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  #1  
Old 08-17-2009, 06:52 PM
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Shock/Strut Recommendations

I have a 1993 W124 300D that wallows a little much for my taste.
The previous owner installed new shocks but they are cheap and they have about 40K miles on them by now.

I am considering Bilstein Heavy Duty's all the way around but I have considered another option.

Do the Bilstein Sports lower the suspension any?

I ask because I carry anywhere from 40-80 pounds of stuff for work in my car and often it's in the trunk or the back seat.

I am considering putting the HD's up front and some Sports in the rear.

Any ideas on this?

I want to avoid nose lift because I suspect that this at least partly to blame for my relatively poor fuel mileage (26-28mpg in almost all highway driving).

In my W123 300D I got almost three miles a gallon better and faster acceleration when I removed all the tools from the trunk right before I sold it. I had Bilstein HDs all the way around on that one but it still didn't keep the rear from sagging, raising the nose.
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:15 PM
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Sports are valved pretty differently than the HD, I wouldn't mix the two... Sports are also quite a bit firmer than the HDs. I have Sports on my '83 745i

Rear sag is mostly the diff mount and worn out springs.
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2009, 07:34 PM
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The shocks will not have a significant affect on the ride height. Similar gas pressure, it's only there to keep the oil from boiling, different valving/damping.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:12 PM
LarryBible
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The sports are different length for a different height suspension. The Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks are ideal for your car. They will not only give the car the correct valving and dampening characteristics, but will last a LONG time. Stick with the Heavy Duty front and rear.
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2009, 11:24 PM
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The W124 has a complex arrangement of struts comprising the rear suspension and 4 big bushings attaching the subframe to the car. At 220K miles, your car likely needs some new bushings or struts. The diff is not an active part of the suspension as it is in the 123 and 126 but there are mounting bushings that wear as well.

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  #6  
Old 08-18-2009, 12:12 AM
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x2. Bilstein offers "heavy duty" and "sport" as the options for the W124. Your wallowing may very well be due to ancient wear parts (bushings, etc.) needing replacement. The five-link W124 rear suspension is excellent but the bits and pieces do need to be kept in good repair, including the three rubber mounts for the differential. Jack the rear wheels off the ground; any link that you can twist with your hands probably needs to be replaced.

With the suspension in good repair, the load you have won't matter at all. BTW, much/all of the repairs can be done yourself -- replacing links, replacing the shocks is easy, replacing the links on the end of the anti-sway bar is trivial.

Jeremy
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2009, 05:08 AM
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Would anybody recommend replacing all four springs as well?

As far as the rear suspension bushings go, I am getting some serious squeaking from back there.

When I bought the car the transmission was shifting very harshly(vacuum leak in the emission control system since bypassed) and the right rear shock lower mounting bolt was loose so it clunked very harshly with the tranny shifting the way it was.

Because I don't know how long the shock was in this condition and because I know that the PO also drove this car on dirt ranch roads I am pretty sure that this shock, at least, is toast.

The squeaking comes from both sides of the rear suspension and I also get them occasionally from the front.

I know that the PO replaced the tie rods up front but I haven't checked the bushings there or the rear.

The strut mounts up front are also cracked pretty bad and deeply. They're basically shot.

Do they make a urethane strut mount for this car? If so, would you recommend that over a rubber one?

I have also heard that there is a rubber pad between the top of the springs and the body on the rear.

If so, do they make a urethane version of that? Recommended?

I haven't really checked out any bushings so I will definitely have to do that before I proceed.

I haven't actually measured the gap between the wheel center and the fenders on the rear so I don't know for sure that they are sagging but they appear as though they might be. I also don't know for sure what that measurement is supposed to be.
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Last edited by i-osprey; 08-18-2009 at 07:45 AM.
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2009, 07:47 AM
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Another option I have considered is buying some Sportline springs.

If I did that, does anybody know what size/model number I should get for front and rear?

Also, what would be the appropriate strut/shock for them?

Would the HDs work or should I go with the Sports?
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  #9  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:17 AM
LarryBible
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Again, the sport shocks are simply shorter to work with the shorter springs of the sport suspension. What you do NOT want is a mix of sport shocks with standard springs or sport springs with standard shocks.

If you are going to change to the sportline springs, you need to also change the sway bars. You are opening up a pandora's box.

I went through several iterations of spring/shock/swaybar combinations and I finally ended up with what I consider the optimum. Very few people will agree with me and that's fine. Everyone is free to set up their car as they like.

I FINALLY went to stock springs, Bilstein Heavy Duty at both ends, stock front sway bar and 500E rear sway bar. With the extra heavy rear sway bar, a good bit of the understeer is taken out. The car goes where I steer it.

