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APS - remap

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by jesters3, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. jesters3
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    jesters3 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 27, 2007]
    Arvo,
    Well bit the bullet, My S3 is booked in for Eibach springs and OE ARB change at APS in a few weeks. I was looking into a Remap, they offer this but was wondering whether anyone has had one done by them and what was it like? Quite tempted as it is a good performance gain for the ££.

    Also what else in the suspension should i look at? Mainly because my car is at 135k and needs at bit of TLC now is the time to look at any other parts.

    Coilovers/shocks, is this necessary?
    Tie bars? How do they opertate and what benefit if any from Forge ones?

    Cheers all.
    #1
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  3. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    [Mar 27, 2007]
    i think you should go for the remap. its the best mod for the money.
    since you have HR springs, go for billie B8s, change the ARBs to something a bit more substantial and you're set! change all the bushings while youre at it.
    also, since you car has some mileage, changing dampers will make that much more difference (since the originals will be more than half fooked by now).

    BTW, if you're not into track days and stuff, coilovers might be too harsh, you can look into Koni FSD shocks, i keep reading good stuff about them. should be no more expensive than the B8s.
    #2
  4. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 27, 2007]
    Dampers are essential in my view...the standard ones are **** even when new and struggle to control the springs...never mind if you add uprated springs or ARBs.
    The Bilstein B8s are perfect.

    Coilovers are a personal choice...but from experience tend to be noisier and are usually set once and left alone...so if you can get the same results from non-coilovers with lowered or standard springs, why not use them?

    The dampers make more of a difference to the handling than new springs or ARBs ever will.


    As for adjustable tie bars...on a standard height car they aren't required unless you want to de-stabilise the rear by playing with the angles.
    However, on a lowered car, you'll end up with too much negative camber for good tyre wear and grip.
    So you need the adjustable tie bars to set the camber back from what you end up with from lowered springs (-2.0 to -2.5 degrees per side typically) to -0.5, which I found was best for grip and no adverse tyre wear.

    In your case...
    With Eibach springs you will gain front negative camber (good)
    Gain lots of rear negative camber (bad) so need the adjustable tie bars to correct.

    You will also end up with dampers that haven't got a hope in hell of controlling the Eibach springs (very bad)...let alone controlling the ARBs if your OEM ARBs are OEM from another model - R32 for example.

    So, in my view...if you are prepared to spend the money, both are required.
    If it's one or the other...do the dampers first.
    But you will eat inner edges of your rear tyres and have a skittish rear end.

    Then do the adjustable tie bars...later if you must...but I'd do it all together.

    You'll need a full 4 wheel alignment anyway at £100-150 if you add springs (or ARBs as the front subframe has to be dropped to fit the front ARB)...then again after adding dampers...and again after adding the rear tie bars (although technically you could get away with the rear only...
    Add up the cost of the additional alignments alone and you've covered the cost of the tie bars...

    I know it's a big jump in cost...
    But Eibach/H&R springs with Bilstein dampers (or others of your choice), adjustable tie bars and the ARBs will give you a HUGE improvement in handling...and grip.
    #3
  5. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    [Mar 27, 2007]
    ha! beat you to it Ess :p
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  6. Dave_Bayern
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    Dave_Bayern Slipping at 3.5Krpm

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    [Mar 27, 2007]
    I'd disagree with you there and so would anyone else that has fitted ARB's on a modern A3/Mk4 based chassis.

    If we are talking standard dampers (not broken ones thathave done 135K) then the ARB's will make the single biggest noticable difference easily.

    This has been the same from the Mk2 golf upwards, although havent read much on the Mk5's.

    This view also seem to be shared by the vast majority of the Golf owners clubs as its pretty much the single biggest upgrade by Volkswagen owners on the forums.
    #5
  7. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 28, 2007]
    I'm fully aware of the difference uprated ARBs make...I've had them on my last 5 cars...
    But ARBs only stop body roll...they have no input (or very little) into the cars ability to put the power to the ground, to corner under power, to brake better etc...
    The S3 has weak dampers as standard, witness the cycling up and down motion you get on a standard S3 on fast sweeping corners...it goes with uprated dampers...uprated ARBs make that problem WORSE.

