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Improving Ride Comfort on A3 Sport

TitaniumTom Jun 8, 2018

  1. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    So, I thought I'd get used to this but haven't, and can't see any othrr complaints that arent S-line. I just find the car really uncomfortable and rough/jittery even on 30mph village roads, it seems to create constant bumps that I can't even see. My last VAG car was a MK4 Golf GT TDi on 17s and I was expecting the same sort of ride from an A3 'Sport' on 17s. Was I wrong to do that? I specifically avoided the S-line due to ride comfort alone.

    It's on standard suspension (presumably between SE and S-Line) and standard 17s. Was previously on coilovers which weren't that much worse in terms of ride.

    Would it help dropping to 16s or is it more the suspension that's the issue?

    Very annoying as the rest of the car, clutch, steering, engine etc is all very smooth but being overshadowed by the poor ride atm. :(

    Thanks
    Tom
     
    aqibi2000 and DJ_26 like this.
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  3. Chris-P

    Chris-P Audi Owner Since 2011

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    Try checking that your tyre pressures are correct? There's a sticker inside the fuel filler cap detailing the pressures:)
     
  4. paddy

    paddy Audi=we just sell em mate, we can't fix em.. Team Ibis Audi S3 Black Edition DSG

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    Its just a german thing, they go for rock hard suspension, as you say the S-line is even worse. If i have a long journey on normal roads i tend to take the van which is luxury compared to the S3 for comfort. But then if you want to go fast the S3 is sprung pretty well.
    your cheapest option is to go for some softer tyres and keep the pressures correct. Maybe some softer shocks ?
     
  5. DJ_26

    DJ_26 Active Member

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    Glad to find someone who thinks exactly the same! In fact I seem to remember James May describing the ride as quite choppy on the 8P A3 Sport years ago on Top Gear (episode where they went mini-cabbing).

    I have an S-Line and thought the ride was as you described. It really does seem to be a German car thing. I think you may be on to something with regards to the Golf having a better ride than the equivalent A3. Seats can be pretty hard too. I do wonder if it is because A3s of this generation are more suited to German roads and they were not made for our bumpy, cracked, pot-hole infested roads. I mean the newer Golfs have really good ride quality, but a lot of German cars are still too firm. BMW M-sport cars seem to be slightly better in my opinion with regards to ride quality and their seats are much better in terms of shape and comfort in my opinion (i've tried the 1,3 and 5 series all around the 2003-2007 range and the seats and ride comfort are all much better than my 2005 A3).

    With regards to your suspension, easiest option is to fit 16" wheels and renew your dampers with some bilstein B4 items and Eibach Pro 30mm springs. People say that this offers a noticeable improvement in terms of comfort and also handling, over the standard units. Expect to pay around 300-350ish for the parts.

    If you want to spend a little more, I hear that Koni FSD dampers offer great comfort. They are expensive though.

    Finally if you have a really big budget you can always go for Air-ride suspension and tune the dampers to be really soft.
     
  6. Baka

    Baka Active Member

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    I bought and then sold a 8P Sport quattro on 18's inside of 3 weeks due to the ride and cabin noise.

    Stunning handling and amazing fun but no chance I could put up with it every day.

    I don't understand how the MK5 GTI can get it so right out the box and Audi's like 'Replace the springs with scaffold poles! Fill ze dampers with cement!'.

    +1 on the Eibach's and Bilstein's.
     
    aqibi2000 likes this.
  7. Gazwould

    Gazwould Well-Known Member

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    +2 but keep the 17's , it's the suspension at fault here .
     
  8. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    Thanks, yeah that was the first thing I tried, they were correct when I got it and I've actually dropped a few psi from the recommended pressure since (I'm about half as heavy as the average person and rarely carry passengers in the A3 lol). It did make a little difference but not nearly enough.

    I would expect an S3 and S-Line to be uncomfortable, but am surprised just how hard the Sport is. It seems softer shocks are the way to go though. I do have use of a mk3 Focus as well, which I'm using for longer trips atm! Though it drives badly and the AC already doesn't work, the ride is about the only thing going for it lol.

    Ah, I remember that TG episode now...he upset the owner by describing the 1.6 FSi as 'entry level' lol.

    I hadn't really thought about the German roads being much better than our own but that makes now you say it. Though if the Golf's are able to smooth UK roads, I'm not sure why the A3 can't. I must admit the 8P handles much better than the Mk4 Golf did, but maybe they've gone too far with it, I'd sacrifice a bit of that handling for a better ride.

