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Fitting - Bilstein B8's & H&R 25mm Lowering springs

spiker Jun 27, 2020

  1. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    I have an issue with my left offside damper / top mount - I have a knocking sound ( tw tyres seem to think it relates to a problem with the fitting of the damper or the mount itself. Tracking the car has proven pointless and it immediately goes out again and I have lost the inside tread on the front NS too

    Bottom line is that if I am having to pay for investigation / strip down and then new dampers/mounts etc I may as well go ahead with the planned upgrade to B8's and H&R springs which was the ultimate plan

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a suitable garage to fit these if I/they supply them ?

    I have in the past used Awesome and Badger for work ( 10 + years ago ) but would be interested in anyones elses suggestions - recommendations

    I am based in the midlands

    Or is anyone here on the forums interested in doing the paid work to fit dampers/springs and possibly replace the top mounts

    Its a 2003 S3 8L
     
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  3. rhubarb4

    rhubarb4 Certified Audi nutter Gold Supporter

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    Hi if your based in the Midlands then give Jody a call at Midland VW, they are a great garage with decent prices, https://www.midlandvw.co.uk/

    Chris.
     
    spiker likes this.
  4. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Thanks Chris I will

    Anyone else have any suggestions ?
     
  5. b2

    b2 Registered User

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    spiker likes this.
  6. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Read a lot of the early ESS-Three posts and I previously did go the Koni FSD route and they were great (once I was used to them) like the post says

    Havent seen this thread though so thankyou
     
  7. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Looking at this diagram https://audi.7zap.com/en/rdw/audi+a3+s3+sportb+lim+qu/a3/2003-209/4/411-411005/

    I plan to replace the top mounts on the front - should I go powerflex or not - any advice?

    I think that top mounts are only relevant to the front but I cannot check as there is no diagram for the rear shocks - does anyone have one ?

    I dont know what i will find until I strip down each corner but in preparation which consumables normally need replacing ?

    Bump stops ? if so which are those on the diagram - anything else commonly replaced ?

    Basically want to reduce the delay when I do this and not have to rely too much on replacement bits once I start stripping it down
     
  8. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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  9. b2

    b2 Registered User

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    Without an inspection prior to changing anything it is difficult to tell. If anything looks worn out like ball joints, drop links, arb bushes, etc it would be worth replacing them at the same time. You need to get the car on a ramp and get a mechanic to have a quick butchers.
     
  10. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Thanks for the reply

    Thats not possible before the event but I have orderd some items I think I will probably replace looking at the parts diagrams . Its use or return with Audi so no great risk other than the shock of spending a couple of hundred just on nuts,bolts and stops

    I will do a write up of the process and what I find along the way
     
    Asim1 likes this.
  11. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    I have both powerflex and OEM versions of the top mounts and will make a decision on which ones to use nearer the day

    Probably going to replace other bushes as they wear with OEM ones this time rather than go on a poly bush crusade like i did with the last 2 s3's

    If thats my plan will having powerflex top mounts be an issue ?- do they make musch difference in isolation ?
     
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  13. col_s3

    col_s3 Registered User

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    I have changed all my rubber bushes to power flex, and the difference it makes to the handling is unreal, but unfortunately with every upgrade there is a trade-off, but on the bright side PowerFlex bushes will Outlast rubber bushes and will help with tyre wear. hope that helps
     
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  14. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Suspension changed over the weekend so I thought I would write it up

    These are the items I purchased allowing with the ancilliary parts I guessed I may need to replace

    Bilstein B8 Dampers / H&R 25mm lowering springs / KW adjustable Bar / Powerflex top mounts ( standard height)

    Front Suspension parts
    https://audi.7zap.com/en/rdw/audi+a3+s3+sportb+lim+qu/a3/2003-209/4/411-411005/

    14 - Bearing
    15 - Rubber Stop
    17 - Hex nut
    18 - Top mounts ( backup - in case I changed my mind about the Powerflex )
    21 - Threaded bush
    23 - Bellows ( backup - Audi advised these were not on my vehicle at manufacture but bought them anyway )
    24 - Hex bolt
    25 - Hex collar
    28 - Spacer/Distance piece

