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      08-19-2022, 01:33 AM   #1
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E30 Suspension setup

Hello hope all is well,
I have recently acquired a 1991 318is, my intentions are to get the car set up for the track, and I wanted to reach out and see if there is anyone who has really dialed in a solid suspension setup, everything on the car is stock so a lot of things are expected of a refresh.

I am basically looking for people's track setups and what they have done to their E30s.

Thank you!
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      08-19-2022, 01:51 PM   #2
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Are you looking for a real “race” setup or more of a track day/Hpde setup?

The standard spec e30 racing stuff is decent and cheap, or even doing ground control setup isn’t much more money. It really depends on what you are looking to do with it.
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      08-19-2022, 02:18 PM   #3
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Mine has H&R race springs on B8s. H&r Sways, RD front strut bar.

She stays really flat. Even in transitions, and if the rear steps out, it's no drama. (full disclosure, the sub200hp powertrain probably contributes to this as well. Also, I only DD my car, though it's been healthily driven in non DD ways. Nothing on the level of track abuse though)

Edit: probably should mention, mine has an LSD which also contributes a good amount to its handling
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      08-19-2022, 03:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddBlack88 View Post
Are you looking for a real "race" setup or more of a track day/Hpde setup?

The standard spec e30 racing stuff is decent and cheap, or even doing ground control setup isn't much more money. It really depends on what you are looking to do with it.
Realistically It'll be on main roads 40% of the time and being tracked 60% of the time, I do not mind spending a bit but obviously don't want to go crazy with everything,

Basically something for the track, over time I'll eventually push it to full blown race car.

Thank you
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      08-19-2022, 03:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky0u View Post
Mine has H&R race springs on B8s. H&r Sways, RD front strut bar.

She stays really flat. Even in transitions, and if the rear steps out, it's no drama. (full disclosure, the sub200hp powertrain probably contributes to this as well. Also, I only DD my car, though it's been healthily driven in non DD ways. Nothing on the level of track abuse though)

Edit: probably should mention, mine has an LSD which also contributes a good amount to its handling
Hell yeah man, what would you say are some cons with your current setup if there are any?
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      08-19-2022, 08:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c18 View Post
Hell yeah man, what would you say are some cons with your current setup if there are any?
Performance-wise I would like to tighten up the rear set up a bit somehow, probably going to do some poly bushings somewhere. It's very predictable and goes exactly where i'd like, but there is a bit of "give" if that makes sense. I'm chasing that "on rails" feeling

Other than that, the only thing i can think of is, as a DD, the set up kinda sucks. it's pretty conservative compared to other builds out there, but between the spring rate and the shit road surfaces out where I am, it's quite the spine abuser. Hell, sometimes even rolling over a lane reflector sends a shock through my teeth
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      08-19-2022, 09:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky0u View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by c18 View Post
Hell yeah man, what would you say are some cons with your current setup if there are any?
Performance-wise I would like to tighten up the rear set up a bit somehow, probably going to do some poly bushings somewhere. It's very predictable and goes exactly where i'd like, but there is a bit of "give" if that makes sense. I'm chasing that "on rails" feeling

Other than that, the only thing i can think of is, as a DD, the set up kinda sucks. it's pretty conservative compared to other builds out there, but between the spring rate and the shit road surfaces out where I am, it's quite the spine abuser. Hell, sometimes even rolling over a lane reflector sends a shock through my teeth
I feel you brother, LA roads are definitely unforgiving in terms of tight suspension, I was looking into monoballs and bushings and will definitely look into what you mentioned, thank you so much for the info - Hope you have a great day
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      08-20-2022, 12:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c18 View Post
Realistically It'll be on main roads 40% of the time and being tracked 60% of the time, I do not mind spending a bit but obviously don't want to go crazy with everything,

Basically something for the track, over time I'll eventually push it to full blown race car.

Thank you
If that’s the case I would speak to Ground control and discuss spring rates with them for your specific needs and have them provide a set of their coil overs.
Starting with a 318is you should look for the bigger LSD from a 325i auto. They are the same ratio 4:10, as your existing 318is diff.
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      08-20-2022, 04:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddBlack88 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by c18 View Post
Realistically It'll be on main roads 40% of the time and being tracked 60% of the time, I do not mind spending a bit but obviously don't want to go crazy with everything,

Basically something for the track, over time I'll eventually push it to full blown race car.

Thank you
If that's the case I would speak to Ground control and discuss spring rates with them for your specific needs and have them provide a set of their coil overs.
Starting with a 318is you should look for the bigger LSD from a 325i auto. They are the same ratio 4:10, as your existing 318is diff.
100% agree with you, Thank you so much for the referral.
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      08-20-2022, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky0u View Post
Mine has H&R race springs on B8s. H&r Sways, RD front strut bar.

