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Bilstein into Macpherson strut install

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  • #16
    Audi 90 front strut interior shot shows base features and hose mance photo.png


    You raise an obvious but still very good question as it may both raise others and help answer some. Here is another of Mance's often unique, and instructive photos.

    Photo's original purpose:
    Here he has cut the top off a North-American (i.e.: swaged-top) strut to illustrate how one might preclude strut-tube bell-ringing with the always swaged down to 50mm at their tops (small bore) North-American struts and the requisite small O.D. B6/B8 Bilstein clappers, by positioning a short length of hose at the strut base preventing same. This belt and suspenders approach (to a known North-American and perhaps possibly the European situation sometimes?) guarantees things will stay quiet least till the gland nut loosens.

    Also fairly visible is the dished strut-base detail common to everyone's struts and otherwise responsible for centering all smaller (for 50mm struts) dampers.

    Together with the photo of the two damper bases above, one can see how the vented type damper base can't "block the drain-hole", while the non-vented type base might. If the water was above the non-vented damper base and outside the yellow tube, how does it exit? It may be that the route down & out (to the drain-hole mod) for any water in un-vented yellow-bodied Bilsteins is only via the thread's slim inherent interface clearances between the damper's screwed-in base, shaft and yellow tube? If such is the case, it serves to emphasize the importance of ensuring the gland nut seals are in kept in excellent shape, something a carefully installed gland nut, boots and perhaps less well understood, even an OEM style top-mount (which lets the big chrome top tube rotate with steering inputs and the rest of the strut, which will preclude rotational seal wear) all help ensure.

    Unable to upload photo to post at this time. Shrank and cropped the photo 10 x, still won't work!. OK, was able to upload a previously uploaded photo so, tried removing punctuation from file name of original target photo; and it worked!
    Last edited by Lago Blue; 11th January 2019, 19:10.


    • #17
      That's a very helpful picture and description. Can you give details of the "isolator" hose diameters please?


      • #18
        Note again this is a known issue particularly in North America where swaged-down (to 50mm diameter at the top) front strut tubes are all one finds on B3/B4 cars; and there is therefore a 1/4" gap all around the damper base inside at the bottom of the strut, where the strut tube ID is larger. In Europe, there is a good chance your front struts are 55mm OD like B3 rears.

        Know in advance that I tried this with some hose which was of the recommended size, but it proved to be too small of an ID by just a tiny fraction, but enough to make damper insertion impossible. So I kept the strut vertical and followed the steps in post #1 above; hose-lessly.

        In Europe you usually (but not always) get straight-walled 55mm OD struts and larger O.D. Bilsteins with much tighter (and pretty much self-centering) annular gaps between damper OD and strut ID, but if one was trying to fit some of those smaller O.D. dampers which are also seen in Europe, this kind of thing may work at the bottom, however the gland-nut you may get with those dampers might not fit the strut tube up top.

        Better than just the numbers (more fun anyway), you can read exactly what the man said here:

        "Sheesh guys, we REALLY oughtta be..."
        Last edited by Lago Blue; 9th August 2018, 03:27.


        • #19
          Stupid question time Can I drill the bottom of the struts with the shocks in place?


          • #20
            Originally posted by Rikki Kitto View Post
            Stupid question time Can I drill the bottom of the struts with the shocks in place?
            Not at all. Was gonna ask the same question as caps are seized and cannot get them out
            '93 Audi 100 Avant - R.I.P
            '92 Audi UrS4 Avant - SOLD
            '93 Audi UrS4 Avant LPG


            • #21
              Hunker is correct, there are no stupid questions. See end of post #3 above, paragraph ends in "brave!".

              If it was me and I had to do it this way, I'd sleeve the drill bit to stop its' travel as the damper base is resting on the other side of that same domed strut-tube base you propose drilling through, with only a small gap -right- at the center. Review the photos up-thread and you'll see what I mean.
              Last edited by Lago Blue; 15th August 2018, 19:19.


              • #22
                Many thanks using a stopper is a must then to be safe


                • #23
                  Thread revival time, what symptoms would the suspension show if this issue was present any ideas?


                  • #24

                    If you are referring to "frozen strut syndrome" and not "loose gland nut syndrome" or "misaligned damper in strut-tube syndrome", symptoms may include but are not limited to: you may notice the front end slides out sooner while cornering; you may perceive your regular commute becoming less smooth and noisier; you are becoming aware of your increasing intolerance to road imperfections and start driving to avoid seen and known bumps etc.; and when it is fully developed, you are able to push down with your foot on the bumper heavily and the suspension - will - not - compress. The last and most ominous symptom that -may- be seen before dis-assembly (but not always) is oil on the outside of the chrome shaft of the damper.


                    • #25
                      Very full answer as always bud thanks very muchly, I have noticed in certain situations the suspension feels quite violent on rebound. Imagine going over a bump at speed and the spring feels as though it is bouncing rapidly and not being damped as it should car also feels a bit skitty in this situation i.e if cornering and going over a bump seems to slide a bit not hold true


                      • #26
                        A recent post by RDs got me thinking I should just also mention here that although this thread content can obviously be applied to all the B2 / B3 & B4 chassis front struts, it may be less obvious to some newer owners that all the above techniques can also be applied to the B2 & B3 Q rear struts. Cheers.