Bilstein Shock Install on the TT
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Install date: April 12, 2003

Here is my install details for my Bilstein shocks.
Special thanks goes to Leonard from the MN Audi club for his assistance, and the use of his spring compressors.
We also used this link from FasTTr, another Bilstein and Spring install for guidance.

Bilstein Sport & Eibach Pro-kit Installation

First off, you will need to get or construct 3 tools.

I also bought a $29.95 Ryobi bench grinder from Home Depot for this.

A 5/16 Allen end on a 3/8 drive, ground down to about a 1/8" slot, a 21 mm socket, with at least 2 sides ground flat, and a 22 mm socket ground flat the same way.
Total cost of grinder and sockets was about $60.

You will also need a good pair of spring compressors, a 7mm Allen wrench, one with a log handle, a vise grips, at least one 1/2 breaker bar, 2-18mm sockets, various ratchet handles, a 10 mm socket, T-25 torx driver, at least 2 jack stands, and at least one decent floor jack, 2 is better.

Tool modifying
Here is Leonard "adjusting" the spreader tool.

Start by jacking up the car, and removing the wheels.

We did the fronts first.

You will need to remove the brake hose clamp (10mm nut), sway bar nut and pull the sway bar "bolt" from the strut and release the speed sensor wires from the strut holders. On the drivers side, you must use a Torx and remove the brake wear sensor clamp also.

We elected to remove the strut bolt at the bottom of the strut, as it was easier to get at. It is a 18mm nut. You will need to use a thin open-end wrench to hold the bolt to remove the nut.

You can then go to work on the bottom strut bolt. You will need 2 - 18 mm sockets, one on a breaker bar. They are in tight.

Once you remove the bolt, you will need to use your first homemade tool, the "spreader".

A better shot of the spreader in place, for the other install page.

You will need to really get this slot opened up, to remove the bottom part of the strut.
You may need to come back and crank on this a few times also.
(Pic not from my install)

Now it's time for the spring compressor.

We needed to use these spacers on the compressor bolts, or when we screwed the bolts in to compress the spring, the bolts would hit the underside of the strut tower.
These are simple Schedule 40 3/4" pipe nipples, or joiners.

Here they are in place on the compressor.

Here is the compressor installed on the spring in the car.

An air tool, somewhat shown here, greatly enhances the compression here. We could quickly move from side to side, equally compressing each side.
The air-ratchet handle is a right-angle tool, so it was a breeze to work this in place, and just squeeze the handle to compress the spring.

Work the compressor so that the spring is properly compressed, until you have about 1/4" to 1/2" of free movement within the strut.

Now you can remove the top nut. Use the 21mm socket you modified, or a standard 13/16 spark plug socket here on the OEM strut nut.

The 7 mm Allen wrench gets inserted through the inside of the socket, and held in place by the vise grips.
This keeps the strut from turning while you loosen the nut.

Use this same proceedure to tighten the new Bilstein 22 mm nut!

Once the top nut is released you should be able to press down on the front suspension (rotor) and push up on the strut to compress the shock and pull the strut out of the bottom housing.

This turned out to be a bit more difficult than anticipated. We had to improvise a bit here, and I do not have pictures of it, because we were busy actually doing it.
We used a crow bar and another floor jack to help compress the strut assembly. We placed the forked end of the crow bar under the spring flange, and the other end of the bar on the jack. We raised the jack, holding the bar in place enough to compress the strut. You must create enough spring compression to allow you to compress the shock about 1/4 inch in order to be able to get the strut out of the bottom housing.
Now we could remove the whole strut assembly easily. We are adjusting the spring tension to release the top nut. I don't have any pictures of us releasing this top nut, inside the bump stop at the top.
It required both of us to loosen this nut, one on the modified 21mm tool, the other holding the strut shaft with the Allen wrench and vise grips. It was in tight!

Here is the spring removed, ready for the Bilstein. We are tightening it down to slip over the new strut.

The spring was placed on the new strut, and the top nuts and washers were replaced. The whole assembly went back in the car. We had some trouble with the first new strut to go back in, as we had to spread the strut base a bit more, and also use the "crow bar method" again, to compress the new strut to get it in.

Again I don't have a decent pick of this, but the flange on the bottom of the new strut was a bit difficult to get all the way down in the proper position in the slot.
Here's a pic of the old one for reference.
You can see from the marks on the old strut, just how far down this had to go.
You know also when it gets into place, is drops in just right, and sorta 'clicks'.
We tightened everything up, replaced all hose holders, and put on the OEM wheels with the new tires.

The rears were a piece of cake.

Simply put the car on the stands at the rear. Remove a number of torx screws from the inner liner, and peel it back.
It was easy to simply remove the OEM bolts, and the old shock simply drops out.
A few minor adjustments of the sway bar, and the new shocks go right in place.
it took longer to prep for this, removing the wheel liner, than to do the actual install.

Here, we both go at it from each side.

Lessons Learned.

We loosened both sides of the fronts first, removing all the necessary hose supports, removing the lower strut bolts, etc.
We worked on the driver's side stut first, removing it, compressing, releasing, putting the new strut in place, re-installing it, etc.
the first new strut took nearly two hours to complete, along wit hall this prep work, and a short trip to the hardware store for a 18 mm sockets.
The other side we did in 20 minutes.
The rears took about another 20 minutes.
Start to finish, it was just over 3 hours.

By Jeff Bipes