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E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
10-06-2019, 04:37 PM (This post was last modified: 10-06-2019 04:50 PM by Tinuva.)
Post: #1
E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Wife's car had a front right shock that was leaking, and this prompted me to start updating the suspensions of both cars. The thing is, this car was driving buttery smooth. No vibrations, no knocks, no sounds and while it felt fairly rough, I thought that was just sport suspension. It was mostly a really good driving car.

The plan was to do it in stages, after reading this you will see there are some must replace now things picked up along the way.

I also learned a few lessons along the way... BlueCry

Anyway, first parts to acquire was the shocks. I decided on the Koni Special Actives after AdiS mentioned them and I did as much research as I could and it was decided. Sadly, I waited about 2 months, but I hope it will be worth it.

For those interested, whether you have the normal suspension or the sport suspension, only the rear shocks are different, front are the same for both suspensions.

non-Sport: https://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-55510...shock-kit/
87451022KT Kit Contents
Qty Description T# Part#
1 Special Active - '99-05 BMW 3 Ser E46 RWD LF T#553456 8745 1022L~KON
1 Special Active - '99-05 BMW 3 Ser E46 RWD RF T#553457 8745 1022R~KON
2 BMW 3 SERIE (E46) FSD ACHTER T#555107 8245 1023~KON

Sport: https://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-55345...truts-kit/
8745 1022lKT Kit Contents
Qty Description T# Part#
1 Special Active - '99-05 BMW 3 Ser E46 RWD LF T#553456 8745 1022L~KON
1 Special Active - '99-05 BMW 3 Ser E46 RWD RF T#553457 8745 1022R~KON
2 Active FSD- '99-05 BMW 3 Ser E46 RWD Rear T#553458 8245 1024~KON

Both the cars me and the wife drive have sport suspension. I was uncertain about my car, as it is not listed on the vin as with hers, but a look at the rear springs convinced what it is. 330i cars all should have sport suspension, and will have 3 stripes on the rear springs. 330i without sport suspension, allegedly pre-2001 will have 2 stripes. 316-325s will have 1 stripe normal suspension and 2 strips for sport suspension.

Once I had those, I needed to get the other parts that go with them. Mostly it is rubber around the springs or mountings for now, and importantly, I wanted to add the extra re-enforcement plates front and back.


[Image: screen shot 2019-06-10 at 3.56.02 pm_2091552666.png]

Looking at the price, I decided to leave the rest of a stage 1 update for later. I was actually uncertain of whether I really need new rubber pads for the springs and the mounts. Well during the install I found the front endlinks are due for update... The front control arm bushings are shot...

Anyways before I get too far ahead of myself.

The car, a 2002 5 speed manual silver 330i, owned for just about a year now. Originally the car was owned by a dealership for the 1st 10'000km, where after it had a single owner who intended to keep it until his dying day, but after he hurt his back decided to sell it. The history is regular services, multitudes of wheel alignments, and it had new brakes, clutch plate and clutch and was mostly original stock standard from there.

I decided to use Tyres and More to do the install, mostly because I have little time nowadays and their price was not too bad and included a wheel alignment. Later it turns out this was one of my wiser choices.

As updates, one find some historic treasures along the way. Before I drove the car to Tyres and More, I decided to take off the side panels in the boot, it will have to go off anyway and I'd rather do it myself than have the guys with their dirty paws do it.
ps. They still got dirty with black grease and I had to clean it after wards.

First treasure:
[Image: img_20190608_150628_5226006042.jpg]Not exactly how I would fix this, but I guess its ok and the lights work.

Next treasure I don't have a photo, but there is insulation over the shock towers in the boot, and I expected holes to be cut in the top from a previous shock replacement, except there were none. So here I thought this car had at least had one shock replacement in it's life, until I saw this. I left it and drove to Tyres and More.

Just before the car went up, mileage shot, so that I know when it has reached the 1000km needed to have the suspension set.

[Image: img_20190608_095628_5996351554.jpg]

So Zain asked which is easier, front or back. I said lets start with the back as they really are easier. Well he made it look even easier than I thought it would be from youtube videos.

