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    Thread: problems with lowering (esp. oil pans).. NEW SCARE!!!

    1. 04-05-2002 01:29 AM #1
      it seems that a few people have experienced a major problem with dropping their MKIV's. I have a 2001 GTI and i was anticipating on dropping the car w/ bilstein shocks and either neuspeed race or H&R race springs. i was wondering what problems other have had with dropping there car. I saw that one of the cars that broke their oil pan was a jetta so i'm curious to if it's b/c of the added weight? i know this topic could better go in another forum but it seems to be a major concern of both mine and many other vortexers.

    2. 04-05-2002 01:51 AM #2

    3. 04-05-2002 10:20 PM #3
      I just founf out today that I'm gonna need a new oilpan. Apparently I hit it on something right where the drain plug is. I went for an oil change and they managed to get the bolt in there today but said that the next time I go in and they take out this bolt, they won't be able to get another one back in without stripping the threading and spinning the bolt. Therefore I have 3-5k miles to get money for a new oilpan, cuz I'm not dipping into my mod budget. Oh, and my Jetta is only dropped an inch and a half.

    4. 04-08-2002 07:05 PM #4
      only an inch and a half and you still busted your oil pan? what did u hit/run over and how fast were u going? i'm just trying to decide whether to go w/ a 1.5" or 2" drop w/ my GTI

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      04-08-2002 07:30 PM #5
      i'd personally go with a 1.5" drop for better handling, unless you want the gangsta look. but with anything, sh!t happens. my wife busted the aluminum one on our GLX passat a week after we got it. stock height. you just have to be careful. my oil pan is low, but i've never hit. knock on wood

    6. 04-08-2002 08:03 PM #6
      Listen people, anytime you have a lowered car, you should be careful on really bad roads. You shouldn't be speeding on these roads. I have an MkIV and it's lowered about 2" or more, and I have to admit that I've scratched the oil pan and other parts of the undercarriage, but I haven't busted anything yet. You just have to be a little more careful and drive more slowly on the really bumpy, bad roads...

    7. 04-09-2002 12:33 AM #7
      I didn't bust the oil pan, I merely scraped it. It was in the right spot and just enough to cause the threading to become oblonged. It's a real pain in the a$$ but theres not much to be done now.
      And by the way, the lower the car the BETTER the handling. 2" has it over 1.5" any day. The reason I went w/the lesser drop is because I live around chicago which is notorious for potholes and crap roads. I didn't want to mess my oilpan, but yeah... Also, I'm planning on 18" rims and I don't want that ghetto look. I have H&R's on Bilsteins and it handles great. I must have gotten used to it over VW's stock sport susp. cuz I find myself wanting more. The next susp. mod is gonna have to be a rear adj. sway bar from Neuspeed. I have the strut bar, and yes you can feel a difference in the responsiveness of the steering. Once again it comes down to what works for you. Certain mods might give you the "ultimate" in performance, but sometimes that's not what you need for your situation. So evaluate what you want and how much of your ride quality you are willing to sacrifice to gain prowess on your daily driver. Cuz lets face it. None of us 20-somethings have the bank roll to hook up cars like the MK4's strictly for race use.

    8. 04-09-2002 03:59 AM #8
      Ha, my friend with a G4 VR6 broke his oil pan even before it was lowered.

    9. Member AGRESIVE's Avatar
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      04-09-2002 06:50 AM #9
      quote:
      And by the way, the lower the car the BETTER the handling. 2" has it over 1.5" any day.
      Oh, do you ever need some schooling!!! Do some research before giving out advice like that, someone who doesn't know any better may actually follow it.
      http://www.srsvw.com/page5.htm


      [Modified by AGRESIVE, 3:35 PM 4-9-2002]

    10. 04-09-2002 09:51 AM #10
      quote:
      And by the way, the lower the car the BETTER the handling.
      Another member of the "even tho I don't really know what I'm talking about, I'll keep posting untruths anyway" club. Welcome!

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      04-09-2002 04:18 PM #11
      i have my car now SLAMMED and I had my old 2L SLAMMED, never a problem with the oil pan. i mean, i wouldn't let my girlfried take the thing over train tracks or up steep driveways or anything without me in the car with her. just gotta PAY ATTENTION when your driving. With that being said, i'm gonna order myself an oil pan as I just jinxed myself

