[s-cars] Fw: Suspension Problems in 94 S4

Stott Hare stott at gwi.net
Thu Jun 26 22:33:11 PDT 2008

Do bear in mind that if you do re-valve your Bilsteins, that voids their
warranty - so you will definitely want to do everything to extend the
possible life expectancy (drilling a drainage hole etc).  Lister experience
says you'll improve the feel and handling with a revalving, but it's a one
shot deal.


-----Original Message-----
From: s-car-list-bounces at audifans.com
[mailto:s-car-list-bounces at audifans.com] On Behalf Of Rich Assarabowski
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:26 PM
To: Sean Douglas; s-car-list at audifans.com
Subject: Re: [s-cars] Fw: Suspension Problems in 94 S4


Bilstein struts are prone to early failure in these cars.  If you've
eliminated all other sources of clunking it could very well be a defective
strut, as it was in my case.   The check is very simple -- follow the
procedure in Bentley for removing the strut.  This is done with the car on
the ground, you remove the strut mount and and allow the strut to extend. 
There's no need to remove the strut from the housing, that's as far as you
need to go.  At this point it's just the car weight keeping the spring
compressed, so you don't lift the car!   Move the strut laterally and if
there's any play in it (this will create the clunk which you'll hear very
clearly), you have a defective strut.  To align the strut back into position
you can raise the car SLIGHTLY to take the load off the suspension, but not
enought for the spring to extend and pop out.
The good news is the Bilsteins have a lifetime warranty.   Zygmunt Motors
who I bought the struts from replaced them with no hassle.  I took the
opportunity to send the new struts to Bilstein for revalving (I kept the
compresssion the same, increased rebound by 40%).  The difference with the
H&R V8 springs was very noticeable, the ride actually improved a lot (less
pounding on bad roads) and the car felt tighter.
If you end up pullling the struts and putting in new ones, I would follow a
recent recommendation on this list to drill a hole in the low point of the
housing for drainage.   There's some suspicion that the housings may be
filling up with oil and blocking a vent hole in the strut bottom, apparently
they're designed to be open. 
-- Rich A.
    ex-'93 S4
    ex-'92 S4
    '08 Mazda MS3
    '99 Miata (CS autocross)
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