When I purchased my 2002 BMW 330ci, it came with DDM Tuning coilovers that the first owner installed. When these were first released, they were a cheap, entry level coilover. Horror stories abound related to their coilovers, but the ones for the E46 appeared to be an okay product. They included camber plates, not normally seen on coilovers in this price range. They do go pretty low, which is a plus, but the springs are rather soft.
Unfortunately, my car developed some issues, as the coilovers wore out. The DDM Tuning front struts and rear shocks are blown. The rear springs are worn and no longer provide enough resistance to even hold the car up. There was about an 1/8″ between the coils and they would bind on the smallest of bumps. The bushings on the rear shock mounts were worn and the camber plates were making noise. The coilovers needed to be replaced.
There are several options on the market of varying price and quality. Friends of mine have Tein and Megan coilovers on their rides, and they seem content with them. While the Megan setup is not a bad setup, I wanted something a little better. Seeing as I plan to have this car as a daily driver for a while, I decided it would be a good opportunity to pick up a set I could tweak to my liking. I decided on the Ground Control Coilover Conversion with Koni Yellow Struts and Shocks. A quick call to Ground Control, and they helped me pick out a set of springs to match my request for a daily driver that sees weekend autocross duties, a little on the stiffer side.
Here are the specifications of the springs I put on the car:
Rear: 550 lb/in – GC165.64.96 (6.5/2.5″/550 lbs)
Front: 440 lbs – GC150.64.77 (6/2.5″/440 lbs)
Because my car did not come with the stock suspension mounting components, I had to make some decisions on what to use to mount the shocks and struts with. For the rear, I purchased Rogue Engineering’s Rear Strut Mounts. This is a very cool design. The mounting studs are inverted from the stock setup and allows for the shock to be installed without removing the trunk interior trim. It also has different inserts to allow for different diameter shocks should I switch the shock in the future. The entire setup is a very nice, high quality part – definitely worth the money.
The front is a different story. The caster/camber plates on the market are very expensive. Because of this, I initially installed the stock strut mounts following the instructions from Ground Control. Unfortunately, this setup put my car 1/4″ higher in the front than the previous coilovers. It also does not have the alignment options it had previously.
The day after I installed the stock strut mounts, I started researching caster/camber plates. The general consensus pointed to Vorshlag as the best option. While one of the more expensive offerings on the market, the quality of their setup was raved about by everyone who had the setup. They are also a very knowledgable company that contribute to the enthusiast community. I ordered it that afternoon and three days later they were on the car. The parts are all top notch. The staff was helpful answering the installation questions I had. The plates are about 3/8″ or so thinner than the stock strut mounts. I actually had to raise the front suspension a thread or two! The added caster feels nice and the ability to adjust the camber is definitely appreciated. I still have to take it to a shop with a rack that is low enough to allow my car to be aligned on it. I will update this with the alignment specs.