    As for standard dampers, mine were **** when new.
    Worse when only 3000 miles old, and hopeless with lowered and uprated springs.

    ARBs are also a spring...
    That spring needs to be controlled by a damper to stop snap unloading if you get things a little wrong.
    I've already written one car off by having a big rear ARB unload on me, breaking rear grip and sending me into the embankment...I'd not care to have it happen again...or so see others go through the same...

    When you hit a bump on full tilt with an uprated ARB, the damper needs to stop the twist of the ARB returning to it's original shape in a split second, or it'll risk springing back so quickly it forces the wheel in question to jump off the tarmac, breaking grip...and possibly causing a spin, since that will miost likely be the wheel with the highest loading on it. Uprated dampers control that because they have much higher rates of rebound damping...standard, worn suspension doesn't.

    From experience, on the S3...you get WAY better gains out of the dampers than any other suspension mod...
    The uprated ARBs are in my mind, the final improvement - the icing on the cake, if you will.


    I cannot under any circumstances understand how anyone who has driven cars that handle 'properly' and have quality suspension control, can drive an A3/S3/Mk4 Golf etc (or any Mk3 Golf) and think that the fitment of uprated ARBs solve the problem.
    They don't.
    They improve things...whilst adding another potential problem...the dampers (or better still, matched springs and dampers) give a far better all round improvement.
    #6
  8. Dave_Bayern
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    Dave_Bayern Slipping at 3.5Krpm

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    [Mar 28, 2007]
    Quite possibly, the dampers on the VW marque are correctly specified and up to the job of adequately controlling the vehicle. The S3 is 300Kgs heavier than the standard A3/Mk4 base car so I would imagine that brings with it a whole load of extra requirements, as its effectively the same as having 3 fully grown adults in the car.

    I fully agree that matched springs and dampers will give massive returns, however the ARB balances the spring rate between dampers, and effectively spreads the load, and the uprated thickness of said bar reduces torsion over the subframe front and rear.

    I suppose maybe the S3 is just very badly equipped in regards to dampers, and thats maybe the difference, but with correct dampers, even stock ones the ARB's definatley make the biggest difference.
    #7
  9. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 28, 2007]
    On which VW Dave?
    A Mk4 GTI?
    That's one of the worst cars I've ever driven of it's type...the Mk3 was not much better (although the 16v was WAY better than the VR6) but in all the VWs I've owned, and driven a lot (thats 7) they have all, bar the Mk5 GT and Lupo GTI, had woefully underdamped suspension leading to a hopelessly understeering chassis that got itself tied in knots on moderately bumpy, sweeping bend, roads.

    VW are by far the worst for this...Audi of old not far behind...
    SEAT I've found slightly better due to lighter weight...and the only 'current' or recent VAG car I've found about spot on for fast road use (apart from the Lupo GTI) is the Skoda Fabia vRS.

    Mid sized VWs and Audis are bloody awful, in my opinion, based on what else is available.


    True...but it offsets some of this by having independant rear suspension, which when sprung and damped correctly gives an obvious advantage.


    No it doesn't...not if the standard suspension is so soft that it allows huge degrees of twist in the ARB.
    The load accross an A3/S3/Mk4 Golf is not equal on full cornering with uprated ARBs and standard suspension...it still rolls a lot and gives uneven loading...and can give undesirable results when the ARB's twist (spring effect) unloads.

    At the rear, the additional ARB makes the rear beam of a non quattro car much less likely to twist, so it can effectively corner on 3 wheels, lifting it's inside wheel....it helps sure, but the ARB doesn't help the soft dampers in absorbing any bumps...so you still have awful damping.


    I agree that the S3 had awful damping as standard.

    But I bought my S3 new...and they were woefully inadequate from the moment I drove it off the forecourt.

    Now, if they were fitted with dampers valves like the Bilsteins...they yes, the ARBs would make the biggest difference.
    But they aren't.
    So the dampers need addressing first if you actually want to find some more grip - something a quattro car like the S3 is pretty poor on, as standard.
    #8
  10. jesters3
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    jesters3 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 28, 2007]
    Nice one guys, thank you for the excellent info and for the heads up.

