Solo Werks Coilovers Update #2
As promised, it is time for a update on my Solo Werks Coilovers install. At this moment I'm running 25.5in ftg (fender to ground) so I'm certainly not "slammed", but before I get into the ride quality I need to start off with a "oops" story so you all don't make the same mistake....
From the time of the install up until a few days ago the front end of my S4 was sadly not "settling" as I thought it would. Kind of like buying a new baseball glove, the more you use it (aka drive) the better it "should" feel. Well for me that wasn't happening for the fronts as they were just plain bouncy. It was just odd that the fronts were just so bouncy with zero compression. It was embarrassing like I was driving a car with trimmed stock spring using blown shocks. Reviewing the Solo Werks Coilovers instructions I noticed during the install we missed a step in "priming" the shock absorber. Contacting Solo Werks they highly recommend doing this but I believe their reason was to verify shock absorber was functioning correctly not to change the characteristic of the ride. I read of at least one report where someone did have a bad shock after priming it, but I just couldn't believe both of mine would be bad.
So... last weekend I decided it was time for a inspection. Once the fronts was in the air I noticed that the dust covers were very close to the top coilover perch. Looking at a few other coilover install pictures, Youtube install videos, plus Solo Werk instructions, it seemed like very few people transferred that dust boot over. When I dropped the front back down to the ground I could see the boot was clearly going to mess with the travel of the suspension. So I started to trim it...
This is where the oops happen. Trimming the dust boot I noticed something orange (see pic below), oh crap, the front coilover got doubled up on bump stops as they were hidden in the dust boot. In fact the dust boot appeared to be molded around the stock bump stop. To get the old stock bump stops out I had to completely destroy the front dust boot covers.
Several hours later, stock bump stops removed, I dropped the front of my S4 to the ground and immediately noticed both front corners dropped down another 1 inches, so I was at 24.5 ftg. This just showed me that I was literally riding on the bump stops creating the bouncy ride for the front end. As I knew I was going to need to make further height adjustments I took the S4 for a test drive. WOW, what a difference the front felt when it could actually travel freely. That said with my front 10mm wheel spacers I was rubbing like mad around corners. As well even when going over minor speed bumps at a angle doing 1-2mph the car was slightly bottoming out on the sub frame. While I sure loved the look of the S4 at this height, it wasn't going to fly. After the test drive/fill-up I headed back home and settled on 25.5 inches ftg all around. The second round test drive was much improved with no rubbing nor bottoming out.
With my oops story all said and done, how does the ride feel? I can certainly agree with the advertised claim from Solo Werks that this is a OEM+ like feel. Keep in mind that my S4 has nearly 177K miles on it and I got it with 80k, so I can't really tell you what a fresh stock ride felt like.. Comparing with a 177k stock setup, these Solo Werks Coilovers feel slightly stiffer than stock, but certainly not harsh. I would account the stiffness to less travel with a lowered suspension. I'm willing to bet if I could raise these coilovers to stock ride height that you could barely tell the difference in ride quality. Overall my S4 feel completely renewed with these coilover and all front control arms/swaybar links replaced. Greatly reduced body roll, solid steering feel, and generally a upgraded level of convenience when going into hard corners. At this point, I simply impressed with these Solo Werks Coilovers. If you are looking to lower or generally renew your daily driver like I did, I certainly recommend these coilovers.
What's next? As the fronts have basically now started their settling process I'll post another update later this summer if there is any changes. I do want to figure out a way to rebuild the front dust covers if possible. I'm kind-of thinking about using rubber boots like used for CV's. We will see...
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