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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello.
New to the forum.

Got a 2003 GTI VR6 a few months ago and it's in desperate need for a suspension refresh, shocks, struts, lca bushings, balljoints, the works..




A pic of my SUV..

Don't get me wrong, i'ts not looks what im after, it's a sporty ride that will match my "spirited" driving style.

Some low will be nice, but nothing that will compromise comfort, since it's my daily driver.
After searching for some time, got to a few conclusions..

That the refreshing will include good quality parts and some improvement over stock parts, like TT bushings, and new gen rear axle bushings..

That i'm too old for coilovers,,I get the idea and i wish i had the time to track my car, but i don't..

That the type of improvement i'm looking for is going to cost me..the question is how much?

Soo, reading and reading.. and..
H&R oe sports on koni orange? A pic of this setting with some personal reviews will be apreciated.

H&R sports on koni orange? Will the shocks rebound this springs?

H&R on yellows? Is it worth the extra $ for a daily driver?

Some pics and reviews of this systems will be defenetly apreciated..

Btw, I;ve been searching for a while, and thats how i got to this options.. Other options are available, but based on general reviews the konis are softer than bilsteins and still responsive to rebound a stiffer spring, H&R will give me that european ride feel that i'm looking for without making my car too stiff to daily-use, that the gap on my wheels looks like hell..but this springs will somewhat help to close it a litle.

Any help to make me deside will be very apreciated, and if i'm wrong please feel free to reply.

Thanks
 

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I'm on H&R Sport / Koni yellows myself, and it is a definite improvement. I'm with you on the spirited driving vs. low thing - I get it. I did OE bushings on fresh LCA. In retrospect, since camber gets thrown off, the TT mk1 LCA / ball joint / spindle upgrades should have been obligatory for me. Keep in mind that your camber *will* be off, so those TT parts and / or camber plates may be something to budget for if you see excessive tire wear. A rear sway bar will help reduce understeer - I like my Neuspeed bar very much. My yellows are on 75% stiff rear, 50% stiff front, or the other way around - I set them up over a year ago, and the RSB is on the middle setting. You'll have to find what works best for you with this setup if you go that route.

That being said, the Koni FSD shocks / struts might be a good option, if a little more spendy.

And I'm no expert, this has just been my experience, and lots of research here on vortex. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you ifpiehadeyes, that's exactly the kind of review i was looking for!

And that's exactly what I'm trying to avoid: reengineering the whole car just to go low..
From this, I understand that there isn't any room to adjust camber in the stock suspension to fit springs that will lower the car any more than a mk4 "sport" susp, is that right? (correct me if i'm wrong).
If so, since it's not a second car that i have for fun, but it's my daily, maybe i should stick with the OE sports? After all what i'm looking for is to reduce body roll, this car is HEAVY, it feels like a whale on skates next to the mk2..(again, some low is needed to close that gap in the back, it's suns away from the tire! Can you see the pic? Is that normal??)

And if i do go with the sports, what are the options for camber adjustment? (trying to stay in budget)..
About sway bars, I got the stock 23mm in the front, what size would you recommend to use in the back to complement the front one without making it too "tail happy"?

About the fsd's, they look nice, but there are so many good reviews on the yellows..actually I was looking for some real life reviews on the STR.t, just to see if the adjustability of the yellows was really needed in a daily driven car or the oranges will be good enough..

Again, thanks!
 

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I can't comment on the str.t, but I'm considering them for my sister's mkv jetta tdi - she just wants oe quality ride, so it *should* be a good fit. My father has a TT 3.2 that he wants to do suspension work on, and I suggested the FSDs, since I like my yellows so much, and he splits the difference - spirited driving, but wants comfort too.

As for the yellows with non-oe springs, there's a point where camber / caster is beyond what the stock parts can adjust for (1 degree via ball joints, afaik), so any lower *can* cause issue. That's up to your tires, etc. But others can tell you far more than I can on this subject. I personally went the camber plate route - Ground Control makes one of the nicest ones, and there's a member here who can get you a bit of a discount. They're not cheap, and the ride quality is definitely more harsh. I had issues beyond camber, so it was a one stop solution in my case, and I couldn't be happier. The overall comfort is harsher than stock, definitely not something everyone would love to drive, but when you hit that sweet twisty road...

