Rewritten and republished 6/14/2011
The BSH 27mm sway bar is one of the larger bars on the market. It is a solid bar and 2 position adjustable. It comes with 2 Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings with grease zerks. It is a rather heavy piece. I purchased this bar when it first came to the market, it has undergone several revisions since then.
Installation is pretty easy provided you have the correct tools and supplies. Here are the official BSH instructions. Space is rather limited and much of the difficulty in the installation lies in maneuvering the stock bar out and the new bar in. I recommend a jack and stands instead of ramps, in case you find that removing one of the wheels makes it easier to maneuver the bar out. Don’t forget, you’ll need grease and a grease gun as well. I recommend a urethane specific grease like this one. It’s much tackier than automotive bearing greases and much more resistant to washing out. It’ll keep noise to a minimum for much longer.
This huge bar makes the car corner very flat. The flatness is very confidence inspiring. You have to be careful with a large rear bar however. The rear can reach the cornering limits much faster than before and result in snap oversteer. I never had this problem when the bar was installed but I don’t push my car to the limits. This bar does limit a lot of the roll that the car has stock. It really does feel great.
I drove around on the hard setting most of the time. Ride quality changes a little, it’s noticeably more upset by mid corner bumps. Rough streets are also noisier and harsher. I eventually settled on the softer setting.
The softer setting does not feel as flat when cornering. It does feel more balanced though. Incredible rear stiffness and lack of roll does not mean incredible handling. Mid corner harshness is softened up and feels better. Noise is still an issue on really rough roads.
Noise really became my one complaint after a while. The bar would rattle and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I’m guessing the bar’s stiffness rattled the stock endlinks around too much. Be aware that this is a big sway bar. One of the brackets supplied with the bar snapped once entering a driveway. The supplied washers are much too small to cover the area that they are tightened to, leading to uneven torque distribution. I suggest you head down to the local hardware store to find a better set of washers. They need to be maybe 1″ washers? I’m not too sure anymore, take a look at the setup and you’ll see what I mean and what you may need to purchase. Anyway, the bracket cracked and I had to purchase an additional set from Energy Suspension. The subframe area where the swaybar mounts to is also rather flimsy. A brace like the Stern subframe brace does wonders here. Unfortunately I never got to try the brace with the the bar, I sold the bar long before I had the brace installed.
My take on the MKV platform and sway bars is that yes, you can have too big a rear sway bar. Although I loved the flat cornering feel that this bar gives you, the bar seems to overpower all the other components. The handling balance was moved too far towards the rear. My ideal sway bar would be one just slightly larger than stock, maybe the H&R 22 on stiff or the H&R 24 on soft. It will help control a little of the roll while keeping the handling balance closer to stock. The stock MKV GTI can already do some tail end theatrics if pushed. Buy this bar if you want a really stiff rear end, maybe for autocross. For the street, it’s a little overkill.
Available at BSHspeedshop.com.