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Pics & Review of My Bilstein PSS10 Lowered Red Turbo

997 Turbo / GT2 20062012 Turbo discussion on the 997 model Porsche 911 Twin Turbo.

Pics & Review of My Bilstein PSS10 Lowered Red Turbo

  #16  
Old 07-04-2008, 11:41 AM
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Thanks again everyone for the compliments. I went through **** trying to understand and find out the x and y of suspension tuning's basic principles. I am no expert and merely hope to be helpful and save other people from the pain that I had gone through trying to tighten up my Turbo baby.

Originally Posted by cannga View Post
Pics & Review of My Bilstein PSS10 Lowered Red Turbo
<hr style="color:#FFFFFF; background-color:#FFFFFF" size="1"> I. Index of important posts on this long thread:
OVERVIEW: Where to start, what to change, why, how, etc. Post #4 below
997.1 vs 997.2 Suspension #168 Here
Coilover vs. Lowering Springs #168 Here
Ride Height Measurement: #187 Here
Spring Rates Summary of Various Suspension Systems #168 Here
Spring Replacements & How to turn your Turbo into a GT3 ;-) #242 Here
Sway Bar - All You Need To Know # 72 Here
Tire Review, Discussion, and Weights: #286 & 287 Here
Tire Pressure: #240 Here
Understeer/Oversteer Summary Table #80 #179 Here
Installation with Great Instruction & Pictures by Gary Here
Which lowering springs to use? #541 Here

II. What is Bilstein B16 Damptronic?
When Porsche 997 Turbo was released in 2007, it wasn't long before enthusiasts noticed its very soft suspension. While Porsche suspension engineers are obviously among the very best in the world, they deliberately de-tuned the Turbo to be a Grand Tourer, and as result the car has a soft suspension with a lot of body lean in high speed corners, a lot of squatting and diving with accel and decel, and lazy/sloppy steering. These characteristics are devastating to me and unheard of for a Porsche. Secondly, the stock suspension has major problem with first gen PASM - Normal setting is way too soft, while Sport completely stiff and jittery, very much one extreme or another, with nothing in between. (First gen. PASM was a design flaw and indeed Porsche made significant revision to PASM gen 2.) The 997 Turbo was fast for sure, but its ponderous handling felt out of place in a car that's supposed to be among the world's best. GT3 owners speak of Turbo handling with disdain. Professional reviewers tend to label it "fast but numb and soulless" (ouch!).
Fortunately, the same company that makes OEM suspension for Porsche 911, Bilstein, in 2008 released the Bilstein B16 Damptronic: a street/track combo coilover setup designed by the same company, engineers, and Porsche test driver as the stock OEM system (Walter Rohrl is a Bilstein consultant). The Bilstein upon release immediately became a no-brainer recommendationbecause it is in essence a mod made by Porsche itself. To many enthusiasts, this is how the Porsche Turbo should have been released in the first place.

Subsequently, the Bilstein B16 Damptronic went on to become by far the most popular coilover mod for Porsche Turbo, based on my extensive web research :-). That comes probably as no surprise because of A. what it does: it totally transforms the stock car from a soft grand tourer to a legitimate world class sports car, and B. what it costs: economy of scale from Bilstein itself, and C. what Bilstein offers: lifetime warranty (incredible if you think about it). With respect to reliability, while nothing is perfect - sh*t happens with mods and anyone should be smart enough to know that by now, Bilstein's reliability is as good as any suspension setup, if not among best in industry. To me, there are enough data now to indicate an overwhelming majority of suspension setup problems is from poor installation (Even pro's make mistake - over torquing, forget washer, etc., and be smart when they tell you "we did nothing wrong", what else do you expect them to say?), too much lowering, and adding other stiff components/links to the car that the suspension was never designed with. Bottom line: always, always, always get the most experienced tech to install you suspension, don't lower the car too much, buy only from authorized dealer (lifetime warranty), and be careful with "other components" added to suspension. An excellent and reputable dealer for Bilstein with excellent pricing is AWE Tuning: http://www.awe-tuning.com/bilstein-b...onic-49-135985 (There are two versions of B16 Damptronic, a "Sport" version and a "Comfort" version http://cart.bilsteinus.com/search/mmid=204047/drivetype=AWD. Based strictly on my taste and personal preference, I would recommend that you get the Sport version, which is 49-135985, and NOT the Comfort version, which is 49-135817.)

