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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Have a MY06 E87 130i Sport in need to a suspension refresh due to age and distance traveled.

Looking to fit the Birds B1 Dynamic Package < B1 Dynamics Package Upgrade - BMW E87 130i and E82 135i | Birds > which includes their version of the Bilstein dampners, Eibach coil springs and ARB (swaybars) to suit. The Birds B-Series suspension kits include bump stops.

I believe that in addition I will need new strut tops for the front and rear, and new ARB links. Any thing else needed for installation of these?


I was looking to also fit the M3 control arms to the front, but recieved the following from Birds Auto:

"We prefer to leave the arms alone. If you wanted to make a race car out of it you might benefit slightly from the negative camber but we feel it's not really necessary for a fast road car. Kevin actually took them off his 130i in the end due to tramlining issues (although I'm not sure that was conclusively the arms' fault). As a principle we try not to fettle with too much on any car as you can end up sacrificing the integrity of the car, we just try to address the key areas. The only upgrades he had on his 130i when we developed the kit were the ARBs and Quaife LSD.
Many thanks,
James Bird
www.birdsauto.com
+44(0)1753657444"
Has anyone with the Birds B1 kit tried the M3 arms too?

With the control arms am I correct that it is the Lower Control Arm that alters the vehicles camber?
Why is the Upper Control Arm also generally included in the kits? Or are both usually changed together due to the different suspension bushes used in the M3 Control Arms?

What about the rear control arms? Do these have an effect or is it again just for the better suspension bushes?


What other bushes should be replaced while there? Rear Differential Mount? Rear Subframe Void Fillers?


Vehicle is for on road, not track. Would like it to drive nicely on backroads too.
 

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My advice dont waste your money on the Birds kit, if you want bilstein get the B8 or B6 dampers for a fraction of the price and a set of springs to suit your needs, i much prefer the Koni sport dampers and ive tried most including the Birds kit see my Suspension quest thread :)

I never understood why Birds dont like the M3 arms they are a very good upgrade and make a big improvment in reducing tyre wear and turn in feel, maybe they cant make enough money out of selling them? ... my opinion of the company is very low and personally think they overcharge and under develop there products being very stuck in there ways, some people are happy though and suspension is a personal thing.
 

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If you fit an uprated rear ARB without also fitting an LSD you're going to bounce around the place like a p*ssed off kangaroo from the reduced rear grip. Birds selling them without mentioning that isn't a good look really, it's been common knowledge for over a decade.

Front M3 LCAs made an immediate and noticeable improvement on my car. The others are much more subtle but worth it IMHO. Can't speak for the kits, most people buy the arms seperately. TRW make the genuine M parts and you can buy them directly from TRW's Amazon store for about 1/4 the price of BMW. Only difference is the box and the M logo is ground off.

Fitting rear subframe inserts (or full bushes) is a massive improvement, really tightens up the rear end!

Front

Tension Struts

31102283575 / TRW JTC1423 & 31102283575 / TRW JTC1424
Stiffer bushes. Improved stability under braking. Notable increase in NVH.

Lower Control Arms
31102283577 TRW JTC1426 & 31102283578 TRW JTC1427
Stiffer bushes, and slightly increased length over non-M parts. Adds a small amount of negative camber. Improves handling/steering feel and turn-in, and reduces tire outer edge wear.

Tie Rod Assemblies
32102283461 & 32102283462
Not compatible with non-M vehicles. Inner tie rod is too long. Outer is identical to non-M vehicles.

Drop Links
31352283441 & 31352283442
Shared with non-M vehicles. The parts are identical, there is no upgrade here.

Rear

Wishbones

33322283545 / TRW JTC1428 & 33322283546 / TRW JTC1429
Forged aluminium construction, slightly lighter than factory. Stiffer rubber bushes, but no other changes.

Guide Rods
33322283547 / TRW JTC1430 & 33322283548 / TRW JTC1431
Forged aluminium construction, slightly lighter than factory. Swap their inboard bushing for a ball joint. This reduces the overall rear spring rate, improves compliance, and allows the spring/damper to do its job.

