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I jumped: ST Coilovers on S6 Avant

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Old 06-28-2013, 03:42 AM   #1
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Default I jumped: ST Coilovers on S6 Avant

I read a great many posts here and finally took Grant's advice and purchased ST coilovers for my Avant. I was leaning toward the KW variant 1 and just found too many drivers saying that while the ride was great it was often overly harsh. The corner handling was not worth the ride. Anyway, I actually contacted two Audi service departments and an Audi race org and they all stated, as Grant had, that the ST's are ideal for the S6 that will spend more time on the street than the track. Have I mentioned that they are half the price of the KW's and made by the same company?

Anyway, installation and an all wheel alignment later, wow. This is how the car should come stock. I have not really put it into hard turns yet and the springs are breaking in, but the car's turning is now purposeful and deliberate instead of yaw'y. Granted my old springs had 100K on them, however, I don't remember the turning on rails feeling before. I'll write a more detailed writ up after a few thousand miles, but by all indications now, the ST's are the way to go unless you really are planning on more track time than commuter time, then go with the KW's.

FWIW, and I have no idea where service departments get information like this, but one service department told me that Audi has actually looked at using the ST as the stock spring, however, there is no real requirement for the complexity of a coilover for stock, and it comes down to dollars and cents. The ST is simply more expensive than the stock springs. Again, where do people hear rumors like these?

Finally, I am in the NoVA area right now, and it is stunning the difference an alignment makes. This might become a six month habit instead of annually.

Thanks for the advice Grant (Just Me).
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:02 AM   #2
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Interesting. I may end up putting ST coilovers on my Allroad if and when I decide to get rid of the air suspension. Good price, and I dont' want a harsh ride.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by A4 Phil View Post
I read a great many posts here and finally took Grant's advice and purchased ST coilovers for my Avant. I was leaning toward the KW variant 1 and just found too many drivers saying that while the ride was great it was often overly harsh. The corner handling was not worth the ride. Anyway, I actually contacted two Audi service departments and an Audi race org and they all stated, as Grant had, that the ST's are ideal for the S6 that will spend more time on the street than the track. Have I mentioned that they are half the price of the KW's and made by the same company?

Anyway, installation and an all wheel alignment later, wow. This is how the car should come stock. I have not really put it into hard turns yet and the springs are breaking in, but the car's turning is now purposeful and deliberate instead of yaw'y. Granted my old springs had 100K on them, however, I don't remember the turning on rails feeling before. I'll write a more detailed writ up after a few thousand miles, but by all indications now, the ST's are the way to go unless you really are planning on more track time than commuter time, then go with the KW's.

FWIW, and I have no idea where service departments get information like this, but one service department told me that Audi has actually looked at using the ST as the stock spring, however, there is no real requirement for the complexity of a coilover for stock, and it comes down to dollars and cents. The ST is simply more expensive than the stock springs. Again, where do people hear rumors like these?

Finally, I am in the NoVA area right now, and it is stunning the difference an alignment makes. This might become a six month habit instead of annually.

Thanks for the advice Grant (Just Me).
Where did you get them from?
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:24 AM   #4
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Where did you get them from?
I got mine from Tire Rack. They are actually slightly less expensive ordering from ST directly.
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Old 06-29-2013, 05:56 AM   #5
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So, how is the ride quality compared to stock? 10-20% firmer??? Thanks...
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:27 PM   #6
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So, how is the ride quality compared to stock? 10-20% firmer??? Thanks...
Ride is firmer. Yes, in the 10% to 20% range, however, dampened nicely. When you hit rough stuff, the ride really does not suffer. On the other hand, cornering is a dream with that added stiffness.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:40 AM   #7
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Good that it's only 10-20% stiffer than a worn S6...how many miles on old suspension? 100K and new shocks alone will give great improvement.
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Old 06-30-2013, 10:58 AM   #8
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I got mine from Tire Rack. They are actually slightly less expensive ordering from ST directly.
hmmmmm... don't see them there at the moment. Just a couple of KW sets. I wonder if they're getting hard to source.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:46 PM   #9
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hmmmmm... don't see them there at the moment. Just a couple of KW sets. I wonder if they're getting hard to source.
Yep...A6, not S6, out of stock, due in July 4??!

