CV Boot Change

My cv boot was also replaced when I did my timing belt a few days ago. It was starting to weep grease right where the clamp was. I got to it right before it got a chance to completely tear and liberate grease all over my suspension. If you see the boot beginning to show signs of failure, it’s best to get it replaced as soon as you realistically can. This way, you can avoid having to replace the whole joint or axle. The remanufactured units are not the same quality and if you can save you original joints and axles, it is the better way to go. If the joint has been driven on without grease, it tends to go bad quickly. Soon it will begin to make noise (most often a clicking noise when turning or backing up) and you’ll have to replace the whole setup. Many shops only replace the whole axle because it’s easier and more profitable. Find a shop that is willing to do just the boot job. It should cost around $200. Parts are cheap but the labor gets you.

Here’s a post with some interesting pictures and a semi-diy.

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Whiteline Anti Lift Kit – WALK Review

Whiteline Anti Lift Kit – KCA316

Overview

I fitted the Whiteline Anti Lift Kit just a few days ago. My stock rear control arm mounts were a little tired from the mileage. I would’ve waited just a little bit more but I had some work done (cv boot tore) that would’ve necessitated an alignment anyway. So I decided to knock two things out in one go.

The Whiteline Anti Lift Kit (we’ll just refer to it as the WALK from hereon) replaces the rear control arm mount on the front arm. It relocates the rear mounting point slightly lower compared to stock and replaces the rubber bushing with a polyurethane bushing design. The name is a little bit misleading because it doesn’t actually add any “anti-lift” to the suspension. It removes the built in “anti-lift” geometry built in from the factory allowing the suspension to apply more force on the tires. Anti-lift is engineered into the suspension to reduce the nose pitch under acceleration. Manufacturers design suspensions like this for comfort. It can reduce front end traction because some of the suspension loads are then transferred into the suspension arms. This kit removes some of that designed in anti-lift geometry to allow the suspension to work directly. On a car with lets say, 100% anti-lift geometry, the nose will not lift at all and 100% of the chassis loads will be absorbed by the suspension arms instead of deflecting to the springs. On a car with 0% anti-lift, there is nothing resisting lift and the suspension is free to work (in this case extend into droop). An excellent conversation with some general theory behind this is here. It’s a Subaru site but the theory still applies. Just read the information about how it works. Whiteline also has a PDF paper. Here’s a quote from the Whiteline PDF:

“A softer front suspension during acceleration and braking will even out the load on the
front tires, giving a higher total cornering load available or more front-end grip. This will
lead to less understeer when cornering under power or brakes.
Another way of looking at this is that under power or brakes the effective spring stiffness
is lower, reducing the front-end anti-roll resistance, hence reducing weight transfer at the
front and less understeer.”

The kit adds .5 degrees of positive caster. The MKV GTI is already a caster heavy setup and the WALK only makes it better. Steering effort is raised a bit. I like it as the extra caster also makes the car more stable and the heavier steering is a plus for me. Camber gain while turning is also increased as a result of the caster and reduced bushing movement.

I didn’t do this on the lift

Installation

Installation can be difficult if you don’t have the proper tools. You can be creative with what you have but it took me a lot longer than I thought it would take on jackstands. I did not remove the control arm for this. I just unbolted the control arm mount, pried the control down and levered the old mount off. Contrary to what I had read, that mount was on there tight. I used a flat metal bar to lever it off the arm but it took some time, WD-40 and a lot brute force. If I had to do this again, a gear puller might work perfectly to pull off the mount.

Inner Bushing and Mount

The Whiteline bushing is actually a two part design. One is pressed into the WALK’s mount and the smaller bushing goes into that. It prevents binding and is actually quite clever. The bushings have grooves that hold the grease in to prevent noise and to keep everything moving smoothly. The smaller bushing goes on first and then the mount goes over it. You have to press the mount in with considerable force to get it to go all the way in. The instructions say to let some air out at the one end to help align the bushings. There is an illustration but I didn’t really get what they were talking about until I installed it. Grease the control arm shaft first to make sure it’s easy to remove if you ever have to take it off for any reason. Once you are ready slide the main mount onto the smaller bushing, you have to push it on pretty hard. The poly makes an airtight seal and if the grease you use is thick, you have to contend with the excess grease push it out the other end. Once the holes line up or are near (you may have to use a pry bar on the control arm to help get it into position, bolt up the shiny new Whiteline piece. I used blue Loctite on the three bolts.

Grease Retention Grooves

I used a lot of grease, way more than necessary. Better to over grease now than to have too little. It will make noise if the grease runs out. Whiteline included a packet of moly grease but I didn’t use it. I used a polyurethane specific grease that I wrote about before in this post. This grease is extremely tacky and silicone based. It’s much thicker than the grease they supply. I’d recommend you find this grease or order it online. It’s washout resistant and should keep you noise free for a long time. It’s sold in small tear off packets or a grease gun cartridge.

Here’s a copy of the installation instructions straight from Whiteline.