    I wanted to stay with the standard S3 OE ARB and springs but thought the Eibach would give me a little more play mainly from a cost aspect, I didn't realise about the dampers. For the dampers are they adjustable? Or is this what coilovers do (sorry just getting my head round it) and so used for track work and lowereing etc?

    What sort of costs are the dampers? I'll give APS a call but was wondering if someone had a ball park figure?

    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?

    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.


    So on this basis its EibaCh + Blistein + Forge + OE ARB (?)

    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!!!
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  11. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 28, 2007]
    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.

    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.
    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!)
    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...
    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.
    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...
    There will be a few along soon to disagree...you pays your money, and makes your choice!
    #10
  12. jesters3
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    jesters3 Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    Nice ops, thanks for the input.

    I have 17" on her at the mo, I am looking at 18" Sportec Mono10 wheels but just don't have the cash, plus I prefer the 17" as I hear the 18" can be a harsher ride and not as compliant as the 17" and where I leave ain't the smoothest of roads!

    For the dampers I will check this out.

    Tie bars will have to investigate costs too. But should I not got for this the main downsides are the inner wear and the skittish rear end; gotcha. If I have to do this latter, then it would need a 4WA as well; gotcha.

    Right some more investigating

    Cheers again
    #11
  13. s3ollie
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    s3ollie Member

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    (dont know how to quote!) Ess Three wrote: "My view is that the R32 ARBs are not suited to how I like my car set up..."

    can you expand a bit on that for me please, i have just picked up some R32 arb's for my s3 today
    #12
  14. scib4
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    scib4 Beep-Beep!

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    Bottom right of the post, click on the blue box "quote"

    :icon_thumright:
    #13
  15. s3ollie
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    s3ollie Member

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    cheers, i think i might take a trip to the opticians!!
    #14
  16. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    I can...
    The R32 ARBs are proportionally equally larger I seem to recall...same amount larger front and rear.

    The R32 engine sits with it's weight high up, and forward of the drive line...so needs a bigger front ARB.

    In my opinion, the S3 needs a proportionally larger rear bar compared to the front bar...so the Neuspeed ARBs I fitted were better suited in that respect.

    Also, the bigger the front ARB the more understeer - assuming the grip is not improved.
    I, personally, believe the S3 need an ARB that IS stiffer...but not overly stiff...you want to reduce roll...but not to the point of inducing understeer.

    Added to that the fact that in order to best make use of the traction available from a 4wd car, you need compliance in the suspension to allow all 4 wheels to remain in contact with the road...so don't want things too stiff.

    Basically, I believe that a smaller ARB than a R32 front ARB is ideal...added to an R32 sized rear.

    But that set up suits my driving style...and others may well argue.

    Don't get me wrong...the R32 ARBs will make things better compared to standard...just possibly not as good as it can be.

    Did any of that lot make any sense?
    I've been offshore for a week and am now most of the way down a bottle of decent red...:)
    #15
  17. s3ollie
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    s3ollie Member

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    [Mar 29, 2007]
    would you say to keep the standard one one the front and just change the rear
    #16
  18. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Mar 30, 2007]
    No, I wouldn't.
    In my view, that gives too big a change in the size of the rear bar, which *could* make the rear a bit unpredictable...especially if still using standard rear dampers.

    The front ARB is too small...but the R32 is probably a shade too large...when compared to the R32 rear ARB.

    You'll find the car nicer to drive on R32 F & R ARBs than it would be on standard ARBs, as long as your dampers are up to the job of controlling the big R32 bars...
    But in my view, you get a much less understeer likely front end with a slightly more modest front uprated ARB.

    Give the R32 bars a try...you may get on just fine with them...
    #17
  19. S3quatt
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    S3quatt Flat Oot like a ducks Foot

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    [May 17, 2007]
    On that note, do you mean go for R32 standard fit ARB's or R32 upgraded ones?

    I'm looking to do the same but not sure which sizes to go for...
    #18

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