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Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? #5343039 02/06/20 07:44 PM
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antonmnster Offline OP
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At 215k it's time for another pair of struts and shocks. The car is a sport package 2007 BMW 335i. At this mileage I'd normally start to consider pulling the plug on major maintenance items, but I had the driveshaft rebuilt last week, and the car still drives really really well. And since a more modern replacement could run $35k, why not just put some money into the basics and see how far it can go?

So, the front struts are getting weak. And the mounts in the rear knock when it's below 10F. The fronts are a pain to compress, but I've done it before. The question it: I can get the OEM Sachs set for around $400. But there's the Bilstein B4 line (available in "sport" to match the oem spring rate) for $330.

Does anyone have any experience with the B4? In all honesty, I'd love something more pothole friendly, but don't want to change the springs. Longevity isn't as much of a concern, as I can't imagine this car will be on the road at 18 years and 315+k.


2007 BMW 335i n54 210,000 miles, lubricated by whatever is on sale
Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343057 02/06/20 08:10 PM
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drtyler Offline
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The Sachs are probably better than the budget Bilstein B4.

However, Bilstein B6 and B8 are a different story, although they firm up the ride a bit.

Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343063 02/06/20 08:15 PM
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Egg_Head Offline
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I've run B4's on a Volvo, but not sport. Rough as a cobb but Volvo's have a different suspension setup from BMW. I would recommend keeping it with the stock sports package setup w/Sachs. In this case the money difference is insignificance to the ride compliance. Dodging potholes with sport B4's at 10F? No thank you.


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Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343077 02/06/20 08:24 PM
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FowVay Offline
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I am changing the front struts and other items on my 1999 E46 323i this weekend. I replaced the rear shock absorbers last month using the Sachs offering for my non-sport suspension and that is what I am using for the front replacements. The OEM struts are made by Sachs and they've lasted a long time and performed very well over the years.

My struts are $100 each (from FCPEuro) and of course I'm changing all of associated hardware. The only oddity is that one of the struts came from Germany and the other came from Turkey. I hope that isn't a problem but it is what I have to work with so it's going to have to do.

I considered the Bilstein replacements but for the cost I chose the OEM supplier and that was Sachs.

I'm also changing the alternator (OEM Bosch) and the power steering hoses and hood hydraulic struts. It's time for a refresher on these items so I'm investing about $600 in the old girl this weekend.

Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343094 02/06/20 08:42 PM
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Audios Offline
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Sachs is the OE supplier, and theyve gotten you 215k, so you know the quality is there. If theres a huge price difference the B4s would work fine, however I consider them more towards the higher end of budget level than an OE quality strut. They will work fine, and I often use them at the shop, I just dont think theyd go 215. I often see the rear bumper washers go back, if the rear shocks are weak they can take a pounding and be bent out of shape. 33 52 6 764 418, Strut Bumper Washer


2002 VW Golf TDI-T5 10/30
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Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343097 02/06/20 08:45 PM
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antonmnster Offline OP
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I replaced what I assume was the original set at about 120k. So 100k our of a set lines up with my experience of owning 3 series for the last quarter century.

I bought a set of rear mounts last year but never installed them. Figured I'd just wait to order shocks also.


2007 BMW 335i n54 210,000 miles, lubricated by whatever is on sale
Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343111 02/06/20 09:00 PM
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Kira Offline
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No talk of bushings at this mileage?

Bilstein H6 (heavy duties) are going in my Volvo V70. STUPENDOUS improvement in a 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero driven conservatively.

My V70 has 102K. Bushings later.

Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343130 02/06/20 09:28 PM
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antonmnster Offline OP
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Control arm bushings? The thrust arm bushings make it about 3-4 years before the potholes take them out. I put a set on last year.


2007 BMW 335i n54 210,000 miles, lubricated by whatever is on sale
Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343145 02/06/20 09:54 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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Monroe makes quick struts for your BMW ontome

Some of those B4 Bilsteins are reboxed Sachs anyway, especially when Bilstein isn't the OE supplier. So between those two, get Sachs.

But if you can afford them, the Bilstein B6 is probably worth the extra money.

You will probably get the best ride from Koni Special Active (formerly FSD, now painted red instead of gold).

Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343174 02/06/20 10:23 PM
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Superflan Offline
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I'd go for OEM Sachs at that price difference.


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Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343243 02/06/20 11:46 PM
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I put bilstein b4 on my 3 series and Sachs on my 5. They are quite similar. When I did mine the b4 were substantially cheaper at RA than the Sachs.

Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343257 02/07/20 12:17 AM
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I put B4 on my 528i Touring. IMO, they provide ample firmness without harshness. I bought the car with 80k on it, so I never experienced how it felt with a completely new suspension. In my case the shocks (rear) struts (front) made a modest improvement at just under 100k miles. The thing that really smoothed it out was replacing the subframe bushings - it was a huge improvement, but common in the tourings but not so much the sedans.



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Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343345 02/07/20 06:01 AM
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Trav Offline
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Sachs for similar money. The B6 and B8 Bilstein are another story.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343376 02/07/20 06:52 AM
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Sachs and switch to non-run flat OR perhaps consider going up 5 percent in aspect ratio. BMW specified slightly taller RFT on F3x (225/45 Fr, 255/40 R) vs the E9x (225/40 Fr, 255/35 Rr).


“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

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Re: Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW? [Re: antonmnster] #5343438 02/07/20 08:21 AM
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I would go with the Sachs.


1998 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 4.0L/5MT (156k) - PHM 10w30, Wix 51085
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