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Thread: Full Alpina wheel and suspension conversion for a Z8

  1. #76
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    The OEM sways are at a point (relative to Dinan) in the longest position. This OEM setup is designed to give maximum understeer to the car when combined with the staggered tire fitment. Reason: so the car is more likely than not to go nose first into any out of control setting thus activating the SRS airbag system and protecting the driver or passenger. But of course, this is designed to be the case with the DSC on. DSC off, completely different (for those of us who experienced the wet skid pad at the DE can attest to that interesting oversteer experience).

    Moving the setting to the maximum inside setting (000X X000 front, 00X X00 rear) will produce the minimum amount of understeer but not produce any appreciable oversteer with the DSC on, but.... with the DSC off, again once the entire stable of 400 ponies are unleashed, esp. on a slippery surface like hot tires on a hot track, well watch out for getting dizzy as you do some 360 revolutions! Learning, repeat, learning to drive the Z8 without DSC on, with the proper modified suspesion set up can be very rewarding but does take some practice. I personally like the all the way in settings and the way you can nearly "drift" the car through various turns, something, I found was much easier to control once I had the Dinan Sways installed. Before, hard to find the "groove" or balance between understeer and oversteer, IMHO.
    Last edited by Z8doc; August 8th 2007 at 06:43.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  2. #77
    Ted, remember I arrived at these setting with Craig at the track, trying all the possible settings, and I can promise you that this is the best setting for our suspension. Also don't forget our wheels and tires are wider than the OEM Z8 ones Dinan originally designed these bars for.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #78
    Oh, I thought that you only made the one adjustment. I must have been out on the track when you made the other adjustments.

    Can you explain why wider tires would offset the stiffer front sway bar setting? My impression was that both of those factors tend toward understeer?
    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    ... the wider rear tires may cause the car to understeer a bit ...
    Grease Monkey
    Last edited by Bend; August 10th 2007 at 16:01.

  4. #79
    If you remember I had Don, one of our local mechanics, there doing the adjustments to the bars all through the day. I started out one in, the suggested set up, and ended up full in on both by the end of the day. The result was most noticeable on fast the transitions, like the 'esses' and 'lost hills'. Adjusted all the way in kept the car much more stable and roll free.

    Larger tires will need more effort to initiate and hold in a turn, but of course will give more lateral grip once in mid turn. That is why they could be said to have more potential to understeer, but backing off the gas, or gently trail or set braking (as Craig likes to say) will totally deal with any such tendency. Certainly if you accelerated hard into and through a turn you'd find the understeer more quickly with the wider tires, especially wider rears, but if it starts to understeer just breathe gently off the throttle and it'll come back in.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  5. #80
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    Is there any reason why the PP of BMW is so hard to get.... I am waiting. The dealership needs tools and the parts.... also i do not want it shiped to calif for the upgrade.
    PS: The pictures of the Z8 on this site are just beautiful.....why not a book for other car nuts to enjoy.... it should sell.

  6. #81
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    I also encountered some problems, but Bill Stuart at BMW NA was very helpful in expediating everything for my Alpina PP.

  7. #82
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    My dealer had no problem getting the parts (less than a week), but once the car was in pieces, they discovered they needed a riveting tool that took only 2 days to get.

  8. #83
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    thanks i will relay this to the dealer.....ps how about the pictures on this site just great.

  9. #84
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    Ted and Andrew,

    Are you willing to share with me the cost of parts and installation of same? I am thinking of having the Alpina set-up installed as well here on the East Coast but just wonder what the whole set up would cost me to have some bench-mark before my dealer will start quoting me. By the way, I think I will keep the front springs instead of installing the 10mm shorter Euro spec Alpina ones.

    Thanks,
    Henny

  10. #85
    Hello Henny,
    My Alpina suspension work was uniquely done alongside a lot of other work making the breakdown of labor prices difficult. You'll need to decide whether you want the Alpina wheels and what tires to go along (I would recommend the Michelin PS2's).
    Part prices are available on http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.d...3&mospid=47737
    but they are approximate only.
    A good person to contact for a full package is Dana Caldwell at Peter Pan BMW just south of San Francisco. He has done this work (different packages including Alpina) on a number of cars including mine and Andrew's. He and his Z8 Master Technician are great. He can steer you in the right direction. Andrew and I took our cars up there from SoCal. You might want to consider shipping your baby there to have the work done right ... and as an excuse to tour S.F., the wine country and the coast.
    Ted

  11. #86
    Ditto me on the cost, I had a bunch more things done, including LSD, short-shift kit, PP, etc, etc. My total was around 9k, and I seem to remember the parts & fit of the Alpina suspension was around 5k, but that is very vague at best!

