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Old 19th April 2008, 20:31   #1
mx5freak2
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E28 Suspension Dillema

Hi Guys,

I've just posted the below to the s38-m88 Yahoo-group, though since it's for my Alpina and this could generally be an interesting thread, especially for E28 members, decided to (cross-)post the whole/long story here as well. Both FYI and looking for opinions/info !!

----------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Guys,

I'm stuck here with an issue since days, still uncertain what to decide on and am slowely starting to get stuck. Would like a second opion from you guys.

A bit of a story this, I know, but this may be of interest to more people here (probably generally E28/E24), so maybe worth-while to go through it.

I've got an Alpina B7 KAT E28 here. Yes, no M5 and the base BMW VIN identifies it as a German 535i KAT, but this was one of the later cars where the rumour that Alpina ordered M5-bodies from the factory for these cars seems to get confirmed. It has e.g. the battery in the trunk, full M5 extended trunk carpetting of the last series (medical-kit at the left behind a flap), a shorter M5 steering-house, and 1-2 more details if I recall correct. Also for the suspension load-wise this is more-or-less comparable to an M5 (320BHP/520NM), so...

I'm in the middle of a phased/part-restauration here after some storage-time and want to get the car technically in sound shape for the next technical checkup for road-registration.
With this we've found several dried-out suspension-rubbers and so, making me decide to do both the front- & rear-axle well (almost complete) in one go and replace all (incl. bushings):
tie-rods (left, right, center), idler arm, sway-bar links (fronts+rears), upper Thrust Control Arms (TCA), lower (tie-bar) control arms, the rubbers in the sway-bar (front+rear), rear subframe rubber-mount (rear beam bushings, the big ones), the 2 rubbers on either side of the rear suspension-arms (think I need 2x BMW #33 32 9 058 824)and rear pitman-arms (dog bones).
At a next stage I'd do the shock top-mounts, engine-, gearbox- and diff-mounts as well as the hardy discs in one go, making me alsmost complete then bushing/joint-wise in the suspension & driveline, but that's for later.

Now I'm very reluctant to go out and just pass the dealer for all parts. Mostly because I've had several bad experiences with dealer-supplied part-quality, next to that that each order I make regardless how short or long, arrives in several shipments, quite some time apart and from almost each order I've did for the M5 and B7 I still have back-order parts waiting to get delivered and not counting on them anymore. And since my car's at a friend who does this part of the work for me, an order delivery over several months won't be an option for him really, nor me because I wan't to get the thing through the technical check soon !
Last but not least, when going through the EPC-pricing and comparing to other brands, I'd have to pay for several parts double or more in comparison for already high-quality (non-China toys) parts from e.g. Lemfoerder. Where in the latter case I do have more trust in stable quality-levels. Meyle seems to be mixed when hearing some opinions.
So I've come up with the following possible solutions for the parts that don't have to be dealer-supplied (because Meyle/Lemfoerder wouldn't have them):

1. Get all Lemfoerder where possible, enhance with Meyle where Lemfoerder doesn't supply anymore.
2. Get all Meyle, but use the few HD-parts where possible.
(and what's this thing with seeing 750iL bushings from US sellers in TCA's !? The same as the HD-part or an own initiative ? Which is better ?)
3. Get all dealer-parts. (preferrably not)
4a. Go for either option 1/2/3 but get the bushings for the TCA's, Lower Tie-bars, rear beam bushings and the bushings for the stabilizers/sway bars from Powerflex. (Probably the purple ones then, afraid the black ones may be too overdone)
4b. Go for either option 1/2/3 but get the bushings described in 4a. From the dealer. (M5-parts where applicable).

The reason why I'm writing the 2 options 4 is yet another complication… When making a study of the Meyle/Lemfoerder part-catalogues I see differs between the BMW EPC and the OEM-assignments. There you can see that one or the other bushing or complete arm with bushing is identifed as replacement-part for the whole E28-series or just a few modells, although that would conflict what BMW identifies again. There are differs between Meyle and Lemfoerder even from what I recall !
Now to play safe that I get either the quality-level I'd expect or higher (small upgrade) in terms of capacity and firmness of the bushings etc., either on of these 2 could be an option…

I am also a bit reluctant on Power-flex, hearing stories ranging from getting quickly worn, bushings running out completely over to 'they're gods gift to this world' so to say… I would have the purple color and shape of them a bit, doesn't look original and could give problems maybe in time when getting to valuations and the likes, not all valuators like these things on older cars, but it would be an upgrade I believe/think.
Stupidly enough, nothing of these parts is addressed in the Alpina part-catalogue I have for the B7 BTW, automagically meaning that they'd normally default to BMW-equipment of the base-car (where I'm choosing M5 here), though I can't imagine that would be the case for all parts, also things to address later, but we'll see in time…

Now I'm very interested in opinions !!! )
Also, if you think I'm making mistakes, missing parts or can give further tips of things to address, please let me know…

And one more thing to decide on while at it, the sway-bar choice. Since I'd also have to replace these bushings/rubbers, there is the possibility of an upgrade the way things look…
I don't know what sizes Alpina used front & back, still have to measure them on my car, but on the EU M5's BMW used several sizes for the M5 already !
In the rear for normal cars 14mm (M5 specific according to EPC), for 'authoroties-cars' (e.g. police) 15.5mm (available for all E28's + E24 635csi) and from 10/86 on (no, not 9/86), the last EU M5 production-year also 18mm ! (according to EPC used on both M5 and M635csi) !
In the front you'd have either 21mm up to 10/86, M5 specific, or from 10/86 25mm for both M5 and M635csi again…

#A possible point of attention in regard to the clamps holding the swaybars at the front…for the rear the bigger 18mm rubbers would fit in the same clamps, for the front with 25mm a different part-nr. Is identified !! Up to 10/86 the #31 35 2 225 529, EPC-identified as E28M5 specific, after 10/86 you get the #31 35 1 131 622 which would be used in E28M6, E24M635CSI, but also ALL E32's, E34's, E36's and Z3's ! Each body-shape, engine-size, incl. M-modells…!! Yet Another EPC-error…!? Or successful production-planning ? :p
Power-flex knows about all and also has each size in their program for the E28…

My car's BMW production-date 9/86, when entering the VIN in the EPC I even get an explicit message at the start to watch out for modell-changes , so I'm quite certain that unless Alpina fitted something different, I'd have the 21/14mm combination.