REGARDLESS of shock/spring/swaybar choices, all suspension members and mounts must be in good shape. You can inspect the dogbones in the rear suspension visually. If any joints have rubber sticking out replace it. Grab the differential at the u-joint and shake it up and down to check the differential mounts. If they are loose replace them. Check ALL ball joints,and steering joints for tightness.

With everything in good shape, stock springs and fresh Bilsteins, you will have a great driving car. Go one step further with a 500E rear bar, and you will have a greater driving car.

My $0.02,
Larry
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2009, 11:10 AM
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If you carry heavy loads, I'd avoid sportline springs and sport shocks. Starting off with a lowered stance probably won't help.

Urethane bushings are available but I hear they're ridiculously stiff for everyday driving. I don't know if a urethane strut mount is available.

There are a couple of bushings on the aft end of the diff that are probably shot if the car was driven with harsh shifts. Look under the car and see if the bolts going into the diff from behind are centered in their bushings. Most likely the left bolt has bottomed in the bushing cavity.

There is a carrier bearing between the rear knuckle and the lower control arm. It's not obvious from a casual glance there's a bushing in that joint. That bushing is notorious for causing an embarrassing creak when you put weight in the car. Sounds like the frame bending.

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  #11  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:39 PM
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x2 on the rear bushing, between the wheel carrier and control-arm, EXTREMELY common creak/failure at this age (same location as a lower ball joint in the front). You'll need to remove the wheel to see it well, rubber boots are probably gone and the bushing shot. The most commonly failed rubber part in the rear suspension is the thrust-arm, the upper link going forward from the wheel-carrier, you buy the link complete and the updated bolt/mounting kit, fairly inexpensive and simple to replace.

Front is possibly the ball-joint. If the boot is good, and the joint tight, you might have luck with greasing the joint with a hypodermic-needle style grease-gun adapter and high-pressure lube (such as CV joint grease). On a '93 I'm not sure the ball-joint is replaceable, might need new control-arms (which come witn new bushings so all is good).
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2009, 01:52 PM
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Mine has a little squeak noise in the back too....eventually I will look into it....I figured it was one of the bushings/arms. First thing to replace is the front strut mounts though.
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryBible View Post
Again, the sport shocks are simply shorter to work with the shorter springs of the sport suspension. What you do NOT want is a mix of sport shocks with standard springs or sport springs with standard shocks.

If you are going to change to the sportline springs, you need to also change the sway bars. You are opening up a pandora's box.

I went through several iterations of spring/shock/swaybar combinations and I finally ended up with what I consider the optimum. Very few people will agree with me and that's fine. Everyone is free to set up their car as they like.

I FINALLY went to stock springs, Bilstein Heavy Duty at both ends, stock front sway bar and 500E rear sway bar. With the extra heavy rear sway bar, a good bit of the understeer is taken out. The car goes where I steer it.

REGARDLESS of shock/spring/swaybar choices, all suspension members and mounts must be in good shape. You can inspect the dogbones in the rear suspension visually. If any joints have rubber sticking out replace it. Grab the differential at the u-joint and shake it up and down to check the differential mounts. If they are loose replace them. Check ALL ball joints,and steering joints for tightness.

With everything in good shape, stock springs and fresh Bilsteins, you will have a great driving car. Go one step further with a 500E rear bar, and you will have a greater driving car.

My $0.02,
Larry
OK, I definitely don't want to lower this car. I've had a lowered car in the past and it was miserable to drive around town.

If I find a 500E rear sway bar, will I have to modify anything to install it.

Can I just hook it up to whatever exists on the car now?

Did you buy new shock springs or just use the originals?

Thanks for your help.
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  #14  
Old 08-19-2009, 07:57 AM
LarryBible
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The 500E is a bolt in swap. In order to change the rear sway bar on the 124 cars, you have to unbolt the suspension mounts and lower the assembly a little to snake the old bar out and the new one in. You don't have to disconnect brake lines or anything like that, just lower it a bit, just enough to get the job done.

As I said before, I have stock springs and regular Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks all around. With the stock front sway bar and the 500E rear bar the car is amazing. The only regret I have is all the messing around I did in the course of discovering this. If I had it to do over, I would have bought a 500E rear sway bar the day I bought the car. I would have then simply maintained the suspension and made no other modifications.

I bought my 500E sway bar from FastLane. It cost a little over $200. That was a number of years ago, so I don't know what one would cost now.
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  #15  
Old 08-19-2009, 08:13 AM
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I have the HDs on my SDL and it rides like a dream. It is very controllable but not harsh.
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