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Mk7 lowering spring install diy tips, tools, and pics

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I'm sure this has been covered in one way or another, but I've seen a few posts about spring installs. I was already lowering my mk7 gti on VWR springs so I figured I'd post some pics and give a quick run thru of the process. I won't be posting torque specs as they're pretty readily available, but I will say you do need new stretch hardware torqued to spec for a safe install. I shouldn't have to say, but don't attempt this or any suspension work without a proper jack, wheel chocks, and jack stands! With that said here we go.

Tool list:

-special tools-
Spring compressors
Strut spreader tool
Triple square set
Torque wrench(es) 15nm-52mn+ 90* or higher

-normal tools-
Sockets...10mm, 13, 16, 17, 18, 24 (12point) or a 15/16.
13/16 spark plug socket
Box wrench 16mm, 18, 21
3/8 6" extension
1/2" 3" extension
Pry bar
Shop light
Beer
A buddy to lend a hand, but mostly drink beer








First I always break the torque on the lugs of all four wheels. Jack the front, set the car on jack stands (I put them under the subframe) and remove the front tires.

I always unbolt the sway bar links from the strut on both sides before anything else. If you forget and lower one side with the other still stock you'll be fighting the sway bar. I didnt take pics but you'll need an 18mm box or open wrench and a triple square (I'll look at the size when I'm out in the garage again). Always hold with the triple square and turn the nut with the wrench! Otherwise you can strip the triple square.

Next have a friend sit in the car and hold the brake to the floor with the car in gear while you break the axle bolt to hub bolts torque. It's 12 point 24mm I believe but a 15/16th standard works (larger sizes between metric and standard are much closer to the same than smaller sizes)

Once that's removed you can remove the 10mm that holds the brake line bracket to the spindle. Carefully remove the ABS sensor plug (push in on the connector and clip, the pull out and it'll release. If it fights you, try again. DONT force it or you can pull pins out of the plug)

Next remove the three 16mm from the ball joint to lower control arm.

The you'll need to remove the strut pinch bolt. Turn the 18mm and hold the other side with a triple square (or if you don't have one a 3/8 extension will work). Again I'll have to look at what size triple square, I've done so many I just blindly grab the one I always use without looking at the size.

Once the pinch bolt is out you're ready to install the strut spreader tool. If you don't bottom it out and position it just right on the tab just behind the pinch bolt hole you can remove the strut in one shot without re positioning it. Insert it too deep and you'll hit it with the alignment tab on the strut.

You'll need your buddy back for the next step, with the floor jack ready. Use a pry bar to clear the three ball joint bolts of the control arm. With the spindle assembly swung outward use a 6" 3/8 extension to tap the axle free from the hub. If it's stuck and you need to really hammer on it initially used the axle bolt so you don't accidentally damage the threads.

With the axle out and swung forward out of the way you're free to drop the spindle from the strut. Be careful this is where that friend with a floor jack comes in. Set the jack high enough to rest the spindle, brake, and hub assembly on without tension on the brake like and abs wiring.

Just unbolt the three 13mm strut mount bolts from up top and remove the strut.

Torque Specs
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f99kqqmv66pryib/AAA5LM_C4H6x4l56StzU9YO9a?dl=0&lst=
 
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GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Here's the most hacked part of this job by way too many people (shops and the dealership included)

NEVER use an impact to remove or install the top nut of the strut assembly! It'll damage the strut by spinning it way faster than it was ever intended to spin! The correct way doesn't take long. Here's the poor mans way, but they do sell a special tool that does the same thing.



Install your spring compressors carefully (here's your chance to use that impact gun). Hold the strut shaft with a 8mm Allen wrench long ways thru a 13/16 spark plug wrench. Turn the spark plug wrench flats with another wrench (21mm Or a 13/16 I believe)


Caught my buddy's big ol belly in there for you haha



Make sure you also use the spring compressors to install the new springs. While they're shorter and you can hold them down far enough to seat the strut mount you'll be fighting the spring and that's no fun. Esp since mk7 strut mount and bearings have an alignment tab previous models didn't have. Also in this pic you can see what tools we used better. Yes that's a bottle opener I used to hold the Allen key for leverage ha...whatever's handy

Reverse the process for install, but be careful not to mess up the order.

