1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

S3: Which dampers are best - Koni FSD or Bilstein B8?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by Dennis Moeller, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Like title says; which is best.

    I'm not going down the adjustable route this time as I'm not going to lower the car more than 25-35mm. Don't think the 8L suits the slammed look.

    I've used the search button and found a lot of good answers and it narrows down to these two alternatives:

    Bilstein B8 dampers with suitable springs or,
    Koni FSD with suitable springs.

    But which is the best.

    My preferences: as little a bouncy ride as possible (I'll take advice on springs also, please), firm and communitative.

    Thanks in advance!
    #1
  2. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    i'd say the b8s. the fsd's i had on my golf were ok. didnt lower car much at all.
    the b8s transformed the car, although i fitted arbs at same time. you can really throw the car into a corner now.

    i'd say go for the b8s. got mine from DPM, decent price too
    #2
  3. jojo
    Offline

    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    25,925
    Likes Received:
    1,558
    I'm running the Bilsteins with Eibach springs and the car feels great, a little firmer than standard, but the drop at the front was minimal over the rear. Approx. 25mm drop rear and 5-10mm drop fronts. I've seen a few guys with Koni FSD's fitted and it seems to raise the car a little?
    #3
  4. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    fsds, if anything raised my golf.. defo didnt drop it!
    #4
  5. DPM
    Offline

    DPM Active Member Site Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    4,320
    Likes Received:
    54
    B8's all day long.

    Damian @ DPM
    #5
  6. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    i've had both (although on diff cars) and i'd pick the b8s, 30mm lowering springs, and h&r arb kit.
    #6
  7. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you guys for the answers...

    Well, I had a little button on the B eights but wanted to hear different oppinions before I make up my mind. So far the B8 leads :yes:

    Springs to go with the Bilsteins? The final lowering should be equal at both ends. I don't want to have a car that sits high up front and sacks at the back :huh:
    #7
  8. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    H&R springs, B8 dampers = almost perfect, road or track.
    (Neuspeed ARBs and an aggressive geometry to make it perfect).
    #8
  9. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    ess three, what would you call aggressive geometry mate?
    #9
  10. jojo
    Offline

    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    25,925
    Likes Received:
    1,558
    There's a section at the top of this Forum's Index, where it says 'EssThree's Star Performance Testing', all the info you need about Glenn's(EssThree) S3 handling setup is in there.
    #10
  11. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    Lots of negative camber at the front, a bit of toe out at the front and some rear tie bars to sort the excessive rear negative camber out.

    Details in the stickies.
    #11
  12. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    cheers mate, i'll have a read up tomorrow. mines handling good at mo, but get to 3 figure speeds and its a bit bouncy.
    #12
  13. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Mate. Read the stickie, but did'nt find anything about tire wear when having such agressive camber upfront? Or did I miss it...

    Thanks for the good answer! Will the H&R springs lower the car equally front and rear?

    The Neuspeed ARB's...what advantage over the H&R ARB's? What about the rumored squeeking?
    #13
  14. keem
    Offline

    keem Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    The squeeking is sorted out with using grease when you mount the bushes for the arb's.
    #14
  15. Rich-xstS3
    Offline

    Rich-xstS3 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ive got Koni adjustable dampers and Eibach springs. They certainly did not raise the car. I love the stance it has now. Slightly lower at the front end. Bought them through Jim at Star Performance. When I asked him what he recommended he said that it used to be the B8's but more folk these days were going for this other set up.
    #15
  16. voorhees
    Offline

    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Messages:
    15,014
    Likes Received:
    1,143
    This is my car before Koni FSD's and H & R springs
    [​IMG]


    And after
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. S3 Rav
    Offline

    S3 Rav Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    26
    looks nice that does. i missed you this week was in cov and never got round to meeting up.
    #17
  18. bl_1969
    Offline

    bl_1969 Roads? We Dont Need Roads!!!!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Been looking in to the suspension as well (was on the list for a group buy with DPM but I dont think it ever happened, we were a name short :bye:), Anyways, anybody know what I should be paying for fitment of the B8's and springs, just a rough ball park figure? I can get the B8's and Springs no problem but want to know what I should be paying for getting them fitted.

