ID Parts A4 Rear Swaybar Install

Fix_Until_Broke

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I installed my IDParts Rear Swaybar last weekend and snapped a couple pictures along the way and figured I'd share how I did it. Nothing new under the sun I'm sure.

First I measured side to side and got the bar centered in the rear axle beam. Then I clamped the bar BELOW the beam as shown below. Mark the left and right side of the bar now so that, when you take the bar in/out while going through the drilling process, if there are any differences between sides of the bar they're accomodated for in the drilling.



Make sure to flip the bar over when you clamp it to the lower part of the beam - this will make your holes be at the correct angle. Make sure the front most edge of the swaybar is a little behind the front most edge of the lower web of the axle beam, ~1/16" or so. You'll see why this is important later.


Now that the bar is clamped to the beam you can drill ONE hole in the beam using the holes in the RSB as a drill guide. DO NOT DRILL A PILOT HOLE. I used the tightest drill that would fit (3/8") so the hole is located as accurately as possible. Once ONE hole is drilled in the lower web of the beam - put a bolt in it and tighten the nut down - that way the bar can't move on that end.



Then go drill one hole on the other end of the bar and put a bolt in that hole. Then go drill the remaining two holes in the bottom web (one on each side).

Now that all 4 holes are drilled in the lower web of the axle beam, flip the bar back over and slide one bolt through the drilled hole and up into the swaybar. It won't go all the way through since we have not drilled the top holes yet.


The hole was drilled the size of the bolt and I had to tap it in with a hammer - nice and snug.

Now go to the other side and install one bolt the same way.

BEFORE drilling the first hole in the top web of the axle beam, you'll need to pull the top of the bar back into the axle beam.

There's a rubber bushing in the center of the axle beam for the OEM swaybar.


Remember setting the front edge of the sway bar a little behind the front edge of the axle beam web earlier? Well, that rubber bushing is holding the sway bar "out" a little. Use the C-Clamp to pull the top of the bar in so that it's set back about 1/16" behind the front edge of the top web of the axle beam just like the bottom edge. Then drill the top hole using the same drill bit. The swaybar becomes a drill guide and locates the hole right where it should be relative to the bottom hole.



Install ONE bolt through and tighten the nut then drill one hole on the other side of the car. Similar to drilling the lower holes, the bolt(s) will locate the bar in the correct position while you drill the other holes.



Here's the passenger side all bolted in


On the drivers side, I had to make some special accomodations to maintain clearance over my 4" exhaust pipe. Instead of drilling a through hole in the top web of the axle beam, I drilled and tapped it for the bolt. I used the same method as on the passenger side - but used the 3/8" drill bit to just put a pilot dimple in the top web. If you look close, you'll see the dimple through the right hole below.


I then drilled it 19/64 (touch smaller than the tap drill size for 3/8-16) and tapped it with a long tap - again using the sway bar holes as a guide to get the tap centered and straight. The picture is blurry (cell phone), but that's a long tap that is 3/8" shank diameter so all I had to do was push and turn.



Continued on Next Post (dang 10 picture per post limit)
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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Continued from Previous Post (dang 10 picture per post limit)

I then threaded the bolts into the top web of the axle beam with some red Loctite then cut off the excess bolt length with a sawzall flush with the top of the axle beam so as not to loose any clearance on my exhaust pipe. This picture is looking forward and down on the top of the rear axle beam.


That's about it - tighten all the nuts/bolts down and go for a test drive.

IMPORTANT TIP - go spend ~$10 on a good 3/8" cobalt drill bit. I've heard many complain that the axle beam material is hard to drill, but I used a cobalt drill bit and finished each hole in ~30 seconds with NO pilot holes. A drill bit like this should be included with each swaybar.







It definately makes a big difference in how the car handles. I'm probably being overly cautious here, but the first couple lane changes you make at speed - be prepared.

I still have my snow tires on, but have pushed it reasonably hard through some corners and it's very neutral in handling - more throttle gives more understeer, less throttle gives less understeer and almost feels like it will overstear but has not done it on me yet. On a hard (crank the wheel while coasting) right hand corner at ~30 MPH there was just a touch of oversteer - the back end went about 2-3 feet beyond and then pulled right back in line. Turn in is MUCH sharper and accurate. It takes a little getting used to, but I like it. I need to play with it more as I'm used to how the car handles for the last 135k miles without one and need to "re-learn" how it handles in emergency maneuvers.

I like it - not sure if it's how it should come from the factory for someone who's not used to how it handles, but it's definately an improvement in turn in, handling and overall feel of the car.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Glad you like it. After fresh dampers, I think this is the single best improvement you can make in a VW's handling. You're right about the oversteer, be careful first time you drive in the snow. It's not really a problem unless you're expecting the car to push no matter what like it does without the bar. I love going around ramps and steering with the accelerator.
 

All of Us

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Matt:

Thanks for the write-up! Good images and a few good pointers for others who might want to do this same install.