For those new to suspension tuning, do not be afraid of changing stock suspension if you think the car is too soft. Suspension tuning is always a trade-off between ride and handling; there is no right or wrong. Porsche Turbo's stock suspension is merely Porsche's "vision" of what would please most people for a grand tourer and sell the most cars. IOW, it is a compromise - why it is so much more ponderous than GT3, and the Porsche suspension is easily modified for the implied reason: you should change it if it doesn't fit you. Join the club and a whole new world of sharp and tight handling and steering will be open to you - I guarantee. :-)

While there are alternatives such as KW, Moton, JRZ, remember that these systems are more for the track (stiff), you lose PASM, and the damping forces have to be adjusted manually. The KW V3 also has what seems to be front end that is too soft causing the car to dive with braking as per reports (no direct experience, search here on this forum FYI). Damping force adjustment is not a simple matter as some vendors make it out to be (adjust so and so for comfort, so and so for handling ---> bad simplification IMHO): when you adjust for comfort, handling is affected adversely; as importantly understeer/oversteer behavior will be changed as well. For this reason IMHO Bilstein is still the first and only choice for a mostly street car; there are other excellent coilovers but many are designed for the track and people have had problems with stiffness for street use. (BTW, KW V3 is an excellent coilover but I am currently withholding recommendation because there is something odd about its spring rates, resulting in a car that's soft in front and very stiff in rear that a few owners have complained about.)


What is PASM? This means electronic and automatic adjustment of the damping force and you don't have to set damping force. The Bilstein Damptronic is the only system in the market that maintains PASM of the stock system. It acts just like the stock system and has 2 modes, but here the 2 modes are closer to each other in feel and very useable, not way too soft (Normal) or way too hard (Hard) like the stock system. This alone is worth the change as now both modes are useable. There are 2 Bilstein versions: B16 Damptronic with PASM (automatic damping adjustment) and B16 PSS10 without PASM (manual damping adjustment like Moton/JRZ/etc.). If you worry about PASM electronic system giving you problems, then get the PSS10 (NOT Damptronic) version. My vote remains with the popular Bilstein Damptronic because simply I am having an absolute blast and a grin on my face every day. Kidding aside, a popular, well proven, automatic turn-key solution essentially made by Porsche - what more could you ask for?

III. A summary of what's been done to the car by Tom of Lucent Motors, Los Angeles (cell # 310-733-7324) in June 16, 2008. Lucent is a small Porsche shop with great reputation among Porsche "nuts." Tom will take time to discuss risks/benefits of each mod with you. He is a fantastic tech/mechanic & I am thankful he has worked on my car. Yes this means the highest recommendation and no, this doesn't mean I am responsible for your choice of which tuner to use, Lucent included. I have nothing (business/personal) to do with any of the multiple shops and products I recommend on this thread and I'm only reporting my experience. If you choose any of them, remember shiit happens when you mod, no one made you do it, take responsibility for this choice and don't whine ;-) to me if something is not to your liking pls.
1. Hardware: Bilstein B16 Damptronic & GMG Anti-sway Bar with rear Tarett drop links. The GMG bar is set at full soft front and medium rear, using Tarett drop links (stiffer, more precise, more planted than the rubber links). Ride height drops are about 12mm front, 12mm rear (stock turbo 132 front/153 rear, mine 120/141, GT2 110/147). In the past I've lowered the car 22mm front/12mm rear. In a correct installation, height change does NOT alter stiffness, but I don't like to lower more than 10-12 mm for a different reason: I don't like to alter too much the 3D geometric relationship of the various suspension components.
2. Alignment Change - more front neg. camber, now at minus 1.1 degree (stock is minus 0.6) and slight toe out in front for faster, less lazy steering. These changes are as important as hardware change; don't forget them. Print my alignment diagram below and give it to your tuner.
3. Tire: Currently Michelin Pilot Super Sport. In the past I used R comp tire, Pirelli Corsa, which has stunning traction and handles well because of stiffer sidewall, but very noisy and uncomfortable in the long run.
This simple combination brings my Turbo to what I consider to be the epitome of a sporty daily driver: firm but still comfortable, much more precise and tighter than stock especially the rear, corners as if on rails with very little body lean, yet the suspension is still compliant. I test drive many different sports cars (Ferrari F430 & California, Lambo, Corvette, other Porsche's, etc.) and the more I test other cars, the more I love my Turbo baby. Yes it is that fantastic.

IV. Finally, the original review:
Warning: If the Turbo suspension feels perfect to you, stop reading now. My "dissertation" is subjective in nature and might be upsetting. For me, one troubling thing about the Turbo is that besides the tremendous power and torque, over the long run, it’s not a fun car to drive. The handling is a tad sloppy, IMO a result of the soft spring rates and the enigmatic PASM system. The steering is good but feels inferior to my 997 C2 in feel and feedback. My suspicion was confirmed after a test drive in the GT2: Porsche has elected to make the Turbo too much of a luxurious grand touring car. My baby feels like a Mercedes after a 35 mile drive in that incredible GT2; no kidding.

