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Bilstein B14 coilovers - creaking



About 6 months ago when my car came back out the garage from winter I noticed occasionally when I braked a creaking noise from under the car. Sounded horrible and I panicked that I might have left some subframe bolts undone from fitting my 182 mani. I checked ALL the bolts and nothing was lose

The noise happened occasionally when braking and sometimes when going over speed bumps

Since I got back from Donington though it's creaking very loudly every time I brake and I'm now SURE it's coming from the front coilovers. It's started doing it when I turn too and making a juddering noise

Not very happy as the Bilsteins have done less than 6k - the car has hardly been out the garage since they were fitted.
Is there anything I can do? Is it salt or rust on the springs or something?
 
  172 Cup
Phil, mine did exactly the same. Have had them rebuilt for £80+ vat each. Water gets into the top bearings and causes them to fail.

They were rebuilt in 2 working days.
 
  172 Cup
Send them here, but ring first if you want a quick turn around.


David Masters
Bilstein UK
Unit 3
Swannington Road
Broughton Astley
Leicestershire
LE9 6TU
Day: 01455 283407
Fax: 01455 283301
 
  172 Cup
Jack the car up, grab the front struts and give them a pull. You should be able to feel the play in the shaft, if it wobbles, you need new bearings.

I replaced lower arms, ball joints, track rod ends and arb bushes only to find that it was the coilovers.

They have been silent since the rebuild, at least it is not very expensive to overhaul them.
 
There isn't a top bearing as part of the B14's?
They have a top spring plate which sits under the standard renault bearing - but on mine I'm running Pure Motorsport top mounts and strut brace. I'm 90% sure that the play isn't in the top mounts

It definitely seems to be in the up/down motion - like it's the springs themselves creaking
 
  DON'T SEND ME PM'S!!
is there a rubber bump stop on the shaft? i've seen it on a few different sets of suspension that these grip the shaft slightly more than you'd like and when they should be moving (under normal conditions) there's a bit of friction and they squeak. Very small amount of spray grease and it's gone.

The other thing to look for (and I've seen this on a lot of Bilstein/H&R's) is play in the shaft. Pull the shock back and forth and look for movement where the shaft comes out of the shock body. They all wear like this, it's just a matter of time really.
 
  172 Cup
The bearings inside my struts were corroded, i also have the pure setup.

I lubricated the pure bearings, as i thought this may have been the source of my knocking noise on turning and at low speeds in traffic. It wasn't, the only other thing to try is to wash the coilovers with a hose, and spray the springs with lithium grease and see if the noise stops. If not, then send them to bilstein for a diagnosis. They probably need an overhaul.
 
  DON'T SEND ME PM'S!!
ah, you mean the bushings round the shaft near the top, same as what I was refering to :) They literally all do it, Bilstein even admitted there was an issue at one point but they weren't sure why it was doing it
 
Oh FFS

£860 suspension that's seen about 4-6000 miles of road use and the bearings have gone?
It's the worst money I've ever spent on my clio - I aint paying to get them refurbed as they've hardly been used

I'll be sending an email to Bilstein explaining what I think
I had a spax setup on my 106 for 5 year and never had a single issue with it :(
 
  172 Cup
Mine lasted about 2 years before the knocking began, you could really feel the play in the shafts when the car was on a lift. The noise was annoying, but the coilovers worked.

The suspension is now better than ever, following a rebuild. I did think about the spax setup myself, but for £200 they are as good as new again.
 

Silent_Scone

ClioSport Club Member
  Evo 5 RS
I paid peanuts for mine luckily but after under 400 miles one of them needed refurbing (Previous owner had covered aprox 6k). Shame really as the car feels great on them.
 
  172 Cup
I really can't fault the ride for a road car, but Bilstein clearly have an issue with the bushings (see bmw and mazda forums). I appreciate that all suspension gets tired and will fail given enough time.

The bushings seem to allow water and road salt to enter and this causes the failure. Solid mounts will definately highlight the problem.

Given that mine were done about 6 weeks ago, i am hoping the the new parts have some updated features which will hopefully improve the lifetime.
 
  172 Cup
On the plus side, i had my rear dampers checked at the same time and was provided with a rebound graph.

The rears are absolutely fine and still within spec, so it would appear that it is just the front struts that have issues.
 

Silent_Scone

ClioSport Club Member
  Evo 5 RS
been saying about this fault for years now, funny really, I was told I was lieing.

lol, hope that's not at me! I never said you were lying. I just didn't want to hear it ;).

Darklite, hopefully. I absolutely love mine, and it's a shame they've not really fixed the problem after all this time
 
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  172 Cup
I really did consider selling mine, but i wasn't willing to put them on the forum with the knocking. I sent the whole suspension off to Bilstein for an assessment for my piece of mind.

With the overhaul, carriage and rear damper test it was £250, i didn't want to be spending the money, but i couldn't buy anything comparable for this amount of money.

The suspension no longer makes any noises and the front feels much better.

Bilstein UK were very good and had mine back within 2 working days.

I'm not too bothered as i bought them second hand. Hopefully Phil can get his refurbed as a goodwill gesture, David Masters at Bilstein is a nice guy.


