Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30

Thread: Hidden Gem: Sachs Advantage + E36 M3 rears (BUDGET PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    242

    Hidden Gem: Sachs Advantage + E36 M3 rears (BUDGET PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION)

    Hi everyone,

    Over the past few days I've been doing a ton of research on shocks. Obviously this topic has been discussed to death, but I believe I may have pieced together something new. The backstory is that I replaced my aging suspension on my 330i with Koni STR.T and H&R sport springs. This was the biggest mistake I have ever made on my car. Ride is horrible and handling is just meh. I also moved to Raleigh recently where the roads are awful, so I've been longing for more ride height.

    While taking my sweet time and not rushing anything, I have slowly been collecting parts for a second attempt. Having already refreshed my suspension, my budget was low, but I knew I couldn't cheap out on parts this time either. Luckily, everything seemed to fall in place.

    I found $80 Eibach Pro-Kit springs on FB marketplace in great shape. Unlike H&R, these are consistent in their lowering and much less aggressive. They won't be much lower than ZHP springs and will pair nicely with my Eibach sway bars (it's important to match springs and sway bars for optimal handling).

    Thanks to ZHPizza, I also got some super cheap E36 M3 strut mounts. This will help dial in a healthy amount of front camber, even after raising my car. Add to that some Bimmerworld RSMs that were on sale for $30 and I've got a full set of upgraded mounts. Since I wanted my stance to be similar to the Alpina B3, I bought a double set of front spring pads to stack them.

    Name:  photo_2020-05-10_19-43-39.jpg
Views: 185
Size:  83.4 KB

    Everyone runs stock bump stops on aftermarket spring/shock setups for our cars. But even after cutting mine, I was riding the bump stops (cursed be thee, H&R springs!) I did some research and found that the E36 M3 front bump stops were sold by Dinan as part of a complimentary package for using lowering springs on various BMWs. They are wider but only 2/3 as tall as the stock units. Combined with the expected ride height increase, they should be ideal for maintaining both performance and ride comfort. Fun fact: The Alpina FE 3 suspension uses these bump stops as well.

    Name:  photo_2020-08-09_15-02-30.jpg
Views: 173
Size:  56.0 KB

    Not the cheapest at $19 a piece but absolutely worth it after my horrible experience. I also added some 6$ Üro rear shortened bump stops from Turner.

    But one question remained: WHICH DAMPERS TO GET?

    Reusing my terrible Konis was out of the question. B8s, Yellows or even new Special Actives were out of budget. ZHPizza offered his old FSDs since he wants to go yellow, but then a discussion about the stock M package shocks on our cars came up in a for sale thread here. I did some research, using the German forums as my resource, and pieced together this information:

    http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showt...017#post598017

    The TL;DR version is: M package cars (and by extension ZHPs) were praised for their amazing handling and ride quality, in part because they had Boge Turbo and Sachs Advantage shocks. The annoying part is that these shocks aren't made anymore! Well, sort of. The fronts became Sachs Advantage with the same part number and similar performance. Nice. But the rears became low performance Sachs Super Tourings. Yuck. They are 30% softer than the old ones according to ZF. So no good for my performance goals. ZHPizza also warned me against the FSDs for the same reason of lackluster performance.

    Name:  Screenshot (106).png
Views: 188
Size:  15.4 KB

    Regardless of the downgrade, what's worse is that ZHP owners won't even find the M package shocks because due to how the part numbers are allocated, searching for ZHP (facelift car) parts will direct you to the post-2001 regular sport suspension for non-ZHP peasants. This is the case for pretty much all sites, be it FCP or Turner.

    But if you search for the PART NUMBER as opposed to compatible parts, you will find that the current M package shocks, or MTech dampers as they are usually called (Advantage + Super Touring), are sold in America. On FCP, they only cost $330 for a full set!

    Name:  Screenshot (105).jpg
Views: 160
Size:  23.2 KB
    (Pay attention to the red stickers, which denote the Advantage line, the high performance line for Sachs shocks. Low performance will have blue or white stickers.)

    Using more German forum knowledge will shine some light on what I was going for. Here, stock shocks are usually avoided for lowering springs. But over in Germany, you will be surprised to hear that Bilsteins are built to a different (worse) standard and considered to be absolute trash that barely lasts 30k miles, while Koni is considered to be ricer garbage (they have no idea what they are missing out on, typical German narrow-mindedness). People still buy B8s and some people even buy Koni, the former out of necessity for performance and the latter because they might just want to be different.

    Generally though, the number one recommended shocks over there for lowering springs are in fact the MTech dampers. Both for price and longevity (since Bilsteins don't last and Koni is very niche). Regardless of opinions, we can all agree that Sachs produces high quality parts. The Advantage dampers also have the short shock body as opposed to the standard length body of the Koni FSD/Special Active, making them a better fit than you might imagine for lowering springs like the Eibach Pro-Kit. According to some posts I've read around here, even the stock Super Touring dampers perform better than FSDs, so the Advantage shocks definitely have the performance pedigree. Fun fact 2: The Alpina FE 3 suspension is composed of Eibach springs and Sachs dampers. Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty good about my proposed Eibach Pro-Kit/Sachs combo.

    The only issue are the rears, which are no longer Advantage line, having been replaced by softer Super Touring units. Then I came across this thread on E46F, talking about using the beefier E36 M3 rear shocks on the non-M E46. Compared to the E46, the E36 M3 rear shocks are about 9mm thicker (50mm vs 41mm) and the shock body is supposedly shorter too. Then it hit me. If E36 M3 shocks fit our cars in the rear, why not use the stock Sachs shocks from the M3 to replace the soft Super Tourings that we were given?