    Air ride would be ideal...but I just don't have that budget lol. I haven't really got the budget for Bilsteins & Eibachs either. I have had Eibachs on previous cars so know they ride well but didn't realise they'd ride better than standard on these. I'll keep an eye out on ebay etc for a used set for now.

    Have you owned/driven a Mk5 GTi to compare? I was originally looking at them...when I found an A3 S-Line with the same engine a lot cheaper but as said above was put off it because of the ride so went for a diesel Sport instead. If the Mk5 GTi ride is smoother I might offer the A3 up for a swap lol!

    Thanks, will keep an eye out for used Eibachs and Bilsteins as that seems to be the common theme through the replies here! :D
     
  9. Gazwould

    Gazwould Well-Known Member

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    It's not as simple as that as there are more variation to the finely tuned Eibach axle weighted kits also taking into account , engine size , quattro , fwd , doors etc .

    Bilstein B4 dampers also choices .

    So getting the right second hand set up is difficult .

    You may just have worn dampers , they don't have to leak to become less efficient and effect massively the ride quality.
    How many miles has it done ?

    SE is Standard suspension .

    So by standard suspension , you mean standard 'Sport' suspension ?
     
  10. smurfworth

    smurfworth Well-Known Member Audi S3

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    Drop the tyre pressures, they are far too high for daily use I think. Says to run them at 40 odd psi but I've always run them at 28 in the rear and 30 up front and rides much better. Doesn't make much difference to the wear on the tyres either
     
  11. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    I mean original suspension, whatever came 'standard' on the Sport trim, but as far as I understand the Sport trim suspension shouldn't be as hard as S3 or S-line suspension?

    The car's done 100k but previous owner ran coilovers for a while so the shocks have done considerably less, I don't know exactly how long they were on though. The rear shocks were knackered (stiff, no rebound) so I put a cheap new pattern pair on. Front struts were already built up so couldn't test them properly...but I'd be surprised if they were knackered in just 70k or so, most of my previous cars have done over 100k and can't remember the last time I had to change a shock that wasn't leaking.

    Cheapest I can find a new set of Eibach s with the correct part number is £110 so far. Also found the part number for the B4s so looking around atm.
     
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  13. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    I think that's 18" pressure, the 17s are 32psi iirc, I've dropped to 29psi all round atm.
     
  14. Gazwould

    Gazwould Well-Known Member

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    For sure the Eibach's are better and just a tad lower , good price too .

    Worth doing the lot , top mounts etc .

    I'll double check for you the part numbers .

    Year , engine , hp , engine code , quarrro , doors ?
     
  15. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    2004 2.0TDi 140. BKD engine. 2WD. 3dr.

    Are there any extra parts (cups etc) on top of the springs with these or will a top mount & bearing kit be the only thing I need as well as the shock and spring? Would rather build them up without having to dismantle the old ones first.
     
  16. Gazwould

    Gazwould Well-Known Member

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    Don't know .

    Pro kit E10-15-007-03-22

    Bilstein B4 front 22-139184

    B4 rear 22-139191
     
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  17. JimS3

    JimS3 Active Member

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    I have just gone from S-Line setup to Eibach pro and b4 shocks, ride quality is a huge improvement.

    There is a small trade off in steering response and feedback, but this is minor compared to the big ride improvement. I no longer have to swerve all over the place trying to avoid the slightest road imperfection which would rattle your teeth out!

    I have a spare pair of b4 rear shocks (22-139191) as when I ordered mine the place said they were out of stock, so I went elsewhere, but then ended up receiving 2 sets and never got round to returning them. Would be glad to clear space in the garage, so would sell for £65 posted if you want them. Cost £120 new
     
    TitaniumTom likes this.
  18. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    Thanks, definitely going for that setup...and if that doesn't cure the ride I'll see about swapping to a Golf lol.

    I've already sourced a set of brand new B4s at a very good price from someone that never got round to fitting them. Just the springs I'm after now, still can't find cheaper than £110 atm. There is a very cheap used set on ebay for the 3.2 Quattro if anyone else is looking atm.
     
  19. Baka

    Baka Active Member

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    Sorry for the late reply, I was originally after a MKV GTI but had to get the A3 as the steering in the golf was too heavy for my knackered arms. The three lower mileage golfs I tried made a very decent go at a 'fast road' set up.

    Looking to fix my own A3 I noticed that a lot of the after market kits for the A3 2.0TFSI FWD and MK5 GTI have the same part numbers. They are essentially the same car underneath.

