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Don't forget the Factory 16" (archive)

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Posted by Bammer on July 23, 2000 at 12:14:45:

In Reply to: AAAAHhhhhhh - RICEBOY !! nO No nnnoOOO posted by Skitz von Bimmerhead on July 20, 2000 at 17:59:58:

Wow, a lot of suggestions here! Let me give you my two cents.

I put over 80k hard, happy, and trouble-free miles on a '90 M3. I debated updating the suspension the whole time but, even though the stock set-up is definitely a compromise (and probably a conservative one), the ride and handling were excellent.

The only thing I did do was go to the factory's forged BBS 16" wheel. A lot of people switch the wheels for cosmetics. I chose the factory 16" wheel for a couple of reasons:
1) The wheel is forged, not cast; it's stronger
2) The wheel looks stock (and it's still a pain to clean!)
3) The Factory used it on the Sport-Evo cars
4) It's a rare piece; I've never heard of anyone else even going to the trouble!

Basically, I traded forged aluminum in the wheels for some rubber in the sidewalls of the tires. The result was a slightly less-compliant ride with better feed-back through the wheel. It was a subtle, but noticeable improvement.

Now I can't really call this a budget approach, but swapping tires and wheels involved adjusting a lot fewer variables than digging into the suspension. Besides, I liked the stock set-up (and I never had to worry about all my interior trim buzzing loose or structural damage to the vehicle because of too-stiff a suspension.)

I know its neat to be able to rattle-off all the after-market tweeks you've done to your car. But I had to live with my car every day, not just brag about it on a web-site. And I avoid most modified cars like the plague simply because what sounds good bench-racing may not be the easiest thing to keep running. Parts-swapping is no substitute for good engineering.

My advice to you is to be smart and try to get some seat time in a car that's had some of the modifications discussed here done to it. Ask the owner what they think about what they've done. Then go home and think about it.

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