I went with the 28mm Neuspeed rear sway - I liked the no drilling required, and many reviews here on build quality, etc. I also did the front 25mm, but it isn't necessary, but if you're dropping the subframe already for control arms etc., it may be something to consider. I find a relatively neutral feel with the setup now, and tweaking the Koni yellows I to further that only took a weekend or two, trading the car with a friend for feedback. Again, front sway isn't necessary, and would probably be easier to make as neutral as possible.

Beyond this, I can't say enough about how fun it has been to drive the car since I did the shocks, springs and bars a year ago. And living in a part of the world with some twisty, but less than perfect roads, I feel like that's saying something. I've even decided to further dial in the suspension with other things like the subframe bushings, rear unibrace, and the oh-so-controversial front strut bar.

I found the area with the most like-minded drivers was the autocross area - check there for more feedback. And consider some of their advice for dialing in the suspension. Regardless of what route you go, I hope you find what works for you - from the sound of it, Koni yellows / H&R sports or similar might be right up your alley. See if there's anyone local that has the setup that you could test drive. Take care, and good luck!
 

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Oops, forgot to mention, the rear on mine has always been a bit higher - even now too - so it isn't just you. It's even worse when I pull the back seats out (80lb+ weight loss!). I actually considered doing Ground Control sleeves & springs to level things out a bit - which is something to consider too, I suppose.
 

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While I don't know anything about the rear setup on these cars, if a higher back end indicates a higher rear roll center relative to CofG, then this in theory will help rotation. A higher rear roll center in this context - and outside of discussing anything else, helps to load the rear tires faster than the front while reducing steady state tire loading relative to the front.
 

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Suspension

I got my car used.
Has neuspeed redline drop springs on what seems to be stock sport suspension. Let me tell you, it sucks. My previous car had a strut bar front and roll bar rear on 18's and handled as nice if not better plus better everyday.
If you do the drop get a better setup strut and shock combo.
Also note that after some miles on these springs and oem sports, the struts and shocks are worn. They bounce all over the place.
I'm actually looking at the kyb adjustables and the non-adjustable srt.t orange because of price.
I believe the enhanced struts and shocks which are engineered for lowering springs would be the best for a budgeted everyday driver.
Coilovers are (to me) great, but over kill for an everyday driver, unless you drive the dragon or the gap everyday...
 

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I have had the H&R OE Sport/Koni Yellow combo on my '03 GLI for almost a year now. I think it is the perfect setup for a daily driver. Combined with a good set of tires (I use Michelin Super Sports, which are well worth the $$), it provides all the performance you are likely to need for reasonable use on the street, and is a capable starting point for novice track/autocross. The ride height to me is perfect - it looks as if it lowered the car slightly, but I never have any issues with city parking garages or steep driveways that would rip the euro spoiler off my SLC.

On the street, I don't think it needs any other upgrades to feel very neutral and controlled. On the track, it could benefit from a more aggressive alignment. I'm considering the Ground Control camber plates.

As far as ride quality, I just got done with a 1000 mile road trip from DC to upstate NY and back with my wife and 2 kids and got no complaints about the ride.

Wish I hadn't waited so long to make the upgrade. I was concerned about the total cost of the package, but it was well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies!
Has neuspeed redline drop springs on what seems to be stock sport suspension. Let me tell you, it sucks. My previous car had a strut bar front and roll bar rear on 18's and handled as nice if not better plus better everyday.
If you do the drop get a better setup strut and shock combo.
I know what you mean, last week I took a lowered 1.8 gti for a spin with bigger brakes and everything, but i guess it had stock shocks 'cause it bounced all over the place and felt like driving a tractor.. thats why I'm thinking of investing the money on shocks rather than low..

meboice
While I don't know anything about the rear setup on these cars, if a higher back end indicates a higher rear roll center relative to CofG, then this in theory will help rotation. A higher rear roll center in this context - and outside of discussing anything else, helps to load the rear tires faster than the front while reducing steady state tire loading relative to the front.
Sorry..don't know what you talking about:confused:

CorradoSLC
I have had the H&R OE Sport/Koni Yellow combo on my '03 GLI for almost a year now. I think it is the perfect setup for a daily driver. Combined with a good set of tires (I use Michelin Super Sports, which are well worth the $$), it provides all the performance you are likely to need for reasonable use on the street, and is a capable starting point for novice track/autocross. The ride height to me is perfect - it looks as if it lowered the car slightly, but I never have any issues with city parking garages or steep driveways that would rip the euro spoiler off my SLC.