Quick tips:

Be sure to have the brake line and wiring on the outboard side of the strut!

Have help to align the axle once the strut in installed and you're ready to pop it back in. The 3/8 6" extension can help a lot.

Hold the brake to the floor again to torque the axle bolt, but wait till the pinch bolt and ball joint are installed and torqued to avoid damaging anything.

Don't rush! Double check everything so there's no mysterious clunks or rattles on your test drive.
 
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GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC


Well, everything I just typed about the rear install just disappeared...so I'll make it short and sweet.

Disconnect the sway bar end links (16mm & triple square), lower shock bolt and lower control arm to spindle bolts (18mm). Support the LCA with a jack coming apart and going together to safely overcome the spring pressure.

Swap out springs and spring pads and re-install

Any questions or concerns ask away and I'll do my best to clarify. This was my first mk7 suspension install and took about 4 hours total. I've done dozens of mk2-6 along with other car brands and trucks so factor experience into judging how much time you'll need. A few weeks ago I rolled my front fenders with a slight pull...not required with stock wheels but the fender screw mod is the minimum I'd say just to be safe. Just another step you may want to do ahead of time or while it's apart.

I hope this helps someone out, thanks for reading
 
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TecklenburgVW

Go Kart Champion
Location
Saint Cloud, FL
I haven't had a chance to read the entire post, but thank you for posting this. I'll comment more later; at work right now.

Sent from my SPH-L720T using Tapatalk
 

rockyp

New member
Location
Charlotte NC
I just did mine, and i have to admit, i was uneasy at the end because the fender gap was way off. The back was like 1 finger. The front was probably 2 fingers, plus. But then I remembered to go get a proper alignment - $109 at the local place. Looks PERFECT now. Don't forget to get the alignment... it's amazing how off all that stuff gets...

Thanks for the post!
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Good advice, just make sure the springs settle before you get your alignment. I held off a few extra miles since I was about due for tires anyway. Replaced the stock'er with Firestone Indy 500 and love them.
 

daujin_mk7

Go Kart Champion
Location
PA
Car(s)
2016 GTI DSG
Thanks for the write up. Gunna be doing this when the winters over

Just curious, whats that decal you got? Any meaning?
 

Mother

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Orlando, FL
2X4 method FTW.

Also, spring compressors definitely aren't needed for removal of the stock springs on the GTI and weren't needed for the install of my Eibach springs (this could vary depending on the design of the aftermarket springs you're putting on).

Some of the hardware removed is one time use hardware and should be replaced. There's plenty of details on this in other threads, but bare minimum (if you do the 2x4 method) is the pinch bolt and nut and the front strut bearings.
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Thanks for the write up. Gunna be doing this when the winters over

Just curious, whats that decal you got? Any meaning?

Not sure what you’re talking about? There’s a BFI sticker on the rear passenger window

2X4 method FTW.

Also, spring compressors definitely aren't needed for removal of the stock springs on the GTI and weren't needed for the install of my Eibach springs (this could vary depending on the design of the aftermarket springs you're putting on).

Some of the hardware removed is one time use hardware and should be replaced. There's plenty of details on this in other threads, but bare minimum (if you do the 2x4 method) is the pinch bolt and nut and the front strut bearings.

Well considering at least half of the people here screw up the front mount and bearing install not fighting the front springs while doing so is definitely a plus.

As for the super sketchy 2x4 method, this isn’t the thread for that...as the title and thread indicates.
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
As for the super sketchy 2x4 method





 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I’m not watching the videos, I have zero issue doing this job the way I did it in a few hours. 2x4 method can be your thing it’s not mine

I wrote this to help people. If you don’t want/need help or perfer the 2x4 method more power to you
 
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