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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 BMW 5-Series (F10) Forums General 5-Series Sedan and Wagon (F10 / F11) Forum My next possible (and most ambitious) retrofit: ARS
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      07-17-2012, 11:41 AM   #1
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My next possible (and most ambitious) retrofit: ARS

The one feature I wish I had beyond all else. The difference in handling from my old 550 with dynamic drive to this one with regular sport suspension really takes away from the every day experience. It was my fault, I assumed that sport and dynamic drive were synonymous as they were on the last two E60's I owned.

I've looked into it and believe it or not it isn't that complex of a project. I'd need a few thousand $'s in parts including new dynamic sway bars, a bunch of high pressure line and the valve body/controller + a bunch of coding.

Just a side note to acknowledge what you might be thinking right now: I have no desire to trade this car in for one with the features I desire - I don't care if it would be cheaper. I've been retrofitting 5 series with fun options since 09 and it's become quite a hobby for me. Some people spend a lot more on crap I'd die of boredom doing, haha.

That aside, I am not sure too any people have performed a retrofit like this, at least not according to my google searches. Looks like this lease may turn into a purchase in the end, haha.

I'm still considering HUD but I've done that retrofit 4 times already on E60's and feel I need a new challenge. Anyone in the 818 have a lift I can rent?

I will update this thread progressively on my (slow) progress.

Last edited by Tuesday; 07-17-2012 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Spelling - I typed this out on an iDevice
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      07-17-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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I think springs and aftermkt sway bars will be easier,cheaper, more reliable way to go.
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      07-17-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
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You're definitely right about that Gatoman - I considered it as an option but quickly ruled it out because it isn't challenging or illogical enough for me.
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      07-17-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by itschase View Post
You're definitely right about that Gatoman - I considered it as an option but quickly ruled it out because it isn't challenging or illogical enough for me.
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      05-16-2018, 08:01 PM   #5
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Bringing back a 6 year old thread.
Has anyone else done this?
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      05-17-2018, 12:09 PM   #6
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After this, the next retrofit should be Active Steering.
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      05-17-2018, 04:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by _des_ View Post
Bringing back a 6 year old thread.
Has anyone else done this?
I don’t have any retrofit details... but I can tell you that ARS on the F10 is NOT calibrated in the same sporty manner that it was on the E60.

On the E60, ARS seems to resist all body roll. That is, you corner very flatly at all times. Turns, lane changes, and curves in the city result in little detectable body roll. Corner hard enough and there is eventually a smidge of body lean.
I loved ARS on my E60 535i Sport and thought I could not live without it.

So naturally, I spec’d ARS on my new F10 535i Msport. On the F10, ARS seems to work in a manner opposite of the E60... Here, on the F10, ARS will allow a few (too many) degrees of body roll/lean and then prevent you from leaning any further. The end effect is that, even in sport plus mode, the car will lean around turns/slaloms/corners/lane changes.

A set of good shocks and springs may serve you better (depending on your goals). A set of upgraded sway bars (H&R, M, 650i, etc.) are worth a look too.

Don’t sweat F10 ARS if you don’t have it. You aren’t missing much. There are much more cost effective ways to attain a flat cornering attitude.

However, the other side of ARS is that the bars are disconnected when not cornering, supposedly providing a smoother ride. Academically, this may be true. But ARS vs non ARS, I don’t detect any MAJOR ride quality changes. The MAIN benefit is reduced body roll. And once again, that benefit is diluted on the softly tuned F10 ARS system.
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      05-19-2018, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thakid22 View Post
I don’t have any retrofit details... but I can tell you that ARS on the F10 is NOT calibrated in the same sporty manner that it was on the E60.

On the E60, ARS seems to resist all body roll. That is, you corner very flatly at all times. Turns, lane changes, and curves in the city result in little detectable body roll. Corner hard enough and there is eventually a smidge of body lean.
I loved ARS on my E60 535i Sport and thought I could not live without it.

So naturally, I spec’d ARS on my new F10 535i Msport. On the F10, ARS seems to work in a manner opposite of the E60... Here, on the F10, ARS will allow a few (too many) degrees of body roll/lean and then prevent you from leaning any further. The end effect is that, even in sport plus mode, the car will lean around turns/slaloms/corners/lane changes.

A set of good shocks and springs may serve you better (depending on your goals). A set of upgraded sway bars (H&R, M, 650i, etc.) are worth a look too.

Don’t sweat F10 ARS if you don’t have it. You aren’t missing much. There are much more cost effective ways to attain a flat cornering attitude.

However, the other side of ARS is that the bars are disconnected when not cornering, supposedly providing a smoother ride. Academically, this may be true. But ARS vs non ARS, I don’t detect any MAJOR ride quality changes. The MAIN benefit is reduced body roll. And once again, that benefit is diluted on the softly tuned F10 ARS system.

