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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went down to Santa Cruz tonight on the 17. Was kind of excited to try the GTI on it. Ended up being pretty disappointed. I was white knuckling it the whole way, but it was pretty scary, and I was getting tail gated and passed by crossovers and minivans. I remember driving my 2003 Focus through there, and it was slow, but it handled it great. So now I'm like, does the GTI suck, or did I just turn into a giant wuss? Tires seemed to be gripping fine, but it just felt hard to control, and of course the steering was giving me nothing, so I never really felt confident. It felt kind of unpredictable. Maybe it needs an alignment or something, but it tracks perfectly straight, and there isn't any uneven tire wear.

2016 S 2 door, 6mt. All stock. 47k miles. Brand new set of ContiExtremeContact Sports.

So now I'm like, should I throw $3-$4k into suspension upgrades, or just trade for the Civic SI or GR86...

My buddy says he loves taking his E46 325i through 17, but my mk7 just wasn't that much fun.
 

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The factory struts on the GTI are only good for 40-60K miles. Yours is 6 years old with 47K miles - I bet your struts need replacement. I bet you’d love it with B6, rear sway bar, and a fresh alignment.
 

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I don't know the I7, I'm on the east coast, but my stock suspension (2018 SE 6MT if that matters much) is plenty stable. It blows me away how confident it feels at speed and in the twists. It's not you, the steering shouldn't be vague at all. I've got Pilot 4S tires with about 100 miles on them, 25K on the car.

I do like the GR86, rear drive would be nice! But the torque curve on the GTI is perfect and the VAQ shines.
 

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The factory struts on the GTI are only good for 40-60K miles. Yours is 6 years old with 47K miles - I bet your struts need replacement. I bet you’d love it with B6, rear sway bar, and a fresh alignment.
Agree. 40-60k might even be generous for the stock el cheapo dampers.
 

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Can anyone help educate me: strut and damper replacement. What would lead one to believe its time to replace those, and can someone learn me the purpose of the two.
In addition - for those with adaptive suspension (DCC), how does that factor into the equation?
 

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If tires really are that new, they might need more time to settle in. Brand new tires can be a little slippery and squirrelly at first.
Probably smart to take it easy for the first few hundred miles.
 
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And btw upgrading tires on worn suspension doesn’t mitigate the effects of the worn suspension - it brings those effects out. Was certainly the experience I had on my MK7 GTI with AS3’s and my Alltrack with AS4’s. In both cases my car drove, or at least felt worse after I upgraded to quality tires on stock, worn suspension. Basically forced my hand on suspension upgrades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I do like the GR86, rear drive would be nice! But the torque curve on the GTI is perfect and the VAQ shines.
Yeah but mine doesn't have the VAQ :(

Alright, so B6s sound good - I don't really want to lower it - and the rear sway I've reading about for a while, so that sounds good. What about aluminum subframe and Superpro / Whiteline arms? Anything else I should do while I'm in there? Balljoints?
 

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Conti tires are the only ones I've actually returned (Discount Tire chain lets you do this). They are awful. While I don't think they are the primary source of your problem, they certainly don't help.

BTW I have 73k miles on my 2016 and if the struts are blown I sure haven't noticed anything. This thread is the first I've heard about such a short lifespan for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Conti tires are the only ones I've actually returned (Discount Tire chain lets you do this). They are awful. While I don't think they are the primary source of your problem, they certainly don't help.

BTW I have 73k miles on my 2016 and if the struts are blown I sure haven't noticed anything. This thread is the first I've heard about such a short lifespan for them.
Really? I've always liked Contis, but I've honestly never tried a Michelin Pilot of any kind. I know the Contis are supposed to have a softer sidewall, but I agree, I don't think they're my problem. It never felt like I was anywhere near losing grip. It was just that steering inputs seemed to produce wildly unpredictable body motion when I was pushing the speed limit through the turns on highway 17. On the way back, I went at or below the speed limit, and it felt nice and planted. But I just couldn't help feeling confused that I was having such a tough time on the way in, when a Honda Odyssey and a Subaru Forester both passed me as if it was nothing at all. I constantly felt like I was about to over-correct and lose it, even though the tires were staying glued.
 

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Really? I've always liked Contis, but I've honestly never tried a Michelin Pilot of any kind. I know the Contis are supposed to have a softer sidewall, but I agree, I don't think they're my problem. It never felt like I was anywhere near losing grip. It was just that steering inputs seemed to produce wildly unpredictable body motion when I was pushing the speed limit through the turns on highway 17. On the way back, I went at or below the speed limit, and it felt nice and planted. But I just couldn't help feeling confused that I was having such a tough time on the way in, when a Honda Odyssey and a Subaru Forester both passed me as if it was nothing at all. I constantly felt like I was about to over-correct and lose it, even though the tires were staying glued.
Yeah I tried the Contis - IIRC the same as yours - and was alarmed how soft they were and how imprecise/non-sporting this made the driving. I do run the Michelins (Pilot Sport A/S or whatever) and those are a great compromise of ok wear, decent ride, handling precision, and (first half of life) grip (I'm too cheap to replace them when the grip falls off, but it's noticable esp when you get new set after the old ones). Like I say, very possibly if not likely not your only issue, but IMO they are contributing.

17 is a hairy road btw with the combo of speed, narrowness, heavy traffic, so I totally get feeling uneasy if everything ain't right!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
But see, I always ran Continental's on my 2003 Focus with the SVT suspension kit on it, and I drove that through 17 a few times and it was fantastic. I had the white 15 spoke Ford Racing wheels with the ContiExtremeContact DW, which I think was replaced by the Sport. I think it was a 215/45r17. They felt great. Previously I had some other tire that came on the car, which was a 205/40r17, don't remember the make and model, and it handled fine, but I remember my hands becoming numb after long drives on the freeway, so I definitely appreciated the softer sidewall on the Contis. I'll read some more reviews, but a lot of them that I've seen so far seem to suggest that the Michelins are a little better, but the Continentals are better in the rain and maybe wear a little better, and I kind of like that trade-off. I think I'm gonna go ahead and get those Bilsteins and a 24mm rear bar and see what that does.
 

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But see, I always ran Continental's on my 2003 Focus with the SVT suspension kit on it, and I drove that through 17 a few times and it was fantastic. I had the white 15 spoke Ford Racing wheels with the ContiExtremeContact DW, which I think was replaced by the Sport. I think it was a 215/45r17. They felt great. Previously I had some other tire that came on the car, which was a 205/40r17, don't remember the make and model, and it handled fine, but I remember my hands becoming numb after long drives on the freeway, so I definitely appreciated the softer sidewall on the Contis. I'll read some more reviews, but a lot of them that I've seen so far seem to suggest that the Michelins are a little better, but the Continentals are better in the rain and maybe wear a little better, and I kind of like that trade-off. I think I'm gonna go ahead and get those Bilsteins and a 24mm rear bar and see what that does.
Interesting, well then it's probably not the tires then. Carry on and good luck, be sure and update thread once you f around some (result: finding out LOL).
 
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