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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

Last spring I replaced the struts and mounts on my wife's 2009 Beetle. The struts were blown from living in the city, awful roads, and creeping up on 100k. I installed a set of Bilstein Touring struts with brand new OEM VW mounts front and rear. The ride has not been what we would have expected. It's fairly firm and not a soft easy ride we were used to when the car was newer. I have also replaced the control arms, bushings, ball joints, sway bar links, rear beam bushings. Everything is new but the ride sucks. Does anyone know of a good smooth riding strut? I heard some say the Koni FSD is very good? What else is out there?

Thanks
 

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Ride quality, can be a very personal thing and finding, what you like could be a challenge. Looking, at the various parts places online; they are listing they are listing the Bilstein Touring Shocks & Struts as a replacement, for the original VW/OE "sport suspension" replacement, so they might be a bit firmer, then the originals. Did you like the stock shocks/strut; ride, quality? IF that is the case; you could probably, get the oem Sachs struts and shocks, to restore the stock ride. You could look up the original part numbers; for the original struts/shocks and cross reference those with the Sachs, to get the same part but just less expensive, then from getting genuine vw parts. Beyond, the stock struts/shocks; the German brand shocks/struts; will probably, tend to get into the firmer type ride and perform, more on the sport performance end of the ride spectrum. Maybe, others, can chime in; on which shocks/struts, they have found that they like? Again, the only problem is; their suspension preference, may not match yours. The stock ride, if that is what you like; can probably, be affordably be replicated, by getting oem Sachs, (check FCP Euro; lifetime warranty, ).
 

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I just installed Sachs struts and shocks on my 07 Volvo, they are definitely on the soft side. Comfortable ride.
We bought an 02 Beetle new, I remember the ride was fairly soft with the OE suspension.

I was considering getting the Bilstein Touring, glad I didn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello everyone,

I have not yet installed replacement shocks. It isn't super high on the priority list as we are in the middle of a complete home renovation and are just on the home stretch of the kitchen. I also want to make sure we buy something that will make a difference. These shocks are harsh. Its a bang sound over rough roads are bumps where my MKV GTI on its original suspension is much softer. Its been so long now but I am pretty sure before it was obvious that the factory suspension on the Beetle was blown the ride was quite comfortable. I am not sure what to do yet. Sachs, Pay for OEM, Buy adjustable damping Koni FSD, Buy CXRacing coilovers like I have on my Corrado and a friend has on his MK6.

Questions, Questions, Questions, Debate, Debate, Debate..... This is how I live
 

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Old post, but FWIW, I refreshed the front end on my 03' Jetta TDI from stock struts and shocks to Bilstein B4's. Ride became horrible. Washboard freeways (high frequency roughness) was jarring, kind of felt like the tires were not maintaining contact with the road, yet on dips/low frequency irregularities the car would bottom out easily. Lived with it for a month and then bought Mexico made Sachs struts and shocks. World of difference, much softer ride, but also no longer bottomed out.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when I bought an 01' NB 5spd, previous owner put on Bilstein B4's. The whole ride home I was reminded why I hate those Bilsteins. Car bottoms out so easily on freeway dips. Have a new set of Sachs struts to put on once I get a free weekend.
 

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Update on the Beetle. Swapped the struts out last weekend for the Mexico made Sachs. The Bilstein B4's that came out looked in good condition and still extended by themselves when unsprung, and both at the same rate. So their quality/longevity is good. I think the previous owner said he put them in 100K miles ago.

The ride now with the Sachs is definitely softer HOWEVER I am no longer bottoming out on freeway dips at high speed. Again, an exact repeat experience of how my Jetta felt with the new B4's I installed for 1 month, and then replacing them with Sachs. My Jetta with the B4's was harsh on washboard / poor road conditions and on gentle dips at high speed, would bottom easily. I don't get why people like the B4's for the Mk4.
 

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Interesting update; it seems odd a touring type shock like Bilstein would bottom out like you experienced. Reading reviews online, you can get pos/neg feedback on Sachs and Bilstein, i guess one has to experience them for yourself and decide what you like. Did you figure out if your vw had the sport suspension? My Turbo S does and it is definitely firmer (a bit lower); then, other New Beetles, Jetta's and Golfs i have driven. Thanks fir the followup, feedback on the b4's and i'm glad you finally found a good solution you like with the oem Sachs solution.