    Rear Suspension parts
    https://audi.7zap.com/en/rdw/audi+a3+s3+sportb+lim+qu/a3/2003-209/5/511-511015/

    5 - Hex collar bolt
    7 - Bolt with shoulder

    £914 for the main parts
    £204 for the ancillary parts ( -10% Discount ) - Main dealer
     
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  15. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Front end replacement

    When we removed the first front strut we discoverd that item 23 was fitted so initally glad I bought them but then realised that this item is not required ( and doesnt fit anyway ) on the new bilstein

    Also noticed that the distance spacer was missing from the strut - I wondered if that was the reason for the noise as per my first post above. when the NS strut was removed that also had no spacer so that was confusing as the haynes manual said it should be there and so did Audi and 7Zap

    The old front O/S damper was totally shot - both the old front springs still had their sticker on so someone had replaced these recently and decided not to replace the damper ( thanks for that - garage whoose name I wont mention at this point )

    Decided to fit one side with the spacer and one without and once tightened up there was insufficient thread for the bolt ( 17 ) ( and see photo ) for the strut with the spacer so that made the decision - leave them off - so that strut removed , spacer removed and at this point a bit confused as to what the noise could have been.

    Then noticed on the second stripdown that the collar was bent ( 19 ) - the collar that the spacer sits on .

    So I thought i was returning the collars for a refund but thought why not use both spacers in a vice to flatten out the bent collar - left it for an hour in a vice and it worked a treat - marked the spacers so they were binned but at least the collar was correct again

    The issue therefore was a knackerd damper and bent collar on the front NS - probably had been tightened with a gun ( incorectly perhaps ) - this was creating the noise and preventing any tracking from staying true for long ( NS front TOE would drift from 0 degrees.0 minutes to -42 minutes after a hundred miles or so . This was repeated on both tracking occasions )

    It felt good to at least know what had happened and that it was resolved at this point and everything else fitted back together without any issues , intitally the struts were a bit stiff to get out but after some persuasion it was fine and thankfully all nuts came off without too much effort - nothing sheared , snapped or broke in the process

    Didnt use :

    23 - Bellows - not needed
    15 - Bump stops - not needed
    18 - Top mounts - not needed used the powerflex

    So returning these back to Audi ( +£ 118 ) so the ancilliary parts only worked out to cost me about £80

    I will write up the rear changes later IMG_1129.jpeg IMG_1130.jpeg IMG_1131.jpeg IMG_1132.jpeg IMG_1133.jpeg IMG_1136.jpeg IMG_1137.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
    Asim1 and hydro s3 like this.
  16. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Here are the tracking reports - 1 & 2 from March , 2 & 3 from a couple of weeks ago - you csn see the issue front N/S , despite the correction the tracking went out again IMG_1164.jpeg IMG_1165.jpeg
     
  17. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Rear end replacement

    The plan was to replace damper - spring and replace the tie bar ( top ) for an adjustable one to deal with the impending camber change from the lowering

    Should be much easier than the front right ?

    For some unknown reason couldnt get the spring out , few you tube videos later ( annoyoing watching other people just drop them out ) the spring was persuaded to come out - it just took much force from us both. I hadnt expected that at all

    Bit of a faff getting the old top bar/ tie bar off - it just seemed to get caught at the brake caliper end and also had to undo the subframe bolt to get access to the tie bar bolt. I can see why my old garage years ago fitted the bar to the bottom now ( as its easier to do ) - previously had to buy and pay for the top one to be fitted as the bottom one did not give enough camber control. ( my previous one 10 years ago)

    So this time It was definitly top first to avoid having to do both - you definitely need an adjustable bar if using this setup unless you want your back wheels to look like one of those cartoon car pictures. I dont mind a little rear camber but not that much ;)

    Anyway fun and games working out the order of which parts of the damper to attach first / or the drop link but figured it out in the end