    As you know I love the set up, and feel it is much more in harmony with my sport/touring use of the car, so I'm delighted with it, but you must get a good swaybar set up to counter the body roll of the softer set up. Either the H&R kit, or maybe see if Steve Dinan will make you a set, or has one of his left anywhere.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  12. #87
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Hey Ted and Andrew....

    Quote Originally Posted by z8kar View Post
    Ted and Andrew,

    share with me the cost of parts and installation
    Henny
    If you are going to start "sharing" the cost for modifications, count me IN, I can send you my Wish List and we can get started right away!!!!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  13. #88
    sent in by email - I think by mistake

    I had Alpina suspension installed together with the performance package last year while retaining the original wheels. Costs were around 4000 Euros in Germany. Keep in mind that the exchange rate has considerably changed since then.

    You should think about installing the shorter Alpina springs at the front, because I think they contribute to the better steering feel. The difference in height is not visually noticeable unless you know it. Hope this will help you

    Werner

    -------------------------------------------

    I'd also agree, Ted & I both had the full EU kit with lower front springs, and the steering is lovely. I have the Dinan castor plates & adjustable swaybars, and love the way my car handles and fels.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  14. #89
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    Just a note for those considering adding H&R anti-roll bars: The OE anti-roll bars measure 27mm thick in front and 14mm in the rear. Dinan's (discontinued) bars have the same diameters but they provide adjustable mounting positions which allow you to increase their stiffness. According to H&R, their anti-roll bars for the Z8 measure 30mm up front and 16mm in the rear, so they will be stiffer at both ends right out of the box. The front increase represents an 11% stiffening of the bar and the rear increase provides a 15% stiffening of the bar, so the overall impact on handling should be beneficial to the understeering bias built into the Z8, however, I was surprised to learn that only the front bar is adjustable, not the rear. As a result, unless the softest settings happen to be ideal for your set-up, all you will be able to do is increase the car's tendency to understeer via the available adjustments. I have spoken to Steve Dinan about doing another run of his anti-roll bars and he is reluctant but willing if we can come up with 25 firm orders. An alternative would be to find a manufacturer willing to produce hollow-tube anti-roll bars which would be lighter as well as adjustable but this, too, would require a substantial commitment of orders. Any thoughts?

  15. #90
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    Thank you all very much for the feedback, suggestions and sources for further research!
    Ted, I like the "excuse" part of going to SF and tour the beautiful country side so will definitely keep this in mind.
    Henny

  16. #91
    Z8Mania
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    Is the Alpina suspension still available? Ive been enjoying a B7 as a DD for a few years and I love the way they tuned this suspension. So far my experience with the stock suspension with the Dinan sway bars is that I feel the car doesn't really settle down on its suspension- my theory- to be tested tomorrow- is the roll bars are not allowing enough compression of the springs. I was running OEM up front and one notch stiffer in the rear. Ive returned it to full on OEM. I'm thinkinging of the Alpina to get a more comfy ride and perhaps even better handling. Thoughts?

  17. #92
    Well, I guess I've already written about the upgrade extensively, so you already know what I think about it. The stock suspension is set up for the snooker table road surfaces of the 'ring and the gorgeous roads in Germany, Austria etc. IMHO it is far too harsh for the average American roads, causing the stock car to thud, judder and slither a lot when driven with gusto on any of the rough, twisty back roads that are the most fun driving on out here. In my experience I felt the sway bars were a good addition to the balance of the car, keeping it flatter and better balanced through the mountain roads I enjoy the most, but the biggest improvement by far was swapping to the EU spec Alpina suspension with the wider 20" rims and Pirelli tires. The car rides smoother, handles better, and goes round corners faster, but it really needs the swaybars to cancel the extra body roll of the more compliant set up. After setting mine up at the track they have remained on the stiffest setting, and I feel they are perfect there.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  18. #93
    Z8Mania
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    Right but youre on the Alpina. I might do this one day with my car and go with the Alpina Classic 19"ers.

  19. #94
    Z8Mania
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    That day is here! I spoke with Dana this evening and we are going to order this. I'll post up a report once its installed.