What I've done to my car so far:
1. Bilstein PSS10 with a height drop of approx. 10 mm.
2. Street GT3 alignment, meaning a change of front camber from -.4 to -1.2.
3. GMG anti-sway bar; set to full soft front, medium stiff rear.
These are common and fairly conservative changes so I am not blazing a trail here. You are basically buying Bilstein’s vision of what a mostly street-use Turbo should feel like. Consider what they do for a living, this is not a bad place to start. Technically, with its mono-tube dampener and dual spring setup, the Bilstein PSS10 is an advanced design.

While the effect of the sway bar is subtle, the PSS10 brings significant and easily noticeable changes. Some of these changes were expected—the Bilstein is no doubt geared more towards performance and its spring rates AFAIK are close to those of the GT2/GT3 class Porsche, others came as a surprise.

Handling:
While the stock Turbo could take simple corners with tremendous speed (as long as slow-in-fast-out is observed), when faced with combination curves, for example a fast S-shaped left-right combination, it staggers like a drunkard.
That the rear of the car likes to “walk” laterally while cornering is not that big of a surprise; after all, the engine is hanging out back there. The problem I have is that there are considerable vertical motions as well. In fast & bumpy corners, the rear has a mind of its own, and that mind belongs to a mambo dancer.
The Bilstein PSS10 and minor alignment change have completely transformed the Turbo’s behavior. The suspension feels taut. Rear end motion is now 1000% better. In corners, problem with the stock car’s tendency to understeer has markedly improved. Please trust me on this (grin)--I used to be skeptical too, the turn-in in corners feels different and better. Above all, it is now fun to take twisty roads with this car.
There is no more excessive front to back weight transfer with acceleration (squatting), and no more excessive side to side leaning in corners. It feels WONDERFUL.

Steering:
Before the suspension change, if I roll the steering wheel gently back and forth at say 70 mph, there would be some undesirable free play, or lag, to the car’s response. After the steering wheel is turned, the car would take a split nanosecond before it changes direction, then it continues to lean a little bit after I’ve stopped moving the steering wheel. In addition, the steering is *too* comfortable in a curve: soft, even flabby maybe, with less feedback than I would like.
I do not know which of the 2 mods, alignment change versus Bilstein PSS10, is responsible, as unfortunately my planning didn’t pan out and both those changes were done at the same time, but the steering response is now sharp and much more instantaneous. The feel is tight, and feedback during turns is outstanding.

Subjective/Objective Power Increase
The modded Turbo for whatever reason feels quicker & I don’t have the need to always turn on Sport Mode like I used too. My speculation for this observation, 2 reasons: Since the car doesn’t squat as much when throttle is opened, one, traction of front wheels is maintained for more power delivery, and, two, perhaps more power of that first instance of acceleration is going to the wheel, instead of being wasted in lifting the front of the chassis. Or it could be entirely in my head.
Whether this observation is subjective or objective in nature, bottom line is the effect is easily noticeable. Plainly and simply the car’s acceleration when you step on the gas "arrives" quicker, with less lag. This then is the biggest and most pleasant surprise of this suspension mod.
Since there is less diving under braking, I would imagine that braking is also more efficient since the rear wheels are now stay put instead of lifting, but I do not feel this at my amateur level of pre-corner braking.

Rough Road Management & Noise:
Bilstein can't perform a miracle; you will sense more road bumps. However, the feel is vastly superior to the jittery ride of PASM-Firm and is entirely acceptable for my daily 35 miles drive to or from work in Los Angeles. Road bumps create a more compliant feel & conventional thump sound (yes I am the type of person who listens to my car’s suspension--LOL), versus PASM-Firm’s choppy and somehow unnatural feel, and the louder noise when the car hits things like freeway’s expansion joints. For comfort level, if PASM-Normal is 10 out of 10, then Bilstein would be a 6 to 7, and PASM-Firm 1, tied with a Sherman M4.
There is also more road noise transmitted to the cabin, and for whatever reason, the exhaust noise sounds louder. Perhaps the smaller space underneath the car (from the lower ride height) creates some boom box effect.