    Only parts we replaced were the bolts ( 5 & 7 ) from the 7zap page , however in heinsite I shoud have thought about souring longer bolts for the tie bar as its wider at the caliper end and so the nut is on fully but without much to spare - so top tip for anyone else doing this ( LONGER BOLT FOR THE TIE BAR) - its fine, its on but its one of those where I would like to able to see 1 or 2 more threads

    Front end took about 3.5 hours , rears about 3 hours but like most things the first front corner and first rear corner took 60-70% of the time IMG_1134.jpeg IMG_1135.jpeg IMG_1145.jpeg IMG_1146.jpeg IMG_1147.jpeg IMG_1149.jpeg
     
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  18. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Ride height did in fact drop around 2.5 cm , it looks and feels lower though - really noticeable and the wheels fill the arches much better

    I am probably staying with 17's after this

    Need to sort out tracking/alignment as ran out of time , job for another day

    IMG_1159.jpeg IMG_1160.jpeg IMG_1161.jpeg
     
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  19. hydro s3

    hydro s3 S3 amk

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    Excellent write up mate. Looks really well and does fill the wheel arch good.
    Will definitely help out when I come to do mine as that is the same set up I want.
     
    spiker likes this.
  20. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Thanks Hydro

    All in all it cost £914 + £204 - £118 so exactly £1000 for all the parts

    Had a very spirited drive home on Saturday . I will post up some feedback later about the handling
     
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  21. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    No adjustments carried out yet on the geometry - we ran out of time . 1 tyre is done due to the initial issue and I noticed that 2 others have cracking 1 on the outer tread and one on the centre tread so a new set are required

    Before I do all that I obviously need to sort out the alignment/tracking . I hope that the top adjustable bar will be enough ( last time I needed 2 adjustables both sides for the Konis ) to correct the rears

    Out of interest these are the current views of the wheels - pics and videos . You can clearly see the front have some toe out and the rears both have toe in and negative camber - this needs sorting before I replace the tyres. I wasnt expecting quite this much on the rear IMG_1175.jpeg IMG_1179.jpeg IMG_1181.jpeg IMG_1184.jpeg IMG_1186.jpeg
     
  22. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    2 videos - hopefully give a better view of the wheels - password = tracking



    Note they wont play if you use ad / tracking blockers
     
  23. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    TYRES ?

    Thinking about Michellin PS4's

    Although - always used to fit Pirelli P Zero's but its been a while since I bought tyres for an S3

    Any current recommendations ?

    Also any advice on load rating - I take it 91Y still however I can see a deal on some PS4 with 94Y

    Whats the difference ?
     
  24. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    I cant leave the alignment as it is even though I am staying with the old tyres for a few weeks so have had the front toe adjusted and rear camber reduced

    The original problem where the front n/s toe was not holding within range was what led to the discovery of the issues. I should at least get that back to a reasonable value and then monitor it for a couple of weeks to make sure everything is ok

    Latest alignment report below - just hope that I can get away with only the one tie bar , bit concerned about rear N/S toe - even though this was not modified today. I may run into issues with this and the camber with only 1 adjustable ... have to see how that goes

    Will probably want more front negative camber and a little less at the rear too

    Also noticed that caster values are now green

    So new tyres - which ones ? - road use , not much motorway , limited mileage but something reasonably sticky/fun without too much road noise. Still thinking Michellin PS4 or could play it safe with Bridgestones - so much choice but any recomendations welcome

    1st pic - after work complete no adjustments
    2nd pic - after front toe and rear camber adjustments today
    part 5.jpeg part 7.jpeg
     
  25. b2

    b2 Registered User

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    I am using Toyo Proxy T1R's and I am more than satisfied with the level of grip. I set my alignment up as:

    Front Camber: -1.5°
    Front Toe: 0.02° out

    Rear Camber: -1.0°
    Rear Toe: 0° parallel
     
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  26. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Thanks for the suggestion I have shortlisted the PS4 , P Zero and now the Toyo's
     
  27. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    I use this chart , from this site
    handles fine , wear pattern is
    uniform, Sports settings are
    -25 mm [ factory option ?]
     

