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Thread: My e39 Koni FSD install and thoughts

  1. #1
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    My e39 Koni FSD install and thoughts

    Decided to pull the trigger on some Koni FSDs.



    Tirerack had them for $800, so why not? Ordered them, and they arrived the next day! So of course I had to start working on the car right away. I kept the stock springs on. Also, I utilized the great information in my Bentley manual, supplemented by better information from this thread. I also got the upper strut bearings, front and rear, from Tirerack. I have been pointing an angry finger at them for a while as a possible source of my "float" issue.




    I did not have access to a fancy schmancy spring compressor, so the job took a little longer than it took others. About twice as long, actually. Ok, well, three times as long to be truthful, because I had to redo one side after I had a part leftover...




    The front is very straightforward. No real issues. Definitely disconnect the brake caliper to save your brake line some worry though. I didn't do it, but I should have. Oh well, nothing broke...

    So at this point they are installed on the front of the car. The original right front strut was extremely easy to compress... the left front was not quite as bad. The Konis are difficult to compress.





    I took it out for a spin! Yes, the rear shocks are still terrible. I could tell. The immediate difference was still very noticeable. Corners are tight and responsive, and bumps don't rattle everything inside as much. Over flat ground, the car feels planted.

    I seem to be getting a spring noise though. I am going to investigate this. Maybe a misaligned spring? It only happens when I am moving slow and turning to one extreme from the other, and then it is only sometimes. It is not a creak, but a small pop.

    So now, I can't wait to get the rears on! I will have to wait for the weekend though. I am busy until then unfortunately.


    I have noticed a slight drop to the front. Should the Koni struts pull down the front a bit? I did not take initial measurements, so I cannot prove a drop... but it seem a bit lower. I may update with one more picture tonight to show this... I like it though, so no complaints!

    Overall, I give this upgrade a

    I will update w/ some more info and pics after the rear strut install is complete. If anybody has questions, comments, advice, please feel free to drop in!
    Last edited by cdb3113; 09-12-2007 at 10:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up and pics. I look forward to seeing how you get on when you fit the rear shocks so you can give an overall rating. If I was choosing a set of shocks for my E39, and wanted the absolute best, I would choose the Koni FSD's. Yes they are expensive, but I'm sure they're worth it.

    I'm afraid of using those spring compressors, well done for installing them yourself!


  3. #3
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    I'm thinking of doing Koni FSD as well. $800 seems like the going rate. Does anyone know of an online retailer that has them for less?

    On another note, It's time for tires now as well.... I've got the dreaded whomp-whomp-whomp going on and it's driving me insane!!!! /life

    Oh well... at least it's getting cooler outside.

  4. #4
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    Nice writeup man. Kudos on the install and having brass balls for using those compressors. Im getting my bilsteins put in tommorow. Hopefully they dont make my car sit higher. Are your stocks sport? Is the car height raised a bit cause of these?

    Another FP5241 Creation
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackSapphire View Post
    Oh well... at least it's getting cooler outside.
    Hehe, that is probably something the prompted me to do this now... I aberly broke a sweat doin' the job. It was like 52 degrees here last night... probably 65 in my garage though.

    Here is a pic of the stance-as-it-stands.


    I just remember that I took the spare out today too. Got a flat last weekend, so the spare is on the left front and the regular tire is getting repaired/replaced. There is still stuff in the trunk and in the car, but the lack of spare may let it raise enough to fool my eye.

    Front look dropped at all to anyone else?

    EDIT: My car is a 6spd, so it came factory with sport struts.

  6. #6
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    Maybe it's the angle of the pic but it looks lower on your signature to me. *shrug*

  7. #7
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    How did you exactly compress the springs your self? If I could do this my self that would urge me to order new suspension for the 530iA.. It needs it.. terribly.. 70,xxx miles and the body roll is almost scary at semi high speeds through turns.. Thanks.
    -Nick
    $704$

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by qckSpectre View Post
    How did you exactly compress the springs your self? If I could do this my self that would urge me to order new suspension for the 530iA.. It needs it.. terribly.. 70,xxx miles and the body roll is almost scary at semi high speeds through turns.. Thanks.
    -Nick
    The quick and short answer is: elbow grease.

    the more complete answer is: I used some cheap spring compressors. Clamp one on either side of the spring, snagging at lease three coils as shown below. Using a 23mm box end, I cranked either side evenly... 10 turns on one side, 10 turns on the other... back and forth, until pressure was relieved from the spring seats. I compressed it too much for the first one.

