MA128 View Post
Perhaps new rear toe links or rear guide rods or rear upper links (not M3)?
My setup was similar to yours except I also have BMW performance springs. The rear end was still a little bouncy and too wobbly after M3 subframe bushings. So I tried the M3 rear control arms and Rogue toe arms, and now I'm happy. Nothing feels wrong anymore. So I definitely recommend those upgrades.

Still, you might also dislike the FSDs. Some people love them but others feel they're too soft especially at low speeds. That's personal preference. If the FSD luxury ride feels stupid, and you want a classic sports feel, that would be Koni Sports.
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      11-25-2012, 11:20 AM   #4
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I suspect the OEM springs are causing most of your issues. My suspension mods are similar to yours, but I replaced the 2009 M Sport springs on my car with 2011 M Sport springs. There is a huge difference in the way they make the car feel since the 2011 springs are linear (at least in the rear) rather than progressive like the 2009 springs. I also have Koni Sports, which are adjustable, rather than the FSDs. I'm thinking that the FSDs don't work particularly well with the 2009 progressive springs.

If you don't want to spend a lot more money, I'd try replacing the 2009 springs with 2011+ M Sport springs first. I picked up a set of 2011 M Sport springs from a forum member who had installed an aftermarket suspension for $200 shipped. If that change by itself doesn't make the car feel better, I'd look next at M3 rear guide rods. Ultimately replaceing the FSDs with Koni Sports would make for a really nice setup with the 2011+ M Sport springs.
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      11-25-2012, 11:42 AM   #5
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Your next mod/step should be new springs and shocks. That will get rid of any softness or wander in your car. Springs account for more roll control(I feel) than sway bars do.

I assume you had a good 4-wheel alignment done when you did all the M-bits. ?


Btw... the 2011+ (all N55 cars)spring change was only the rear springs that went from progressive to a linear design.
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      11-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Why not try out the M3 rear sway bar?

If its body roll you're looking at reducing that should help and it shouldn't negatively affect the ride at all.

I don't know what effects it's going to have on all out cornering (I.e. under/oversteer) but in theory it should feel better with your daily driving and is relatively cheap. Although to install it will require dropping of your subframe again.
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      11-25-2012, 09:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froop View Post
Why not try out the M3 rear sway bar?

because... most have found out (the hard way) that when you install a thicker rear sway bar... you loose traction when the inside wheel lifts off the ground. You really should not install a thicker rear sway bar without having an LSD.
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      11-25-2012, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
because... most have found out (the hard way) that when you install a thicker rear sway bar... you loose traction when the inside wheel lifts off the ground. You really should not install a thicker rear sway bar without having an LSD.
From the research I've done on this forum, that appears to be the majority consensus but I'm still not convinced.

I managed to find these articles.

http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=510253

The guy who installed it has an E88. He tried a few difference combinations of sway bars including front and rear, UUC and M3. With the M3 E93 23.5mm rear sway bar he experienced a lot of oversteer but with the smaller E90/E92 20mm rear sway bar he said all was good with the handling. This was in combination with the E93 M3 FSB and no LSD.

Another option could be trying to go with the 1M coupe's 20mm rear sway bar. I'm not sure what the difference is between the two as the bar itself has a different part number but maybe that is more suited to our 1ers somehow.

This article, http://www.mwerks.com/artman2/publis...-_Part_2.shtml has MWerks put a 20mm H&R rear sway bar into a stock 135i coupe. Their findings were that it reduced understeer whilst increasing their average speed on a short slalom course.


Of course I don't have any first hand experience with this but I'm planning on doing the rear 1M 20mm RSB when I do the rear bushings and I'm happy to let you all know how it goes when I do.


As for the OP, I believe that a 20mm RSB would definitely help with the body roll issue he's having. The jury's still out on how it will affect the under/oversteer.
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      11-26-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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      11-26-2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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I have an e93 fsb and e92 rsb. If I cut the wheel and floor it from a dead stop the inside wheel does spin a lot more than it used to. However, on the track my car feels really balanced and the traction control never cuts in for rear wheel slippage. I had no problems even when floored coming out of some tight turns. I would do the same mods over again in a heartbeat. Now I understand I don't have a 135 and the extra torque might make a big difference with that.
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      12-01-2012, 01:59 AM   #11
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From reading your post I recommend better dampers.

Are you still on the run flat tires?
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      12-01-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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Thanks for the responses and advice. A few updates:
  • I did have a 4-wheel alignment after the work was completed
  • I'm on non-RFTs. Michelin Pilot Sport A/S+ or Dunlop Wintersport 3D.
  • I believe the bushings are still breaking in (softening)
  • I'm happier than my initial post suggests

One of the things that helped was a test drive of a new Golf R last weekend. Suspension, handling and ride were nicely balanced. The clutch was sloppy and the shifter was vague with long throws. The engine was coarse and the turbo lag was annoying. Also, once on-boost the engine revs kept increasing without further guidance from my right foot. I guess that's from the very high 17-pound boost. I got back in my car and I was flat amazed at how smooth the engine is and the beautiful weighting and accuracy of the clutch and shifter. I know I shouldn't have been surprised but I suppose I needed a reminder!

