Bilstein B4 shock unbearably stiff

Delasangre

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2023
Location
Oregon City, OR
TDI
2011 Jetta Sportwagon
A few thousand miles ago I replaced all the shocks with Bilstein B4 shocks. The previous owner had put the wrong springs in the rear so the rear was sagging about an inch and a half. So I bought a new springs from the dealership and did all four shocks. But ever since the ride is just rock solid, I feel every little bump and it just bounces over everything. I really feel like this car should have been a little more plush. I'm not expecting a luxury car but god this is horrible. Did I pick the wrong shocks or is something going on here?
 

mikerob97

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2002
Location
Cary, NC
TDI
2014 Jetta Sportwagen
Interesting. The B4s are supposed to be a mild upgrade from the stock Sachs shocks. A am running B4s with VW Golf R springs. To me the ride is firm, but not nearly what I would consider harsh. Just wondering if something could be binding? What springs are you running in the front and rear?
 

Delasangre

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2023
Location
Oregon City, OR
TDI
2011 Jetta Sportwagon
Interesting. The B4s are supposed to be a mild upgrade from the stock Sachs shocks. A am running B4s with VW Golf R springs. To me the ride is firm, but not nearly what I would consider harsh. Just wondering if something could be binding? What springs are you running in the front and rear?
The front springs I took off the factory front shocks, and the rear springs I bought from the dealership based on my VIN number.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
My son's 2011 JSW has new B4s on the rear and the original shocks on the front. It rides really well. Either something is amiss with the install or the B4s are defective. But the odds of 4 being defective are pretty low. I'd review the install procedure and make sure nothing was done incorrectly or not parts (rear buffers, for example) were left out.
 

Delasangre

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2023
Location
Oregon City, OR
TDI
2011 Jetta Sportwagon
My son's 2011 JSW has new B4s on the rear and the original shocks on the front. It rides really well. Either something is amiss with the install or the B4s are defective. But the odds of 4 being defective are pretty low. I'd review the install procedure and make sure nothing was done incorrectly or not parts (rear buffers, for example) were left out.
Hmm, I did the install myself and I changed all the bumpers and mounts to new with new hardware. Maybe the roads are just worse than I already think they are.
 

pro51492

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Location
Hustisford, WI
TDI
2012 Sportwagen TDI 6sp
I have the B4s on mine with Tiguan rear springs and they are definitely firm. I have about 40k on them now and have gotten used to it. Are you running stock wheel and tire set up?
 

Delasangre

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2023
Location
Oregon City, OR
TDI
2011 Jetta Sportwagon
I have the B4s on mine with Tiguan rear springs and they are definitely firm. I have about 40k on them now and have gotten used to it. Are you running stock wheel and tire set up?
Yep. Stock 17s and I put Michelin Cross Climate 2s on it in the stock size.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Any new shocks are going to feel firm compared to old, weak/blown out ones. The new springs in the back are probably also contributing. Throw a couple sandbags in the back if it really bothers you.
 

ksing44

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Location
Southeast PA
TDI
2010 Golf TDI
@Delasangre, those new parts look great under your car! I also have B4s on my 2010 Golf TDI. They are definitely stiffer than the stock shocks I had replaced. I run slightly oversized tires, 235/45/17, that would rub the plastic fender liners on dips with the OEM shocks. The rub went away completely when I switched to the B4s. But with my larger tires I also run a lower inflation pressure, 32 psi. The slightly taller sidewall and the slightly lower inflation pressure help to soften the ride for me.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Keep in mind a Golf weighs some 300 lbs. less than a JSW. The B4 that fits is the same for both cars. So the Wagen is going to have a softer ride than the Golf with the B4s.

Also, as ksing44 mentions, check your tire pressures. I believe the recommended pressure on the JSW is 38 front and rear. See if that makes a difference.
 
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borninabus

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Location
Arizona
TDI
-2013 JSW 6MT- -2006 Jetta DSG-
the B4s on the front of my car also suck big ol' donkey dongs.

i made sure i "did everything right" when i installed them: new bushings, alignment, etc., but was immediately displeased. they are the worst over small sharp bumps like concrete seams, expansion joints and those little raised reflectors in the road. it's a known thing. i've seen it mentioned here and in another VW forum. they are--apparently--just a **** product, unfortunately. i keep the front tires @ 32psi to try and make them more tolerable.

if it wasn't so much work, i'd have installed the konis that are collecting dust in my garage a long time ago.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Interesting. I'm quite pleased with the B4s I installed on my Golf along with Vogtland springs. They are firmer than the blown out shocks/struts and broken springs that I replaced, but I like that.
 

borninabus

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Location
Arizona
TDI
-2013 JSW 6MT- -2006 Jetta DSG-
Interesting. I'm quite pleased with the B4s I installed on my Golf along with Vogtland springs. They are firmer than the blown out shocks/struts and broken springs that I replaced, but I like that.
yeah, i used VW Driver Gear (eibach) springs. i guess it could just be a bad combo.
maybe i shouldn't be so quick to throw the bilsteins under the bus.....

i have no problems with the overall ride other than the incredibly harsh way it responds to sharp bumps.
 
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