Shocking advice? Bilstein B4 or Sachs for BMW?

Messages
1,063
Location
Minneapolis
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.
 
Messages
717
Location
GA
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.
 
Messages
638
Location
North Carolina
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.
 
Messages
2,892
Location
Georgia/Retired
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.
 
Messages
2,235
Location
Lyndhurst NJ
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
 

antonmnster

Thread starter
Messages
1,063
Location
Minneapolis
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.
 
Messages
8,047
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
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.
 

antonmnster

Thread starter
Messages
1,063
Location
Minneapolis
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.
 
Messages
10,592
Location
USA
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).
 
Messages
694
Location
Indiana
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.
 
Messages
5,124
Location
Atlanta,GA
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).
 
Messages
12,457
Location
Indiana
I'd use whatever is cheaper. I've had good luck with both and will continue to buy either or. I will say the Sachs quick struts I put on the wife's Volvo are awesome. Going on 2 years now.
 

antonmnster

Thread starter
Messages
1,063
Location
Minneapolis
Well... I went with the Sachs. Not much of a price difference in the end. Might as well go with what I know. Changed the plugs, cabin and air filters, and the vacuum plumbing today. Might as well keep the unit on the road!
 
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