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New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again!
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

Looks like Bilstein are producing some Type4 front dampers again:

http://www.vw411-412besitzer.de/aktuelles.html

http://www.dcperformance.co.uk/cheap/11154/volkswagen/bilstein-b6-front-damper/34-000311.html

http://www.dcperformance.co.uk/cheap/62153/volkswagen/bilstein-b6-rear-damper/24-006309.html

At least I didnt know... Confused

/ Lars S

EDIT: the 24-006309 are rear dampers!
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/Lars S
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would definately buy the rear dampers if they are gas. Bilstein makes nice parts.

However, the problem I see if they are making front dampers is that the shaft length and step would be the same as factory...which would give that same nose high attitude....which is not good.

However as I was noting in a post the other day.....since I have finally had my car back in my own possession for the last 16 months instead of in storage, I have been restoring everything.....and finally got a more accurate look at everything I had originally done to do the Audi cartridge/stub modification.

There were a few more details than I was able to relate here and on the STF....after all it was a progession of improvements over about 1.5 years....not just slapping in an adapter stub and new strut cartridge.
What I have outlined is that a couple of key improvements could also allow an otherwise stock strut cartridge to sit almost exactly 1" lower in the front end...which would bring the car dead level front to rear.

Those mods are:
1. cutting the steel bush inside of the stock bump stop down by 1/2" to 3/4" and trimming the bump stop top the same to match. The stock bump stop is largely unused. Your suspensiln will never compress low enough to use more that about 1/4 of it. It was made large to hold a spacer bush (mentioned) and to perform a fit/reach function for the dust boot....which I have found an awesome solution for that is actually a golf part #.
2. The reason I note either 1/2" or 3/4" is that if your car is an early one and uses the 13mm spacer with recessed steel bush above it (the one you are going to trim)....you can leave 9ff the 13mm bushing and just trim 1/2" and you will get a total drop of 1".
If yours has the solid spacer with no 13mm bush...you can only trim 3/4" from the 1" top ne k because you need that remaining 1/4" section which has a reduced diameter.....to hold the bump stop at the correct height and centered.
In that case you will need to have the underside of the steel spacer milled the last 1/4" t9 get the total 1" drop.
3. This mod will make the top stub protrude from the strut bearing too far. You will need to cut that off and add about 15mm of new thread depending on brand of strut.

You can get about another .250 drop by adding a thin sheet of uhmw material between strut bearing and top plate...and get rid of the excessive gap spacer underneath the bearing...as well as using a thinner washer between top cap and bearing under the nut. Each gives about .125" drop . About 1.250" drop is about all I have found is comfortable and safe for the stock spring.
These mods with a Bilstein front cartridge would be excellent stock.

The Audi mod using the Audi 4000/quantum strut cartidge still has much stiffer control....more high performance. ....but if Bilstein has an available cartridge....it would be dirt simple....about 1 hour each side....to do this mod.

I had not heard they had started producing new dampers either. For the rears....the KYB GAS A JUSTS are just excellent.....but so would the bilstein. Ray
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Lahti411
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bilstein B6-series are gas filled:
http://web1.carparts-cat.com/default.aspx?230=1&am...amp;12=130
Here in Europe many 411/412 drivers use BMW E30 (1.6 or 1.8 litre models) front springs. Those will lower the nose to level and give little bit tighter suspension. I've heard that many drivers are very happy with that set up -especially if they have found the ultra rare Koni cartridges.
I'm using Audi cartridges in the front and Ford shocks in the rear, but i'd love to put new Bilsteins front and back + those BMW springs. That would be a bolt-on installation with quality parts.
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lahti411 wrote:
Bilstein B6-series are gas filled:
http://web1.carparts-cat.com/default.aspx?230=1&am...amp;12=130
Here in Europe many 411/412 drivers use BMW E30 (1.6 or 1.8 litre models) front springs. Those will lower the nose to level and give little bit tighter suspension. I've heard that many drivers are very happy with that set up -especially if they have found the ultra rare Koni cartridges.
I'm using Audi cartridges in the front and Ford shocks in the rear, but i'd love to put new Bilsteins front and back + those BMW springs. That would be a bolt-on installation with quality parts.



