Volkswagen Passat Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, first-off yes I have searched. My 2003 Wagon has 120,000 miles on it and the struts need to be replaced. I've pretty much settled on Bilstein's for the struts so that's taken care of. But unfortunately in my search results most of the threads are quite old. In one of those old results I saw where someone recommended using an older B5 vin when searching to replace the upper perches to lower the ride height a tad. Is that accurate? I only ask this because lowering the front a smidge is on my wish list. I have lowered cars before in the past and while I have had good results I do not want to reduce the ride quality this time even though I love the way that these Passat Wagon's look when they are lowered. Let me say that again, I LOVE the way these cars look lowered but I really don't want to sacrifice any of the ride quality but I do want to solve the floating around issue, hence new struts. And yes, long post to say that if I can lower the front 0.25" or even more with new perches I'd be happier than a pig in $hit. :thumbup:
 

· PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,377 Posts
I personally haven't heard of the older perch thing, but I'm not an expert either.
I do know the early B5 models used a steel upper strut bracket then switched to an aluminum upper strut bracket which I know are interchangeable. I've replaced the steel ones my '98 with the aluminum ones a few years ago.
Your car should have the aluminum ones on it from factory. Bilstein makes a good strut.
The only way to get lower by any account is using a different spring or a strut that has a lower spring perch on it or is adjustable.
I personally had a set of Bilstein PSS9's installed on my 2004 GLX. That was an insane set-up. That car drove like it was bolted to rail.
When I sold that car, the guy didn't want to pay extra for that suspension so I gave him Koni struts (Koni yellows all adjustable) and HR spring lowering kit set-up and installed that. I have to admit, for the price point of the Koni's and HR springs, that car handled better than I expected it would. Quite a bit better I must add.
The HR springs lowered the car about 2" all the way around.
 

· Moderator/Administrator
Joined
·
26,115 Posts
Even if the ride height gets lowered a "tad" by using the other spring perches, it would barely be noticeable and not worth the investment, imo. You can try a set of H&R OE Sports for a "tad" bit of lowering, but they don't offer it for wagons iirc. You'd have to dial in the rear somehow as it is heavier than the sedan back there. The front springs are the same between sedan and wagon. I have a mixed set up on mine because I could not find what I needed. I actually used a now defunct company (Shine Racing Service) spring in the front and sedan stock rear with Bilstein HD. Handles good, but needs work.

I used to have Neuspeed sports on, but was too low for my commute. Also, ride quality took a hit. Land vehicle Vehicle Car Transport Mode of transport
 

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replys. I can see where my post might have been misconstrued a little bit. I wasn't saying or hoping the car would be lowered simply by struts - I know the ride height is dictated by the springs although I was slightly hopefull that the different spring perches would lower the front of the car a tiny bit. But that does bring me to my next question since both of you guys above have chimed in:

On my previous mk4 Jetta's the ride quality actually increased when I installed Tein H-tech springs over stock. Especially on my first mk4 - I think the springs I replaced were taller than stock somehow...it was pretty crazy. But my first mk4 Jetta rode pretty rough when I first got it and when I replaced the springs with the H-tech springs it rode smoother. My second mk4 Jetta rode about the same (stock-to-lowered) but of course looked a lot better lowered. So that brings me to the spring question of ride quality. If I do go with lowering springs (Eibach Pro-Kit's are what I used on my last Jetta) how much of a hit am I going to take on ride quality? To me the Jetta's I've owned rode a lot rougher in stock form than my Passat and I won't lower the car if the ride is instantly going to go to $hit if I lower it a little bit. Specifically
- I have been looking at the H&R's too because they lower the front more than the rear (the Eibach's lower the same all the way around) from stock which would/should make it look level instead of the front being higher than the rear in stock form. How were the H&R's and Koni's ride quality compared to stock? Immediately massively rougher or just slightly rougher with better handling? I think you guys can see where I'm going with this. I don't/won't go the coilover route because it will sacrifice ride quality too much but I would/could possibly swap out the springs at the same time I change the struts if the nice ride quality won't immediately tank.
 

· PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,377 Posts
I don't know if I'm the guy to ask about ride quality, cause I like to feel every pebble on the road. Funny, as I have increased in age my desire for a better quality ride hasn't arisen yet, like most people said it would.
Anyways...
I'll do the best I can.

Some aftermarket springs may indeed be taller or longer than the stock springs. The reason they do this (this applies to other sport or lowering springs also) is because a few of the coils at that top or bottom of the spring have a different spring rate (amount of force to compress the spring) at the ends versus the middle. The ends of the spring will actually collapse almost entirely onto themselves because the spring rate is less than that of the center section. This gives a sportier feel while retaining much of the ride quality found in the stock spring. This is also what supplies the amount of drop on the car when all the weight of the car is applied.

There is a balance of spring rate and strut performance to give you what you need. You can keep an original stock spring in and put in a fully adjustable strut. The stock spring will give ride quality all day long, but turn the valve on an adjustable strut (like the Koni's) and it'll rattle your teeth when you go over a set of railroad tracks. Just as an example.

So with that being said.