First pics, the old shocks.
Rear left, old shock, spring removed to do pads:
[Image: img_20190608_085706_9231267720.jpg]
[Image: img_20190608_085714_4736444721.jpg]

Removed shock (confirmation):
[Image: img_20190608_094045_8336970931.jpg]
I felt like pulling a Ramashocked faced here. Hammerhead
Original OEM Sach shocks, all around in this car!! Fencelook

In fact, these shocks were so bad, I might as well have been driving without shocks. You can push them in very easily, and it doesn't push out by itself like the new shocks. Saying these shocks need to be replaced was a huge understatement.

Shock replaced, and spring back with new pads. Notice the blue stripes showing this is a sport suspension spring:
[Image: img_20190608_092738_2143562552.jpg]

Top part mounted. The gasket sits below the body, where as the re-enforcement plate sits top. (no photo of that sorry)
[Image: img_20190608_092750_1488533308.jpg]

We then moved to the front shocks.

Comparing old vs new front shock mounts:
[Image: img_20190608_094531_2949515897.jpg]
[Image: img_20190608_094723_71155303.jpg]

Putting the spring on:
[Image: img_20190608_100213_7548913718.jpg]
You can see the front re-enforcement plate already there, as it goes inside the strut tower.

And installed:
[Image: img_20190608_094837_7719475021.jpg]

Next up was a wheel alignment. I was happy to see they have a John Bean machine, and it had the correct profile for sport suspension with 17" wheels, which most of the other places I go to do not have. It actually did the alignment correctly, but will be back after 1000km.
[Image: img_20190608_103119_1637032735.jpg]

Anyways, test drive afterwards is where the bad news started... BlueCry

First problem, I hear a soft knock in the front of the car, while applying brakes softly at anything from 40km/h up, but that problem quickly seemed like nothing when I heard the loudest knock ever from the right rear after driving over slow bump. BlueCry BlueCry

I literally wanted to cry, but went back. The new rear right shockmount, the rubber literally pulled out! I have seen photos on the internet where it pushed out into the boot space, but not like mine where it pulled down. I was furious at BMW as this was a new OEM part. Anyway Zain said to calm down as he will use a press machine to press it back in. He believed the factory made a mistake and that it wasn't pressed in properly. Gave him the chance to do this, and went for another test drive. I can say safely now after about 50KM and many bumps the rear shockmounts are fine.

Anyways the soft tick tick tick knock sound from the front while braking is still there. I did go back, and they believe the issue is not new, but more apparent since the new shocks are installed. They believe its the FCABs, and honestly, they are shot.

Front left FCAB:
[Image: img_20190608_124056_6612060000.jpg]

Front right FCAB:
[Image: img_20190608_124048_1010453095.jpg]You can see what the leaking shock did, and it had to be replaced before I can do this bushing. Only question is, did it also affect the ball joints in the control arm.

Anyways, told the wife until I have this sound sorted out, she will have to drive with my car, so that I can drive this one, you know, just in case. Still need to do the shocks on my car, but putting on hold until this car is 100%.

Car is already booked for service, will have Garage808 double check the torque on all the bolts hopefully, just in case its not just the FCABs.

Thank you for reading if you got this far. I sure as hell learned a lot.

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01 BMW E46 330i 5-speed manual
95 Nissan 1400 bakkie
03 BMW E46 318i N42 Manual Sold
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10-06-2019, 04:45 PM
Post: #2
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Hey bud nice work so far, I went through the suspension replacement exercise on my E46 at very similar mileage. I noticed that when I replacement one component with something new it also highlighted issues in other areas. I suggest doing the complete front control arms and bushs, sway bar end links, and rack ends.

In terms of the soldering on you rear brake light, the E46s have an earthing issue on the lights and the cable and connector tend to melt preventing the rear lights from working. I would leave it as is, if you replace the connector it will just melt again Thumbs

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10-06-2019, 04:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(10-06-2019 04:45 PM)Nikhil Wrote:  Hey bud nice work so far, I went through the suspension replacement exercise on my E46 at very similar mileage. I noticed that when I replacement one component with something new it also highlighted issues in other areas. I suggest doing the complete front control arms and bushs, sway bar end links, and rack ends.
All part of the plan. Doing this on 2 cars. The parts list I have shown, is a small piece of the long list of things to do on the suspension. Its really long...