Yes...I remember the conversation.

As I noted a few years ago....if you do the Audi mod correctly.....and my apologies because back then during that conversation on the STF...I was missing several details of what I had actually done.....
......the amount of coil compression you get out of the comfort zone of the type 4 front coil springs with the small resulting drop in stance.....but a huge level of control improvement.....will more than equal what you get for control out of the E30 springs.

If the level of improvement was just "ok"....and not more than a "basic" upgrade....I would not push it so hard.

It really is remarkable in handling when done correctly.

The type 4 springs are actually awesome when used this way. They will give you more control than the stock chassis can handle.

However, what the E30 springs WILL give you that the stock coils will not give you....is the possibility of quite a bit more front drop...like about 2" or possibly a bit more.

Gas struts would be very good. Back in the day...KYB made high pressure gas cartridges for the 411/412. I had one set and never found them again after about 1980. They were much better....but with the noose high stance and the poor unloaded length of the original springs it still had handling issues.
If I knew then what I knew now about spacer and bump stoop technology I could have fixed a lot of that.

However....and this is my worry.....through the years, everyone who made aa replacement cartridge for the 411/412 made the same error. They made a high quality replacement cartridge that used virtually exact factory valving rates....which are very, very poor.

Simply put, the factory valving rates for rebound in virtually all cartridges for 411/412 (I have tried Monroe, KYB, Gabriel, Boge, F&S and even one set of early oil Bilsteins back in 1978)....had the same issue....about 40%+ too soft of a rebound rate and probably 10-15% too soft on compression for a loaded trunk.

Please Bear this in mind and understand this:

This is what was so hard to explain to many: The ratios on the stock struts of rebound to compression VALVING was actually excellent....but the amount of actual reactive force generated in each direction was very wrong for the spring length and progressiveness.

This is NOT because the orifice hole quantities, sizing and vent spring rates were wrong on the stock strut pistons.... but because of where in the tube the nominal piston position rides during driving and the resulting oil/fluid volume on either side of that piston...was poor.
There was not enough counteracting fluid volume (in either volume or flow time) to flow through the orifices on the rebound stroke because of the oddly long strut rod/cartridge body and super deep compression volume end of the strut. It was a strut cartridge geometry issue.


There was nothing super special about the Audi cartridge except that it had slightly more diameter, about the same ratio of rebound to compression venting...maybe 5-10% more on rebound.....but the cartridges I used were low pressure gas...and due to the stub addition on the shaft and the subsequent spacering of the cartridge in the strut housing...and the shorter volume of the Audi cartridge....you get a much different ratio of fluid on each side of the piston during oscillation.

The actual factory non replaceable strut cartridge taught me this. I have never seen another strut unit that complex...anywhere. A work of art really. The designers KNEW it had upper chamber volume issues that caused rebound issues. This is why they made top tube and shaft seal....a labyrinth style gland seal with a complicated bypass valve.

But when that wore out or leaked...usually 30k miles....it caused a huge imbalance in fluid to form in the top chamber on rough roads. this caused hydraulic "jacking down" of the front suspension....and starved the compression circuit. This not only caused many a damaged ball joint....it usually blew the top seal and vented half the fluid.

The one set of KYB gas I used versus their oil units had enough extra power that the compression stroke was largely fixed but the rebound was still horrible and was what was responsible for short life on all struts n these vehicles as well as lots of wear to control arm bushings and eventual damage to ball joints.

My fear....would be that Bilstein copies the factory valving. But generally on their upgrade gas products they are different than stock.

The Audi mod details that made it hard to get the effect that I have with it were these....and if you go back to read the original thread on the STF you will see where I was unclear in this respect at that time.

1. The slop and gaps present in either the early or late strut bushing need to be eliminated. The Mazda 626 strut bearing addition is a simple way to go but does not do anything for the drop of the stance or compression of the spring.

