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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:12:15 AM   #1
AK_Topwise
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Default Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Just wondering if any of you guys that have upgraded your front sway bar can chime in and give me some real world/daily driving pros and cons?

I am thinking about pulling the trigger on either a st suspensions or hotchkis front sway bar to compliment my existing koni yellow and h&r springs setup (haven't installed the springs yet currently on the eibach pro-kit but can't stand the rake, the h&r's are the rear height adjustable ones).

What I am looking for out of the sway bar is:
- reduction in body roll (I can really feel the weight transfer in this car from front outside tire to rear inside tire under any regular day to day driving)
- go kart style steering response
- on rails feeling

I have already replaced rtabs/fcabs/steering guibo/rsm's/rear outer ball joints and previously had the car on st coilovers which were stiffer than the koni/eibachs setup but also super harsh and still had body roll.

I feel like my jaguar x-type on bilstein hd's and h&r springs actually corners flatter than my m3. Anyways, what are some of your experiences with adding a bigger front sway and is it worth it for a daily driver that sees one or two track days a year?

Thanks!


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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:20:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Yes imo. I just put a TMS 30mm up front on the medium setting (middle hole) and I can tell the difference from before.

Swaybars were one of my favorite mods on my E36 too.

Whether or not you need front or rear or both and what thicknesses and setting depends on what you want to achieve, the type of track, your driving style/preference wheel/tire widths types etc...

But a basic upgrade is a stiffer front. And you get new bushings.

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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:25:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Not worth for DD. Especially if your roads are full of imperfections. Sway-bar makes the suspension less independent between left and right. Rider quality will suffer.
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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:26:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Thanks for the input.
I am running 245/40/18 and 275/35/18 pss.
I just like the car to feel flat and planted in corners driving to and from work everyday, taking on ramps fast and confidently and precise fast responding steering.


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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:38:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Yes, 100%. The Turner Motorsport front bar was my first modification and one of my favorites.

The main improvement in my eyes though was not the reduction in body roll but rather that it significantly reduced (and basically eliminated) understeer. With the stock sway bar I would get some push when driving spiritedly on tight roads. The limit is far higher after installing the bigger front bar and on the same roads I can carry more speed through the same corners without any push occurring.
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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 12:41:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

A front sway bar does make a significant difference in the way the car handles. Whether you like the change or not is personal preference/driving style. I put one on mine, trying to set it up for some autocross this year. And I feel like the car is faster in lower speed corners/can put more power down coming out of a corner, and more precise in transitions. But overall, I think the stock balance is more fun for street driving.

Different ball game for people running square wheel setups, or running a bigger rear bar as well.
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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 01:03:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

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Originally Posted by 2001E46m View Post
Not worth for DD. Especially if your roads are full of imperfections. Sway-bar makes the suspension less independent between left and right. Rider quality will suffer.


I never realized it would have a significant negative impact and ride quality and comfort, thanks for the feedback!
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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 01:46:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

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Originally Posted by AK_Topwise View Post
I never realized it would have a significant negative impact and ride quality and comfort, thanks for the feedback!
Sway bar links the left and right suspension.
Imagine a extreme case that the sway bar has infinite stiffness, what you end up is a solid axle like those used on trucks and Mustangs.
The stiffer the sway bar the more you give up on the independence between the suspension.

I'm a OEM purist guy and an Engineer by trade. The factory suspension geometry and metrics a refine tuned by the BMW engineers for best overall performance. I don't want to mess up with that unless I'm really know what I'm doing and I'm gonna track the car.

Last edited by 2001E46m; Sat, Feb-18-2017 at 01:57:26 AM.
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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 01:54:32 AM   #9
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Default Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

I added the Hotchkis sway bar kit, front and rear. I have a TC Kline coil over suspension and GC camber plates and the sway bars did reduce body roll. My car is geared towards track performance and part of the motivation was to lose a few pounds of the front with the hallow sway bar. That being said, it is a nice handling improvement, but it is subtle.

Best way to describe it is that it made the car slightly sharper and it rolls a bit less. Definitely worth it.

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Old Sat, Feb-18-2017, 06:34:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nasieg View Post
I added the Hotchkis sway bar kit, front and rear. I have a TC Kline coil over suspension and GC camber plates and the sway bars did reduce body roll. My car is geared towards track performance and part of the motivation was to lose a few pounds of the front with the hallow sway bar. That being said, it is a nice handling improvement, but it is subtle.

Best way to describe it is that it made the car slightly sharper and it rolls a bit less. Definitely worth it.

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How much lighter is the Hotchkis front bar? I was looking to get the front bar only. I like how my car feels with my current suspension set up and stock sways. I'm thinking to run a Hotchkis front bar at full soft since it's 11% stiffer than stock at that setting. The weight savings and increased roll resistance makes it seem worth it.
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Discussing Aftermarket front sway bar: worth it? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)