  20. #95
    I notice Dinan still has the caster plates available on their site, so I'd suggest adding them instead of the lower PP ring. I think you'll be really happy with the upgrade, look forward to hearing your feedback.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  21. #96
    Z8Mania
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    Will do! I am guessing time to get parts, installed and then write up will be about 8 weeks from now so lets call it beginning of June.

  22. #97
    Good news, maybe we can have a drink in July, I have to go to the Hamptons for a wedding.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  23. #98
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Hey 427Chevy,

    Quote Originally Posted by 427chevy View Post
    ...
    How can stiffer springs be more compliant? This seems to be a contradiction.
    I think "stiffer" is probably not the best word to use and what the Alpina springs offer is that they differ from the Stock Z8 springs in that the OEM Z8 springs have uniform compression rate and the Alpina have a variable compression rate (get stiffer the more they are compressed) hence at lower speeds and not as much twisties, the ride "feels" softer and "more compliant". The OEM with uniform compression, no twisty or lots of twisties, same ride from the same uniform compression rate or "stiffness".
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  24. #99
    Z8Mania
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    And my opinion of the OEM suspension is as you get more spirited in your driving, it doesn't want to settle down. Im hoping the Alpina suspension will address this. Andrew it would be my pleasure. Would you be staying out on LI? I might make a special trip to meet you out there but its a several hour drive each way.

  25. #100
    Z8Mania
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    I just took a 30 minute test drive of the car on the Alpina suspension. Though I have the Dinan sway bars they are set to the stock BMW setting. Would you guys recommend the full in positions for front and rear? If I remember correctly the rear has 3 spaces and the front 4, which means you would have more stiffness at the front vs stock than the rear.

    My impression is it is a great improvement. The easiest way to describe the improvement is like going from v1.0 to v2.0. The car is at once a more comfy cruiser- the busyness of the z8 suspension is much subdued. And on the other end of the spectrum the car feels more sporty- it just feels more positive/ stout at low speeds and the steering feels even better! I never noticed it before but there must have been a little looseness in the steering at lower speeds because now it feels really locked in. I'd describe it as "dead on"! The high speed sweepers are let down by understeer but the car sticks better now. Would the change in sway bar settings resolve some of that? With the stock suspension and its uniform compression springs I concluded changing the sway bar settings was a mistake because it did not allow the springs to compress enough to settle down. But now that we have a variable compression spring in there maybe a change in the sway bars would be more beneficial?

    So is it a must have? If you are itching to make an improvement then this is the one to do. It is factory legit. If you're happy with the z8 as is this won't transform it from boulevard cruiser to 911 gt3 or scuderia. But it does improve both ends of the spectrum so the car is more useable in every situation. I recommend it.

    Also I have really fallen in love with the wheels. Someone said they echo the 4 spokes on the steering wheel- I never thought about it like that before. Works for me!

    Btw- these wheels show that one really needs a better looking break system. However, I think I am going to hold back on the expense-- for now
           

  26. #101
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    You are right on. I've had many suspensions on my car:

    Stock
    Stock + Tires (non RFT)
    AC Schnitzer + Diana bars + Dinan Plates: Low and stiff, car skipped around too much on rough roads and very bouncy ride. Nice on track
    US Alpina + dinan bars (still stock wheels) Didn't really notice a difference vs stock (but came right from the ACS..so?)
    Euro Alpina + dinan bars (full stiff both ends) + Dinan Plates+ 20" HRE wheels + more negative camber(-2 in rear). WOW! Just by changing the wheels and front springs. The steering is both smoother and less "loose". Bumps I know well, no longer upset the car. Overall the ride is much more refined and pleasurable, yet more grippy (?) Have yet to find a road (or track) to really tell what it's doing, but it feels great. The front springs are the Stuff!

  27. #102
    Happy you all like it, I think it is a stellar upgrade, and yes, full stiff both end is the way Craig Stanton liked it best based on the results of our day long suspension set up and comparision done at Button Willow a couple of years back. Craig is a real GT Championship winner, and he really can drive circles round all of us, so if it's the way he says is right for the car then thats good enough for me!

    This from April 27th, 2007

    Alpina suspension & Dinan swaybars set up.
    After spending a day at Buttonwillow with Craig Stanton trying different swaybar settings on my Alpina suspended car we ended up using the stiffest swaybar settings all round because it allowed for flatter more stable transitions, and an overall more planted feel from the very compliant ride of the Alpina suspension.