Again, an interesting point at the side, would be open for suggestions…
Thanks in advance !

Cya
Rene.
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Old 21st April 2008, 15:21   #2
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I just went through the suspension on my 7/85 build e24 and ended up using a mixture of the Lemfoerder and Meyle parts. The Meyle TCA arms I used had the upgraded bushing which was supposed to be the 750 type bushing. I used the Lemfoerder parts where recommended and basically told my parts supplier who is very familiar with these cars to supply me with the parts that he recommends and uses on his own car.

I found that mine left BMW as an auto box 635 with a large case diff as spec'ed by Alpina but all of the other areas seem to be standard BMW. Mine also uses the stock 19/15.5mm combination sway bars.

For now, I plan to leave the bars stock and I am concentrating on reconditioning the car back to original spec.
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Old 21st April 2008, 16:13   #3
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Todd I am confused. I am also preparing to replace my Tierods and upper lower control arms on my 85 B7T. Are the oem parts from BMW not the same or better quality than the other 2 manufacturers? Call me to discuss this when you get a moment. I may need your assist on what the best course of action is here as well as advise on all parts to replace at the same time.

thanks

David
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Old 22nd April 2008, 04:07   #4
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Hi Todd (?),

Can you please tell me which parts you mean when stating 'I used the Lemfoerder parts where recommended ' ?
Also, the TCA's with the 750 bushing, is that effectively the bushing Meyle delivers their /HD variants with or is this a more firm type ?

Overall, what's the quality of the outcome in your opinion ? Happy or would you advise to use something else somewhere cq. do or choose something different if you'd have to redo it ?

TIA!
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Old 22nd April 2008, 15:11   #5
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I list as much as I can but I basically went on recommendations from a specialist.

The lower control arms are Meyle.

The TCA's have the Meyle HD bushings installed but I can not say what brand the arms are. (The bushings were installed by the supplier)

Tie rod assemblies; I do not know.

Center link is Meyle.

Idler arm: I do not know.

Sway bar links are Meyle.

I still have the packaging for everything and will check to see if I can get more info.

I know that I will not be driving the car much and do not plan to get overly agressive with it but also wanted good quality parts. I don't want to be doing this again very soon because I tried to save a few dollars.

How does it perform and what are my thoughts: I will have to let you know later as it is still not back in the car. The engine is assembled and is sitting on the complete subframe with the steering system intact. I am currently working on the shocks and struts and I am in the process of replacing the upper mounts and the spring pads. I had planned to have everyting back together for this weekend but due to the business schedule, the snow ball effect of the project and a minor back sprain, I am several weeks behind.

I hope I was able to help some. I will say that I have used basically the complete Meyle package on my wife's 635csi (she is extremely abusive on suspension and steering) and it has held up very well. The car has 160,000 miles on it and the suspension was completely redone at 110k. It is due for attention and probably replacement of all parts but I just did the HD TCA bushings and one tie rod end and seems to be holding up as well as can be expected. It is basically just spare transportation at the moment and very often get just the minimum to keep it in sound condition.

Todd
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Old 22nd April 2008, 15:12   #6
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David, I will call today.
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Old 22nd April 2008, 15:31   #7
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Rene

get OEM or Lemfoerder or Meyle as it doesn't make much difference. the OEM parts are easily available and last time I checked they weren't much apart in price.

Get the black powerflex bushings and don't install them on a 2-post hoist.

Quick way to determine if your car has M5 shell is looking inside the doors to see if they have the protection bar.

W
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Old 24th April 2008, 16:37   #8
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First I heard of Alpina using M5 bodies. I have the battery in the rear with the fully carpeted boot, it left BMW Feb 87 and Alpina Mar 87, is that the late run?
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Old 25th April 2008, 17:49   #9
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Hi Sterb,

Ehrm, 'rumour goes' that the last E28 B7's from Alpina having Aircon Alpina ordered M5 bodies for but with 535i technique. (well, almost completely). THese can be identified at least (outside of these points) by having the battery in the back-right, full M5 carpetting (with the 1st aid kit in the left) and most likely like mine, with the M5 steering-housing. Still uncertain if I have the M5 or M535i brake-callipers in the back for example, some more research needed on the car, also for the stabilizer bars, etc.
But looks like you've also got one...

On the striked-through BMW VIN it'll still show (at least for KAT modells) as 535i KAT though, you may want to try a vin-decoder like on e.g. e34.de (like that one), the Z1 forum or www.realoem.com.

Cya
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Old 27th April 2008, 14:08   #10
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That's interesting. Mine also has the Alpina aircon fitted.

(as a side note anybody know how to convert it to the current gas? I've not found anyone that knows what they're talking about...)

By M5 steering housing I take it you mean it is only the housing no the whole assembly? Because if I recall correctly than the M5 steering was different to the standard 5 (sharper).

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