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    Thread: Poor high speed handling

    1. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 12:38 PM #1
      My 2016 GTI base 6 speed with 225-45/17 wheels and factory Continental tires which has around 3,000 miles on the odometer has very poor directional stability when travelling at higher speeds. Accelerating from 50 to 80 mph on straight, good freeway type driving produces very unsatisfying squirming. The car feels very unstable, I am wondering if this factory 17" wheel tire combination is not sufficient for the power the GTI generates?

      We have a 2015 Jetta 1.8 Tsi, 5 speed manual and a BMW 325is which both have the same size tires but are extremely stable at all speeds. Could changing to the 225-40/18 fix this problem? Car is fine with aggressive low speed driving, just bad on the freeway and just while under acceleration. Has anybody else experienced this and are there any ideas as to a cure?

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    3. Member Aktunka's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:02 PM #2
      I dunno. For me I have felt that the car feels a bit squirrely under those same conditions. But I chock it up to it being FWD with that level of power and responsiveness in a smaller car. This is with the 225 40 18 or even 235 40 18 tires.

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      03-03-2017 01:03 PM #3
      Check your alignment? That's the usual culprit for squirrelly behavior at speed.

      That said, OEM all-seasons and "highway steering stability" rarely go hand-in-hand, so tires with stiffer sidewalls may help (much more than changing wheel diameter, IMHO). Regardless, if you are used to a longer-wheelbase car, then any car with a shorter wheelbase will feel less stable on the highway. That's just physics at work. The shorter-wheelbase car is also more fun in the twisties, so it's a trade-off.
      Last edited by the_phew; 03-03-2017 at 01:10 PM.

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    6. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:20 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by the_phew View Post
      Check your alignment? That's the usual culprit for squirrelly behavior at speed.

      Yup check alignment and tire pressures. My car dead solid above 70mph.
      No twitchiness or instability at all.

    7. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:26 PM #5
      This GTI is near new with only 3,000 miles, alignment and wheel balance are fine, no pulling or shimmies, running 35psi cold, as I mentioned, low speed twistys are fine but after owning many VW's and BMW's the highway instability is very pronounced. I was curious about the 225-40 /18's as they would have a stiffer sidewall and may obviate the problem. Everything else about the car (except the clutch delay valve) is pretty perfect.

    8. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:30 PM #6
      Possibly summer performance tires such as Michelin Pilots in the same size may cure this problem, I just want to research a little more before investing in the 225-17's or 225.40 / 18's. Just to make the right choice only once, thanks.

    9. Member cydewaze's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:33 PM #7
      This sounds like tramlining to me. This is especially noticeable on vehicles with wide, low-profile tires, and when you're on a highway with a worn surface, usually from the weight of semis or other large trucks. The weight of the trucks cause the pavement to sink, resulting in a sort of "W" cross section. Since the track of your Golf is narrower than the track of these large trucks, one or both of your wheels will run on the cambered surface between the ruts, which causes some steering pull. The annoying thing is when the car wanders one way, and the tires move across the camber, the pull can switch directions, making the car feel like it's hunting around on the pavement.

      I'm willing to bet the effect will be less if you drive on a newer, less rutted road.

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      03-03-2017 01:43 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by cydewaze View Post
      This sounds like tramlining to me. This is especially noticeable on vehicles with wide, low-profile tires, and when you're on a highway with a worn surface, usually from the weight of semis or other large trucks. The weight of the trucks cause the pavement to sink, resulting in a sort of "W" cross section. Since the track of your Golf is narrower than the track of these large trucks, one or both of your wheels will run on the cambered surface between the ruts, which causes some steering pull. The annoying thing is when the car wanders one way, and the tires move across the camber, the pull can switch directions, making the car feel like it's hunting around on the pavement.

      I'm willing to bet the effect will be less if you drive on a newer, less rutted road.
      Good theory, except the other two vehicles the OP mentioned (Jetta and 325i) have a similar track width as the Mk7, and don't exhibit the problem.

    11. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:55 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by cydewaze View Post
      This sounds like tramlining to me. This is especially noticeable on vehicles with wide, low-profile tires, and when you're on a highway with a worn surface, usually from the weight of semis or other large trucks. The weight of the trucks cause the pavement to sink, resulting in a sort of "W" cross section. Since the track of your Golf is narrower than the track of these large trucks, one or both of your wheels will run on the cambered surface between the ruts, which causes some steering pull. The annoying thing is when the car wanders one way, and the tires move across the camber, the pull can switch directions, making the car feel like it's hunting around on the pavement.

      I'm willing to bet the effect will be less if you drive on a newer, less rutted road.
      Hi. Roads here on the left coast are pretty good, my BMW 325is with Eagle F1 tires tramlines BADLY, this is very different, only occurs under hard acceleration at highway speeds.. You just reminded me how bad the BMW is with the F1's

    12. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 01:56 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by kilby1 View Post
      This GTI is near new with only 3,000 miles, alignment and wheel balance are fine,.
      Have you had it actually checked?

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      03-03-2017 02:21 PM #11
      I have the same issue on a '16 with 6500 miles. I've found that putting the steering in Sport mode at high speeds makes it feel a bit more controlled.

