Lowering springs on regular stock struts

  • 4 CYL
  • 202,995 MILES
Im trying to find new coil overs for my jetta, and I really dont fell like paying a lot. Is there a way that I can just buy stock struts, then just put lowering springs them, without damaging any on the strut?
Do you
have the same problem?
Saturday, February 28th, 2015 AT 8:04 PM

1 Reply

This is the wrong forum for performing these kinds of modifications. As a suspension and alignment specialist, correct ride height is extremely important to me. Raising trucks and lowering cars changes a carefully-designed-in alignment angle called "scrub radius". That angle has a major affect on braking, handling, steering response, and comfort. A lowered car will have a different center of gravity. That will give the illusion of a quicker stopping ability, but in fact, stopping distances will be longer because of the loss of the designed-in front-to-rear brake system balance.

Also please be aware that lawyers and insurance investigators love to find these kinds of modifications. They will convince a jury that you were partly at fault for the crash their client caused by running a red light, because you were less able to avoid it, and they will be right. For this reason, no mechanic will perform these modifications as it will make them and their shop owner party to any lawsuit. I had my shop owner's permission to refuse to work on any vehicle with altered ride height, AND any vehicle with aged and sagged springs on which the owner refused to allow me to restore the ride height. All manufacturers publish ride height specs and specify where to take the measurements. Sagged springs will result in accelerated tire wear, even when the numbers appear to be right on the alignment computer. The entire suspension geometry is changed and the tires will not tip to maintain contact with the road as the car bounces up and down as it goes down the road.

Keep in mind too that marketing of new cars is extremely competitive. If a manufacturer can advertise one more cup holder, one more horsepower, or one more inch of leg room, you can be sure they'll do it. If they could offer a truck package with raised suspension, or a lowered car, for, ... Well, ... I don't know why, you can be sure they would do it. They know it can't be done without compromising safety. There is no way they will offer anything knowing it is likely to result in numerous lawsuits.

A less-known byproduct of scrub radius has to do with a failure in one of the brake system's two hydraulic systems. Only Chrysler has this so perfected that the car will stop in straight line when one front brake fails. On most other brands all you'll see is possibly a tiny wiggle in the steering wheel when you apply the brakes. That is accomplished by modifying scrub radius relative to what we had on older rear-wheel-drive cars. Changing scrub radius will cause one working front brake to tug the steering wheel out of your hands, and it will cause the wheel to bounce left and right as the front tires respond to every little twig and bump in the road. That is where the steering system becomes "busy", and it gets real tiring to drive any distance. Correct scrub radius causes those forces on the steering system to be canceled out.

If you want a further explanation of scrub radius or ride height and why it is so important, let me know.
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Saturday, February 28th, 2015 AT 8:35 PM

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