top of page

Firming up The Front End at BMW Overnight Camp...

So, after getting the DINAN upgrades done and the software loaded. It was time to do some more physical work on the car. As usual, I had come up with a hair brained idea to accomplish this. This time, I had an accomplice to help. You think misery likes company, insanity likes it MORE! I had arranged with my friend Steve - who happens to own a DINAN 7 E38 M-Sport - that we should do an all nighter wrenching fest on our cars.

Steve had needed to get his suspension done for a while, part of which involved installing a recently rebuilt DINAN Stage II Suspension kit that consisted of shocks, springs and camber plates.

Our crazy plan was to do an all nighter on the cars - work on them over two days non-stop till we were done. We would wrench on suspension till we dropped or the cars dropped on us! LOL! We would start on a Friday afternoon and work all the way till Saturday night with any needed breaks in between. We would not quit until we finished the cars. The cars here were my now DINAN 5 M5 and Steve's DINAN 7 740i M-Sport. To get us started, our friend Todd who happens to have a DINAN 5 Wagon dropped by with much needed sustinence.

We spent the better part of Friday afternoon through Friday night into the wee early hours of Saturday. I developed E38 envy during this process. To replace the front sway bar on the E38, we only had to unbolt the engine mounts and lift the engine about 6 odd inches to get the sway bar out. With the engine lifted, we were able to wiggle the bar out of the driver's side. It took us all of 30 seconds to install the new one.

I remember talking with Nathan Fete at DINAN about the DINAN Front Sway bar and the work involved. It was a very, very good modification for the E39 chassis. It helps improve chassis rigidity and handling significantly, however it took a fair amount of work to install due to the design from BMW. Darn you Dingolfing engineers at times! You owe a lot of use beers for busted knuckles and wounded egos.... LOL! Anyway, replacing the E39 sway bar involves removing or at least lowering the front sub-frame, ask me how I know.

Anyway.... once we were done with Steve's car, we took a small break and then started on the ///M5. I believe we made a great choice in the parts we selected - we are going with Meyle HD suspension components for this, supplied by FCP Euro. I chose the Meyle over others because Meyle seem to have a good grasp of what high performance means. We are talking first about an M5 which is a performance oriented sedan capable of transporting 4+ people in luxury and in a performance envelope. Also, it is a DINAN edition now with DINAN rated KONI Sport struts and DINAN springs. This meant it would have a firmer, yet compliant ride. I needed suspension components that would compliment this and be able to handle the higher requirements of this set up. Not only does Meyle perform well here, their HD line helps with it's firmer bushing compounds and ability handle more, last longer while performing better overall in a more demanding environment.

With fresh knowledge still running around in my head, I made light work of removing the old components from the car. I was going like greased lightning - off came the sway bar links, the tie rod ends and the steering linkage, the thrutst arms / lower control arms, then..... then..... ARGGH! It all came to a grinding halt at the Ball Joint of the smaller upper control arms. For some reason, BMW decided to make the knuckle height at this ball joint higher than normal - I guess to make it beefier. The problem here is that te ball joint remover or jaws as I call them - were not big enough to cover the top of the ball joint. We were stuck! End of the line.... for now! Talk about energy draining - UGH!

So..... we had to go hunt down a larger ball joint remover tool. After about an hour or so, we found one. Then it was back to the work at hand. Off we were again. Out came the stubborn ball joint and off came that Smaller Upper Control Arm..... You're outta here!!!!!

With the old and worn parts out, it was time to get the new and fresh in. Not that old things are worn or bad, you should try some of the "old" wine I had recently. However, with automotive parts like this - old is bad.... bad, bad, bad! So.... I re-installed the new Meyle JHD components - thanks Carolyn Dub! Thanks Meyle! Thanks FCP and Thanks Brittney! I actually really said this while laying under the car turning wrenches.

It was great to get the new suspension parts installed. It is quite a bit of work, you need to bolt back a bunch of things - steering arm, steering linkage, control arms, ball joints, the sway bar and sway bar links. Then you have to torque everything down properly. It's almost like performing witch craft at times. Oh.... and don't forget the couple of times I stared into space with a blank confused face trying to figure out how to mount the ball joints because being the genius I am, I flipped sides on the arms by mistake. So, my right was my left for a moment. I blame it on zero gravity like disorientation from working upside down, I think I can apply to the NASA Space program now.

Any-Hoo..... the suspension is all bolted up and I have take a test drive. There is still a slight vibration from the suspention though. I will be touching base with MEYLE to seek their help to figure it out. Might just be my brain was so fried from all the work I may have missed something

More to come........

bottom of page