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Old 09-15-2020, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Toronto
Posts: 51
LOWvert is on a distinguished road
BC Racing Coilover Initial Setup

So I bought a set of BC Racing coilovers (I-20-BR) for my X5 in May 2019 then life got in the way... New job (June), sell old house (July), buy new house and move in (October), new baby (November).

Fast forward to July 2020 and I finally decided to allocate some time to installing these things (let's be real, the wife gave me permission to do it - two kids really messes with ones ability to pursue one's hobbies).

I've been looking around for initial set up measurements for the X5 but want able to find anything. I recall years back that I was able to find measurements for my Tein coilovers for my Accord.

Being honest, I just wanted to install it and it be at the perfect height on the first try! I have childcare duties LOL

Anyway, I wanted to provide my measurements (and pictures) for anyone who is planning to install these coilovers in their E53.

I ended up installing it and then adjusting it once. Below are the final measurements that I ended up on to sit at this ride height.

Normal vs Extreme Low

I thought about ordering the Extreme Low kit, but I steered clear of this option because there wasn't much experience on the forum with it. I read about members popping front axles from being too low and didn't want to risk this happening since this is my daily and kid hauler.

Looking back now, I should have totally ordered the extreme low so I could go lower (about another inch)... Also, I am not really comfortable running the rears without any spring preload, read on.

BC Racing - if you are reading this, I am willing to accept a free (or deeply discounted) set of your extreme low I-20-BR to install and review for the forum!!

These pictures were taken the day after install, maybe 5km on the setup. Gas tank is about 1/8 full.

WARNING: I like copper anti-seize!!

The pictures shown here show my initial measurements (totally guessing), as well as the exact points where measurements were taken.

After installing the fronts with these measurements, there was still considerable wheel gap. I ended up taking another inch off the setup and arrived at the following:

Front Final Measurements:
Spring preload: 7 5/8"
Top of knuckle bracket to top of upper locking ring: 6"

I will be taking another 1/2" out of the fronts as you can see in the pictures near the end that the front remains a tad bit higher than the rear.

Much like the fronts, these picture show my initial measurements:

Rear Final Measurements:
The measurements above put the vehicle at stock height!!

Angry that I now had to take off that heavy ass style 87 wheel again, I had to adjust and take updated measurements.

I wasn't able to take similar measurements as the front because it wasn't easy to measure from the top of the assembly once installed, but what I essentially did was bottom out the threads into the lower adjustment cup, locked the lower ring, then removed all preload from the spring (not ideal, but I needed more low!).

I ended up bringing the two locking rings down about another inch from the initial measurement above.

If you were to replicate my measurements, it would essentially be 2" from the bottom locking ring to the bottom of the top locking ring, as seen in this picture:

I know, I know, I didn't want to take the preload out of the spring, but i want a low E53!!

If anyone can suggest options outside of ordering new extreme low rear shocks (i.e. where i can find a helper spring that will fit), I am listening.

My main issue with no preload is going over big bumps (which I obviously try to avoid) where the suspension extends more than the spring length, and when the body rebounds, it slams the coil down onto the locking perches... <shudders>

And lastly, in case anyone is wondering about clearance... you can fit a baby bunny under the car!!

Now that it has settled, I need to drop the front another half-inch to be level with the rear.

I already had an alignment done because when installing these coils, I noticed that the driver outer tie rod was loose, so I ended up changing the complete tie rod on both sides.

Front came out perfect. Rears, despite changing EVERYTHING in the rear with Lemforder stuff last year, I couldn't get the toe and camber to move... I guess it is time for adjustable arms!!

2 month update
These pics were taken today, about 2 months and 1500km later. Tank is 3/4 full tank and there is nothing in the vehicle. If you look carefully, you can see the front is slightly higher.

I hope these measurements and pictures can help some of you.

If you are thinking about lowering your E53, BC Racing is the way to go! The price is good and the quality, so far, is excellent. This set up feels planted and not much harsher than the sport suspension with 100k struts.

Yes it isn't as quiet as stock, I hear more rattling inside the car now, but the turn in and highway stability has greatly improved.

The wife also agrees that it is easier to get in and out of the vehicle now!! So WIN!!

If you want to go lower than where I am, you might want to consider the Extreme Low kit since I have maxed out the rear adjustable and ate into the spring preload (not advisable)... I just don't know if the tires will clear the fenders once i get adjustable toe and camber arms in the rear...

Funny, as I type this, I remember that my HSD coilovers on my E46 (above) are also maxed out in the rear. I had planned to take out one of the locking perches from the adjustment sleeve, but never got around to it...
2001 X5 3.0i manual - Titanium Silver on Black
2001 325Ci convertible - Orient Blue on Tanin Red
1991 750iL - Brokarot on Tan
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Toronto
Posts: 51
LOWvert is on a distinguished road
2001 X5 3.0i manual - Titanium Silver on Black
2001 325Ci convertible - Orient Blue on Tanin Red
1991 750iL - Brokarot on Tan
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:50 PM
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 1,380
Fifty150hs is on a distinguished road
Thank you for your write up. My BC's arrived yesterday. Install is this weekend's project. I don't think I'm going to drop it as low as you though. And yes, with as low as you've gone, you'll need adjustable arms in the rear to get your camber into spec.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:01 PM
SpookX5's Avatar
Premier Member
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Naaldwijk
Posts: 79
SpookX5 is on a distinguished road
Thanks for this write up. Will be great for new BC Racing users. I vouch for them and they are still comfortable! Im running a bit higher in the front, 68cm from bottom wheel lip to fender, rear about 67cm(air, but will raise it). 20 Inch wheels with 275/40.

I found that they dropped quite a bit after settling. I adjusted them twice. Adjustment in the front is possible without removing the wheels.

Can't comment on the rears as I'm on air
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Old Yesterday, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Michigan
Posts: 183
ahlem is on a distinguished road
Nice write up. Now about that door rust.....Next project?
2001 x5 3.0, 1990 e30 M3, 1991 318is, 2002 325i, 2008 335i Dinan stage 3 6 speed,
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bc racing, coilover, lowering, measurement, setup

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