View Full Version : Whats an Adjustable Suspension (PSS9)?

11-18-2005, 05:04 PM
I recently got an E46 M3. It has the Bilstein PSS9 coiolvers.

Now this apparently is "9 way adjustable".

I am not knowledgeable enough to know what this means and hoping you folks could help educate me as to
1. What is it
2. Is it a DIY item or does it need a shop with a lift etc and experts to do it.

My guess is that by adjustable it probably means the stiffness of the compression and rebound - but does height of the vehicle come into play also?

Lastly with the adjustments being done - does it need a wheel alignment every time?

(Too much for me to discover about my new car :) )

Nick325xiT 5spd
11-18-2005, 05:09 PM
The PSS9 has nine shocks settings that you can use. This is adjustable fromt he bottom of the car, and does NOT affect alignment.

11-18-2005, 05:15 PM
Nick - super quick response there!

Could you please elaborate on "shock settings". is it just the stiffness of the shocks?

Also I am assuming these settings are changeable on an individual shock basis.

Any good place I can get a Shocks 101 from ?

Nick325xiT 5spd
11-18-2005, 05:25 PM
Rebound and compression combined into one adjuster. As I understand it, it's biased to rebound first and then starts rampign up compression more and more later.

They are set individually.

I can't think of a good place for shocks 101, although there are some interesting Penske tech manuals out there...

11-18-2005, 05:31 PM
Hmmm... I guess I need to get the car up, hunt for the adjusting knob or whatever and play with it to see what it does. FUN!

11-18-2005, 07:07 PM
They are height adjustable also...that does mess with the alignment.

11-18-2005, 10:07 PM
They are height adjustable also...that does mess with the alignment.

Any place in the local area you recommend who I can go to - the car is way too low for my driving. I have been toying with the idea of raising it by half an inch - to help get over speed bumps in some parking lots!

(It had been lowered by the previous owner)

11-19-2005, 09:27 AM
The adjustment knobs (rear) are visible on the rear of the shock tower - there is a dial on the side about 3" from the bottom. You shouldn't need to lift the car to get to these - just crawl under the back of your car and you should see them.
The fronts are a little more tricky - they are at the base of the shock tower, which is cleverly placed where it's almost impossible to reach. The knobs look the same as on the rear, except they are probably covered with a rubber cap. Once you get the car up, remove that cap, and the adjustment works in the same way.
I forget which is the highest setting (0 or 9?), but I have my rear on full tight, and the fronts dialed 2 back from full.

As far as raising and lowering the car, you can do that yourself in the driveway. The suspension comes with wrenches (spanners) that are specific to height adjustment of your coil-over system. Simply jack the car up enough to remove the tire, and adjust the height until your heart's content.
If you don't have the spanners that came with the suspension, I can lend you mine.

Good luck

11-21-2005, 08:12 AM
Hi Pranu.

I've got PSS9s on my MINI. (Same hardware, essentially.)

On my fronts, I have to turn the wheel full left or right to access the adjustment knob, but it's easily reachable. You don't have to remove the blue rubber cover: on mine, I just turn the rubber cover, and the dial underneath turns easily.

Just remember that, as you look up at the dial/cover, turning clockwise softens rebound, and turing counterclockwise stiffens it up.

I run my car on full soft fore and aft on the street. In an autocross, I stiffen the fronts with a 90 degree turn.

The ride height is indeed adjustable, but you need the right wrench to do it, and you have to unload the suspension by raising the car. Plus you need an alignment afterwards.

If I were you I'd take the car over to Curry's (near you), and tell them what you want. They aren't the cheapest shop around but they will get it right.

God luck with your car. Your gonna love the suspension system if you ever track or autocross your M3.


11-21-2005, 10:18 AM
Thanks guys - Will try and play with this over the weekend.

I was considering taking it to Curry's and having them teach me about it, while also raising the car a bit. I guess thats the December project.

Definitely will be taking this car out to track and autocross - but then thats going to be next year. :)

11-24-2005, 04:24 PM
I know it is some time off, but I have been hearing about PSS9's for sometime. If you remember I would like to hear your thoughts about adjusting and all...I have been thinking about putting some on my e36 M3. Maybe I'll se you out there on the track one of these days.


11-28-2005, 03:42 PM
I haven't tried adjusting mine as yet. I am planning to take it in to Curry's this week to have it raised by half an inch. Also going to ask them to give me the scoop on how best to use the PSS9s - will get back to you then.