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BLAU® BMW Shock and Strut Replacement Kits
Development and Engineering Strategy
Suspension Ride and Driving Experience
BMW Shock Replacement Information
BMW 323 factory standard suspension vs factory sport suspension.
Description of the front and rear BMW 323 shock and strut set-ups.
How to determine if your BMW 323 shocks are bad and in need of replacement
Do I really need to replace the BMW 323 shock mounts, stops, and boots too?
We've assembled these kits using over 27 years of service knowledge and experience. BLAU® BMW 323 shocks meet / exceed the quality construction of KYB GR2 shocks, Boge shocks, or Bilstein shocks (Touring Class Brand). Our kits are packaged to include all the necessary shock mounts, bump stops, dust boots, and shock related hardware to ease installation. You won't have to run to the hardware store when you strip that seized bolt during old shock removal. When replacing all critical components you can be assured of that new BMW 323 feel again! With decades of European automotive experience we understand how important the BMW 323 driving experience is. 'Feel The Road™' with BLAU® BMW 323 shock absorber replacement kits!
Most owners would agree that the BMW driving experience is one of the things they love about their car. However, over time and with increased mileage, many begin to experience a softer and less responsive feel and handling. We understand how important it is for owners to restore their suspension back to that genuine "Feel the Road™" German driving experience. The development goals of our engineers were plain and simple... to make that happen!
How did we accomplish this? First, we talked with BMW enthusiasts who have stock factory shock absorbers and asked them what improvements they'd like to see in regards to the ride and handling of the standard suspension. Our engineers used this valuable input to manufacture and thoroughly street and race track test our BLAU® BMW shocks. During the development process we made continued improvements. Refinements that affect the dampening characteristics resulting in less vehicle body roll during cornering without sacrificing everyday straight line driving comfort. Valve refinements produce firmer, more responsive vehicle ride quality that translates through the steering wheel. This improved ride quality provides even more confidence for drivers. By listening to fellow discriminating European car owners, coupled with our 27 years of specialized European knowledge, our engineers are able to provide BMW 323 owners with a genuine Feel the Road™ ride quality.
BLAU® BMW 323 shocks have been engineered to produce a first-rate sport feel, one that is firmer than that of the stock factory Standard setup. BLAU® shock dampening rates produce ride characteristics that can best be described as a comfortable firm sport feel. As a result of our shocks being gas charged, they're approximately 10-20% firmer compared to the OE Standard suspension.
BLAU® BMW 323 shocks are perfect for the comfort of everyday driving, yet hug the curves of the track or the winding roads of your neighborhood. This system provides a definitive feel and clear-cut reliability, without the harsh aggressiveness often associated with some aftermarket sport suspension setups, helping you feel confident behind the wheel. Using our German automotive heritage of over 27 years of experience, as well as listening to fellow owners, our goal was to turn the BMW driving experience into that indisputable 'Feel the Road™' awareness.
Blauparts is a values based company. We hold true to our vision of supplying the highest quality products to our customers with the best customer service. We're confident our customers will be pleased with the high quality of our BLAU® BMW 323 shock absorber replacement kit. All BLAU® brand name shocks come with our Limited Lifetime Warranty and 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, if not completely satisfied.
BLAU® BMW 323 shock absorber kits are designed to replace worn out shocks on vehicles with a factory Standard suspension system having a stock ride height.
BLAU® BMW 323 shocks are NOT intended or designed to be used on vehicles equipped with factory Sport (ZSP) packages, which are lowered more than 1" and are dimensionally not compatible with BLAU® shocks. As well, BLAU® BMW 323 shocks are NOT intended or designed to be used on vehicles equipped with AFTERMARKET lowering sport springs (i.e. H&R, Eibach or others). These spring kits tend to lower the vehicle more than 1" which make them dimensionally incompatible with BLAU® shocks.
We've received calls from customers who ask, "If my vehicle is lowered just a smidgen more than 1 inch will your shocks work?"
Our answer is, "No." Do not purchase our strut shock kit if your vehicle is lowered even a little over an inch!
Vehicles with factory 'Standard' suspension have a stock or normal looking ride height and are equipped with standard shock absorbers.
Vehicles equipped with the Sport (ZSP) package from the FACTORY have firmer, shorter springs that result in a lowered vehicle stance, along with shock absorbers that have been valved to yield firmer dampening. NOTE: BLAU® BMW shocks are NOT intended or designed to be used on vehicles equipped with factory Sport (ZSP) packages, which are lowered more than 1" and are dimensionally not compatible with BLAU® shocks.
The Sport (ZSP) package was available on all E46 chassis. Many owners can confirm this option by the three spoke leather steering wheel
What type of BMW 323 suspension do I have? Do I have the factory Sport (ZSP) package? How can I find out?
Some customers have contacted their dealer with their VIN to find out what type of package and suspension corresponds with their vehicle. Only an authorized BMW dealer can access the bill of material info, which reveals the package code and what type of suspension was used on your BMW 323. Blauparts is an independent European parts specialist and DOES NOT have access to this bill of material info. Therefore, we CANNOT determine or confirm your BMW 323 suspension setup.
