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Old 12-28-2011, 01:15 AM   #1
MJM Autohaus
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The Low-Down + Facts + Skinny: Springs, Shocks, Air, Coilovers!

>>>>> AIR versus COILOVERS versus SPRINGS WITH SHOCKS <<<<<



You see tons and tons of threads asking what suspension one should go with on their Volkswagen or Audi. Like a set of wheels, a good steak, a cold beer (or even a hot woman), very few men want the same thing from their suspension. We're pretty much all different, have different driving habits, want to go in a different direction with our projects, drive our cars more or less daily (or weekly) than the next fella and last, but not least, live in different parts of the country (or state) where driving conditions make all the difference in the world. We'll go out on a limb here and say that we're probably one of the few (if only) shops around with *in-house* shop cars that run on every darn combo you can think of - air suspension (Air Lift), coilovers (KONI and B&G) springs with shocks (Eibach and Bilstein), springs with shocks (NEUSPEED Sports with KONI Adjustable Sports) and another vehicle on springs with shocks (Eibach with KONI FSD), ranging from a MK1, a MK2, a MK3, a B6 A4, a Suburban tow vehicle, two Corrados, a Mazda3 and an RX-7. Oh, and we'll be picking up a 335xi inside the next 180 days as a Bimmer project (our first) and it'll be on a set of coilovers that are TBA once we obtain the car. Yes, we like to collect cars and take up useless (or would that be precious?) space with them. The point? That we have the best of all worlds right here at our facility on each of our own in-house cars, driving them every day (and driving them hard), giving you hands-on experience and real world situations with air vs. coilovers vs. springs with matched shocks (both adjustable and non-adjustable). Without a doubt, there is a benefit and downside to each and no two people want the same thing from their suspension, hence why we have different vehicles here within our in-house project cars all with different set-ups on them. Below will give you the breakdown of each.

SPRINGS WITH SHOCKS:

Because of cost, this is by far the most popular combination when choosing a performance suspension for your vehicle. This set-up can pretty much give you the same benefits of coilovers without the ride height adjustability (if using KONI Sport Shocks). Rebound dampening adjustability (if using KONI Sport Shocks) can also be tailor-mated to the spring of your choice, again, giving you the same exact options of a good coilover kit. The downside, however, is that unlike coilovers or air, you cannot adjust the ride height. Determining what drop is right for you (i.e. 1", 1.5", etc) and deciding on what springs to go with (B&G, Eibach, H&R, Vogtland, NEUSPEED) is the biggest challenge. How low or not low do you want to go? Do you want the option of adjusting them for softness or firmness, or would you simply like a non-adjustable shock like the KONI Street (Orange) Shocks or Bilstein Sport Shocks?

COILOVER KITS:

No different than a spring with shock combo, but with the ability to adjust ride height and rebound dampening adjustability (kit dependent). Some kits on the market today offer rebound dampening and some do not (the difference being $$$$). All will offer ride height adjustments, though. Typically used for racing (most notably for corner balancing), coilovers are going to typically cost more than a spring and shock combo, but not typically as much as an air ride system. Most "real world" coilover users today are typically buying coilovers for the "idea" of having them and not necessarily for what they're intended for (racing and corner balancing). What we've found with a majority of our customers is that they're buying coilovers for their cars, installing them that first time, dialing them in with ride height and dampening (where applicable), then never, ever touching them again. That is nice and all, but somewhat defeats the purpose of spending $1000+ (or more) on a "racing" suspension. This being the case, a good spring and shock combo (for a lot less money) will get you the same exact results with improved handling and steering response - and again - that adjustability if you go with a KONI Sport Shock. Ultimately, it's the end user's decision on what he wants to do and nowadays it seems that most people just want to be able to say, "I have coilovers!" as opposed to actually using them for the track or other racing they're intended for.