With the above suspension mods, IMHO the Turbo could now more seriously compete with the GT2, if not in tracking prowess (AWD & Turbo weighs too much), then in FUN FACTOR. The GT2 is an all-out track car with a “heavy machinery” feel to it—heavy clutch, heavy gear shift, heavy (but fantastic) steering feel. The modded Turbo has advantages & disadvantages inherent to its AWD system, and despite of its avoir-du-pois problem, feels surprisingly agile & light footed. For my amateur skill and speed level, cornering behavior is now similar between the two.
My Turbo baby used to feel ponderous and soft, now it feels tighter, cat-quick, and lots and lots and lots of fun. Steering and suspension feedbacks are significantly improved over stock, and of course, that nuclear power plant that disguises as the engine is as stupendous as ever. I am grinning from ear to ear every time I come close to this car. The grin-score is so much higher that I would give the Bilstein an unqualified recommendation and rank its usefulness higher than PCCB brake, power mod, exhaust system change, and after-market wheels. For me the Bilstein PSS10 is an ***ABSOLUTE MUST*** if attributes that make a sport car feel sporty are important to you.

If you are new to alignment settings and don't know what to do,print the following chart and give it to your tuner: What you are doing is increase your negative front camber to minus 1.2. More front negative camber is crucial as it reduces understeer and improves front cornering force. I think you will love the change.
For the more advanced driver, you could also add a slight front toe out as seen in the diagram. This makes steering very quick (I love it because the stock Turbo's steering feels lazy.) and so is turn-in response. Quick and light.
 

Last edited by cannga; 02-07-2015 at 11:00 AM.
  #17  
Old 07-04-2008, 12:14 PM
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Very cool! Glad they worked out for you and glad we could support you!
 
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  #18  
Old 07-04-2008, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wcatabay View Post
Do you have before and after pics to see the difference? How much did it get lowered?
There is a significant and noticeable difference in the way the car looks, if not obvious in pictures, then most definitely in real life. The lowered car looks a lot more sporty and longer. It got lowered 20 mm. The max lowering per Bilstein's recommendation is 25mm.

Before

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Last edited by cannga; 05-09-2010 at 10:01 AM.
  #19  
Old 07-04-2008, 02:42 PM
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It looks way better now
 
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:29 PM
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Much better looking now. Do you have any side shots?
 
  #21  
Old 07-04-2008, 05:08 PM
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nicejob ,very clean
 
  #22  
Old 07-04-2008, 05:49 PM
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I remember when you just got the HRE's...now with the drop your stance looks great, awesome pics too.
 
  #23  
Old 07-04-2008, 07:29 PM
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Can,

This is by far the best analysis of suspension mods I've read anywhere for this car. And it precisely and comprehensively addressed the two options I was considering: progressive springs (GMG), versus PSS10s. Thank you for taking the time to relay your analysis, decision process, calibration and driving experience results. You really have helped me as well as many others to concretely conclude what we have suspected but were unable to confirm. THANK YOU!
 
  #24  
Old 07-04-2008, 09:14 PM
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Great job, very nice!!!
 
  #25  
Old 07-05-2008, 09:37 AM
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Thanks again. Do I have any side shots? Is the sky blue? (I am a photography nut who takes my car to hours-long photoshoot.)
Kidding aside, I actually don't have many 100% profile shots, since the side view to my eyes is the least complimentary for the 911. Here are 2 that come close:

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Originally Posted by 997TT View Post
Much better looking now. Do you have any side shots?
 
  #26  
Old 07-05-2008, 10:06 AM
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Gee wiz - thanks, glad to be of help. I am blushing. Credit should also go to some of the guys here who went "first": eclou, atomic, over the hill, etc.
In addition, more than half the fun is to share the hobby with other people. I enjoy posting, and must admit love compliments even more.

As mentioned, some additional info for anyone interested: http://www.rennteam.com/showflat.php...&page=0#449462

Originally Posted by OT997 View Post
Can,

This is by far the best analysis of suspension mods I've read anywhere for this car. And it precisely and comprehensively addressed the two options I was considering: progressive springs (GMG), versus PSS10s. Thank you for taking the time to relay your analysis, decision process, calibration and driving experience results. You really have helped me as well as many others to concretely conclude what we have suspected but were unable to confirm. THANK YOU!
 
  #27  
Old 07-06-2008, 02:59 PM
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nice photos
 
  #28  
Old 07-06-2008, 04:44 PM
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Looks very nice indeed. Love the red on the 997 TT's.
 
  #29  
Old 07-06-2008, 05:11 PM
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Im loving it also, now im convinced on pss10's.
 
  #30  
Old 07-09-2008, 06:03 PM
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That is sweeeeet, can someone photoshop the wheels in gloss black please and maybe gunmetal?
 

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