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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi,

I'm running a 2001 GTI 1.8T i've been considering some suspension upgrades but something my mechanic said to me is making me thing twice - this guy has some pretty extensive VAG experience having run a mkIII VR6, a 225bhp TT, a mkIV 1.8t and currently an Audi S3. He reckons that I'd be wasting my money shelling out on the suspension because the car was primarily designed as a cruiser and modifying the suspension via coilovers or uprated dampers (although improving handling) will result in a very stiff and uncompliant ride with particular reference to irish roads (which are bloody terrible). He said if I wanted something more sports focused I should just change cars and get a TT or an S3. He said the only think I should bother doing is chipping and better brakes.

Seeing as this sort of goes against a lot of what's posted here I'm looking for some counter arguements to help me make up my mind...

Basically what I'm looking for is overall sharper handling - less body roll, better feel from the steering wheel, more front end grip and sharper turn in.

The problem is I want all this with minimal effect on ride - so I was thinking of just fitting some uprated anti roll bars and maybe 50mm lowering springs. I read that some people start by fitting the rear anti-roll bar first and as a result of tightening the rear end you get a more neutral/oversteer effect (because of softer front end). Does this work? What kind of effect should I expect from uprating rear or both anti-roll bars? What about lowering springs - will lowering 50mm improve grip or is that only for looks (which I'm not too concerned about to be honest).

Any/all feedback is greatly appreciated as I'm planning on getting the car Revo'd soon so I'd like to get brakes and suspension changes made in advance

Cheers

Shane
 

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Hi Shane,

Have a look at what's available, there's still improvement that can be made without going to the expense of coilovers. My wife's from Stillorgan so I know what some of the roads are like....[:O]

Remember, many of the VAG cars run on the same platform, so changing the car is an extreme measure. Swopping the parts from a sports model could be a cheaper cost effective way to do it. e.g. I've got the suspension from the Anniversary GTi on mine and it's transformed the car without making it uncomfortable.

Ask your self what you want from the car, the dampers, not the springs will give you the biggest improvement in ride and the ability to handle the bumps and potholes. A good set of sports dampers from Koni/Bilstein/Sachs would be a good start and then if you feel you want to lower the car then a good set of springs from someone like Eibach or H&R would be a good to add. I have heard that Oettinger do a set of 'Comfort sport' springs which lower the car a little and firm it up without making it too stiff.

HTH

R
 

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A set of ARB's should sort the body roll and vastly improve handling without compromising the rides quality.[:)]

As Richard suggested, Koni adjustables could be an option as on the softest setting they are quite similar to standard and you could run these with the standard springs

You should try and find some people with the various set-ups you are looking at and get them to take you out so you can make your own decision (but I know this could be difficult and time consuming)
 

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What you have suggested (rollbars and 50mm drop) will result in a pretty poor ride quality, simply because to prevent the suspension bottoming out from such a low starting point, the springs will have to be very stiff.

Richard is talking sense with the upgrades, but it might even be worth taking a good look at the suspension to see that it is in good order, before you decide what to do. My car passed it's MOT recently with dampers that are completely useless.

I reckon the dmper upgrade will probably leave you happy. I might even be tempted to try the rollbar upgrade before adding stiffer springs. That should leave you most of your ride comfort, while giving you the improved turnin and flatter stance you're looking for. If you have a lot of potholes to deal with, you might find the stiffer rollbars irritating though.

To a certain extent, it's all a matter of taste...
 

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Shane

My mechanic was the same until i prooved him wrong

he now has the mod bug and is even on the forum!!

OE suspension is pants - trust me!!!

You need springs and shocks, ARBs....
 

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....snip.... Koni adjustables could be an option as on the softest setting they are quite similar to standard and you could run these with the standard springs

If you're keeping standard springs don't go to the expense of adjustables. A good set of sports dampers will do the job just as well, provide vastly improved handling ride and 'feel' etc.

IMHO adustables are a waste of money for many, i.e. those who don't do track days or never actually adjust them. You have to declare them as a mod on your insurance etc etc.

AFAIK Koni adjustables are shorter than std and shouldn't be used with std springs, only if you've got the lowered sports springs.

Sorry to sound like an opinionated git, it's only my 2p after all[:eek:)]. I just see so many folk on forums talking about the coilovers and adjustable shocks they've got and most of the time once fitted they're never touched....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote: posted by Richard W on 28/10/2004 10:49:03

Hi Shane,

Have a look at what's available, there's still improvement that can be made without going to the expense of coilovers. My wife's from Stillorgan so I know what some of the roads are like....[:O]

Cheers Richard, Stillorgan is only down the road form my neck of the woods - Stepaside - and with all the building going on these days the roads are worse than I ever remember.

I like your suggestion of OEM sports parts - I might look into some Anni dampers - what about R32 dampers - anyone know if they'd fit.

So should I forget about the anti-roll bars for the time being - it's just a lot of people seem to rate this mod [?]