AIR SUSPENSION:

Obviously, air is going to be the most superior in "adjustability" options when it comes to suspension. Air ride is not a full-on "racing" suspension, but nor is a spring and shock combination necessarily, either. For real world conditions (i.e. daily driving with occasional "spirited driving"), an air set-up can be the perfect solution for those wanting comfort and ride height adjustability. Air will indeed ride the best in respect to comfort, but also comes with a price tag and minor trunk space loss that springs with shocks or coilovers do not have you sacrificing (hopefully you don't play golf). We recently removed coilovers on one of our cars (our B6 A4 1.8TQ as seen in this month's "Eurotuner Magazine") and replaced it with air and two things were immediately evident; 1) The handling did not change whatsoever. 2) The ride comfort did indeed get better after changing over to air. Air ride, however, is not for everyone, but on the particular car we did it on here at our facility, we would not go back to any other suspension set-up and the difference is night and day over coilovers. In hindsight, we wish we would have made the decision to bag one of our cars a lot earlier than we did. It's cool for only about 101 different reasons, but not exactly something we want on each and every one of our 9 in-house project cars here at MJM and certainly not for everyone (as they say, to each his own).

Suspension makes up for a fair percentage of our business here and we have experience with pretty much every single combination of set-ups you could imagine. Feel free to email us through our site (www.mjmautohaus.com) for some 1-on-1 consultation on what would work best for you based on your driving style, driving habits, road conditions, performance desires and budget for suspension modding. We're the sole Warehouse Distributors for Air Lift, B&G Suspension, Eibach, H&R Special Springs and KONI, NEUSPEED here in South Texas with more *in-stock* VW/Audi suspension that any one distributor in our region and have experience with any set-up your little heart desires. Whether you want the "static" of the firm and denture-loosing setup of something like a NEUSPEED (or H&R) Race Spring with Bilstein's famed (and firm) Sport Shock or the OEM + and OEM feel of an KONI FSD Shock Kit (that rides better than a factory car), we're here to serve you with what most want to do first with their car - THE SUSPENSION! Feel free to hit us up if we can help or if you have any questions.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
MJM Autohaus
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Feel free to give us a call and ask to speak to Chris for any questions about air suspension.

MJM Autohaus
San Antonio, Texas

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Old 01-05-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
Jason3d
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Thanks for the info you posted about the various setups. I have a question for you. I have been running DG springs with stock shocks and love the setup, both in terms of comfort and stiffness/performance. I wanted to go a bit lower so I purchased and installed a set of H&R Supersport springs (again with the stock shocks), but found that the ride was bumpier than I wanted and that I seemed to run out of shock travel over bigger dips/bumps, so I switched back to my DG spring setup (but kept the Supersport springs around in my garage).

I really liked the height of the Supersport springs, and if I got coilovers I would probably just set them at around that same height and never adjust them again after than. So, my question to you would be whether you would recommend just getting a set of adjustable Koni shocks to run with my Supersport springs, or if there would be a benefit (in terms of ride comfort) by switching to say a Koni or ST coilover? TIA.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
MJM Autohaus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason3d View Post
Thanks for the info you posted about the various setups. I have a question for you. I have been running DG springs with stock shocks and love the setup, both in terms of comfort and stiffness/performance. I wanted to go a bit lower so I purchased and installed a set of H&R Supersport springs (again with the stock shocks), but found that the ride was bumpier than I wanted and that I seemed to run out of shock travel over bigger dips/bumps, so I switched back to my DG spring setup (but kept the Supersport springs around in my garage).