    As you compress the spring, the strut pulls down with the spring. So, you just have to go a bit and keep checking the pressure between the spring and spring seat or strut bushing (the top piece). When you think it is far enough, pull the top nut off and separate all the parts.

    Put them back exactly the way they were. Don't leave off the top metal washer/bushing, cause that is bad. I had to redo it.

    Uncompressed spring:




    Spring compressed too far... ugh:


    EDIT: The front should take you about two hours, if you move at a slow pace like I do. The spring stuff is the hardest part on the front. I had trouble with the top nut being frozen in place on both struts, which cost me another hour. I also spent another half hour re-doing the drivers side spring to put in the missing part. Power tools make things a lot quicker. My air impact wrench is at my parents house, unfortunately. Replacing springs took about a half hour each, and removing and reinstalling the struts took another half hour each cause' I am careful!

    To overcome the frozen locknut on the top of the strut, I used a 21mm socket and breaker bar to twist it until it broke loose. I changed the strut bearings, so I was not worried about damaging them.
    Last edited by cdb3113; 09-12-2007 at 10:02 PM. Reason: Called B.S. upon, and had to revise... =p

  9. #9
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    I used the same type of of compressor... it's nothing to be afraid of. They all have some sort of safety system - mine uses positive lock cotter pins.

    Also, I used my Ingersoll Rand impact wrench to compress them. Mucho quicker.

    I'm going to have to call B.S. on you doing the front end of your car in an hour with no experience and hand tools.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackSapphire View Post
    I'm going to have to call B.S. on you doing the front end of your car in an hour with no experience and hand tools.
    Edited...

    If this raises the car, I may be forced into getting some Intrax springs.
    Last edited by cdb3113; 09-12-2007 at 10:11 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdb3113 View Post
    Edited...

    If this raises the car, I may be forced into getting some Intrax springs.
    LOL - good man - now I'm with ya - keep us updated on the rear install. I'm anxious to hear your driving impressions.

  12. #12
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    [quote=BlackSapphire;10614622]I'm thinking of doing Koni FSD as well. $800 seems like the going rate. Does anyone know of an online retailer that has them for less?


    check out the Koni group buy on bimmerforums group buy section .. Eric at SPP was selling FSD with Eibach pro kit spring for $840 not including shipping ..

    btw, he quoted the following:

    2002 530i w Sport Susp
    FSD w/ Eibach Kit $848

    this price should be the same for a 540. just contact Eric direct and confirm the price

    Eric Nareshni
    www.supremepowerparts.com

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...highlight=Koni


    1998 540IA Arctic Silver, OEM M-Tech Bumpers, Koni FSD/Eibach Pro Kit, MKII Motorsport 18x8.5 and 18x10, M5 Style Mirrors, ACS Style Trunk and Roof Spoiler, OEM Hella Xenon Headlights 4300k blubs, Slim HID 3K Projector Fogs, Euro Hella Celis Taillights, OEM M5 Kidney Grill, 35% tint, magnaflow 18415

  13. #13
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    Is it me or is the spring not sitting properly on the lower perch?


    "I'd smash that (Jennifer Connelly) like a failed coup in sub-Saharan Africa."
    ~Macktheknife in my epic Jennifer Connelly OT Thread

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bimmerfiver View Post
    Is it me or is the spring not sitting properly on the lower perch?



    Oh shit your right? Do shocks have a RIGHT/LEFT designation? It seems either the spring is upside down or the shock is on the wrong side?

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  15. #15
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    I see dead...Ewoks, everything.

