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Am I the only person on the planet who’d like their S3 to have softer suspension?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by perazzi, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    I’ve had the car for a year now (MY08 pre facelift) and live in the countryside; ‘B’ roads, and not in good condition. On these roads the car is a complete nightmare – verging on dangerous if you push it – bounces around like an unlevelled washing machine on full spin!

    On reasonably surfaced ‘A’ roads it’s fine – and on motorways too.

    But on ‘B’ roads the whole front end acts as though there is no correlation between the right and left side, and as if the back end belongs to a different car.


    Surely I can’t be alone in noticing this???

    P.
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  3. Bullys3
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    Bullys3 Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    It is hard but if it was soft it would feel wrong, these cars are like go carts on corners and we don't want to be bouncing round them, does get annoying sometimes, I've come from a range rover sport which was luxury but this power so it wins!
    #2
  4. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    See Bullys, I don’t completely get that.

    I grew up with original quattros (3 of them, 1 x 10 valve and later, 2 x 20 valves) and they were much more ‘compliant’. You could feel every corner searching for grip – not as fast, I’ll grant you, but SO much better to drive. And way softer in their suspension settings.

    I love the engine in my car but the QUALITY of ride is ruining it for me on a daily basis.

    I’ve been on the forum for a couple of years now, almost daily though rarely post, and I’m wondering if it’s a ‘generation’ thing – Y’know like James May says the Nurburg.... ruins cars suspension...

    ...must just be getting too much of a codger.

    P.
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  5. S3_Jacko
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    S3_Jacko Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    I've got the same car and find mine to be pretty solid round the corners... the back end does feel a lot lighter than the front though, but I find mine pretty controlable... what sort of tyres you using?
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  6. Bullys3
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    Bullys3 Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    Yea maybe a generation thing perazzi, don't get me wrong when you go down crappy roads that are full of pot holes it's a nightmare but on a good road it's perfect,
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  7. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    Jacko, it's not the 'solidness' round the corners, it's the lack of forgiveness and feel - 'compliance' is the only way I know how to describe it. Its like the nearside and offside don't talk to each other, like they act as one, as opposed to being independent of each other.

    I've tried Bridgestones which came with the car (sh*te), then PS2s - pretty good actually as far as grip is concerned, and I'm now on Asy's - great grip both wet and dry - but that's not my issue.

    Its like all four corners don't 'talk' to each - they almost get confused. And I regurarly have the tracking checked.

    It's just the car (for me), the way the suspension's set up.

    P*sses me off actually, cos inside there, is a car that could be so much better.

    P.
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  8. chris.vincent3
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    chris.vincent3 Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    The suspension is a little stiffer, however you're also forgetting the alloys have got larger and the tyres have got thinner in the years.

    Original Quattros where not rolling 17/18 or even 19 inch wheels with profiles as small as 35. I could be wrong, I wasn't around back then.. :(
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  9. S3_Jacko
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    S3_Jacko Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]

    Ahh I get you.... I dont really have this problem to be honest?? goes really wherever I point it, almost go-kart like.... I'm running conti-sport contact 5's and they grip like super glue... going round round-abouts etc, i'm practically lobbed over to the passenger seat before it starts to lose grip.... but it always ends up kicking out the back 1st

    I used to have a Mr2 GT-tbar... If you want to drive a car that has a mind of its own, take 1 of them a test drive... especially in the wet.. some scary times
    #8
  10. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    You're right Chris, they had 15" wheels !! FFS, I'd forgotten that!

    But still, they led the way that all of us follow...

    Can't see my immaculate S3 on those somehow. :think:

    :)

    P.


    Which brings me back to the James May point. ish.
    #9
  11. chris.vincent3
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    chris.vincent3 Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    Perazzi, That is a shame, 15s wouldn't fit over the brakes lol, otherwise someone could have tested the theory.
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  12. JudderMan
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    JudderMan Active Member

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    [Oct 4, 2013]
    It might be similar, but my rear axle/trailing arm bushes need replacing (A3), and I have the same symptoms. It's been like this for a while but I hate doing bushes and haven't got round to having enough time to do them....in other words, check yours as it sounds the same. Nothing worse than duff suspension/bushes that give little or no feedback.
    #11
  13. Chillout
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    Chillout Active Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    I have a 3.2 sline I find it's suspension too hard for my 30 year old whiplashed back .
    #12
  14. audigex
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    audigex Active Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    My MY12 A3 feels like it's on rails round a corner, and I can't see the S3 being significantly different at the same speeds. I can't fault it, I've only ever felt a lack of complete control once and I was going far too fast in the wet, even then I got a 4 wheel drift for a couple of yards and then the car recovered perfectly.

