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Beginner’s Guide / Tips for Buying a Street-Based Suspension

efaily

Go Kart Champion
Location
Chicago 'burbs
Car(s)
2019 GTI SE Exp pkg
After a little searching, I still couldn't find a lot of detail, but did find some information to support some of what you're saying about DCC. Definitely more than just a simple valve adjustment in the dampers. I've left mine in Sport the whole 3.5K miles so far, guess I need to experiment a bit more. Sounds pretty impressive for the cost. I wish I could find more details though. I guess drive by wire, electric power steering, etc. make it easier to adapt things electronically.
 

Mr. Conundrum

Go Kart Newbie
Location
North Carolina
Car(s)
2017 GTI Autobahn
How about from the source? Racingline says 20 to 25mm. https://www.racingline.com/mqbg-chassis
I saw that on their site too. Most actual owners seem to say they lower more than that though; in the 1.25"/30mm region. If you search around on google, you'll see several owners on this forum state that. They also are softer than stock spring rates according to the chart in the OP of this thread, which isn't something I'm looking for. Glad you're happy with yours, but I think what I'm looking for is something that lowers less and has a stiffer rate.
After a little searching, I still couldn't find a lot of detail, but did find some information to support some of what you're saying about DCC. Definitely more than just a simple valve adjustment in the dampers. I've left mine in Sport the whole 3.5K miles so far, guess I need to experiment a bit more. Sounds pretty impressive for the cost. I wish I could find more details though. I guess drive by wire, electric power steering, etc. make it easier to adapt things electronically.
DCC is quite sophisticated. I did a little looking as well, and found this video with a general overview of how it works (this is a cupra, but same system). And if you really want to get into it, I found this which is very detailed manual. Looks like I was off and there's only one accelerometer and height position sensor for the rear, which could mean the two rear dampers are controlled together and not independently.

At any rate, I think recalibrating DCC, along with an alignment are things that should probably be done after installing lowering springs. I'll be able to testify once I've done it myself.
 
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AmalgamGTI

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
NC
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Has anybody noticed a change in braking performance, such as brake dive, after going with an aftermarket spring and damper combo? Strictly speaking, in daily driving conditions.
 

Type2Bill

New member
Location
Pacific Northwest
Car(s)
2016 Golf SE
Thank you Hammersticks for this incredibly well done thread. I have a 2016 Golf SE, that the suspension is a bit mushy, and squeaky. I like the ground clearance I have as I take it off pavement on occasion. I am seeking advice on updating the shocks, and struts. Bilsteins? if so, which? B8s seem to be GTI specific. Konis? From everything I have read, if I wanted to go lower I would go with the H&R OE springs, and the Bilstein B8s. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Yes, this is my daily driver, and our roads around here are not very great these days, lots of potholes, I am currently running the stock 17" wheels, and tires. oh , and it is the A/T version.
 

AlMondi22

New member
Location
Long Beach CA
Car(s)
MK7.5 Golf SE TSI
Hey guys, before I start a redundant thread and after reading this whole thread let me ask here first.
I was looking forward to get DG springs for my 2018 Golf SE TSI but they show to be compatible for MK7 golfs up to 2017. Why is that? Even MK7 GTIS use them when they show not to be compatible, is it the same case for me? Can I use them?

Thanks for your help
 

tarheelbob

Ready to race!
Location
Asheville, NC
Car(s)
2021 VW GTI S
@Hammersticks , please forgive typos, as my eyes are blurry after reading all this great info. And your build thread. And your installation thread. Well, you get the point.

Through all the great information, I still could not quite find the insight I'm looking for in my first street suspension build up for my 2021 GTI S 6-MT. I am looking to sharpen the existing suspension/handling, improve the performance manners of the shocks (better damping, rebound, compression), and create a "fast road" combination. I live in the land of the Tail of the Dragon, and want a better backroad weapon, while still using this car as my daily. There are no plans to track the car (for now). This first round will include:

wheels: Apex 17"x8.5" ET43
tires: 235/45 R17 Continental ExtremeContact Sport
034 Motorsport solid RSB

Here are the shock/spring combinations I am pondering. I want to avoid the harsh spring/harsh shock, or soft spring/soft shock mismatch. I wouldn't mind a small lowering (ex. 0.5" - 0.75" range), but this confuses my shock choices for me:
  • Bilstein B6 with OEM springs - I'd probably be happy with this combination, based on all I've read and learned
  • KONI Special Active - good match with OEM springs? Others? I have seen very little on spring pairings with the SA. I am very interested in this shock.
  • What about either of these shock choices paired with the H&R OE Sport or the APR Roll Control? Would this neccessitate going to the B8?
At this time, the KONI Yellow Sport are not what I'm after. So, as one can see, I am looking to preserve some decent road manners and ride, but will put up with a stiffer (but not harsh), better controlled suspension package to sharpen the handling and make the car more tossable through fast road / mountain driving. I do not want any of the aforementioned "front end violence".

