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FK lowering caps, and how to change strut tops without removing strut.

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by jojo, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    So I've been wanting to lower the front end of my car for a while now, and had these FK lowering caps lying about, waiting for the sun to come out for me to fit them! It's only a 5-10mm drop, but that's all I was after! Whilst I was at it, I was going to put new drop links, topmounts and bearings at the same time, since it's all coming off.

    First off, loosen wheelbolts, then jack car up and lower back on axle stands then remove wheels and put them safely aside(or under the car for those who don;t trust your axle stands.
    [​IMG]

    Undo the top part of the drop link and take it off, then stick a jack of some sort under the lower arm to support it. On Xenon equipped cars like the S3, you need to undo the height level adjuster arm on the passengerside lower arm, it's a 10mm bolt, spray with some WD40, as it will be pretty rusty going from my example.
    [​IMG]

    Now as I'm the lazy type and don't have all the correct tools to hand, I used a cordless impact gun to undo the strut top bolts. So a 21mm and impact gun using pulsing motion as opposed to just holding it there with finger on the trigger.
    [​IMG]

    Once loosened, just extract the bolt and upper cap.
    [​IMG]

    Now lower the complete arm with strut attached using the jack you have placed below the arm. (no pics of this)

    Then you need to use a pair of spring compressors to compress the spring underneath, you only need to compress it so the spring is free to move 1mm either way, with no load of the spring plate.
    [​IMG]

    Now here's the tricky bit, I realised my 21mm socket won't reach the second bolt, so I tried with my wheel nuts extended sockets, but the plastic sleeves on them was in the way too, so a trip to Halfords to buy a 21mm deep socket. We are in business!
    So raise the arm back up using the jack, supporting the strut, so the top part of it lines up with the strut hole. It will only go up so much as the spring compressor threads will be in the way. Once in position, using my impact gun again and the 21mm deep socket, the second bolt was a piece of cake!
    [​IMG]

    Once the second bolt is out, lower the arm again and extract the top mount rubber, bearing and spring plate in that order.

    Old top mount rubber and OEM spec new one side by side.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    New bearing on left, old bearing on right.
    [​IMG]

    Difference between FK and OEM upper spring plate/cap.
    [​IMG]

    So I lined up all the new parts together to see if it all fits! No they don't!! lol Now FK do not list these lowering caps for the S3, so I went with TT ones, since they are pretty much the same. But fitted to the new strut top rubbers, they was unable to move freely, so I used the old strut top rubbers, with the new bearings and lowering caps which works a treat!

    Obviously fitting i reverse of all the above.

    Took it out for a drive and everything is tight as it should be., height difference is subtle, so you probably won't notice it, but there seems to be a small improvement in front end bite. which was what I was after.

    [​IMG]

    Now I need a lie down! :faint:
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  2. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Forgot to say, I never got round to fitting the new drop links, my car was not high enough on axle stands to give me leverage to undo the droplink bolts on the end of the ARBs, so I need to do it on a ramp!
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  3. Nogmeister
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    Nogmeister Member

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    Good work mate, always good to see photos for work done, helps us noobs out no end!
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  4. JtotheD
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    JtotheD Events Moderator

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    nice work mate - just out of interest, where do put the cups on the axle stands? I've tried numerous places depending on what I'm doing, never had any issues but never really been sure as there's not really anywhere specific is there?!!
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  5. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Anywhere under the front subframe or use the chassis which is where I used, directly behind the front subframe, but it will mark the underseal, as I noticed afterwards! I usually prefer to use the subframe supports where it's bolted onto the car, as I know it will be strong there, but as I was on a bit of an incline, I used the middle part this time round.
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  6. dre_S3
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    dre_S3 Member

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  7. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Since this 'how to', I had my car fail the MOT on snapped rear coil springs, so changed my Eibachs for Apex springs, which meant the front struts had to come back out again. The Apex springs lowers the car more at the front, but I stuck with the FK lowering caps and decided to put the new mounts on aswell, they needed a small trim, like 1mm off the whole lower edge with a pair of sharp scissors to clear the caps.

    Realistically, these only drop the car by another 5mm max, not enough room for 10mm! They have no other effect on how the shock works, so no issues at all apart from dropping the front end by a little amount. I went with TT ones, as they don't list any for the S3, I guess A3 ones would be the same?
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  8. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Car now sits like this.

    [​IMG]
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  9. dre_S3
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    dre_S3 Member

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    Looks a lovey stance now Jojo I have Eibachs with standard shocks so the fronts don't look low enough as you know with these springs the rears are spot though. I did change my top mounts when I done my springs and they were much taller then my compressed old ones so that did not help, I will give them a try I don't want a big drop just that little bit more

    thanks for the help
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