    To the OP, I believe you have an issue here, look at how the spring is sitting/not sitting in it's groove/seat above. Unless my eyes deceive me or the photo/pic is off.
    "I'd smash that (Jennifer Connelly) like a failed coup in sub-Saharan Africa."
    ~Macktheknife in my epic Jennifer Connelly OT Thread

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbi4u View Post
    Oh shit your right? Do shocks have a RIGHT/LEFT designation? It seems either the spring is upside down or the shock is on the wrong side?
    there is an R and L printed on the inside of each strut that you are supposed to line up with the groove/slot that the pinch bolt closes. If it is on the right side, you line up the R... I did this. You can see the R and L on the below pic of the strut off the car.

    Pic of same strut before it went on the car:


    How does the strut look there? I think in the other pic that was quoted you can just see that the rubber is lifted a little. I could be wrong though...

    Thanks for pointing it out! I will double check the R/L lineup anyways.
    Last edited by cdb3113; 09-13-2007 at 01:40 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumbi4u View Post
    Oh shit your right? Do shocks have a RIGHT/LEFT designation? It seems either the spring is upside down or the shock is on the wrong side?
    Nah - that's correct.

  18. #18
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    ok, something isnt right. getting spring noise from the left front. happens when i turn left. i think the spring is misaligned. i will investigate this evening, after work. *sigh* sounds like the spring winds up while turning, then pops into place. pics will come.

  19. #19
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    Wait.

    Replacement instructions from SACHs / Boge (BMW OEM supplier) states that the bottom coil of the spring, the end of the coil is NOT supposed to sit flush in the lower spring perch [referred to as "pan" in instructions] where it is recessed.

    This 1st pic shows instruction from SACHs showing the difference between the old style lower spring perch [on left] and the new style [replacement piece] lower spring perch [on right].

    instructions2.JPG

    The 2nd pic on the right shows the large "X" mark where the end of the coil spring is NOT to be mated flush with the recess in the lower spring perch or rubber support.

    instructions1.JPG

    The instruction explicitly state that the ovaled spring outside diameter should match the ovaled outside edges of the lower spring perch. If you notice on the pic on the left above ... the end of the coil spring isn't near the recessed part of the lower spring perch / pan. When viewed from the top, when installed as per the instructions, the outside diameter of the spring is seated correctly and within the boundaries of the upper and lower spring perches / pans.

    I know, this is not how I have installed springs on every other vehicle I own with a coil-on-shock design but ... the SACHs instructions spell it out.

    I can see this being correct for the SACHs pieces b/c the OE E39 BMW spring is oval, not round. If round, I would think [like it is on my E30 and other cars] the recessed notch of the upper and lower spring perches would be designed in to prevent the spring from rotating.

    Perhaps your Konis are round springs but, from what I can tell in the pictures, they are oval like the OE BMW springs. If that is the case ... I would align as per the instructions I have included from SACHs / Boge unless the Koni / FSD instructions say to do otherwise.

    The dampers themselves have a mark as you noted on where they are to be aligned in the pinch collar depending on whether they are being used on the R or L side of the vehicle. Pretty self-explanatory.

    The "noise" you may be hearing could be the nut that holds the upperstrut mount / spring perch onto the coil spring. You have to tighten this nut down with the spring compressed to get the correct [~ 25-40 ft. lb] torque on the nut [as per the mfg.'s instructions] before releasing the coil spring compressors. As a quick check count the number of threads exposed above the nut on both the right and left damper piston rods. They should be equal. If they aren't .... time to remove and redo.


    Good Luck.
    Jason

    '90 325iX 5M, '00 528iT 5M Sport (mfg. 5/1999)
    BMW CCA member #130075
    JScott Racing

  20. #20
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    I have had my FSD's on for about 6 months and have been really pleased. I did not take height measurement either, but feel the front is lower. Can someone give us a stock sport height for the front.
    ******
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    99 E39 540iT (retired)
    ******

  21. #21
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    here is a link to my FSD installation ... good pics ...
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...highlight=Koni


    1998 540IA Arctic Silver, OEM M-Tech Bumpers, Koni FSD/Eibach Pro Kit, MKII Motorsport 18x8.5 and 18x10, M5 Style Mirrors, ACS Style Trunk and Roof Spoiler, OEM Hella Xenon Headlights 4300k blubs, Slim HID 3K Projector Fogs, Euro Hella Celis Taillights, OEM M5 Kidney Grill, 35% tint, magnaflow 18415

  22. #22
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    Your symptoms sound like a strut mount that is bound up. Check the order of the washers, spring perch, etc up there.

