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Bilstein SPORT vs HD with stock springs?

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Can some please clarify whether Bilstein SPORT shocks and strut inserts can be used with standard ride height springs?

The description at BMP and Bavauto implies that they are designed for use lowering springs, but doesn't detail whether that is because the length of travel is reduced, or perhaps just the damping/valving is optimized for lowering springs.

My 1973 2002 uses standard ride height springs at the present time... will I get better/firmer damping with the SPORT Bilsteins, or do I need to stick with the HD version??

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As far as I know there is no length difference between the sports and the hd's. it's all in the valving. Yea, you could go with the stock springs you have now. The real reason for stiffer valving is to counter the stiffer spring rate. Now, we hot roders put in Billy sports and go with all kinds of springs so there isn't any one that I know of that is designed specifically for the sport's

Now if you want to lower the heck out of your car you can get your front struts cut and shortened. Then you use VW Rabbit Sports. These are valved simerlarly and are shorter. Lowering in the rear isn't as much of a problem for running out of suspension travel like it is in the front.

John

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I just went through this exercise myself. After much research, and ultimately without any solid direct facts, I chose the HD's for my 74 with stock springs. I think what sold me was, the Bilstein literature says the Sport are for shorter springs, and I think I read somewhere the Sport for the E46 was specifically valved for the shorter ride height. So, in the end, I still don't know. Unless, I see something directly on point, IMO I think HD is right.

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I'm still inclined to go with the SPORT version at this point, because I interpret ed the description to mean that the the valving was matched to the increased "stiffness" of the lowering springs, rather than focusing on strictly the ride height. I guess I am more or less in agreement with Harv.

Anyone have other insights to offer?

I suppose I should follow up on Monday with an enquiry to a knowlegable vendor like Ireland Engineering to get an authoritative answer.

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I have ST springs, which lower the car less than inch and are not as firm as many other after market lowering type springs, with HDs and the car is great. Significantly better handling than stock and noticibly stiffer, but still comfy for those Loooong vacation drives.

Depends on how you plan on driving.

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I used Bilstein Sports with stock springs for a week or so... Just because I was eager to get them in and didn't want to wait for my H&R Springs to arrive.

Yeah, it can be done. I can't describe it very well at all, because I'm not really that sensitive to shock quality or ride stiffness. I feel just fine with the most horrible suspensions..

I'm the one comfortably driving cross-country with bilstein sports, H&Rs, big sways, etc. I don't really notice.

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You can use sports with stock springs. Bilstein, however, does not warrant HD's with lowered springs. I've had cut springs with HD's in the past, and now have H&R's with Sports. I really like the combo now, and it's still about as smooth a ride as my wife's Yukon.

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The sports will allow for the car to be lower. I know because i destroyed a set of HD bottoming them out. In a side by side comparison the sports can be compressed further. The dampening on the sports used to be stiffer than it is now. From what I have read here someone in contact with Bilstein found that the dapening is now the same for both shocks- the ride height is the main difference. I am inclied to believe that as i remember them sports to be very harsh but the new ones i got seemed no different than the HD's in terms of ride quality. A quick call to bilstein would answer your question for sure.

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If you have stock springs then go with the HD's. If you're not lowering your car and increasing the spring rate then you won't really see any gains from the sports. It's cheaper and more appropriate to run the HD's with a stock setup. I run ST springs with HD's and like it a lot although with the urethane and stiffer springs it can be a harsh ride with my setup... 300# coilovers and Billy Sports must be teeth jarring!

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The sports will allow for the car to be lower. I know because i destroyed a set of HD bottoming them out. In a side by side comparison the sports can be compressed further. The dampening on the sports used to be stiffer than it is now. From what I have read here someone in contact with Bilstein found that the dapening is now the same for both shocks- the ride height is the main difference. I am inclied to believe that as i remember them sports to be very harsh but the new ones i got seemed no different than the HD's in terms of ride quality. A quick call to bilstein would answer your question for sure.

I emailed Bilstein AG a while back and got an email back from Bilstein USA. According to that email, the sports are *ONLY* shorter in the back shocks, and only by 10mm which is less than half an inch (like i need to tell you'se guys)... the rest of the difference is in the valving, and in this particular application the difference between sport and hd valving is much more pronounced than on other/newer models of BMWs... so *if* you are going with SHORT springs, id use sports to prevent bottoming, but not because they are shorter, but because they are stiffer. That being said, my car is fairly low (cut stockers 1.5-2 coils in front and 1.0 in back) and ive never bottomed it with bils HDs.

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FWIW, I posed the following question to Jeff Ireland:

Can you help me understand what differences exist between Bilstein HD and Sport shocks for the 2002? My impression is that the key difference is that the SPORT version would be valved differently to increase the damping, and would be a better match for a car with stiffer lowering springs installed.. Are the shocks physically the same ( overall length, travel, etc.?)

My car (street driven 1973 2002) does not presently have lowering springs installed, and I was thinking about installing Bilstein Sports as a first step.

Jeff replied:

Bilstein sports are stiffer and the bump stops are designed for lowered

cars. The sports will work fine. It really depends on where you want

to end up with the modifications.

(I hope Jeff doesn't object to me quoting his reply...)

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On most newer vehicle applications, the sport shocks are valved the same as the sports, they are physically shorter to prevent bottoming out of the internal bump stop with a shorter spring.

This does not apply to 2002 however, Rob is correct on the lengths, I double checked the fronts myself, they are the same. For 2002's and the other early chassis, Bav, E12,E23,24,28 the Sport valving is significantly stiffer than the HD.

For the 2002 the valving is as follows ( I do not know the unit of measurment, probably Newtons or something )

Front

HD Rebound 166 Compression 78

Sport Rebound 215 Compression 111

Rear

HD Rebound 121 Compression 57

Sport Rebound 235 Compression 66

Hope this helps clarify things. Oh, you don't know where you heard this OK ?

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