    Attached Files:

  28. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    you have the part number for the adjustable rear tie bar ?
     
  29. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Thanks for the link to the S3 wheel alignment doc - I hadnt seen that one before - Can I ask where that came from ?
    Is it an official document from Audi ?

    Rear tie bar - I had a choice of the Forge ( more expensive and lifetime guarantee ) or the KW one ( cheaper but also well thought of and tested )

    Went for the KW part number is 68510061 through DPM - paid £216
     
    TitaniumRx likes this.
  30. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    Thanks for the part number , Ive a set , few years old now , that have a bearing on one end, and and use the original bush on the other , ok up to now, yours seem to have a more elegant layout for the bush Y connector , mine are U shaped , not showing and signs or distress .. did increase the road noise in the cabin , due to the loss of one of the bushes ..

    used a koni coil over pack , which , the rear springs snapped only to find, that no longer available , so used the HR -25 , still have the koni fronts , HR little bit softer , but having more spring length and being vari-rate , for a a fixed -25 , better option , slightly more body roll , but , with independent rear suspension, may be the koni 'semi solid was old thinking ,

    If id of known the set would be no-spares after 3 years , would I of brought it ..probably not , but work it dose , well ? yes i think so , dampers are still fine and I have the last front set of ''front'' springs in a box waiting for der-tag

    car, upto now its fine , high speed is stable , lost the slight un-nerving high speed 'strait line instability , which , was due to the rear end set up , as one member suggested .. chart settings sorted that

    The chart was from a link on the site , guess its a audi sport document , as the settings work fine , there are audi part numbers for
    different tie bars , for the sports option , which is -25 mm , so took the hint when I set mine up

    I captured it to pdf ,the local shop now has a lazer wheel jig, used that a few times , rear tires look even , and it stays on line
    due to the bug its missed it annual trip to to iom , so probably last a bit longer -)

    G.
     
    spiker likes this.
  31. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Interesting hearing about your experiences - mixing different manufacturers across axles at the same time - glad it worked out for you

    My experience so far with 8L's regarding suspension

    Replaced dampers and springs on my first S3 with genuine Audi parts - an AGU from 1999 - Audi did the replacements - didnt have much of a reference to compare and the car was still relatively new so no worn bushes - rods - links . Thinking back I was already reasonably happy with the handling anyway but found the replacements were less noticeable - bit like having your car serviced and then getting back in for a drive and it feeling the same - but in a good way. Car sold

    Second S3 - didint have very long - didnt change any of the handling

    On my 3rd S3 I Replaced dampers and springs with Koni FSD's and Eibach - along with Neuspeed ARBS's front and rear - total tranformation in handling although a bit jiggly ( if that makes sense ) until i got used to it and the ride height actually increased to begin with . I sold the car a couple of years later but suspect the ride may have settled a little over time. It was a good experience but I rememeber thinking at the time I would probably try a lowering option next time . Car sold

    My 4th S3 ( current ) - still holding judgement until I sort the geometry and tyres. No immediate plans to change the arbs/drop links but its inevitable

    Inital impression is I am happy with the ride height , handling wise the weight still shifts across the axles ( to be expected without the uprated arbs ) - but still a work in progress

    Unfortunately - the knock/spring ping noise is back occasionly on the front NS - so I may need to strip this down again - perhaps the collar that was bent back into shape may be the culprit - difficult to say . I noticed a bit of marking around the strut collar - perhaps the spring is not seated correctly ?