Control Arm Mount Bushing – Control Arm Side

Driving Impressions

This kit changed the car’s handling in a very positive manner. I know it removes some of the anti-lift geometry but it feels as if there is less lift when you are accelerating. The steering effort definitely goes up. On the freeway, the car feels more stable due to the added caster but it is subtle. The biggest difference is in the turns. It’s so much more fun now. The front end has picked up a lot of grip and feels considerably more stable and planted. I feel like I can push the car harder than ever and it will keep gripping. It’s really eye opening when you take a familiar corner. The front now feels sharp and alive. I love it. Apply some throttle and the car just dives into the turn. Fun fun fun.

Much of the stability probably comes from the poly bushing. The stock GTI bushings are practically cut all the way around to keep NVH down. The A3/S3 gets a much stiffer design with only two small voids. There is much less play in the suspension, which helps provide the feeling of stability. Speaking of NVH, the new bushing adds only a very small amount at road speeds of about 20-40 mph. Ride comfort remains the same with no harshness.

You will require an alignment after fitting this as the toe will be pushed out a bit. I recommend you tell the alignment shop to keep front toe-in close to zero or at zero.

Here’s a great review from the MKV forums.

Inner Bushing

Downsides

Where would a mod be without the downsides? I can’t really point out any faults that I can back up with evidence. There is one person whose inner bushing fell apart after one track day (R32). I’ve seen one or two split inner bushings in the UK forum but that is it. I’ve read other people have tracked with the bushing and it held up just perfectly. The majority consensus is that they are flukes (maybe 3 cases). Still something to think about.

There is also the need for periodic lubrication. I don’t think the grease Whiteline provides is tough enough for this application. It is thin and looks like regular moly grease. Polyurethane specific grease would be much better. I don’t know how long mine will last until it needs relubrication, but I’m hoping the grease I used holds up for a while.

The stiffer rear bush also transfers more force to the front control arm bushing. I didn’t replace that one since it was still good. Only time will tell if the rear poly mount helps deteriorate the front rubber bushing. So far so good though.

Overall

I wish I had fitted this mod sooner. It affects the front end in such a positive manner. More grip, better steering feel, sharper. It makes me long for turns. NVH is not an issue with this modification and it’s rather pleasant to be able to feel some of the road surface again. The heavier steering is a plus for me. I thought it was too light at highway speeds before, now it’s perfect. This mod gets an A+ from me.

Timing Belt – Replaced at 101,000 Miles

I got my timing belt done just yesterday. The factory interval is around 105,000 miles in California, maybe even longer. Apart from an irritating squeaking noise when cold, the belt was no worse for wear. Unlike the 1.8T, which was known for destroying timing belts around the 60-80,000 mile range, VW has made the 2.0T much gentler on its timing belt. The timing system has been optimized to reduce stress pulses on the timing belt. It seems to have worked. The mechanic who worked on my car mentioned that everything looked good for the mileage. He also mentioned that he has never seen one go out due to age, yet. There have been a few failures, but I haven’t read about any of them being below 100,000 miles. The rollers / tensioners were also changed out along with the coolant and water pump.

The timing belt isn’t something to mess around with. The 2.0T is an interference design and valve and piston contact will result if the timing belt breaks. The job can be expensive at many dealers and even independent shops so be sure to shop around. I’d recommend a shop that either specializes on Volkswagens or has experience with the 2.0T’s. The procedure is pretty straightforward but it requires removal of parts in the right order so prior knowledge is best.

I don’t drive hard most of the time, just a spirited run once in a while. 2.0T’s running in more spirited settings should probably get them changed around 90,000 miles. I have a lot more faith in the belt after seeing the condition at the shop yesterday.

Cliffnotes:

-Get your timing belt done around 90-100,000 miles, earlier if you inspect the belt and it is starting to look a little tired. I replaced mine at 101,000 miles and it could probably have gone another 10,000.
-Shop around, the best prices are not always the independent shops. If you’re not having it done at the dealer try to find a shop that has worked on this particular engine (2.0T FSI).
ECSTuning.com and DBCPerformance.com both sell excellent part kits if you would rather supply the parts.

Tech Tip – Quiet Down A Noisy Or Rattling Boost Gauge

If you have a mechanical boost gauge, even the best ones can rattle under certain rpm / load conditions.  It happens because of the minute pressure fluctations that occur in the intake manifold when the intake valves open.  The common solution is to add an inline vacuum restrictor (see image below).  You should be able to pick this up from any auto store. Sometimes this doesn’t get rid of all the noise though.  The key is proper placement.  I picked this tip up in the MKV forums from the someone with the username Plac.

Here’s how:

The inline restrictor has one end that is clear while the other end contains a brass piece with a small hole in it.  This dampens the movement of air in the boost line.  Place the end with the brass restriction about 5-6 inches from your boost tap facing the intake manifold.  This should get most of the noise/vibration.

I’ve had this restrictor in for quite some time (along with a miniature fuel filter to help quiet things down even more) but I would still get vibration under certain load conditions.  I simply moved it according to this tip and it is silent for all intents and purposes.  I haven’t heard the gauge rattle since moving the restrictor.  Hope this helps you as well!