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Thread: should I spend the money?

  1. #1

    should I spend the money?

    I have a 2005 6 speed manual ZHP with 118k miles. I'm almost certain that it has original shocks/struts...I haven't noticed any "problems" with the current shocks/struts but I'm sure they are probably worn. I am not DYI capable so I would have to have someone do it for me. The dealer estimate is $2700 all in with BMW parts. I'm sure I could get it done much cheaper using OEM parts but my question is will I notice a difference in the way the car handles and drives? Hate to spend that kind of money if I don't notice any difference. Thank you for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Independence KY
    Posts
    2,502
    I definitely wouldn’t get that done at the dealer and definitely wouldn’t use OEM shocks/struts/springs. There are PLENTY of better parts at cheaper prices out there. Bilstein or KONI would be greatly replacement shocks, just find a reputable shop to have them installed. I believe you would definitely notice a difference in ride and handling depending on the setup you choose to install.
    2005 BMW 330i ZHP - BMWP brakes/intake/strut bar/shifter, Coby wraps interior, BBS CHs, Eagle Eye LED tails, LED fog lights, GC coilovers, Sprint Booster/sport button mod, 4.5 LCM w/ programming, Xtrons 9inch HU, BSW stg1, dynamat, M3 sedan dead pedal, oCarbon CF interior trim, CF seat backs, 2x2 CF MTECH2 diffuser, CF cabin filter cover



  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by pgiorgio View Post
    I have a 2005 6 speed manual ZHP with 118k miles. I'm almost certain that it has original shocks/struts...I haven't noticed any "problems" with the current shocks/struts but I'm sure they are probably worn. I am not DYI capable so I would have to have someone do it for me. The dealer estimate is $2700 all in with BMW parts. I'm sure I could get it done much cheaper using OEM parts but my question is will I notice a difference in the way the car handles and drives? Hate to spend that kind of money if I don't notice any difference. Thank you for any input.
    You're going to spend this kind of money then get Bilstein PSS-10 coilovers with a good camber kit for your ZHP to install instead.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    6,619
    I refreshed my ZHP suspension last year at 150k miles. My main reason was cupped tires. The car was still driving fine at that time.

    I say if your tires are wearing out evenly and you like the way the car drives, then the suspension work can wait. It won’t be a day and night difference.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    152,000 miles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    9,895
    The general feeling is that shocks/struts are worn by 50k miles and other suspension components are toast due age and rubber drying out. As far as struts/shocks, the common replacements for an OEM/OEM+ are Koni Yellows (Sports), Koni Reds (Special Active), or OE Sachs units. Otherwise you might benefit from some coilovers if you want a little more control over your suspension. Here are two helpful links for "OEM+" suspension refreshes:

    My 50k mile suspension refresh thread
    Galapolis' "BUDGET PERFORMANCE SUSPENSION GUIDE (Ultimate E46 OEM+ SACHS Setup)" thread

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Atlanta/Macon, Georgia
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    512
    So I've had a lot of thoughts on this topic and interestingly Jason from Engineering Explained (great Youtube channel BTW) just put out a video on it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyA1DVle8VA

    I've just refreshed my suspension on my ZHP with Bilstein shocks/struts and H&R sports, which lowered the car a bit. Now while I like the stance, the ride is stiff and I find myself sometimes getting irritated on rough roads after about 3k miles on it. I honestly can't tell if the car handles better but as the video explains, its usually pretty marginal improvement anyway and the ZHP handles nicely at baseline.

    Check out the Galapolis thread posted above. He did an impressive amount of research and found an OEM equivalent suspension refresh using SACHS struts/shocks which apparently gave a pretty similar feel to OEM new and more importantly was very well priced. I think if I could do it again, and that write up was written in the time I was deciding, I would have gone that route just for ride comfort since this is currently my daily. Now if your ZHP is just a weekend car and you want the stance, coilovers and lowering springs are the way to go.

    2004 Titansilber Metallic BMW 330i ZHP

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    508
    If performance is the goal, the short answer for our chassis is that you want soft springs and stiff sway bars. There are more detailed numbers here, but in essence, just using MSport dampers on stock springs with the M3 bar in the front and convertible/X-Drive bar in the rear is really as good as it gets for OEM+. If you want a step above that, replace the springs with the Eibach Pro-Kit and use the Eibach sway bar kit. Won't be far off from the stock spring/M3 bar combo, just a little bit more.

    My recommendation for OP would be to find a good mechanic you trust who will install parts that you source yourself. You can get all the parts you need on FCPEuro for relatively cheap (including the MSport dampers). If you then pay for just labor, it should be much more reasonable than the quote you received.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by pgiorgio View Post
    I have a 2005 6 speed manual ZHP with 118k miles. I'm almost certain that it has original shocks/struts...I haven't noticed any "problems" with the current shocks/struts but I'm sure they are probably worn. I am not DYI capable so I would have to have someone do it for me. The dealer estimate is $2700 all in with BMW parts. I'm sure I could get it done much cheaper using OEM parts but my question is will I notice a difference in the way the car handles and drives? Hate to spend that kind of money if I don't notice any difference. Thank you for any input.
    I replaced the dampers (among other things) on my car when it had 108k miles. It wasn’t a big night and day difference but the new dampers definitely made the car nicer to drive In terms of comfort especially. I think most of the suspension components minus the springs and control arms are likely well past their prime.
    Most folks here have replaced the dampers at a minimum so you’ll hear most us say it’s worth it. But if you’re fine with how it drives and are not planning on keeping the car long term then maybe don’t spend but if you’re planning to keep the car for a long time then I’d recommend replacing them because you will need to at some point.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    2006 Coupe | Black Sapphire Metallic | Natural Brown | Gruppe M Intake | Corsa TSE3 | Michelin PSS on Apex ARC-8 | Koni Yellows |

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Atlanta/Macon, Georgia
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    512
    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    If performance is the goal, the short answer for our chassis is that you want soft springs and stiff sway bars. There are more detailed numbers here, but in essence, just using MSport dampers on stock springs with the M3 bar in the front and convertible/X-Drive bar in the rear is really as good as it gets for OEM+. If you want a step above that, replace the springs with the Eibach Pro-Kit and use the Eibach sway bar kit. Won't be far off from the stock spring/M3 bar combo, just a little bit more.

    My recommendation for OP would be to find a good mechanic you trust who will install parts that you source yourself. You can get all the parts you need on FCPEuro for relatively cheap (including the MSport dampers). If you then pay for just labor, it should be much more reasonable than the quote you received.
    Curious why the Eibach pro kit vs H&R.

    2004 Titansilber Metallic BMW 330i ZHP

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    508
    Quote Originally Posted by JPMo View Post
    Curious why the Eibach pro kit vs H&R.
    H&R upsets the factory balance of the car by making the front springs about the same stiffness as the rear springs. Factory would be rear about twice as stiff as the front (Eibach maintains this balance). H&R also requires more expensive aftermarket shocks like the B8 to work, versus the Pro-Kit being matched to the valving of the Sachs MSport dampers. The Pro-Kit also weighs half as much as the H&R, so less unsprung mass. It really just comes down to the Eibachs being more of a true OEM+ solution, whereas the H&R is firmly in aftermarket territory.

    The stiff front springs can make sense in a track scenario, but for the road it's better to keep the factory balance and just install a stiffer front sway bar.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

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