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Thread: Bilstein Sport - Ride quality concerns.

  1. #1
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    Bilstein Sport - Ride quality concerns.

    This isn't your everyday "how is the ride on Bilstein Sport shocks?" thread!

    I've already got a set of these on my car, mated with Eibach Sportline springs. I find that on potholes or rough patches of roadway the car feels EXTREMELY rough, as if it is bottoming out and hitting the shock towers. The thuds and jitters during these moments are VERY pronounced, it almost feels similar to the blown OE sport shocks I had before.

    Am I being overly critical - is that how these shocks are supposed to ride because of the stiffness or is something wrong here?

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  2. #2
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    I want another E36
    I have bilstein sports with oem springs, the ride is better than having blown shocks. I just live with the fact that the car is a sports car, and it will be rough
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  3. #3
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    I'm all for the rough/sporty characteristics - but there is a difference between sporty and downright questionable! Allow me to illustrate...

    When hitting a decent sized bump or pothole in the road, it feels as if the shocks are going to rip right through the shock towers! It is THAT bad, and I don't mean crater-size potholes, just minor ones. Correct me if I am wrong, but that shouldn't be happening.

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    grow a pair

    in all seriousness, check things out, its gonna be stiff, but it wont feel like anything is breaking, they are not nearly as badass-a-shock as everyone thinks they are. try some motons on full damper.

    you may have a problem, broken sheet metal, etc...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BL4CK-OUT View Post
    I'm all for the rough/sporty characteristics - but there is a difference between sporty and downright questionable! Allow me to illustrate...

    When hitting a decent sized bump or pothole in the road, it feels as if the shocks are going to rip right through the shock towers! It is THAT bad, and I don't mean crater-size potholes, just minor ones. Correct me if I am wrong, but that shouldn't be happening.
    I know exactly what you are saying. I once had the "koni and H&R sport" setup that people go on and on about...it lasted 3 days for the same reasons you are having problems with your eibach/bilstein setup.

    This is the reason: A) you live in a heavy urban area with rough roads B) most off the shelf springs are for looks and not really for ride quality C) most the people recommending setups have no idea of what a rough road in NYC or Toronto is like. D) If you want to be low, and you live a rough road area, you need your springs to be REALLY stiff...as in coilover 350lb in the front as a minimum stiff E) you have two choices...stock springs with koni or sachs/boges shocks or full coilover setup. Interestingly, a full blown coilover setup, even when lowered to the max will ride better than these off the shelf crap in rough conditions...however, a full coilover setup is a big commitment and will change the way you drive/use the car drastically...

  6. #6
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    If a coilover is really THAT smooth then maybe I should be getting one.

    My bilsteins and H&Rs are rough, but only on really big holes or steps.

    A poor railroad track would REALLY hurt but I just go really slow in those situations.

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    Everyone is different in their preferences.

    Koni adjustables should be less harsh than the billies on stock coils.

    You have to decide for yourself if it is the dampers, or the lack of suspension travel or the spring rate or a combination that you dislike.

    I suspect that it is the lack of suspension travel that's offensive to your taste.

    m

  8. #8
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    Try...

    Try the Eibach ProKit. I've been running the Sports/ProKit for a year now and while its more pronounced than stock, it's a far cry from race (Sportline) springs.
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  9. #9
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    I think it might be the springs that are causing the shocks to be bottom out.
    I have been running the Bilstein sports and H&R Sports for almost 2 years now, and the car rides great. They are not as low as the sportlines or H&R race but, I think they ride and handle better. Lower is not always better when it comes to a spring/shock combo.
    I have also been in a car with Bilstein sports and H&R race and I felt the same feeling yo are describing, lets meet-up and compare (give me a call on tomorrow.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BL4CK-OUT View Post
    This isn't your everyday "how is the ride on Bilstein Sport shocks?" thread!

    I've already got a set of these on my car, mated with Eibach Sportline springs. I find that on potholes or rough patches of roadway the car feels EXTREMELY rough, as if it is bottoming out and hitting the shock towers. The thuds and jitters during these moments are VERY pronounced, it almost feels similar to the blown OE sport shocks I had before.