Thats my current concern. I havent sold my 2011 550I yet, and driving back and forward from a 2014 M sport suspension, to a 2011 550I dynamic handling.
It really saddens me. Makes me wonder, Am I taking a step going to the 14 without the ars, edc, and active steering?

So do you believe that just adding sway bars and springs will make it mostly there?
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      05-20-2018, 07:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _des_ View Post
Thats my current concern. I havent sold my 2011 550I yet, and driving back and forward from a 2014 M sport suspension, to a 2011 550I dynamic handling.
It really saddens me. Makes me wonder, Am I taking a step going to the 14 without the ars, edc, and active steering?

So do you believe that just adding sway bars and springs will make it mostly there?
ARS is tuned so softly, you can literally have a flatter ride with shocks/springs/sways. My KWV3’s, alone, can be adjusted to produce ARS levels of roll stiffness.

EDC, in F10 form also fails to wow me. The ride is simply too wallowy. Brake dive, body roll, and bounce are ever present. In Sport + mode the rear is relatively well tied down, But the front still bobs, dives, and floats excessively. EDC is the choice if you want a limo style ride, not a sporty ride. Base LCI suspension is more well-sorted.

If there is one option that transforms the F10, it is Integral Active Steering. Regular F10 models are cursed with a steering rack that is wickedly slow... Put another way, it takes more steering input to get the vehicle to turn a certain amount. The best thing (to me) is that Active Steering is sharper and more responsive around town. This makes the car feel more precise, nimble, and accurate.
I think EDC and ARS get too much credit on the F10 while ARS does not get enough.
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      05-21-2018, 01:26 AM   #10
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Or those with EDC/DHP can get the Dinan Shockware for like $308 and the first thing you will feel is the car stays flat in corners, no roll!
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      05-21-2018, 05:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thakid22 View Post
I don’t have any retrofit details... but I can tell you that ARS on the F10 is NOT calibrated in the same sporty manner that it was on the E60.

On the E60, ARS seems to resist all body roll. That is, you corner very flatly at all times. Turns, lane changes, and curves in the city result in little detectable body roll. Corner hard enough and there is eventually a smidge of body lean.
I loved ARS on my E60 535i Sport and thought I could not live without it.

So naturally, I spec’d ARS on my new F10 535i Msport. On the F10, ARS seems to work in a manner opposite of the E60... Here, on the F10, ARS will allow a few (too many) degrees of body roll/lean and then prevent you from leaning any further. The end effect is that, even in sport plus mode, the car will lean around turns/slaloms/corners/lane changes.
Don't follow your experience in the F10/11. My F11 resists initial roll and stays very flat.

BMW data/graphs don't suggest a change in roll control characteristics in later models, from original Dynamic Drive. Greatest resistance to roll at lower forces and 'gives more' as lateral forces increase.

There may be a slight difference, E60 vs. F10, due to vehicle weight, COG and other suspension changes, spring rates, etc..
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      05-21-2018, 05:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by addy27 View Post
Or those with EDC/DHP can get the Dinan Shockware for like $308 and the first thing you will feel is the car stays flat in corners, no roll!
Shame on Dinan for not offering this on the 535i.

Do you have the Shockware on your vehicle?

In my experience, DHP is VERY crashy when encountering sharp edged potholes and or pavement irregularities. The feel isn’t that bad, but the sound... sounds like running over a live grenade. Back in the days of the E90 we called this behavior “pothole explosions.” Does Shockware eliminate this occurrence?

What I have found is that aftermarket shocks always get rid of this crash and bang sound. However, I can’t figure out exactly what causes the bang to begin with. Koni FSD or Bilstein B6s both cured my E90 of pothole explosions.

Kwv3 cured my F10 of the same crashiness... All of these shocks were delivered with replacement bump stops of different design than stock. Maybe they cushion the last bit of upward suspension travel better. Maybe the damping is better...
Experimenting with my KWv3, I have found that when low speed compression damping is set too weak, the car can start to exhibit the same crashiness over sharp bumps. How is the Shockware in this regard?
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      05-21-2018, 11:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Don't follow your experience in the F10/11. My F11 resists initial roll and stays very flat.

BMW data/graphs don't suggest a change in roll control characteristics in later models, from original Dynamic Drive. Greatest resistance to roll at lower forces and 'gives more' as lateral forces increase.

There may be a slight difference, E60 vs. F10, due to vehicle weight, COG and other suspension changes, spring rates, etc..
HighlandPete, I’ve come to the conclusion that your vehicle employs a different calibration than what we get over here in the United States... Here in the US, ARS is rather mediocre. It does have its benefits, but it is simply not tuned as tightly as it could be and still allows for significant body roll.