2. The spacer tube for the Audi cartridge...does not go UNDER the cartridge...it goes ABOVE it between the strut housing cap and the top of the strut cartridge. this is very responsible for the proper piston position for best driving control that I mentioned above

3. The cutting down of the bump stop spacer to get the drop...and more importantly the compression and pre-loading of the coil spring comfort zone to make the coil spring more controlling and responsive...is critical and was never mentioned in the original discussion thread

Of course going to the late model strut bushing is great all the way around.

The one heartening thing I see about possible new bilstein cartridges..iis that if the valving is better than stock....and with some careful detailing of the bump stop spacer and the strut bearing spacer....you can probably accomplish most of what the Audi mod accomplishes....with no stub adapter and no machine work. Thats progress!

Sorry for the length. Ray
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Lahti411
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When i installed my Audi cartridge set-up i noticed that the spacer tube has to go to the top of the cartridge. In fact i put a short spacer under the cartridge and a short tube plus a sealing collar form the original 411 strut to the top (i cut the collar from an original 411 strut, it's the top part, about on inch thick, with an O-ring). I figured that i couldn't place the Audi cartridge to the bottom of the strut as this way the top adapters edge would rub the collars seal and ruin it letting then dirt and water inside the strut. I also thought that the Audi cartridge has to be about in the middle of the strut to make it work in the area it's supposed to. I'm happy with the result and from now on, as i already have the adapters etc., i can replace the cartridges with an inexpencive alternative.
I have noticed that many classic car drivers don't want to modificate their cars and some even like their original flaws! They use their cars only on beutiful summer days and not as a daily driver. Most people search for bolt-on parts as they don't have the possibilty to fabricate parts and without drawings and explanations they cannot order the needed parts either. This is why i think the Bilstein cartridges/shocks with BMW springs is the best solution for most 411/412 enthusiasts.
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is very true. For the same reason I think its good that Bilstein in making cartridges.

Sadly.....even though there are a range of owner types on these forums....some are very dedicated.....but most are "fair weather". I know its crude to state this....but it really is fact.
Most type 4 owners either just dont have the $, time or skills to even keep these cars running at a basic level. For many thats just not their fault. Its a lot of work and $.

But many also dont really care. Its just another vw project. They either fix it or dont and hwen they get tired of it they look for another project and sell what they have, scrap it or part it out.
Some will tell you the belief .....like the bus community. ...that every poor bus that dies and is parted out lets others live. With the bus...that fairly true. With the type 4...its not. Numbers of vehicles, available parts and just the plain math that probably 1 in 10 of the cars that become available ever become reliable drivers again......making them scrapper bait.

My car used to be a daily driver....and when its on the road again....it will be a weekend driver but mostly long distance and high speeds. My weekend trips will never be less than 1200-1500 miles round trip at 75 mph+ through the middle of nowhere...and in large cities with high speed bumper to bumper traffic.

With respect to that....I care about the car too much to have worn out parts on it, or parts whose design was questionable making lifespan too variable, or critical key motion parts with no spares available.....and most importantly it needs to safely be able to keep up with traffic and at least be able to stop and handle at a "1980's" level to be safe.

Short of a few people on these sites.....I would wager that I have driven these vehicles farther and longer than most. By that.....I mean a 411 or 412 was my only daily driver vehicle from 1979 to 1983. I totaled mine and then had an American car for about 1.5 years. In 1987 I got a 412 and drove it as my only car until 2002.
actually there were three 412' and a 411 in that time, frame. But from 1993 to 1999 I covered 13 states as a technical rep and drove my type 4 an average of 400-500 miles per day about 2 weeks of the month.......yeah.....about 130,0000 miles per year. My last one even more.

My point is that for far too many owners....its just another cool old VW. If it runs and drives eniugh to get it to the next show.....its fine. Most never plan to do anything extraordinary to save the vehicle if a large part breaks or if times get tight and they have several VW. ....the type 4 is usually the first one to go because they either have less $ into it.....they get to drive it less.....or because of parts availability they believe it has lass possibility to be finished compared to the rest of their project vw's.

As a whole....type 4 owners must start to take the stance that these cars will be long term projects that are not simple or cheap......and you must learn skills or have $$ to trade for skills you wont learn or tools you refuse to buy.....and add too that.....you cannot readily own these cars and drive them if you dont to virtually all of your own work. The general air cooled mechanic no matter how good really is of limited use other than a basic tune up.

