1.8 TSI SC FR - suspension question

Aug 7, 2020
27
1
Hey forumers,

I hope this message finds you well. As a fellow nuanced enthusiast, I'd like to mine your extensive knowledge on the Mk3 Seat Leon. Recently I purchased a '14 plate 1.8 TSI FR SC in Phantom Black. It's done 83,100 and there is much to enjoy about the car. Namely, the engine's sonorous, smooth and free revving character that combines well with a tractable nature and linear power delivery. The controls are also decently weighted while the gearshift has a short, accurate and nicely direct throw. As part of the sale the car came with a 6 month RAC warranty. Within weeks I noticed that the suspension while mostly well controlled felt too jostly with occasional sharp rebound on difficult roads. An approved garage investigated and noted that the ns front and ns rear shocks were leaking quite badly. Naturally it made sense to change all four which was done today together with all top mounts. The original four were still on there. The springs had little wear and have been left as is. I considered Bilstein B4 shocks but the fitting garage couldn't warranty their fitment as they were coming from a Bilstein supplier they weren't registered with and the EuroCarParts Bilsteins were too expensive. With this in mind it made sense to get the OE Sachs Shocks from TPS. I've driven only 5 miles back from the garage tonight but immediately the car actually felt a little less incisive and more floaty on turn in - it's also sitting higher than before. On a connected note I suffer from acute anxiety and am registered disabled so the car gives me more worries than it would a disinterested laymen. Is the ride likely to settle and will the handling improve with time? It's still relatively good and as a package I mostly like the car but I'd hoped the suspension refresh would have made the ride a little more compliant. My option is to return the car to selling dealer (if it doesn't improve) under the consumer protection act (as it also has a few paintwork issues) or sell it independently. All advice is much appreciated and welcome. Please also note it has virtually new Goodyear Eagle F1 5s all round and doesn't feel unaligned or unbalanced.
 
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Damo H

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Normally I'd expect new springs to 'settle' not shocks, but being brand new it could be a factor.

As for 'doesn't feel unaligned', if you have had new shocks, with what is taken apart it is always advisable to get a new wheel alignment. From memory Kwik Fit will check it for free and have the best machines (Hunter). I know Kwik FIt get a bad rep, but the 2 near me have always been sound.
 

adam davies

Active Member
Dec 30, 2019
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Agree with the statements above. Allignment should always be done when replacing shocks as tollerances can be different and affect geometry. Car defo shouldnt sit higher.
 
Aug 7, 2020
27
1
Thank you for the input. Are you saying that a drive of several hundred miles together with say a 1/2 weeks passage of time won't make any difference? It's just unusual that the car should feel a little more floaty and less incisive. Will a 4 wheel alignment eliminate. I'm lost and a bit disappointed to be honest.
 

Damo H

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Oct 3, 2012
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Thank you for the input. Are you saying that a drive of several hundred miles together with say a 1/2 weeks passage of time won't make any difference? It's just unusual that the car should feel a little more floaty and less incisive. Will a 4 wheel alignment eliminate. I'm lost and a bit disappointed to be honest.
As @adam davies has said, I would not expect your car to sit higher.

On the 'floatiness', this could be simply due to how a car you are inherently used to has changed significantly due to 4 new shocks.

I can't say if the wheel alignment will solve your issues, but I would expect one to be needed after that kind of work.
 

adam davies

Active Member
Dec 30, 2019
97
42
I own an fr 1.8tsi sc myself and i can give my opinion by saying, my car doesnt feel floaty at all. The suspension is soft throught top third of the travel then it firms up really nicely.
How do you know the car sits higher. Go to seat dealers and and measure arch clearence on their cars compared to yours. You could also take out a technician from seat to see if he thinks there is a problem.
 
Aug 7, 2020
27
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It seems to feel a little bit less incisive and slightly less settled than before - this feeling of floatiness is observed on small mini roundabouts a low speed and didn't seem to be there before. Naturally I replaced the suspension hoping for at least a medium improvement. Where are you based Adam? It would be great to come to you to compare cars and certainly ease my anxiety. I would happy for you to briefly drive mine too to give an opinion. On visual inspection it appears to sit a little higher than before and the handling characteristic of the front suspension now feeling a little higher is consistent with this.
 
