Some dampers are adjustable, which allows you to set them within a limited range...but in many cases the adjustment is useless...they are often far too hard and you can't get round it.
Originally Posted by jesters3
If you find some dampers that are valved properly, there is no need for adjustment...as long as they are spot on.
In my view, for road use, the Bilstein B8s couldn't have been better valved if I'd played about with the damping for years!
I'd recommend them without hesitation...not harsh, brilliant control, perfect damping.
Coilovers allow you to adjust the ride height...primarily. although many have damping adjustment too.
The problem with adjustable dampers is the temptation to have them too stiff and convince yourself they improve the handling because you (not aimed at you personally Jester...but you get the idea) don't know any better.
I once set up a corrado VR6 that had the fronts at full hardness and the rears full soft..it was horrible and slow.
We ended up at 1/2 turn from minimum at the front and about 3/4 of the way up the scale at the back and it was sublime. Brilliant road and track...
The owner thought it handled well before..it didn't. Now it does.
Anyway...coilovers are great if you can't get springs that give a decent ride height...but the temptation is to wind them down too much and screw up the suspension angles...wrecking the handling. Dumped in the weeds does not handle...
Also, on the S3, anything more than 20-25mm will put your sump at risk...mine was well buffed...any more and it may have cost me an engine.
I think £400-500 for Bilsteins.
What sort of costs are the dampers? I'll give APS a call but was wondering if someone had a ball park figure?
Give DPM a shout on here, I seem to think he can do decent prices on the Bilstein B8s.
The OEM bars aren't adjustable...so you will wear tyres and have an unpredictable rear (ooh er!)
For the tie bars I understand what you mean didn't realise that the springs alone could cause that, i understood the car would be 10-15mm lower ride height but wasn't fully aware of the skittish rear end. So are the OE tie-bars up to this or is upgrade ones i.e Forge the better choice?
You'll need either Forge, ECS or I think H&R do them?
The Forge bars aren't cheap...but they are TUV approved, work well and don't break. I'd recommend them.
My view is that the R32 ARBs are not suited to how I like my car set up...
For the ARB I read that the R32 ones were not best suited due to the weight, is the S3 OE ones to stay with along with the OE bushes? I hear about the Neuspeed and the Powerflex bushes, but the additonal pricing just sends it too high compared to the OE.
I had the Neuspeed ARBs and they were great.
If your ARBs are OK (not cracked) I'd not touch them...I'd spend the money on the springs, dampers, tie bars and a decent set-up and give that a try.
What size wheels do you run Jester?
ARBs work better with 18" wheels than they do with 17s...as the added stiffness of the ARBs makes the sidewalls move a lot on 17s..
This could be a consideration too.
I'd consider H&R springs as well...they are a shade less harsh around town than the Eibachs...and I found them a shade stiffer on full compression.
So on this basis its EibaCh + Blistein + Forge + OE ARB (?)
Similar price too...
So, Eibach or H&R springs, Bilstein B8 dampers, Forge (or similar) tie bars and if you want to save a few hundred quid, stick with OEM ARBs.
That's my view...
I'm not a connoisseur like you guys but very interested in located a good set-up that will last me a while so thanks for the info
As you can appreciate my car is 135k so this is the only time I would have a chance to sort out the suspension relatively well, I haven't got that much cash but looking to put it to reasonable use, plus keep the missus happy I ain't caining the bank balance! Also in a few months time it's cambelt time!!!
There will be a few along soon to disagree...you pays your money, and makes your choice!