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Bilstein B14 coilovers or similar

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Cheese, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Jan 21, 2012]
    I am seriously considering a set of Bilstein B14. At £500 less than the B16 with adjustable damping they are a fair bit cheaper. I am just concerned that they will be too hard. The advantage with the B16 being that if they are to hard they can be soften up by adjusting them. Chances are though, if I go for B16 they will get set once and only once.

    I am considering them because:

    - I would like to improve the handling of the car
    - I already have H&R ARBs which are great but now the car corners flatter I think this accentuates the bouncy behaviour of the from end of the car and I would like this addressed
    - I would prefer to try an asymmetric drop (maybe 10mm more at the front)
    - I only want a small drop, say 10mm - 20mm
    - I will not be going on the track with my car but may well change the wheels to 19s in the summer so may wish to adjust the drop
    - I do not mind if the ride is a bit harder and am looking for less rebound, but it still needs to be a good everyday car and must handle well on bumpy roads still
    - They must be fitted by someone local (and reputable!)

    Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated, especially from those of you who already have a similar set up. Even better, if someone in my area (M3 J4) would like to take me for a spin in a similar set up that would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Cheese
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  3. TimG
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    TimG Active Member

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    [Jan 21, 2012]
    Not really answering your question directly, but personally for that kinda money I'd want adjustable damping. I had Koni coilovers on my TT and they were excellent!

    I'd also be looking at KW V2 in that price bracket, excellent coilovers too.
    #2
  4. DPM
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    DPM Site Sponsor Site Sponsor

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    [Jan 23, 2012]
    On the softest setting the B16 kit isn't far away from the same ride as the B14 kit if this helps at all.

    Damian @ DPM Performance
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  5. N8
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    N8 Kowalski Details VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 23, 2012]
    KWs ADL...
    #4
  6. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    Thanks N8 and Damian. The reason I am more keen on Bilstein is my tuner recommends them and I would rather have all my work done at the same place and by people who are comfortable with and know their products well. If someone could recommend somewhere close to me that stock and fit KW regularly that may change my mind...

    Junction 4 on the M3 - anyone had KWs fitted by a nearby garage? Any recommendations?
    #5
  7. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    I have spoken with AMD Essex and they are quoting £979 inc. VAT for KW1 fully fitted. They have advised that when they sell the KW3 kit they set it up to the manufacturer's recommended settings which is basically how the KW1 kit comes and most people are happy with it at that setting but some prefer it harder than that. To be honest I probably won't be one of those people so this is probably the best kit for me. They also said they would normally lower the front 10mm more than the back so I can go down 10mm at the back and 20mm at the front.

    This looks like my favoured option at the moment, even if it is a bit of a trek to get over to them.
    #6
  8. TimG
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    TimG Active Member

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    Coilovers are just coilovers irrespective of the brand tbh. They all fit and are adjusted the same way, so any decent tuner will be able to fit any kit tbh. I'd agree you may need a little more knowledge if you were considering a more complex set up like the V3's, but a fixed rate coilover is easy to set up by pretty much anyone.
    #7
  9. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    I am still not sure whether to go for a set up with adjustable damping or not though...decisions...
    #8
  10. TimG
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    TimG Active Member

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    I've had 3 different adj. damping sets now (KW, Koni and FK, on 3 diff cars) and could probably count on one hand the amount of times I actually adjusted them!
    #9
  11. Ads
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    Ads License to drive

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    I had adjustable dampers once and could count the amount of times I adjusted them on one finger!
    #10
  12. Synchromesh
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    Synchromesh Will Race For Cookies

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    [Jan 24, 2012]
    I recently installed the Bilstein B14 kit on my A3, and I highly recommend them. I've chosen Bilstein because of it's reputation for being performance oriented rather then going stupidly low. You can't fault them on the handling departement, but what do you expect from a kit that comes with Nürburgringstickers on it :yum:

    As you know, the B14 is height adjustable only (without removing the coils: jack up the car, remove the wheel, turn the spring perch, very easy), and I don't miss the adjustable damping the B16/V2,... has. When it comes to finding a balance between performance and comfort, I have for more trust in the engineers at Bilstein then myself. I also know for a fact that most people that buy 2 of 3 way adjustable coils, never adjust them after installation, which, let's be honest, is a big waste of money. Those coils are made for people who track their car and have the time and knowledge to adjust them to their liking.

    About the ride comfort, on smooth roads they are much more comfortable then the stock S-Line springs, on bad roads however they can be a bit harder (a bit like the S-Line springs really, so not that bad), as you would expect, but they have never annoyed me. I've also never had any complaints from passengers.
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  13. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Mar 6, 2012]
    I have the B14 kit now (in combination with H&R ARBs, which I already had). Installed with Bilstein's recommended settings and I have got to say - great round the bends but the ride comfort is much worse on bad surfaces. I haven't had my 4-wheel alignment done yet as I am just about to change all 4 tyres...

    Maybe I need to move to Belgium. Are the roads a lot better there?

    I have done 300 miles since. i wonder if it needs to 'settle' a bit, or is that just an urban myth...?
    #12
  14. Spin140
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    Spin140 Active Member

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    [Mar 6, 2012]
    Refreshing to hear an honest opinion about coilovers, usually when we spend a large sum of money on a modification the palcebo effect alone can encourage a positive reaction.

    I would love a set up that would provide much better comfort than the OEM set up but then have the advantage of being able to firm up for the odd track day, height adjustability doesn't really bother me as too many obstacles in the way of daily driving - think speed humps, parking half on, half off kerbs etc.

    The issue we all face is we are either talking to someone who has just spent a load of money on their own car who may not want to admit a mistake has been made or we are talking to Tuners who are set to gain from the sale or services given.

    Overall the standard S3 set up for me is a compromise - it does most thinks moderately, nothing well. I do think adding uprated ARB's into the mix has a very positive affect and plan to do this again soon but I also think much of the issue is with the actual state of our roads, anyone who has taken their car on track may have been very pleasantly surprised with how good it can be on a smooth surface, a suspension system designed for smooth German roads by Germans, alternatively we have the option of spending £1,000 + on some aftermaket coilovers, made in Germany, tested on a German test track !

    Now a switchable Bilstein kit sounds tempting but if only we could try before we buy !?! :)
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  15. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    [Mar 7, 2012]
    Indeed. I think my next car will have 'Dynamic Damper Control' or similar - that is the only way to get the best of both worlds. I still have the old suspension so if it gets unbearable I can swap back! Interestingly Bilstein say the B14 setup is softer than the softest setting on the B16 (fully adjustable set up) which is why I went for it. Yikes!
    #14
  16. Sevv
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    Sevv Pushing the limits..

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    [May 11, 2012]
    hmm im also thinking about going down the B14 route... or B12 i read on the specs not much difference but im assuming the ride characteristics would be same ?
    #15
  17. MartayMcFly
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    MartayMcFly Well-Known Member Regional Rep VCDS Map User

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    [May 11, 2012]
    I know everyone's saying about never adjusting dampers, but you also have to consider what the setting they have it on is. If they have adjustable dampers and they are set to the same softness as the non-adjusting ones, then fair enough. If the adjustables are never changes from one turn either side, then I'd say that's enough to justify getting them.

    It's all very well saying you never used the adjustment, but if you used it when they were installed and haven't changed it since then you're still ahead of the fixed-rate guys who are forever "just off" where they want the ride to be.

    I'm just saying, that's how I convinced myself (thought never got round to either and just settled on H&R springs - not the same at all).
    #16

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