I really liked the height of the Supersport springs, and if I got coilovers I would probably just set them at around that same height and never adjust them again after than. So, my question to you would be whether you would recommend just getting a set of adjustable Koni shocks to run with my Supersport springs, or if there would be a benefit (in terms of ride comfort) by switching to say a Koni or ST coilover? TIA.
I can tell you right now, you'd have been a lot happier had you mated those H&R Springs with a good set of shocks valved to work with them (i.e. KONI Shocks), so yes, that would definitely be our recommendation and will improve not only the ride comfort tremendously, but the handling, too. Our saying around here is, "A spring is only as good as the shock you mate it to!" As far as coilovers go, the KONI Coilovers are a favorite of ours and used on our own cars here, but like mentioned above, they're often used for purposes they're not really intended for. You yourself admitted that you'd probably not adjust them again after that first dial-in (which represents a majority of people out there - but not all). The choices is yours, my friend...
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:59 PM   #5
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Cool, thanks for the info. Aside from the different valving, would the Koni shocks provide any additional travel compared to the stock shocks? When I had the SS springs in, they were really comfortable on smooth roads, but bigger dips and bumps in the road at higher speeds felt like I was hitting the bump stops. (Not sure if the shop that I had install them had trimmed the bump stops down though so perhaps that was my problem all along).
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
MJM Autohaus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason3d View Post
Cool, thanks for the info. Aside from the different valving, would the Koni shocks provide any additional travel compared to the stock shocks? When I had the SS springs in, they were really comfortable on smooth roads, but bigger dips and bumps in the road at higher speeds felt like I was hitting the bump stops. (Not sure if the shop that I had install them had trimmed the bump stops down though so perhaps that was my problem all along).
Were you running stock shocks with them?
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MJM Autohaus View Post
Were you running stock shocks with them?
Yes, I was running stock shocks with the H&R Supersports. I made another thread asking for some feedback as to whether Koni shocks could provide a similar level of comfort when paired to the Supersports, as the Koni Coilovers would when set to a similar ride height. As I mentioned before, I really liked the height of the Supersports, but wanted more comfort than how they were with my stock shocks.

http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30426
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:39 AM   #8
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:42 PM   #9
MJM Autohaus
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- Need suspension advice?

- Want to know which setup might be best for you?

- Wanna bring your car to Texas for air suspension installation?

- Would you like to learn more about the differences in each kit?

- Give us a call at 210.DUB.PART (382.7278) and ask to speak to Chris!
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:32 PM   #10
MKVInce
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do you guys sell air suspension packages?
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
MJM Autohaus
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Originally Posted by MKVInce View Post
do you guys sell air suspension packages?
Yes, we do. We sell Air Lift (www.airliftperformance.com) kits and one run on our B6 A4 1.8TQ here at the shop. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:02 PM   #12
leobas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJM Autohaus View Post
- Need suspension advice?

- Want to know which setup might be best for you?

- Wanna bring your car to Texas for air suspension installation?

- Would you like to learn more about the differences in each kit?

- Give us a call at 210.DUB.PART (382.7278) and ask to speak to Chris!
If I only want to lower the car around 1.5" and DON'T want to loose any comfort, which way should I go (not really a fan of bags)?

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:48 PM   #13
MJM Autohaus
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Originally Posted by leobas View Post
If I only want to lower the car around 1.5" and DON'T want to loose any comfort, which way should I go (not really a fan of bags)?

Thanks for the advice.
Not a problem (different strokes for different folks). Suspension is a lot like women - no two people want the same things from 'em. Air isn't for everyone, nor is a coilover kit, nor is a simple spring and shock kit (that of course has limited options on what you can or can't do). This is precisely why we here at MJM give you the options of going with anything the market offers; and we mean ANYTHING! Based on what you're asking for, a basic spring and shock combo (1.5" is the average and pretty much what most of your enthusiasts go with), we suggest a NEUSPEED Sport with KONI Sport Shock package as seen on our site at www.mjmautohaus.com under the MK6 category. It's a nice medium between a mild drop and an aggressive one (i.e. a Race Spring) and when mated with KONI Sport Shocks, give you the ability to adjust your rebound dampening characteristics when need be. Feel free to email us through the site or give us a call for more info on this, as we might not always see a forum post. We are attempting to streamline all our communications in an effort to provide our customers with the quickest and easiest answers to inquires as possible. Thanks.
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