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BMW E30 Suspension Recipes
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E30 Suspension Recipes

Robert Bowen

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
The CarTech BMW 3-Series Performance Guide

Whether for on-track duty or simply improved street performance, the E30 series cars have proven to respond to well-chosen upgrades. The CarTech BMW 3-Series Performance Guide offers current and future owners a wealth of important information, including a buyer's guide, year-by-year upgrades and changes, and more. This book is a valuable addition to every BMW owner's library, and Pelican is proud to present you with the excerpt below.

Suspension Recipes

To take the mystery out of picking parts for your E30 suspension build, the following are some of the most common applications, with some suggestions for the best parts and settings for that kind of use.

Daily Driver, Realistic Wheel Fitment

Bushings: New rubber strut mounts, new rubber subframe bushings, new rubber offset control arm bushing, new rubber trailing arm bushings, new rubber shock mounts

Wheel and tire: 16x7.5 wheels, ET25 215/45R-16 tires

Springs and shocks: H&R Sport lowering springs

Struts/shocks: Bilstein Sport (Koni adjustable option)

Sway bars/braces: Stock 325is front bar, 14.5-mm factory or aftermarket 19-mm rear bar

Brakes: Stock wheel bearings, hubs, and brakes

Brake lines: Stainless braided

Brake pads: Axxis Ultimate

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 1/16 toe-in at front, -1.5/-.5 camber front/rear (if adjustable).

Notes: This is a great daily driver setup that lowers the car but not so much that you damage anything. Suspension remains soft enough for daily use but stiff enough for good handling.

Daily Driver, Aggressive Stance

Bushings: New rubber strut mounts, new rubber subframe bushings, new rubber offset control arm bushings, new rubber trailing arm bushings, new rubber shock mounts

Wheel and tire: 17x7.5 wheels, 25-mm offset with 215/40R-17 tires Springs and shocks: Ground Control coil-overs with Bilstein inserts, around 300 lb/in front, 500 lb/in rear Sway bars/braces: Stock 325is front bar, 14.5-mm factory or 19-mm aftermarket rear bar

Brakes: Stock wheel bearings, hubs, and brakes

Brake lines: Stainless braided

Brake pads: Axxis Ultimate

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 1/16 toe-in at front, -1.5/-.5 camber front/rear (if adjustable).

Notes: This is the setup for serious lowering. Add a skid plate to protect the oil pan if you lower more than a couple of inches.

Weekend Autocrosser (Street Prepared Legal)

Bushings: Camber plates, new rubber offset control arm bushings, new rubber or urethane trailing arm bushings (eccentric or slotted mounts), new urethane subframe

bushings metal/urethane shock mounts; option: aluminum front control arms

Wheel and tire: 15x7 wheels, 25-mm offset with 205/50R-15 R-compound tires; or 15x8 with 225/45R-15

Springs and shocks: Ground Control coil-overs with Bilstein inserts, around 450 lb/in front, 600 lb/in rear rates.

Sway bars/braces: 22- to 25-mm front bar, stock 12-mm or no rear bar, front strut tower bar, subframe reinforcements, trailing-arm reinforcements

Brakes: Stock wheel bearings, hubs, and brakes

Brake lines: Stainless braided

Brake pads: Axxis Ultimate

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 0 toe in front, -2.5/-2.0 camber front/ rear, maximum caster

Notes: The higher spring rates should work great with no bar. If the car does not want to rotate, add the stock rear bar or keep increasing the rate. The bushings can be either rubber or urethane depending on your noise/performance tolerance level.

Occasional Street Driver/Track Day Warrior

Bushings: Camber plates, new rubber offset control arm bushings or aluminum/Delrin bushings, new urethane trailing arm bushings (eccentric or slotted mounts), new urethane subframe bushings, metal shock mounts

Wheel and tire: 15x7 wheels, 25-mm offset with 205/50R-15 R-compound tires; or 15x8 with 225/45R-15

Springs and shocks: Ground Control coil-overs with Koni inserts, around 450 lb/in front, 500 lb/in rear rates

Sway bars/braces: 22- to 25-mm front bar, stock 12-mm or no rear bar, front strut tower bar, subframe reinforcements, control arm reinforcements

Brakes: Stock wheel bearings, hubs, and brakes

Brake lines: Stainless braided

Brake pads: Race-compound

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 0 to 1/16 toe-out in front, -2.5/-2.0 camber front/rear, maximum caster

Notes: The higher spring rates should work great with no bar. If the car does not want to rotate, add the stock rear bar or keep increasing the rate. The bushings can be either rubber or urethane depending on your noise/performance tolerance level.

All-Out Road Race Car

Bushings: Camber plates, spherical adjustable control arm bushings, Delrin or spherical metal trailing arm bushings, solid aluminum subframe and differential bushings, metal shock mounts; option: racing front control arms, raised subframe

Wheel and tire: 16x8 with 225/45R-16

Springs and shocks: Remote-reservoir racing shocks, springs around 450 lb/in front, 500 lb/in rear

Sway bars/braces: 22- to 25-mm front bar, stock 12-mm or no rear bar, front strut tower bar

Brakes: Big brake kit or E36 brake hub conversion

Brake pads: Race-compound

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 1/16 toe out in front, -2.5/-2.0 camber front/rear, maximum caster

Notes: Spring rates and shock valving choice are very track dependent. Alignment varies as well.

Spec E30

Bushings: Camber plates, new urethane offset control arm bushings, urethane subframe bushings, urethane trailing-arm bushings (offset)

Wheel and tire: 15x7 ET15 with 205/50-15 Spec Toyo tires

Springs and shocks: H&R Race lowering springs

Struts/shocks: Bilstein Sport

Sway bars/braces: 25-mm front bar, 19-mm rear bar, front strut tower bar

Brakes: Stock wheel bearings, hubs, and brakes

Brake lines: Stainless braided

Brake pads: Racing-compound

Rotors: New, quality (Brembo or ATE)

Alignment Settings: 1/16 toe-in at front, -3/-2 camber front/rear, spring pads for corner weighting

Notes: Alignment settings are a baseline, which varies depending on driver and track.

For Spec E30 or Pro E30(shown here) alignment is one of the most critical variables available to the racer
Figure 1

For Spec E30 or Pro E30 (shown here) alignment is one of the most critical variables available to the racer. Get your alignment right for each track and you can count on a top finish every weekend. (Photo Courtesy Christian Bouchez)

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:24:48 AM