Project IV – Wheels + Lowering

So now that the coilovers were installed, I was just waiting for my wheels & tyres to arrive. After debating over the usual Audi & VW OEM styled wheels that are available, I eventually settled on some MKIV R32 Aristo replicas in 18×8 +35 with 225/40/18 tyres. Nothing drastic, no poke or noticeable stretch, but good enough to look nice and still be practical.

At the same time as fitting the wheels I adjusted the coilovers downwards. First up was the front end, stock wheels off…

While I was lowering the front, I adjusted the drop links to their highest setting, thinking that is the correct procedure for enhancing swaybar clearance when the car is lowered. NOTE: THIS IS INCORRECT!

I experienced intense rubbing with this setup after going for a test drive and quickly did some online research to try to rectify the issue. I learnt that the drop links are meant to be made as short as possible, not the other way around. It isn’t the top of the swaybar that hits the driveshaft as one would first think, it’s actually the very end of the swaybar (where it bolts to the upper end of the drop link) that rubs on the FRONT of the driveshaft. So making the drop link smaller brings the tip of the swaybar forward, clearing the driveshaft. It pays to research these things first, I guess.

Measuring how low to go so I can make both sides the same, I think I settled on 1.5″ or thereabouts.

Lowered…

Trying the wheel on for the first time. The width+offset of the wheel made the inside of the rim sit very close to the spring perches on the coilovers, only a few mm clearance. 5mm spacers would probably be a good idea but I haven’t had any rubbing issues to date so I’ve left it as-is.

Now onto the back. Those tiny hubcaps and balloon tyres look so awful after seeing the 18s on the front.

I unbolted the lower shock mount on both sides to drop the whole beam down. Then it was simply a case of grabbing the springs with my hands and physically spinning them downwards with the collars as one unit.

All done!

This is when I took the car for its first drive and heard/felt the driveshaft rubbing on the swaybar. This image shows what I mean…

So as previously mentioned, I did some research and then re-adjusted them to be as short as possible, which fixed everything.

A final shot in better light, the car is still filthy…

And a shot of the depth of the spokes, this is why I like Aristo’s compared to the usual aftermarket ‘fin’ wheels on the market.

I have to say, the car actually rides BETTER now that it’s been lowered. When it was at the almost factory height, I was still experiencing a few knocks and bumps even after I installed the new bushes & bearings on the front struts. I think the coilovers were wound up so high that they were just too preloaded and it was putting everything under added stress. It’s all good now though, and the best part is there is no rubbing and no speedbump dramas, its the perfect compromise of practicality and looks.

Next stop, car wash!

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6 Responses to “Project IV – Wheels + Lowering”

  1. Sebastian says:

    wow, what a change. Looking better and better, congratulations

  2. That actually looks pretty classy! i like it.

  3. Rogan says:

    Lookin good man

    Nice daily styles

  4. Michael says:

    Nice ride. It’s really looking great. I’ll be getting a VR6 soon and I was wondering where you got your shocks and replica Aristo’s from. And how much were they?

    Thanks

  5. anth says:

    Hi Michael,
    I got my aristo reps from a local tyre shop in Melbourne. The coilovers I got from “evorobbin” from vwwatercooled.org.au. Are you from australia?

  6. Michael says:

    Hi,

    No, I’m in California USA. I’m looking to get an ’03 VR6 and love the stance of your car. Thanks for the reply!

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