I decided to tackle the install using my friend's shop yesterday. Fortunately, he has a lift and a full set of tools, especially some specialty tools. Having done suspensions on E46 M3s and E39 M5s before, I figure I would have a pretty good idea of what to do and would be able to finish the job in a few hours.
Bad assumption. There were new obstacles that I hadn't encountered before, but luckily for me I had access to the TIS and was able to research the repair instructions as well as all tightening torques. In all, I probably spent 6 hours on the install. The first three were on the first corner alone!
Now that I have done the install, I think I can probably complete it in <4 hours, which seems to be the norm. I learned the tricks along the way to make life easier the second time around. It is always the longest the first time you tackle a job like this.
warning: If you don't have the tools and a lift, I would not recommend the install. Based on my experience (suspensions, brakes, clutch/flywheel, engine swaps), I would rate this with a 5 difficulty on a 10 scale. Not tricky, but time consuming. It is also necessary to have the tightening torques, as some bolts are stretch bolts and require an additional process.
The one process that I did and is not done by most installers is to jack each corner up to the intended ride height and then torque down the bushings. This way the bushings will not be preloaded when the car is lowered. You would be amazed at how much tension those bushings are capable of holding.
I also decided to use spacers: 12mm front and 10mm rear. They really push the OEM wheels out and fill the arches nicely.
Now onto what you've all been waiting for...... the pictures. Here are a few that I took today. The lighting wasn't the greatest, it was overcast and the sun was beginning to set. Enjoy!
Thanks for your post. I was just thinking about spacers--I love the factory wheels but I'm looking for that "stuffed fender" look without looking too aftermarket. Your pics put me over the edge. Order placed!
One comment I disagree with: I don't think you need a lift to install springs. I installed my Dinan springs in my garage, comfortably, with the car on jack stands. The job doesn't require any special tools beyond a spring compressor, so to anyone who has moderate experience working on cars and has a complete set of tools, it's not challenging.
But, I absolutely agree, it's critical to torque any suspension mounting point with a rubber bushing only once the car is at "empty weight" and level on the ground. If your installer does not do this you'll be back in six months for new bushings!
Now onto what you've all been waiting for...... the pictures. Here are a few that I took today. The lighting wasn't the greatest, it was overcast and the sun was beginning to set.
And this is the only line I will take issue with. That is PERFECT lighting Car looks great (and your pics are better than 98% of the ones posted on here)
And not all US customers have the front plate deleted. I'm in NY too, and I have the front (we're supposed to). I didn't have it on my M3 and had way too many cop related headaches. They're annoying enough as it is without inviting them to ticket you further.
Beautiful job! I have to say, I think the H&R springs and spacers as you've done them give the car the absolute best, most aggressive look of any spring/spacer combination. What your pic's show especially well is how the H&R springs even out the front and rear wheel well spacings, and make the car look more balanced front-to-back. Also the spacers fill out the wheel wells perfectly.
I'm really pleased with the ride and handling as well - good choice!
You will need to remove a tiny bit of material from the flange in the rear wheel wells ($100 at a good body shop) if you want to avoid rubbing with a full load.