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Your experience with subframe collars?

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Although the clunking had gone away completely after installing my Tyrolsport subframe collars, I struggled and fought with the now uneven camber between my left and right front wheels. For the longest time (and after many alignment attempts), I believed that one of my spindles were bent, but this was not the case.

Well, turns out that the collars had physically shifted my subframe more to the driver's side - about 1 degree more. This had caused me to lose about 0.4 degrees of front camber on each front wheel since I have to even out the left and right front camber settings to prevent the car from pulling.

Current camber in the front is: -2.1 / -2.1 degrees
Rear camber is now -1.2 / -1.2 degrees

However, I am not happy with this setup and would love to return to my previous -2.5 front and -1.7 rear camber, which was close to perfect for me.

Are the subframe collars neccessary to reduce clunk? Could I simply install VW's latest subframe bolts and spacers and get rid of the clunk as well as regain my lost camber?

If not, what other options do I have?
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
I don't see how you're going to gain camber from removing the collars.

The subframe can just be shifted to even out the camber between the two sides...it can't/won't add any extra camber.

And with it being and equal -2.1 right now...I'd leave it, that's solid.

If you remove them, you could be at -1.7 on one side and -2.5 on the other..for example. And they shift it back and you're back to the -2.1 on each side again.

Side note: whoever did the alignments...those numbers could be skewed depending on if they mounted the sensor to the wheel itself or around the tire and/or also using different equipment (if you didn't go to the same shop)
Just saying
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
I don't see how you're going to gain camber from removing the collars.

The subframe can just be shifted to even out the camber between the two sides...it can't/won't add any extra camber.

And with it being and equal -2.1 right now...I'd leave it, that's solid.

If you remove them, you could be at -1.7 on one side and -2.5 on the other..for example. And they shift it back and you're back to the -2.1 on each side again.

Side note: whoever did the alignments...those numbers could be skewed depending on if they mounted the sensor to the wheel itself or around the tire and/or also using different equipment (if you didn't go to the same shop)
Just saying
I wish -2.1 is enough but it's not giving me a balanced setup since I have to reduce rear camber accordingly too.

Basically, my camber plates allow -2.5 max per side, which I had set to before. However, with the Tyrolsport subframe collars, the subframe is no longer centrally located (perhaps the subframe holes are not precise enough). What I mean is that the subframe is now physically shifted to the passenger side. This shift may be small, but it's enough to change the angles of the front dampers.

Alignment after the Tyrolsport collars gave something like -3 camber on right front and -2.3 camber on left front because of this. I tried 5 separate alignments and even bought brand new spindles but no changes at all. Car has not been in any accidents. When I dialed down the side with -3 camber by 1 degree, I arrived at -2.1/-2.1. (This proves that the subframe is not longer centred with the collars)

I suppose I can buy camber plates that have more adjustment, but honestly it feels wasteful because it's an issue with the subframe collars and not with anything else.

If I remove the collars, the subframe will shift back to its natural resting position since it's no longer locked down by the subframe collars. This will equalize left and right camber back to -2.5/-2.5 after adjustment. Just not sure that I will hear any clunks if I use the VW spacers and Audi subframe bolts.
 

clownish

just clowning around
Location
Ohio
There are little Audi collars that work. I buy and replace them once a year and they cost maybe twenty bucks. They don’t lock down the subframe at all, they just help guide the subframe. It’s supposed to move to help align the car as designed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

snobrdrdan

former GTI owner
Oh, you never mentioned camber plates...that's where you had/gained more adjustment.

Yeah you could try the OEM bolts instead I suppose...nothing to lose there, they're cheap. That is, if you REALLY need that extra camber
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Oh, you never mentioned camber plates...that's where you had/gained more adjustment.

Yeah you could try the OEM bolts instead I suppose...nothing to lose there, they're cheap. That is, if you REALLY need that extra camber
Actually, I would be happy to try another solution to achieve the -2.5 front camber that I am happy with. Is this something I can get by running the TT front control arms? I recall reading -2.7 degrees is what it can be adjust to max (maybe I am mistaken).
 

ChrisAttebery

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Gilroy, CA
Ride
2011 GTI
You had 2.5 degrees per side before you installed the collars? Was that with both camber plates maxed out? On my Mk6 I found that 2.2 degrees was the max I could get out of the GC plates. That seems to be average among the camber plate users. You can add the SuperPro Roll Control ball joints to get another .5 degrees or so.

The subframe collars have a 16mm shoulder and the bolts are 12mm. That means that the subframe can only move a total of 4mm. Converted to inches that's .158". The distance from the ball joint to the camber plate is 25.5". That comes out to .355 degrees of total adjustment. I seriously doubt that the subframes are drilled that poorly though. Most likely you'll get .1 degrees of adjustment side to side.
 

ChrisAttebery

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Gilroy, CA
Ride
2011 GTI
Second question. Are you sure you need 2.7" degrees of camber? Are you running R comps or street tires? From what I have read going over 2 degrees of camber with street tires will actually reduce overall traction. Most of the time you're going to be driving straight. You don't want to optimize cornering but kill your acceleration out of the corners. There's a balance.
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
You had 2.5 degrees per side before you installed the collars? Was that with both camber plates maxed out? On my Mk6 I found that 2.2 degrees was the max I could get out of the GC plates. That seems to be average among the camber plate users. You can add the SuperPro Roll Control ball joints to get another .5 degrees or so.