She stays really flat. Even in transitions, and if the rear steps out, it's no drama. (full disclosure, the sub200hp powertrain probably contributes to this as well. Also, I only DD my car, though it's been healthily driven in non DD ways. Nothing on the level of track abuse though)

Edit: probably should mention, mine has an LSD which also contributes a good amount to its handling
I have a similar setup, it's hard to go wrong with H&R/B8s on an E30. RD sway bars, RD front strut brace. I also have M3 front control arms with M3 control arm bushings, 3.91 LSD. Welcome to the E30 world OP, good luck with the car
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      08-20-2022, 05:00 PM   #11
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H&R race springs and Koni dampers. Konis are a far superior damper to the Bilsteins due to the ability to adjust the rebound. For the rear I'd suggest the 8042-1134 Koni. It is a double adjustable (compression and rebound) shock originally built for the Fox-body Mustang. The ability to adjust compression for the track is huge.

The rear Koni also has a shorter body so it will work much better with a lowering spring such as the H&R race spring and won't be on the bump stop all the time.

To use the front Bilstein B8 with a lowering spring, you really should cut the internal bump stop down, otherwise you'll be riding the bump stops with those race springs.

IMO - The ultimate non-coilover suspension combination is as follows:

1) Turner J-Stock springs (680lb front / 1026lb rear spring rates)
2) Bilstein Group N Motorsport dampers (Front = 34-046296 Rear = 24-000624)
3) BMW OEM camber corrected top mounts (31331139484)
4) TMS fixed camber plates
5) 22mm front sway bar 19mm rear bar

This assumes you have 51mm front strut housings. This setup is not cheap but far superior to anything Ground Control offers.

Your car will handle like a go-kart. There won't be much that will be able to touch it in the corners (assuming you know how to drive it through the corners - trail braking will be important to get it to rotate but that is more of an overall E30 chassis thing).
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      08-20-2022, 10:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markw10702 View Post
H&R race springs and Koni dampers. Konis are a far superior damper to the Bilsteins due to the ability to adjust the rebound. For the rear I'd suggest the 8042-1134 Koni. It is a double adjustable (compression and rebound) shock originally built for the Fox-body Mustang. The ability to adjust compression for the track is huge.

The rear Koni also has a shorter body so it will work much better with a lowering spring such as the H&R race spring and won't be on the bump stop all the time.

To use the front Bilstein B8 with a lowering spring, you really should cut the internal bump stop down, otherwise you'll be riding the bump stops with those race springs.

IMO - The ultimate non-coilover suspension combination is as follows:

1) Turner J-Stock springs (680lb front / 1026lb rear spring rates)
2) Bilstein Group N Motorsport dampers (Front = 34-046296 Rear = 24-000624)
3) BMW OEM camber corrected top mounts (31331139484)
4) TMS fixed camber plates
5) 22mm front sway bar 19mm rear bar

This assumes you have 51mm front strut housings. This setup is not cheap but far superior to anything Ground Control offers.

Your car will handle like a go-kart. There won't be much that will be able to touch it in the corners (assuming you know how to drive it through the corners - trail braking will be important to get it to rotate but that is more of an overall E30 chassis thing).
You have been more than helpful, I personally do not mind going for coil overs on the car but what you have mentioned seems really proper to me, Thank you so much for the info, and have a great rest of your day good sir.
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      08-20-2022, 10:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky0u View Post
Mine has H&R race springs on B8s. H&r Sways, RD front strut bar.

She stays really flat. Even in transitions, and if the rear steps out, it's no drama. (full disclosure, the sub200hp powertrain probably contributes to this as well. Also, I only DD my car, though it's been healthily driven in non DD ways. Nothing on the level of track abuse though)

Edit: probably should mention, mine has an LSD which also contributes a good amount to its handling
This is the exact setup I had on my '91... minus the LSD. I had taller final drive from an auto trans car, so overall lower gearing that let me TAKE OFF!
Damn I miss that car!
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      08-22-2022, 03:09 PM   #14
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This is the exact setup I had on my '91... minus the LSD. I had taller final drive from an auto trans car, so overall lower gearing that let me TAKE OFF!
Damn I miss that car!
It's a hoot. I love my e92, it never fails to put a smile on my face when i put my foot down (and then wipe it off with a gong right after...jk no gongs...cuz something in my MOST loop is borked). But I know it will never hold a candle to the feeling of ripping the e30 through the twisties
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      08-22-2022, 04:54 PM   #15
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My street E30 is ground control that have e30 m3 swaybar links welding in place vs using control arms. It also has Eibach sways.

My e30 M3 is full J-Stock with matched rate Bilstein re-valved shocks. A bit stiff but the car is flat in corners. I don't use the car nearly as much as I used since relocating back to Mass. When I was in NoVa I used to daily it as the roads were so much better.
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      08-22-2022, 07:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ky0u View Post
It's a hoot. I love my e92, it never fails to put a smile on my face when i put my foot down (and then wipe it off with a gong right after...jk no gongs...cuz something in my MOST loop is borked). But I know it will never hold a candle to the feeling of ripping the e30 through the twisties
Mine was such a great car, miss it a lot. Had it dialed in for my DD needs. I will always say that the E30 was the perfect platform... from 318i budget commuter to track ripping M3, all wheel drive and cabriolet... wagons in Europe... what a great car!
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