    Also (sorry, dont mean to hijack the thread!!!!), if I was to get the work carried out, am I as well getting the ARB's fitted at same time to save fitting cost in the long run? Much like a water pump is to a cam belt change. (And why Nuspeed over any other make of ARB's?)

    Last thing honest.... Whole set of bushes for this lot, I may as well replace them, much would that set me back... again, just a rough price.... 50 quid, 100 quid??? Car is early 2003 and on all the recipts I have I have never seen any bushes or suspension work sooooo.

    Cheers Cheers
    #18
  19. bl_1969
    Offline

    bl_1969 Roads? We Dont Need Roads!!!!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anyone on a rough price for fitting?

    Just so I can compare it with here in Europe. If it is a tad cheaper back home I will be driving back in Feb and get it done there.

    Please Please anyone.

    By the way, I cant fit them myself. No chance can I handle that job.
    #19
  20. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ok. Always thought they came prelubed...Well on with the grease then. Any recommendations on the lube?

    I had an adjustable setuo on my previous car. This time I want fixed height unless I go for something exotic like Patec ISS with on-the-fly adjusting :)

    Really good looking car. To me it seems a bit too high up front. Could be your springs maybe. What is the ride like with that setup?

    Wouldn't know how much for fitting but it's deffo cheaper to get it all done while they're at it.

    Fitting them myself so I wouldn't know for sure what it would it cost to have it done. Try it it's really easy. There's a lot of write ups laying around the internet so it will be pretty forward...like LEGO for big boys :thumbsup:
    #20
  21. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    I had no tyre wear issues in that it wore them fairly equally all over, and pretty quickly!
    I run -1.7 degrees negative on my Golf and more toe out - with an LSD - and still get fairly even tyre wear -inners more than outers..so inners illegal when outers at 2 - 2.5mm, which is nothing to get excited about in my view.

    I'll happily suffer slight inner edge wear to have the extra grip and much less understeer.


    Mine did.


    The Neuspeeds are an upgrade all round, but more so the rear, so the balance id slightly more rearward than standard. Unlike the R32 ARB set up.
    This helps reduce understeer.

    What size are the H&Rs?
    #21
  22. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    So the camber settings will eat tires faster, albeit more on the inner edge? Or was it the perfect setup that made you drive it like you stole it and therefore caused excessive tire wear :p
    I ain't too keen on changing tires every spring but I, of course, like my car to handle as well as possible. Compromise I must!

    Regarding ARB's I heard a lot of good things about the Neu's but also heard that they eat up the lube and therefore squeek more than others...I can't see a big problem there - it's not that hard to crawl under the car and grease them up.

    Regarding H&R ARB's I've heard about them beeing OK, used by many germans on their S3's. I ve searched some and only seem to find sets with a 25mm son of a gun up front. So that leaves out H&R's, don't you reckon?
    #22
  23. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    Of course. Any negative will wear the inside edge more than the rest...but since it'll scrib the outside anyway at anything over Taking-granny-to-church speeds, I don't see it as a problem.

    My 911 wears the inner edges standard...it's just the price you pay for cornering grip...but overall, on all types of roads, I had pretty much even tyre wear on the S3.


    No doubt sorting the suspension allowed me to drive faster and harder, thus wearing the tyres even more...but in order to get to that point you have to make the car work properly.

    I can't believe any standard S3 doesn't wear the outer edges when driven hard...so you have to change them because the outers are bald. Adding negative just means you wear the insides and outsides...


    I can't believe they squeek any more than any other type.


    I wouldn't fit them.
    I want my car to be progressive and roll a bit...the more negative as I had needed the suspension to lean a bit in order to get the tyre flat on the ground.
    Also, the S3 understeers like a mad thing standard...going too big on the front ARB will reduce lean, but add understeer.
    Great in the dry.
    Poor in the wet. I'm in Scotland. It rains here. A lot.

