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Thread: Big Deal About Ride Height?

  1. #1
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    Big Deal About Ride Height?

    What is the technical reason that ride height is such a big deal, especially in cars without headlamp adjustment? I put Bilsteins on my E46 and was obviously scolded by the dealer technician that was doing my alignment. He had to adjust every screw he could get to to get it within specs.

  2. #2
    dworthy's Avatar
    dworthy is offline Wagon meister :) BMW Tech Expert
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    Did you change the springs, as that is what really makes the ride height, not the shocks. The AWD cars sit higher than the RWD cars, and you cannot use RWD shock/springs on a AWD car.

    Ride height is determined by the Engineers who designed the car to ensure proper clearance and tire wear.

    Did Eric at BMW of El Paso do your alignment by chance?
    Darin
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  3. #3
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    The added ride height for XI's is meant to make use of additional ground clearance in snowy/difficult terrain. Aftermarket lowering springs on a XI can cause problems in two fashions: 1. Lowered front CV geometry can cause accelerated wear of the axles. 2. Mismatched spring rate and shock valving can make the ride harsh, or erratic. You can use OEM sport/sedan springs with Bilstein B4 or B6 shocks but I wouldn't go much lower.

    Additionally, I've found that the factory camber setting for the front is a bit aggressive and can cause rapid wear on the inside shoulder of the front tires specifically in AWD applications. In my recent alignment I had the cambers backed off by half a degree and the tire wear has stopped without a noticeable difference in cornering feel.

  4. #4
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    Your replies make sense, especially about sensitivity to spring height. Since the technician was able to bring it into specs I think I am OK. Oh, the alignment was done in Tulsa, but I am glad to know about the local El Paso tech.

    Thanks again for your input.

  5. #5
    dworthy's Avatar
    dworthy is offline Wagon meister :) BMW Tech Expert
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    No problem, I have known Eric for over 20 years and he is a top notch tech. When you go in just as for "Figgy" to do any work you may have, as he owns about a dozen BMW's ranging from a 79 320i Alpina clone to a 2012 228i.
    Darin
    Current:
    16 220i Active Tourer Platinsilver MET (C08)/Dakota Black (PDSW), P7ACA, P7LDA, P7LHA, P9BDA, 6sp Manual - Wife's new toy!
    05 325it Electric Red(438)/Gray(N6TT) ZCW, ZSP 5sp Manual Back set cover, trunk mat, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield, and mud flaps! Mr. Wagon My new Winter car.
    05 M3 Imolarot II(405)/Gray(N5TT) ZCW, ZPP 6sp Manual C.F. Lip, CSL diffuser, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield and a trunk liner! Mr. Go_Fast Stored for the Winter
    Past:
    95 318is Montreal Blue Met (297)/Beige(K1SN) A Hooptie!
    84 M535i gray market Burgandy Rot Met/Black Leather Lowered by Intrax on bilies, poly everywhere, B&B cat back system, K&N, and a hitch! Da Beast - Still running w/375k+!
    91 316i euro Tizianrot/Gray cloth - E-36 w/M-40 motor, such a beater, but great on gas! Best was 38 MPG
    82 528i euro Saphire Blue Met/Blue Leather RIP
    79 525 euro Green/Green RIP
    79 318 Silver/Black - The first one that got it all started
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