Trailing Arms
33322406291 x2
Shared with non-M vehicles. The parts are identical, there is no upgrade here.

Drop Links
33556764428 x2
Shared with non-M vehicles. The parts are identical, there is no upgrade here.

Toe Arms
33322283549 x2
Not compatible with non-M vehicles. Shorter than factory parts. Requires M3 differential, axles, subframe, and knuckle.

Camber Arms
33322283885 & 33322283886
Not compatible with non-M vehicles. Damper mount uses an eye bolt/bearing instead of a straight fit with rubber bushing. Allows fitting of aftermarket/updated rear dampers, but a custom bolt spacer will be needed.
 

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I was looking to also fit the M3 control arms to the front, but recieved the following from Birds Auto:

"We prefer to leave the arms alone. If you wanted to make a race car out of it you might benefit slightly from the negative camber but we feel it's not really necessary for a fast road car. Kevin actually took them off his 130i in the end due to tramlining issues (although I'm not sure that was conclusively the arms' fault). As a principle we try not to fettle with too much on any car as you can end up sacrificing the integrity of the car, we just try to address the key areas. The only upgrades he had on his 130i when we developed the kit were the ARBs and Quaife LSD.
Im sorry but thats utter bollocks, the more I hear about Birds the more I think its just a money extraction exercise.

Invariably anyone who has fitted M3 arms has had very positive comments (Ive driven 3 cars with them fitted now, all much better than standard) and Ive found my car has got progressively better on road and track as Ive added more camber. Same as it improved with better dampers, better bushes, better ARBs, better brakes and more bracing.

When the 1M is universally accepted as the best handling E8* why would you claim that stuff it has fitted isnt necessary? If youre interested Ive just updated the thread outlining what Ive done to mine, they benefit a surprising amount from chucking better stuff on: Making a 135i into a decent trackcar
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you fit an uprated rear ARB without also fitting an LSD you're going to bounce around the place like a p*ssed off kangaroo from the reduced rear grip. Birds selling them without mentioning that isn't a good look really, it's been common knowledge for over a decade.
I have been speaking to them (the local Australian Bird's dealer) about purchasing the entire Dynamic Kit which includes the Quaife torsion LSD. I guess they therefore didn't feel the need to point it out?
From reading the write ups about the development of the Bird's B1 Dynamic Kit, it outlined that the rear ARB etc. was designed to maximise the benefits gained from fitting the Quaife.

Thank you for all the part details and comments on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
if you want bilstein get the B8 or B6 dampers for a fraction of the price and a set of springs to suit your needs, i much prefer the Koni sport dampers and ive tried most including the Birds kit see my Suspension quest thread :)
I'm currently reading your My suspension quest! 130i thread < My Suspension quest! 130i >, but it's going to take a while given it's length!

Question for you, given your experience with a wide variety of the shocks. Do the aftermarket shocks generally include their own bump stop setup?
I ask because the factory setup looks to be a dust boot cover and bump stop combination. But aftermarket performance shocks, (such as the Bilstein B8's pictured below) look to already have their own dust boot cover fitted - does this generally mean that they include their own bump stops within too?


42f9989097661dba5149fe745c7c.jpeg


264e9c365c3a1047c634b9aa3977.jpeg
 

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I'm currently reading your My suspension quest! 130i thread < My Suspension quest! 130i >, but it's going to take a while given it's length!

Question for you, given your experience with a wide variety of the shocks. Do the aftermarket shocks generally include their own bump stop setup?
I ask because the factory setup looks to be a dust boot cover and bump stop combination. But aftermarket performance shocks, (such as the Bilstein B8's pictured below) look to already have their own dust boot cover fitted - does this generally mean that they include their own bump stops within too
Yes it was quite a mission and thread became rather large! worth the read though to save you wasting money trying all option i did :)

Bilstein B6/B8 come with there own bumpstops usually, fronts are inverted strut so its hidden down inside the bottom of strut and nothing under that blue dust cover but damper rod, ive heard that Birds just open the standard b6 front dampers and trim the internal bumpstop but ive no proof of that, but from my testing i wouldnt be surprised, rears have a slip over bumpstop similar to oem setup and hidden in blue cover but its much shorter and what gives the most improvement in comfort, seeing these shorter rear bumps on the B1 kit i bought was one of reasons i wanted to try shorter bumpstops on other kits which was a revalation! better in everyway to me a set of Koni Sports and shorter bumpstops :)

Aftermarket coilver kits like Ohlins, BC etc have there own as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited by Moderator)
Thanks.