Compared to the stock springs and H&R OE Sport springs VAGguy mentions, which incidentally were the exact springs I installed in my 2004 GLX when I sold it, the ride quality was about the same as stock. Along with those springs I used the Koni 'Yellows' struts.
Fully adjustable struts. After a couple of days of messing around with the strut valve adjustments, I was able to get a fairly good ride simular to stock going down the road straight, but definitely more firm going through the corners.

The valving inside the strut has a lot to do with how it responds. Minor ups and downs are not really affected by the strut. When there is a significant amount of travel on the strut then the strut will react differently. Most better quality or performance struts have this feature designed into them. Getting an adjustable strut allows even more fine tuning of this affect, but also allows extreme adjustment capabilities between soft up to very firm, almost to the point where it feels like no suspension is present.

Personally, I would recommend the H&R OE Sport springs and the Koni 'Yellows' struts to anyone that doesn't want to spend the money on a set coil overs.
The two brands compliment each other very well and where a very popular combination back a few years ago.
TireRack usually has the H&R OE Sport springs and they are usually the cheapest for around $200 for a complete set. (front and rear springs).
And again TireRack usually has the Koni 'Yellows' for around $180 per strut for the fronts and around $150 per strut for the rears. I know that's a fairly big price tag, but TireRack does sales on these things all the time where you can usually save around $40 per strut.
 

· PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
8,377 Posts
oh, and VAGguy has the correct spelling of the springs, which I changed in my last post to reflect that.
 

· PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
27,992 Posts
The early-vin B5 perch plate was an issue before Bilstein starting including perches on their shocks. On OEM shocks, the perches sat on 3 bulges sticking out from the shock body. Early-vin B5 had perch plates mounted higher on the shock body, but the plate itself was longer, resulting in the same overall height. Using low-vin plates on high-vin shocks resulted in a slight drop (10-12mm or so).

I have never seen H+R OE made for a wagon and they are not listed on their website. They only have the Sports, which drop at least 1.3"F, 1.25"R. On my B5 1.8T sedan and on a 03 V6 4Mo sedan, the drop was 2.25"F, 1.75"R or more. I don't know why the wagon springs drop less (or if they really do).

For a moderate drop, Eibachs are quite comfortable. For a minimal drop, VW 1BE springs are the best bet. They are much more expensive, but will drop the car .25" to .5" and provide better handling without worrying about ground clearance. They are also comfortable as they allow the suspension to move without bottoming out on the bump stops.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The early-vin B5 perch plate was an issue before Bilstein starting including perches on their shocks. On OEM shocks, the perches sat on 3 bulges sticking out from the shock body. Early-vin B5 had perch plates mounted higher on the shock body, but the plate itself was longer, resulting in the same overall height. Using low-vin plates on high-vin shocks resulted in a slight drop (10-12mm or so).

I have never seen H+R OE made for a wagon and they are not listed on their website. They only have the Sports, which drop at least 1.3"F, 1.25"R. On my B5 1.8T sedan and on a 03 V6 4Mo sedan, the drop was 2.25"F, 1.75"R or more. I don't know why the wagon springs drop less (or if they really do).

For a moderate drop, Eibachs are quite comfortable. For a minimal drop, VW 1BE springs are the best bet. They are much more expensive, but will drop the car .25" to .5" and provide better handling without worrying about ground clearance. They are also comfortable as they allow the suspension to move without bottoming out on the bump stops.
Thanks for chiming in. Since you mentionend the springs and one of them being a spring that I have used in the past (Eibach Pro-Kit) and also the H&R Sport springs - which did you prefer overall? I'm leaning toward the H&R's due to how much they lower the car and supposedly keep a decent portion of the ride quality. Like I mentioned earlier my choice lowering spring on my previous Jetta's is the Tein H-tech over the Eibach Pro-Kit but I can't find the Tein H-Tech's for the Passat Wagon V6. See, the thing is, the Jetta's with the GLI ground effects are much closer to the ground than our Wagon's are so the Jetta's I have owned scraped easier than I imagine the Passat to do. But I did like how the Eibach's lowerd the front of my Jetta's more than the rear.
 

· Moderator/Administrator
Joined
·
26,115 Posts
Welcome to the model with the least amount of aftermarket availability. Passat wagon FWD (I assume) .

I'll clarify on ride quality. It soaked up the bumps just fine, but due to being that low, it hit the bumpstops a lot. Even when I shortened them. It's stiffer, so it takes out some of that body roll and floaty-ness, but not like riding a buckboard. I've been through 4 suspension changes over the years.

1. Koni yellows and Neuspeed sports. 2-2.5" lower. Smooth, but did not allow for much suspension travel before hitting the bumpstops
2. Koni with stock springs. Same, but a little more body roll.
3. Bilstein HD with stock. Stiffer and more controlled. Still smooth until the really rough pavement starts.
4. Bilstein HD with Shine fronts and stock sedan rear. Best combo yet. Performed well on the Tail of the Dragon. Need a rear sway.
 

