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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Anyone have any real-world experience with the different sway bars, struts, springs and coil-over kits available?

1. Swaybars - BSH makes a gorgeous looking 27mm rear bar and links, but no front bar. WTF? H&R makes two sizes of front/rear bars, sold as a pair, in F-26/28mm, R-22/24mm. Any opinions about installing just a rear bar (RWD suspension tech vs. FWD tech)? My prior experience w/ H&R replacement springs on street cars has been positive.

2. Struts - Bilstein's vs. Koni (Bilstein is the gold standard for German cars. Koni's were always externally adjustable. Both are rebuildable). Any quality competition for these two european strut builders?

3. Springs vs. Coil Over's - Clearly, coil over's have the edge with their adjustablility. Anyone have any comments on ride quality and general jitters or low/high speed stiffness?

Any comments would be appreciated!
 

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I don't know if they make them yet for this application but I found Koni FSD to be very comfortable and yet sporty. They react to frequency and stiffen some valve or something. The wheels are a big part of the suspension/handling/comfort too.

Coil overs are generally tuned towards sporty driving and are stiffer. I've heard the VW driver springs are comfortable. It's also tricky to find a good speed shop that can set them up correctly. They should be corner weighted for best results.
 

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I will contribute even though I only have experience with the Bilstein shocks on my Mercedes. I liked them. I had the HD shocks paired with Eibach springs and developed a leaky shock after about 7-years. There is a lifetime warrant, but I decided to get 4 new Bilstein Sports instead of having one new rebuilt HD shock and waiting for the replacement. The Sports were good too. On the Mercedes, I always wished I went for the H&R springs, even though the Eibachs worked out fine for me. The H&R were supposed to be sightly stiffer and slightly lower on that car and somehow I felt like I would have liked them better.

For the VW, I am considering H&R or Bilstein coil overs. I don't want just springs and shocks, because I'm concerned about not getting a symmetrical drop. Why take a chance, considering fine quality coil overs are available with adjustment? You can get it just the way you want it. The PSS10 Bilstein looks good, but pretty expensive and I don't think I need the adjustability. I'm thinking the H&R Street Performance coil over would be good for me. I wish I knew that the H&R coil over used Bilstein shocks. There was a time when they did, but I'm not sure that is true now. I know some kits for some other cars noted that the H&R coil overs had Koni shocks. Certainly nothing wrong with Koni, but I wanted Bilstein shocks. That may push me toward the more expensive Bilstein PSS10, but then I will wonder who made the springs. It is a little confusing, but maybe either would be fine. They both have lifetime warranties, although that is just for the parts. Labor isn't cheap unless you do it yourself and you likely have to wait to get the rebuilt parts replaced. That wouldn't be fun.

For swaybars, I can't imagine anything other than the H&R bars. They have the teflon sleeves, so hopefully no squeaking. I had squeaks on the Mercedes from the polyurethane K-MAC eccentric bushings. The squeaks can become annoying. I have also heard that maybe just the bigger rear swaybar is enough for these cars, since they are so far balanced to understeer in OEM form. I have also read that maybe you don't need to mess with the bars at all if you get good coil overs. I would likely do one thing at a time, just to be able to recognize how each change contributes.

All that said, I'm pretty happy with the car the way it is. First I'm planning to go to a slightly wider and taller 235/45/17 tire. I already switched to a slightly wider wheel with a lower offset. They are 17 x 7.5 ET47 instead of the 17 x 7 ET54 Porto. My wheels are now closer to being flush with the fender lips, although there is still room for the larger tires. I thought the Portos were too far under the car, but I didn't want any poke and I didn't want to have to run smaller stretched tires. That seems silly to me. I like big wide tires. After tires, I may try the coil overs, since I do like a firmer ride and a little lower looks very cool to me.
 

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Anyone have any real-world experience with the different sway bars, struts, springs and coil-over kits available?

1. Swaybars - BSH makes a gorgeous looking 27mm rear bar and links, but no front bar. WTF? H&R makes two sizes of front/rear bars, sold as a pair, in F-26/28mm, R-22/24mm. Any opinions about installing just a rear bar (RWD suspension tech vs. FWD tech)? My prior experience w/ H&R replacement springs on street cars has been positive.

2. Struts - Bilstein's vs. Koni (Bilstein is the gold standard for German cars. Koni's were always externally adjustable. Both are rebuildable). Any quality competition for these two european strut builders?

3. Springs vs. Coil Over's - Clearly, coil over's have the edge with their adjustablility. Anyone have any comments on ride quality and general jitters or low/high speed stiffness?

Any comments would be appreciated!
I've got the 28mm H&R front. It's a bit on the stiff side, even on the soft setting, which is where I have it (almost 3x the stiffness of the stock bar). I'm also running the BSH 27mm rear and it's a good bar, but the bushings squeak. Even greased, they start to squeak after a bit. I didn't get the links. There's really no point. I've got my coil overs dialed in pretty firm because I like that ride quality. If you set them about 20% softer, they'll give a nice ride. I swapped the springs out for H&R on mine because the stock spring rates were WAY to soft under my JSW.
 
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