    14. 03-03-2017 02:31 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      Have you had it actually checked?
      ^^^^this

      I had to have my brand new sportwagens wheels balanced. motortrend had a brand new GTI they need to have wheels balanced and even axles replaced or something. Being new doesn't mean alignment and wheel balance are 100%.
      '17 GTI Sport

    15. Member thegoose's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:33 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by minster View Post
      I have the same issue on a '16 with 6500 miles. I've found that putting the steering in Sport mode at high speeds makes it feel a bit more controlled.
      I'd echo this. Definitely less squirrely in Sport.
      Quote Originally Posted by GoForBroke View Post
      i can't brain right now. i gots the dumb.

    16. 03-03-2017 02:35 PM #14
      I have the TSI Golf but feel the same way as you.

      I identify with this review (while very positive) about the steering:"Interestingly, this particular car tends to wander a bit on the highway, especially between 65-75 MPH. Whether or not it’s a consequence of cool temperatures and accordingly stiffened all-season tires has yet to be seen, but the amount of steering correction needed at speed feels a bit unnerving."

    17. Member cydewaze's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:38 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by kilby1 View Post
      Hi. Roads here on the left coast are pretty good, my BMW 325is with Eagle F1 tires tramlines BADLY, this is very different, only occurs under hard acceleration at highway speeds.. You just reminded me how bad the BMW is with the F1's
      Sorry to dredge up bad memories! I work at the US Dept of Transportation, so whenever I read things like this, it's what I think of. I used to get quite a few emails about it from people wanting us to fix the roads, but that's the state's job, not ours.

      Hope you figure it out!

    18. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:45 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      Have you had it actually checked?
      No, not been put on an alignment machine, it tracks so well at steady speeds that I'm pretty confident that it would spec out fine. This is just a problem with hard acceleration on good highway surfaces with no ruts and a 75 mph speed limit (120km/h)

    19. Junior Member kilby1's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:46 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by thegoose View Post
      I'd echo this. Definitely less squirrely in Sport.
      Thanks, I have the car in "Sport" setting all the time, feels best.....

    20. Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:49 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by kilby1 View Post
      No, not been put on an alignment machine,
      You should get the alignment checked since it's not fine as you previously said.

    21. Member Gregv's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 02:53 PM #19
      I remember when I still had the stock springs Comfort mode was way too wobbly, requiring constant steering corrections and not being relaxing at all. Normal and sport was already much better. After I lowered it (with the least drop I could find, 200ST springs) it was the BEST suspension setup I ever had in Comfort. The car was rock solid in terms of handling yet had a supple edge that made it lovely to drive.

      I commuted on the autostrada at 130-140mph (highway going through mountains with some significant curves) and the car was perfectly stable, barely had to keep a hand on the wheel. Tracked perfectly straigh on the straight bits. I definitely suggest a minimum of lowering as it gives you lots of stability without any loss of comfort, heck it's an even more relaxed drive as you're not always correcting.

      235/45R17's btw.
      2013 MK7 GTI - CSG, 2 Door, Manual, P-Pack, Bixenon HIDs, Mirror Pack, Park Assist, DynAudio, DAB+
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      03-03-2017 02:56 PM #20
      What tires exactly are you running?

      I know with my mk6 Golf the OEM 225 45 17 procontacts were pretty bad. Felt like 4 Marshmallows at all 4 corners.

      I replaced them with same size continental PureContacts. Here's the key. I made sure that they were V-Rated. They helped sure up side to side movement. Really felt great after that.

      I think what you are looking for is a tire with stiffer sidewalls. Go for v rated or higher tires.

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      03-03-2017 04:00 PM #21
      One other point - I had the same experience until I realized that the automatic lane detection was engaged and was making corrections that felt like what you have described. Just a thought

    24. Member
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      03-03-2017 05:38 PM #22
      Mine felt the same way when I first got it. I put a 25mm Neuspeed RSB on, and it made a big difference.

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      03-03-2017 05:39 PM #23
      the only instability i'm finding at speed, is when i need to unexpectedly jam on the brakes in a turn on the highway. it feels like its lifting a back wheel and dancing all over. I'm on VWR springs and stock struts. 1st time it happened it scared the piss out of me. i'm assuming a good set of struts and shocks, and better sway bars and bushings should cure most of this....
      2015 GTI S, ED tune, intake, exhaust, DV+ (now my wife's car)
      2016 GTI Autobahn, VWR springs, intake, DV+, JB4, CTS Turbo DP, CORSA catback, euro tails, power folding mirrors, Audi A8 19" wheels
      2010 FLHX Harley-Davidson, pipes, intake, tuned, wheels, blacked out stuff, lowered, etc...

    26. Member nicolaisnicer's Avatar
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      03-03-2017 06:15 PM #24
      I had the same issue right after I picked up the car. I had to have the alignment done three time before the issue was fixed. Some cars get out of Puebla without any QA.

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      03-03-2017 10:26 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by TJ_H00KER View Post
      the only instability i'm finding at speed, is when i need to unexpectedly jam on the brakes in a turn on the highway. it feels like its lifting a back wheel and dancing all over. I'm on VWR springs and stock struts. 1st time it happened it scared the piss out of me. i'm assuming a good set of struts and shocks, and better sway bars and bushings should cure most of this....
      Replacing my stock tires on the GTI Sport I now have helped with that issue as well.

      Another thing that helped cure that feeling was to ensure all tires are filled to the recommended pressure. Since I have 18" tires setting them to 38psi did the trick.

      When I had 17 " tires I think I used 37psi. Seemed to do the trick nicely.

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