Dan
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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I drove it around quite a bit in the snow today which is really heavy/wet/sloppy and completely covered the roads - like driving in wet concrete almost. Most of the driving was no problem.

I was on a curvy 2 lane road and went into a 40 MPH curve at about 35 MPH and it turned in nicely and then started to oversteer a little - I turned into the overstear a little and it fell right back in line, turned into the curve again, it oversteered again, and I was able to correct it again. I was neutral on the throttle - didn't lift and didn't try to power out of it. I'd like to believe that without the RSB I probably would have plowed off the outside of the curve, but I don't know for sure (and I'm not going to try it again!). It definately oversteered, but it was managable.

I drove all over metro Milwaukee today on unplowed roads and didn't have any kind of oversteer at all during many lane changes, passing cars, etc so it seems that longer sweeping curves are more suspect to the oversteer in snowy/slippery conditions.
 

Farfromovin

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I'll assume my RSB is the same as yours Matt for all intents and purposes. I haven't had the opportunity to play on snow, but I have beat on it on wet roads. I've been powering through corners and lifted throttle at the apex just to try and induce something, but nothing happened. The only thing that happens with obscene throttle changes in corners on wet pavement with my RSB is I spin both my wheels and start traveling at a tangent to the corner (gotta love LSD). The oversteer phenomena must be an ice thing, or you have stiffer shocks than my FSD's.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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For the record, I have OEM shocks/struts/springs/mounts/etc with ~150k miles on them, TT control arm bushings, ball joints, tie rods with ~3k miles on them, 205/70/15 Nokian Hakka 5's for winter and 205/70/15 General Altimax's for Spring/Summer/Fall.

OEM front differential as well.

I think I remember hearing somewhere that the IDParts RSB is "lighter" than the Shine one - presumably having less of an effect, lower spring rate, etc. I've never seen them side by side so I don't know but I think they're very similar.

I was able to get it to hang out just a little bit on dry pavement during a hard sharp right hand 30 MPH corner.

I wonder how it will behave with a 2000 lb trailer behind me :eek:
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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FUB, what you describe is exactly what I've experienced. The only additional thing I've noticed is that the rear will start to rotate on snow rutted straight roads, although I've only had this happen on an interstate with 6" of wet snow on it and summer tires. Not recommended.

And it doesn't seem to do these things in the rain. Although the only times I've spun the Golf was with the bar in place and cold race tires on dry pavement.
 

darkhorse

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Great write up! The report on handling is completely consistent with my experience with the Shine bar.
 

REDNECKDZL

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Hands down the best mod to do on the suspension of a MK4, i'd do it again, but it would be the first thing i'd do

even before nozzles :)
 

diesel-dave

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I agree awesome mod, is ID parts making these now? looks like my Dick Shine Rear Sway Bar.
 

eb2143

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I was on a curvy 2 lane road and went into a 40 MPH curve at about 35 MPH and it turned in nicely and then started to oversteer a little - I turned into the overstear a little and it fell right back in line, turned into the curve again, it oversteered again, and I was able to correct it again. I was neutral on the throttle - didn't lift and didn't try to power out of it. I'd like to believe that without the RSB I probably would have plowed off the outside of the curve, but I don't know for sure (and I'm not going to try it again!). It definately oversteered, but it was managable.
To clarify: were you trying to test how the car lost traction with the sway bar?

I'm on my second winter with the IDparts RSB and I guess I drive too slow in slippery conditions to notice it...I guess my point is that while it's good to test how the car behaves at the limits with a RSB after you add it, I've heard people express concern/fear of spinning out in normal, prudent driving if they add a RSB, and I do not think that's the case.

One install tip: Tighten the bar hardware up TIGHT. If one starts hearing creaking in turns in a few weeks, re-tighten.

I'm a little doubtful that Peter's experience on the highway can be attributable to the RSB; 6'' slush with summer tires on the highway and I think any stock car is at risk of having the rear end come around.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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To clarify: were you trying to test how the car lost traction with the sway bar?
Well, that was not the goal, but it was the result :eek:

eb2143 said:
I'm on my second winter with the IDparts RSB and I guess I drive too slow in slippery conditions to notice it...I guess my point is that while it's good to test how the car behaves at the limits with a RSB after you add it, I've heard people express concern/fear of spinning out in normal, prudent driving if they add a RSB, and I do not think that's the case.
The first 60 MPH lane change I made definately confirmed that it changes the handling of the car. I think it's a good improvement, but you need to be aware of it and how it behaves. I'd think twice now about loaning my car to someone who does not know what to do in an oversteer situation

eb2143 said:
One install tip: Tighten the bar hardware up TIGHT. If one starts hearing creaking in turns in a few weeks, re-tighten.
I checked them after a 3 mile test drive, but will check them again the next time it's up on the hoist. I used red loctite on the tapped holes which should help.

eb2143 said:
I'm a little doubtful that Peter's experience on the highway can be attributable to the RSB; 6'' slush with summer tires on the highway and I think any stock car is at risk of having the rear end come around.
On my car with all OEM suspension, in 6" of slush/snow with either summer or winter tires, the only way the rear end would come around is with the use of the parking brake. Even on the dry pavement with summer tires, tapping the brakes in mid corner would only cause more push. Taking a hard corner and timing the brake application and turn in just right, you could get the back end to come around (like a neutral car should), but not kick out.

