Early morning quiet, the West Side Highway

One of the rare quiet moments (early on a weekend, natch).

The car should sit a little nicer (especially up front) with a mild sport spring-and-shock combo, but quite frankly, we’re loving the compliant ride (not to mention ample ground clearance) of the stock suspension so much that we’re a little hesitant to mess with it. Are we getting soft in our old age?

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~ by velofinds on November 20, 2012.

17 Responses to “Early morning quiet, the West Side Highway”

  1. It’s an amazing road car right out of the box. Sometimes that worth enjoying in its own right.

    But I mean, a little lower a little tighter is never a bad thing :-)

  2. Lovely look car, and a dawn raid is always a good thing – especially with a little extra cold air! I’m actually putting my Z4 back on the standard springs, with the 924 taking over track duties the extra ground clearance will be great. Other thing, in the UK, the roads aren’t so great and a more compliant ride means you can sometimes cover the ground faster!

  3. It looks perfect like this ! Ground clearance owns stance by 10 000 miles.

  4. You know, they took a lot of time and work to make it work while leaving a margin for ground clearance and usability. I would rather leave it like that. It’s a fantastic “all rounder” and that’s what makes the E36 M3 such a stunning car.
    Congrats once again for your choice .

  5. I think spring & damper stiffness is the more important factor here than ride height. I used to live in NYC, and I would certainly not want to drive on a stiff suspension there. You’ll destroy it, and driving will not be fun. I have my E36 on Bilstein Sport shocks/struts and H&R Sport springs. It would be WAY too stiff for NYC roads. I think a large portion of that stiffness comes from the shocks, not the springs, and I’ve heard that Koni Sports/Yellows are a more forgiving alternative to the Bilsteins. As far as ride height goes, my H&R Sport springs dropped my front about 1.6″ and the rear about 1.0″. I do scrape the exhaust occasionally on tall speed bumps and severe angles such as when entering/exiting underground parking ramps, etc. I think it’s pretty much the perfect amount of drop for a street driven E36. Low enough to look good (and handle well), but not so low that you can’t use the car. You still have to keep an eye out for things, but it’s very manageable. Any lower would be suicide.

    • Thanks for this. From reading around, I have mostly settled on Koni Yellows and Eibachs if I do decide to replace the suspension. My point about the ride height was that any amount of lowering – no matter how conservative – will invariably introduce additional stiffness— it simply comes with the territory.

    • Yes it does. Also, you’re already familiar with BMWs so you probably know this already, but if you ever install a suspension which is stiffer than stock in an E36, you also need to install strut tower reinforcement plates for the front and shock tower reinforcement plates for the rear. They’re cheap and easy to install.

      Your M3 looks great as it sits currently. Certainly nothing wrong with factory looking AW M3 on LTWs. Enjoy!

  6. I took a lap around Manhattan on the FDR and West Side Highway early Sunday morning in my Mini JCW Clubman. I’m still feeling it from the beating of the roads + 18″ low profile runflats but it was a blast and the perfect time to really enjoy the city before everyone wakes up.

  7. Bilies can be valved at the factory for almost any spring. You just tell them what you want and they can valve the shock to work as well as factory spring/shock combo.

    That said: I think I would be tempted to stay stock with it. As someone said “The factory spent the time to get it right” and it doesn’t suck.

    The Car looks great!

  8. @ Randy, I had billies that were valved for dinan spec springs on my e34 M5, and I even had them rebuilt for a small fee. They handeled great. But. I wouldn’t buy them again, I’d buy the koni’s. The billies have the bumpstop inside the body, and the koni’s mount it between the body and the top mount. So the koni’s have about 1″ more travel built in, and bottom out softer. The bilstein’s bottom out with a bone-jarring slam.

  9. My dislike of those side skirts hasn’t wavered, sorry :/

  10. Very nice pickup, super clean.

    I might have to take some shots in the morning as well, since there is usually too much traffic and not enough light later in the afternoon

  11. I have the stock suspension on my yellow 95 M3
    :)

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