The subframe collars have a 16mm shoulder and the bolts are 12mm. That means that the subframe can only move a total of 4mm. Converted to inches that's .158". The distance from the ball joint to the camber plate is 25.5". That comes out to .355 degrees of total adjustment. I seriously doubt that the subframes are drilled that poorly though. Most likely you'll get .1 degrees of adjustment side to side.
That's right, I had -2.5 degrees of camber up front before installing the collars. The camber plates had hard settings where I had to insert and tighten the screws at detents of 0.25 degrees. These camber plates were exact and not meant to be adjusted or easily had camber settings drift like with the sliding adjustment type of camber plates.

What it came down to was that the collars pushed my subframe more towards the right front side of the car. The net effect gave me close to -3.0 degrees of camber on one side and something like -2.1 degrees on the other, which was totally unacceptable and gave me lots of torque steer not experienced before.

I believe that a different subframe would yield slightly different settings. Remember, these subframes were not manufactured to exactly locate the suspension, as you mentioned. So tolerances are there.
 

Perpetuus

Data Encryption
Location
In my garage
Second question. Are you sure you need 2.7" degrees of camber? Are you running R comps or street tires? From what I have read going over 2 degrees of camber with street tires will actually reduce overall traction. Most of the time you're going to be driving straight. You don't want to optimize cornering but kill your acceleration out of the corners. There's a balance.
I am looking to restore my -2.5 degrees of camber up front and -1.7 degrees of camber rear.

Suspension setups differ wildly based on driver preferences, driving style, and suspension parameters, so it's hard for me to give any precise suggestion.

However, items that come into play for my setup are:

-H&R 26mm front and 22mm rear swaybars
This helps the car settle into a corner more quickly and allows the car to hold its line with precision but at the expense of overloading the outside tires at the same given speed where the OE swaybars would still permit more grip for the outside tires. It's a tradeoff between reaching the cornering grip limit quicker by providing more turn-in grip.

-Wavetrac LSD
Allows me to marginally improve the cornering balance of the car under power and also permits earlier throttle on corner exits.

-Ohlins R&T coilovers
Springs rates are 350 lb/in all around. That's 2x of OE setup, and likely more than that in the rear. This will affect the balance of the car differently compared to other coilover or sport springs.

I am very happy with my -2.5 front and -1.7 rear setup. This setup was highly recommended by H2Sport too when they were around. The car corners quite flat since spring rates are 2x of stock and swaybars add additional lateral stiffness under load to further enhance that.

I have considered SuperPro ball joints but am also not convinced that they are the best solution.

McPherson strut design necessitates a loss of camber during cornering. There is no camber gain during cornering whatsoever. Running more camber is a crutch to improve cornering grip at the expense of straight line grip. If the car was running double wishbone suspension, then less camber is needed since the suspension geometry is designed to keep the outside tire as perpendicular as possible to the pavement during cornering, which is something that McPherson design cannot do. Remember, the key here is static camber, and it's only a vehicle aid for cornering on cars with less than ideal suspension choices/compromises.

The tires I am running are Pilot Super Sports at 225/40/18 size.

Actually, I am more interested in having a machine shop create an improved front spindle so that I can run less sway bar. Big swaybars totally ruin the smoothness of the Ohlins.
 

Pudding

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
UK
Before the Tyrol collars my camber was more negative on one side (quite common according to my shop who align loads of GTIs) and after the collars, it improved things but still not equal. The main benefit of the collars for me was consistent handling. The movement of the subframe prior was enough to make the same corner feel different from day to day, which was a bit irritating.

I think the best solution would be tubular control arms with threaded adjusters, or preset shims. I know they exist, I just can't remember any brands off hand. Once set, it's set. With adjustable BJs and plates there's an element of drift if the suspension is dismantled, even with dot punch/paint marks.

I found the Eibach 26/23 bars complimented my Ohlins quite nicely. Hard setting at the back and soft at the front. 9 clicks of damping at the front, 14 at the rear. Before the Eibach bars, I found the Ohlins a bit soft on the turn-in. It all feels pretty darn good now.

I run standard geometry front and rear with SuperPro 90 durometer consoles.

How come you need so much camber? Do you track the car? I find stock (-0.55) to -1.25 is a good compromise for the road, but for track work I can see why you'd need more. As you say, it's down to personal preference.

What camber plates are you running out of interest? I bought some GCs (road spec) but discovered my Ohlins don't have enough threads to take up the slack. As you know, they only allow +/- 15mm either side of the stock 20mm drop. I don't like helper springs and I never got around to ordering longer springs, so I returned them. How did you get around that?

How are your R&Ts holding up? I've put 2 years of daily miles on mine, over 50K kilometers. They suggest a rebuild every 30K kilometers, but mine still feel absolutely fine and are free of leaks. The corrosion resistance isn't that great if I'm honest, but you can't have everything!
 
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