On the street, I don't think it needs any other upgrades to feel very neutral and controlled. On the track, it could benefit from a more aggressive alignment. I'm considering the Ground Control camber plates.

As far as ride quality, I just got done with a 1000 mile road trip from DC to upstate NY and back with my wife and 2 kids and got no complaints about the ride.

Wish I hadn't waited so long to make the upgrade. I was concerned about the total cost of the package, but it was well worth it.

Corrado, actually your original post about this setup is what gave me the idea of going for the H&R OE SPORTS+koni sports..
I'm looking for the same purpose, a daily driver that is fun to drive..that "european feel", whatever it means..I guess it's the oposite of the old Cadillac feel haha..

But since your setup is on the heavier rear Jetta, I was considering the H&R Sports insted, just for the looks, after all I have to look at the car before I sit in it... And as you can see in the original post the gap on the rear is way bigger than on front, and putting springs that will lower the front more than the back..IDK..

And about the shock/struts..the only reason I'm looking at any other options besides the KONI SPORTS is my wallet.. Then the STR.Ts get in the picture..

So.. any more replies with more info about camber issues riding the H&R sports (pics are welcome too, to see if the rack will level a little ), and some replies on the STRts (damn economy!) will be greatly appreciated, maybe I'll make my decision this century....sorry, month.
 

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I had the same dilemma with my 2000 GTI VR6 GLX before I traded for the R32.

I mainly wanted to get rid of the float on the front end. The front stock shocks were too soft.

I exchanged some emails with the technical editor at European Car and his recommendation at that time was Neuspeed Sofsports springs with Koni Sport Yellows.

If you sort through all the Sticky FAQs in this forum, the consensus seems to be not to lower the MKIV more than an inch for best handling (which the NS Sofsports are a good choice).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So your advice is to sell the car and get the R32.....mmmmh... interesting.....:laugh:

Yeah, everybody's advice is to go for the koni sports, with any spring set i'll pick, and I understand why..
But since i'm thinking about adding a RSB while i'm doing the work, and I HAVE to rebuild some brake parts, i'm out of the budget, that's why i'm leaning towards the STR.ts.(about $300 cheaper)
I've been searching and there are a lot of mixed reviews about them..from diferent forums, including beemer's, mazdas and fords..
Some people swer that KONI found the perfect combination between performance and afordability, some say it's not a set to combine with lowering/stiffer springs and some say they're worthless..not even made by KONI!..

Is anybody familiar with the STR.Ts? Anybody using them with performance springs? MJM has them as packages with Eibachs pro kit springs, and H&R oe sports, and I think NS softsports too..all under $500.. pretty good deals...
Any experience with any of this combos?
 

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I know my advice won't help much now, however these are still a shock I am considering, and if I do decide to get them, I will def let you know my out come and thoughts.
As I indicated, I have neuspeed redline drop springs in factory sports, very bouncy and could use a stiffer strut/shock.
 

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i have H&R sports and koni oranges on my mk4 jetta vr6 and i love the way my car drives (i also have a "spirited" style of driving. i also have a black forest industries 25mm solid rear sway bar and H&R spacers. the spacers are 15mm and 12mm behind audi tt wheels which are also a little bit offset. for handling purposes i switched the spacers to the bigger ones up front and smaller in the back which to some on vortex is blasphemy. this makes the front track a total of 16mm wider than the rear and after the switch i think it complements my rear sway bar beautifully (i have the rsw set to its tightest setting for summer). my set up is a tad bit stiff and massachusetts bumps can be really jarring but its every day do-able (this is my daily driver). next im planning on changing out the control arm bushings for polyurethane or similar for some better steering feel... LOVE driving this thing.