    12. 04-10-2002 12:31 AM #12
      OK man, and you Dmkozak, you're both about to get schooled. If you would have paid closer attention to what you were reading in that post of yours, it clearly states that lower suspensions ARE infact better ONLY if the springs are significantly stiffer and able to support the body roll, and if you are using struts designed for shorter travel. This again goes back to what I said in my post, as supported by your link. I am saying, like they do in their article, that real word driving is a different story than the ideal smooth track, with no bumps or potholes scenario. So the setup on YOUR car's suspension should be set up accordingly. Ask yourself why winning race teams use coilovers with drops more than only an inch and a half. They can afford to do so, cuz they don't drive on streets like we do. Anyone with any sense knows that a car with a lower center of gravity has better handling than a car which is higher, just like a car with a wider wheelbase will handle better. What your little article was talking about, was what normally happens in the boyracer japanese market. People slamming their cars with only springs and not compensating for the travel of the lowered suspension by upgrading to the right shocks/struts to the corresponding application. So like I said before, 2" is better than 1 1/2", but maybe not for a daily driver. So before you start criticizing my knowledge, and my common sense, I suggest you address your level of reading comprehension. Class in now over kids.
      P.S.- Here is a direct quote from your link, "Most people assume that radically lowering the car will improve the handling because it lowers the center of gravity-This would only be true if you could alter the suspension geometry to match the new ride height."
      I beleive this sums it up. Let me put it in terms that the two of you can understand. Lower car need stiffer spring and shock to makey better. If not, tight ride go become loosey.
      Next time you do your homework and save me some time proving you wrong.


      [Modified by Pimpovic, 5:48 AM 4-10-2002]

    13. Member AGRESIVE's Avatar
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      04-10-2002 01:27 AM #13
      Happilly withdrawn, thanks Ian.


      [Modified by AGRESIVE, 8:47 AM 4-13-2002]

    14. Member Daemon42's Avatar
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      04-10-2002 02:39 AM #14
      During high laterally loading (going around corners) a car leans not over the
      contact patches at ground level, but around something called the roll center, a
      point in space which is determined by how all the various suspension parts move
      relative to the chassis. A car with double wishbone suspension can be designed
      with the roll center at the CG, below it, or even above it (the car would lean into the turns).
      The tendancy of a car to lean is determined not by how far the
      CG is above the ground, but how far the CG is from the roll center.

      That is a simple statement of fact. Look it up, if you don't believe me.
      Here's the problem. When you lower a car with MacPherson struts (our cars)
      the roll center lowers farther/faster than the CG. So if at the stock height the
      roll center is 4 inches below the CG, when you lower the car 2" the CG
      drops 2" but the roll center drops say 6". The actual tendancy of the car
      to lean during cornering then increases. To counter that tendency you need
      MUCH larger springs. Not namby pamby 300-400lb springs but
      500-600lb race springs. Are you willing to run 500lb springs on
      your street car?
      The reason MacPherson strut equipped cars have this problem is
      because the angle of the lower A-arm relative to the chassis changes
      as you lower the car. Lower too far and the arm tilts
      the wrong way, lower on the chassis side and higher on the strut side
      and the rolling of the car has a greater mechanical advantage on the
      strut causing it to compress the spring easier as the weight
      shifts to the outside. That change in geometry is what changes the
      roll center.
      It has other negative side effects too. At the stock height, the
      lower A-arm is higher on the chassis side, and lower at the hub.
      When the suspension compresses under cornering the arm moves
      both up toward parallel with the ground, and because it pivots
      on the car side, the outside end moves out a little as well. That changes
      the angle of the strut itself pushing the bottom out, causing a bit of added
      negative camber relative to the static position. That is a good thing,
      especially for our front heavy cars.
      You want the added negative camber to give you better laterally grip
      as the car leans and as the tire sidewalls roll over a bit. (Race tires
      can compensate for decreased negative camber by having stiffer/higher outter
      sidewalls.. see R1s.. )
      As you lower the car moderately the A-arm starts out parallel to the ground
      and now with suspension compression during cornering, the arm swings
      through the part of the arc where there is no change in camber. That'd
      be fine if you could totally eliminate body lean while still having usable
      suspension travel (you can do this with a double A-arm suspension but not
      with a MacPherson strut). But because you're lowered, you're eating up
      your suspension travel and are liable to run into the bump stops at which
      point your suspension STOPS WORKING completely.. You're no longer
      "suspended".
      If you continue to lower, you experience the problems above, but
      in addition now the A-arm is above parallel so you have to dial in
      lots of static negative camber, and ANY suspension compression causes
      the arm to swing up and back inward tilting the bottom of the strut inward
      as well causing a positive camber change. A positive camber change
      during hard cornering is *NEVER* desirable. The tire is leaning
      the wrong way. So add it all up; the roll center lowers faster
      than the CG, so the car actually wants to lean more, you have less
      suspension travel so that lean causes you to come down on the bump
      stops causing instantaneous weight transfer, and you push into positive
      camber, all of which decreases your lateral grip, sometimes suddenly.
      There is actually a way to fix a lot of these problems, and it's
      called a drop spindle. Basically you drop the car with springs, decreasing
      the distance from strut top to wheel, but then the hub has a lower A-arm
      attachment point that sticks down below normal. That allows
      the actual geometry of the strut and lower A-arm to remain the same
      but the car to sit lower. Another way to picture it is if you leave
      the stock looking strut in place, and simply moved the hub
      that the wheel attaches to upwards. That lowers the car keeping
      everything else the same.
      The bad news.. They don't make drop spindles for our cars. Period.
      Lowering an 25-35mm (1-1.5") won't cause great harm (1.5 is pushing it).
      Going below that is for looks only unless you're running on a race track with
      3 degrees of static negative camber, 500 lb springs and race rubber.
      ian