Interested in any feedback.

- Bob
 

Sn00ky

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Amsterdam
Car(s)
MK7 variant DSG
Olla,

Just got myself another gift.
FSD for a soft price. as she’s reaching the 170k and can’t find any history of they beeing replaced ever...

Are there any remarks regarding her miliage and taking into consideration when replacing to FSD’s -> strutbar bearings front and back dustcaps etc?

thanks in advance!
 

Hammersticks

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Bay Area, CA
Car(s)
'16 GTI, '18 e-Golf
@Hammersticks , please forgive typos, as my eyes are blurry after reading all this great info. And your build thread. And your installation thread. Well, you get the point.

Through all the great information, I still could not quite find the insight I'm looking for in my first street suspension build up for my 2021 GTI S 6-MT. I am looking to sharpen the existing suspension/handling, improve the performance manners of the shocks (better damping, rebound, compression), and create a "fast road" combination. I live in the land of the Tail of the Dragon, and want a better backroad weapon, while still using this car as my daily. There are no plans to track the car (for now). This first round will include:

wheels: Apex 17"x8.5" ET43
tires: 235/45 R17 Continental ExtremeContact Sport
034 Motorsport solid RSB

Here are the shock/spring combinations I am pondering. I want to avoid the harsh spring/harsh shock, or soft spring/soft shock mismatch. I wouldn't mind a small lowering (ex. 0.5" - 0.75" range), but this confuses my shock choices for me:
  • Bilstein B6 with OEM springs - I'd probably be happy with this combination, based on all I've read and learned
  • KONI Special Active - good match with OEM springs? Others? I have seen very little on spring pairings with the SA. I am very interested in this shock.
  • What about either of these shock choices paired with the H&R OE Sport or the APR Roll Control? Would this neccessitate going to the B8?
At this time, the KONI Yellow Sport are not what I'm after. So, as one can see, I am looking to preserve some decent road manners and ride, but will put up with a stiffer (but not harsh), better controlled suspension package to sharpen the handling and make the car more tossable through fast road / mountain driving. I do not want any of the aforementioned "front end violence".

Interested in any feedback.

- Bob
Hi Bob,
If you don’t want to induce harshness and don’t mind the stock ride height I would recommend just keeping the stock springs. Adding aftermarket springs just adds another variable and increased risk for harshness. The Koni SA's are likely a fine choice if you aren't expecting a Lexus around town and a GT4 on the backroads. Based on my experience I would likely hedge them being more towards the Lexus around town than the GT4 on the backroads. A fair amount of conjecture there so definitely hunt for people who actually have them. As for the B6's, again hard to comment but to me they are more of an OEM replacement vs. "sport" damper based on what I've experienced with the b8's.

For what it's worth, I am also getting the Apex 17x8.5's, and I may ultimately go back to stock springs but with the Koni yellows. I want to see how the 17's do though first which I would absolutely recommend to you as well.

Olla,

Just got myself another gift.
FSD for a soft price. as she’s reaching the 170k and can’t find any history of they beeing replaced ever...

Are there any remarks regarding her miliage and taking into consideration when replacing to FSD’s -> strutbar bearings front and back dustcaps etc?

thanks in advance!
Check out the reference guide linked on post #1, but yes, at that mileage I would replace the strut mounts and definitely the bearings. The dust boots may need to be replaced but check them out. Rear dust caps probably not. Definitely get new mounting hardware. Probably new spring isolators as well at that mileage. Good luck!
 

xXDavidCXx

Autocross Champion
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
@Hammersticks , please forgive typos, as my eyes are blurry after reading all this great info. And your build thread. And your installation thread. Well, you get the point.

