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Thread: My Suspension story will save someone some headaches

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    My Suspension story will save someone some headaches

    Well as many of the long time member's know I have had just about every conceivable combination of suspension in my '02 DSG.

    Started with Bell Tech Shackles, Edelbrock shocks, Helwig Sway bar. Handled/Rode GREAT, not low enough.

    Full Bell Tech Shackles, Hangers , Bell Tech Shocks: Bottomed out on every pebble, rode like total azz, swapped back in Edelbrock shocks, Rode 10,000 times better but was constantly on the bump-stops & very bouncy on the main highways I drove... total time on the truck with Bell Tech 3.25 days. Out the door sold to a kid in Florida. The hangers were a biotch to install, the hanger threw off the rear suspension geometry, it SUCKED.

    Next Step Ground Force: On for 1 day. The kit was an early kit for our trucks. Came with shocks, & it simply rode weird.. not harsh, not rough, bouncy & unpredictable. Stance was great. It just felt weird... on the truck one afternoon. I am told the newer kits are much improved & there is even a separate part # for the '03s as there should be since their leaf springs are different.

    Next 95% of the entire Hotchkis TVS, QA-1 shocks, stock bar front, helwig rear bar, Air lift load assist air bags. Sway bars were on back order, then never got installed. Was delivered the Std Cab rear leafs, so the extra weight of the SCrew made the ride a little choppy/bouncy but MUCH improved. Stance was great, ride was good, but could have been better. Leaf Springs were though to be the main culprit.. when I took out the TVS for the next upgrade, I found my right at 30,000 mile QA-1 shocks were TOAST as in destroyed. They were never over-extended or slammed closed, I still had the wire-tie markers on them & you could see the polish marks on the pistons.. they just wore out all highway driving I might add. Mark me down for NOT impressed with QA-1.. maybe that's why Air Ride is not using QA1 anymore? hmmmm... So the TVS with the QA-1 shocks NOT recommended. I could never get the shocks dialed to ride well enough, always handled like on rails, so if handling @ the limit is your bag & a choppy, bumpy rear end is worth it..get the QA-1's otherwise, the TVS/Bilstiens are the way to go.

    Air Ride Technologies, full tilt, air bag system. A few miss-ques from Air Ride, some incorrect parts sent, completely wrong hardware kit sent, but over all I was SUPER pleased. Awesome stance (DUH!) ride was amazing.... however, due to the wrong parts sent & my move I had to take it off (for now) until the parts issues were corrected. I never got a chance to test handling at the limits.

    Finally, as it sits right now, Back to the Hotchkiss TVS. Correct SCrew rear leaf springs, Stock shocks (until Weds, when the TVS/Bilstiens arrive) & all I can say is WOW... the rear leafs & Crap-A-1 shocks were totally the issue more so the shocks than the leafsrings... No Load assist needed now. Ride with the stock shocks is, well... stock. it feels just like it did new, just sits lower. HOWEVER the stock shocks cannot handle the compression/rebound of the "dippty-doo" type bumps in the road. SO the TVS shocks are on the way. I think I have found my home.... i am amazed at how great & overall controlled the TVS is even with stock shocks (not recommended)

    Unfortunately a certain April 15th deadline has decided to loom WELL above what we were expecting $$ wise... So the Air Ride is For Sale. I will be posting it in the classifieds tomorrow once I confirm with my Accountant. Its gonna make someone a SWEET deal.. 13 miles on the kit, brand new C-notches, complete hardware (with extras)...

    Moral to my story: When I say I have been there/done it with this truck suspension wise... I am not whistling Dixie... LOL I have ridden in a couple trucks with the Roush & was impressed. it doesn't sit quite as low as the TVS, but handling wise it works well & rides almost stock.. oh did I mention Roush uses specially valved Bilstiens too... see a pattern? Also, I have ridden in Steeda & So-Cal Speed shop lowered trucks & was not impressed nor disappointed, just "ho-hum".

    Hotchkiss TVS all the way, with the TVS/Bilsteins. In a month or 2 after I recover, I will put the TVS sway bars I have sitting in the shop on & I will close this chapter forever on mods.

    Rob W

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    Bummer about the Air Ride set up buddy...if you need anything that I can help with, let me know.

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    Man this is expensive!!!
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    TVS is on the list....

