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Perfectly balancing the GTI into a Grand Tourer

tigeo

Autocross Champion
Because this thread is about building a better Grand Tourer, and a car that's tighter and quieter feels nicer.

That would be a great question for someone building a more track-focused car. But even if it doesn't reduce lap times, it increases the responsiveness of the car, makes it feel tighter, and reduces creaks -- all of which make the car feel nicer and like a better Grand Tourer, which is the goal here.
I've thought about getting the rear hatch brace for sure for my wagon which has a much larger ass than you hatch guys but then I loose functionality...but I suppose you can remove it. Always honeslty thought these were ricer mods..hahahah.
 

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
Talking of X braces..the best design doesn't exist & I would have to get one specially fabricated.....

Basically drill though the body the bolt holes for the top damper mount....use longer bolts & nuts & make a custom bracket & bar to join the two damper tops together...then triangulate from the mid point of the horizontal bar down to the tops of the springs or a suitable rear subframe mounting body....again drill through the body & use longer bolts/nuts & custom bracket on the inside.

Make it so that the brackets inside are bolted solid....but have a rose joint connection to connect the bars to the brackets allowing quick-ish removal...like the Tyrolsport MK5/6 ones...
 

tigeo

Autocross Champion
I'd also consider sport springs (Eibach, H&R, VW Driver Gear) to be a grand tourer type upgrade with a bit of modest drop to the car while maintaining a firm sporty ride that isn't harshw when combined with sport dampers.
 

MrTSI

New member
Location
Canada
Car(s)
2018 GTI 6MT
#1 reason is that they were cheaper. #2 It really didn't feel all that different on the softer setting. I wasn't going to use the firmer settings. Friend of mine has the B16 on his wagon.

The standard valving on the B14 feel pretty good for street and spirited driving. If you're looking for even more "street-able"...the Evo S...I think has softer springs in the front. and some different valving.
I dug up the TUV certificate for the EVO S to compare to the B14. Totally different front spring design. Thicker wire but wider coils, so they work out to be about 10% softer. Rear springs are almost identical.
More significant is that the front dampers are twin-tube in the EVO S whereas the B14 are monotubes.
Rear dampers, however, are monotubes in both EVO S and B14, but are different part numbers.
EVO S also allows for slightly less lowering versus B14.
Overall the EVO S definitely looks like a more street-focused setup while retaining the stiffer rear to make the handling more neutral. I will definitely have a closer look when my shocks are due.
 

Attachments

  • TUV EVO S.PDF
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  • B14 TUV.PDF
    2.5 MB · Views: 26

tigeo

Autocross Champion
I would even go for a GTI sportswagen, since Audi killed the 3 and 4 wagons other than the hideous and underpowered Allroad. I would trade the GTI for an S3 wagon in a second.
A lot of us with Sportwagens did just that....built what we couldn't buy.
 

golfdave

Autocross Champion
Location
Scotland (U.K.)
Car(s)
Mk7 Golf GT Estate
A lot of us with Sportwagens did just that....built what we couldn't buy.

Exactly....

In UK & Europe there is a big gap in engine power in 2WD unless you go for Skoda or Seat, & AWD only in top end "R" petrol (no manual made) or go for diesel engines!!

If they made a manual R I would have bought one, or if they fitted the stronger MQ350 gearbox to the 1.8lt petrol that would have been good, especially if they offered it in other trim specs & not the L&K..!!



In the UK & Europe the higher end trim & engine range for estates:-

GT trim UK, (Highline in Europe) (2WD)
Petrol 1.4lt 140PS (upgraded to 1.4lt 150PS then the 1.5lt 150PS EVO) manual & DSG
Diesel 2lt 150PS manual & DSG

GTD trim, UK & Europe (similar trim spec to GTI as sporty diesel) (2WD)
Diesel 2lt 184PS manual & DSG

Alltrack trim, UK & Europe (AWD) (jacked up suspension & rough road type trim)
Diesel 2lt 150PS manual only
Diesel 2lt 184PS DSG only

R trim, UK & Europe (AWD)
Petrol 2lt 300PS, DSG only (hatch is manual & DSG)


In the UK & Europe the MK7 Golf MQB platform Skoda Octavia MK3 estate higher end trim range for estates:-

'Laurin & Klement' UK & Europe (2WD) (this trim spec has only one seat type/colour, poo brown leather seats with fixed headrests)
Petrol 1.8lt 180PS manual & DSG (manual is limited to 250Nm torque as fitted with same weak MQ250 gearbox as 1.4lt/1.5lt petrol MK7 Golf)
Diesel 2lt 150PS manual & DSG
Diesel 2lt 150PS (AWD) DSG only

Scout trim, UK & Europe (AWD) (Basically Alltrack)
Diesel 2lt 150PS manual only
Diesel 2lt 184PS DSG only

vRS trim, UK & Europe (2WD) (Basically GTD/GTI)
Petrol 2lt 220PS manual & DSG
Diesel 2lt 184PS manual & DSG
Diesel 2lt 184PS (AWD) DSG only

There is also Seat in the UK & Europe with the MK7 Golf MQB platform Seat Leon ST MK3 estate which is similar in its trim/spec range as Skoda. Basically better than VW again! However interior trim quality/feel etc is down a couple of grades compared to VW, even with the same features fitted using the same behind the facia electronics!!
 