· PassatWorld Elder
Joined
·
27,992 Posts
On my sedan, the 1BE were the most comfortable followed by the Eibachs. The H+R Sports were less comfortable due to hitting the bump stops and they were even worse with the car loaded. On my 4Mo wagon, I am running H+R race from an A6Q as they are stiffer than any OEM style spring due to the weight of the A6Q. The ride is firm, but not harsh and no worse than my wife's MKIV Golf with a GTI suspension. I am running Konis but Bilsteins are also an excellent choice. I also ran sway bars on my sedan and currently have the 1BE rear bar with Hotchkis RS6 bars waiting to be installed (for the past year).

If you are doing the work yourself, start with just the shocks and see how like it. If you are paying for the install, do the shocks and Eibach springs all at once. Use the shorter bumpstops (or cut your's down).
 

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On my sedan, the 1BE were the most comfortable followed by the Eibachs. The H+R Sports were less comfortable due to hitting the bump stops and they were even worse with the car loaded. On my 4Mo wagon, I am running H+R race from an A6Q as they are stiffer than any OEM style spring due to the weight of the A6Q. The ride is firm, but not harsh and no worse than my wife's MKIV Golf with a GTI suspension. I am running Konis but Bilsteins are also an excellent choice. I also ran sway bars on my sedan and currently have the 1BE rear bar with Hotchkis RS6 bars waiting to be installed (for the past year).

If you are doing the work yourself, start with just the shocks and see how like it. If you are paying for the install, do the shocks and Eibach springs all at once. Use the shorter bumpstops (or cut your's down).
Thanks for the desciptions. After a lot of deliberating I'm leaning towards the Eibach Pro-Kit but now wondering about the struts. I loved the Tein H-tech's I had previously but I also liked the Eibach's and both sets were on a much lighter and smaller car than the Passat (mk4 Jetta's). Any arguments not to use Koni STR.T struts? I really don't want adjustable struts - I want to install this set and be done with it. Have a slightly sportier ride, lower it a tad, pretty darned comfortable, and I don't want to adjust the struts at all.
 

· I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
I'd say go for either the H&R OE Sports or Neuspeed SofSport springs rather than the Eibachs.

I like the Koni yellow shocks (B5 doesn't have struts, actually), though the Bilstein HDs are excellent too. But you can set the Konis to full soft if you want a cushier ride.

You won't be setting the shocks periodically--you need to remove them to adjust, so they are really more set and forget.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Even if the ride height gets lowered a "tad" by using the other spring perches, it would barely be noticeable and not worth the investment, imo. You can try a set of H&R OE Sports for a "tad" bit of lowering, but they don't offer it for wagons iirc. You'd have to dial in the rear somehow as it is heavier than the sedan back there. The front springs are the same between sedan and wagon. I have a mixed set up on mine because I could not find what I needed. I actually used a now defunct company (Shine Racing Service) spring in the front and sedan stock rear with Bilstein HD. Handles good, but needs work.

I used to have Neuspeed sports on, but was too low for my commute. Also, ride quality took a hit. View attachment 86801
I love that roller man!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

· Moderator/Administrator
Joined
·
26,115 Posts
I'd say go for either the H&R OE Sports or Neuspeed SofSport springs rather than the Eibachs.

I like the Koni yellow shocks (B5 doesn't have struts, actually), though the Bilstein HDs are excellent too. But you can set the Konis to full soft if you want a cushier ride.

You won't be setting the shocks periodically--you need to remove them to adjust, so they are really more set and forget.
SofSports are sedan only. Neuspeed only offers the Sport springs on the wagon. They actually use the sedan SofSport sedan rear spring for that kit. Taller spring, but compresses more under the extra weight.

OP, it seems that there are more options than what I remember. ST (a division of KW) makes wagon springs now. http://www.stsuspensions.com/products/st-suspensions-01-05-vw-passat-3bg-b5-5-wagon-66333.html
 

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SofSports are sedan only. Neuspeed only offers the Sport springs on the wagon. They actually use the sedan SofSport sedan rear spring for that kit. Taller spring, but compresses more under the extra weight.

OP, it seems that there are more options than what I remember. ST (a division of KW) makes wagon springs now. http://www.stsuspensions.com/products/st-suspensions-01-05-vw-passat-3bg-b5-5-wagon-66333.html
Very cool, thanks for the link. I didn't see it on the web page but do you know how much they lower the car? Remember I don't/won't go slammed but 1" to 1.5" on the front is what I'm after (and lower than stock on the rear of course).
 

· Moderator/Administrator
Joined
·
26,115 Posts
I thought I saw on that page it said 1” front and rear


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

· Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the advice to properly searching for the Wagon-specific springs because I almost pulled the trigger on Eibach Pro-Kit springs from Summit Racing but I cross-referenced their part number with Eibach's part number and they didn't match. Sure enough even though Summit came up that it worked of the Wagon the part number was the normal Sedan. Searching more on Google I found that Modded Euro's had the proper B5.5 Wagon springs. So I purchased those Eibach Pro-Kit springs from Modded Euro's and then the Koni STR.T shocks/struts from ECS Tuning

I will take pictures before and after at the same time of day/night with the camera in the same spot for the best before/after.

Thanks again guys! :D
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top