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Driving on Bilstein B14/B16's in the North East

nok513

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Slate Hill, New York
Car(s)
2020 VW GTI S
I've been on the fence about "upgrading" and getting coilovers for a while now and haven't pulled the trigger since most of the NE is riddled in potholes. Springs have come to mind, but the cost of getting dampers and springs aren't too far off from getting quality set of coilovers such as the Bilstein B14 or B16. Not looking to track the car, but I've wanted a mild drop and a more planted feel for spirited driving through windy back roads. I like the B16 so I can stiffen up the ride while hitting up some of the roads, but would probably keep it on the softer side most of the time. My biggest concern would obviously be giving up comfort and scraping the bottom going over heavily crowned roads, or the huge shock to my soul when hitting potholes (been decent avoiding them, but some pop out of nowhere). From specs I've read, it doesn't seem either of these systems go too low to be that much of a concern, or that a false assumption?

Is it worth it to spend the money for the performance benefits, but have regretted it because the roads are so bad in the NE?
 

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
B16 owner here. When I make the trip to NEPA, I put the coilovers on full soft. The gaps in the expansion joints and the inevitable potholes are jarring where I usually keep the coilovers around 5-6.

Your research about how low they go is correct. A mild drop will be about halfway down the spindal.

As far as scrapping, if you keep the drop reasonable, I think you’ll be fine. You can always add a skid plate if you need to.
 

nok513

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Slate Hill, New York
Car(s)
2020 VW GTI S
B16 owner here. When I make the trip to NEPA, I put the coilovers on full soft. The gaps in the expansion joints and the inevitable potholes are jarring where I usually keep the coilovers around 5-6.

As far as scrapping, if you keep the drop reasonable, I think you’ll be fine. You can always add a skid plate if you need to.
I don't plan on slamming it, just want something that I won't regret after a few months or so. I feel the OEM suspension is decent, but it can feel sloppy at times, and isn't too forgiving when the roads are less than desirable conditions. Thought about getting B8's + H&R OE springs, but everyone seems to always regret not going straight to coilovers.
 

CaptainRatty

Autocross Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
I don't plan on slamming it, just want something that I won't regret after a few months or so. I feel the OEM suspension is decent, but it can feel sloppy at times, and isn't too forgiving when the roads are less than desirable conditions. Thought about getting B8's + H&R OE springs, but everyone seems to always regret not going straight to coilovers.
Agreed. Buy once, cry once and it will literally be once if you buy from FCP. Make sure you replace the mounts, bearings and TTY hardware as well.

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/vw-pss10-coilover-kit-bilstein-b16-48-251570
 

6_speed_GTI

New member
Location
Madison, WI
Car(s)
2016 GTI 6 MT, Black
Sorry for resurrecting a possibly dead thread, but I live in Wisconsin and am considering the same setup on my '16 GTI S. Did you ever end up going with the B16 setup?
 

nok513

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Slate Hill, New York
Car(s)
2020 VW GTI S
No, I stuck with the stock suspension for now. There have been a few instances where I feel the car gets too floaty at higher speeds, but the inadequately maintained infrastructure stops me from pulling the trigger. Been through a few cheek clinching moments on stockers, can't imagine how much tighter I can squeeze when lowered.

I have contemplated the Bilstein EVO S (for simplicity).

Keep us posted if you ever pull the trigger. I've been to Madison, Wisconsin a handful of times for Epic training but usually took a shuttle or cab so I don't remember how bad the roads were compare to my neck of the woods.
 

6_speed_GTI

New member
Location
Madison, WI
Car(s)
2016 GTI 6 MT, Black
Ah, Epic. Nothing escapes that place. Not even light. As for the roads, they can be pretty nasty in some spots. It freezes hard here for several months in the winter and we have ridiculous snowplow traffic. It's like they take it as a challenge to rip up the roads when they go out to clear snow.

I've been searching the forum but I can't seem to find anyone who has actually installed the B16 coilovers and can comment on the minimum/maximum lowering amounts and how stiff / soft the ride ends up. I'd love to know that before I drop a bunch of money and time installing the things to find out that they're too low or too stiff for my 40 year old back.
 

chrislane31

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
CT
I have been running ST XAs on my TDI this summer in CT and drive a good amount from NY to MA and even with my daughters hockey gear in the back and full of people it is not bad at all. I am not slammed, but a decent height.
 

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6_speed_GTI

New member
Location
Madison, WI
Car(s)
2016 GTI 6 MT, Black
Nice! That looks great! My wife has a TDI....maybe she needs some of these, too...

@nok513 - I have the advantage of my wife actually liking my car - so I got that going for me, which is nice.
 

6_speed_GTI

New member
Location
Madison, WI
Car(s)
2016 GTI 6 MT, Black
B16 owner here. When I make the trip to NEPA, I put the coilovers on full soft. The gaps in the expansion joints and the inevitable potholes are jarring where I usually keep the coilovers around 5-6.

Your research about how low they go is correct. A mild drop will be about halfway down the spindal.

As far as scrapping, if you keep the drop reasonable, I think you’ll be fine. You can always add a skid plate if you need to.
@CaptainRatty what do you consider a "mild" drop? 1/2" from stock?
 

nomunic

Go Kart Champion
Location
East Coast
Car(s)
MK7
I have b14 and can confidently say coilovers always suck but it’s not about them sucking at comfort it’s about looking cool and feeling cool. I never track my car either.
 
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