[200q20v] Lowering Springs?

Linus Toy linust at mindspring.com
Sun Apr 29 16:55:08 EDT 2001

At 09:43 AM 4/29/2001 -0400, TM wrote:
>Another post from Taka...
>Can you relate your experiences with H&R lowering springs
>on a type 44?
>I am debating whether or not to do it in conjunction with
>Bilstein Sport shocks. How did the handling improve/worsen
>with the springs?
>How much of a decrease in ride height did you see with the
>springs? I think Chris Miller's site mentions only something
>like a 0.75" drop, just trying to solicit additional info.

I put this combo on my car a couple years ago...one difference for me, vs 
the typical H&R install, is that I used the H&R spring intended for the 
V8.  The V8, naturally, is a heavier car than the 200q, and the expected 
result was slightly less drop than with the 200q20v springs or than the V8 
springs on the V8.  Did I get what I expected?  Yes.  H&R claims 1.2 to 1.3 
inches of drop for the "correct" V8 and 200q installations.  Add back about 
0.25" to 0.5" due to the Bilsteins, and you have somewhere around 0.75" to 
1.0" net drop.  I didn't want even that much, though.  My net result was 
about 0.5" drop up front and .625" drop in the rear, measured from wheel 
cap center to the top of the wheel-arches.

Subjective results:  I love the handling :) and find the ride 
acceptable.  My wife hates the ride.  (her comparison points include her 
RWD Volvo turbo wagon which she loves and my folk's '92 Audi 100s FWD which 
she likes even more; her complaints may also be with the much higher 
steering effort level required to work the car).  Oh well.  The ride is 
definitely firmer--even harsh depending on what types of bumps you 
hit.  Sharp inputs, and the compression damping is too aggressive up 
front.  Low frequency/long pitch waves, and the rear rebound damping is too 
mild.  Remember that I have a mismatched spring to this car, though.

>One lister has strongly recommended against the lowering
>springs on the type 44, as it makes the car into an understeering
>pig. Has this been your experience as well?

The issue isn't so much lowering the type 44 makes it understeer, but 
lowering any car with a MacPherson strut front suspension can quickly 
destroy the suspension's geometry.  Two distinct but related issues include 
changing the car's position on the camber curve for your new "normal" ride 
height and introducing (exacerbating) bump-steer.  The latter could be 
easily fixed by raising the steering rack as much as you lower the 
car--alas, this simple fix doesn't work on our cars.  Too low, and you may 
not be able to achieve stock camber settings--OK for the track, but 
problems on the street.

Brett mentioned someone complaining about "setting" the car in a 
corner.  That may well have been me.  I installed this spring/shock 
combination on my car almost three years ago.  At the time, I had only the 
stock 15" BBS rims, shod with Dunlop D60A2 tires.  The problem with this 
setup was that I now had the tires working much harder than before, as they 
were the weak link in the system (too small, too much sidewall flex, too 
tall a sidewall).  As a result, unless you drove the car aggressively, the 
car would not set in a corner, and the constant fighting back and forth 
between the springs and tires made the car seem nervous.  Within a year, I 
had 17x8" BBS RX rims shod with Dunlop SP8000 (235/45-17).  This brought 
back a balance between the tires and springs, and the nervousness in 
cornering disappeared (but now you have to contend with grooves in the 
pavement and even more tramlining than before).

FWIW, I wrote a short article about this (doing the suspension before 
bigger tires) in the NWRAQC's newsletter last year.  see here >> 
http://www.nwquattroclub.org/newsletters/archive/spring2k/archive.asp  The 
formatting is awful, but you should be able to figure out what I was saying :)

Finally, Larry Leung mentioned a 200q 10v--just remember that your car is 
even lighter than the 20v cars, and a significant part of that is in a few 
chassis/suspension point reinforcements.  You won't be able to make direct 
comparisons with a 20v car.

*  Linus Toy                      Insanity is doing the same thing   *
*  Mercer Island, WA              you've always done and expecting   *
*  linust at mindspring.com          different results                  *
*                                      - Roger Milliken              *

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