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ISC Coilover installation review

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  • ISC Coilover installation review

    So after owning my little 328i xdrive for a little over a year, I decided I finally couldn't take the ride height/body roll/crap Sachs dampers anymore. But what am I to do? I want a conservative ride height, but I don't want front H&R and Bilstein are out. Buuuttt I also don't want some crazy, undrivable "slammed" situation that rides like junk...Its a daily driver in northeast Ohio...lets think about this like a grown up.

    My compromise was to go with ISC Street Comfort Coilovers. Not a "slammer" or "track" coilover setup, these are made for the daily driver in mind. Kind of the best of both worlds at this price I see it.
    Bolting them on is no big deal provided you've done some suspension work and can be done in an afternoon. A few nice features these guys offer are standard thrust bearings in the front and a bolt in rear height adjuster. Most companies I've seen ditch the upper spring cup in order to put the spring height adjuster in its place. This is great for changing ride height easily (cause, you know we do that constantly...right..?) but in my opinion, takes some of the safety away from the suspension design. These adjusters BOLT into the bottom of the control arm and make me feel a little safer. again, my opinion FWIW.

    Post install the alignment was almost spot on, noting a slight tweak didn't fix. I haven't added adjustable rear arms, which I'm told aren't NECESSARY...but I'm thorough and I want my alignment proper thank you. So those will go in as soon as I finish making a decision there.

    Hows the ride?

    Well, I'm happier than a pig in slop, to be honest. Coilovers ride a little rougher - you should know this going in. As coilovers go, these are beautiful. Turn the damping down and you have a slightly firmer than M-Sport feel with almost no body roll (enter the: "where bod-roll REALLY comes from" argument). The lady even likes the ride although she says it sounds clinky over low-speed undulations. Yes, dear, those are solid pillow ball mounts, could I make it quiet-ER with a rubber top mount??....sure. But at some point, we need to hike up our skirts and be enthusiasts about it.

    I have had numerous people (all with coilovers on their personal cars) drive mine and every time I do I hear the same thing: "those are the most comfortable coils I've ever ridden on!"
    One fellow E9X enthusiast commented that "had you told me you were on M-Sport suspension I wouldn't have questioned you".

    On the road, I really haven't found the new limit on this car and quite frankly I'm done trying. The other day I had an experience on an offramp that made a little poo come out... let's just say the car was fine but when I looked down at my speed I panicked. I'm pretty sure I heard the car mutter "you're a P***Y" as my right foot eased the brake pedal down.
    With the stock sloppy setup you could load the outside suspension to hell and back and let the car do the thinking; huck it sideways as hard as you can and let the DSC sort it out. DTC if you're feeling spunky. Try those shenanigans now and you're gonna be in a world of hurt. I've never felt a car bite and hook its nose around so quickly and predictably. I can't even imagine what it would be like with bigger sway bars/poly bushings.

    I'm running Hercules Raptis tires right now, 243/35/19 (I know, I know get some real rubber) Even with the so-so performance of "no-season" tires the grip is ridiculous. More than I could have ever asked for, It truly TRULY feels like a different car.

    I was prepared to go all out with this thing - Coilovers, sway bars, arms, bushings, etc. But after feeling the difference that was made by this setup I'm not too sure it really needs it. Like I said, I didn't even expect it to be this good, so what more is there to do?? Thinking like an adult, I want to make sure the alignment is proper and I'm not going to waste tires in 3K miles. I may spring for adjustable toe arms in the rear...FEEDBACK APPRECIATED HERE.

    To sum it all up, I think coilovers are great. You can spend over 5K or as little as 500 (although I wouldn't suggest looking at a set less than 1000.00)
    Many companies offer a "comfort" valving option that I think most people overlook because after all COMFORT doesn't equal SPEED. For some reason instead of being logical and making a wise choice, we spring for the super "racecar" parts and then bitch when the car turns into an uncivilized mess that won't move in an inch of snow. Must be those crappy coilovers, right? No, its an idiot trying to turn a streetcar into a racecar even though he only drives the car 5 miles to work and has never been on a track a day in his life. The proper parts, installed PROPERLY on a well-maintained car can yield breathtaking results. Don't believe me? PM me and swing up to sunny Ohio and I'll let ya drive it!

    You take the good, with the bad and if you know what you want and choose WISELY...sometimes, just SOMETIMES, things work out better than you ever could have planned. Oh, and don't forget to set that pre-load.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by motiv87; 09-11-2018, 07:48 PM.

  • #2
    Great write up and good insights. Car looks great and not too low.

    I've thought about picking up coilovers for the E34, but I'm currently happy enough with my current H&R/Koni Sport combination. I'd say that they are a little too stiff for the broken pavement of Chicagoland, but it's a decent trade off for the overall improvement. Click image for larger version

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    Attached Files
    1992 BMW 525iT • 1976 BMW 2002 • 2017 GTI SE


    • #3
      Love the E34! Thank you for the feedback. I'm actually thinking of going slightly higher in the rear. It has a pretty "tucked" look right now which I don't know if im crazy about. The way your car sits would be almost perfect. Just a little bit of wheel gap, maybe a slight forward rake. Time will tell hahaha.


      • #4
        I'm not sure if the E34 Touring has a rake or just looks like it. Mine did the same thing when I had JOMs on it. Sort of like how all '67-'68 Shelby GT500s look like they're sitting on their haunches when they aren't.
        Originally posted by Dan
        My name is Edward


        • #5
          As the official photog of ECS I can say the difference in ride height is perfect. Didn't get to drive it on the road, but I like a healthy low.


          • #6
            I'm moving this to tech, because it seems like a better fit for tech.
            Originally posted by Dan
            My name is Edward