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      09-15-2014, 09:40 AM   #1
NISFAN
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Suspension...F30....time to get serious!!!

As many will know, I have admired some of my cars traits, but there is one department it hasn't performed well at all, and that is in the handling area.

I changed over to NRF tyres (only the rear at present) and although it made a whacking great difference on very rough tarmac (physical vibration reduced at least in half), it hasn't made much difference to the general handling.....as you would expect, they are only tyres, a small part of the equation.

Many know this already, but this is my second F30....the first I excitedly ordered the Adaptive M Sport suspension. What a let down. The car was actually faster in COMFORT mode than it was in SPORT. In SPORT mode the car was classic over damped.....it skipped under braking, and on bumps in the corners. Meaning very late braking was out, unless on very smooth surfaces, and you had to anticipate any imperfections mid corner, including roundabouts, as the front would hop sideways an inch or two.
Over rough B roads, SPORT was a liability, very crashy as the movement (of the soft spring) was clearly restricted by the damper. Another little trait was the car would 'jack', not a pleasant situation. Worse was selecting COMFORT on a rough B road....the car felt completely dis-connected with the road, it would float in the air leaving the front very vague. Now and then it would come crashing down into the bump stops, when the car would get all squirelly. Hmmmmm

So the second car I opted for just the standard 'passive' M Sport suspension. This I found better than the adaptive, it seemed more communicative, didn't have the extremes mentioned above, and in my view was the best damper setting for the spring (same springs used on Adaptive and passive apparently). Best damper setting, well yes, it is what the engineers would have used on the Ring to set the F30 up with in the first place.

However, the F30 is still, in my view, set up too softly....I blame RFT for making it almost impossible to get the suspension right on these cars. Stiff enough for a sporty drive (primary) = too harsh high frequency (secondary), and vice versa.

Being a Sporty driver, I was just not getting on with the F30. It is difficult to describe what it feels like under cornering....it feels like the rear rolls more than the front, which makes it 'feel' like the weight is on the front outside wheel....but it is not. The front is very soft and pauses before turning in. This can be felt by sawing the wheel on a straight road, the front turns like a boat, disconnected from what is underneath. Numb steering doesn't hep either....

.....anyway, something had to be done.

Now, what I came up with was not an easy decision. Most aftermarket suspension kits are bought by individuals that want a 'slammed' look. Consequently, the majority of the suspension kits offer 30-50mm drop. Way too much for me, even if this is from the base suspension which is 10mm higher than M Sport. I was looking for standard M Sport height or a max of -20mm.....no more.

This limited my selection to the Bilstein B16 PSS10 KOMFORT, which offers a 10-30mm drop range over the standard suspension (i.e. 0-20mm drop on MSport).

EDIT: Interestingly, the threaded section is significantly more than a 20mm range, more like 40-45mm, which has stumped me a little....I was expecting, set them half way and they should be good to go.....now I am unsure. Guess I will have to set them in the middle and adjust to get the desired ride height.

Parts were delivered today.....fitting booked for Thursday.

Verdict: Will update when I have had them fitted
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      09-15-2014, 09:49 AM   #2
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Very exciting - look forward to the reports!
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      09-15-2014, 09:58 AM   #3
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maybe change all 4 tyres ?
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      09-15-2014, 10:07 AM   #4
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Bilstiens very nice

problem with the billys in the pic you have is that rebound adjustment isn't separate from compression.

Also you cant keep preload separate from ride height- but then your not really lowering much so I don't think itll be a problem.


personally if I was "money no object" on suspension - id go for KW V3 with the optional EDC so that you can adjust the shock strength on the fly from a control panel. your probably looking at 2k for that kit though.

what confused me is that on the one hand your a sporty driver yet went for the comfort suspension system?
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      09-15-2014, 10:18 AM   #5
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coooooool
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      09-15-2014, 10:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NISFAN View Post
As many will know, I have admired some of my cars traits, but there is one department it hasn't performed well at all, and that is in the handling area.

