Project 130: A Suspension checkup at Bilstein

ByEldon De CroosOctober 23, 2014
Project 130: A Suspension checkup at Bilstein

I have often been a staunch advocate of the old ‘if it ain’t broke’ philosophy for a long time; if things are still working, why bother trying to change it up.

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At the Bilstein workstation, where measurements can be taken. Installs, repairs, alignments and testing can all be done in-house at the workshop.


That line of thought came to a grinding halt the other day, laying underneath the 130 as I watched the hot oil slowly drain from the sump. All of the suspension components look to be OEM gear on the truck; I wonder if it is the stuff that it came with when it rolled off the production line in Solihull almost fourteen years ago.


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The 130 runs inner and outer coil springs in the rear, to help with the load capacity. What a custom setup will be able to do is tune the suspension so it will keep as much comfort as possible, whilst retaining load capacity.


The ride on the 130 certainly isn’t bad. it’s quite firm, especially over bumps, and articulation isn’t really one of its strong suits. ‘What if I can make it a bit better’, I start wondering, ‘what if I can make it better suited to me?’

I only know enough about suspension to get myself into trouble: springs go boing, and shocks try to control that. Rather than buy a kit off-the-shelf, I decided to investigate a more tailored approach to replacing the suspension components: having them looked over and recommendations made by an expert.


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The team consists off 6 fully qualified mechanics, 2 engineers, 5 sales persons, 2 store man and a machinist.


So I headed down to see some experts at Heasman Steering in Sydenham, Sydney for the car to get a lookover. Once there, I was greeted by in-house engineer Johnathon.

When I asked Jonathon about what he thought was the most important element to get right in terms of a suspension setup, I was expecting him to say something along the lines of ride height, open length or wire diameter. But, I was refreshed to hear him say ‘what the customer is looking for’.


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Vernier at the ready, Jonathon took real measurements from my current suspension setup to start drafting ideas for replacement components.


That’s the great thing about getting a service like this done; something tailored to your own needs, if done well, will suit you well. Jonathon busied himself counting coils, diameter, and bump stop distances, along with my description of loads and intended usage, vernier caliper in one hand and scribbling away with the other.

With that information, recommendation can be made to suit what can happen with the replacement parts, tuned to suit one another and what I am planning on doing. What do we end up going with? Stay tuned …

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