Tuesday, March 8, 2011

struts, shocks, and coil springs

The correct bilstein shocks for the early e21 320i and the 323i front struts are "P36"...The later 320i's uses "P30" bilsteins...These P designations refers to the outside diameter of the shock.

If you call bilstein what they want you to do with there replacement is use a ring at the shock collar that allows you to put a P30 shock in the larger 323i and early 320i strut tube, THIS 'work-around' is a real mistake in a vehicle with lowered suspension. This configuration will bottom out.

Rear Shocks
Bilstein still offers the e21 rears B46-0617, but the fronts P36-0124 are NLA.

Replacements:  E30 bilsteins will fit the E21 323 strut housing. They are both the correct 36mm around, and the correct height. When looking for used shocks you might also look at the E12 or E28 shock instead as they are also bilstien P36's.  The diameter of the strut. 323 and 1977 320 are the same. I know that the early 320i had larger hubs than the later 320i, and the same size as the 323i.

  • All 323 used a 51mm strut tube.
  • All 320 used a 45mm strut.
inner bearing, outer bearing from 09/79 320
29 X 50.29 X 14.22-------- 17 X 39.87 X 13.84

inner bearing, outer bearing till 08/79 320

31.7 X 59.13 X 15.8-------- 19 X 45.23 X 15.49

inner outer 323

31.7 X 59.13 X 15.8-------- 19 X 45.23 X 15.49

320 till 08/77, used a
 51mm strut tube and vented brake disc and larger calipers to match
320 from 09/77, solid disc.
323 - same brake as 1977 320

Bilstein will explain the difference in sizes among the E21 4cyl Sport, the E21 6cyl Sport, and the E30 6cyl Sport. Valving and compression stroke within the strut are the same. They also fit the strut tube the same as the e21 323.

Bilstein East Coast # 704-663-7563
Bilstein West Coast# 858-386-5900

Even though 323i front struts are No Longer Available, Bilstein does have those dimensions. Just ask them to compare the e21 323i size with the e30 6cyl/m3 size, SSDD.

Question:  If E30 struts are really the same as 323's why wouldn't Bilstein recommend them as a substitute instead of the 320i struts with spacer? For that matter, why would they call 323 struts NLA in the first place?

Answer: Saying 323i e21 front struts and e30 front struts are "the same" was a bit too cavalier a term for engineering/mechanical/retail purposes. NEARLY identical is more correct. Bilstein as a wholesaler wouldn't really recommend one application over the other since they aren't a direct retailer, and don't really care where we spend our money. So when we pulled e30 HD's out of a 323i strut tubes, and called Bilstein for a little "what the hell?", they confirmed that the tube dimensions and stroke and compression were appropriate for the e21 323. On the other hand, Bilstein may not KNOW that they have struts that would fit the 323. When you buy brake calipers for your e12, e28, or e32, they don't say...also fits e9, e10 2002 with tii struts and spindles, and e21 323. That is what we are here to discover...

Korman sells makes the adapters that allow the 320i struts to work in the big tube or all the early style bushings in delrin.

1982 323i Rear Suspension

'82 323i Rear Trailing Arms Mounted for Fit Before Rebuild

Sub-Frame After Removal
Sub-Frame after sandblasted, with fresh primer
Close-Up of the 323i Rear Disc Brake
Close-Up of the 323i Rear Disc Brake
Rear Trailing Arm after Sandblasting & Primer
A Close-Up of the Welded 'Dinan' styled Camber & Toe Adjustment Guides
A Close-Up of the Welded 'Dinan' styled Camber & Toe Adjustment Guides
Notice that the Guides glide Horizontally & Vertically
Fuel Filler Tube

Brake Pads

Wheels - BBS RS 005 Forged Wheel 16 x 7j et11


BMW Motorsports Styled (reproduction) Front Valance/Bumper

Notice the lip at the bottom of the valance!

4x100 15" WEDS Bavaria Wheel

4x100 15" WEDS Bavaria Wheel

7 Series Wheel Weds Bavaria 1 18x9.5 2 piece

This is a rare staggered 15" by 6.5" / 7" set of WEDS "Bavaria" 2 piece rims. Not sure if they were made in the 70s or 80s? I bought these for my e21 restoration project which is a ways from done so I don't need these at the moment. I am in a bit of a financial crunch so I need to sell these fast. These rims have been restored and never mounted since I bought them. The powder coated centers and hardware are flawless and the polished aluminum lips are mirror perfect. They have no curb damage or pitting. All the center caps are included with new bmw roundels. I priced these to sell so if you know the rarity of these rims you'll know this is a steal, my loss is your gain. These will fit the BMW 2002, e21 and e30 models, e30s would need to be flared though. There's probably more vehicles that will fit this offset, not aware of any myself.  Buyers are responsible for determining the fitment of these rims to their vehicle, all dimensions are provided below.

Rim Diameter-(15")
Rim Width-(6.5")
Overall Rim width-(190mm)
Back Spacing-(110mm)
Hub bore-(57.1mm)

Rim Diameter-(15")
Rim Width-(7")
Overall Rim width-(205mm)
Back Spacing-(110mm)

Hub bore-(57.1mm)

They sold for Buy it Now on ebay...i missed the opportunity...$1500.00

Enkei 2 piece 15" 4x100 et 10-20

jrcook: "whether or not they fit will depend on the profile of the inner wheel lip. Even if it "fits", make sure the tie rod dust boot isn't rubbing the lip as you'll wear through it and junk a rod end.

BMP sells cheap 5 and 8mm spacers but you'll need longer wheel bolts (or convert to lug studs). 8mm would be ideal to set your offset right at 12mm.

Motorsport tech can make custom hub centric spacers in any width, but you'll spend $200 just on spacers (that's what I'm running)."



They sell a 3mm hubcentric spacer for about $35 a pair. I've used these with both sets of my wheels that have 20mm offset.

16x9.5 et28 3-piece Epsilon Southern Way wheels with 5x4.75 pcd (5x120.7mm, but many people have run these as 5x120 with no problems).

These are 3-piece forged aluminum wheels, very lightweight

 16x9.5 et28 3-piece Epsilon Southern Way wheels
with 5x4.75 pcd (5x120.7mm, but many people have run these as 5x120 with no problems).

Black Hartge Wheels