Through all the great information, I still could not quite find the insight I'm looking for in my first street suspension build up for my 2021 GTI S 6-MT. I am looking to sharpen the existing suspension/handling, improve the performance manners of the shocks (better damping, rebound, compression), and create a "fast road" combination. I live in the land of the Tail of the Dragon, and want a better backroad weapon, while still using this car as my daily. There are no plans to track the car (for now). This first round will include:

wheels: Apex 17"x8.5" ET43
tires: 235/45 R17 Continental ExtremeContact Sport
034 Motorsport solid RSB

Here are the shock/spring combinations I am pondering. I want to avoid the harsh spring/harsh shock, or soft spring/soft shock mismatch. I wouldn't mind a small lowering (ex. 0.5" - 0.75" range), but this confuses my shock choices for me:
  • Bilstein B6 with OEM springs - I'd probably be happy with this combination, based on all I've read and learned
  • KONI Special Active - good match with OEM springs? Others? I have seen very little on spring pairings with the SA. I am very interested in this shock.
  • What about either of these shock choices paired with the H&R OE Sport or the APR Roll Control? Would this neccessitate going to the B8?
At this time, the KONI Yellow Sport are not what I'm after. So, as one can see, I am looking to preserve some decent road manners and ride, but will put up with a stiffer (but not harsh), better controlled suspension package to sharpen the handling and make the car more tossable through fast road / mountain driving. I do not want any of the aforementioned "front end violence".

Interested in any feedback.

- Bob
I've got Koni SA, oem and Road and track shocks.

What do you want to know?
 

tarheelbob

Ready to race!
Location
Asheville, NC
Car(s)
2021 VW GTI S
Hammersticks, thanks for the reply. As I continued to search and find more in the forum threads (and re-read, in many cases), I was close to the same conclusion. I just could not find as much real world discussion of the KONI SA's with various spring combinations, as say, with the Bilsteins's or the KONI Yellows. No, I definitely don't want a Lexus, and am under no delusions of transforming the car to a GT4. But, I do want to sharpen the tool. For this first step, I am lookng for sporti-"er", sharper response, and better composure in transition (tossable). What I could not discern was whether the KONI SA was a "sportier" shock choice than the B6. I think with more feedback, now (and finding more write-ups from @xXDavidCXx ), I am leaning more to the SA's, at this point.

As always, thanks for the engagement and response.

- Bob
 

tarheelbob

Ready to race!
Location
Asheville, NC
Car(s)
2021 VW GTI S
I've got Koni SA, oem and Road and track shocks.

What do you want to know?
@xXDavidCXx , I was able to find and dig into many of your posts on this GTI suspension "journey". Thanks for all the feedback you've given folks like me.

I was looking for more actual user experience on the KONI SA's, in particular, mainly as a comparison against the Bilstein B6 as a fist step upgrade over the OEM shocks. I am definitely in search of a more sporting option over stock dampers, something that brings more control and response when being pushed in fast road conditions (lots of mountain backgroad driving). For example, if the both the SA and the B6 are a step up, handling-wise over OEM (which they are), I would want to choose the the firmer/sportier shock over the the one that may be more comfortable. I understand that many consider firmer to be "harsher", and am fine with that, but I'd like to avoid "harsh-ness" in a non-track oriented car, at this point, if that makes any sense. Better composure at speed, over stock, is my first goal.

  • Wheels and tires coming first.
  • Evaluate RSB next.
  • Then pull the trigger on a shock upgrade, if warranted.

The car is new. I love being back into GTI's. But, this personalization will be a process, I get it. I am leaning on those who've been there for your experiences. Thanks.

- Bob
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
I have the APR springs, they aren't bad, but particularly, the front struts aren't up to the job.

If I were 100% street in a GTI, I'd buy a set of take off R springs and call it a day. That's basically what VW did with the CS.
 

xXDavidCXx

Autocross Champion
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
@xXDavidCXx , I was able to find and dig into many of your posts on this GTI suspension "journey". Thanks for all the feedback you've given folks like me.

I was looking for more actual user experience on the KONI SA's, in particular, mainly as a comparison against the Bilstein B6 as a fist step upgrade over the OEM shocks. I am definitely in search of a more sporting option over stock dampers, something that brings more control and response when being pushed in fast road conditions (lots of mountain backgroad driving). For example, if the both the SA and the B6 are a step up, handling-wise over OEM (which they are), I would want to choose the the firmer/sportier shock over the the one that may be more comfortable. I understand that many consider firmer to be "harsher", and am fine with that, but I'd like to avoid "harsh-ness" in a non-track oriented car, at this point, if that makes any sense. Better composure at speed, over stock, is my first goal.