    I dont know - will have to investigate and will update. Current plan is end Aug for the new tyres and then a full 4 wheel alignment using string and weights - should be an interesting experience but will definitly use the guide you posted and the suggestions from b2
     
  32. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    Well , the car was somewhere between a rats nest and a dog's dinner , the value of the aftermarket 'bits came to round the asking price , and the doc's confirmed , it was on its third Audi-replaced engine , so what could possibly go wrong , years later, the engine and transfer box, are the only power train 'original sale , items left , gear box syncro failed, rear diff made noises and the haldex had the dreaded bunny hop and the new box dropped the 1/2 gear selection , but that was fixed as it was a low mileage box from a TT [ same for 3 years ]

    all of the vac pipe assemblies have been changed , along with the brake vac hose, dumped the stupid aftermarket boost recirc valve , which was leaking air into the vac side , replaced with standard audi £40 plastic part , and surprise surprise , the engine idles smoothly with the air-con-on
    and drives much better , it far too smooth ...

    Suspension wise it had lowered springs on standard front shock and french 'blue rear dampers , that messed the front compression damping up and the rear wheel alignment remained as standard , inducing mounting excitement past 100 , in what felt like the front was light , I did wonder if some of the spoiler was missing .. not the case .

    dumped 'all' the existing dampers and springs and Fitted koni coilover pack , which also entailed replacing all the bushes and mounts , added the adjustable rear strut , set to the audi-sport chart , followed by quite decent road holding , only to find at the end of last year , the rear springs had snapped , oh bliss

    *** Im not too bothered about the spring swop , as the damper set remains the same , travel is limited by the rear suspension geometry , being a vari rate , there is a little more 'un loaded' float , the damping copes with that , possibly better , less judder and better low speed grip .. old school would have very hard rear springs , to stabilize the car , may be down to choice , but stress wise , single full length, offer a much better solution , unlikely to break any time soon , with much reduced low speed tramping
     
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  34. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    I did likewise - previously bought Forge but dont think they are necessary
     
  35. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    That was one of the recommendations from Mr Badger , just bin it , at a guess , the original part years back may not of been as small and lightweight , only a thought as response time must be hampered by mass , turned out mine had a spit diaphragm as well , this will all the other vac leaks , was feeding boost pressure into the system, cocking the mixture up , I can still hear the valve working [hissing when open] , but the clucking noise has stopped , which, turned out to be the knock-for -knock action of the turbo control Y valve .. also replaced ...

    Bit of a pain, mainly due to know knowing , what the thing should run like , so every step it ran a little better .... the last was the 24v cosworth , dropped into a xr4x4i , that was a much more simplistic installation and gave similar fuel usage , even though it was 2.9 ltr V6 ..handling let it down and the toque pulled the rear sub fame mounts out , needed star plates welding in to spread the load , at least the S3 [now] handles and stops ..progress ..
     
  36. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    The knock/spring ping noise is back again on the front NS - so it looks like the replacement springs and dampers were not the issue

    Could it be the collar that was bent back into shape ? could it be to do with the spacer not being about to be situated ?

    It definitely sounds like a spring/ping noise , seems to happen more at low speed when moving forward . Any suggestions anyone before I strip it down again ?

    Anyone else had a similar issue ?
     
  37. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    ** BUMP **

    Any suggestions ?
     
  38. AGB-S3

    AGB-S3 Registered User

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    probably find its a bush or similar , miles away from where you think the noise
    is coming from .sure its not something in the power train , if its speed and
    direction related .. go round with a crow bar and check mounts etc ?
     
  39. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    So I drove her down to the south west yesterday - wife insisted on having her hair done at her old hairdressers ( its a 150 mile round trip !! )

    Whilst I was there I called in at the garage that used to do all my work on the last S3 - they took it out for a drive

    Top mount issue was the diagnosis without stripping it down ( twanging noise - bump noise front NS) . So the damper/spring/bearing/top mount replacements didnt solve the noise . Perhaps we did something wrong during the replacements but all I can think we did that wasnt perfect was the collar which had to be pressed back into shape

    If it is the collar item 19 from the front suspension diagram ( 1J0 412 341 spring disc ) - then that would make some sense - perhaps it was weakened by being repressed ? - other than that I am at a loss as to what it could be

    Also it was pointed out that the front NS is a bit crashy - so they suggested an investigation of the other suspension components too. On the drive back on the motoroway I could definitely hear a noise from the front N/S - a whirring noise is the best I can describe - not loud - but noticeable