Here is what CNET had to say about a US spec DHP/ARS/EDC F10...
https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2...series/review/
“Even with the Adaptive Drive set to Sport, the BMW feels heavy through twisty mountain roads. Body roll was evident and noticeable, despite the ARS system, and the 535i feels as though it's relying too heavily on its gadgets to offset the increased mass. Thankfully, although the BMW rolls, it doesn't feel like it's floating or is disconnected from the road, and the increased low-end grunt meant that we were almost never caught without enough torque to power the sedan out of turns.”

They also summed up the handling by saying:
“Suspension feels a bit floaty and body roll is evident despite active suspension tech.”


This EXACTLY mirrors my experience with the US spec EDC, DHP, & ARS F10s.
Many US reviews site the same behavior.

That being said, my previous car was an E60 535i Sport with ARS. That thing cornered sports car flat. The old E70 X5 had wonderfully flat roll resistance too... These US spec F10’s, not so much. But then again, be mindful that I have been spoiled by the superb ARS behavior of past BMW models.
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      05-21-2018, 03:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thakid22 View Post
HighlandPete, I’ve come to the conclusion that your vehicle employs a different calibration than what we get over here in the United States... Here in the US, ARS is rather mediocre. It does have its benefits, but it is simply not tuned as tightly as it could be and still allows for significant body roll.

Here is what CNET had to say about a US spec DHP/ARS/EDC F10...
https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/auto/2...series/review/
“Even with the Adaptive Drive set to Sport, the BMW feels heavy through twisty mountain roads. Body roll was evident and noticeable, despite the ARS system, and the 535i feels as though it's relying too heavily on its gadgets to offset the increased mass. Thankfully, although the BMW rolls, it doesn't feel like it's floating or is disconnected from the road, and the increased low-end grunt meant that we were almost never caught without enough torque to power the sedan out of turns.”

They also summed up the handling by saying:
“Suspension feels a bit floaty and body roll is evident despite active suspension tech.”


This EXACTLY mirrors my experience with the US spec EDC, DHP, & ARS F10s.
Many US reviews site the same behavior.

That being said, my previous car was an E60 535i Sport with ARS. That thing cornered sports car flat. The old E70 X5 had wonderfully flat roll resistance too... These US spec F10’s, not so much. But then again, be mindful that I have been spoiled by the superb ARS behavior of past BMW models.
Thank you for your thoughts. You are definitely reassuring me that it isnt the worse thing to not have it. I'll be in the market for H&R Springs and Sway bars in the near Future.
Would rear sway bars be enough for now? Or are front Sway bars necessary.
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      05-21-2018, 06:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _des_ View Post
Thank you for your thoughts. You are definitely reassuring me that it isnt the worse thing to not have it. I'll be in the market for H&R Springs and Sway bars in the near Future.
Would rear sway bars be enough for now? Or are front Sway bars necessary.
What are your goals?
You can get great roll stiffness with a set of sway bars...
Get front and rears for more neutral handling.
Does your 2014 have 704 Sport suspension? Not all do.
If you do, you already have a slightly lowered ride height and decent spring rates. Bilstein shocks reduce body roll quite a bit too. Paired with 704 suspension, everything should be pleasantly tight. Note, I said should be. I haven’t tested Bilstein on the F10 yet. They always reduce body roll quite a bit, but on some chassis they ride too firmly at low speeds. You can count on bilstein to get the handling feel right though.

Another option is Koni Sport shocks... They are adjustable (for firmness) and you can always find a stiff setting, a soft(ish) setting, and a happy middle ground.

If you like your ride quality as is, but just need more roll resistance, sways are the way to go.
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      05-22-2018, 09:10 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Don't follow your experience in the F10/11. My F11 resists initial roll and stays very flat.

BMW data/graphs don't suggest a change in roll control characteristics in later models, from original Dynamic Drive. Greatest resistance to roll at lower forces and 'gives more' as lateral forces increase.

There may be a slight difference, E60 vs. F10, due to vehicle weight, COG and other suspension changes, spring rates, etc..
Whenever the discussion turns to the merits/demerits of DHP/ARS/EDC, I can almost predict your arrival to the thread to defend theses systems. I feel that you have the impression that I am judging the systems too harshly or the vehicles I have driven are not representative of the platform as a whole. I remember recounting how harsh DHP can be over road irregularities in a previous post a couple months back... And you mentioned your car displayed none of the bad traits. I believe that. I also know for a fact, that the numerous DHP F10 I have driven all behave the same distasteful way.

There MUST be a calibration difference with your non-US setup.
Maybe your roads are glass smooth? But surely you encounter bad roads occasionally... Really, DHP can get inappropriately crashy over roads that aren’t even that bad. Numerous US reviews reference this occurrence. Be rest assured that I am not just making this up. US spec DHP leaves a lot to be desired and has some truly nasty habits on less than smooth roads. I recently ditched the whole DHP setup on my personal car and bought KWV3. Sooo much better. The ride is now taut, firm, and free of harshness on even the most abysmal road surfaces.

