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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have an 8P A3 3.2L VR6, but since not many people do much to their A3's, I figured I'd share this over here too.

I've been playing around with different control arm bushings for awhile now (referencing the front lower, rear position bushing, with the aluminum bracket), and just wanted to share my experiences. I've now tested the basic Golf MK5/6 and A3 2.0T bushings, the S3/A3 3.2L/R32 bushings, and finally the RS3/TT bushings. For reference, I run low mileage OEM S-Line struts, Eibach lowering springs, 034 spherical rear trailing arm bushings, and 034 rear sway bar.

Wow...what a difference these different bushings can make in terms of handling and especially turn-in.

The basic Golf/A3 2.0T bushings (1K0199231J / 232J) are horrendous in terms of performance and handling. They have 4 voids in the rubber, allowing for massive deflection and movement. The advantage is a less noise transmitted, less nvh, and noticeable smoothing out of sharp edges, but that is about it and the ride quality isn't really all that much better compared to the S3 (in fact I found them worse).

The S3/A3 3.2L/MKV R32 (1K0199231K / 232K) bushings are a big upgrade in performance and handling over the J version. They have only 2 voids instead of 4 in the rubber, which causes much less deflection and movement. They create a more connected feel with the steering and the road surface, but more NVH is indeed transmitted, although still minor. I personally found these to be MORE comfortable on the highway than the J version since there is less dive during undulations in the road surface. Turn-in was increased significantly in the twisties, as was maintaining traction through a sustained corner.

The RS3 bushings (1K0199231N / 232N) are by far the most superior in terms of performance and handling. They are fully solid with no voids, allowing for almost no deflection or movement. The advantage is drastically improved turn-in traction (even over the S3), much less wheel hop and dive, and improved reaction time from high speed steering input. I did not realize a simple bushing could improve things quite so much. The RS3 brackets/bushings share the same rubber bushing with the TT-RS, etc, but the A3/MK6 uses a side specific aluminum bracket versus the TT which has a single bracket for both sides. You can press the bushings out of the TT versions and use the A3/MK5/6 brackets, or you can purchase the bushing on it's own for significantly. However, the bushing is only available in Europe, and shipping can be quite expensive and take quite a long time. I had a friend bring me back some from Germany, where they are $6-$7 each, but some places offer them for about $40-$60 a pair. :D

I have personally not tried the Whiteline or the Superpro WALK, and I also don't really feel this is the correct way to address the geometry changes the car experiences when lowered (spindles and control arms should be done IMO. But this is just about the OEM choices out there, and I've also seen the OEM RS3 bushings take a serious serious abuse (far more abuse than I could ever deliver).

Golf/A3 2.0T


S3/A3 3.2


RS3


TT/RS3 bushing from FEBI, part number 33973
 

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regarding the rs3 part, did you notice a difference in ride quality, from the s3 part as you did with the golf 4 void bushing?

Also, which stock strut are you using. the "1T0....CF" or the "1T0.......EL" version? (my early 06 3.2 A3 came with CF's)
 

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Nice post, OEM parts bin has some cool interchangeable parts. I've added a hot climate auxiliary radiator.

I run slicks on track which chunked my WALK kit, I'm a rare case though, most wouldn't have issue. I now use powerflex 80 durometer bushings in the WALK housing which has worked well for me.

I like your choice for street since they're rubber and not poly which should last a lot longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
regarding the rs3 part, did you notice a difference in ride quality, from the s3 part as you did with the golf 4 void bushing?

Also, which stock strut are you using. the "1T0....CF" or the "1T0.......EL" version? (my early 06 3.2 A3 came with CF's)
The ride quality difference was definitely more noticeable from the Golf bushing to the S3 bushing, than from the S3 to the RS3. This was why I was so surprised that the handling was that much better with the RS3 solid bushing, since the ride quality wasn't that different I didn't expect handling to be much better from S3 to RS3.

The biggest difference in ride quality would be that you just feel and hear the road more, and sharp edges are definitely felt a bit more.

I cannot remember which struts I had originally, but I believe I'm now on the EL? I'll have to doublecheck.

Nice post, OEM parts bin has some cool interchangeable parts. I've added a hot climate auxiliary radiator.

I run slicks on track which chunked my WALK kit, I'm a rare case though, most wouldn't have issue. I now use powerflex 80 durometer bushings in the WALK housing which has worked well for me.

I like your choice for street since they're rubber and not poly which should last a lot longer.
Seems plenty of people are doing fine with them, but I'm not a big fan of poly, and yeah I was referring specifically to pretty severe track abuse. I've got another track weekend in January and since these bushings are so easy to swap, I might start with the S3's on Saturday and move to the RS3's on Sunday. I haven't done quite that aggressive of a back to back comparison.
 

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Very cool comparison. Thank you.

For those who may have tried, how do the RS3 bushings compare to spherical bearings in terms of ride and NVH? I've been thinking about the H2sport bearings but thought they might be overkill.
 

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Very cool comparison. Thank you.

