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.

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7 thoughts on “Whiteline Anti Lift Kit – WALK Review

  1. Pingback: anti lift kit possibly will fit MS3? - Mazdaspeed Forums

    • I don’t think it will unless they use exactly the same setup. I haven’t seen the Mazdaspeed’s setup. You should try contacting Whiteline to see if they have a part available for the car.

    • Regarding the first paragraph about the geometry and what this part does… These mounts DO add “anti-lift” to the geometry and it’s important to know what the engineers are referring to with those words. What most cars have plenty of from the factory is “anti-dive” geometry, meaning that when braking torque is going through the control arms they generate a downward force on the tires to prevent pitching under heavy braking and add some traction while doing so. Since brake torque goes in the opposite direction of engine torque when we apply power to the wheels the opposite happens and they “lift” (we are not referring to the nose lifting) meaning engine torque causes an upward force at the wheel, reducing traction under acceleration and, if strong enough, causing the cyclical phenomenon known as wheel hop.

      These mounts do not remove all of the anti-dive from your suspension, however, since that would compromise your braking performance. What they do is reduce the effect somewhat by raising the rear mount. Basically the higher the front mount is compared to the rear the more anti-dive you have; an arm parallel to the ground would have zero anti-dive. So yes, they reduce lift under acceleration and yes that gets you more traction on launch but I think a clarification of the physics is necessary. I’ve seen a lot of forum comments implying that it’s the added caster that gets you more traction when that will only affect handling while cornering and suspension geometry in general is a poorly understood topic outside of the OEM and professional racing circles.

      And regarding bind… Binding suspension does not keep your nose down under acceleration in any way. Bind happens when your control arms contort in a way they don’t want to in which case they either resist or halt movement or when your bushings are sticky and don’t want rotate. In simple terms, bind is the suspension’s resistance to movement, excluding springs and dampers, it is a BAD thing and best to be avoided. The bushings in this kit reduce bind by swapping glued rubber for greased urethane. To see what I mean, if you swap a set of anti-roll bars in the near future try twisting the rubber mount on the factory bar, it won’t want to move because the rubber has to stretch for the bar to rotate since it’s glued on both surfaces. A urethane bushing, on the other hand, will rotate freely since the bushing is firm, smooth and greased, this is a good thing, but it’s also a maintenance item.

      To get a better grasp on all these concepts I highly recommend Herb Adam’s book Chassis Engineering. I learned everything I know about suspension from it.

    • Hey there, I greatly appreciate your comments on this post.

      I do not see why the Whiteline ALK would add additional anti-lift geometry. Their whitepaper on the subject would suggest that it does the opposite (Whiteline PDF) and reduces both anti-dive and anti-lift characteristics. While this isn’t the same car, the MKV kit is intended to do the same. Anti-dive provides resistance to nose diving under braking loads. Anti-lift resists nose lifting under acceleration. Regarding your statement that anti-lift is what prevents the tires from moving upward, would that not be the job of anti-dive geometry? Whether the chassis or the wheels deflect, the resultant motion is the same. Anti-lift affects the suspension in extension and anti-dive affects compression. Please correct me if I am misreading your comments.

      I agree with you regarding the comments usually made on forums about caster. The caster touted in this kit is not the main reason for the handling difference. Caster change here is relatively minor but the polyurethane is effective in reducing the bushing squirm during cornering. Whiteline has estimated around a 1 degree reduction in change under load.

      I will remove anything regarding bind though, I do see where that is wrong and confusing.

  2. I’m in USA and one of my inner bushings cracked. I super-glued it and its held up just fine.

    • I think Whiteline sells replacement bushings if you want to replace them.

      On Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM, markFive GTI

  3. Pingback: *Der offizielle [HWLUXX] Automobil-Sammelthread* - Seite 4988

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