Automobile magazine had a “rough” time with US spec DHP too...
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/20...asons-wrap-up/

“Our car’s optional dynamic handling package ups the ante with active antiroll bars and variable-rate dampers. Its capability initially wowed us. “The ride-and-handling balance is nearly ideal,” reported deputy editor Joe DeMatio after his first drive. He also praised the “discernible differences” among the four dynamic settings — Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport +.

As time wore on, though, complaints rolled in about the suspension’s tendency to crash over large road imperfections. The harshness soon took a toll on the car’s nineteen-inch wheels and Goodyear run-flat tires. Within the first 10,000 miles, they’d developed uneven tread wear and multiple sidewall bulges bad enough to send vibrations through the steering wheel. In fairness, some of the blame may lie with the larger wheels themselves, part of the optional sport package. Indeed, the complaints died down when, at the recommendation of BMW and Tire Rack, we stepped down to the standard eighteen-inch wheel size for winter. Shod in Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires, our rear-wheel-drive 5-series clawed its way handily through winter’s worst.”
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      05-22-2018, 02:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thakid22 View Post
Whenever the discussion turns to the merits/demerits of DHP/ARS/EDC, I can almost predict your arrival to the thread to defend theses systems. I feel that you have the impression that I am judging the systems too harshly or the vehicles I have driven are not representative of the platform as a whole. I remember recounting how harsh DHP can be over road irregularities in a previous post a couple months back... And you mentioned your car displayed none of the bad traits. I believe that. I also know for a fact, that the numerous DHP F10 I have driven all behave the same distasteful way.

There MUST be a calibration difference with your non-US setup.
Maybe your roads are glass smooth? But surely you encounter bad roads occasionally... Really, DHP can get inappropriately crashy over roads that aren’t even that bad. Numerous US reviews reference this occurrence. Be rest assured that I am not just making this up. US spec DHP leaves a lot to be desired and has some truly nasty habits on less than smooth roads. I recently ditched the whole DHP setup on my personal car and bought KWV3. Sooo much better. The ride is now taut, firm, and free of harshness on even the most abysmal road surfaces.

Automobile magazine had a “rough” time with US spec DHP too...
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/20...asons-wrap-up/

“Our car’s optional dynamic handling package ups the ante with active antiroll bars and variable-rate dampers. Its capability initially wowed us. “The ride-and-handling balance is nearly ideal,” reported deputy editor Joe DeMatio after his first drive. He also praised the “discernible differences” among the four dynamic settings — Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport +.

As time wore on, though, complaints rolled in about the suspension’s tendency to crash over large road imperfections. The harshness soon took a toll on the car’s nineteen-inch wheels and Goodyear run-flat tires. Within the first 10,000 miles, they’d developed uneven tread wear and multiple sidewall bulges bad enough to send vibrations through the steering wheel. In fairness, some of the blame may lie with the larger wheels themselves, part of the optional sport package. Indeed, the complaints died down when, at the recommendation of BMW and Tire Rack, we stepped down to the standard eighteen-inch wheel size for winter. Shod in Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D tires, our rear-wheel-drive 5-series clawed its way handily through winter’s worst.”

I can only judge on what I observe. I do go along with the thinking that specification may be part of the differences we find with AD/DHP, or any suspension for that matter.

I'm in a 535i wagon, 18" summer and 17" winter, both 'square' wheel sets. Having self levelling rear air springs will also make a difference, compared to the coil springs on the sedan, as self-levelling air springs work with a variable spring rate according to load.

My wagon does run more settled than the 535i sedan I tested, to see if Adaptive Drive suited my driving requirements. The sedan was running 19" 'staggered' summer wheels at the time. It was the rear that I questioned, as it was better controlled in Sport mode, even at lower speeds over broken surfaces, something much less intrusive in the wagon. I put it down to the spring rate being fixed and the heavy wheels and wide tires, bouncing more on irregular surfaces. I understood at the time BMW had optimised AD on 18" wheels, so that knowledge and experience with the sedan, fixed my summer wheel size.

I drive some pretty bad surfaces, a key reason for wanting EDC, rather than a passive sport suspension. BMW M-sport suspension is too fidgety on many of the roads I regularly drive, which have some strange cross ripples, as well as lots of undulations and broken edges. Single wheel bumps are all too frequent, where I feel EDC + ARS excel, as the wagon gives a very settled ride.

I would have preferred a simple passive system, but as M-sport suspension is uncomfortable, on my driving surfaces, AD fits the brief so much better. Most of the time I run the mid (Normal) suspension mode, as it is well balanced, comfortable without being floaty. ARS keeping the roll in control.

I'd definitely go for AD again, no hesitation whatsoever.
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