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mrmatto

Autocross Champion
Location
Jacksonville, FL
Car(s)
2024 GTI DSG
I wanted to provide some updates on this thread. I have since moved on to a Mk8 GTI. Some notes since I'm still doing the make-a-GTI-a-GT-car thing. I think many of these notes could easily apply to the Mk7.

Suspension and Ride Quality
The Mk8 has a stiffer suspension and it uses lighter components and upgraded bushings. You would expect this combo to ride more harshly and be counter to my goals, but it actually rides better. I find the ride quality to be very similar to my Mk7 upgraded with the Koni Special Active dampers. However, I will likely still upgrade my Mk8 to the Konis at some point because they're so good.

Wheels and Their Effect on Ride Quality
I "upgraded" to lightweight 17" wheels (Sparco Assetto Gara) because the stock 18's are super uggo. I like the look and I like the extra sidewall. However, although lightweight wheels respond more quickly to inputs and improve the ride over larger bumps, they also are more susceptible to out-of-balance vibrations and small bits of road texture. This can make the ride feel busier at times. In the future, I will probably swap in some VAG OEM 17" wheels that are heavier for that reason. Lighter wheels have a benefit at the track and at autocross, but honestly they are not needed for a daily driver or tourer IMHO. With lighter wheels, a very good wheel balance is required. Note on that below...

Getting a Good Wheel Balance
One major challenge I've experienced with this combo (stiffer suspension + lighter components + lighter wheels) is getting the wheels balanced so I don't have a vibration on the highway. I tried 3 different wheel/tire combos and balanced them multiple times, and all were vibrating. I was convinced I had another issue with this car like a bad hub or even a bent axle. But after some reading and helpful input from others in this community, I was able to get this resolved:

In general, Hunter Road Force balancing is the way to go for most cars to get the best ride. However, most shops use a setting called "Smart Weight." This is designed to save shops money (by using fewer weights and taking less time) by setting a threshold of allowable out-of-balance force that the machine thinks won't be noticeable. This threshold is typically 18-20 lbs. Guess what? This amount of road force is totes noticeable. So, I insisted the shop get all wheels below 10 lbs road force (this is the same threshold Honda and Toyota use on some of their newer cars) and it worked! My car rides much better now.

(FWIW, I didn't have this same balance challenge in my Mk7, so I think it's this combination of stiffer suspension + lighter components + lighter wheels that made it more sensitive.)

Having a smooth ride over long distances is a key element of a good GT car, of course. Insisting on a better balance isn't something I thought I would have to do but it turns out it can make a difference.

Overall Mk8 Impressions
The Mk8 has a lot of things going for it that fits into my goals. The improvements are iterative, not transformative. A little quieter, less wind noise, more stable at high speeds, a nice power bump, a responsive suspension, a calm interior (I personally like the infotainment stuff), comfortable enough, and nice quality-of-life assistants (ACC, travel assist, BSM). The seats are different from the Mk7, which I was unhappy about at first. But as they've broken in, I've decided it's both good and bad. It's just trading one thing that gets sore on a long drive for different thing that gets sore on a long drive. Such is life in your 40s, apparently.
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I still miss my little red Mk7 every day though 🥹
 

avenali312

Autocross Champion
Location
Mableton, GA
Car(s)
2015 GTI
In the future, I will probably swap in some VAG OEM 17" wheels that are heavier for that reason.
Great writeup!

This is one of the reasons I went with an OEM wheel (well, that and I knew they would work with the spacers I already owned from my MKV). That extra weight does seem to feel better on my daily, especially when paired with the "sport" steering setting. The standard steering setting on the MK7 felt way too light for me. My MKV was hydraulic powered, so the MK7 was my first electronic steering car. These changes make the MK7 feel just like my MKV, which I did prefer at first.

The Lagunas from the MK6 on my car are the typical spec of 18x7.5" ET51 (spaced 10mm in the front and 15mm in the rear) and come in around 24 pounds, so kind of in the middle compared to a lightweight wheel and some of the heavier OEM options in this size.

But yeah, I love the ride of my car with the above setup, OEM springs (could be a touch lower for cosmetic reasons), and the Koni Special Actives, but you know that already haha. I recommend those things whenever I can.
 

MrTSI

New member
Location
Canada
Car(s)
2018 GTI 6MT
Interesting write-up.
In the summer, I run 17x8 Fast F04s ET45 with Conti DWS06+ in 235/45R17 on my 2018 base GTI.
The FC04s are flow-formed, exact fit, and quoted at 16.2lbs apiece. I got them mounted and balanced at my local dealer with no issues.
Compared to my winter setup of Michelin Xi3 on the OE 17s, I find the FC04s and Contis play rather better with the stock suspension. Sharper response and better road feel, as might be expected from the tire switch, but also better response to bumps and a more settled overall feel. In the winter, I'm always plotting to upgrade my dampers or my entire suspension but once I put my summers back on, I suddenly don't hate it anymore.
 
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