    Its booked in for a couple of weeks time so will update then - I am not doing it this time I shall leave it in the hands of people that do this everyday
     
  40. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    Finally I have the car back and the issues have been resolved although currently not too impressed with what caused some of my problems
    It would be great to finally use the car and provide my proper opinion about all the work and improvements which I will do

    Final piece to all this is to fit new tyres at the weekend and then a proper test as currently the tyres are all shot - no point replacing them until I sorted everything

    It seems that the garage that sold the car and did the work on the lower arms messed up - not surprising really having found a couple of issues now so without any further responses from them I shall just name names and explain the issues to give you on here a heads up before using them

    It seems that the items I bought from the supplier were not fit for purpose/quality checked - but I need to speak to the supplier about this first before jumping to any conclusions I want their feedback first

    On the positive side I have learnt a great deal and fingers crossed the car is now almost sorted so I will write this up after the tyres are fitted - car tested and I have spoken with the supplier and also been ignored once again by the garage that sold me the car

    Back soon

    ;)
     
  41. hydro s3

    hydro s3 S3 amk

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    That's good you got it all sorted
     
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  42. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    I think the car is now finished ( for now at least ) with regard to the suspension and I wanted to update the story and provide some feedback and lessons learned for anyone else

    After replacing all the springs/dampers/mounts/bearings etc on all 4 corners I still had a spring/clunk noise which sounded like a top mount issue and a noise at speed which sounded like the lower arm/balljoint. Ther car also started to feel crashy on the front - particularly the front n/s

    So it finally had to go into a garage for some work - I have used these guys plenty in the past and have spent a lot of time and money there so trust their judgement ( Interpro - Thornbury ) - havent used them for a while as they are nowhere near where I live but after all this I wanted it sorted

    They fitted the eibach kit on the last S3 so were suprised that I had gone H&R and polybush for the top mount ( surprised is a nice way of putting it ) - anyway....

    They did a full strip down of the front and discovered:
    • The collar ( previous warped and pressed back into shape) - was fine
    • The top mounts and bearings were fine and in postion - no issues
    So this was a little puzzling but on further investigation
    • There was wear around the bottom of the spring in the shock absorber itself ( item 22 ) around the lip where it looked as though the spring was fouling the edge - perhaps this was the source of the noise
    • The top of each spring was sharp to the touch and not completely powder coated
    • The bottom of each spring did not have any plastic convoluted tube around the end ( like other springs I have seen )
    • Track rods were toast and siezed
    • Ball joint on front N/S was loose
    I didnt think/consider the spring edges being sharp or there not being any plastic covering of the spring when I fitted them

    Spoke to Damian @DPM - he kindly checked stocks on the H&R and confirmed that is how they are supplied ( thank you for your help )

    Interpro did the following work:
    • Removed the powerflex top mounts and replaced with OEM !!!
    • Replaced track rod ends
    • Tightened ball joint
    • Ground down the top of each spring
    • Heatshrunk some tubing over the base of each of the front springs
    Noises gone - crashing gone - ride improved ( substantially )

    Issues for now seem to be sorted so need some new tyres - will update once fitted with a verdict and lessons learned
     
  43. spiker

    spiker trying to growl less these days

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    4 x Michellin PS4 £346 fitted 225/45/94Y 17"

    After fitting them I asked for the tracking report from Protyre

    "Tracking report ? - you didnt say you wanted tracking done - well you will have to be put back in the queue for another hour if you want tracking "

    Thats not me is it - I am not going mad here ? - Tyre place fitts 4 new tyres , no mention or expectation of a tracking option ?

    Waited 2 hours already - so I will go have it done 'properly' then by a man with some blocks of wood and some string next week instead

    Time for some testing...... without the setup yet but plan to get toe front and back at 0 if possible , rear camber between 0.5-1 negative and then see whether the tie bar lets me do that within range

    Lets go for a 'spirited' drive
     

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