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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old December 9th, 2013, 08:33   #1
Stealth TDI
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Default B3 Spring on Mk3 Idea...

Hello,

I recently purchased a new suspension system consisting of KONI STR-T shocks and H&R OE Sport springs. The vendor had the springs drop-shipped directly from H&R. The box was properly labeled. However, it wasn't until after the springs were installed that I discovered the box contained the wrong parts. The rear height is ~2-inches below stock. The front looked how I expected. So I figured I had OE Sports in the front and Sports in the rear.

Being the weekend with no real way to contact H&R or my vendor, I decided to research the part numbers that are stamped on the springs. If my research is correct, it appears I received Sport springs (not OE Sport) for a 93 Passat GLX for the front and Sport springs for an 8V Mk3 for the rear. The ride is significantly smoother than the autocross setup I removed although the car has a serious case of reverse rake at the moment.

A side of me doesn't want to replace the front springs because I've already aligned the car. I've read about people using B4 Passat springs to lift their Mk3's. The "shorter" Passat Sport springs in front have left my ride height right where I like it at ~1.1" below stock. The rears are definitely coming out. But, given the relatively soft ride I'm getting with Sport springs, I'm inclined to think the OE Sports will ride a bit softer than I want. I'm thinking about just having H&R send me the rear Sport springs for the Passat.

Is that a terrible idea? Obviously, factory Passat springs would lift the car. But it seems H&R Sport springs, designed to lower a Passat 1.5", will put my Jetta right where I want it... about an inch below stock. Does anyone with knowledge of this kind of swap know if this is going to work or is an inherently unsafe or bad idea? Remember: My car is not a "moar low" car. Being a daily driver, I need it to tow, haul heavy loads and handle crappy roads. I appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks,

Scott
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Old December 9th, 2013, 10:04   #2
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if you want to tow I would not lower the car...
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Old December 9th, 2013, 11:29   #3
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Agreed! Right now, I can't even have a passenger in the rear seat without crazy exhaust rattle. My hope is that the Passat Sports are taller than the Jetta Sports or (even better) as tall as Jetta OE Sports. I don't like the car at 1.5-2.0 inches below stock. One inch is good!
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Old December 9th, 2013, 15:14   #4
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Okay.

I've been able to follow-up with H&R. It turns out this discussion is moot! They say the springs are correct. That means the front is riding 0.75" lower than advertised and the rear is 1.5" lower than advertised. That leaves me with figuring out how to lift the rear of the car approximately one inch.

Right now, a friend has the idea of making sleeves to lift the spring perches. I'm going to take some measurements with a full tank of fuel and the cargo rack mounted to ensure I choose the correct height adjustment. Hopefully, I'll have this done next week. I'll post before and after photos.

Scott
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Old December 9th, 2013, 20:57   #5
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Some Mk3 rear Koni struts have two grooves for the snap ring for the lower spring perch. Usually defaulted at the lowest one. It will raise the ride height maybe half inch.

That's the case on the Koni Reds, at least.

If you want my opinion, go with Neuspeed Sofsports or the proper H&R OE Sport springs (which it does NOT sound like you have to me) and better dampers. I'm not a fan of STR.Ts. Not very firm to begin with and they don't seem to last. I installed a set for a customer in September 2012. I had the chance to drive the car exactly a year after I did the work and there's not a whole lot of dampening going on.

You're better off using stock springs with firm struts like Bilstein HDs or Koni Reds and Yellows adjusted to be on the firm side of things than you are with the STR.Ts or other similarly mushy dampers with lowering springs as far as ride and handling are concerned.

Although it certainly is nice to have an extra load rear spring for the purposes of carrying heavy loads. I did this with my B4, Rock Auto has some Boge extra load rear springs for it and I paired them with Bilstein HDs and couldn't be happier with the results.

On my Mk3, I put Koni Sport springs on it, which lower the car just over an inch. Paired with Koni reds, I had the struts adjusted full soft, as instructed by Koni, when I first had them on the car. Within a couple weeks it felt like I was driving on 4 bad struts, coupled with lowering springs it was a harrowing drive. The car could come up on a dip and slam back down, bottom out on the skidplate on the freeway doing 70+.

I took the struts back off the car and adjusted them to full hard, then backed off one full turn (full soft to full firm is just over 2 turns, so it's slightly on the firm side of the exact middle) and couldn't be happier with how it rides now. Almost counter-intuitively, firmer dampers make the ride feel less harsh in certain situations and far more controlled.