For those who may have tried, how do the RS3 bushings compare to spherical bearings in terms of ride and NVH? I've been thinking about the H2sport bearings but thought they might be overkill.
I can say H2sport bearings are worth it! its pretty clear when you install the difference between frictionless bearing and the LCAs resistance to vertical travel caused by the rubber busings. In terms of N/V/H yes there are minor minor minor differences, but I would be willing to bet a passenger would have no idea if they were installed or not. I am picky when it comes to NVH, which is why I won't do engine mounts or poly insets - that give you an idea of the level of NVH I would expect from a mod.

Overall well worth it, esp. when combined with passat Alum. arms/spindles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would be more into a spherical on the front of my suspension if I had Ohlins DFV's or TTX's; none of the cheaper coilovers or stock stuff is controlled and dampened enough for me to enjoy the free movement. And while I love sphericals for my track cars (my A4 is 100% on sphericals, not a single rubber bushing remains), on this chassis I think it would be a bit much for me personally. But that is only based on my opinion I've formulated from these bushing tests, and thats why I mentioned I have stock struts so it can be quantified.

With proper suspension, you can really take off the harshness of the sphericals, but without $4000 coilovers, having sphericals in the front is a bit too harsh for me. Although I of course love the accuracy.

I run sphericals in the rear, which I love, but there is much less load there.
 

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I would be more into a spherical on the front of my suspension if I had Ohlins DFV's or TTX's; none of the cheaper coilovers or stock stuff is controlled and dampened enough for me to enjoy the free movement. And while I love sphericals for my track cars (my A4 is 100% on sphericals, not a single rubber bushing remains), on this chassis I think it would be a bit much for me personally. But that is only based on my opinion I've formulated from these bushing tests, and thats why I mentioned I have stock struts so it can be quantified.

With proper suspension, you can really take off the harshness of the sphericals, but without $4000 coilovers, having sphericals in the front is a bit too harsh for me. Although I of course love the accuracy.

I run sphericals in the rear, which I love, but there is much less load there.
are you running the H2Sport spherical kit on the rear? or which company did you get them from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
are you running the H2Sport spherical kit on the rear? or which company did you get them from?
I run the 034Motorsport rear trailing arm bushings, it was one of the very first upgrades I did, along with the rear sway bar. I've got 22,000 miles on the bushings, no clunking or anything.
 

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I'm looking to rebuild my suspension in the next 2 weeks. I have struts and i need to get new control arm bushings on my MKV r32.
What would you recommend doing, if I would love to have better turn-in and a long lasting set up?
Would the S3 or RS3 bushings make a difference with OEM suspension?
 

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OP #1 answers .... in plain english; paragraphs two, three and four.

swimsalot -
Post #1 paragraphs 2,3 & 4.

edit/delete text. "What would you recommend doing, if I would love to have better turn-in and a long lasting set up? Would the S3 or RS3 bushings make a difference with OEM suspension?"
 

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FEBI part number 33973 (TT/RS3 version) bushing ordered Amazon.de 18.00 Euro ea.

Raacerx thanks for the well written menu of LCA bushings choices. Amazon.de wouldn't ship part #33973 to the states and neither would Amazon.co.uk, although Amazn.co.uk would ship stateside the complete FEBI RS3 bracket/bushing part numbers 33971 and 33972. The pair shipped was about $78 USD Ended up with shipping to our Germany address and will start a care package intended for ATL once full. Suspension enhancements here we go .....
 

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Raacerx thanks for the well written menu of LCA bushings choices. Amazon.de wouldn't ship part #33973 to the states and neither would Amazon.co.uk, although Amazn.co.uk would ship stateside the complete FEBI RS3 bracket/bushing part numbers 33971 and 33972. The pair shipped was about $78 USD Ended up with shipping to our Germany address and will start a care package intended for ATL once full. Suspension enhancements here we go .....
Thanks for the heads up! I just ordered these :thumbup:
 

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Sorry to bump an old thread, but has anyone had any luck purchasing the Febi #33973 RS3 bushings from here: http://www.micksgarage.com/proddetails.aspx?pid=1451234&pk=beb54?

When I get ready to do coilovers in the fall I want to replace my control arm bushings too as I see they are starting to wear/crack. Thanks:beer:
they all come from euro sources, and many of those sites are not maintained it seemed when i was dealing with it. i ended up getting them direct from germany via ebay iirc (could have been amazon) and they showed up fast. so, you can get it done. or i can send you mine. i ended up using powerflex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If anyone wants a set of the TT-RS bushings with a set of mounts to put them in, PM me. Sold my A3.
 

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I have been researching this and it looks like ECS tuning has what appears to be the RS3 rear bushing/mount for $250 - S3CAKT. It is confusing because they call it the "S3" mount but it has no voids in the rubber (it is hard to tell from the pic on the site, but I ordered these and there are no holes in the rubber). They also have a "heavy duty A3 sport" mount S3CAK that looks like what everywhere describes as the S3 mount with what appears to be 2 holes in the rubber, going for $150. I was concerned about NVH but decided to go with the no-void mount, hoping it won't be too bad. I've always gotten some bad wheel hop in my MkV GTI so hopefully these will help (plus at 110k mi the originals are shot).
 
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