OEM Replacement / Improvement
Suspension has two basic functions, comfort and contact. To what degree each of these is focussed on impacts the other and ultimately performance. Of course the application is important but the end of the scale of overriding need for comfort in your average family estate car is the further of our goals when it comes to providing the best suspension setup for your Porsche. Comfort is of course a factor, but not at the expense of performance and handling.
Suspension seems to fail gradually as seals perish and oil seeps/gas leaks so you may not really notice just how disfunctional it is compared to how it left the factory. If you have an issue with your current setup or are just looking to upgrade your car’s overall performance some visual checks and then further inspection on the lift at our workshop can give us the full story. Your current suspension may be suffering from excessive wear but this could equally be caused by other components failing such as suspension arms, bushes, drop links, anti roll bars, even tyres. It’s important that we establish what needs renewing, rather than blindly just bolting on new shocks and sending you on your way. Once we’ve refreshed the surrounding components where required, you’ll get the best performance out of your new shocks. We of course have the same level of care once they’re fitted too. After making sure you’re absolutely happy with your car’s new ride height we will carry out a full four wheel geometry and tracking set up.
Upgrading standard shocks and Coilovers -
In our experience with testing different upgrades through the years we’re confident that the Bilstein range offers the best options for both renewal and upgrading.
It makes sense also to use products from a manufacturer who has built suspension for Porsche production and racing cars right back to some of their most successful on the track such as the 1971 917LH, the 935 K3/K4, right up to the GT1 and beyond.
Standard Fitment Shock Absorbers
If you want to keep your early Porsche 911 suspension standard height but with superior handling and responsiveness an upgrade to a set of Bilstein B6 offers just that. A gas filled shock absorber offering enhanced safety, performance and traction while keeping your car looking stock. Not only for 911s, B6 shocks are available for the entire transaxle model range and even more modern vehicles right up to the 986 Boxster and 987 Boxster and Caymans with a version available as part of their Damptronic series to fit cars with PASM.
The use of coilovers, especially fitted to earlier models replacing the stock shocks, with adjustability for both dampening and or ride height, can make a huge difference to the overall driving experience. An upgrade to a set of Bilstein B16 is what we would recommend for G body, 964, 993, right up to 987 Caymans and Boxsters. The ride height drop range, (depending on which model porsche) is approx 20mm to 45mm. The dampening is set up then fixed or PASM controlled using a Damptronic setup.
The Bilstein range isn’t just limited to the sports coupe and convertibles either with upgraded suspension options for the SUV range too, for example the B-12 range for the Cayenne offering superior handing and between and 25 and 35mm drop in height.
When you get in to the realms of the water-cooled cars, 996s, 997s and right up to the latest 992s we have options. Both OEM replacement B6 shock absorbers, B16 coilover setups through to their new Evo range of adjustable coilovers offering a 35mm max drop controlled by the factory PASM.
Given the off the shelf products available you can see why we recommend Bilsteins for most applications.
Get in touch and tell us about your car, how you use it, your driving style and we can match you with your perfect setup.
But what if you didn’t need to choose between comfort and handling? This is where certainly on more modern Porsches from 2005 onwards the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) comes into play. A set of flow controlled hydraulic dampers constantly working to keep your car balanced by adjusting the rebound and dampening on the fly, also with the ability to switch from ‘normal’ to ‘sport’ mode increasing the damping in sport mode stiffening up the ride for better contact and road holding with reduced roll for fast road or track use. The caveats are, it needs to be specified from new and its a one fits all package designed to work with your car as standard.
While the Porsche PASM is very good indeed, its restrictive, especially when you start modifying your car. Whether you remap for more power, add lightness, upgrade components such as your exhaust system or even wheels and tyres you are moving away from the OEM specifications the PASM system is designed to manage. Also, apart from two settings informing the system that you are either driving in a normal style or spiritedly that's the extent of your control.
So what if you could have absolute control...
For the ultimate controllable suspension TracTive really is the only choice. Not just restricted to cars that came with factory PASM, TracTive is available for all rear engine Porsche 911s from 1974, Boxsters and Caymans, 914/6 and even 356 B and C models. The technology built into TracTive suspension systems really is second to none. Electrically charged DDA (Dynamic Dampening Adjustment) valves switch to alter hydraulic flow to predetermined settings which can be adjusted on the fly via touch-pad control. This enables you to not only have preset settings but the freedom to completely dial your suspension in to suit your car and driving style.
