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Front End Suspension Upgrades

minordomo

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Houston, TX
Car(s)
Mk7 golf r
Inspired by tigeo's thread, I thought I'd share my thoughts on similar mods that I've recently had done. Here's what I had before:

2016 Golf R
APR DTR6054 Turbo with HPFP & LPFP
APR intercooler
APR closed intake
034 rear sway bar with moog endlinks

That was all great until I got the HPDE bug. On the track I had more power that skill and would just plow through corners. The body roll was real, and it would seriously dive in deep on that front outside wheel. Also I could tell I had worn out the stock engine and trans mounts, lots of movement during shifting and acceleration.

Solution:

BFI Stage 1 engine and trans mounts
APR dogbone insert
034 front sway bar with moog endlinks
APR roll control springs
Superpro aluminum LCA
034 RCO ball joints (adds camber and corrects roll center, whatever that is)
tyrolsport deadset kit

doing some of those separately would have been nice for comparisons sake, but for the sake of my wallet, I just did them all together.

note: I was going to do camber mounts originally, but apparently they made the springs rub. I was surprised as it seems like the lca and camber mounts were a pretty common upgrade, and I hadn't read anything about that. But anyway, my shop happened to have the ball joints in stock so we went with that instead. Probably better for NVH anyway.

first impressions: damn this thing shakes and rattles! Everything definitely feels tighter but the engine mounts were crazy! I'm now about 300 miles in and it's calmed down a ton. It's amazing how much everything settles in. I noticed a little rubbing in the front, then that went away and I got a little rubbing in the back, then that went away, then my muffler fell off on one side and was scraping randomly (presumably unrelated, just a torn rubber hanger). At this point I still get a pretty wild vibration at 750 RPM idle, with the A/C off, but otherwise it's not bad at all.

I'm currently on the APR wheels, 19x8.5 ET 45 with 245/35R19 conti DWS06. On some of the better bumps in my neighborhood I can still get a little rubbing, so I'll probably go back to a 235 at some point. I have a set of apex 17x9 ET42 with 245/40R17 for track use, so those should be fine.

With the control arms and ball joints, I'm now at -2.4 camber on the left, -3.2 on the right. In the ballpark of where I wanted it, but quite a difference between the two. If it doesn't change much after settling in I might end up taking out the deadset kit and seeing if I can get it balanced with the subframe shift. Assuming I can even it out, -2.8 should be pretty sweet for the track.


So all that out of the way, the driving feedback is fantastic. Roads here in Houston suck, so I can feel every seam, every shift to a crappy asphalt patch, everything. But in a good way. Seeing the road and then feeling it go under me and they match up, so I feel more planted and connected to the road. The steering wheel got a little heavier, and the floatiness is gone. the car goes exactly where I put it, even when trying to dodge potholes and small bumps.

Shifting and acceleration is even more immediate than before. I would get a hiccup on shifts with the old mounts, and the shop confirmed the old trans mount was toast. Now it just goes! No hesitation, just immediate, constant power. The beautiful sounds have definitely increased a notch or two also. I love the roar of that DTR turbo, and there's even more of that now.

On the few turns I've found with no traffic, it really does corner like it's on rails. I've heard that expression for decades, but now I get it. you turn the wheel, it goes. No drama or hesitation. I haven't had a chance to really push it, but the limit is definitely miles away from where it was.


oh also: HALLELUJAH TURBO WEATHER!
 

Mr. Conundrum

Go Kart Champion
Location
North Carolina
Car(s)
2017 GTI Autobahn
Thanks for posting your thoughts. I have been tossing around the idea of those 034 ball joints for a while, but I'm concerned they'll have a shorter than OEM lifespan. If you could update your impressions after you put some miles on them, that'd be awesome!
 

minordomo

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Houston, TX
Car(s)
Mk7 golf r
Here's how it currently sits with everything. Looks pretty good I think.
PXL_20221115_170823616.jpg
 

minordomo

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Houston, TX
Car(s)
Mk7 golf r
Thanks for posting your thoughts. I have been tossing around the idea of those 034 ball joints for a while, but I'm concerned they'll have a shorter than OEM lifespan. If you could update your impressions after you put some miles on them, that'd be awesome!
Yeah I'm curious about them too, since I didn't read much about them compared to top mount camber plates.
 

