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  1. #1
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    Lowered S3 with standard ride quality possible?

    Hey all, i have spent the last 3 years driving a MK2 Golf fitted with FK Konigsport coilovers, i live in cornwall so the roads are a discrace! there may be a few A roads that arent too bad but the rest of the road network is seemingly laid by idiots who cannot lay flat roads and especially cant prep the roads to stop the constant pot holeing that is so common!!! (rant over) sorry if that offended anyone!

    Anyway, when i got my 2001 s3, i loved the fact it was so smoth and all the bumps and dips i had to put up with were taken up by the softer dampening, i know this is the characteristics of coilovers and it is to be expected so there is an obvious difference.

    Basically, i would love to lower my S3 a little bit, mainly for looks but maintain the ride quality as much as possible, i have had enough of striving for top handleing, i am getting a set of H&R ARBs after reading comments on the forum so these with a slightly lower center of gravity and the 4wd will hopefully be enough for what i want to achieve.

    What are my options? Will springs reduce the life of my dampers significantly? Say 50mm springs? Is this a lot of extra work for the pistons as they are standard length? Is there short piston dampers available that are not the normal 30% harder?

    What about the use of lowering caps? I know (but never used) this was a cheap way to lower a golf a further 10mm. Does cheap ALWAYS mean bad?

    Would my shocks be safe with 30mm or 40mm springs and lowering caps and still not be much different from standard ride?

    Sorry for the super long post, hope someone can give some input???
    My main goal is to keep the comfortable feel the S3 has

    Thanks for any info and advice, James

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Tony
    Anyway, when i got my 2001 s3, i loved the fact it was so smoth and all the bumps and dips i had to put up with were taken up by the softer dampening, i know this is the characteristics of coilovers and it is to be expected so there is an obvious difference.
    If you avoid coilovers and stick with properly damped dampers and matched springs, you will find the suspension doesn't have to be hard or crashy to give giid handling.

    Std suspension I thought was awful...comfortable enough, but it would bottom out and loose control of the wheels at the first sign of pushing on...which made it feel WORSE that a decent upgrade.


    Basically, i would love to lower my S3 a little bit, mainly for looks but maintain the ride quality as much as possible, i have had enough of striving for top handleing, i am getting a set of H&R ARBs after reading comments on the forum so these with a slightly lower center of gravity and the 4wd will hopefully be enough for what i want to achieve.
    ARBs won't lower the centre of gravity...
    They'll help it roll less though.


    What are my options? Will springs reduce the life of my dampers significantly?
    Yes. Quite simply.
    I fitted H&R springs when my car had less than 1000 miles on...by 4000 the dampers were shot....and that was on factor fresh dampers.

    S3 dampers are woeful...you really need to change them...and you can get firm, yet comfortable with great handling. not solid...but a car that will lean a bit and soak up the bumps...yet still have an iron grip on the suspension and body roll.


    Say 50mm springs?
    -50mm?
    Brave man.

    Mine was -20mm and I still managed to buff the lowest point of the sump.
    I suspect a good pothole will have your sump holed by the end of the 1st drive with -50mm springs on an S3, especially with standard dampers.


    Is this a lot of extra work for the pistons as they are standard length? Is there short piston dampers available that are not the normal 30% harder?
    I doubt you can get shorter dampers at standard settings...why would you?
    If they aren't uprated and you have less travel they'll bottom out more than the standard stuff.

    No, you need to go slightly uprated.

    But don't go thinking uprated will mean +30%.
    A figure like that means nothing...you need a company that will do bespoke damper testing and improve all the damping characteristics...not just make things 30% harder.

    What about the use of lowering caps? I know (but never used) this was a cheap way to lower a golf a further 10mm. Does cheap ALWAYS mean bad?
    They would probably work...but they don't improve the crashiness or bottoming out of the standard stuff.


    Would my shocks be safe with 30mm or 40mm springs and lowering caps and still not be much different from standard ride?
    No, it'd bugger them in seconds...assuming they aren't already past it...which if they are original, they will be.
    And you'll risk taking your sump off that low...especially on standard damping.