(10-06-2019 04:45 PM)Nikhil Wrote:  In terms of the soldering on you rear brake light, the E46s have an earthing issue on the lights and the cable and connector tend to melt preventing the rear lights from working. I would leave it as is, if you replace the connector it will just melt again Thumbs
I wrote "now" instead of "not" initially. I don't have my 318i anymore, but I did it much cleaner way that what I found on this car. With my version it wont melt but is also removable. I guess the removable is not important, its not like you can get OEM LED parts for sedans.

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01 BMW E46 330i 5-speed manual
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03 BMW E46 318i N42 Manual Sold
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10-06-2019, 06:22 PM
Post: #4
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Any impressions of what the shocks feel like, or is it too soon to say?

2004 BMW 330i M-Sport 6MT
Ex. 2004 BMW M3 Coupe 6MT
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10-06-2019, 06:49 PM
Post: #5
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Those bushes do look like end of life.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~ Winston Churchill


peterkarvelas@gmail.com
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10-06-2019, 06:57 PM
Post: #6
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Interesting thread @Tinuva.. I am literally doing shopping around in the opposite way.

My 330i suspension felt especially horrid after visiting cars in the park 2 weeks ago and driving on the grounds there, finally got around to having the suspension checked out... My LCAB's are shot. Since I have never done any suspension work, I am treating it as though everything is still OE.

Was hoping to do a full refresh in one go but given the E90 coming in, it makes sense to save some cash for maintenance on the 'daily'.. That said after doing some research, I decided I would break down the suspension work into 2 rounds. First I will do the bushes/links/joints and then the shocks + associated bits.

For the shocks, I like the idea of the special actives. With regards to the other items, I'm currently looking around at options, heard great things about Meyle HD and Lemforder.. Also had good reviews on Teknorot from some friends. Haven't given much consideration to the poly bushes due to complaints around 'hardness' and squeaking.

If you or any of the E46'ers are able to provide feedback on what parts to source or avoid, tips and tricks, etc, please share. Think this thread will have some very helpful, locally relevant bits of information.

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10-06-2019, 07:03 PM
Post: #7
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Teknorot packaging is superior to its content.
Lemforder is scarce at the best of times given that the agents ZF could not organise a piss up in a brewery or a ..ck in a brothel.

Meyle is really the only acceptable alternative on the e46 if one looks to aftermarket.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~ Winston Churchill


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10-06-2019, 07:10 PM
Post: #8
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(10-06-2019 07:03 PM)Peter@AEW Wrote:  Teknorot packaging is superior to its content.
Lemforder is scarce at the best of times given that the agents ZF could not organise a piss up in a brewery or a ..ck in a brothel.

Meyle is really the only acceptable alternative on the e46 if one looks to aftermarket.

Thanks Peter, I've PM'd you with what I'm looking for, hopefully you can assist.. I've also read there's a difference between Meyle and Meyle HD.

Looks like there isn't the widest choice of options out there and if I'm being honest, Goldwagen pricing seems very decent but the brands available for my application are not.

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10-06-2019, 09:51 PM (This post was last modified: 10-06-2019 09:58 PM by Tinuva.)
Post: #9
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
@KPM_330
Knowing what I do now, I wish I got the RogueEngineering rear shock mounts instead of the OEM with re-enforcement plates. They allow you to install/uninstall shocks from the bottom, without having to tear open in the boot everytime you do shocks.

If I could get Lemforder front strut mounts I would instead of OEM. I think they more cost effective. But like Peter mentioned...to source...

As for bushing. On the FCABs and LCABs go at least with one of the rubber options with OEM being as good as you can get on a daily. If you want to track, then go poly, keeping in mind, to keep the squeaking away you need to re-grease them once every 3 months at minimum. They are easier to install than OEM, so that makes up for the regreasing.

The only bushing I went poly with, is the rear diff bushing, which I have already done on both my cars to get rid of the knock sound at the back when starting in 1st.

For the front control arms, you really only have 2 choices if you doing it proper.
1. Upgrade to Mtech2 control arms (about the only difference between sport suspension and mtech2 sport package)
2. Meyley HD which I believe should include FCABs

(10-06-2019 06:22 PM)AdiS Wrote:  Any impressions of what the shocks feel like, or is it too soon to say?
So I have the following to compare them to:

330i sport suspension with orignal parts, a real hard ride.
330i sport suspension where at least the shocks were changed to gabriels.
318i standard suspension where the shocks updated to gabriels by me and fcabs renewed.

