In Reply to: upgrade rim/suspension and performance posted by norman on September 15, 1999 at 18:42:28:
First, the 17" rims/wheels should not add weight and may even be lighter.
I converted to Racing Dynamics springs and Bilstein Sport shocks last spring, but maintained the stock sway bars and wheels. The handling improvement is very nice; I took it to the track in May and will be back again next month.
You need to define your needs first. Are you looking for street handling improvement or are you going to driver's schools/autocrosses, etc, as well as street. Where do you live, and what are the roads like?
The RD spings, like the Dinan, lower the car, but a bit less than the Eibach or H&R, and aren't quite as aggressive. Therefore, they retain more ride quality. Having said that, think about the shocks. The Bilstein Sport (you should change to shocks designed for the shorter springs, such as the Bilstein Sport, Konis, etc) shocks are great for the track and for smooth surfaced roads; however, on sharp changes in road surface, like the edge of a shallow pothole, they can be very harsh. I've confirmed with others that this isn't unique to my car.
I live in the Boston area and drive the car all year, so piotholes and frost heaves are part of the game, and they hurt! If I were doing it over, I'd consider Konis, even though they're more expensive.
I'm sticking with stock wheels for the street, although I may get 16 or 17" for the track if I can find some inexpensively. Again, otholes are hell on wheels that have 45- or 50-series tires not protecting them; and wheel repairs start at about $80-90 per wheel.
I will probably add Racing Dynamics sway bars next year, although I'm a little concerned that they may be too heavy, unless I can find M5 take-offs. The M5 and Dinan use 25 mm front bars, whereas RD and others use 27 mm.
I suggest, unless you're looking more for show than handling, that you go with springs/shocks as Stage 1, then maybe wheels/tires if you're so inclined. Sway bars are Stage 2, and the strut brace, if you can find one, camber plates, etc are Stage 3.