I’ve had a bit of a change of mind this morning. While driving up the coast I realised that I don’t actually have too much to complain about the current setup. My other car is a Land Rover with suspension lift, big tyres, etc so this being lowered and sporty already has significantly better handling that I’m used to.

My main complain in the lack of bounce control and on some bigger imperfections in the road it seems to hit hard - the bounce control even makes me feel a big car sick… When I started thinking about the current setup, I realised a few things:
  • It’s on 18” wheels.
  • The tyres are, surprisingly, still run flats.
  • It’s traveled 280,000km now and no evidence of recent shock/strut replacement - could they even be originals?
It’s likely that between the larger wheels smaller tyre side wall, run flat tyres, old hardened bump stops and old flogged out shocks, it’s giving the cruddy ride and lack of bounce control.

I’m currently leaning towards a simpler setup that is based around a refresh of the current factory BMW Performance/M Sport kit (being a 130i Sport this car was delivered new with this suspension).
My thoughts:
  1. Fit 17” wheels - I’ve ordered a set of Style 207M staggered
  2. Fit non-run-flat tyres
  3. Koni Special Active (used to be called FSD) struts - I’d ideally like to avoid adjustable suspension as I just can’t be bothered fiddling. Reading forum posts and there’s a lot of BMW (other series than 1 though) and Audi owners that have been very very happy with the improvement from fitting these with the standard springs.
  4. New strut tops? I assume that they have a rubber bushing that would also harden over time?
  5. Retain current Sport springs - the Koni Special Active are designed to work with OEM springs (I assume that doesn't just mean the full ride height type OEM springs). But I’be also read that the Eibach Pro-Kit offerings are very similair in spring rate but perhaps a better suited than the pre-LCI models? I can’t work out if they would give the same ride height as the BMWP/M Sport springs or not…
  6. New bump stops - staying with the BMWP/M Sport shorter bump stops (I note that Bilstein have a listing for replacements of these - any other better sources to consider?)
  7. M3 arm package for front and rear for both the camber effect and better bushes (again noting that the current bushes are likely old and hardened). Or just fit the M3 LCA and revise the other arms?
  8. Retain current swaybars - I think without first setting up the rest of the suspension, throwing ARB changes can cause confusion. I also have my doubts about the improvements from bigger ARBs until a torsion LSD is first installed to take advantage of.
  9. Rear subframe void fillers.

Given my use of the vehicle for commuting, and the occasional fun drive, but no track work, I feel that this suspension setup will be more inline with my use than a high performance replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Related question, in regards to the E87, is the Sport, M Sport, M Tech and BMW Performance springs all the same? Are these just interchangeable terms for the same factory lowered suspension setup?
How do these compare to the Eibach Pro-Kit for ride height?
 