    Am I being overly critical - is that how these shocks are supposed to ride because of the stiffness or is something wrong here?
    Basically you bought the wrong shock/springs if you wanted a smooth ride. Replacement shocks are tricky. There is absolutely no data to help you decide which spring to pick with your shocks/struts. Spring rate is often unpublished, shock dampening/rebound graphs are unpublished and all you have left is marketing bullshit. Often they preach about the theory of design or their "lifetime warrantly", never mentioning real world testing/results.

    Everybody who has any sort of concern for ride quality and has tried Bilsteins said it was too harsh. OEM strut and shock with OEM spring will give you the best ride while providing excellent handling. OEM shocks are known to last about 50k miles while OEM replacements seem to go a little bit further. Sure Bilsteins have lifetime warranty but what good is that when you are getting new fillings at the dentist because your fancy new suspension shook them out?

    Ignore the "it's a sports car, it's supposed to ride rough" comments. Cars ride rough because they have too much spring rate, over dampened or not enough travel. E36 M3 doesn't seem to have any issues with ride quality or handling until you go with aftermarket spring/shock.
    Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't, you're right!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies fellas. Like I said, I don't mind rough rides in cars, I have drove in vehicles with much stiffer vehicles suspension setups. It's just the "catastrophic" sounding bumps and thuds from rough roads had me worried as if something was wrong.
    Last edited by BL4CK-OUT; 04-13-2008 at 10:23 AM.

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  12. #12
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    It sounds like something is broken. Maybe a spring is broken. RSMs break often. Pull off the caps for the front shocks and look for crack in the shock housing. My Bilstein Sports are firm in every situation. No knocks.
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  13. #13
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    I got UUC rear shock mounts which took the "bite" off of my Bilsteins.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BL4CK-OUT View Post
    Thanks for the replies fellas. Like I said, I don't mind rough rides in cars, I have drove in vehicles with much stiffer vehicles suspension setups. It's just the "catastrophic" sounding bumps and thuds from rough roads had me worried as if something was wrong.
    I said it before, that bottoming out is a result of the springs not being stiff enough for the lowered ride height they provide.

    When i had the H&R sport/koni sport setup it was fine in the suburbs and made the car ride like a lowered civic (bottomed out on those hard, jarring thuds) around the city.

  15. #15
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    ^ Yup, I read your post. Thanks for the input - I think I'm going to purchase the CG coilover conversion kit for the Bilsteins with custom matched spring rates. It's somewhat inexpensive and worth a try!

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinalBoss View Post
    Basically you bought the wrong shock/springs if you wanted a smooth ride. Replacement shocks are tricky. There is absolutely no data to help you decide which spring to pick with your shocks/struts. Spring rate is often unpublished, shock dampening/rebound graphs are unpublished and all you have left is marketing bullshit. Often they preach about the theory of design or their "lifetime warrantly", never mentioning real world testing/results.

    Everybody who has any sort of concern for ride quality and has tried Bilsteins said it was too harsh. OEM strut and shock with OEM spring will give you the best ride while providing excellent handling. OEM shocks are known to last about 50k miles while OEM replacements seem to go a little bit further. Sure Bilsteins have lifetime warranty but what good is that when you are getting new fillings at the dentist because your fancy new suspension shook them out?

    Ignore the "it's a sports car, it's supposed to ride rough" comments. Cars ride rough because they have too much spring rate, over dampened or not enough travel. E36 M3 doesn't seem to have any issues with ride quality or handling until you go with aftermarket spring/shock.
    great input...i learned a lot, especially since my suspension is toast.
    I was under the impression stock was no longer available...i would like to keep the stock height/ride/handling quality, but i'm a bit unclear on what to get....as you stated, the marketing will drive you crazy!
    Last edited by shellback; 04-13-2008 at 12:52 PM. Reason: spellllingh

  17. #17
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    NO! Something is wrong if it's BAD. I mean, if it's like metal hitting metal then something is def messed up.

    Bilsteins are very FIRM, but they control the wheel extremely well, which means you will never have the shock body slamming into the towers. The ride should be taught and absolutely silent with Billys. Not harsh and loud, which is how you make yours sound.

