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    1. Member
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      10-20-2018 07:54 PM #1
      I've been modding VW's for almost two decades now, and somehow, I've never run Bilstein shocks. Blame it on the stance trend, I've always used coilovers, KW, H&R, FK silverlines, etc. I liked the ajustability for winter/summer mode. All of them had progressive rate springs and twin tube shocks, and I always got tired of running a ''drop'' after a few months, not matter how they were ajusted, there was always some bounce, and even though the suspension was stiffer, I still felt like the car handled worse than stock.

      Fast forward to my current ride, I can't seem to let go of, my MK5 Jetta, which has been as reliable as a Corolla.

      Early this summer, I swapped out my aging OEM suspension with linear rate Driver's Gear springs, and Bilstein B6 monotube shocks with the stiffer MK5 valving. I am completely blown away by how well the car rides. It's definetaly stiff, very stiff, but not uncomfortable, and the way the car rides and handles is nothing short of amazing. Contrary to coilovers, I'm enjoying these more each and every day instead of growing tired of the setup. My wife enjoys driving it on our horrible Montreal roads, and passengers always comment how great the car rides.

      I've heard so many mixed reviews on Bilsteins, are they really hit or miss? I don't know if I'll ever be able to daily a non-Bilsteined car ever again
      Last edited by Dubveiser; 10-20-2018 at 07:58 PM.

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    3. 10-20-2018 08:31 PM #2
      For a good OEM replacement shock, I've always been happy with Koni and Bilsteins. They may cost more than the cheap budget coilovers, but I can't complain about their performance.

    4. 10-20-2018 09:33 PM #3
      You will probably like the car even more if you swap the stock springs back in and leave the Bilsteins. While they have progressively gotten better from mk4-mk7, VWs are still underdamped from the factory(spring rates are fine). This is coming from someone who has installed hundreds(if not thousands) of suspension systems across VW/Audi/Porsche/BMW/Mini, ranging from Ebay brand to Moton.

    5. Member HI SPEED's Avatar
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      10-20-2018 10:20 PM #4
      I love the OEM ones on my Tacoma. Ride excellent for a relatively lifted truck.

    6. Senior Member Iroczgirl's Avatar
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      10-20-2018 10:21 PM #5
      Yep, Bilstein struts/shocks and a set of H&R springs are all you need.
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    7. 10-20-2018 10:43 PM #6
      Oh god no. I have never tested an H&R sport spring that was as stiff as the oem spring(Have only tested European cars). Average H&R sport spring rate is 10% softer on my spring rate tester than that of an OEM spring.

    8. You can't look at my avatar for just a second, can you? Just Another Sweater's Avatar
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      10-20-2018 10:46 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Dubveiser View Post
      I've been modding VW's for almost two decades now, and somehow, I've never run Bilstein shocks. Blame it on the stance trend, I've always used coilovers, KW, H&R, FK silverlines, etc. I liked the ajustability for winter/summer mode. All of them had progressive rate springs and twin tube shocks, and I always got tired of running a ''drop'' after a few months, not matter how they were ajusted, there was always some bounce, and even though the suspension was stiffer, I still felt like the car handled worse than stock.

      Fast forward to my current ride, I can't seem to let go of, my MK5 Jetta, which has been as reliable as a Corolla.

      Early this summer, I swapped out my aging OEM suspension with linear rate Driver's Gear springs, and Bilstein B6 monotube shocks with the stiffer MK5 valving. I am completely blown away by how well the car rides. It's definetaly stiff, very stiff, but not uncomfortable, and the way the car rides and handles is nothing short of amazing. Contrary to coilovers, I'm enjoying these more each and every day instead of growing tired of the setup. My wife enjoys driving it on our horrible Montreal roads, and passengers always comment how great the car rides.

      I've heard so many mixed reviews on Bilsteins, are they really hit or miss? I don't know if I'll ever be able to daily a non-Bilsteined car ever again
      I've had Bilstein Sports/Nuespeed Sport springs on four VWs, never any conplaints. My current GTI Sport's factory suspension is about the same except more wheelgap.

    9. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      10-20-2018 10:55 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
      Oh god no. I have never tested an H&R sport spring that was as stiff as the oem spring(Have only tested European cars). Average H&R sport spring rate is 10% softer on my spring rate tester than that of an OEM spring.
      For real?
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      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
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    10. Member
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      10-20-2018 11:32 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
      You will probably like the car even more if you swap the stock springs back in and leave the Bilsteins. While they have progressively gotten better from mk4-mk7, VWs are still underdamped from the factory(spring rates are fine). This is coming from someone who has installed hundreds(if not thousands) of suspension systems across VW/Audi/Porsche/BMW/Mini, ranging from Ebay brand to Moton.
      You're not the first person I heard say this. Apparently on the Mk5, stock springs on bilstein B6 with Mk6 valving is about as good as it gets in terms of ride quality and handling.

    11. Member
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      10-20-2018 11:43 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by LT1M21Stingray View Post
      For real?
      I've never tested spring rates, but I was never a fan of H&R springs.

      The soft part of the spring is definitely softer than stock, but then over big road imperfections or spirited driving, you get to ''enjoy'' the rock hard part of the spring. There's no happy medium, it's either too soft or too hard, and handling isn't predictable.

      Of course, my experience is limited to VW applications, so I can't comment on their entire product range.

    12. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 12:03 AM #11
      I'm running H&R Sport Springs with Koni shocks in my VW mk1. Just currious.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.
      Buy my couch!