i have a pic thread here of my setup: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?5756769-detailed-and-waxed-all-weekend-*pics*

i know it would look cool a bit lower especially in the rear but i already scrape my driveway sometimes and other things... its a good thing i invested in an aluminum skid plate :)

anyways, dont listen to the air(bag)heads! your VW will handle WORSE the more you lower it! looks arent everything
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
dedcorolla


i have H&R sports and koni oranges on my mk4 jetta vr6 and i love the way my car drives (i also have a "spirited" style of driving. i also have a black forest industries 25mm solid rear sway bar and H&R spacers. the spacers are 15mm and 12mm behind audi tt wheels which are also a little bit offset. for handling purposes i switched the spacers to the bigger ones up front and smaller in the back which to some on vortex is blasphemy. this makes the front track a total of 16mm wider than the rear and after the switch i think it complements my rear sway bar beautifully (i have the rsw set to its tightest setting for summer). my set up is a tad bit stiff and massachusetts bumps can be really jarring but its every day do-able (this is my daily driver). next im planning on changing out the control arm bushings for polyurethane or similar for some better steering feel... LOVE driving this thing.

i have a pic thread here of my setup: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...weekend-*pics*

i know it would look cool a bit lower especially in the rear but i already scrape my driveway sometimes and other things... its a good thing i invested in an aluminum skid plate

anyways, dont listen to the air(bag)heads! your VW will handle WORSE the more you lower it! looks arent everything

Ur car looks great! Perfect low and CLEAN!
I love black cars! But here in S Florida its like driving in an oven! Used to have a black MK3 and I had to turn on the AC 10 min before getting in it! I chose the silver for that reason, much better in sunny states..

Did you have any alignament issues with the H&R sports? Does it eat your tires unevenly?
How the STR.Ts compliment the stiffness of the springs? Any bouncing/rattling on small bumps?
Reliability wise, how are the shocks holding up? Any issues on installation?

About the LCA bushings, I don't know sh*t but from reading here, the choice for a DD is the TT/R32 rear LCA bushings, and it sounds logic, base on the natural movement of the LCa, polys will suffer more than rubber, and make it a high maint part, not a good idea for a DD..

My first choice was going for the H&R sports, but after reading about the lack of adjustability on the MK4 front susp. thinking I might have to invest in ways to align the car, either camber plates or different spindles, The "milder" springs came to mind, like the OE sports or softsports.. But your stance on the sports is just perfection, so here's another point for the H&R sports!..Your personal reviews on reliability and adjustability will help me a lot, if you don't mind..

And If I'm allready here.. What is the main difference (not technical, but personaal feelings point of view) between the progressive springs and the non progressive..?
 

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Ur car looks great! Perfect low and CLEAN!
I love black cars! But here in S Florida its like driving in an oven! Used to have a black MK3 and I had to turn on the AC 10 min before getting in it! I chose the silver for that reason, much better in sunny states..

Did you have any alignament issues with the H&R sports? Does it eat your tires unevenly?
How the STR.Ts compliment the stiffness of the springs? Any bouncing/rattling on small bumps?
Reliability wise, how are the shocks holding up? Any issues on installation?

About the LCA bushings, I don't know sh*t but from reading here, the choice for a DD is the TT/R32 rear LCA bushings, and it sounds logic, base on the natural movement of the LCa, polys will suffer more than rubber, and make it a high maint part, not a good idea for a DD..

My first choice was going for the H&R sports, but after reading about the lack of adjustability on the MK4 front susp. thinking I might have to invest in ways to align the car, either camber plates or different spindles, The "milder" springs came to mind, like the OE sports or softsports.. But your stance on the sports is just perfection, so here's another point for the H&R sports!..Your personal reviews on reliability and adjustability will help me a lot, if you don't mind..

And If I'm allready here.. What is the main difference (not technical, but personaal feelings point of view) between the progressive springs and the non progressive..?
Sadly there are a few questions i cant answer for you because i bought this car in may and the previous owner had done the majority of the mods within 1000 miles of selling it to me. but my last car was also a 2000 vr6 jetta but stock so i have something to compare to.

the springs and shocks were professionally installed and aligned so alignment is great... even after i installed spacers. havent noticed any uneven wearing but i havent really been looking for it. the car has such awesome grip that i havent even suspected anything would be wrong... im sure my tires would be better off if i had some kind of camber adjustment (there are a few ways to do that as im sure you know) and that would have its handling benefits as well.

the konis are a little bit stiff so on really crappy roads you get tossed around a bit but i think its worth it. theyre fine with normal roads they just dont take bumps too well. as far as reliability goes, they havent blown out yet so thats good. i did notice that the rubber ribbed dust covering on one of the front struts was cracking in some spots when i had the wheel off (so suspension fully extended) but i dont think itll be a problem.

