DAMPER RE­BUILD

Fast Ford - - Suspension Lowdown -

Thanks to a com­plete ma­chine shop and re­build­ing fa­cil­ity, and com­po­nents to ad­just damper valv­ing, the UK HQ can op­er­ate with su­per-fast turn­around times – es­sen­tial to keep the motorsport in­dus­try mov­ing. Dur­ing our visit Aaron com­mented, “we found that to give a re­ally high level of ser­vice to not only race and rally teams but also our road cus­tomers we had to have the fa­cil­ity that could tai­lor and re­build dampers right here in the UK. This has now grown to a be­spoke en­gi­neer­ing ser­vice that caters for unique sports cars, off road ve­hi­cles and mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions too.”

So, what is in­volved in a BILSTEIN damper re­build? “The jour­ney al­ways be­gins with the cus­tomer, it’s im­por­tant to know their goals above all else.” Aaron com­mented. It sounds sim­ple but with so much science and the­ory in­volved in sus­pen­sion de­sign it’s easy to for­get the hu­man el­e­ment of the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, it should in­spire con­fi­dence in the driver and al­low a suit­able range of ad­just­ment to cater for the in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tion, es­pe­cially in motorsport.

Once the damper is taken into the re­build depart­ment the damp­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics are checked against the orig­i­nal spec. This is done on BILSTEIN’s in house damper dyno that can mea­sure peak force vs peak ve­loc­ity and dis­play a damper curve. Orig­i­nal damper curves can be pulled from a huge data­base and com­pared to each in­di­vid­ual damper. From this anal­y­sis, it’s pos­si­ble to see where a race damper can be changed to give a new ad­just­ment win­dow or where an old damper is fall­ing short on per­for­mance due to wear.

Next is the tear down of the damper unit. This is un­der­taken in a sep­a­rate room to the build-up of the re­freshed units to en­sure a per­fectly clean build area. Here worn items are in­spected for tol­er­ance and a re­port is built around the find­ings. This en­sures each damper that leaves the re­build pro­gram meets the ex­act­ing BILSTEIN fac­tory spec and will be re­li­able and ro­bust in use.

If a damp­ing ad­just­ment change is re­quired, this is taken care of in the next stage. BILSTEIN MDS motorsport dampers use shimmed valves to give a huge range of ad­justa­bil­ity and can be adapted to just about any ap­pli­ca­tion. In­di­vid­ual shims are se­lected to cre­ate a stack height that spa­ces the damper to give the de­sired char­ac­ter­is­tics. From here the damper rod must then be in­serted back into the body and the all-im­por­tant damper fluid is in­serted. This is a very pre­cise op­er­a­tion and re­quires an ex­act amount of fluid to bal­ance the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the dampers, es­pe­cially im­por­tant on dampers set for a life of en­durance rac­ing where fluid tem­per­a­ture in op­er­a­tion can be­come a fac­tor in the damp­ing per­for­mance it­self. Once full of fluid the damper re­ceives new ser­vice items like seals, damper rod bush­ings and bump stops and it is ready for the fi­nal damper dyno test.

This fi­nal damper dyno test gives a unique val­i­da­tion to the changes; en­gi­neers can en­sure that ev­ery damper leav­ing the fa­cil­ity meets the cus­tomer’s needs dis­cussed right at the be­gin­ning of the re­build process and the cus­tomer can see ex­actly how the re­build ser­vice has changed the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the damper. This gives huge peace of mind and is just as im­por­tant for cus­tomers look­ing to re­vive old sus­pen­sion as it is for race teams look­ing for a new ad­just­ment win­dow.

BILSTEIN of­fers a full damper re­build ser­vice at its UK Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre

Each damper is tested on BILSTEIN’s damper dyno

Each damper is tai­lored to suit the cus­tomer’s re­quire­ments

The damp­ing rates and char­ac­ter­is­tics of the unit can be al­tered as part of a re­build

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