You can adjust roll and pitch interference for stable braking, controlled corner entry and after hitting the apex precisely, a better acceleration out of the corner. Curbstones and road undulations are perfectly managed by each individual damper. The DDA valve in each damper is controlled by a sensitive multi-axis g-sensor and advanced algorithms developed from decades of racing and road testing. A dynamic proportional valve operating as a bypass has capacity for a large range of damping adjustment, and is capable of responding within only 6-10ms.
This TracTive ACE system has the intuitive ability to react to changing road surfaces and conditions. Bumps and compressions are absorbed before you have the chance to notice them. Especially on track through a series of high-speed curves this makes it possible to hold the line without deflection.
Grip levels in all conditions are vastly improved, maximising each tyres contact patch. This gives you the ability to push your car to limits you wouldn’t have thought possible, maintaining safer driving.
Along with fitting TracTive suspension setups to our PPT project cars and our own cars the feedback from our customers for this transformational modification is resoundingly positive too.
Many thanks to Abdullah for this incredibly thorough review and breakdown as used on his 650+ BHP 997.1 Turbo
CUSTOMER FEEDBACK - Many thanks to Abdullah for this incredibly thorough review and breakdown as used on his 650+ BHP 997.1 Turbo
My setup, suspension centric:
RSS engine mounts
OEM 997 turbo ARB/Sway bars
Tractive Suspension Touring Spec
Tractive Controller (PASM Coded Out)
Fresh corner weighting
Here's my 2 pence.
I'm currently running slightly strectched Toyo R888 and they are very stiff. Compared to the much loved and used mps4s there is a noticible ride difference, regardless of how you fettle with tyre pressures. R888 really don't disguise road harshness, nose bounce, vibration, noise, etc.
My only scrutiny of Tractive Touring Spec before the install was that it uses eibach springs. From experience, I think these springs are somewhat stiffer than the likes of H&R and I would have thought that for touring spec there would have been softer springs. I was also somewhat dubious of using OEM rubber topmounts.
Previously, I noticed my B16s were somewhat noisy when over bumps and along long undulating roads. Lots of rebound and over gravely surfaces, everything was noticeable. Whereas the Tractives are quiet. Really quiet.
The area around Pie Performance is riddled with changes in elevation and it gave me a chance to test how bouncy the nose was with the PASM coded out. There was no bounce and it was very smooth. I expected it to have been akin to bouncy 996s but there was nothing that I felt! As well as reducing the bounce factor, I found that the typical nose dive 997 turbos make under under moderate-harsh breaking is greatly reduced. The car was planted to the ground much better.
I havn't had confirmation yet but I believe my spring rates are 40nm front and 110nm rear, even with a keen eye, the damping ability is very good. There is a certain long, very gravelly and pot hole riddled road out of Pie Performance and I felt no harshness or vibration as compared to my old Bilsteins. Yet, it doesn't feel as though it is floating along, there is just the right balance to make precise judgement of the road.
The biggest difference I noticed: At speed, the dampers clearly respond to directional G-force pressure. The speed I am able to go in and out of corners (acceleration) has increased significantly. 10mph+ (!!) not forgetting I'm running an OEM ARB the transfer of weight from wheel to wheel was reduced. Even in smoother corners, when the dampers are less likely to respond to the road bumps, the car is more planted as the dampers are responding the spring compression..
The ability to change damper stiffness is great and the reason I decided to go with the Tractive Controller instead of DSC. On the move, touch a button and it's done. Instantly noticeable. 10/10! The kit even includes a rotary type knob to switch between Maps even quicker than taking the time to select it on screen. The screen responds almost instantly, occasionally I found myself pressing it too lightly and I'd have to give it another press.
Overall, the use of eibachs springs is spot on. It gives the damper the ability to go stiff enough when needed and when soft it is just right. The use of then oem rubber top mounts definitely add to the softness of the drive as I'm sure they absorb some harshness from the road as well.
It's a great system, vastly improving the ride and I can't recommend it enough. Maybe the best mod on the car!
The only issue I have is that it's hidden in the glove compartment. It's something pretty cool so I'd like it on display. It's to the drawing board to find a fitting solution.
All this I noticed from 1 drive. I look forward to seeing what else it's capable of. On track, in the wet and the snow!