A Thanksgiving Assist – Audi A4

It was a couple of days before Thanksgiving and a friend needed some help getting his wife’s Audi A4 in shape for a trek to the the in-laws. 

This was a Quatro with the small turbo 1.8 engine and had seen about 160,000 miles.  The struts and shocks were in pitiful condition and Mark contacted Shox.com for some Bilsteins as replacements.  It was a good choice as a replacement and the folks at Shox.com were able to ensure that they would fit.  That was important since there was a change in the design mid-year.

Mark rolled up in the afternoon and we got the A4 up on the left.  I tackled the fronts while Mark attacked the rears.  I had a new spring compressor to try out as well as some of the older style.  Springs store up a great deal of energy and can be deadly if you don’t handle them with respect.

new_v_old.jpg

The fronts were your typical struts where there were three bolts holding the upper bearing assembly to the body and two large bolts attaching the strut to the steering knuckle.   Once removed from the car it was a matter of compressing the spring and undoing the nut that held everything together.  The new struts came with everything needed so all the parts were stacked up and the new nut tightened to the Bilstein strut so that the spring could be un-compressed.

jimlighting.jpgThe rear shocks were a little different as the top mount had to be removed as an assembly along with the shock.  Then the compressor was put into use and the shock was unbolted from the assembly.  The new Bilstein was fitted in place and bolted (along with the compressed spring) to the top mount before the spring was released.  Then the whole assembly was bolted back into place.After a few minor assembly glitches we were able to get the front struts completed and tight.  The alignment didn’t have to be changed, but Mark was having new tires put on the next day in any case and would have it aligned then.


The ride was vastly improved.  It is hard to beat the Bilstein shock technology for ride control.

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2 Responses to A Thanksgiving Assist – Audi A4

  1. markitude says:

    Indeed.

    Thanks Jim. But you left out the shots of your new spring compressor instead of my old trusty set in the first pic. I felt a lot safer with yours since it holds the springs in 4 places and has safety pins.

    Also for the record, I need to listen to Jim – he was right, as usual. I tried to do the right rear my way and spent 2 hours painting myself into a corner. Listening to Jim, we did the left side in about 30 mins.

    The ride and handling is amazing. Notice the reduced mass of the Bilsteins over the stock Sachs shock.

    Now to tackle the engine…

  2. Noel says:

    Gee, wish we lived closer. Then we could do the new springs and shocks on my Saab. The parts *finally* came, vastly delayed by an order foul up in Sweden and an inept wholesaler there. Turns out the new struts, rear springs and shocks are actual Saab factory parts for the Aero model. They are Sachs, but this is fine with me, as the Bilstein versions have some known fit issues and tend to be a bit too firm, according to many who’ve used them, and their springs lower the car too much for New England roads.

    Will keep you posted.

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