Aug 7, 2020
27
1
I will get some pictures of the front on full lock so you can see the installation and another of it sitting with wheels positioned straight. Thank you for all the helpful feedback
 
Aug 7, 2020
27
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Can you please come back to me guys? Am interested to hear your thoughts. That's to those that have responded and those who may have just seen the thread.
 
Aug 7, 2020
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Please see here the pictures
 

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Damo H

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I don’t own a 1.8 SC so can’t talk from any personal experience, however nothing looks wrong in the photos to me. The only thing I would say to check besides the tracking I’ve already mentioned, is that the right shocks have been used for your car.

I was under the impression like the Cupra, the FR sat 10mm lower due to its sportier setup. That being said, I don’t think shock absorbers should affect the ride height anyway.
 

Jazzjames

Active Member
Sep 13, 2018
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Germany
Hi Josh,

Even with the pictures it’s kind of hard to tell if the car is sitting higher. If it is higher then only a few millimetres. I have the same car as you, apart from mine is the 5-door model.

To the best of my knowledge most dampers don’t extend on their own and therefore cannot impart any force by themselves which in turn means they cannot affect ride height, so I’m not sure how the ride height has been affected.

An alignment after such components have been replaced makes sense though. Might be worth a look.

Hope you get the result you’re after - they’re nice cars.

James
 
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Mr Pig

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Jun 17, 2015
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Dampers can effect the ride height. If the effective length of the damper is too long the car will sit higher, I've seen it before. I've also seen cars sit lower with only a damper change. From what I've seen, they don't 'settle'. If they make the car sit higher it stays that way.

The car in the pictures does look too high to me. We have two FRs and I can fit three fingers between the tyre and the front arch. One car is a tight three fingers, the other is lose but they are different cars, a petrol hatch and diesel estate. That gap looks bigger than either of our cars.

It's possible that they use different dampers at the factory to suit the different engine and body weights but the aftermarket dampers are a 'one size fits all' deal? You get variations out of the box. I had a golf that sat lower than the spec said it should, it was the same height as the 'R'.

Have to say, the car sitting higher than it should would annoy the hell out of me!
 
Aug 7, 2020
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Firstly, thank you for the detailed feedback. The dampers fitted were supplied by TPS and had the same model numbers as the factory fitted ones that were taken off. This was evident as the existing ones had a production date several weeks before the car was registered on 28 March '14. Additionally, the model numbers of the new dampers fitted correspond with those provided for my car by a seat dealer. What do you suggest I do? The warranty is with Seat as the parts are main dealer but supplied by TPS. Can I ask you to take some pictures of your petrol hatch so i can compare please?

Surely after several weeks and several hundred miles the dampers will settle a bit? Can I get some anecdotal experiences re: this please and details based on what you've garnered from other users. The front somehow seems less planted in bends; a bit remote. It wasn't like that before.
 

Mr Pig

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Jun 17, 2015
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RIMG0038.JPG


What do you think? Might be hard to tell as my wheels are 18'' and yours are 17'' . I have average sized hands and three fingers fit between the tyre and front arch. Tyres vary in size too. They're not supposed to but they do. These are well worn Bridgstones, only about 3mm left on them.
 
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Aug 7, 2020
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It's difficult to tell. Would you mind taking a picture slightly further back so I can see how it looks in a similar position to mine? Also, how many miles have your shocks covered and are they oem or aftermarket and which petrol engined FR is it? Please also advise on the handling characteristics I've experienced since the change. Thank you. Also, do you mean three fingers placed horizontally? Thanks, Josh
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
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Better, I'll measure the gap. Should've done that in the first place.

It's a 150 1.4 act. 40-something miles on it. Handles really well actually. A bit firm around town and if you hit a hole at speed you think you've broken something but it's tight, grippy and predictable. You've got the independent rear suspension though so it handles differently. More fluid.
 
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Aug 7, 2020
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I've just checked and it's possible to put five fingers between the top of the tyre and start of the arch (both front and rear). That's four fingers and another finger from the other hand placed on top. What are your thoughts guys?
 
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