The 318i was a really nice soft ride and car felt fine on the road.
The 330i with original old oem was a harsh ride, but felt so solid on the road. Which I find impressive.
The 330i with gabriels felt softer than the 330i with shot oem sachs, but still a much harder ride than the 318i.

Even my wife commented on how much softer my car is than hers before the upgrade.

Now, I know the new shocks have not set yet, but I really like how they make the car feel so far on a daily commute apart from the issue mentioned above.

Driving over the road imperfections here in Cape Town, and there some really bad ones, you feel them, ever so slightly more than the 318i with standard suspension and new shocks. So it feels soft, but also not soft.

Steering is slightly softer.
Car still feels planted on corners on de Waal drive, but you would know those are easy going soft corners.

So in short, very happy with how comfortable the car feels. Its really close to standard suspension for comfort, but you still feel the road.

Looking forward to test Franschhoek pass when the shocks have set and I replaced a few more items.

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01 BMW E46 330i 5-speed manual
95 Nissan 1400 bakkie
03 BMW E46 318i N42 Manual Sold
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10-06-2019, 11:07 PM
Post: #10
E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
Interesting thread and actually just what I was looking for... Although I drive a completely different car...

My old benz has become quite arthritic in the front end now so I'm looking at preparing to do a complete refresh in the front and potentially shocks and springs all round.

Supplier wise, any recommendations?



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11-06-2019, 08:00 AM
Post: #11
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
This is very interesting and also got me thinking about investigating my suspension, I’m curious.... what would the cost figure be for a refresh like this?

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2001 BMW E46 330i
2014 BMW F20 116i
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11-06-2019, 09:16 AM
Post: #12
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(10-06-2019 04:37 PM)Tinuva Wrote:  First treasure:
[Image: img_20190608_150628_5226006042.jpg]Not exactly how I would fix this, but I guess its ok and the lights work.

Looks ok as a fix though it looks like more trouble that would be necessary for this. Personally I would use a brush and some acetone or IPA to clean that flux off, if nothing else makes the fix look more professional (should also improve the longevity of the solder joint).



(10-06-2019 07:03 PM)Peter@AEW Wrote:  Meyle is really the only acceptable alternative on the e46 if one looks to aftermarket.

This saddens me greatly as as my experience with Meyle parts on my e46 has been pathetic to say the least Sad
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11-06-2019, 10:44 AM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2019 11:01 AM by KPM_330.)
Post: #13
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(10-06-2019 09:51 PM)Tinuva Wrote:  @KPM_330

As for bushing. On the FCABs and LCABs go at least with one of the rubber options with OEM being as good as you can get on a daily. If you want to track, then go poly, keeping in mind, to keep the squeaking away you need to re-grease them once every 3 months at minimum. They are easier to install than OEM, so that makes up for the regreasing.

For the front control arms, you really only have 2 choices if you doing it proper.
1. Upgrade to Mtech2 control arms (about the only difference between sport suspension and mtech2 sport package)
2. Meyle HD which I believe should include FCABs

Thanks for the feedback @Tinuva, didn't even consider poly bushes due to the re-greasing and since my car doesn't see the track, no need to put up with the harder ride..

So, I've had a look at RealOEM for part numbers, please feel free to correct or advise @Peter@AEW, @Charliebrown, @Nikhil:

Front Control Arm: Left - 31122341297
Right - 31122282122

Lower Control Arm Bush: 31126783376 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar End Links: 31352241254 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar Support Bracket: 31351094552 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar Bushings: 33556751269 (sold in pairs)

Tie Rod Ends: Left - 32106777503
Right - 32106777504

I am assuming that the rack ends come as part of the full tie rod assembly?

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12-06-2019, 12:52 PM
Post: #14
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(11-06-2019 08:00 AM)Nobz330i Wrote:  This is very interesting and also got me thinking about investigating my suspension, I’m curious.... what would the cost figure be for a refresh like this?
It depends on what exactly you want to update/refresh on your suspension.

Here is the document I use working out costs ect:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...sp=sharing

You will see its heavily based on a guide from e46fanatics, and is broken up into 3 stages. Currently I am still busy with what you call a stage 1 refresh, but will do up to at least stage 2 completely.

So depending on what you want to refresh, and how long you going to keep the car, is where I will say you need to decide.
If not keeping the car long, I would do at least shocks+fcabs+rear-diff-bush.
If going to keep the car indefinitely, do at least stage1+stage2+rear-diff-bush.