The Sport (ZSP) package was available on all E46 chassis. Owners with this package may notice an enhanced three spoke leather steering wheel or sport seats. They also came from the factory with 17" wheels and lower profile tires.
The BMW 323 shock absorbers are a substantial part of the suspension system. BMW 323 shocks go beyond providing mere comfort. Shocks affect other related suspension components along with steering, tire wear, and responsiveness.
Front BMW 323 Strut Set-up: The front BMW 323 strut assembly, strut dust boots (bellows), strut bump stops, strut mounts, and strut nuts/bolts make up the front suspension.
Rear BMW 323 Shock Set-up: The rear BMW 323 shock absorbers, shock sleeve, shock bump stop, shock mount, and shock mount gasket make up the rear suspension.
Is it time for new BMW 323 shocks? According to a 2009 AASHTO summary report only 50% of US major roads are in what is said to be 'good' condition, with more than 60% of roads in major cities in poor condition. This translates into an estimated $335 (across the board nationwide) and up to $746 (major cities) in vehicle maintenance and operation costs each year.
Bad road conditions may be out of your control, but you can be more prepared for them by replacing your worn out BMW 323 shocks. The importance of new shocks goes beyond mere comfort. Worn shocks can affect steering, tire wear, and your 323's responsiveness. New BMW 323 shocks and related suspension components (i.e. ball joints etc.) can improve your vehicle's ability to maintain traction, respond to quick turns, and emergency stops.
It's easy to tell when your brakes or wipers need replacing. Determining if your BMW 323 shocks need to be replaced isn't as simple. There is no "replace them every X amount of miles" service interval standards here. Customers in need of BMW 323 shock replacement often notice a soft spongy ride feeling around 90,000 miles. Although this soft feel may not seem that bad, it indicates that the BMW 323 shocks have already begun to loose their ability to dampen.
Suspension repair in our own service facility has shown that between 90,000-130,000 miles you'll begin to see a considerable deterioration in ride quality. When going over a bump a good BMW 323 shock should compress and spring up / rebound only once. Whereas, a worn out BMW 323 shock compresses and rebounds several times, causing a bouncy springiness. Due to this loss in dampening performance, a worn out BMW 323 shock begins to significantly increase the wear on the related suspension components (control arms, mounts etc.) quickly reducing their service life.
Why? To reiterate... instead of 1 compression, the shock is compressing 3 or 4 times before it brings the wheel back into control. This is serious, due to the complexity of the 24 moving hemi / ball joints and bushings that make up the front suspension. Customers seem to stretch their BMW 323 shock replacement out a little longer than other scheduled maintenance. Do you really want to run the risk of wearing out all of these suspension components or your whole front end? As you can see, it's very important to install a fresh new pair of shocks in your 323 when you reach this high mileage. This spongy feeling and slow bump recovery time is one of the first signs that you're in need of new BMW 323 shocks. Other symptoms include bald patches on your tires, tire cupping, excessive shock oil seepage, vehicle pulling, poor steering response, or sharp knocks, such as when going over railroad tracks.
The importance of servicing your BMW 323 suspension the correct way cannot be overstated! In this economy many are trying to save wherever possible. However, think carefully before cutting corners in this department. When replacing BMW 323 shocks in our own service facility, we've seen that other suspension parts (i.e. BMW 323 shock mounts, stops, boots, and hardware) show significant signs of wear or have already begun to deteriorate and are not reusable.
Many customers who have replaced only their BMW 323 shocks, have found that they're still experiencing similar suspension problems as well as random front end suspension noises. This may be because other worn shock related components can simulate the same symptoms as bad shocks. Why go through the significant labor to replace the BMW 323 shocks only to realize a failure in one or more of the related items. Consequently needing to redo your suspension job? Many wish they would have spent the extra money up front than face this labor intensive job a second time.
BMW 323 Shock Mounts Nearly all 323 models that we've had in our facility for shock replacement needed new shock mounts. BMW 323 shock mounts are made of a rubber material and with age, collapse and deteriorate. This is especially noticeable in the front of the car since it supports the engine and endures the brunt of road impact. Worn BMW 323 shock mounts often cause a conspicuous clunking noise when going over bumps. Play at the top of the spring perch while the suspension is loaded (not unsprung) may also be evident.
BMW 323 Bump Stops and Dust Boots Usually when an BMW 323 shock begins to go bad the seals start to seep oil. This shock oil leaks onto the bump stop eating away at the rubber foam material, affecting its density and ability to perform its job properly. If the bump stop isn't replaced, your new shocks have the chance of bottoming out, causing internal shock damage and premature failure. Replacing the stops help protect new BMW 323 shocks from bottoming out when hitting potholes and rough roads. Leaking shock oil can also get onto the dust boots. Over time this eats away at and weakens the rubber, causing it to deteriorate and eventually rip. Ripped dust boots allow road grime and dirt to contaminate the shock causing scarring of the shock shaft and seals and resulting in premature shock failure. Replacing the boots protects new BMW 323 shocks (shock shaft and seal) from dirt and dust, ensuring their long lifespan.