    It is worth noting that we started the day out on the mid-point settings which felt very stable and comfortable on both the 58 and the Angeles Crest Highways, two of most enjoyable twisty roads in SoCal, but these settings allowed for far too much body roll and 'porpoising' on the tighter transitions at the track. Being able to sit next to Craig doing a sets of hot laps after each alteration was a real eye opener. With each increase in the stiffness the car became more and more precise, predicatble, and faster around the track. Even from the passenger seat the changes were really noticable, and the areas where the car was initially unsettled and unsettling at the beginning of the day were no longer there at the day's end.

    Craig felt that Ron's stock Z8 handled better than my (Alpina suspenison + Dinan Swaybar) car until we arrived at the final stiffest swaybar settings at all four corners, at which point he said he preferred the feel of my car. It is still just a bit too soft for the track, but the stiffest settings allowed it to remain pretty flat and very stable and predictable. However if one was going to use the car like Dieter I'd certainly step up to a full K&W or better still Cartridge kit.

    I am delighted with the results of our testing and tuning at the track, but being on track isn't my Z8's mission, infact the hundred miles it did yesterday will be it's one and only track day. The Z8 will never beat a Porsche GT3 or a Lotus at the track, in my stable it is a classic touring fast country drive car for doing events like Meet in the Middle, and if that is what you want it for then this suspension set up is simply fantastic. Compared to both the stock Z8 and my SL500 my Z8 is now a more sure footed and far more comfortable Grand Tourer, so the kit as sold by Dana at Peter Pan gets a resounding two thumbs up!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  28. #103
    Z8Mania
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    Since the car is still at the shop Ill have them make the changes and we can experiment and see what we thinks. I have a very cool upgrade going that I will share with you all. But I just had to find some time to give it a try as I was so curious to experience it. This is the magic of Alpina. Try driving a 7er and then the Alpina 7er and you will get a more comfortable ride and better handling. I think what the stock cars in each case give you is perhaps the initial sensation of more sportiness but its too tied down and that means the tires can't make the best contact with the road...

  29. #104
    Z8Mania
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    They had the car on the lift and moved the sway bars to as stiff as possible and.... Low speed ride suffers a bit- those small bumps hit maybe 40% harder now/ but/ high speed/ high way sweeper handling is much more neutral. So now it still rides better than stock and also had that high speed stability we've wanted. Highly recommended. Loving it!

  30. #105
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lupin's Avatar
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    fantastic wheels, very good looking.
    what are the sizes? 245- 285?
    Luigi
    2001 Z8 Black-Red

  31. #106
    Z8Mania
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    I believe you are close!

    255/35-20 front
    285/30-20 rear

    http://www.tirerack.com/tires/Select...3&autoModClar=

  32. #107
    Black/Black Sean's Avatar
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    Current thinking

    Andrew, all

    I'm thinking of adding the European alpine suspension to my US spec car. Only modifications to suspension so far are 19 inch hamann rims (with mps2s). I don't have access to new sway bars yet. I drive exclusively on the roads here in dubai. Would you still reccommend the euro alpine suspension to improve ride/performance? Or do I have to add the sway bars at the same time?

    Cheers

    Sean
    2002 Black/Black

  33. #108
    You can add the H&R swaybars, they are readily available and will certainly be an improvement on the stock. The Alpina suspension really is a wow transformation.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  34. #109
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Norcal,

    Did I read your post correctly? You have stock springs in the rear with the Alpina up front? What about the struts?
    .
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  35. #110
    Z8Mania
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    You will definitely want to change the sway bars- I tried the stock calibration (the Dinan are adjustable) and it is just too much roll. But get this right and Andrew is correct- its wow because you will have both more comfort, AND better handling! (you can get another 5-8% improvement in crispness in turn in with the Dinan camber/caster plates).

  36. #111
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    Norcal,

    Did I read your post correctly? You have stock springs in the rear with the Alpina up front? What about the struts?
    .
    No, I have the full euro alpina suspension, plus dinan caber/caster plates and dinan sway bars.

  37. #112
    Black/Black Sean's Avatar
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    Has anyone got a contact email address for someone at H&R? There isnt one on their webiste and I need to check delivery to Dubai

    Cheers
    2002 Black/Black

  38. #113
    This page has US distributors info, I don't about Dubai though. http://www.hrsprings.com/about/
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

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