I changed over to NRF tyres (only the rear at present) and although it made a whacking great difference on very rough tarmac (physical vibration reduced at least in half), it hasn't made much difference to the general handling.....as you would expect, they are only tyres, a small part of the equation.
To be absolutely honest here, for someone as experienced as yourself, who is not happy with the setup, I'm surprised you haven't made a fundamental 'first move' and get 4 tyres on the car which are the same. BMW chassis do not work as well with mixed tyres, proven so many times, with many models, by many experienced drivers. Two run-flat and two non run-flat are asking for strange handling characteristics. If it was me, I'd try a "set" of tyres before changing over to the new suspension and setting it up. Until you have a true benchmark of what the car will be like on the tyre of your choice, (as a set), you have likely compromised and/or strange handling anyway. I'd eliminate one variable before the new suspension, get some 'butt' data.

Not at all surprised you are not happy with some of its characteristics at present, with mixed tyres.

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      09-15-2014, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nas80 View Post
Bilstiens very nice

problem with the billys in the pic you have is that rebound adjustment isn't separate from compression.

Also you cant keep preload separate from ride height- but then your not really lowering much so I don't think itll be a problem.


personally if I was "money no object" on suspension - id go for KW V3 with the optional EDC so that you can adjust the shock strength on the fly from a control panel. your probably looking at 2k for that kit though.

what confused me is that on the one hand your a sporty driver yet went for the comfort suspension system?
I did consider KW V3, or actually the AC Schnitzer kit, which is a custom tuned version. Unfortunately, the drop on both of those is more than I wanted to go for. ACS effectively continues full warranty, which is worth something.

Also, I am more comfortable with the MONO TUBE concept, which is Bilstein, and have experience of PSS9 B16 in the past. A solid bit of kit by a company with a second to none suspension design pedigree.
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      09-15-2014, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
To be absolutely honest here, for someone as experienced as yourself, who is not happy with the setup, I'm surprised you haven't made a fundamental 'first move' and get 4 tyres on the car which are the same. BMW chassis do not work as well with mixed tyres, proven so many times, with many models, by many experienced drivers. Two run-flat and two non run-flat are asking for strange handling characteristics. If it was me, I'd try a "set" of tyres before changing over to the new suspension and setting it up. Until you have a true benchmark of what the car will be like on the tyre of your choice, (as a set), you have likely compromised and/or strange handling anyway. I'd eliminate one variable before the new suspension, get some 'butt' data.

Not at all surprised you are not happy with some of its characteristics at present, with mixed tyres.

HighlandPete
Pete,

I have done over 30k miles on same tyres front and rear.....fitting NRFT to the rear didn't throw any curve balls....to me the handling felt the same.

Yes the Michelin PSS I now have on the rear have changed the handling a bit, as they have an ultra flexible side wall. They still don't change the god awful chassis control going in a straight line over a bouncy road....that is 100% suspension related. The chassis attitude and dynamics on the F30 is poor for a so called 'Ultimate driving machine'. No tyre is going to make it good.

So whilst I agree in the perfect world, you would start with a base set of tyres, I honestly don't think the fact that they aren't the same will be a game changer. I suspect I will switch to PSS fronts in the next 5-10k miles, and will be in a better place (fingers crossed) to maximise the performance of the PSS with the new suspenders (See F30AM even has me calling them that ).
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      09-15-2014, 11:06 AM   #9
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Ah!

You didn't see the f30 report with this set up then NISFAN?...........

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      09-15-2014, 11:12 AM   #10
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Lordy me. You'll never be happy with that barge of yours. Time to get an R Hearse.
Do you have RFTs front and non-RFTs rear or non-RFTS of different makes front and rear? Either way, it is no wonder your barge is so confused! Does not know whether it is Arthur or Martha!
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      09-15-2014, 11:19 AM   #11
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Will be good to see the results. Nice one NISFAN
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      09-15-2014, 11:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Greek View Post
Ah!

You didn't see the f30 report with this set up then NISFAN?...........

I've seen a tuners report of a customers car on F30Post, which effectively ends with a bunch of pics showing 'slammed'....and 1000 posts of how cool it looks, and questions of what spacers they used. Not a word on how they actually perform.