the H&R sports are awesome... the OE sports will be way too stock looking. admit it, you know you want to go just a little lower :p

as far as adjustability, id go with camber plates. not only would you be able to dial in your camber, but youll be replacing the soft strut tops that further dampen your steering feedback.

for the LCA bushings, im also considering the r32/tt ones but im hoping to really tighten up steering feel so im leaning more towards polyurethane. i dont think you have to worry about deterioration so much but ive read that they squeak a little if you dont lube them up every now and then but if you have a tight suspension on a 10 or so year old car, youll probably be hearing squeaks and groans anyway. my rear sway bar bushings squeak, my interior creaks a little when im cornering hard (if my engine is quiet enough for me to hear it but it almost never is). my dash also vibrates when the clutch engages from 0 especially up hill but i have VF motor mounts to blame for that which is also great so i dont mind it.

you just have to figure out how much comfort youre willing to let go of in the name of spirited driving

also, check these guys out, really cool suspension components for mk4s: http://www.usrallyteam.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=76_208
their tubular lower control arms and camber plates caught my eye
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for your reviews!

S. Florida roads are in good condition, so a little stiffer suspension will be still bearable, the problem is the crazy amount of speed bumps!

the H&R sports are awesome... the OE sports will be way too stock looking. admit it, you know you want to go just a little lower
I wish I had another car to put the mileage on, so I could make this one my toy, and farkle it the way some members in this forum do, or play with it the way it deserves, track it or whatever, but it's not the situation, it stil has to be driveable, and reliable.

as far as adjustability, id go with camber plates. not only would you be able to dial in your camber, but youll be replacing the soft strut tops that further dampen your steering feedback.
Alignament wise, I'm not looking at an agressive camber that will eat the corners, but a straight stockish alignament that will keep my tires safe..

But if the H&R sports on a GTI aren't low enough to affect the camber too much, then perfect! Couse they look great, and the reviews are awsome!

My question about the difference between progressive springs like the NEUSPEEDS, and the non-progressive like the H&R is still pending, but I guess I'll be happy with any of them....

you just have to figure out how much comfort youre willing to let go of in the name of spirited driving
Not much:rolleyes:
I'm not expecting a $40K BMW suspension for a price of a bicycle, but I definitely don't want to throw away my money on something I'll hate in the future..
 

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Wow sounds like you and I have reached the exact same conclusions! I want a suspension that works for daily driving duties first, spirited driving on the road second, and a track day or two third. I want to maintain ride height and quality for real roads while making it a notch sportier than VW decided to from the factory. I've already gone for the ECS dogbone bushings and 034 Motorsport's Street Line motor mount set when I changed my timing belt and water pump (so worth it! Great combination, a tiny bit of steering wheel vibration at idle is the only tradeoff for much improved and a tighter front end, etc.) Now that my upper strut mounts are starting to groan at 78k miles it's time for my refresh.

Koni STR.Ts and H&R OE Sports with ECS Tuning's stage 2 refresh kit plus new Meyle OEM factory sport suspension bump stops and rear shock mounts. The whole kit and kaboodle looks like about $900 including the few specialty tools I'll need. I haven't pulled the trigger yet (need to buy a washer and dryer for the new place first, and sleep on it a little bit) but I've been evaluating my options for a couple years and this is what I'm thinking.

In my view this saves me from having to invest in sway bars too for driveline clearance (I'll have the option to do it later if I want more roll stiffness) and from, like you said, having to "re-engineer the car to be low". Plus with a VR6 you've already got a cast oil pan skimming 4 inches above the ground stock, how low do you want to be? The reviews for the OE sport I've read say "it's lower but not low enough to LOOK lower unless you're parked next to a stock GTI" which is perfect for that extra little helping of fender gap-killing without looking modified. My personal opinion is that MkIVs that are lowered just an inch and a half look a little too low...but that's subjective.

When it comes to linear vs. progressive spring, I'm of the opinion that, from a damping perspective, linear springs work better with fixed shock valving and suspension reviews I've read bears that out. Progressive springs feel softer on initial lean but you don't get the ride quality benefit you think you should because the dampers are asked to do different things in different parts of their stroke when they're not designed to.

My vote: go for it and tell me how it is! :p I think I'll be ordering stuff up in a few days myself.
 
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