    Admittedly the S3 is a more powerful car, but I can't imagine you'd corner any harder in an S3 than an A3 (power doesn't give visibility, after all).
    #13
  15. fireheed
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    fireheed Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    I feel the same, body roll is fine that's not the problem. The suspension needs a little more give to smooth over the rough bits on the roads round me.
    #14
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  16. JohnE
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    JohnE Active Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    Suspension doesn't need to be rock hard for good handling (except possibly on the track). One of the best riding cars I've driven was a Lotus Elise - a fine handling car with loads of grip (in the dry) and without feeling the need to shatter your spine like my Audi does.

    My Impreza, Jag, XR2, XR4x4 all had a far superior ride and at least as good handling (better in the wet) than my A3 Sport - although the Audi seats are better.

    I was only thinking today, this car prevents me driving fast on B roads because it's just way too boneshaking.
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  17. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]

    That's what I was getting at.

    I'm beginning to think that younger drivers haven't experienced the better handling cars of past decades and of course as Chris aludes to, the modern quest for larger wheels doesn't exactly help the situation.

    I'm absolutely sure that were my S3 to have a more compliant suspension it would handle and drive way better than it does right now.

    I accept that for the track a greater degree of stiffness is required but not for our (poor) roads.

    P.
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  18. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    I found the S3's suspension to be one of it's biggest problems when I bought mine.

    I know we all have different views of what suits us best,but I found it ran out of damping very quickly,and was easily upset by bumps,especially at speed,plus the inherent understeer didn't help.

    So....first I had kW v3 suspension installed,along with uprated ARBs,and this gave much better damping,so the car wasn't bouncing around,plus better travel on the suspension,and didn't need to be rock hard to work.

    Later,obviously,it was changed again to kW Clubsport suspension which is a lot harder,but offered the control and adjustability I needed.

    But,for road use,the v3 gear was very good,and the point about not needing to be rock hard is very valid.....you do however need compliance and damping,so that you have control of body roll and bounce,without either getting out of hand.
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  19. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]

    Alex, tell me more about these kW v3s, please. And if you don't mind, can you explain how uprated ARBs actually help the situation...

    P.
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  20. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    OK...here's my take on it,and please understand it's a very personal view on suspension in general.

    One of my previous cars was a Ford Escort Cosworth,that had been a GpN rally car before I got it and put it on the roads.

    You would think that such a thing would have bone-shattering suspension,but actually on those you need a large amount of suspension travel to cope with huge bumps at high speed,coupled with excellent damping control,and this it had in abundance.
    You could travel at serious speed without ever feeling the suspension becoming wound up and losing control,but the downside was cost......around £4-5k even at 1995 prices.

    So....back to now....the S3's suspension for me seemed very bouncy,and underdamped,meaning that a series of bumps would simply set the thing wobbling around,and that,coupled with a lack of body control added up to a bit of a mess.

    The S3 is set up to understeer,and stiffer ARBs do remove some of that,but if you add in a good set of coilovers,you get better control,and better damping without something that feels like a go-kart.

    Those coilovers are not cheap....a set of v3's will come to over £1.2k fitted,and the Clubsports are rather more(but I would not recommend those as they are pretty hardcore).
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  21. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]

    Thanks, I'll do some research.

    How was the ride comfort affected?

    P.
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  22. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    To my mind,much better,as the car wasn't bouncing around.
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  23. mramage
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    mramage Member

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    I've been thinking about this as well. I definitely don't want to lower the car and from what I've read the FSD dampers would appear to be a solution. If anyone near Glasgow has them I'd be interested in having a look.
    Having had a 111r Elise I know what you mean.
    #22
  24. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 5, 2013]
    What I've learnt also along the way is that cheap is not always a good idea,and it's often worth paying more initially to avoid paying twice when you find the first ones aren't good enough.

    There are systems from a few hundred pounds up to several thousands,but some decent compromises in the middle ground.
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  25. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 10, 2013]
    Sorry for the delay!

    It's actually pretty reasonable,but the Clubsport gear is hard.

    The v3 is a much better road compromise.
    #24
  26. perazzi
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    perazzi Member

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    [Oct 10, 2013]
    Thanks Alex.

    I may have wangled a wee shot in one over the coming weekend... :)

    P.
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