    Hopefully the Pro Kit & B4's set up will be spot on. Far better dampening and spring rates, plus fresh shocks make a huge difference.
     
  20. JimS3

    JimS3 Active Member

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    Steering weight is adjustable, difference between Golf / A3 is just a setting that can easily be changed with VCDS, hardware is the same.

    Personal preference, but I have increased my steering weight and prefer it as it gives more feedback through the wheel!
     
  21. Baka

    Baka Active Member

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    Hey JimS3, I did read up into this before buying, trawling the forums and Ross-Tech for as much info as I could.

    In the end I decided not to risk buying a car I might then have to immediately sell at a loss. Kinda ironic as I ended up selling the A3 anyway!
     
  22. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    That's interesting to know, is steering electric or electro hydraulic on these? On the Mk2 Focus I had the option on the dash to change between 'comfort, standard and sport' steering.
     
  23. JimS3

    JimS3 Active Member

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    Steering is electric, they moved away from hydraulic pumps for fuel economy reasons.

    Only thing about the electric steering on the A3 is you can sometimes catch it out, if you really abruptly spin the wheel when taking a low speed turn the steering can feel heavy for a second before the electric assistance kicks in.

    Not all cars seem to have the option in VCDS to change the steering assist level, nearly all 2006 and earlier do, after this its a bit hit and miss.

    Even on cars where it is not possible with VCDS, the factory / dealer can do it as different model variations can have different steering weights, S3, S-line, SE etc.
     
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  24. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    I never would have guessed it was full electric. Guess that explains why I couldn't find the reservoir to check fluid level though!
     
  25. JimS3

    JimS3 Active Member

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    Yeh, better than the older A3 8L that pop steering racks and pipes for a pass time!
     
  26. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    Right, have now sourced all the parts for this at a very good price, all brand new, by keeping an eye out on various sites, just waiting on delivery of final item lol!

    Just wanted to ask what's the quickest and easiest way to remove the front strut without damaging anything. When I removed the coilovers I pulled the CV joint off of the driveshaft trying to get enough space...before reading that there's not enough space on these without removing something else...bit of a fail but tbf I've removed several struts from other cars without having to remove anything else lol. I removed the lower BJ nuts to get it back in but would rather not pull the shaft apart again this time. So which end of the driveshaft is better to remove and would you remove the lower BJ nuts or anything else as well?

    As I got the suspension cheaper than expected I've also bought a honeycomb grill (again, new and unused very cheaply lol), does the bumper need to come off to change it or can I get away without? My current S-Line grill has been sprayed gloss black so I reckon it's already been removed once so that should make it easier.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018 at 1:31 PM
  27. Jake 61

    Jake 61 Teacher of bad things..! Team Brill Red Team V6 VCDS Map User Gold Supporter Audi A3 quattro

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    Don't know about the front struts, but you will have to take the bumper off to change the grille. About 20-30 minutes to remove, 30 minutes to swap the grille, same 20-30 minutes to put it back on.
     
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  28. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    Thanks Jake, bumper & grill did only take a couple of hours at a slow Saturday morning pace. Didn't even jack it up or turn the wheels. None of it was particularly difficult, I kept reading it'd be a pain and take all day on other sites lol!

    Springs have just been delivered too, so can anyone else advise about the removal without wrecking the driveshaft as I posted above?
     
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  29. smurfworth

    smurfworth Well-Known Member Audi S3

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    I've done around 4 suspension changes on mine and never needed to remove anything else to gain more space and never broke anything.
     
  30. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    That's odd...as I say I ripped the CV joint off the driveshaft trying to get mine out. Guides for the 8P/Mk5 all mention driveshaft issues as well.
     
  31. JimS3

    JimS3 Active Member

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    Driveshaft can stop you pulling hub down low enough for the strut to come out on the A3. S3 is usually ok though.

    If you use spring compressors you don’t need to undo anything else.
     
  32. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    I hadn't thought about compressing the springs on the car, that'll save the driveshaft hassle! Cheers.
     
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  34. TitaniumTom

    TitaniumTom Member

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    Well that was a massive fail. New shock slipped into the hub really easily...with a 2.5mm gap around it. :tired:

    Turns out I actually have 55mm struts, not 50s as the part numbers suggest. I even measured the old coilovers before selling them and sure they were only 50mm. :flushed:

    Plus the driveshaft fell apart again so I had fun refitting that.

    So obviously the shocks are no good to me. Are the springs the same though, or are they different on the wider shocks?
     

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