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Official Sway Bar Discussion Thread

postbox

New member
Tried 034 rear sway bar on the home canyon drive and took it right off once I came back.
During those (fairly miserable) two hours of driving I saw more ESP blinking light then over the previous seven years of car's ownership.

Couldn't take a single turn in a mid-spirited manner I'm used to. Basically I had to go way slower to avoid ESP cutting off the power.

I guess I could turn ESP off, but what's the point of loosing rear where it was totally stable with the OEM setup? Won't make me go any faster. 🤔

Sent it back to 034 for the store credit (wish they had cash refund option).

IMO it doesn't work with the stock suspension or/and without the stiffer front bar (which they keep saying is not needed - go figure).

I was running "soft" setting - furthermost hole on the swaybar arm.

It's not a surprise honestly - OEM swaybar on US MK6 GTI is 21.7x3mm hollow while 034 one is a solid 25.4mm. I think that's about two times stiffer all other things being equal.
 
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1ashchuckton

Autocross Champion
That is very interesting. My experience is 180 degrees from yours. I put a SPM 23mm rear sway bar on mine & set it on the stiffest setting. It was the best thing I've done to my car. Love the handling, I don't see the ESP light. No nanny intervention what so ever.

You did the right thing to take it off if you were having problems. I'm wondering if there is another issue that the sway bar exacerbated.
 

theclutch

Go Kart Newbie
Tried 034 rear sway bar on the home canyon drive and took it right off once I came back.
During those (fairly miserable) two hours of driving I saw more ESP blinking light then over the previous seven years of car's ownership.

Couldn't take a single turn in a mid-spirited manner I'm used to. Basically I had to go way slower to avoid ESP cutting off the power.

I guess I could turn ESP off, but what's the point of loosing rear where it was totally stable with the OEM setup? Won't make me go any faster. 🤔

Sent it back to 034 for the store credit (wish they had cash refund option).

IMO it doesn't work with the stock suspension or/and without the stiffer front bar (which they keep saying is not needed - go figure).

I was running "soft" setting - furthermost hole on the swaybar arm.

It's not a surprise honestly - OEM swaybar on US MK6 GTI is 21.7x3mm hollow while 034 one is a solid 25.4mm. I think that's about two times stiffer all other things being equal.

There is no way in hell that your ESP issues are attributable to the rear sway bar only. I've been modifying suspensions on my and my friend's cars for 30+ years and this is seriously the worst part blaming I've read in a long while. The rest of your suspension (old? modified? worn?) needs to be looked at AND, most importantly, I hope you don't have the cheapest tires imaginable on your car (not that you'd admit it at this point).
 

postbox

New member
@1ashchuckton, 23mm (+1.3mm) bar would be about 25-35% (if it is solid) stiffer than the OEM 21.7mm. Stiffness of the bar is proportional to the diameter in forth power. I can see 25% stiffer swaybar working.

If you've also swapped the front bar - that would be a totally different story. Because stiffness distribution/ratio between the front and rear bars matters the most.

@theclutch, thanks for the warm welcome and being judgemental, I appreciate it. It certainly helps to have an open and fruitful discussion.

That aside, I'm puzzled myself due to the overwhelming number of positive reviews about that same swaybar. And I do trust 034 as a tuning company in general.

On other hand I saw youtube reviews prizing the bar of making the car handling and ride quality better while driving straight or almost straight (on the highway). 🤦‍♂️

I doubt installation was an issue since there are no two ways to get the rear swaybar installed on our cars. My car setup is completely stock in suspension department and in a good shape. Tires were one year old PS4S and they were not swapped for the 034 swaybar test.

I probably had to turn ESP off in a safe environment to confirm that the rear will indeed step out on fairly trivial turns rather than it being ESP glitch or anything. It certainly did feel that the rear got overly loose. It was indeed night and day difference.
 