    You guys who are afraid of a spring compressor need to grow a pair :P I use em all the time and zip the bolts tight/loose w/ an impact gun.

  23. #23
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    I think that the threads are not equal from side to side. Not cool. Doh.

    I will remove and redo when I get a chance... maybe I will wait till the weekend when I can use my impact wrench. I might change my snows on tonight, so I can at least look around in there then.

  24. #24
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    [quote=kaptom540;10616991]
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackSapphire View Post
    I'm thinking of doing Koni FSD as well. $800 seems like the going rate. Does anyone know of an online retailer that has them for less?


    check out the Koni group buy on bimmerforums group buy section .. Eric at SPP was selling FSD with Eibach pro kit spring for $840 not including shipping ..

    btw, he quoted the following:

    2002 530i w Sport Susp
    FSD w/ Eibach Kit $848

    this price should be the same for a 540. just contact Eric direct and confirm the price

    Eric Nareshni
    www.supremepowerparts.com

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...highlight=Koni

    Well, I don't need the FSD/Eibach kit, just the FSD kit - I won't get rid of my H&Rs for anything. I'll get with them and find out about pricing on the 'non-Eibach' kit for my car (2100-4030). I'm looking for struts only, no springs. Thanks.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jase007 View Post
    Wait.

    Replacement instructions from SACHs / Boge (BMW OEM supplier) states that the bottom coil of the spring, the end of the coil is NOT supposed to sit flush in the lower spring perch [referred to as "pan" in instructions] where it is recessed.

    This 1st pic shows instruction from SACHs showing the difference between the old style lower spring perch [on left] and the new style [replacement piece] lower spring perch [on right].

    instructions2.JPG

    The 2nd pic on the right shows the large "X" mark where the end of the coil spring is NOT to be mated flush with the recess in the lower spring perch or rubber support.

    instructions1.JPG

    The instruction explicitly state that the ovaled spring outside diameter should match the ovaled outside edges of the lower spring perch. If you notice on the pic on the left above ... the end of the coil spring isn't near the recessed part of the lower spring perch / pan. When viewed from the top, when installed as per the instructions, the outside diameter of the spring is seated correctly and within the boundaries of the upper and lower spring perches / pans.

    I know, this is not how I have installed springs on every other vehicle I own with a coil-on-shock design but ... the SACHs instructions spell it out.

    I can see this being correct for the SACHs pieces b/c the OE E39 BMW spring is oval, not round. If round, I would think [like it is on my E30 and other cars] the recessed notch of the upper and lower spring perches would be designed in to prevent the spring from rotating.

    Perhaps your Konis are round springs but, from what I can tell in the pictures, they are oval like the OE BMW springs. If that is the case ... I would align as per the instructions I have included from SACHs / Boge unless the Koni / FSD instructions say to do otherwise.

    The dampers themselves have a mark as you noted on where they are to be aligned in the pinch collar depending on whether they are being used on the R or L side of the vehicle. Pretty self-explanatory.

    The "noise" you may be hearing could be the nut that holds the upperstrut mount / spring perch onto the coil spring. You have to tighten this nut down with the spring compressed to get the correct [~ 25-40 ft. lb] torque on the nut [as per the mfg.'s instructions] before releasing the coil spring compressors. As a quick check count the number of threads exposed above the nut on both the right and left damper piston rods. They should be equal. If they aren't .... time to remove and redo.


    Good Luck.
    Jason, appreciate the info buddy. I think I'm in the same boat. I have to pull it all apart to do struts soon anyway - your post was quite timely.

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