    Having tried many different types...I'd still fit the Neuspeed ARBs.
    Maybe they are better suited to my driving style...but they were spot on.

    Stiff enough to control the chassis, not too stiff as to cause other problems (understeer etc).
    They were great.

    Some prefer the R32 set up...but to me the S3 just doesn't feel as nimble or chuckable on them.

    It's difficult to know as I don't know how you drive...but I like to throw a car about and have it move about and communicate with me..and I'd still fit B8/H&R springs, Neuspeed ARBs every time despite trying seceral others.
    #23
  24. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Mate...loved that answer. My mind's made up!!

    Now it's just a matter of sourcing the cheapest place out there which holds these parts, ordering the bits, installing them (sweeeet) and last; ENJOY my S3

    Thanks...a lot! Detailed answer and explanation all the way!!!

    P.S. Additional question:

    When lowering about 25-30mm do I need the shortened ARB connectors or will the upgraded ARB's stay clear of the axles (front). And to correct the camber at the rear when lowering will I then need the adjustable tie bars?

    Thx
    #24
  25. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    Good stuff.

    My pleasure!


    They will be fine on the standard front ARB connecting arms.


    Yes you will, to do the job properly.

    You can do without...but that WILL wear the insides of the rear tyres quickly, and will make the rear skittish and unpredictable.

    Fit adjustable tie bars (another expense sadly), set them to -0.5 degrees per side, get the rear toe adjusted back to parallel and then just go and drive the damn thing - hard!

    You'll be amazed how well it turns in, holds it's line and is utterly predictable...it'll even be provoked into power-sliding without the need to fit an aftermarket Haldex controller.

    Once you get used to it again, you'll find MUCH more front end grip, you'll also be able to get back on the power harder and faster than you thought possible (as you'll have the mechanical grip, not the dread of understeer) and let the car sort out the torque distribution. Even dumping the torque rearwards should only need a half turn of opposite lock to tweak it back.

    Great fun...what the S3 should have been from the factory.
    #25
  26. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Perfect. This is my first S3 and I want it to be the best it can. Already began finding parts so the next couple of months worth of garage-quality-time can be enjoyed :)

    Now I only need to decide whether to go for OE bushes throughout the car or go for polybushes (or a mix...:think:).

    Noticed that a couple of the vendors that holds polybushes uses these illustrations (for their complete sets) - I'm going to replace the lot. I'll just follow their point. Which in your opinion should be standard (if any) and which should be upgraded (poly or upgraded rubbermix) or vice versa

    And THAT is the last question. Sorry for terrorising you but when you get hold of somebody who actually tried out a couple of things you won't let go that easily...:yahoo:
    #26
  27. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    Personally, I'd have Poly rear tie bar bushes - you'll probably get those in the adjustable arms anyway.
    Front lower arm Poly bushes (never had them on the S3...but do in my GTI) and they help keep the geomerty from moving.
    Rear Poly bushes too if available for the rest of the rear links.

    I wouldn't bother with front strut tops (if available) or rear damper bushes.
    I don't think the ARB bushes will make too much difference either - but can't say for sure.

    But: I ran standard rubber bushes everywhere except the rear adjustable arms that came with Poly and the Neuspeed ARBs that came with Poly...and it was fine.
    #27
  28. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    This mix will do. Thanks again!!
    #28
  29. S3 Rav
    Offline

    S3 Rav Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    26
    thatnks for the great info Ess. Stating the obvious maybe but i have just changed only my springs to H&R but not got rear tie bars or anything else. on long smooth straights its great but with uk roads i would say its abit skittish. could this be because of the bars, not changed the dampers or what?i also think my lower arm bushes are abit knackered. re bushes again another stupid question, if i was going to change to polybushes would i have to change all at once or can i do rears first then fronts?
    #29
  30. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    The rear will not be as planted if the car is lowered and it hasn't got adjustable tie bars, that's for sure. S3s run far too much negtive camber at the rear when lowered...you really do need the adjustable rear bars to sort that.