  • Wheels and tires coming first.
  • Evaluate RSB next.
  • Then pull the trigger on a shock upgrade, if warranted.

The car is new. I love being back into GTI's. But, this personalization will be a process, I get it. I am leaning on those who've been there for your experiences. Thanks.

- Bob
The Konis are a better street shock than OEM, because of the valving and the ability to blow off harsh bumps, and still provide OEM levels of low speed rebound which is where suspension "action" happens.

I never raced on them, but they don't have enough rebound to really control body roll.

Also, firmer does not equal better or faster.

I think you need to answer the following questions before you purchase anything.

What about the shock shocks do you not like, exactly?
-- Is it to much bump/rebound or too little bump/rebound, and at what point during the turn is this an issue?

More control and response could just be had with stiffer springs and maybe swaybars, but then with more spring forces the need for more rebound control increases.

Case in point.

Right now I'm running a mixed setup before the autocross season starts.

Koni Special Actives up front on OEM springs, and I've had both the Ohlins rear shock and OEM rear shock with 400 in/lb springs on the rear.

The Ohlins have the correct amount of rebound control, the OEMs do not, but even on the OEM shocks the rear just bounces a few more times over large undulations or bumps than the Ohlins did.

Just raising the rear rate made for a much better ride, even better with the correct shock.

Also, harshness is often the shock not blowing off high speed movement (bumps and dips). The Koni's and Ohlins have this feature which is why they are more comfortable, but don't necessarily lack performance.

You have a few choices, get a cheap shock and deal with a not-great daily experience, but an okay performance experience. Or, get the Koni SA and have a great daily experience, but an okay performance experience. Or, get a high end shock that is adjustable and has a high speed blow off feature and get both, but for more money.

So to recap, springs are what limit body roll and provide quicker response, and if you read my other threads, also determine the ride frequency which is connected to performance, and comfort in my opinion.

Shocks are a timing device for how long the car takes to achieve N-degrees of body roll, and can help with a quick response if stiffened appropriately. And also contribute to ride quality depending on the valving and features.
 

tarheelbob

Ready to race!
Location
Asheville, NC
Car(s)
2021 VW GTI S
What about the shock shocks do you not like, exactly?
Looking for better composure, the ability to handles bumps, undulations (reducing the extra "bounce", you mentioned), etc. when the suspension is loaded up and being pushed. I am looking to keep the car planted a little better when the wick gets turned up.
More control and response could just be had with stiffer springs and maybe swaybars, but then with more spring forces the need for more rebound control increases.
Agreed. And down the rabbit hole one can go, chasing one end of the equation, or the other.
Also, harshness is often the shock not blowing off high speed movement (bumps and dips). The Koni's and Ohlins have this feature which is why they are more comfortable, but don't necessarily lack performance.
This sounds like where I want to be for the first shot at tweaking the handling and ride to my preference. "Comfortable" means many different things to many people, especially when talking about a cars ride and handling. The best example I can give from my personal experience is from motorcycles. After years of riding big, heavweight cruisers, which had a very "comfortable" ride (think Lexus, Cadillac, etc.), I switched to high end sport tourers with much more sophisticated suspensions. While the ST obviously handled higher speeds (much higher) with no drama, and absorbed road irregularites like a dream, its abitlity to stay planted and composed in aggressive riding, with the suspension loaded up was incredible. To me, the bike was much more "comfortable".
So to recap, springs are what limit body roll and provide quicker response
Yep. After the shocks, I will address part of the body roll equation by likely going RSB before diving into spring choices.
and if you read my other threads, also determine the ride frequency which is connected to performance, and comfort in my opinion.
Exactly. Don't overshoot one's real goals by trying to achieve the unobtanium.

Lots of good common sense advice on a sensible approach. Thanks. Keep your goals in mind and act accordingly, right? They will change over time......:cool:
 

xXDavidCXx

Autocross Champion
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
I didn’t even bring up alignments.

Get stickier tires, more front camber and a little rear toe out and that will transform the steering response and help reduce understeer that plagues the GTI.
 
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