The more I drive it the more I get used to it - and, you really only notice it on moderately quick steering inputs - "normal" driving it's more/less transparent.
 

robhegedus

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^^ I agree that is very light, although I suppose there isn't much to it. Does anyone know specifically what material the tube is made out of? I'm curious as to it's durability (fatigue resistance).
 

FlashandFlare

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I have what I was told to be an O-bar that I have yet to install due to the quality of the welds on it. It appears that it was welded by a one armed blind mentally challenged monkey. I will be taking it to work and doing some repairs and then re-powder it.
Not to hi-jack FUB's thread but if anyone wants to see the suspect welds I can post with FUB's permission.

On the issue of the a$$ end wanting to skate out on you when coming around a corner when snow covered or slushy. Have you checked to see if you don't have a rear caliper thats dragging, cause that may cause it.
 

79TA7.6

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OK, so how does this work? I know it stiffens everything up, but what is it stiffening up? It mounts to the rear axle beam correct? Is the beam really that weak? Some deeper insight on this would be nice. This looks like a great thing to add to the car, but I am one of those people who likes to know how it is going to help before I go and do it.
 

robhegedus

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I'm no guru but the purpose of this anti-swaybar is to reduce the twist of the rear axle, thereby limiting body roll or "sway" during cornering. VW would engineered it to twist a certain amount to suit the general population's driving styles and to limit ride harshness, but enthusiasts like us always want things stiffer!
 

eb2143

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OK, so how does this work? I know it stiffens everything up, but what is it stiffening up? It mounts to the rear axle beam correct? Is the beam really that weak? Some deeper insight on this would be nice. This looks like a great thing to add to the car, but I am one of those people who likes to know how it is going to help before I go and do it.
This might help: http://www.stealthtdi.com/SwayBars.html
The rear axle beam is shaped like a C and the o-bar fits within it. The C faces front, so the pictures in this DIY are from the front looking towards the back of the car.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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The "What is Handling" thread is a long read, but is jam packed with information on the how/why things like this work.

To sum it up, the stock rear "beam" allows quite a bit of independant rear suspension movement. This bar stiffens that beam up significantly making the rear suspension less independant. This increases the "roll rate" of the rear of the car such that when you turn in and the body rolls to the outside, at the rear of the car it's trying to compress the inside rear spring more since the beam tying them together is stiffer.
 

HalleyTDI

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FlashandFlare;3308007 Not to hi-jack FUB's thread but if anyone wants to see the suspect welds I can post with FUB's permission. [/QUOTE said:
yea lets see what passes as acceptable welds these days. as a welding engineering technician I'm curious to see.
 

dschultz

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I am (was) installing one of these tonight. I lined up the bar below the beam to drill to bottom holes a described in this thread. All was going well until I wanted to place the bar in the beam to drill the top holes and finish the install.

I am having a difficult time getting the bar in the beam and the holes to line up.

it almost seems the wedge of the sway bar is too thick (maybe just paint) I thought about taking a tiny amount of material and paint off the bar wedge.

Thoughts?

I ran out of daylight so I am stopping for tonight.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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Just covering some basics here...

Does the bar not fit in the beam at all or just not far enough in that you can get a bolt in the bottom hole into the end block of the bar?

Does the bar fit in either side alone or just not when you try and put both sides in at the same time?

There is a front and a back to the bar as it has a slight taper on the end blocks that you can see in the 2nd picture on the 1st post - make sure you're installing it in the correct direction.
 

dschultz

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The bar fits in the beam *very* tight; I have to tap it with a hammer to get the bottom holes to line up; so I would say it is difficult to get the bar in far enough

I only have the bottom holes drilled. I had the bar in place as best I could and had to tap it to get the bolts in the bottom holes up into the bar.

I could not get the other side to line up.

The taper is facing the correct way.

I am going to have another go at it tomorrow.
 

Fix_Until_Broke

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My guess is that you've got either a slightly narrow beam or a slightly wide bar. You can probably grind 0.020-0.030 off the bar or use a clamp to force it into place.

I suppose if your lower holes are too far back, it could cause this problem but from what you describe, it sounds like the bar does not fit in the opening of the beam.
 

dschultz

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It is installed. I used an angle grinder on the bar to get it to fit. I only ground off enough to allow it to just slip in the beam. I haven't tested the car yet.

Only one bloody knuckle! Must have been an "easy" job!
 
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