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  1. I found that switching to a square 17" setup made a big difference to the balance of the car, it was a lot more neutral. Wheel/tyre choice is very personal though.
  2. Strongly agree. Night-and-day difference to grip, comfort and control.
  3. If you go with Koni SA, I'd stick with M-Sport springs. The SA/FSD shocks automatically adjust their damping based on the frequency of the impacts. Below a certain frequency threshold they're tighter/stiffer which gives you the better handling, above that threshold they're softer/bouncier to absorb the bump. Even though they're designed to work with Eibach Pro springs, the lower/stiffer your springs are, the higher your natural frequency will be meaning that you'll have less of a 'window' before the damper goes into floaty mode. As your springs sag with age, that window will get even smaller. Basically, SAs with lower springs kinda defeats the object of spending the money on SAs.
  4. Yep, do it. You might want to replace all of the mounts/rubbers - I did with mine. They were past their best so it made sense and the cost in the scheme of the job wasn't much. I'd also grab a set of camber plates from THETYRANT as they really do make a difference, fit them straight on to the new top mounts when off the car.
  5. There are 3 genuine suspension 'lines'; Sport was a trim level between SE and M-Sport, whether or not Sport models came with M-Sport suspension is model/region/year specific, but there's no such thing as separate suspension for the Sport trim level if that makes sense? The factory choices were:
    • SE – standard suspension, comfort focused.
    • M-Sport/M-Tech – factory fit on M-Sport cars, could be optioned on standard cars, 15mm lower than SE and more handling focused. Option code is S704A.
    • BMW Performance – Accessory/dealer-fit option, 5mm lower than M-Sport, and noticably stiffer too. Option code SZP5A.
    • Eibach Pro are roughly 10-15mm lower than M Sport, so 25-30mm lower than standard.
  6. You have a few options - I went with BMWP personally:
    • BMWP Front (roughly 15mm shorter than M-Sport)– 31331096099
    • E36 M3 front – 31332225377 (identical to BMWP but cheaper, apparently!)
    • BMWP rear (roughly 10mm shorter than M Sport) – 33536788905
    • Z4 rear (Identical to BMWP but cheaper, apparently!) – 33536770350
    • Koni rear (roughly 20mm shorter than M Sport) - 71.34.42.000.0
  7. I fitted M3 LCAs, and both sets of rear upper arms. I replaced my tension struts and drop links with Meyle HD, which are more OEM+ than performance. I didn't want to deal with the large NVH increase reported from the M3 TS.
  8. Good idea. Adding a rear ARB without an LSD is a very well known way to massively reduce the rear-end grip on a 1er.
  9. Also good idea. I used Whiteline's KDT918 kit.

P.S.: I took a liberty and turned your bullets into numbers to make them easier to reply to - hope you don't mind :eek2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
1. I found that switching to a square 17" setup made a big difference to the balance of the car, it was a lot more neutral. Wheel/tyre choice is very personal though.
Interesting. I'm surprised that a difference between square or staggered would be noticeable on a rear wheel drive vehicle which is already differently setup/balanced etc. between each end.
There wasn't a huge range of choice available and in my mind I like the idea of the staggered for the look and that it's generally how they come factory. Perhaps I'll try and get another matching pair in time (would I get two more front wheels or two rear wheels though?) and try the theory out...


2. If you go with Koni SA, I'd stick with M-Sport springs. The SA/FSD shocks automatically adjust their damping based on the frequency of the impacts. Below a certain frequency threshold they're tighter/stiffer which gives you the better handling, above that threshold they're softer/bouncier to absorb the bump. Even though they're designed to work with Eibach Pro springs, the lower/stiffer your springs are, the higher your natural frequency will be meaning that you'll have less of a 'window' before the damper goes into floaty mode. As your springs sag with age, that window will get even smaller. Basically, SAs with lower springs kinda defeats the object of spending the money on SAs.
Definitely, and this is where the dump stops lengths need to be considered as part of the equation. This morning I am nervous about committing to the Koni SA's. My hesitation is that there may be insufficient suspension travel length for the SA's to actually do there thing properly thereby defeating their purpose.
I'm wondering this morning if STR.T's would be a better option...


3. Yep, do it. You might want to replace all of the mounts/rubbers - I did with mine. They were past their best so it made sense and the cost in the scheme of the job wasn't much.

7. I fitted M3 LCAs, and both sets of rear upper arms. I replaced my tension struts and drop links with Meyle HD, which are more OEM+ than performance. I didn't want to deal with the large NVH increase reported from the M3 TS.
What exactly is also in there to replace at the same time?
a. Front strut top replace as there's clearly rubber in there. Should the Z4 top be used instead to give more travel for the front strut before bump stop contact?
b. Rear strut top? Is there rubber or a bearing in there?

90428ac8b7f00204915ca8057c57d86489f55416.jpg
c. Rear strut bottom? Is there rubber or a bearing in there?