    Maybe they're blown? Shock mounts, F/R? Bushings bad?

  18. #18
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    check your tires

    what is your tires psi? It can only be checked when cold (not driven for several hours)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric98Sedan View Post
    NO! Something is wrong if it's BAD. I mean, if it's like metal hitting metal then something is def messed up.

    Bilsteins are very FIRM, but they control the wheel extremely well, which means you will never have the shock body slamming into the towers. The ride should be taught and absolutely silent with Billys. Not harsh and loud, which is how you make yours sound.

    Maybe they're blown? Shock mounts, F/R? Bushings bad?
    They could be blown, I'm going to check out a car with a similar setup and compare. Can't be the RSMs or RTABs. I replaced all those with upgraded components last summer when I put the suspension in. I also added the front strut tower reinforcement plates. Now, the springs and shocks were bought used with low miles on them, and they seemed to be structurally perfect. After about a month or so of driving I began to notice the extreme harshness when dealing with poor roads.
    Quote Originally Posted by MJFX328 View Post
    what is your tires psi? It can only be checked when cold (not driven for several hours)
    I'll check on that later tonight but I doubt that's it.

    I'm starting to think the shocks are blown.

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  20. #20
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    It's the Bilstein shocks. My car had H&R Sports/Bilstein sports when i bought it. The drop was perfect but on Edmonton roads the ride was punishing. I switched the springs to Eibach Sportlines and the ride improvement was barely noticeable. It still rides too rough and doesn't handle as well plus the drop is too low in the rear.

    A persons perception on what is too rough really depends on the road conditions where you live. When i picked up my M3 in Victoria, my wife commented how much better it rode than my old 320i, that all changed when we got back to Edmonton's crappy roads.

  21. #21
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    its the springs, or lack there of. many a good "racer" has told me most "modded" cars are underdampened and over sprung. I ran sportlines with bills and they were terrible. Go for some HR sports, prokit or stockers and things wont be so damaging.

  22. #22
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    EDIT: I just realized that you're running Sportlines. I 'believe' that those drop the car a considerable amount... like 2" or so. This is WAY to much drop for 'standard' style struts/shocks.

    You are most certainly bottoming the struts with a drop of 2". Absolutely, without a doubt.

  23. #23
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    ^ How can I fix this? Would the same principle apply to coilovers adjusted to the same ride height?

    I'm hoping I can get the Ground Control C/O conversion kit which uses your existing Bilstein Sport shocks.

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  24. #24
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    Not gonna work. The lowest I would go is 1" MAX with regular (non-coilover) Bilsteins/Konis. This rule applies even with the coil-over conversion, since you'd still be using your Bilsteins.

    Real coil-over struts/shocks have their bodies shortened to accomodate lowered ride heights. Standard replacement struts, like the ones you have, are NOT shortened and consequently cannot be run with drops greater than about an inch without totally bottoming the struts.

    No matter what you 'may' hear from others, what I am telling you is the truth, because I measured the front bump travel myself and there's about 2 inches at STOCK ride height.

  25. #25
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    Wow, that is surprising. I thought that Bilstein sport shocks were designed to work with lowering springs. Guess I'll end up with coilovers after all!

    edit: Would I be correct in assuming that the Bilstein PSS or PSS9 kits are designed with shortened shock/strut bodies?
    edit2: I hear the Bilstein PSS/PSS9 C/O kits require spacers to clear wheels - is this true? My wheel fitment is very tight in the front and back for my summer wheels (8.5 wide ET35 F and 9.5ET 40 R) and I can't possibly use spacers. Anyone know if the G/C track/School kit is better in this regard?
    Last edited by BL4CK-OUT; 04-13-2008 at 11:38 PM.

    '09 335i - Alpine white + Coral Red | '02 M5 - Imola Red + Imola Red
    Gone, but never forgotten:
    '04 E55 AMG Brilliant Silver / Anthracite .. '96 318i Alpine White / Black .. '01 330Ci Titanium Silver / Coral Red .. '96 328i Jet Black / Black

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