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Install Coil-Overs

When Ride Quality and Handling Matter

Yvonne Liu
Jan 1, 2001

Suspension was something once linked to bridges and being bad at school. By now, you’re probably less experienced at being forced to stay home from school, and more familiar with suspension and how it works on cars (We hope.—MAX). Perhaps you are even thinking of upgrading the stock suspension system on your MRyde with aftermarket springs and shocks or even a coilover system. If you own a VW or Audi, you are probably well-acquainted with Advanced Motorsport Solutions (AMS), the exclusive importer of Abt Sportsline products for North America. Located in Costa Mesa, California, AMS is dedicated to bringing the best of Europe to the States, offering expert advice on applications, installations, and tuning.

With ride quality and handling primarily on our minds, we headed down to AMS for the installation of Abt coilovers on a 2000 VW GTI 1.8T. Sure, you may think it’s just another coilover installation, but it was the first ever performed using Abt coilovers on a Mk IV Golf here state-side, and MAX was there to bring it to you.

If you want to lower your car, there are several ways to go about it. It is all too common to cut springs to lower a vehicle, but that may cause the suspension to bottom during travel, blowing the valves and ruining the shocks. Since cutting springs is not recommended, a better option would be installing shocks and springs designed to lower the car a specific amount while increasing spring rates. This will also reduce the likelihood of bottoming out. Keep in mind that the shock absorber must be compatible with the spring rates (The amount of effort needed to compress the spring.—MAX) in order for the whole system to work effectively and efficiently together.

A coilover system replaces the stock springs and shock absorbers with threaded body shocks, allowing ride height and weight distribution adjustments to be made with minimal effort. The replacement spring keeps the tire in contact with the road by providing a resistant force to road imperfections that increases as the spring compresses. Because the spring minimizes chassis upset, it allows the tire to maintain its contact patch through acceleration, braking, and turning in conjunction with the shock absorber. The shock absorber has a twofold mission: to dampen vibrations of unsprung mass and to control the return motion associated with the rebound travel caused by the spring.

The Abt coilovers are lightweight and TUV-approved, utilizing spring rates optimized for the GTI. The front springs are progressively wound, meaning they allow for the spring rate to increase as the springs are compressed, while the rear’s are semi-progressive. The front shocks are adjustable for both height and dampening, working both in compression and rebound. As a result, the coilover system allows the front to be adjusted by 30 mm, while the rear was lowered 25 mm.

Unless you are proficient in German, you can order the parts and follow along with our installation, since, for the time being, the coilovers themselves come packaged with Deutsche-only instructions. We do, however, recommend you go to a professional to ensure proper installation and alignment of tires once the coilovers are secured in their new environment. Happy suspension tuning!

By Yvonne Liu
17 Articles

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