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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had 3 different setups on my mk5 (well, mk5 GTI and mk5 Rabbit).

Both cars were stock when I bought them. The mk5 was actually fairly comfortable, though the 18" wheels probably contributed to a sharp initial "thwack" but the shocks felt like they were properly tuned.

Then, I tried VWR springs and Autotech, and those were excellent. It really soaked up a lot of smaller bumps at highway speeds like no other. Street driving was a bit choppy and the bigger bumps at highway speeds would almost jolt you out of your seats, but for minor bumps they were flawless.

Sold the car, bought a Miata, and then came back to the VW fold.

The mk5 Rabbit I bought had blown shocks, so I replaced them with the stock mk6 GTI setup. For some reason, it didn't matter if I hit a big bump or a smaller bump--it was all equally unpleasant.

I saw Koni Yellows on sale, so I swapped out the shocks, so now I had mk6 GTI springs and Koni Yellows with mild rebound settings (closer to full soft than midway), and while it made the smallest bumps good, the larger bumps were progressively worse.

See below chart--the Y-axis refers to comfort, with 10 being very comfortable to 0 being not comfortable at all. X-axis refers to size of bump (0 being perfectly smooth to 10 being one of the bigger bumps in the road)



What can I do to get something that can handle smaller bumps? I'm already on 16" wheels and factory tire pressure settings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stock ride isn't "harsh", like I put on 2" drop springs on stock shocks 60k miles ago, but it feels like what I would imagine the stock ride to feel like if I put on 19" wheels in place of my 16". I feel everything and doesn't feel like the shocks and springs are working in harmony.

The Autotech/Sachs monotube and VWR springs were the only setup where it felt like it was designed for that car. Bigger bumps were of course felt because springs were stiffer and probably not as much travel as stock. I'm almost tempted to put on Bilstein B6 with my stock springs in place of the Koni Yellows and accept that bigger bumps are gonna suck. Bigger bumps already suck with the Konis compared to stock.

The chart really describes it all. Konis are slightly more comfortable for small/medium bumps and bigger bumps are definitely harsher than stock. Stock ride is just mildly crap over every and any imperfection. Autotech/VWR was magnificent over smaller bumps but the big bumps were not handled that well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
been doing some reading online, sounds like monotubes are better at highways but worse at city driving. My Konis aren't that comfortable around city, so I'm probably going to go with Bilsteins if I swap it out.

The question is--stock springs with B6 or the B14 (non-adjustable) PSS coilovers? I don't need to go low, I'll probably leave the B14 at their highest settings (maybe dial in a little bit of reverse rake).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update, got Bilstein B6 and Superpro rear trailing arm bushings in. Slight increase in noise across uneven (in texture, not bumpy) pavement probably due to having solid poly bushings there (all other bushings are OEM, including new S3 bushings for the front control arm).

The Bilsteins definitely feel better. The bumps are still felt with the same magnitude, but it feels like they are better absorbed. The bumps felt 'sharper' under Konis but not as much with the Bilsteins. I have no idea what the guys at Autotech were doing with the Sachs dampers, but those were so smooth.

Ride height is a little higher with the Bilstein, but I'm going for utility not looks. I really do wish the OEM solution offered better ride quality, even if it meant worse handling. I'm completely happy with the handling side of the equation on all the setups I've tried, just wish there was something that wasn't so bumpy.
 
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