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theclutch

Go Kart Newbie
@1ashchuckton, 23mm (+1.3mm) bar would be about 25-35% (if it is solid) stiffer than the OEM 21.7mm. Stiffness of the bar is proportional to the diameter in forth power. I can see 25% stiffer swaybar working.

If you've also swapped the front bar - that would be a totally different story. Because stiffness distribution/ratio between the front and rear bars matters the most.

@theclutch, thanks for the warm welcome and being judgemental, I appreciate it. It certainly helps to have an open and fruitful discussion.

That aside, I'm puzzled myself due to the overwhelming number of positive reviews about that same swaybar. And I do trust 034 as a tuning company in general.

On other hand I saw youtube reviews prizing the bar of making the car handling and ride quality better while driving straight or almost straight (on the highway). 🤦‍♂️

I doubt installation was an issue since there are no two ways to get the rear swaybar installed on our cars. My car setup is completely stock in suspension department and in a good shape. Tires were one year old PS4S and they were not swapped for the 034 swaybar test.

I probably had to turn ESP off in a safe environment to confirm that the rear will indeed step out on fairly trivial turns rather than it being ESP glitch or anything. It certainly did feel that the rear got overly loose. It was indeed night and day difference.

Let me tell ya... I've gotten to be more and more judgmental (any cynical) in my old age....it sucks! :) Having said that, I've run even thicker bars than the 034 (keeping front stock sway bar) and it still wouldn't rotate as much as I wanted it to. It definitely got rid of the understeer, but I wanted more. If your car suspension is indeed 100% stock including ride height and you are running PS4's, then the culprit is likely in your alignment. You likely have a toe-out situation in your rears or a worn-out bushing that causes toe-out while under load.
 

postbox

New member
Thanks, @theclutch, for helping me to identify the potential culprit (no sarcasm). As mentioned above - I'm a bit puzzled over it myself.

My local dealer has $79 special for the alignment and I do it about two times a year. And every time after touching anything in suspension (sway bar swap does not count since it should not affect the alignment).

Up to this day it was plain stock alignment setup. I just finished fitting Ground Control camber plates and will be running somewhere around -2.5 camber on the front and -1.75 on the rear.
Ordered my rear control arms from 034 btw.

I never felt (or suffered from) the "excessively understeery" nature of the car - it feels very neutral on the track (esp high speed corners) and turns in pretty well with trail-braking into slow and mid-speed corners. It rotates amazingly well and consistently under trail braking (works especially well for certain corners).

Granted - I never owned a performance rear wheel drive car before owning this GTI for 7+ years.
Hence I might have learned what to consider "normal" based on the OEM GTI handling itself.

For me fitting the stiffer sway bar on the rear was more of an experiment due to such a ubiquitous public acclaim.
It didn't work out.

I might try another 25-45% stiffer rear bar some time later to feel the difference in less pronounced and more nuanced way.
 

ChrisAttebery

Drag Racing Champion
I went from an H7R 22mm to the 034 bar to a 24mm H&R. After that I added the H&R 26mm FSB. That made a huge difference.

FWIW: The 034 bar is something like +125% on soft and +176% on hard compared to the stock bar.
 
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1ashchuckton

Autocross Champion
@postbox I didn't mention it, but my rear bar is solid And I'm running the stock front sway bar. Also running the stock oem suspension. If you decide to go with a smaller sway bar than your last one, do get a good alignment first. Like has been said it does sound like yours may be off.
 

postbox

New member
I went from an H7R 22mm to the 034 bar to a 24mm H&R. After that I added the H&R 26mm FSB. That made a huge difference.

Going for the exact same setup as yours: 26mm front H&R and 24mm rear with 034 adjustable swaybar links.

Doing that not because I need to (love the balance of the factory as I already said) but because my tranny is out and I seem to have an easy access to the front sway bar.

Also should come handy if/when I finally pull the trigger on R&T Ohlins with softer springs (thinking about 50Nm/mm, 70 from the factory).
 
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