BMW E46 M3 Ohlins Road and Track Suspension Kit
Below you will find some of the features that set Öhlins Road and Track suspension kits apart from the competition. In addition, 3DM Motorsport has assembled an ever-evolving in-depth guide about the Öhlins Road and Track suspension kits. This guide covers the technology behind the dampers as well as installation and setup tips.
Why Öhlins Dampers?
Öhlins has been an integrated part of the motorsport industry for over 40 years. With its headquarters in Sweden, it is privately owned with over 320 employees and a test center at the most demanding track in the world, the Nurburgring. Ohlins is the choice of Professional racers from Touring Cars to 24 Hours of LeMans and more. Even the new 2018 BMW M4 GT4 factory racecar is equiped with Öhlins dampers.
These kits all work well ‘out of the box’, but there’s still plenty of adjustment for you to set things your way. You like stiff and reactive? Or soft and forgiving? It’s all there. the easily accessible adjuster at the base of the Öhlins units allows small, but positive increments of fine tuning, so you can take into account every single parameter. Sounds complicated? Nothing could be farther from the truth. You won't need an engineer/guru to assist you with your setup. Just a few clicks either way from our factory settings will soon have your car responding precisely to your inputs and driving style.
What Sets the Road and Track Dampers Apart?
- Dual Flow Valve Technology
- Temperature Compensation Bleed Valve
- Vehicle Specific Valving
- Dual Height Adjustment Method
- Longevity and Servicability
Dual Flow Valve Technology
A damper controls the upward movement (compression) and the downward movement (rebound) of the suspension. This movement is typically broken down into two levels, high speed and low speed. For example, hitting a bump on the street or the curbing on a track causes a high speed compression movement. Dropping down into a pot hole on the street or dropping off the end of track curbing causes a high speed rebound movement. Low speed movement of the suspension occurs when turning the vehicle. For example when turning to the right, the chassis will roll causing the left side suspension to compress slowly and the right side suspension to rebound slowly.
In an ideal world we want the damper to be stiff during low speed so that the car reacts quickly to steering inputs yet be soft when we hit pot holes or track curbs. This means that the wheel and tire can quickly and effectively resume their important position back on the ground, providing grip and traction. This is what the Dual Flow Valve technology accomplishes that sets Öhlins apart from its competitors.
In the Diagram above "1" is compression and "2" is rebound. At low speeds oil flows mostly through the shaft jet bleed (red arrow). At moderate speeds oil mostly flows through the piston ports (blue arrow).. At high speeds oil can escape through the DFV (green arrow) increasing comfort as well as grip.
Temperature Compensation Bleed Valve
As the piston moves within the damper, it generates friction – and therefore, heat. Although we can’t stop heat, we can deal with it, and this is yet another way that Öhlins differs from the competition. As the heat increases, the viscosity of the damper fluid can change, altering the car’s handling characteristics. Öhlins unique needle bleed valve expands with temperature, closing the gap that the fluid travels through, maintaining a consistent damping rate. The best thing of all? You won’t even notice! All you’ll feel is that the car responds consistently, lap after lap, turn after turn, allowing you to concentrate on braking points and apexes while the Öhlins technology takes care of the damping.
Vehicle Specific Valving
Each Öhlins Road and Track damper is specifically valved to the vehicle. The easily accessible adjuster at the base of the damper allows small but positive increments of fine tuning.
Despite what other suspension manufacturers might tell you, comfort is king, even when you are trying to set up a competition machine. Öhlins' vast experience in events like the World Rally Championship, Nürburgring and Isle of Man TT races has shown them that the fastest drivers are those who aren’t being shaken to bits as they drive at the limit. The ‘science of compliance’ is a hugely important part of their design work.
Other companies will make a "catch all" damper that has a wide range of adjustment to cover a wide range of spring rates. This means each click of the adjustment knob is drastic which makes it difficult to fine tune your suspension. In other words, your suspension setup will be in a constant state of compromise.
Lets say you have your Öhlins Road and Track suspension dialed in and then decide to make a drastic change to your vehicle, for example a wing, that requires a spring rate change. You will find that small spring rate changes of +/- 50 to 150 lbs/in will make significant handling changes allowing you to to re-dial in your suspension. The Öhlins Road and Track dampers easily handle this without needing a re-valve.
Dual Ride Height Adjustment
One the most unique features of the Öhlins Road and Track suspension kits is the dual height adjusters. Spring pre-load and ride height can be adjusted separately.
On a traditional damper you can only adjust the ride height of the vehicle using the lower spring perch. The more you lower your vehicle, the less compression (bump) travel your suspension has. Lower the vehicle too much and you can bottom out the damper over even the slightest bump.
With the Öhlins Road and Track suspension kits you can lower your car and maintain sufficient bump travel at the same time! Image you have your ride height exactly where you want it but there is only 1" of compression travel. With a traditional damper your only option to get more compression travel is to spin the lower spring perch up. Now your ride height is not at your ideal location. With the Öhlins damper you would raise the lower spring perch up to get sufficient compression travel and then adjust the ride hight adjuster to lower your car back down to the desired ride height. Problem solved!
Longevity and Servicability
Between World Rally Championships, 24 hours of LeMans, and the harsh environment of Sweden, Öhlins is used to building components that survive the toughest environments in the world. The choice of materials used is one of the key factors behind Öhlins' success. Each component is surface treated to ensure reduced friction and superior performance. The carbon steels bodies are salt spray tested meeting ISO 9227 Standards. These are real-world units for daily driven cars.
Having said that, it is a common misconception that once you buy a damper it will last forever. Dampers have moving parts and oil just like your engine and brakes. You change the oil in your engine and bleed your brakes regularly don't you? Depending on the type and level of use, dampers can go many years before they need servicing. This applies to any and all OEM and aftermarket dampers.
All Öhlins units are fully serviceable and adjustable, making sure that they give faithful and dynamic service for years to come. Onlins' fully trained and approved service centers can make your old Öhlins units perform like new and even make changes in damper characteristics to suit your set-up preferences.
- Öhlins Part Number: BMS MI30
- Height Adjustable (Out of the Box Setting ~20mm lower)
- Coil Springs: (70N/mm) (400 lbs/in)
- Use With Original Top Mount
- Separate Spring Adjuster (Out of the Box Setting ~20mm lower)
- Coil Springs: (110N/mm)(630 lbs/in)
- Use With Original Top Mount