I agree whole heartedly about adjustable shocks and coilovers - I don't do track days and I'm not building a show car - I just want a more sporty drive so that I can use the power I hope to get with the REVO :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote: posted by shtu on 28/10/2004 11:10:17

What you have suggested (rollbars and 50mm drop) will result in a pretty poor ride quality, simply because to prevent the suspension bottoming out from such a low starting point, the springs will have to be very stiff.

Richard is talking sense with the upgrades, but it might even be worth taking a good look at the suspension to see that it is in good order, before you decide what to do. My car passed it's MOT recently with dampers that are completely useless.

Mechanic said that my car is in very good nick - very tight was the way he descibed it - I only bought it a couple of weeks ago but coming from driving an FTO for the past 4 years I kind of miss the flat cornering and the feedback I got from the wheels but I don't want the back aching ride :)

Thanks to everyone for the replies/advice - I think I might price up some OEM sports parts (anni suspension) and/or anti-roll bars and give the lowering springs a miss for now :)
 

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Yeah, if your not going for looks then dont lower it by 50mm, I lovered my 2000 1.8T 45mm and it completely messed it up with the drive shaft and the anti roll bar! I wasnt happy!

Didnt get it resolved, i had to fit the standard springs back and suffer the handling, il be changing the arb asap

Rich
 

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Shane,

R32 parts will not fit, due to the 4wd system.

What richardw put me onto recently was a source for gas pressured Bilsteins, which for my car worked out at about ?35 a corner. That's what I'm going for, myself. Look for a thread called "damper only upgrade..." and there's a link in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote: posted by shtu on 28/10/2004 18:08:51

Shane,

R32 parts will not fit, due to the 4wd system.

What richardw put me onto recently was a source for gas pressured Bilsteins, which for my car worked out at about ?35 a corner. That's what I'm going for, myself. Look for a thread called "damper only upgrade..." and there's a link in there.

Cheers mate - I'll check that out - I'm starting to get sold on the idea of uprating the dampers with stock springs (which I think are the eibach sports ones) and a rear anti-roll bar. But I wouldn't mind fitting either some 17's or 18's (BBS CH or RS4's) so I dunno if that would require lowering - I suppose I can cross that bridge when the bank allows :)
 

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Shane, I think that's probably the way to go, if you still want to actually drive the car. The bilsteins at that price were a mild upgrade from OEM.

Don't forget, James Hunt's road car was an Austin A35! He reckoned that because it had relatively low grip, it was entertaining to drive at fairly sensible speeds.

Far too often, the handling of a car is sacrificed to looks (big wheels and lowering) and outright grip, totally ignoring chassis balance and ride comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote: posted by shtu on 29/10/2004 12:14:49

Shane, I think that's probably the way to go, if you still want to actually drive the car. The bilsteins at that price were a mild upgrade from OEM.

Don't forget, James Hunt's road car was an Austin A35! He reckoned that because it had relatively low grip, it was entertaining to drive at fairly sensible speeds.

Far too often, the handling of a car is sacrificed to looks (big wheels and lowering) and outright grip, totally ignoring chassis balance and ride comfort.

yea, all i really want is a fast everyday drivable car. I think the golf fits that bill nicely (within my budget) - and the leather gives a nice touch of luxury. The only things I think could be improved really are the gear change and to tighten things slightly in terms of handling (oh yea and REVO [:D]) So I've the TT linkages and getting a poly dog bone mount for the gear change and I'm thinking rear anti-roll bar (to start) for the handling.

Cheers for all the advice
 

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Quote: posted by shtu on 29/10/2004 12:14:49

Far too often, the handling of a car is sacrificed to looks (big wheels and lowering) and outright grip, totally ignoring chassis balance and ride comfort.

Well said - Hear, Hear!![:D][:D][:D]
 

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Totally agree with Richard W! im now after some Bilstiens dampers too which one's are the best to get though for a 110tdi? the oem's or the sports? you mentioned b4 in another thread? thanks.
 

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Quote: posted by Richard W on 28/10/2004 12:06:11

....snip.... Koni adjustables could be an option as on the softest setting they are quite similar to standard and you could run these with the standard springs

IMHO adustables are a waste of money for many, i.e. those who don't do track days or never actually adjust them. You have to declare them as a mod on your insurance etc etc.

Not an entire waste of money.... A set of non adjustable dampers that are too firmor too soft for your local driving would be a greater waste of cash. Adjustable dampers will allow you to tune your car to your roads thus giving you the exact ride you require for daily driving and something more for the track should you wish.

hope you find what you are looking for[:)]
 

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I had the same dilema, I had Koni coilovers on mine but on our worsening city roads I found it crashed too much over potholes and badly maintained roads that had been dug up all over the place.

Handling was great and it was great on nice smooth roads, but I couldn't live with the feel on bad roads. So I ended up changing it for an Oettinger sports comfort suspension, which comprises of Eibach 30mm drop springs with Oettinger re-valved OEM shocks. This still managed to control most of the roll but with out being too hard on realy bad roads. I ran that with adjustable front ARB drop links to clear the o/s driveshaft.

I have since added Eibach front and rear ARB's which do make a significant change to the feel and turn in. Roundabouts are an absolute hoot to use now.
 
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