On a typical et project, this part of the build would ordinarily have been the first, but Project 2.slow is a little different to most of our cars. Pulled from a barn and suffering from years of neglect, the '95 Golf Sport was in need of more than just upgrades; it needed to pass inspection and get on the road first. And because of this, we decided to get the engine in good order, so added the intake, exhaust, chip and cam in the first two installments.
The results have been fantastic for such a high mileage motor. As you may recall, we ended up with 20% gains over stock, finishing up at 115whp and 120wtq.
Now comes what we consider the real fun-factor for Project 2.slow, although we have to add it's for safety as well: suspension and brakes. After all, we're never going to win many stoplight grand prix with only 135 crank hp, so we'll have to make up time in the turns.
On the track, Project 2.slow has to be David to the many turbocharged Goliaths out there. And if the car looks sportier with a more aggressive ride height to accompany the sharper handling, then so be it.
The Parts The main elements for this transformation would be coilover suspension and wheel spacers from FK Automotive, brakes from EBC, plus wheels and tires from Discount Tire Direct.
FK Automotive and NGP Racing stepped in to fix our ride-height and suspension problems with FK's Powertec Sport Edition+ adjustable coilovers. Featuring FK's exclusive six-sway adjustable dampers and UV-approved lowering from 55-85mm, it would bring the Mk3 down from the nose-bleed section, while also sharpening the handling immensely.
NGP recommended VR6 spring rates to maximize performance, and assured us the ride would be acceptable. Since the car will be pulling double duty as a daily driver and occasional track use, the ability to adjust the damping should come in handy.
The stock brakes were so rusty we got tetanus looking at them, so contacted EBC Brakes for some Ultimax BlackDash slotted rotors and Redstuff pads. Both are a direct replacements, with the EBC rotor design said to create less noise than average slotted discs, yet still provide the benefit of cleaning the pad surface and better "bite". The pads are a low dust, kevlar/ceramic material with no metal fibers. There are different grades available but use on project cars such as our Jetta TDI has shown them to be very reliable.
Last but not least, we needed fresh wheels and tires to take advantage of these improvements. So we contacted the experts at Discount Tire Direct, who supplied a set of sharp-looking and lightweight Drag DR-16 wheels. We opted for a small 15x7'' ET40 size with a bronze center and polished lips. They mounted 205/50 Falken Ziex ZE-512 tires and shipped them to us. These would provide a larger contact patch, allow the car to sit low without us having to drop the coilovers all the way down, as well as providing a more comfortable ride.
Wheel offset is critical for the proper look, so FK stepped in with its aluminum wheel spacers. We went with 8mm up front and 20mm in the back, yielding an effective offset of ET32 front and ET20 rear from the DR-16's stock ET40 offset. These were the icing on the cake for 2.slow's aggressive new attitude. However, it should be noted we rolled the fenders slightly to avoid most rubbing with this set up. It still rubs at the rear on larger bumps but we could raise the ride height to overcome it.
The Results While our engine upgrades had provided more power and a great sound, the improvement in vehicle dynamics from our chassis mods has transformed 2.slow! The FK Powertec coilovers are what you'd call taut and sporty, but is by no means abusive. The shocks are set to '4', which seems to be the best balance of control and comfort for the street. With stickier tires, a higher damper setting could be used.
Speaking of which, the Falkens work very well for being a high performance all-season offering, rather than a dedicated summer tire. They provide good traction in the dry, have proved themselves in the wet especially, and although their snow performance isn't anything to write home about, we haven't gotten stuck yet...
The braking is also hugely improved, thanks to EBC and NGP Racing's Jesse James Dalton, who handled all of the installation.
The pads took time to bed-in properly, but now work well even when stone cold. Watch out as you get more heat in them - the Redstuff pads provide immense stopping power over standard and resist fade during spirited driving, so should do well in autocross.
Note Check tire clearance on the coilover perches. Don't over-tighten the perches when locking the ride height into place. Check the wheel bolts after 100 miles or so. Have the alignment done as soon as possible.
Note Check tire clearance, check the wheel bolts after 100 miles or so, always check tire pressure regularly
Note Additional parts required include rear wheel bearing kits, caliper piston compressor, new 13mm caliper bolts all round. When supporting the rear of the car, don't use the rear beam pivot points, as it can shift when the car is lifted or lowered. Follow EBC's bedding-in procedure
FK Powertec Sport Edition Plus coilovers - $899.99
FK 4x100 8mm wheel spacers (pair) - $49.99
FK 4x100 20mm hub-centric wheel spacers (pair) - $79.99
Drag DR-16 15x7" wheels (with install kit) - $462
205/50 R15 Falken Ziex ZE-512 tires - $248
EBC Brakes Ultimax BlackDash front rotors (pair) -
EBC Brakes Ultimax BlackDash rear rotors(pair) - $135.95
EBC Redstuff front pads - $79.95
EBC Redstuff rear pads - $66.95
Warning Never work under a vehicle unless it's properly supported on a lift or on jackstands with a secondary support in place.