FK Silverline Installed

I’m sort of an odd one when it comes to car modifications, while most people change their suspension and wheels as one of their first mods, I tend to leave these to the last. I’ve been modding my car steadily since I got it almost 3 years ago and I finally got around to changing the suspension on this thing yesterday. So what took me so long? Well, if you really want to know…

Well, I don’t think anyone really cares why it took me this long, but since this is my blog, I’m just gonna tell my little story anyway. :P

For the longest time, I’ve been planning on getting coilovers and lowering the car – as the saying goes, “If you ain’t rubbin’, you ain’t dubbin’!” While I had no interest in slamming my car (aesthetic and safety reasons), I did want to lower it to a certain degree. The stock ride height of the Canadian MKV GTI is pretty disgusting, I can fit my fist in between the wheels and fenders. The reason why our cars came this way was due to the stupid bumper regulation in Canada, which they finally changed in 2008 to match the US regulation. Unfortunately my model was a 2007 and the damage was already done, I have a 4×4 hatchback. The running joke amongst VW enthusiasts is that these MKV GTIs are so high that they’re like the VW Tiguans.

Most of the people in my club (www.idub.ca) had already swapped out their suspensions while I steadily went for cosmetic changes and other performance increases. I guess my main reason behind this was that on my car, the gap didn’t look as obtrusive as other colours, perhaps it’s because of the contrast of the orange paint and black/shadows in the wheel well? That, plus I had 18″ wheels with a body kit that made the car body look somewhat lower than the stock body. I also found the stock springs from VW to be decent for a daily driver, that is until I drove around with the new coils…

I initially wanted to get a set of KW v2 coilovers with dampening adjustability, but due to time and budget constraints, I picked up a set of FK Silverline (non-adjustable dampening) off Max (CrazyRabbit) on the forums. The FK Silverline is somewhat equivalent to the KW v1, where you can only adjust the height. I wanted to get the coils on before Vagkraft 2010 as I’m entering the show car contest and also being a display car for EuroSport Tuning. I was there last year as a display car and sitting at stock height was just so very wrong. Even worse, our booth was right beside Air Assisted, so all their display cars were on bags and slammed to the ground.

Taking off the coils from Max’s car

Anyway, this change was really all a last minute decision and non of the local retailers could get me a set of KW v2 in time for the show (only KW v1 and v3 were in stock). The KW v3 was probably overkill for my use, so I thought about the KW v1; but I really wanted the v2 for the ability to adjust the dampening. Since Max was selling his FK (to put on bags) I thought I’d give the FK a try. I took a test ride in his car and thought the ride was decent, pretty similar to my stock springs but with better dampening and cornering.

I tried searching for reviews of the FK Silverline, but there weren’t all that many. At least it was hard to search for since FK has three different types (I think) of Silverline. There’s the Silverline, Silverline X, Silverline Plus X; kind of like KW v1, v2, v3. At least that’s how I look at it. So most of my search results came back with Silverline X or Silverline Plus X, which is kind of a bummer. So basically I had to go on was a leap of faith and what my butt told my brain while I test rode in Max’s car. The good thing is that the Silverline are zinc plated stainless steel, so it’ll definitely help with Canadian winters.

The install went pretty smoothly, although I was a bit nervous whether I’ll like these FKs and if the install will create problems with the car. So far, aside from an ECU flash, most of my other mods are simple bolt ons; these coils are probably the most complicated add-on to my car thus far. Of course, for those that are in the business of modding cars or working at a garage, it’s just another day’s work. I was a bit nervous about the axle bolt being torqued properly and the HID auto-leveler not getting damaged during the install. I’ve seen a number of posts on forums where the installers didn’t pay attention to the HID leveler or the axle bolt, which resulted in failed headlight leveling and the axle bolt snapping in half. But the installers have already worked on a number of GTIs before, so everything got re-installed properly.

As the wheels were put on, I could already see a difference in the wheel gap. I was a bit anxious to see how it’ll look with the car lowered on to the ground, although the height was adjustable, I wanted to be on my merry way to test drive the car. I was looking for a 1-2 finger gap between the wheels and fenders, as I think that’s a good compromise between looks and safety. As well, I’m not really a fan of tucking the wheels, I think it looks a little off as the lines of the car are cutting into the wheels.

When the car came down from the hoist, we were pretty lucky that the height was almost dead on. We had to raise the rear by another finger and a half as it was sitting a bit low for my liking. The picture below shows the car after the adjustment, both the front and rear settled a little bit more by the time I got home.

On the way home I noticed that these coils were dampening small bumps and rough parts of the road much better, the ride was more comfortable and quiet. But the odd thing is that over huge humps, the car feels like it bounces around a bit more than my stock springs. I can’t really describe the feeling, maybe bouncing around isn’t the right way to put it as the car stabilizes really fast. It feels like you’re suddenly free falling or when you zoom down on a roller coaster and you feel that your balls are flying up into your throat. Yeah, that’s the feeling… lol

Cornering was also a lot steadier as the body was rolling a lot less – me likey! Overall, I would say going with the FK Silverline was a success – although I would’ve liked the ability to adjust the dampening, but right now I just don’t have the budget as the KW v2 was twice the cost. I wouldn’t mind if the dampening was a little stiffer on these coils, but as a daily driver, it will serve that purpose well.

Lastly, I think all I want to say is, “Bye bye, Tiguan!” and kudos to the guys at 360 Auto for an excellent job at an excellent price!