    13. Member KevinC's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 12:23 AM #12
      My first B8 experience was on my Scirocco 16V in the '90s. They had gone 100k+ miles and one was (finally) leaking. Potter @ parts4vws.com got all 4 rebuilt by Bilstein under the lifetime warranty. I put another 60k on them and they were fresh as a daisy when I sold it years later. I've run them on a crapload of cars since - B6's on Z4M coupe with stock springs, B8's on E39 M5, and on various VW's. Killer product with incredible longevity and durability.

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    14. 10-21-2018 12:31 AM #13
      I've heard the same thing when I was researching spring rates for my integra, the h&r springs were softer than the OEM ITR springs yet sat lower.

    15. Member
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      10-21-2018 08:56 AM #14
      Best suspension I've ever had was the Neuspeed Sport/Koni Yellow combo on my first Accord. Rode like an old Cadillac on NYC's moonscape but had phenomenal body control. I had them on the back of my Civic as well (ST coilovers blew in a year ). If I keep this Kia long enough I'm gonna look into getting inserts. Key was wheel travel though which I sacrificed more going forward. Roads down here are nicer so I can live with more stiffness.

    16. Member fireside's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 09:41 AM #15
      Stock springs + koni yellows or bilsteins are almost always the superior setup for a mix of DD/handling/reliability. Coils under $1500 are trash, almost universally. They're just not quality.

    17. Senior Member DonL's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 09:53 AM #16
      I had very good luck with Bilsteins matched with Shine springs on my MkIII. The car rode better, IMO, than the coilover MkIIIs that I drove and rode in back in the day, and it seemed to handle quite well for how I tossed the car around. I'm considering Bilsteins for my Fiesta now as well.
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    18. Member hasnfefr's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 10:02 AM #17
      I have found that the Bilsteins I used on my mk1 had to be replaced often due to water inclusion on the front and just plain seal loss in the rear. The sports are very expensive and to get such a short service life out of them is very lame. I will say they warrantied the first three sets no questions. After that I gave up taking the car apart and re-aligning it. The front is an upside down piston strut for that application and they would suck water it and basically hydro lock. I could write that up to bad design and get one of their lower level strut inserts, but it was a tease as when they did work they were pleasing to drive. The rear blowing out was the icing on the cake. I bought KW's and have them at a stock height and love them. Plus they haven't blown out yet.
      That's just my .02.
      I'm glad you like the setup you have on your current vw. Coils can really be punishing if run low, especially if they are cheap quality.

    19. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 11:03 AM #18
      It always depends. I hated the mono tube Bilsteins (MSM) and mild progressive rate lowering springs (Tein S.Tech) I had on my Miata. The shock body length and valving wasn’t good from the get go and the lowering springs compounded problems. I replaced them with some $2,000 coil overs (XIDA/ Tractive) and it was a revelation. I’m running a full inch lower than before (2.5” drop) and the ride quality is better than stock.

    20. Member l88m22vette's Avatar
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      10-21-2018 01:16 PM #19
      I've been sitting on a set of Bilstein PSS for the TT, inverted monotube, everyone always said Bilstein is what you get when you want to buy set of coilovers to keep.

      Related question: they're new, but have been sitting for ~5 years, will I need to worry about condition, lubrication, etc?

    21. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      10-22-2018 10:32 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
      Oh god no. I have never tested an H&R sport spring that was as stiff as the oem spring(Have only tested European cars). Average H&R sport spring rate is 10% softer on my spring rate tester than that of an OEM spring.
      Quote Originally Posted by Dubveiser View Post
      I've never tested spring rates, but I was never a fan of H&R springs.

      The soft part of the spring is definitely softer than stock, but then over big road imperfections or spirited driving, you get to ''enjoy'' the rock hard part of the spring. There's no happy medium, it's either too soft or too hard, and handling isn't predictable.

      Of course, my experience is limited to VW applications, so I can't comment on their entire product range.
      I've never heard that... I've never heard anything bad about H&R springs, actually...

      Is that limited to one of their spring lines or all of them? They have OE Sports, Sports, and Race, right?

    22. Member
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      10-22-2018 10:57 AM #21
      The JDM Spec A takeoffs that came with Bilsteins on my old LGT wagon were great. Got several years of use out of them for $700 shipped, and unlike stock Subaru suspensions of the past 15 years (although there latest offerings have improved) they suspension wasn't underdamped like the US Subaru suspension. Does a sporty car really pogo three times over a raised crosswalk? Felt like a slightly less extreme Crown Vic with blown shocks.

    23. Member
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      10-22-2018 11:08 AM #22
      My old Bilstein B8 Sports lasted 150,000 miles before the front strut blew and looked like it shat itself. (coupled with Driver Gear springs aka Eibach Pro.Kit).

      Replaced them with Bilstein B4 Touring (Sport) and couldn't believe how much softer was the ride.

      THe bilstein Sports were still a comfy ride, compared to my buddy's Bangled 540i with H&R Coilovers.
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    24. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      10-22-2018 12:08 PM #23
      Speaking of springs, I put the 1BE (EU sport option, not Eibach) on the B5 and the difference is silly. Everyone who drives it (especially after fresh shocks, once every 50K or so) just raves about it. It's not that low, but the increased spring rate and upgraded damping make a world of difference.
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    25. Member cockerpunk's Avatar
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      10-22-2018 12:25 PM #24
      most suspension mods make cars worse, even for performance driving.

      there is a lot of **** out there. brand is not a reliable indicator either.
      Quote Originally Posted by ice4life View Post
      Sounds great. Maybe I'm just a fascist and didn't know it.. I don't know if I even care anymore.

    26. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      10-22-2018 01:22 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by cockerpunk View Post
      most suspension mods make cars worse, even for performance driving.

      there is a lot of **** out there. brand is not a reliable indicator either.
      Here we go again...
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.
      Buy my couch!

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