So I've begun to advise my customers to forget about changing the springs and just put quality, firm dampers on there. My 3 favorite go-tos are Bilstein HDs, Koni Red or Yellow. I like how the Bilstein HDs in particular are constructed. I've also driven a couple cars where the Bilsteins had been installed for over 100,000 miles, and they still drove as if they had only 1,000 miles on them. Color me impressed. Plus, you just put them on and go, no fiddling with any adjustments as there aren't any.

Stock ride height, relatively soft springs with Bilstein HDs means those residential roads with the 15 MPH "speed humps" can be taken at 30 MPH and feel completely controlled and undramatic. It's hugely impressive and a lot of fun for a daily driver. Also feels very controlled while cornering hard (I've personally tested this on many less-travelled canyon roads in my region )
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Old December 9th, 2013, 21:09   #6
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Here's a thought:

SP0429 part number on Rock Auto, heavy duty rear springs for Mk2 and Mk3 Jettas and Euro Ventos. Monroe springs.

There's also a Boge heavy duty spring for the same application: 257470.

Though the note says only for Great Britain and Ireland. Whatever.

You can then maybe find some stock springs that are firmer than your stock Mk3 versions. The stock front springs on the B4 Passat are on the firmer side of things according to the paint markings I've seen. Corresponds with the ~170 lbs/in rating IIRC. Same spring is offered as one of the stiffer springs on the mk4s as well.

Those springs combined with good, firm struts will make for a fantastic to drive vehicle
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Old December 10th, 2013, 02:39   #7
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Thanks for your input, Matt!

My time on the phone with H&R indicates that I do have the proper OE Sport Springs. He took the part numbers I copied from the springs and compared them to what's supposed to be in the package to confirm. He then assured me that they've been selling that particular package for a long time. I admit that I'm still a tad skeptical. But the ride is compliant enough that I believe I have the right stuff. If it's wrong, I'm still happy with the ride (which is why I thought I could live with "Passat" springs). I just need to adjust the ride height. I think the new sleeves will work great and get me dialed to exactly what I want. Buying another set of springs will just get me to another unknown until they're installed (and possible too tall). Right now, I have my measurements and just need to install a known value (sleeve).

I, too, wonder how long the KONIs will last. My KONI coilovers were shot in less than 50k. I'm hoping my softer springs will be easier on these shocks. If I wear them out soon, I'll go back to Bilsteins or try KONI Reds. My first set of Bilstein HD's with Shine Springs lasted 172,000 miles, even with autocrossing! Even with oil leaking everywhere, they still worked better than my KONI coilovers which had no signs of leaking. My recent set of Bilsteins did not last. I'm inclined to believe they just weren't valved or made to ride with 430#/340# springs. They'd probably be right in their comfort zone with these softer springs. I'm not sure if I should stick with the HDs or try the Sports which are reportedly valved the same but with shorter bodies for lowered cars. I hope to have plenty of time to make that decision.

BTW, the perch height on these KONI's is the same as on the Bilstein HD's: 30-cm from the lower mounting hole to the perch. So I'd have this same ride height discrepancy regardless of my shock choice. It's perplexing; but fixable.

Thanks Again,

Scott
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Old December 10th, 2013, 04:25   #8
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I used conduit couples choped in half and ground down a touch and clamped them on with exhasust clamps on my mk2 to lift it slightly it worked great unfortunately I deleted the pics I had of it.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 17:31   #9
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Hello,

I contacted a fellow Mk3 owner who has the same kit and rides at the correct height. He verified that I have the correct springs. WEIRD. H&R says the springs are identical to the Sport kit; but the additional height is created with bump stops. I can't fathom that. The rear was settled at 12.0" (hub to fender). I wanted it at 13.25" to mimic the advertised height (which is actually close to Shine). So I had some sleeves made up to lift the rear perches. They are 32mm tall, which lifts the rear end to ~0.75" below stock. This is a good height for carrying stuff in the trunk or on my cargo rack. It's a better height for towing, too.

Here's the car, now sitting ~0.9"(F)/0.75"(R) below stock:


For reference, here's a Jetta TDI near stock ride height:


The ride is nice, firmer than stock, but much softer than the race springs I was using. So far, I'm a happy driver! Time will tell if the ride settles an 1/8" or so.

Scott
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Last edited by Stealth TDI; December 20th, 2013 at 05:02.
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