If you decide to change the diff to a higher ratio one, for example if you have a 6 speed gearbox, people like going from 2.9x to 3.x something, do stage3 because you have to take out everything in the back anyway.

Depending on brands you choose, price can also vastly differ.

Another fact is, everything apart from the fcabs and shocks, will last the lifetime of the car if you replace it now.

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01 BMW E46 330i 5-speed manual
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03 BMW E46 318i N42 Manual Sold
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12-06-2019, 01:18 PM
Post: #15
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(11-06-2019 10:44 AM)KPM_330 Wrote:  
(10-06-2019 09:51 PM)Tinuva Wrote:  @KPM_330

As for bushing. On the FCABs and LCABs go at least with one of the rubber options with OEM being as good as you can get on a daily. If you want to track, then go poly, keeping in mind, to keep the squeaking away you need to re-grease them once every 3 months at minimum. They are easier to install than OEM, so that makes up for the regreasing.

For the front control arms, you really only have 2 choices if you doing it proper.
1. Upgrade to Mtech2 control arms (about the only difference between sport suspension and mtech2 sport package)
2. Meyle HD which I believe should include FCABs

Thanks for the feedback @Tinuva, didn't even consider poly bushes due to the re-greasing and since my car doesn't see the track, no need to put up with the harder ride..

So, I've had a look at RealOEM for part numbers, please feel free to correct or advise @Peter@AEW, @Charliebrown, @Nikhil:

Front Control Arm: Left - 31122341297
Right - 31122282122

Lower Control Arm Bush: 31126783376 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar End Links: 31352241254 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar Support Bracket: 31351094552 (sold in pairs)

Front Sway Bar Bushings: 33556751269 (sold in pairs)

Tie Rod Ends: Left - 32106777503
Right - 32106777504

I am assuming that the rack ends come as part of the full tie rod assembly?

Hey bud best way to verify part numbers is on real OEM. Below are the brands I would recommend from personal experience

Front Control Arm: Left - 31122341297 - Lemforder
Right - 31122282122

Lower Control Arm Bush: 31126783376 (sold in pairs) - Lemforder or Powerflex

Front Sway Bar End Links: 31352241254 (sold in pairs) - Meyle HD

Front Sway Bar Support Bracket: 31351094552 (sold in pairs) not needed unless the bracket is damaged

Front Sway Bar Bushings: 33556751269 (sold in pairs) - Meyle HD

Tie Rod Ends: Left - 32106777503 - Meyle HD
Right - 32106777504

Shock mounts - Febi Bilstein or OEM

I am assuming that the rack ends come as part of the full tie rod assembly? Correct they should be supplied with the boots aswell.

Current rides
1995 E36 325i [Unfinished Monalisa]
2004 E46 330D M-sport [167wkw 556nm]
2012 Yamaha FZ6R - Stock
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1998 160i Conquest Rs
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12-06-2019, 01:37 PM
Post: #16
RE: E46 Shocks - Koni Active Special
(12-06-2019 12:52 PM)Tinuva Wrote:  
(11-06-2019 08:00 AM)Nobz330i Wrote:  This is very interesting and also got me thinking about investigating my suspension, I’m curious.... what would the cost figure be for a refresh like this?
It depends on what exactly you want to update/refresh on your suspension.

Here is the document I use working out costs ect:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...sp=sharing

You will see its heavily based on a guide from e46fanatics, and is broken up into 3 stages. Currently I am still busy with what you call a stage 1 refresh, but will do up to at least stage 2 completely.

So depending on what you want to refresh, and how long you going to keep the car, is where I will say you need to decide.
If not keeping the car long, I would do at least shocks+fcabs+rear-diff-bush.
If going to keep the car indefinitely, do at least stage1+stage2+rear-diff-bush.

If you decide to change the diff to a higher ratio one, for example if you have a 6 speed gearbox, people like going from 2.9x to 3.x something, do stage3 because you have to take out everything in the back anyway.

Depending on brands you choose, price can also vastly differ.

Another fact is, everything apart from the fcabs and shocks, will last the lifetime of the car if you replace it now.

Thank you so much for this I’ll go through it and start also saving money so I can do everything at once... since mine is an auto I take it the diff can’t be changed ?

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2001 BMW E46 330i
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