Ohlins Buyers Guide


Jun 4, 2018
The suspension... one of the most subjective pieces of the puzzle on an automobile. Every car, every driver, every use case is different. This is why we offer multiple options to try to cater to each individual. While Ohlins kits are great straight out of the box, there are many situations that require tweaks to make the system work correctly as a whole.

We have created this "generic" Ohlins buyers guide to help aid in your suspension decision making process. Because there are so many scenarios for each chassis, we are currently formulating chassis specific guides as well. If you don't see one of our kit options on our website for your specific vehicle, chances are we have a solution and it is just not up yet, please contact us to see if we can help.

Why Öhlins?
Öhlins has been an integrated part of the Motorsport industry for over 40 years. With its headquarters in Sweden, there are over 320 employees and a test center at the most demanding track in the world, the Nurburgring. Ohlins is the choice of Professional racers from Touring Cars to 24 Hours of LeMans and more. Even the new 2018 BMW M4 GT4 factory racecar is equiped with Öhlins dampers.

What Separates Öhlins from other dampers?
Inverted strut design, temperature compensation valving, the unique Dual Flow Valve (DFV), diaphragm nitrogen valve, and more. For those who want to whet their appetite about the advanced technology behind Öhlins dampers, 3DM has put together an extensive guide explaining all the details. Click Here for our Spoolstreet Öhlins Technical Guide

Why Purchase Öhlins from 3DM Motorsport?
3DM Motorsport has been using Öhlins dampers on street and racecars for over 13 years. A suspension kit is not a commodity, but many dealers treat them as such and typically drop ship them straight from the manufacturer. At 3DM, we have a close relationship with Öhlins and we work directly with them on special projects such as the BMW line of ‘Dedicated Track’ kits. Our in house development, upgrade, and repair capabilities of Öhlins dampers helps us provide exceptional service to our customers.

Developing the E46 M3 "Dedicated Track" suspension kit on the Ohlins shaker rig:

Validating the E90 335i "TrackDay Series" kit on the Ohlins shaker rig:

Using a shock dyno to develop the force/velocity curve we want for the E9X "Dedicated Track" kit: (This is an E9X M3 rear damper)

Our E92 M3 development car on the shaker rig testing the E9X "Dedicated Track" suspension kit

e90 m3 on shaker rig.jpeg

Before The Ohlins "Road and Track" kits ever existed, we made our own version for the E46 M3 circa 2006. We used an Ohlins Sportline and modified the front spring perch to be height adjustable. We paired the front Sportline with an Ohlins motorsport damper for the rear.

old e46.jpg

Everyone is a little bit different, or perhaps a lot different. Driving styles differ, mechanical skills differ, car upgrade paths differ, the list goes on. Before recommending a kit to someone these are some of the questions we ask…

  • What is your Personality?
    Are you a “gearhead” and like to tinker with your suspension or do you like to leave it alone and enjoy it for what it is?

  • What is the Use Case?
    How do you use your car… is it a daily driver, occasional “Sunday” driver, a dual duty street/track car, or a dedicated track car?

  • What level of NVH can you tolerate?
    When discussing suspensions, you have probably heard the term NVH which stands for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness. For example stiff springs and damper valving can be harsh while spherical bearing mounts can create excessive noise. It is important to remember that other pieces of the suspension puzzle such as differential or subframe bushings can also affect NVH.
We suggest thinking through the answers to the above questions and then browsing our kit options below to see what best fits your needs. We are always an email or phone call away if you have any questions. Contact Us

Kit Option Details

Basic Ohlins Road and Track Kits
These are the basic kits out of the box and un-assembled. This is what you will find on most other eCommerce sites which are drop shipped straight from Öhlins.

These kits are designed to use the OEM mounts. Depending on your application, you may need special tools such as a spring compressor to dismantle your old suspension if you intend to reuse the original OEM mounts. Alternately, you can purchase new mounts and the associated specialty hardware and pre-assemble yourself. You will need to be fairly mechanical savvy to install this kit. Otherwise we recommend a professional shop install and setup these kits.