4f7ce98a2142aa8e49545d7d4532e164a7fb1176.jpg
d. Replace front LCA with M3 type
e. Front UCA - replace with M3 type or rebush standard unit?
f. Rear upper arms (two sets) replace with M3 type?
g. Rear lower arms - replace with M3 type or rebush standard unit?
h. Tension struts - I'm not familiar with what these are or where they are located?
Hand tool Tool Bicycle part Font Metalworking hand tool

i. Drop links to Melye HD - are these what I'd normally refer to as swaybar link pins?
j. ARB/swaybar D mount bushes
k. anything else missed?

4. There are 3 genuine suspension 'lines'; Sport was a trim level between SE and M-Sport, whether or not Sport models came with M-Sport suspension is model/region/year specific, but there's no such thing as separate suspension for the Sport trim level if that makes sense? The factory choices were:
  • M-Sport/M-Tech – factory fit on M-Sport cars, could be optioned on standard cars, 15mm lower than SE and more handling focused. Option code is S704A.
  • BMW Performance – Accessory/dealer-fit option, 5mm lower than M-Sport, and noticably stiffer too. Option code SZP5A.
  • Eibach Pro are roughly 10-15mm lower than M Sport, so 25-30mm lower than standard.
Here in Australia, all 130i's were Sport trims. My VIN in Free BMW VIN Decoder : ///M Decoder lists S704 M Sports Suspension.
Interestingly, https://www.realoem.com/bmw doesn't list anything for the coil springs front or rear.
Given that BMW Performance and Eibach Pro are lower than this I will stick to my current springs as I want to have suspension travel, particularly if I go the Koni SA route as it needs some travel to do it's thing...


6. You have a few options - I went with BMWP personally:
  • BMWP Front (roughly 15mm shorter than M-Sport)– 31331096099
  • E36 M3 front – 31332225377 (identical to BMWP but cheaper, apparently!)
  • BMWP rear (roughly 10mm shorter than M Sport) – 33536788905
  • Z4 rear (Identical to BMWP but cheaper, apparently!) – 33536770350
  • Koni rear (roughly 20mm shorter than M Sport) - 71.34.42.000.0
Interesting.
I find it strange that BMWP parts would have their own part number if they are in fact identical - I wonder if there's not a difference in the compression rates. As to which would be more suitable, I wouldn't even know how to work that out, but would assume the BMWP to be so given it's original design intention for the chassis...
Whilst not a huge amount, the extra 10 - 15mm of suspension travel before the bump stops are loading up would certainly allow the shock (especially the Koni SA type) to do their thing better. It might lead to more body roll but as a former MX-5 owner, I've experienced first hand how body roll does not mean bad handling...
For the rear though, the Koni's sound like a worth consideration - at 20mm shorter than M Sport it's giving a 30mm more suspension travel into the system - is that too much though without stiffening the springs a tad?


9. Also good idea. I used Whiteline's KDT918 kit.
The other alternatives are Nolathane 49203 and SuperPro SPF3947K (front)and SPF3944K (rear - not sure why they've separated their offering...). They come out of the same factory here in Australia as Whiteline, just a different colour dye (red vs blue vs black). Depending on which is easier to source and more price friendly...


P.S.: I took a liberty and turned your bullets into numbers to make them easier to reply to - hope you don't mind :eek2:
I do not mind at all, I appreciate your reply and the time you spent on it, but I think I might have messed it up with my quoting as I was trying to break down all the info and work through it... Sorry.
Thanks again for your detailed reply!


I am also consider changing out the coil springs mainly due to their age (16+ years and 280,000km) which has likely resulted in significant sag (and increase risk of failed coil). Just trying to work out at E8x - E87 ride heights - M Sport, BMWP, Eibach Pro-Kit how the other options compare with my current ride height.


Came across 130i Front spring broke and options which goes slightly off topic with discussion about using the Z4 strut top which is 10mm lower. I can't figure out if this is moving the spring base causing 10mm lower ride height, or spring base remains the same and it's shifting the strut 10mm further away giving more suspension travel before the bump stops start to compress...


I am currently on page 14 of 53 of My suspension quest! 130i thread < My Suspension quest! 130i >.
 
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