[200q20v] Re: Suspension set up

Dean Benz dbenz at usa.net
Thu Nov 20 15:09:11 EST 2003

OK, Bernie, my dad, has dragged me out of the shadows. My Lurking days are

He and I don't always agree, but get into some very interesting discussions.

I do track my cars ('99 A4 1.8TQMS, and '87 5K TQ) and drive perhaps a bit
more aggressively than the old man.

I am a Quattro Club driving instructor, so I know enough to be dangerous, but
still have plenty to learn about driving, and car handling/setup.

Comments below.

> Date: Mon, 09 Jul 2001 14:14:23 -0800
> From: Bernie Benz <b.m.benz at prodigy.net>
> Hi Chris,
> Response to your Qs below, but I'll take the liberty to copy the list also,
> inasmuch as I don't track my car, and some think that my opinions are
> contrarian.  (Who, me?)
> Bernie
> > From: "Chris Alber" <Calber at TheSycamoreGroup.com>
> > Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 15:27:50 -0400
> > 
> > Hi Bernie,
> > I have a 1989 200Q.  I purchased this from a person who set up the
> > suspension as follows:
> > 
> > Konis all set at the firmest setting
> IMO, unless these Konis are very old and worn, the firmest setting is way
> beyond critical damping for this spring/mass system, and will really slow
> down the rebound recovery.  Critical damping, the optimum, will return the
> suspension to static position in the shortest time without overshoot.  I'd
> start by setting the adjustment just 1 turn firmer than wide open, and
> increment a half turn at a time from there, if necessary.

First, he is right about firmest setting probably being way to high for the
stock springs. He may have oversimplified it a little in relation to
adjustment. His method should produce good results from a ride comfort
perspective. If you are concerned about more than ride comfort, and want to
work with cornering issues as well, there is a very good article on the
Grassroots Motorsports web site that has a ton of shock information, including
an alternate adjustment procedure that is more focused on cornering
performance. http://www.grassrootsmotorsports.com In Tech Topics, Shocks.

> > Stock springs with spacers removed or replaced with shorter spacers, not
> > sure
> The front suspension upper spring perch uses a rubber damper ring,
> in 3 thicknesses, 3/8, 5/8, and 3/4", intended for equalizing ride height,
> side to side.  No adjustment on the rear.
> > 16x8 ( I think) A8 rims, the ones that came on the 98 or 99 modes, five
> > spoke
> > Dunlop SP5000 205/55/16 Zrated.  rubbing a little on left rear since I
> > replaced the p7000 50 series, seems to have less clearance on the left
> > than the right rear, is this normal?
> Check Cris Miller's web page on this.  Quite a bit has been written about
> the rear wheel well liners having a "kink" in the plastic that can be
> removed with a heat gun.
> > 
> > I think the car could be better for instance I had a 85 4000Q with Boge
> > and Eibachs with Bridgestone re930 on stock, I think 14" wheels, that car
> > felt so much better, pure driving pleasure..
> > 
> > The car I drive now is too firm, wallows over  one sided bumps in the
> > I feel it has more potential...
> Apparently a common problem with larger wheels and wider tires, which
> aggravate loose/worn suspension components and poor alignment.

Your shock settings are the major culprit, but...

Larger wheels etc. are not a problem, the problem is pesky old Physics! Your
tires are the very first suspension component on your car that road changes
act on/through. Larger rims and higher tire speed ratings mean stiffer
sidewalls, so more energy is transfered to the rest of the suspension and then
the chassis, and ultimately to your back side! On a track, this may be a good
thing, driving down urban potholed streets, maybe not! Wider tires have more
contact area, and for the most part, therefore, more traction. If your
alignment is not right on, you will notice you would with a thinner tire. The
wider tires will also tend to "hunt" more across pavement changes because of
this additional traction. All of this is exacerbated by the poor excuse most
shops call an alignment. Most alignment shops just get "close enough" to get
the machine's green light to turn on, they don't actually align your car to
the exact specification, or even bother to make the two sides equal. Don't
believe me, ask for a printout from the alignment machine next time. Again,
this is not the tire's or wheel's fault!

Physics is full of trade offs. Suspension engineers do incredible things, but
you can't have a car that drives like it is on rails on the track, or twisty
mountain roads that also rides like "your father's Oldsmobile" on the city
streets and highways.

Active, computer controlled suspensions may make that last statement false in
the future, but don't hold your breath!

> > 
> > I am looking for a better set up and any input would be appreciated..
> > Probably buying your strut bar too
> > 
> > Oh, my driving habits, I have never been on the track, might go someday,
> > I enjoy curvy roads and the occasional exhilarating ride.  I love the car
> > but I feel there is better handling to receive from it...  It is a daily
> > driver that I feel could handle better....

Getting the shocks set right will help a lot!
> > 
> > Regards,
> >> Chris Alber
> >> Senior Solutions Analyst
> >> The Sycamore Group
> >> (office) 215-283-9958 x249
> >> (mobile)  215-280-4344
> >> calber at thesycamoregroup.com

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