Assuming you use OEM mounts, these kits will have factory like NVH. The spring rates are increased so there will be some slight increase in harshness.



3DM pre-assembles the basic Öhlins Road and Track Kits with OEM mounts so they are ready to bolt up to your car out of the box. This removes the need to research and source all the pieces yourself. It also reduces the risk of getting caught mid install with an incorrect part. New mounting hardware is also included depending on the application. All ride height settings are set to Öhlins recommended starting points with spring perch jam nuts torqued. You can always request a different setting or change it yourself before install.

In most cases, basic hand tools are all that are needed to install these kits. There should be no need for complicated special tools such as a spring compressor. Every DIY mechanic operates at a different pace but with these kits you will likely cut install time in less than half over a basic kit.

If you are having your favorite shop perform the install, the RTR kits will save you labor costs as well, offsetting the extra cost of the new mounts and hardware. We recommend letting your shop know this setup comes pre-assembled so they can adjust their labor estimate accordingly.

Much like the basic kits, the RTR kits will have factory like NVH. The spring rates are increased so there will be some slight increase in harshness.



Our ‘TrackDay Series’ kits take the Öhlins Road and Track dampers to the next level while still retaining street-ability. While you certainly can “set it and forget it” with these kits, they are geared more towards the person who wants to tinker with their suspension on a regular basis.

Each of our ‘TrackDay Series’ kits are a little different depending on the chassis and customer requirements. We know everyone and every car is unique which requires different pieces of the suspension puzzle. In general but not always… mounts are replaced with spherical adjustable mounts, springs rates are reconfigured, and dampers re-valved. Each kit is offered as a predetermined package with flexibility for the customer to make changes to suit their individual vehicle and driving style needs.

These kits can come either pre-assembled or disassembled for the “gearhead” who wants to understand how everything works together.

NVH will be increased with these kits but we have found them to be tolerable for street use. Spherical bearing mounts will introduce more noise into the cabin and stiffer spring rates will increase harshness.



These kits have been designed for cars that see nothing but track use. Much higher spring rates and valving to match combined with a modified Dual Flow Valve setup make these kits fast out of the box and quick and easy to dial in at the track. Similar to the ‘Road and Track’ kits, the single adjustment knob adjusts rebound and compression together at the appropriate ratio ensuring you feel the change with just a click or two. The DFV eliminates the need for the high speed knobs found on other dampers that will leave you scratching your head and searching for a track-side engineer.

Similar to the RTR kits, these kits come pre-assembled and ready to bolt up your car.

NVH is significantly increased with these kits as any pure track suspension would be. However, we have found they can be somewhat tolerable on the street such as short drives to a cars and coffee type event or a local autocross.


Already own an Öhlins Road and Track suspension kit? Whether you purchased it from 3DM Motorsport or not, we offer a a suite of services to suit your needs. Please Contact US for further information.

Rebuild services:
Its a good idea to have your dampers serviced on occasion. Just like oil in your engine, shock oil doesn’t last forever. There is no set interval like an engine oil change, It all depends on the abuse the dampers have gone through. A general rule of thumb is every 1 to 2 years of track use and approximately every 4 years of street use.

Re-valve Services:
Making a drastic setup change or not happy with the way your car is reacting dynamically? We can re-valve your dampers to help dial in that new setup. Each re-valve comes with a pre and post dyno sheet for record keeping purposes.

Upgrade Services:
‘Basic’ and ‘RTR’ kits can be upgraded to ‘3DM TrackDay Series’ kits or ‘Dedicated Track’ kits. We have all the appropriate hardware as well as valving spec cards to change over your kit and take it to the next level.


Öhlins Motorsport Dampers
The ultimate suspension! These are for the serious racer looking for the extra edge. Please give us a call to discuss your needs. Contact Us


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Oct 28, 2017
Monroe CT
09 335i msport le mans 18 x5
Barry was the most knowledgeable giving advice for spring rates and length when the vendor I purchased from 3500 in parts from was of no help. On top of that he turned down sales multiple times telling me to not waste my money cause wasnt what was looking for.
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