minordomo

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Houston, TX
Car(s)
Mk7 golf r
Update: about 1800 miles in on the new suspension, and just about all of the engine mount quirks have calmed down. The low idle shake is just a mild vibration now, just enough to remind me it isn't stock, but not annoying. Like the difference between a purr from a cat and a purr from a lion, both pleasant, but one reminds you that it could rip your face off if it wanted to. Suspension-wise it's calmed down a bit too. It's still a little upset over my shitty neighborhood streets, like it has too much rebound, and will bounce me up more than I'd like. That's really my only complaint, everything else is good.

I also finally got to the track with the new setup. Unfortunately it was a single day event that got rained out at lunch. Only got two real driving sessions, one in the semi-dry, and one in the rain. So while I couldn't really push it 10/10, the difference from the new setup was substantial, and immediately noticeable. First takeaway is just how effortless turning was. Before, on a hard turn I'd really fight with the steering wheel, and by the end of a session my arms were tired. Granted I wasn't pushing max speed and traction out there, but still I didn't have to fight nearly as hard to turn the wheel in a corner. This is probably a result of the camber. Second thing I noticed is the body roll. Going into a corner it took much less movement to "set" the car before the turn. Less flop meant I was set on the edge sooner and could then just turn in predictably. On the long sweepers or those double apex turns where you set the arc and hold it, there was much less wobble. it was stable and planted, so I could focus on steering with the throttle and not worry about trying to hold the turn angle as much. Presumably this is due to the springs and front sway bar. Third takeaway isn't really and apples to apples comparison since it was wet, but I did get many more opportunities to lose traction, and I noticed how even it felt. It still has an understeer bias, especially when losing traction on acceleration, but I didn't get the snow understeer when coming too hot into a turn. Also I noticed more actual oversteer, and sometimes what felt like a little of both. Trying to find that edge in the rain gave me lots of time to play with that and I could feel where the traction loss could be moved from the front to the back with throttle inputs. Again, alot of that is just rain driving I suppose, but it definitely felt more balanced.

Here's a couple of pictures of my body roll in a turn, before and after. The angle is a little different, but I think it looks like less body roll.
1670944949637.png


1670944972764.png
 

GreatFallsofGreen

Ready to race!
Location
SoCal
Car(s)
GFG 7.5, 6MT
Why would you put 034 trash on your car if you didn't need to? There are better ways to get a bit of camber.
Out of curiosity as a low to no NVH option compared to strut top mounts.

Not a shill for 034 but i ran their upper/lower insert kit for a year and it ok miles with no problems. Got more NVH with the PF Hybrid.
 

scrllock

Autocross Champion
Location
MI
Out of curiosity as a low to no NVH option compared to strut top mounts.

Not a shill for 034 but i ran their upper/lower insert kit for a year and it ok miles with no problems. Got more NVH with the PF Hybrid.
to be fair, their mounts seem to have the worst issues. not an NVH thing, the bond between their rubber and metal sections just seem to fail way more often.

roll-correctors won't make the car undrivable (i have some on my car temporarily at stock R height--I ruined a stock BJ and had them on hand). a lower roll center isn't necessarily a bad thing, however once you go too low (via lowering) you get issues with camber gain. too high a roll center and you've effectively just made the front stiffer.

css knuckles are definitely the lowest NVH option, but camber bushings in the LCA are a much cheaper option and offer about the same camber gains (~=-.5deg).

@minordomo did you get your alignment fixed? any chance you have a bent subframe? I had a deadset kit done with similar stuff and i was within .1deg camber side to side, without doing adjustable plates yet.
 

ZERO815

Autocross Champion
Location
Köln Germany
Car(s)
2017 GTI SE DSG
The weak link in this setup contributing to the rebound issues are the factory dampers. Typical of a spring upgrade on stock dampers.
+1. Rebound biased tuned factory shocks combined w/ most likely riding the bump stops doesn't help on comfortable ride.
 
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