    Sorry for the super long post, hope someone can give some input???
    My main goal is to keep the comfortable feel the S3 has
    My H&R spring / Bilstein damper combination was barely stiffer than standard, but didn't bounce and flop about, didn't crash over potholes and didn't bottom out...it was brilliant.
    It rode better than standard overall.


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  4. #3
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    Thanks for the length reply

    Quote:
    Basically, i would love to lower my S3 a little bit, mainly for looks but maintain the ride quality as much as possible, i have had enough of striving for top handleing, i am getting a set of H&R ARBs after reading comments on the forum so these with a slightly lower center of gravity and the 4wd will hopefully be enough for what i want to achieve.


    ARBs won't lower the centre of gravity...
    They'll help it roll less though.
    Sorry, i didnt mean to imply that i thought the arbs will lower anything, i meant i was hoping it would give a good improvement to handleing at any height

    My H&R spring / Bilstein damper combination was barely stiffer than standard, but didn't bounce and flop about, didn't crash over potholes and didn't bottom out...it was brilliant.
    It rode better than standard overall.
    Can anyone second this? I dont mean to say i dont believe you, not at all, after reading a lot of the forum, i have found your input very useful!!! (i will never trust a rolling road printout again!!!!)
    Just after more opinions as perfect to one person maybe too much for another
    Thanks again for the helpfull post, there probably isnt much room to add now!!! Good stuff ess_three

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    Another thing...... Money is tight as im still paying for the car, would it be ok to use just springs and buy new dampers at a later date and use the same springs? say get h&r springs, save up and replace newly worn shocks with bilsteins as ess three has???

  6. #5
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    You could...
    But fitting springs alone will mean you have the suspension apart anyway...and you'll need to do a full alignment after just springs - and still add the adjustable tie bars!

    So, if you change the springs...
    You'll need pay the labour to change them (or do them yourself)
    You'll need to buy the adjustable tie bars...
    You'll need pay the labour to fit them (or do them yourself)
    You'll need to pay for a full 4 wheel alignment.

    If you then add dampers you'll have the labour costs to take everything apart again, taking the new springs off, putting it all back together...and you'll need to pay for a full 4 wheel alignment all over again.

    If paying for it...you'll probably save £300-350 by having springs and dampers fitted together, rather than having dampers added later.


    Lowering an S3 isn't cheap, sadly...


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  7. #6
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    Definately best to get it all done at once mate, it'll work out cheaper and less hassle in the end.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ess_Three
    My H&R spring / Bilstein damper combination was barely stiffer than standard, but didn't bounce and flop about, didn't crash over potholes and didn't bottom out...it was brilliant.
    It rode better than standard overall.
    Sorry for bothering, but can you say which Bilstein's you use? B8 or B6 or something else? I read somewhere else that the B8's are stiffer than the B6's, that's why I wonder.

    Also, I am going to Essen Motorshow tomorrow (or saturday, it depends) and would also like to know which stuff I should get also. At this moment I am looking into better handling, without losing too much comfort, and have the following list:
    - Bilstein dampers (which ones?)
    - H&R lowering springs (someone have an exact name for it? How much lowering?)
    - ARB's (what do you prefer? which ones?)

    Do I need more stuff to buy?

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chone
    Sorry for bothering, but can you say which Bilstein's you use? B8 or B6 or something else? I read somewhere else that the B8's are stiffer than the B6's, that's why I wonder.
    Yeah, the B8s.
    They are the shorted dampers.


    - Bilstein dampers (which ones?)
    B8s


    - H&R lowering springs (someone have an exact name for it? How much lowering?)
    I think mine were the -20mm 'comfort' springs.


    - ARB's (what do you prefer? which ones?)
    I had Neuspeed, and they were superb.
    There is much more choice now though...so it's pretty much personal choice.

    I do know the Neuspeeds work with the B8/H&R combo superbly.


    Do I need more stuff to buy?
    Adjustable rear tie bars.
    And they aren't cheap, sadly.


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