    It'll give longer tyre wear...better grip and much more confidence in the car.

    But...if you are still on standard dampers, I'll suggest the tie bars are the least of your worries!
    Standard dampers are woeful when new and worn out at 5000 miles with lowered springs on (from experience) so I'd never suggest running an S3 lowered on standard dampers if you like to press on a bit.

    For a start, you hit a jump and you are likely to lose your sump!

    Dampers make a massive difference - bigger than springs even.
    Tie bars just complete the work and save excessive wear on the insides of the rear tyres.


    You can do any you like..but factor in the £100+ for a 4 wheel alignment each time you change a bush and it makes it worthwhile to do the lot on a one-er and only pay for a single alignment.
    #30
  31. S3 Rav
    Offline

    S3 Rav Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    26
    thanks for the info yet again. i know its frowned upon to only change springs but when money and MOT's come into play thats the best i could do. Im sure my shock will go soon (if not already) n then ill have to save for the dampers and then the tie arms. bushes are something i have very little knowlege about (as well as eveything else) but wht will uprated bushes do to my car in terms of handling etc and costs?
    #31
  32. mat20vt
    Offline

    mat20vt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    i changed my wishbone bushes on my golf, tightend the steering up loads. much better to drive!
    #32
  33. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    Uprated bushes tighten things up no end, as Mat says, but in order to get the best from them, yhey need to be the weak ling - which means that the dampers, springs, ARBs etc have already been optimised...also the tyres need to be good.

    With all that done, the bushes will make things feel a bit more precise.

    On standard dampers, 17" tyres etc...you'll just not notice the difference as there is so much wooliness in the rest of the suspension system.

    Basically, if they have gone (the bushes) you can replace with either ruber or poly...but without the rest of the suspension sorted, you'll not notice many gains with poly...so I wouldn't bother.

    The big gains are found by fitting better dampers (and springs)
    Then ARBs
    Then alignment
    With bushes after all that lot.
    #33
  34. <tuffty/>
    Offline

    <tuffty/> Badger 5 Edition Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    15,727
    Likes Received:
    1,267
    Out of interest, whats the Bilstein B12 kit like in comparison to the B8/H&R combo? From what I understand the B12 kit contains B8 dampers and Bilsteins own springs?

    <tuffty/>
    #34
  35. S3 Rav
    Offline

    S3 Rav Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    26
    thanks Ess and matt there and a happy new year to you all
    #35
  36. Ess_Three
    Offline

    Ess_Three Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2001
    Messages:
    5,383
    Likes Received:
    6
    No idea.
    I tend to cherry pick the best springs from dedicated spring makers, dampers from damper makers etc as I've had better results in the past compared to buying a complete kit.

    That being said, I wouldn't have thought the Bilstein springs would be bad.
    #36
  37. Dennis Moeller
    Offline

    Dennis Moeller Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ok, I have now trawled the net for these parts and so far I can't seem to find the 22mm Neuspeed rear ARB? Any ideas to where to look?

    Also a very few places hold the B8 dampers (quite pricey imo), any suggestions to where to buy them. Must be a website that ships to Norway (that goes for all parts).

    I also found out that it's probably better to get the complete set of poly bushes from one company (eBay), they sell a complete set for something around 250 pounds plus shipping. Then just use what I need and save the rest just in case they tend to wear fast(er).

    Also found the Haldex upgraded Controller Gen. 1 for only 500 pounds which to me is really cheap...since the pound is weak now compared to the norwegian kroner.

    But to sum it up, where do I go to find:

    Bilstein B8
    H&R 25mm
    Neuspeed ARB (preferably the 22mm rear bar, thinking of leaving the front standard 19mm as it is since it's a fairly big job)
    Neuspeed Tie Rods
    ARB droplinks (upgraded, both front and rear)
    Lower tie bar, front

    Anyone with some good websites?
    #37
  38. fingermouse
    Offline

    fingermouse thats me

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    12
    #38

Share This Page