    A quick check and they are only $8 more than the Super Tourings! I don't know how stiff they are, but they can't possibly have less performance than the thinner non-M shocks.

    So here I am, about to pull the trigger on some Sachs Advantage struts with E36 M3 rear shocks. At $346 with higher promised performance than the FSDs and better lowering spring compatibility, how could I not? I will update the thread with more links and pictures in the near future. Stay tuned.
    Last edited by Galapolis; 08-12-2020 at 02:45 PM.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Atlanta/Macon, Georgia
    Posts
    450
    Super interested in this, but you got me feeling some type of way, considering I just spent a lot of $$$ on Bilstein B8s and H&R sports thinking I was legit

    2004 Titansilber Metallic BMW 330i ZHP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    1,813
    What is an M package car?

    edit: Oh, the M sport package E46s in Europe?

    As far as I knew, the regular sport and ZHP package cars have largely the same suspension.
    Last edited by holyc0w; 08-09-2020 at 01:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by JPMo View Post
    Super interested in this, but you got me feeling some type of way, considering I just spent a lot of $$$ on Bilstein B8s and H&R sports thinking I was legit
    Well you've got US spec Bilsteins, which is the really good stuff. They should last you forever and the combination with H&R sports is proven and works well. If budget weren't an issue I'd probably have gotten the B12 kit with some camber plates.

    Quote Originally Posted by holyc0w View Post
    What is an M package car?
    It's what BMW calls Msport today. It usually consists of a body kit, Msport suspension and wheels. I'm just using the literal translation ("M-Paket"). The US never got the M package on the E46, but they did on the E39 in 2003. The ZHP package is basically the same as the E46 M package, except that it adds even more items like the cams.

    Quote Originally Posted by holyc0w View Post
    As far as I knew, the regular sport and ZHP package cars have largely the same suspension.
    That's what I was talking about, searching FCP and similar sites you get the impression that they have the same dampers, but that is not case. M package came with its own set of higher performance dampers (previously Boge Turbo + Sachs Advantage). I assume the ZHP came with the exact same dampers (also referred to as MTech dampers).
    Last edited by Galapolis; 08-12-2020 at 02:01 PM.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    372
    You got so lucky with the Eibach Pro Kit. The seller of my camber plates was also selling a set for a similar price, but they were gone by the time I picked up the plates.
    Last edited by t.er; 09-05-2020 at 06:42 AM.
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    1,813
    I could see BMW putting in different dampers for the American market.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    242
    Quote Originally Posted by holyc0w View Post
    I could see BMW putting in different dampers for the American market.
    My thoughts as well, hence why I differentiate between M package and ZHP and why I used the exact part numbers to source the dampers I wanted. I asked ZHPizza if he could check what dampers his car originally came with (any other ZHP owner who still has the stock shocks is welcome to look as well). That might clear up the ZHP mystery. According to one of the posts in that for sale thread I linked though, the ZHP did come with the special MTech shocks (although it's still possible the US received differently valved versions).

    I do know that Bilstein uses different dampers for the American market (B4, B6, B8 etc.) that are superior to the German market versions (they last forever here vs. crapping themselves almost instantly over there). Unlike Bilsteins though, from what I've read the Sachs dampers in the US are very good too (based on what Mango says over at E46F), so I'm not too worried about potential valving differences between markets on these Sachs Advantage dampers.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    6,076
    From my research, the ZHP came from the factory with these shocks & struts:

    31312282459 = Left front
    31312282460 = Right front
    33522282461 = Rear (x2)

    Maybe someone on original suspension can confirm. Mine was refreshed earlier this year.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    150,000 miles

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    242
    Well lads, I just went ahead and ordered the Advantage fronts and M3 rears. I verified with FCP customer support that I will indeed receive red label Advantage shocks. Pinging @ZHPizza to borrow his non-Chinese non-deadly spring compressor (and RTAB tool). I'll make sure to document the process and provide some feedback on the ride comfort and performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by fredo View Post
    From my research, the ZHP came from the factory with these shocks & struts:

    31312282459 = Left front
    31312282460 = Right front
    33522282461 = Rear (x2)

    Maybe someone on original suspension can confirm. Mine was refreshed earlier this year.
    Those are the BMW part numbers that take me to the standard sport package shocks. Would be interesting to know the actual manufacturer part number.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    7
    Good work @Galapolis. Keep us posted on your experiences with the Advantage fronts and E36 M3 rears. I'm in the market for new shocks and struts and am trying to re-create the original setup as closely as possible. Appreciate you looking into this!

    Separately, what's the brand of @ZHPizza spring compressor?
    2003 330i ZHP | Schwarz 2 | Alcantara & Cloth | Black Cube | Slicktop | 6MT

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-27-2020, 07:30 PM
  2. Performance Suspension
    By Remixaflip in forum Suspension
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-18-2018, 03:38 PM
  3. For Sale: UUC/Sachs Performance Suspension System (Springs AND Shocks)
    By bimmeryota in forum ZHP-Related Parts & Accessories (no vehicle sales)
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-08-2012, 06:06 AM
  4. Best Budget Performance/Handling Upgrades < $500
    By HaloArchive in forum Performance
    Replies: 90
    Last Post: 07-19-2011, 07:56 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •