Ben’s E36 Touring
The big news this month for the S54 Touring has been the addition of a set of CAtuned coilovers. I’ve been eyeing them up for a while now, and as Hack Engineering has made them easily available in the UK, the time had come.
My previous setup was a set of Spax RSX coilovers. They were actually one of the first upgrades I fitted to the car many moons ago, and with their age they’d begun to be noisy and the front adjusters had also seized, losing me my ride height adjustment. They were just tired, and due a replacement. I could think of no better coilover to fit than the CAtuned items. If you take a look at any of CAtuned’s incredible builds, it’s easy to see the level of perfection that the guys go to. I knew that their name wouldn’t be against anything that wasn’t a top-notch product, and after a chat with the man himself, Igor Polishchuk, chief of CAtuned, I knew I was making the right decision.
CAtuned’s coilovers are based around a Japanese-made 30-stage adjustable monotube damper, and they feature separately adjustable ride height and spring pre-load, which is a feature I’ve been looking at for a while. It means that a low ride-height needn’t affect the amount of shock travel, and also voids the need for helper springs for secure spring location. A number of other features like a bearing-mounted front upper spring hat also add to how well-thought-out these are. In addition, they come complete with top mounts, all for the price of £850. You can’t argue with that.
I opted to have custom heavier spring rates (10k front, 12k rear) as I wanted to go stiffer for the track work the car does. The old setup was just a bit too soft to make the most of the grip the tyres could give. From what Igor had told me, I would also be likely to find that the damping quality would actually provide me with a step up in comfort, despite the tougher springs.
Once I’d unboxed them, I could see that the quality of the coilovers is just astounding – each and every part is finished to perfection. The adjusters all move smoothly and solidly, the coating feels super-durable, the machining looks superb… I could go on, but you’re probably hoping to hear about how they perform.
In short, Igor was absolutely right in his recommendations. I really hadn’t clocked onto how noisy and crashy the old setup was – now the E36 just feels so much better. It rides over the bumps smoothly and silently, while in the corners it truly feels like a different car. It just grips, responds and rides better than ever, all with comfort that, dare I say it, feels better than my memory of stock suspension and certainly better than modern M Sport suspensions.
The final part of the puzzle was to get everything aligned once the coilovers had seen a few miles as a chance for everything to settle. There’s no one I’d rather trust with setting up a road or track chassis than the guys down at RAW Motorsport. The E36 was aligned with three degrees of camber all-round and RAW’s secret blend of toe settings to ensure that handling on track would be fun without sacrificing tyre life on the road. Perfect – and that’s exactly how it’s worked out. What a transformation.
Thanks & Contact
Hack Engineering | 01444 617365 | www.hackengineering.co.uk
RAW Motorsport | 01489 799124 | www.rawmotorsport.co.uk
CAtuned | 001 916 481 2312 | www.catuned.com