Apparently the ST coilovers fit...but they're not specifically for the S6.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:33 AM   #10
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So can anyone tell me how much these reduce the ride height of an S6 at their highest setting? The spec says 1.6 to 3" when I found them under A6. I'm not sur that I really want to drop my S6 1.6" for driveway clearance reasons. I am wondering if after 11 years maybe they have sagged a bit already, but I'm not quite sure I can afford a drop quite that far. I guess I need to check the ride height measurements in the Bentley manual and see where I am at this point.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:06 AM   #11
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So can anyone tell me how much these reduce the ride height of an S6 at their highest setting? The spec says 1.6 to 3" when I found them under A6. I'm not sur that I really want to drop my S6 1.6" for driveway clearance reasons. I am wondering if after 11 years maybe they have sagged a bit already, but I'm not quite sure I can afford a drop quite that far. I guess I need to check the ride height measurements in the Bentley manual and see where I am at this point.
At highest height, it should be pretty much where your S6 is stock. The measurement is based on the stock A6, not the factory dropped S6 or older A6 Sport.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:33 AM   #12
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My take on the suspension differences.

First, i know there are differing opinions, but i have been told that there were absolutely 3 different spring color codes for '02-'03 S6s. So the baseline may be variable.

next, i would say that the overall spring rate difference is quite large. Yet, through good matching of springs to shocks, and good shock valving, the impact harshness is very similar. In some cases it is *better*. In other cases, a bit worse. But it is not harsh nor brittle. Its a very comfortable, albeit tight, ride.

The spring and damping control over lower-frequency, higher-amplitude stuff is vastly greater: not 10%.

Overall i could not be happier. Comfy ride and chase down p-cars on the track. Nice combo.

Grant
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:16 PM   #13
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Interestingly, if you go to ST's website, they do list these coilovers for the S6. I found this out after I had ordered from Tire Rack. You would save about fifty bucks ordering directly. Having driven it on a road trip now through the mountains, my only complaint is that I did not do this earlier.

Problems that I needed to address after installation?
1. My headlight levelers were out of whack and needed resetting. Sometimes the alert still indicates, however, it goes out in a few minutes.

2. The backup sonar is not aligned properly at my new car height. Not sure if I can adjust that or not.

3. Now my 18 inch wheels look pitifully small and narrow...sounds like expensive new wheels might be in order...ughhh :-)

4. Being an S6 Avant owner, I am used to people asking me about my wagon, however, dropped a bit it grabs a lot of attention. This might not be what you are looking for.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #14
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If they bolt into teh AR, i highly recommend it.

These should have come from the factory.

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Old 10-03-2013, 06:26 AM   #15
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Ok, update after city driving my new suspension for three months.

I dropped the car too low. I just raised it an inch this week to make the car easier to drive. I was scraping too many speedbumps and feeling too much DC road debris.

More importantly the cambre was too far out of what and I was chewing tires up. I suspect that was as much a result of a pothole crushing the alignment and a bent rim, but the bottom line is that I was chewing tires up during the four months on one particular rim. Though I was getting increased wear on the other three tires as well.

So I raised it another inch and now everything is sitting a little more flush with the road.

My advice to all would be to be prepared to do two full alignments after installing a new suspension. Once after installation and once about 90 days later. Also really keep a look out for tire wear. Tires are expensive and going through a couple is infuriating.

Finally, the coilovers are nice. The ride just feels tight. Car was 11 years old, but I wish I had done this a few years ago.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:00 PM   #16
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The info on additional spring rate from the standard S6 rate is good to know. I own both an RS6 and S6 and wondered if the RS6 springs would firm up the S6. That said, this would present an issue with the springs overworking the S6 damper.

Can you post some pics of the setup after the suspension adjustments?
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:36 PM   #17
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I'm really glad you like it. I did have some strong opinions, now you know why!

I also have strong opinions that job #1 for most cars is a good alignment :-) In fact, at a recent PCA tech day the owner of a race shop was telling people "before you give me a lot of money, give me a little money".

Incidentally, the STs are just fine for the track too.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:38 PM   #18
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Yes. Its probably possible to get the ride height almost as high as stock S6.

Mine are probably 3/4" lower. Still very street-able.

See photo above

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Old 10-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #19
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go and search - i wrote a magnum opus about this after i did the job.

Its really surprisingly comfortable. A great everyday commute/skiing/whatever car, that just happens to have vastly less pitch, roll, etc. than stock.

On my 16" wheels and 245/50-16 tires its nearly cushy. note I was turning ~2:30s around VIR.

Grant
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:49 PM   #20
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i actually think its slightly under-damped, on purpose to reduce impact. It does get a little jittery over quick bumps. Fair trade-off IMHO.

Grant
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:49 PM
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