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Interesting update; it seems odd a sport type shock like Bilstein would bottom out like you experienced.
Really odd. I don't know how one would valve a strut to do that. It was stiff for high frequency roughness but not low. I still have the brand new (1 month old) Bilstein B4's in the shed from the time I tried the on the Jetta.

Regarding the sport suspension, I'm not sure except some folks over on TDIClub mentioned they all did.
 

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You can look them up on the vw catalog and then the sachs, bilstein catalog. I did that on my turbo s and cross referenced the oem part numbers and they always seem to be Sachs as the oem supplier for VW. Researching online i have seen Sachs being complained about; people preferring Bilstein,, then visa versa but Bilstein, seems ti have positive reviews but many seem to be looking for a firmer sporty ride, over their stock soft type. I guess you can find reviews that are negative or positive about anything these days, LOL! Makes choosing things like shocks and suspension upgrades a challenge! ;) i guess each choice has its tradeoffs?


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You can look them up on the vw catalog and then the sachs, bilstein catalog. I did that on my turbo s and cross referenced the oem part numbers and they always seem to be Sachs as the oem supplier for VW. Researching online i have seen Sachs being complained about; people preferring Bilstein,, then visa versa but Bilstein, seems ti have positive reviews but many seem to be looking for a firmer sporty ride, over their stock soft type. I guess you can find reviews that are negative or positive about anything these days, LOL! Makes choosing things like shocks and suspension upgrades a challenge! ;)


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The Bilsteins are definitely firmer, except on freeways with dips. I spend most of my time on the freeway, and they're always doing construction. 4-5 miles of my journey is on a section of freeway that's like a washboard. The Bilsteins were way too harsh on that. The high speed sections on the way to work have some dips. They're really not that bad, which is surprising that the Bilsteins would bottom out. The Sachs don't but the ride overall is definitely softer.

My eGolf - the factory suspension handles everything above VERY well. Stiff enough, doesn't bottom out, very stable. I'm sure the car being quite heavy helps smooth out the ride.
 

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Update: After almost a year with the Sachs struts, I got tired of them being a little too soft. A few dips on the freeway on my commute, at high speed the beetle with porpoise a bit. So the car is a little under damped with the Sach. Splurged and bought a set of Koni Red Special Active struts and put them on. Definitely firmer and during the test drives, the dips that I could find were better damped. Next time I commute to work will be the real test on those two large dips.

The washboard section of freeway near my house I can feel again with the Konis versus with the Sachs. Still better controlled than the Bilsteins though - those B4 struts it felt like a stone skipping across a lake when thrown. Horrible ride.

BTW, when I took the Sachs struts out, I found both strut bearings were cracked and had to replace them. They were new when I did the struts last year - Sachs brand bearings. Don't know why they cracked.
 

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So, I guess, it sounds like the Koni Red Active struts; are a compromise or a spec up beyond oe, between the Sachs and Bilsteins? I guess, your B4's; were considered, a direct replacement of the original factory fitted shocks. The Koni Red Active struts; are actually a different type of shock/strut; compared to a factory oem solution?


Another thing, on the strut bearings; they do seem to wear out eventually, you might make sure you get oem bearings, which I believe were probably supplied by INA/F.A.G.

Another thing, is to replaced the shock/strut mounts; some, have said the front strut bushings tend to compress and buying the aftermarket stiffer, poly version make a difference, don't seem to degrade like the stock rubber versions do.

 

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So, I guess, it sounds like the Koni Red Active struts; are a compromise or a spec up beyond oe, between the Sachs and Bilsteins? I guess, your B4's; were considered, a direct replacement of the original factory fitted shocks. The Koni Red Active struts; are actually a different type of shock/strut; compared to a factory oem solution?
Not sure where the Koni Special Actives fall into, and I sure hope the B4 BIlsteins were not original equipment as their ride is poor. No low frequency damping, all high frequency. The Koni reds are opposite.

Took a 140 mile round trip today, all freeway and a lot of it was crappy. Car was very controlled and no longer porpoises on large dips. Comfortable and yet well behaved. I like them!

Another thing, is to replaced the shock/strut mounts; some, have said the front strut bushings tend to compress and buying the aftermarket stiffer, poly version make a difference, don't seem to degrade like the stock rubber versions do.
I already have the PowerFlex bushings. Steering response is better, there's no sag so a little more ground clearance, and I don't feel they make the ride harsh. You'll see my review on Amazon when you sorty by 'most recent'
 

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Good on the Polyflex mounts; another positive recommendation on them! I will be doing my struts/shocks soon and some front end work as well.


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