The sachs are also great suspension, that need periodic rebuilding, so the bilsteins are not unique in this respect.

I was told not to pressure wash the front struts to remove road salt/dirt, just stick to a mains pressure hose.
 
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I'll get it jacked up this weekend and have a look - does sound about right though as last time it was up I noticed play in the wheels but it wasn't the wishbone bushes, bottom ball joints or track rods as they've all been replaced. Sounds identical to the issue you had

If I get them refurbed I don't think they'll be going back on the car - i'll sell them and get something that allows damping adjustment

I can understand the need for an occasional rebuild but under 5k on a set is a joke - if this was a daily driver I'd be refurbing them twice a year lol
 
Bit weird this - they've completely stopped creaking again

I got the car up today on axel stands to have a look over everything after Donington
Grabbing the main part of the damper and pulling/pushing back and forth there is a bit of play - I'd say it's about half a mm if that though - not much
Putting my finger on top of the bearing it's definitely play on that top bearings as you can feel the damper moving in it very very slightly

Is it worth sending them back? It isn't as much play as I was expecting TBH
 
  205 GTI, Clio 182
I have just installed KW V2's and they are also creaking. Somehow I am not sure it's the bearings. I suspect it's the carrier spring not rotating properly.
 
  172 cup RS2 - 330ci
Bit weird this - they've completely stopped creaking again

I got the car up today on axel stands to have a look over everything after Donington
Grabbing the main part of the damper and pulling/pushing back and forth there is a bit of play - I'd say it's about half a mm if that though - not much
Putting my finger on top of the bearing it's definitely play on that top bearings as you can feel the damper moving in it very very slightly

Is it worth sending them back? It isn't as much play as I was expecting TBH

Send them back if your still under warranty? Mine made a noise and then were ok for a bit, then went back noisy again. I couldnt understand what it was. Changed everything else except the suspension as I thought Bilstein would be bombproof! lol. Turned out they needed a refurb, and yes after re-fitting there is no more noise!!
 

Silent_Scone

ClioSport Club Member
  Evo 5 RS
Bit weird this - they've completely stopped creaking again

I got the car up today on axel stands to have a look over everything after Donington
Grabbing the main part of the damper and pulling/pushing back and forth there is a bit of play - I'd say it's about half a mm if that though - not much
Putting my finger on top of the bearing it's definitely play on that top bearings as you can feel the damper moving in it very very slightly

Is it worth sending them back? It isn't as much play as I was expecting TBH

I'm pretty sure it gets worse when they get some heat through them
 
  172 Cup
Try putting some 3 in 1 oil on the pure top mount bearings and see if this helps ( the bearings my be dry and contain some grit).

Also try rinsing the coilovers, rotating the springs and spraying them with lithium grease (if you suspect a spring issue).



Mine seemed to be noisier in the dry weather, i didn't notice it so much when it was raining.

Phil, if you speak to bilstein, ask them if they have updated the strut bush.

Like daf said, my car is silent following a refurb.
 
My car has started doing this now :banghead:

Probably less than 1k on them so I'm hoping its something else, will go and jack the car up and take a look and give the strut a yank in a bit.
 
  172 Cup
I'm guessing that this must be a bad batch to be knocking so soon.

Adam, do you have the pure mounts, they seem to be a common factor in most of the cars that are knocking?
 

Chris205

ClioSport Club Member
  Many Things
Mine creaked aswell with a few cheekie knocks.

This is a shame for bilsteins reputation on this forum/application as on the likes of the 106s/saxos etc I never had a problem with any of their shocker range.

Really looking forward to getting my spax now, I've heard mixed reviews of the brand themselves but all positive experience with the clios, especially the track spec rear set up which I've opted for.
 
Mine creaked aswell with a few cheekie knocks.

This is a shame for bilsteins reputation on this forum/application as on the likes of the 106s/saxos etc I never had a problem with any of their shocker range.

Really looking forward to getting my spax now, I've heard mixed reviews of the brand themselves but all positive experience with the clios, especially the track spec rear set up which I've opted for.

Would those be the ones you sold to me saying they had no creaks or knocks????
 
I'm guessing that this must be a bad batch to be knocking so soon.

Adam, do you have the pure mounts, they seem to be a common factor in most of the cars that are knocking?

Standard top mounts and I think its one of them tbh, its only noticeable in car parks really and sort of makes a clunk when I go forward brake then reverse and so on.

Doesn't do it if I'm driving just slow movements in car parks and bumpy roads.
 
  DON'T SEND ME PM'S!!
Standard top mounts and I think its one of them tbh, its only noticeable in car parks really and sort of makes a clunk when I go forward brake then reverse and so on.

Doesn't do it if I'm driving just slow movements in car parks and bumpy roads.

sounds more like brake pad movement to be honest

I think it's a problem they've not addressed for years unfortunately :(

yup
 
  172 Cup
Mine knocked when coming to a stop at traffic lights and when doing u turns. I also noticed it when pulling up onto my drive.

The drivers side had more play in it than the passenger side, both needed a rebuild.

Adam, at least you have a warranty, if it turns out to be a failed strut then try and get a refund and look elsewhere for peace of mind.

Maybe try the spax, they are very well built.

The noise was just annoying, it did not stop the coilovers from working.
 


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