So the bottom line is that I'm going be patient but will probably try the linear 2011+ OEM rear springs and perhaps a new set of OEM rear toe control arms.

Thanks again for your help.
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      12-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #13
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MA128, based on your posts I think you are on the right track by replacing your rear springs with 2011+ M Sport springs which are linear vs. the 2008-2010 progressive springs. I suspect changing just the rear springs will significantly improve the way your car feels and drives with the other mods you already have.
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      12-03-2012, 04:53 PM   #14
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How do new springs behave if the opposite axle has older springs? I thought that it would be a taboo swap and that new components are preferred.
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      12-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
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How do new springs behave if the opposite axle has older springs? I thought that it would be a taboo swap and that new components are preferred.
No it is not taboo to switch the rear springs as long as nothing is wrong with the front. While the two are related since they are on the same car, the suspension set ups front and rear on the 1 series (as with many other cars) are different. The front has struts (shocks and springs together) while the rear has separate shocks and springs.

Apparently BMW figured out beginning in the 2011 model year that linear springs worked better on the rear of the car than the progressive springs it had been using. I personally agree with the change since I found the progressive rear springs on my 2009 M Sport 135i too soft, especially with the stock rear shocks. When I switched to 2011 M Sport springs in the rear of the car and Koni Sport adjustable dampers all around the car became much more composed and the extreme up and down movement in the rear suspension for the most part went away.

The real key is how the front struts and the rear springs/shocks match up with each other in terms of overall damping. The front of the 1 series typically has softer springs because they are part of the struts. The rear has firmer springs since they are separate from the shocks. While the newer linear (and I believe firmer) rear springs are better than the prior progressive springs, a good set of aftermarket dampers (shocks and struts) will make the car handle even better.
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      12-04-2012, 09:22 AM   #16
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BTW I just saw a set of springs from a 2012 135i for sale in the forum Marketplace if anyone is interested.
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      12-07-2012, 11:31 AM   #17
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135i factory suspension is horrendous. Bushing deflection is absurd, suspension links are thin and weak, the dampers are horrible, the bump stops are too large, not enough suspension travel... BMW really dropped the ball big time.

I would go with a Bilstein damper if I were you. Should be a bit more firm and controlled.
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      12-07-2012, 11:08 PM   #18
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Honestly, get better dampners. My car has the same set up, only with AST's and swift springs and the handling is fantastic.
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      12-08-2012, 05:45 AM   #19
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Well I'm happy with the FSD dampers. But I have M3 rear arms and Rogue rear toe arms, which I promise fixes this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MA128 View Post
the rear is still soft which causes the car to rock from side to side in tight turns and on bumpy roads.
Then see what you think about the shocks.
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      12-12-2012, 03:46 PM   #20
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#subscribed
I as well have been trying to figure out why the heck my 09 135i bounces all over the road. I'm coming from a full race suspension on a G35; that thing had a good amount of over-steer but overall it handled like it was on rails! When I'm semi hard in a turn with the 1'er and I hit a bump, even though the a$$ end feels like it's going to kick out, it always drops right back in place. The car is well balanced! My first attempt to fix this is a set of H&R springs which I just ordered yesterday. I also came across some tie bars on ebay. I know it's ebay but their function its what I'm concerned about, and for 130 bucks they're disposable. Having dealt with suspension and only suspension for the last 4 years I think the fix will be:
Semi thicker sway bar - Just to stiffen things up a bit, but now too much as the car doesn't have sway issues when not under load.
End Links - To accurately adjust pre-load on the thicker sway bars.
Springs - I agree with everyone on this... Linear over Progressive (unless you drive a 128, in which you should shoot yourself) ;-)
Rear tie bar, rear strut tower bar...
All of these should square all of the issues that most people are complaining about... I'll continue to post as I add these devices.
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      12-12-2012, 06:07 PM   #21
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I as well have been trying to figure out why the heck my 09 135i bounces all over the road. I'm coming from a full race suspension on a G35; that thing had a good amount of over-steer but overall it handled like it was on rails! When I'm semi hard in a turn with the 1'er and I hit a bump, even though the a$$ end feels like it's going to kick out, it always drops right back in place. The car is well balanced! My first attempt to fix this is a set of H&R springs which I just ordered yesterday. I also came across some tie bars on ebay. I know it's ebay but their function its what I'm concerned about, and for 130 bucks they're disposable. Having dealt with suspension and only suspension for the last 4 years I think the fix will be:
Semi thicker sway bar - Just to stiffen things up a bit, but now too much as the car doesn't have sway issues when not under load.
End Links - To accurately adjust pre-load on the thicker sway bars.
Springs - I agree with everyone on this... Linear over Progressive (unless you drive a 128, in which you should shoot yourself) ;-)
Rear tie bar, rear strut tower bar...
All of these should square all of the issues that most people are complaining about... I'll continue to post as I add these devices.
Add shocks to your list. They are by far the weakest link in the stock suspension.
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