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      04-24-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
MA128
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Mods for Street Use Only - Suggestions

2009 128 Coupe 6MT Sport Package 51,000 miles

Car has become very squishy and darty. The shocks are definitely weak and, from what I've read here, the soft rear subframe bushings are literally causing the tail to wag the dog. My goal is to enhance high-speed stability and tighten up overall control without losing much ride comfort. I'm already off the RFT's - running Michelin Pilot Sport A/S+.

Definitely decided to do the following:

• M3 front sway bar (E92)
• Koni FSD shock absorbers
• BMW HD front control arm bushings (edit)
• M3 rear subframe bushings (all 4)

The above will cost ~$1,850 installed and I don't want to go over $2,000 if it can be avoided.

FYI, my local independent BMW shop quoted 4 hours labor for the rear subframe bushings - they've done these before. I was pleasantly surprised given that most people on this forum have been quoted six or seven hours.

Anything else that would enhance control and stability without costing much more?

Thanks to all in advance.
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Last edited by MA128; 04-25-2012 at 11:59 AM.
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      04-24-2012, 09:04 PM   #2
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Subframe bushings might be the best option but I'd have to go for coilovers as my first priority, then the front M control arms (which basically gets you the bushing you mentioned plus a better made part). Subframe bushings seems a larger cost vs return to me but I am not an expert since I still haven't made that mod.
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      04-24-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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Thanks Eyeman. IIRC coilovers drop the car and I would like to keep it at the stock (sport) height.
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      04-25-2012, 07:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Paul53 View Post

I saw an earlier link to E82/E9X HD front control arm bushings for $65. Would those help?
Yes, those stiffer front bushings are great bang for the buck and will complement the rear subframe bushings perfectly. You'll get better steering feel and better stability to match what the subframe bushings do in the rear. I think you have a great, really balanced plan and will be super happy with the result.
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      04-25-2012, 08:15 AM   #5
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I'd recommend the M3 (E93) FSB and M3 control arms and tension rods before going the M3 rear subframe bushing route. Nothing wrong with going with the rear M3 subframe bushings, but in my opinion the other mods are a better bang for the buck. You'd be surprised at how much better the car drives and feels with just those mods. You can always add the rear subframe bushings later.

I also think updating the dampers is a good plan too. The Koni FSDs are nice if you want to have something that you install and forget about. The Koni Sports are also nice and give you the ability to adjust the damping. I have the Koni Sports and really like them.

Regardless of what you do about the dampers if you are going to change them I recommend that you also change the springs too or in the alternative consider a set of coilovers. It's really not much more work to change the springs when changing the dampers. BMW Performance springs are a good alternative with the Konis. Another option is to find a set of 2011 or later M sport springs because BMW switched from progressive to linear springs beginning in the 2011 model year. That's what I did. I've got a set of 2011 M sport springs that I picked up from a fellow forum member who upgraded to coilovers and Koni sports. I really like the combination with my M3 FSB, control arms and tension rods.
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Last edited by 1Pirate; 04-25-2012 at 08:37 AM.
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      04-25-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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I think I would go with better shocks that FSD's. Maybe Koni yellows with some mild springs.

The rear M3 subframe bushing made a HUGE difference in the way my car drives. It really firmed up the ride. But not in a bad harsh way. It just got rid of that wiggle from the rear end when going over man hole covers. High speed stability is MUCH improved. It even made teh front suspension feel like its working better now. To me it feels like less body roll and no wiggle at all. But the ride is totally nice - not harsh or bumpy at all.

Maybe this will help you decide...
Dackel's replacement of rear suspension OE bushings with M3 ones…

http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showt...1#post11189793
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      04-25-2012, 09:20 AM   #7
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I think I would go with better shocks that FSD's. Maybe Koni yellows with some mild springs.
I don't know why you call Sports "better" than FSDs. That is not what Koni says. I would say "stiffer" or "more sporty". Anyway, I personally prefer FSD.

Here is a comparison test:

http://www.tirerack.com/suspension/tests/koni_fsd.jsp

adding: here is what Koni says:
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Last edited by GaryS; 04-25-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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      04-25-2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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My only comment about the Tirerack comparison was that the Koni Sports in the test were set at full soft. Not many people with Koni Sports are going to run them in full soft. If you are then you might as well go with the FSDs. I currently have my Koni Sports set to one full turn from soft in front and 2/3 of a turn from full soft in the rear.

All things being equal, Koni Sports set to stiffer settings are going to provide better handling than the Koni FSDs. There will be some tradeoff in ride though as compared to the FSDs.
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      04-25-2012, 11:56 AM   #9
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Thanks GaryS, Dackelone and 1Pirate - much appreciated. If I bought Koni yellows, I'd probably keep them at full soft so I think FSD is better for me. GaryS - I'll add the front bushings to my order [original post has been edited]. Last question - will changing to BMW performance springs or 2011 BMW linear springs make that much of an incremental difference beyond the gains from the other changes ? Is it worth the extra cost if my primary goal is comfort and stability, not raw handling? (I drive into Boston every day).
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      04-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #10
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I don't know anything about the new linear rear springs. I do know about Performance springs because they're on my car.

Since your primary goal is comfort and stability, not raw handling, my opinion is you should not get Performance springs. Even with FSDs softening the ride, you would be giving up considerable comfort.
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      04-25-2012, 12:46 PM   #11
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As I said earlier I think you would benefit from replacing the springs too. And it's easier to do at the same time as the dampers rather than later. Most aftermarket springs, including the BMW Performance springs, are going to lower the car some. That's one reason I went with the 2011 M Sport springs, I didn't want to lower my car. That and the fact that they are linear. I wanted better controlled ride and handling. The springs that came in my car were way too soft initially, causing the car to squat and dive and to feel like it was bottoming out in the rear when going over a big dip or expansion joint.

The 2011 M Sport springs I picked up, especially the rear springs, don't have nearly as much initial compression as the stock 2009 M Sport springs did. They also feel stiffer, but not too stiff. I really like the combination of the 2011 springs and the Koni Sports. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't work just as well with the FSDs. With my current set up my car is only slightly stiffer riding than it was stock, but it has a lot less body roll, dive, squat and overall unsettling motion than it did stock. And that's with my Konis set to approximately 50% in front and approximately 40% in the rear. Also if Dackelone is correct that only the rear springs were changed from progressive to linear beginning in the 2011 model year you might be ok with just changing the rear springs to 2011 springs.
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