The type 3 and bus crowd are soon going to have to take this same mental stance...or their vehicles will become museum pieces. To many people just looking for NOS parts enough to drive to the next show. Basic suspension wear parts that are quality enough, bearings that are quality enough and fuel system parts that are quality enough are becoming scarce....and will disapear altogether as the overall number of vehicles dwindle.

Sorry for the rant. Its good that Bilstein stepped up to the plate. It will be interesting to see if the parts are good enough....and if they continue to be offered forcvery long. Ray
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray, how did your Audi mod treat your front end parts, ball joints and etc.? If you were to estimate, for instance, how many more miles were you able to get out of your suspension before replacing parts? Which parts went first?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bradself wrote:
Ray, how did your Audi mod treat your front end parts, ball joints and etc.? If you were to estimate, for instance, how many more miles were you able to get out of your suspension before replacing parts? Which parts went first?


The audi mod had no more or less wear on the suspension parts. The suspension parts have their own issues regardless of stock or the Audi mod.

The ball joints are fine with either stock oil strut or low pressure gas GR-2's that I am using for the Audi strut.
In the beginning I tried two different high pressure gas cartridges. One was the KYB gas a just and the other was a tokico non adjustable gas. I got one of each....for cheap because they had both been phased out for the original application. I used one on each side.....and high pressure gas WILL beat the crap out or the ball joint springs. My ball joints when I triex that had about 50k miles....and they got loose quick from the pounding.

I put 89k on the Audi mod and a new set of NOS Ball joints. No issues. Still tight.

But....the stock idler bushing...I went through three in about 150k miles....before I put the Audi mod in. Its well known to be say too soft even for stock. Same part # had the same problem on the superbeetle. When I put in the Audi mod....I changed to a bronze idler bushing and its still perfect at 89k miles.

The control arm bushings died from stock strut usage. They were good for their day...but defective in design. If yours are still good...and the arms have not slipped forward on the bushing tube.....you can put shims or flanges of bronze or delrin on each side of the bushing and get much more stable driving and many miles. I did that with mine first....and got t0k miles from them before the rubber wore out. Then I switched to early rabbit 1 bushings with delrin side flangea....worked but too soft. ...and now discontiued.
My latest ones are solid delrin with stock steel center bushings. Cost me $30 in delrin from macmaster carr and 4 hours on a drill press and fitting. Awesome!

The other deal is the centerlink. Its materials were defective from the factory. I went through five over 7 years long before the Audi mod....so mine has been bronze with the Audi mod for about 50k and no issues.

The radius arm bushings and cnetering rings....the Audi mod was hard on...but so was the stock strut. They were weak. Same deal.....a dremel, a drill press and anout $40 worth of. Etter materials from Mcmaster Carr and it blows stock away.

So.....no the audi mod will not hurt your front end parts.....but many should be replaced before you start. Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of those STF conversations veered off from the reliable daily driver focus, as I recall, kids wanting to slam their cars with airbags and such. I for one would be interested in the update/correction to the Audi mod from those STF days. Good conversations those were, Bill K ran a couple of different configurations with E30 springs, lots of good thinking/resourcefulness. Maybe STF made some of the better ones stickies.

At 180Euros+ per strut/shock before tax and shipping to the US, making spacers, stubs, adapting bearings and all that's in the Audi process sounds fine to me!! If Bill K's 944 brake conversion is a sticky, that would be great!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill K did a really good job. I believe he used the Audi cartridge for the valving....but instead of using an adapter stub and spacers to use the stock springs...he lookex hard to find an alternate spring that would allow the Audi cartridge and late 412 strut bushing to be used as is with considerable drop.

Just remember that if you want to drop the front end more than level or just below level ....you will need to drop the rear too at some point.
These cars do NOT handle well with a serious forward rake. The weight distribution is too heavy in the rear for that....been there...done that and nearly rolled the car braking into a curve.
But....I have also found a fairly simple way to lower the rear up to about 1.5" without welding. The rear springs are progressive enough to handle about a 2" drop without issues.