....is that the one?
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      09-15-2014, 11:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by F30AM View Post
Lordy me. You'll never be happy with that barge of yours. Time to get an R Hearse.
Do you have RFTs front and non-RFTs rear or non-RFTS of different makes front and rear? Either way, it is no wonder your barge is so confused! Does not know whether it is Arthur or Martha!
Both my dear friend, Pirelli P Zero run flats fore and Michelin PSS NRF aft. My car doesn't know whether it should drive like an Italian or a Frenchman.
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      09-15-2014, 11:38 AM   #14
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I really don't know how you can having two very different tyres aren't making a difference
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      09-15-2014, 12:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jusdorange View Post
I really don't know how you can having two very different tyres aren't making a difference
It is why I would want a baseline to work from. The two tyre types are a fundamental mis-match.

My engineering R&D background teaches me you work "one step at a time" and eliminate the obvious and/or conflicts first.

That's not saying the suspension is OK with a set of tyres, but I'd want a good starting point.

BTW, I went through this exercise on the E91, so do have experience of "one step at a time" feedback. I had a second wheel set to use, so could experiment with tyre changes, damper change, plus damper and tyres.

The tyre change showed the damper weaknesses and then a cross reference to new dampers and original tyres. (Koni sent me info which I confirmed was correct, with my experiments on my car). I know you don't "need" to do the full works, but if you do you do then understand what is what.

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      09-15-2014, 12:09 PM   #16
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some of your complaints sound like you need to adjust your camber / caster and toe settings. id have had a play with them and got some higher rate springs and firmer anti roll bars before buying a whole new coilover setup.

@ stance related comments.

You do realise that people who make coilovers do so to improve the performance of a vehicle not to actually lower it? Granted I know some people buy coilovers just to slam a car (well not really anymore they buy air suspension now) Anyway, the reason you lower a vehicle your aiming to reduce roll center / gravity.
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      09-15-2014, 12:13 PM   #17
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Good luck, nice to see someone trying something different to sort the handling.

Will await the write up after they have settled in.
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      09-15-2014, 12:37 PM   #18
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I had PSS9s fitted to a previous car which went on track as well as road and they were a huge improvement. As you are, I'm thinking the suspension needs serious improvement, regardless of the RFTs. I'm changing my rears next month, fronts will be due around Feb and then I'm probably going to go with the ACS kit in March purely because they have fast road set ups already tried and tested and also a Nürburgring setup which could come in handy in May next year...Looking forward to your comments and updates.
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      09-15-2014, 12:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
. I've seen a tuners report of a customers car on F30Post, which effectively ends with a bunch of pics showing 'slammed'....and 1000 posts of how cool it looks, and questions of what spacers they used. Not a word on how they actually perform.

....is that the one?
Gotcha (again)!!



I'll keep throwing the bait NISFAN, if you'll keep biting.


F30AM, this one is for you!





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      09-15-2014, 01:56 PM   #20
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Good luck with the changes Gordon, I will be following closely.

Did you ever try your adaptive car with non rft? Having spent most if 2 week holiday abroad in sport mode and found it absolutely fine I suspect it's the combo of rft and uk roads and sport suspension that the issue.

I'm going to see how the car is on no rft tyres all round before making the decision on further suspension changes. But I can't see past the ACS RS kit.

What will you do with the ARBs? Birds have a set which I think is stiffer at the rear, which may help the balance you're talking about front to rear.
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      09-15-2014, 04:53 PM   #21
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Thanks for the call Gordon, I'll be watching with interest
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      09-15-2014, 05:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengocity View Post
Good luck with the changes Gordon, I will be following closely.

Did you ever try your adaptive car with non rft? Having spent most if 2 week holiday abroad in sport mode and found it absolutely fine I suspect it's the combo of rft and uk roads and sport suspension that the issue.

I'm going to see how the car is on no rft tyres all round before making the decision on further suspension changes. But I can't see past the ACS RS kit.

What will you do with the ARBs? Birds have a set which I think is stiffer at the rear, which may help the balance you're talking about front to rear.
No I didn't get to try NRFT with the adaptive car. I know people say that the new generation RFT are miles better, but they are still an unacceptable (to me) compromise. Can't wait to get rid of the fronts.

No I have to resist looking at Bird's stuff, otherwise I'll be LSD'd up before I know it. To much for a family saloon Diesel.

In all seriousness, I think stiffer springs will give what I want, although a stiffer rear ARB could make it more fun.
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