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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Loads of members here go for lowering springs + uprated dampers or even springs on standard shocks but I don't see many/any who only changed the standard shocks to something better. The rear ARB I just got fitted has transformed handling by eliminating understeering and has given me the incentive to improve things further. I'm not that bothered about lowering and don't want a harsh ride. Is changing the shocks alone to Bilstein B4s likely to make a worthwhile improvement for about ?160 + fitting? My car has only done 28k from new so the shocks are not worn yet. Would appreciate any advice/opinions.
 

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I personally think you should get some -30mm springs to go with uprated shocks. The standard suspension is odd to say the least. It's very wallowy on bends, harsh and unforgiving on potholes and generally uncomfortable when you compare it to a good set up. It doesn't really do anything well?!

Eibachs and H&R combos give very good results with minimal lowering. I went from the standard set up to FK Highsports coilovers on mine and the ride improved no end!

On my route home from work there is a raised section of road that needs to be re-surfaced (still) and the standard suspension used to make a loud bang as it hit it. The FK's absorb it with no noise whatsoever! Being 35-40mm lower makes it slightly harsher but I don't mind the sacrifice for handling. A good spring/shock set up will be better again I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that.  You say the ride improved but it's harsher, so what was the improvement?  I do quite a lot of long journeys and also drive on bumpy roads so I'm worried about the comfort factor.
 

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Do you not find the suspension crashes and bangs over potholes or poor road surfaces? Mine was terrible and there was only 40k on the suspension. The ride has notably improved because it's so much smoother although the stiffness has increased making it a firmer ride.

Bear in mind that I'm running coilovers so it will be harsher than a good spring/shock set up like eibachs. Do a searc on here for eibachs, there should be a few reviews from years back because everyone was fitting them when I joined up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I understand now, smoother but firmer.  Yes you're right, the suspension does crash and bang over potholes.  I've looked through the old Eibach/Bilstein OE threads which were very informative.  I'm now seriously considering Koni FSD + Eibach springs but that's a bit more expensive, about ?600 fitted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've now tried the Koni sport kit on another V5 and found that a bit too hard though the other passengers all thought it was fine.  Guess I'm just sensitive to firmness and so any sort of lowering may not be a good idea.  So I've gone back to my original plan of getting some uprated dampers without lowering springs which will hopefully reduce the bounciness without a significant loss of comfort.
 

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Hi, I'm in the same dilema as you, I want better handling but don't want to lose the long distance comfort of the standard set up. After lots of research and questions I've decided on getting Koni FSD's and keeping the standard springs. I was going to get Eibach's as well but after speaking to the guy who I bought the Koni's off , he said stick with the standard springs. I got them for ?375 inc delivery, next day, and am having them fiited next friday, so will be able to tell you then if I've made the right choice!
 

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Crashing and banging is caused by under-damping and soft bump stops, both of which are used on the std MkIV to aid comfort on smooth german roads. As we're not in Germany and are roads are less than smooth it exposes the weakness inherent in the set-up.

The single biggest change you can make to a cars ride and handling is to change the dampers - I've always advocated that if in any doubt at all only change the shocks. Those who have only changed the springs regualrly come back and admit they should've done the shocks as well. Improved dampers give far better body control and the removal of the wallowing will be the first thing you'll notice - simply going stiffer on the springs takes the compliance out of the set-up and it's getting the balance of compliance and control right. That's where the shocks work as they slow the springs extension as well as the compression.

What is also a good change which will improve handling without destroying the ride is going up a size on the wheels - 16" to 17" combined with some decent dampers (Bilstein/Koni etc) will give a noticeable improvement without being to harsh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Richard, do you think changing to a set of B4s would give a big improvement over the standard dampers that have done 28k?  Some people say the B4s are only marginally better than the originals.
 

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I honestly can't say from personal experience. However there are a few folk on here who fitted them with Eibach springs and were very happy.

I would suggest from previous experience with a Mk1 that if you're leaving the std springs in then get some adjustable shocks such as the Konis then you have the flexibility to change to suit your own preference.
 

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Green V5, another suggestion might be to buy some factory sports springs and put them with good quality uprated

dampers. The V5 could be ordered (in the last few years of production) with a factory sports suspension of 15mm

lowered springs and firmer dampers. This spring would be softer than an aftermarket one but give more control

than the standard. Uprated dampers are unquestionably the best improvement you could make though.

My godmothers husband was a very good racing driver, he used to have VR6 some years ago and the first

thing he did was put the best dampers he could get on and kept the standard springs for comfort.
 

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Some people say the B4s are only marginally better than the originals.
I havent any experience of the B4's, but from what I have read and heard, fitting B4's will feel like your OE dampers were as new.

Although on a different chassis, I have recently fitted a set of B8's (with Eibach pro-kit) and would have to say that I agree with the Bilstein speil that they are " approx. 10 - 15% tauter than the original suspension"

You would obviously need B6's with the OE springs, to which Bilstein says in comparison to the B4 "B6 Sports shocks are again 5 - 10% tauter than the BILSTEIN spare parts ( B4 Gas ), thus allowing for sportier driving"

I personally (after experiencing the B8's), would think that the B6's are your best solution. Have you seeked advice from Julian @ Balance, as you know he knows his stuff and would advise on a solution, maybe backing up what I have said. Although it does depend on all your requirements i.e what roads you drive on, what you use your car for etc, etc.
 

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Richard is absolutely right. Dampers are by far the most important component and it is the stock dampers that cause the car to have that vague wallowy feel. My had it even when my car only had 8000 miles on the clock. It was so weird, as if the suspension moved for about 1/2" with no resistance at all before the dampers would start working.

A set of Koni shocks all round sorted that out completely. They transformed the car and improved the ride. It took me a further 4 years before I changed the springs and opted for Eibachs after doing a lot of research. Although I haven't tried Bilstein dampers on Koni springs personally, I think that the Koni dampers on their own with the stock springs probably give the best ride and they are adjustable too. The Bilsteins seem to give a firmer ride from what I've read. If you decide to change the springs later, the Eibach/Koni combo is a good one and probably more compliant than a full Koni setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I nearly went for the B12 kit (B8 dampers + H&R springs) on Julian's advice but was/am worried it would be too harsh. He suggested that B4 + Eibachs would be slightly more comfortable. Now I just want to change the dampers. I'll look into the other suggested options like the B6 and Koni sport shocks. Though if I go for Koni it'll probably be the FSDs as they're meant to be comfier.

Cheers,

Henry
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've finally decided to go for B4 dampers + Eibach -30mm springs. Will report back once they have been fitted. [:D]
 

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I've finally decided to go for B4 dampers + Eibach -30mm springs.
I think you have made a good choice. Although very happy with my B8's, they are stiffer than standard, so probably not suited to your requirements. I think the Eibachs are a wise choice, you won't notice any loss in ride comfort with those springs. Purchasing from Julian? if so have you quoted a reference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've finally decided to go for B4 dampers + Eibach -30mm springs.
I think you have made a good choice. Although very happy with my B8's, they are stiffer than standard, so probably not suited to your requirements. I think the Eibachs are a wise choice, you won't notice any loss in ride comfort with those springs. Purchasing from Julian? if so have you quoted a reference?
Yep ordered from Julian but didn't have a reference to quote.
 
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