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LC90535 - Part 2: Suspension Overhaul

Parts replaced:
Tie Rod Assembly Left and Right
Lower Control Arm Left and Right
Control Arm Bushings
BC Racing BR Series Coilover Kit

The suspension of my 2000 M Roadster is completely stock and needs to be replaced. The shocks have outlived their usefulness, giving the car a bouncing feeling over rough roads and feeling loose in the corners. To best address overhauling the suspension, you need to tackle a few areas. On the front end, replace the struts with new units, replace the springs with shorter and stiffer units to improve handling, replace the control arms, control arm bushings and tie rods to tighten up the steering feel and lastly, replace the sway bar links to make sure the car feels tight in the corners. The shock tower mounts for the front and rear should also be replaced, as they tend to wear out over time. I decided to go with the BC Racing coilovers for the suspension upgrade. As an added insurance to make sure I’m getting the tightest handling possible, I also added a DINAN sway bar up front.

For the shocks and springs I decided to use BC Racing coilovers from FCP Euro. BC Racing is a well-known brand in the import scene and they’re gaining popularity in with the Euro market as well. Their kit comes with height adjustable units that can also be adjusted for stiffness. As an added bonus, the front units come with adjustable camber plates, a feature which typically cost a few hundred dollars if purchased separately. The fit and finish is very impressive, and most importantly the units are designed to stand up to abuse and last. Also, BC Racing and FCP Euro stand behind the product with industry leading product warranties.

Overall, FCP Euro is a good source for parts because they offer both OEM parts and aftermarket. For the control arms I always go with BMW original parts, but for the other parts I rely on trusted brands like Febi, Lemforder and Meyle. Given how many parts I was buying, it was nice to have everything available through one place and, at competitive prices.

Removing suspension components that have been on a car for 15+ years can really test your patience and strength, so make sure you’re treating all the parts to a liberal amount of PB Blaster or a similar product to help loosen the bolts. I always have a heat gun ready as well for the really tough bolts, as well a tie rod separator tool. There are a number of great guides online for properly installing suspension components, so I won’t go into the step by step detail here. Overall, the installation process is fairly straight forward, but can be time consuming because some of the bolts are hard to reach.

Once everything is installed, the ride height needs to be adjusted and a professional alignment needs to be performed. For my M Roadster, I set the rear springs to their lowest possible setting by removing the adjustment inserts altogether. This created a camber setting of -3 degrees! I’ll test this setup for now, but I may eventually raise the rear suspension by half an inch so that I can get more life out of the rear tires. The fronts are set up with a -1.7 degree camber, giving the car great turn-in bite and eliminating any under steer that existed in the original setup. The overall ride is brilliant. With an overall lower ride height of nearly 2 inches the car does ride harder, but surprisingly it handles bumps very well. Best of all, you can now reach new limits in handling grip, which transfers to increased confidence and feedback through the steering wheel.


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Jon Martin
Fort Collins, CO