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    Aryton, thanks man... its all good... the timing of the purchase was rushed on my part... counting my bonus chickens before they hatched... my own stupidity... & I loose a little $$ oh well C'este LaVie!

    Rob W

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    wow i just bought a belltech 3-3 drop with L-spec bilsteins.

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    Wow sorry bout the air ride setup man, that sux. I have to agree with you on belltech i cant stand my 3/5 from them. Im thinking about going with the TVS but does it sit anylower then the belltech. Im also thinking about modding the stock springs, and leafs, plus 2 in shackes in the rear to get it where i want and retain quality. Do you know where i can get a set of drop, bilsteins.?
    Daily driver: 2001 Mustang Cobra- Eibach suspension, Tokico struts, Maximum motorsports full length subframes, 4.10 gears, MGW short throw shifter, JLT cold air intake, Bassani X-pipe, Bassani Catbak, full sound system

    Project ride: 2000 Harley truck- Belltech 4/6 drop, custom 5 point rollcage, ATI procharged, custom built (billet) blower bracket, polished P1SC, custom built kooks longtubes, custom built 3in Xpipe, black MB motoring 22's, 42# fuel injectors, 90mm MAF, 255lph intank pump, 3.73 gears, built tranny w/ PI stall, full show sound system

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    Damn, I was hoping to see her bagged! Well I'm sure we'll see it soon enough!! Since you don't need the assist bags anymore, you still gonna sell em to me? I need them badly!! See ya soon!
    '03 Two-Tone #00664
    Born on 11/25/2002
    395 RWHP 493 RWTQ

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    Elliot I will have them with me when I get back on the 25th, do you want the compressor system too?

    Rob W

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    I guess, how much do you want for all of that stuff? I need the compressor too right? I have never had anything like that so I am a rookie in this department.

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    compressor just allows you to air up without finding a gas station.. make life easier... I will shoot ya a PM.

    Rob W

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    nice write-up Rob

    Excellent sharing of the knowledge/experience.

    Your comments/opinions on QA'1 are interesting.

    My QA1's lasted ~50K miles and were dealt quite a bit of abuse when on the Lightning (~20K) to include a couple of road course adventures so they were ready for a rebuild.

    You comment
    "so if handling @ the limit is your bag & a choppy, bumpy rear end is worth it..get the QA-1's otherwise, the TVS/Bilstiens are the way to go."
    Is a good summation.

    For some reason, I don't have the choppy/bumpy rear end issue you describe. Perhaps the differences between 02 and 03 leaf springs?

    If I had to do it all over again and didn't already have parts from another vehicle ready to go, a Hotchkis TVS our Roush kit would be on the short list.

    Bob

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    Suds5.4's Avatar
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    After hearing your story, I don't feel so bad about how many times I've changed mine. Thanks for the "pick me up" and sorry to hear it didn't work out for you, but I'm glad you're happy now.

    Steve

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    Bob, I think that the main issue I had with the QA-1's was they were astounding for at the limit handling, but I could never get them adjusted to ride nicely, even at full soft they were noticably stiffer than I expected. They are awesome shocks... but definitely more handling oriented than sport/ride oriented.

    What suspension system are you running in the '03? the TVS leafs are the same for all SCrew trucks. The OEM leafs 00-02 are different than the '03 HD/L spec Leafs.

    Steve, I am not at all bothered by the # of times I ahve done the suspension in my truck, becuase I can honestly say I ve tried 99% of the options out there & found the one for me...

    I will have air ride again down the road when time & $$ allow.

    Rob W

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    Great info, Rob!
    aka LeeRandall - NHTOC #25

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    Rob,

    Understood and agreed RE the QA1's. Probably safe to say it comes down to driving style, vehicle use, and personal preference. Nothing wrong with that. That's why were here.

    My suspension mods are as follows:

    Ruslow 1100 lb coils, stock rear leafs
    2" shackles
    Hotchkis sway bars F/R
    Corrected end links F/R
    Roush bumpstops F, Trimmed stock beehives R
    JLP bars
    QA1's at all four corners
    Washers and Cam bolts
    Shock extenders R
    .....coming soon...
    Panhard bar that has been on the bench for 18 months.

    This was the same setup I had on my Lightning also with the exception of the coils. The 1000lb just didn't cut it on the HD for my taste so I went to 1100 and couldn't be happier. I would however like to drive an HD with a TVS/Bilstein setup do compare and contrast.

    Bob

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