Lowering in the front end past more than about 1.5" with the audi mod is about all you can do. Other methods other than Bill K's method can change the pivot point of the front control, arms if you are nott careful....and cause bottoming out or yhe control arms on the body.
Bill's method uses a shorter spring with a different rate to lower the body from the top downward.

I am hoping to get to the flip book I am making to start palcing photos from the front end build before the end of the month. Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm all for the RG Audi mod as it's made it well past proof-of-concept, never had any interest in lowering other than to improve the car and lend to the longevity of ball joints. A decent DIY or retrofit air dam would prevent excessive lift at speed if that became a worry. All that other stuff, filling the wheel arches with tire, low rider stuff, ain't my pursuit.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

Question. If I install the Bilstein B6-series shocks with the BMW E30 springs on the front, the 412 will be level rather than the front end of the car being higher than the rear? Are there rear springs I can install with new rear Bilstein B6-series shocks?

Thanks
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

Question. If I install the Bilstein B6-series shocks with the BMW E30 springs on the front, the 412 will be level rather than the front end of the car being higher than the rear? Are there rear springs I can install with new rear Bilstein B6-series shocks?

Thanks
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

I have no idea.

If you read my "how to" for the strut mod.....you can see that the really only way to know is ti take your original struts off the car.....and measure the extended length from spring pefch to spring perch.

This will tell you the maximum extension height stock. You whould also measure the perch to perch distance when the car is one the ground with a normal fuel and trunk load.

Measure the height from ground at the rocker panel at the rear of the front fender arch as well.
Get a Bilstein strut cartridge and at least measure its extended length and compare to a stock cartridge. If its dimensions are the same as stock, careful spacerkng and trimming "might" be able to bring the ride height down to level.....probably no farther....without the BMW springs.

If not...then you need to mock one up with the BMW springs and see what it leaves you for perch to perch distance. Bear in mind that you will not know how much if any....weight compression you get once its installed until you install it.
So you have to be careful....if for instance the BMW spring drops you say...1.5" and then you get another inch of compression.....you mwy either like it or have a few other mods to do like sway bar alignment.

Also realize that the rear end is already really low. There is a maximum at stock height with KYB GR-2 gas.....of 5.5" between the pavement and rear crossmember lowest point. That is still a lot a supsension travel goes.

Also....the type 4 wagons came from factory with gas in the rear....and very stiff oil shocks on 2 and 4 doors. The rear already had nice gaps between tire and wheel arches. Much better than the front.
When you lower the front slightly....the chassis pivots around the rear axle and the bumper height in the rear rises slightly....but wheel arch gap and ride height do not change.

I would not mess with the rear springs unless you heavily lower the front end....and even then....FIRST.....I would lengthen the lower mount point.....weld on a tube or flats that allow moving the bolt hole for the lower bolt downward without changing the actual spring and shock geometry.

The other right off the bat mods for the rear suspension would be to add the second sway bar mod....which is very easy bolt on. So keep your eyes open at junkyards for a spare swaybar.

You should look up BillK's mods. He did a great job working out a combination of the Audi strut cartridge mod AND the BMW spring. Ray
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

Ray, thanks for the information. Gave me things to think about.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:39 am    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

raygreenwood wrote:
I have no idea.

If you read my "how to" for the strut mod.....you can see that the really only way to know is ti take your original struts off the car.....and measure the extended length from spring pefch to spring perch.


I have a spare front end on the shelf at the moment, so I measured one of the struts, top of upper perch to bottom of lower perch, around

316mm

or 12 1/2"
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: New Bilstein front/rear shock absorbers available again! Reply with quote

937carrera wrote:
raygreenwood wrote:
I have no idea.

If you read my "how to" for the strut mod.....you can see that the really only way to know is ti take your original struts off the car.....and measure the extended length from spring pefch to spring perch.


I have a spare front end on the shelf at the moment, so I measured one of the struts, top of upper perch to bottom of lower perch, around

316mm

or 12 1/2"


Which strut?

Off the top of my head...there are three for sure and perhaps 4...configurations of strut from 1968 to 1974. the spring perch heights, springs and strut cartridges are different. Post a picture and I can tell you what you have. Ray
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