      [Modified by Daemon42, 1:08 AM 4-10-2002]

    15. Member Daemon42's Avatar
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      04-10-2002 05:14 AM #15
      BTW, I've been wanting to do this for a while.
      Here is a diagram I created showing the negative camber change that occurs
      during suspension compression of a MacPherson strut. The red lines are in the car chassis
      frame of reference and are fixed. The lower strut, wheel and tire all maintain a
      fixed relationship to each other and the only parts that move are the spring, upper
      perch, and lower A-arm, and the angle of the strut relative to the chassis changes.

      It's not too hard to see that once the A-arm angle goes much above this point, the
      camber will start to go back positive. I'll make a diagram showing that next,
      and then perhaps I'll work on one that shows why the roll center drops
      faster than the CG. If you want to think about it some, imagine if the A-arm angle
      were at an extreme angle up or down, and a lateral load was applied from
      the right to the left on the tire. If the arm is way down, it would cause
      jacking, and if it's way up, it basically collapses the suspension.
      ian




      [Modified by Daemon42, 3:31 AM 4-10-2002]

    16. 04-10-2002 07:59 AM #16
      Ian, I'm definately not disputing that you know your stuff. Also, I will admit that you know a lot more about the issue than i do.
      quote:
      Lowering an 25-35mm (1-1.5") won't cause great harm (1.5 is pushing it). Going below that is for looks only unless you're running on a race track with
      3 degrees of static negative camber, 500 lb springs and race rubber.
      Isn't this what I've been saying all along?!!!! It's not practical for us on streets, but it can be made to work for race situations. That is clearly why I said, evaluate your own situation. I also made it a point to say that most of us can't afford to have a MK4 strictly for the track.
      And now that that is settled, I do hope to see you all on the track. It's always fun to run what you got even if it's not perfect. Let's face it, we're all constricted by a budget.

    17. 04-10-2002 12:45 PM #17
      Please keep the diagrams coming!!!!

    18. Member 98GTi-VR6's Avatar
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      04-10-2002 02:19 PM #18
      Wow Ian!
      That was probably one of the best explanations on how lowering a car affects suspension geometry that I can remember. Good job man!
      -Costas

    19. 04-10-2002 04:33 PM #19
      I love this site, thanks Ian!
      J-F

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      04-10-2002 10:13 PM #20
      you folks just need to take it eazy around bad serfaces,go over speed bumps sideways and things like that
      Great topic

    21. Member Andy GTI's Avatar
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      04-11-2002 09:21 PM #21
      Thank you Ian.
      Your info makes a good case for the eibach pro kit.
      Thanks for helping me make my mind up.
      Andy [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]


      [Modified by Andy GTI, 2:21 AM 4-12-2002]

    22. 04-15-2002 12:01 PM #22
      anyone else have any problems??? and can someone simplfy what is going on? i just want to know if lowering my car is a bad idea? and from that ellaborate explanation it appears to be.

    23. 04-15-2002 04:30 PM #23
      quote:
      OK man, and you Dmkozak, you're both about to get schooled. If you would have paid closer attention to what you were reading in that post of yours, it clearly states that lower suspensions ARE infact better ONLY if the springs are significantly stiffer and able to support the body roll, and if you are using struts designed for shorter travel. This again goes back to what I said in my post...........
      Next time you do your homework and save me some time proving you wrong.
      At least you've recognized that some people, like Ian, may know more than you about this subject. Now let's review your cognitive skills. Nowhere within your post do you mention the words spring, springs, stiff or stiffer. I read your post, and I responded to your post. I appreciate the clarification, but, still lower, even with corrected spring strength and length, and dampening factors and length, doesn't automatically give you better handling. Many other factors contribute to handling besides vehicle height.


      [Modified by dmkozak, 9:31 PM 4-15-2002]

    24. Member Pooz's Avatar
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      04-15-2002 08:05 PM #24
      I want to purchase the VW/Eibach springs tomorrow (and also purchase the Eibach Dampers). Anyone experience problems with any undercariage issues on NJ roads?

    25. 04-15-2002 11:03 PM #25
      I guess I wasn't clear enough in my explanation. Sometimes I seem to forget that a better explanation is necessary. Anyways I love my setup and I'm happy that I went with the inch and a half drop. Hower I do want the car to corner a bit flatter so I want to get the adjustable rear swaybar. Any advice/comments? Here around the Chicago area they can never seem to fix the roads right and with my setup, in certain corners the car will bounce and sway due to bumps in the road in the middle of the turns. I wish that the roads were perfect cuz that would make it easier to diagnose exactly what needs to be done and possibly make up for such problems. Either way it that same old situation where I've gotten used to my mods, and now I want more.

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