Mk V Whiteline Swaybar and ALK review
I was one of the fortunate few that was selected by Whiteline about a five weeks ago to have their swaybars and Anti-Lift kit installed in exchange for letting them take photos of the install.
Before you read further, please note that I am not a suspension or driving expert, I am just an ordinary bloke with 20 years of ordinary driving experience. I’ll be happy to make corrections if I have made a mistake or if parts don’t make sense and are not clear (especially the technical side of things). And I am happy to answer any questions anyone may have.
Whiteline have recently had their swaybars TUV certified so they could be sold in the EU. They also would like to have greater exposure in the VAG market locally and were confused as to why their products are more popular with VW owners overseas than over here.
My Pirelli had a H&R 22mm RSB installed prior to the install for 3-4000kms and I was keen to see what the difference was between it and Whiteline. 24mm sized FSB and RSB were installed.
Last edited by triode12; 08-05-2011 at 10:01 PM.
Whiteline swaybars are manufactured in South Korea but design and testing is done at their facility in Somersby (near Gosford).
Sway Bar Blanks being fashioned on site for testing purposes
Sway Bar Stress testing machines
Stocks of sway bars in their warehouse
The install of the sways and ALK took the better part of a day. The car had to have an alignment after the ALK was installed.
Last edited by triode12; 08-05-2011 at 10:33 PM.
After five weeks after the install, I can say that I am very pleased with the improvement in the handling and grip.
I had previously had a H&R RSB installed on the GTI and was very pleased with the improvements it provided (suspension is stock). In stock form, the MkV GTI suffers from understeer, body roll and body flex. On spirited drives like those on the twisty sections of the Old Pacific Highway, one would have to turn the steering wheel quite a bit to complete turns (hands at 12 and 6 O'clock mid turn). Body roll would be quite pronounced. The chassis would also flex and feel disconnected from the front of the car.
With the H&R RSB installed set to the soft setting and a Unibrace underbody brace installed, there was an immediate improvement in steering precision and decrease in body roll. It took less effort and turn on the steering wheel to execute turns. The UB in combination with the RSB reduced flex and stiffened the car, reducing the feeling that the rear of the car being disconnected to the front. Despite the improvements, I still had trouble powering through the turns. I would feed the power through the turn but could feel that grip was being lost somewhere (tyre squeal can be heard) – perhaps on the wheel inside of the turn.
Last edited by triode12; 10-05-2011 at 07:13 PM.
After the Whiteline sways and ALK was installed (sways set to medium), the notable differences were an increase in turning grip and a greater decrease in body roll especially in the front of the car. I could see that the horizon of dashboard was sitting flatter on the turns and feel that the car was gripping more through the turns. This allowed me more confidence in putting more power down while taking turns and would do them with greater ease (and a lot quicker - avg 10-20km/hr faster), the car feels more planted and go-kart like. There is a significant reduction in tyre squeal on hard turns.
I suspect the increased grip and reduction in tyre squeal can be attributed to the ALK (more of the tyre connecting the road) while the FSB contributed to the increase in stiffness and reduction in body roll up front.
Steering precision was improved a tad more. The chassis was also stiffened further – going up driveway ramps at an angle would lift the rear wheel on the same side of the car.
An unexpected improvement was made to the stock suspension. The stock Pirelli suspension would bottom out (being linear springs) and this provided a slightly jarring ride especially on B roads with the 18” mags. I can’t tell if it is the ALK or FSB that has contributed to this improvement (as they were installed together) but now the car now doesn’t bottom out or dive into well known dips on the OPH (which would scrape the underside of the front lip) when travelling at speed. The suspension ride and grip has improved to the point that several friends and I think there is no longer a need to install coilovers on the car - the stock GTI Sachs springs and dampers are really quite good when mated with the right anxillaries.
Last edited by triode12; 10-05-2011 at 12:22 PM.
The ALK (with it's higher durometer bushing) now transmits minor undulations on the road through the steering wheel. Road and steering feedback has increased slightly as is tyre noise (not to the point of being annoying though) which can be viewed as either a good or bad thing depending on your perspective. With the radio playing, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. My P-zeros are on less than 50% thread.
Before purchasing my H&R RSB, I had considered getting the Whiteline ones but was put off by the stories on the forums about squeaking bushes. There was even a group buy of H&R teflon bushes organised by owners of Whiteline sways to correct the problem. The issue was that the VW saddles were a bit small for the Whiteline bushes, thus causing the grease to be squeezed out from the under them over time. Whiteline has solved the issue by providing their own specially sized saddles and creating a cross hatched pattern on the bar where the bushes sit to hold the grease in. After a little more than a month of intensive use (during the recent inclement weather), I am happy to report that the sways are as silent in operation as the H&R sway was.
Last edited by triode12; 09-05-2011 at 08:36 AM.
Great review and photos.
The first thing I got install on my Pirelli was the ALK and APR Torque Arm Insert to combat the traction. The vibration was bloody awful the first few days. Yes better traction, but the trade off is the vibration. I thinks this is because the TAI.
After this I got the White RSB installed with the bolt through the middle hole setting.
Handling was a little improved. So I got it changed to a hardest setting now. Wow this is so much better, this put a smile on face.
What setting are you running in your RSB & FSB?
So how much better will an FSB be if installed???
Originally Posted by Leb_One
You'll find that the vibration is more likely caused by your APR TAI. A friend and fellow Pirelli owner (mleung on golfmkv.com) also had a TAI in his car prior to the ALK install had the same issue of vibration through the steering wheel. So the ALK doesn't introduce the same vibration that you are currently experiencing and you should find that it will disappear once you remove the TAI.
I've been told that I am running on the softest setting on both sways by WL. (EDIT - it appears from the pics that the RSB has been set at the middle setting).
The FSB stiffens the front more and I think lessens the car's tendency to dive into corners - not 100% sure as the ALK was installed at the same time. I have to test mleung's car to be sure (he doesn't have a FSB installed -only an RSB and ALK).
I would say that if you can afford it, the FSB is worth it. It does allow one to take corners at higher speeds, it takes less effort with the feeling of car being on rails and more predictable. With just the RSB installed, the car was a bit more lively at the rear (which wasn't necessarily a bad thing). That is why mleung doesn't want to have the FSB installed, he prefers to have a bit of oversteer.
Last edited by triode12; 09-05-2011 at 08:05 PM.
Thanks for the review T12, i've been looking at getting a whiteline front sway bar installed on mine. Glad they fixed the squeaking, i've got the HR teflon ones on my rear bar. Interested in the ALK but i'm not sure on its usefulness on the r32.
The R32 will benefit from the ALK as much or more as it adds castor which helps any car turn in and grip plus keeps the weight over the front wheels which helps when accelerating out of corners as AWD are known for understeer mid corner when stepping on the accelerator.
We first developed kits like these for AWD Subaru and Mitsubishi Evo so they are great on AWD models.
Last edited by Whiteline; 10-05-2011 at 02:10 PM.