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VWR Streetsport plus coilovers - Track day failure

GP813

Ready to race!
Backround info:
My original review here:
http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=54099

Purchased and installed through APR authorized dealer Eurocode tuning. (they have done all major work on my car and have been exemplary)

Have had them on the car since 2/9/13.
Approximately 3-4000 miles since then and 3 complete track days so far (2 at Buttonwillow and 1 at Big Willow)
Failure was today 4/5 at Streets of willow, session 1, 2 laps warmup/recon laps in.

Associated parts: H&R Swaybars 24mm Front (hard)/ 22mm Rear (soft) (smallest size upgrade from H&R)

Car was setup with front dampers set to 9 out of 12 click settings, rear dampers set to 10 clicks out of 12. (track level dampening)

Product info page and warranty information:
http://www.goapr.com/products/suspension_vwr_streetsport_vaga5.html

http://www.goapr.com/support/vwr/VWR Fitting StreetSport Plus Coilover Suspension.pdf

The incident:
Its my first time at Streets of Willow, which is a technical fairly "low" speed course. Here is the course map with turn by turn:
http://www.speedventures.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?id=424

First lap of the day goes off without a hitch, im getting the RS3's warmed up and getting a feel for the racing line.

Second lap is also going fine, until the car starts behaving oddly during corners 3 through 8, like something was unsettling the car. I figured my RS3's were still cold and Im brand new to the track. So i take it easy.

Turn 11's left hander is where I had the back end kick out on me abruptly and i recovered and continued on. As soon as i transitioned to the right handers 12 and 13 is where i noticed something off. The car wallowed and plowed a bit in the right hander and as soon as i exited 13 and put power down for the main straight i heard a grinding noise beneath the car. At first I thought it was a plastic underbody piece that somehow worked loose. Unfortunately i had just passed the pit exit and had to continue on about a quarter mile to a safe, unused part of the track. As i continued on the tone of the noise changed and i knew it had to be grinding metal of some kind. I pull off onto the dirt and i can feel something digging into the ground.

Fast forward to me getting the car to my pit with the help of a track official escort at the end of the session.

Here are photos of the broken mounting point on the shock body that connects it to the swaybar endlinks:

What it normally looks like(passenger front):

image_2 by gpitpitan, on Flickr


image by gpitpitan, on Flickr

Heres the broken bracket (driver side front)

image_1 by gpitpitan, on Flickr

Grinded down swaybar end link and intact ball joint:

image_1 by gpitpitan, on Flickr

Broken seam right along weld point:

image_4 by gpitpitan, on Flickr


image by gpitpitan, on Flickr


image_3 by gpitpitan, on Flickr

I was able to remove the broken endlink and drove it 80 miles home without incident.


image_2 by gpitpitan, on Flickr


image_3 by gpitpitan, on Flickr


The aftermath:
While I was at the track I called both APR and Eurocode tuning and told them about the problem and emailed photos of the part.

80 miles and an hour and a half later I get a call from Dave, the owner of Eurocode Tuning who contacted APR right away and talked to Bronson (whom i believe was the person i spoke with at APR) who was already aware of the situation since I called and emailed.

I was told that APR will be taking care of the broken suspension piece but the person who handles RMA's wont be back in until Monday. Also I guess the APR staff was at the racetrack that day (i expect nothing less lol)

I will be contacting Dave at Eurocode on monday to follow up and see when I can expect the part. I am hoping that I can get the part on the car before my next big track day next sunday (4/14 at buttonwillow)

I tech inspect my car prior to every event and did not notice anything out of the ordinary upon visual inspection of all critical components. Moving forward, I will be doing a more thorough check of suspension components, especially the parts that see extreme amounts of stress.

For the record, the VWR coilovers have been nothing short of excellent through daily driving, track days, and canyon running. Performance wise i cant ask anymore of the setup aside from upgrading to the linear spring and camber plates for more track day performance.

I understand that tracking a car comes with the inherent possibility of pushing parts past their absolute limit. With that said, I'm glad that APR is standing behind their product and letting me fix the problem without any additional cost to myself. I purchased these coilovers knowing APR's history and I will continue to trust the products they sell even after this part failure.

Thanks to Dave and his team over at Eurocode tuning as well for helping me out so quickly. Proved to me once again why many folks in So Cal trust them to tune their VW's and Audi's.

I am a bit angry about $150 wasted on a 2 lap track day, but I fully accept the consequences of tracking your car. Pay to play right? My first "incident" out of almost 15 track sessions on this car, I think I'm doing ok. Just glad it happened here not at 110MPH on turn 8 at big willow.

Follow up edit:
After a little over a week going back and forth with my tuner and APR/VWR I got word they approved replacement.

Bad news is since VWR is UK based the part will be coming from them and to expect a 3-4 week delivery time.

Second follow up edit (stock suspension on the car as of 4/20/13):

I did notice marks on the drive shaft, which is why i got the stock suspension on today. Also noticed that the intact passenger side sway bar link attachment point is bent a few degrees, there is a straight edge pry bar the side of it to show much much deflection there is.

So, I am now worried about how this other side eventually leading to failure and whats somehow causing. I will have emails sent out to my tuner and also APR this time to see what exactly im getting replaced when it comes in 3-4 weeks.

The 3-4 week lead time for replacement is a bit of an annoyance to say the least. I'm pretty sure I got the VWR units from APR in less than half that time. I've sent emails out to APR and VWR UK to see why there is such a long time to get a replacement, and I have not heard from either company about this. I have also PM'ed Arin on the forums and havent received word. So far my tuner speculates some sort of customs delay since it would be coming from England...but at this point who knows. I know I've seen plenty of APR activity on the Engine section of this board and I haven't heard a single peep from APR on this thread, PM or Email since the very first day I called Bronson. I think they have been in close contact with my tuner but I dont know exactly. For the sake of full disclosure, the person who handles RMA stuff for APR was on vacation the week that this part broke and didnt come back into the office until several days after i called in about it.

Throughout this whole process I think I've been as patient as I can be, and frankly I'm glad VWR is replacing the unit at no charge to me, especially considering they could easily cop out and say no. (pay to play on my part is fully understood) But I have to say for a part that costs this much money, targeted specifically to a track enthusiast audience like myself, to break so soon is unacceptable. There were many other manufacturers to choose from at this price point of $2000+ and I went with VWR/APR because of their track record (no pun intended) for my car up until this point.

If this indeed does break again, I will be having my own custom brackets welded to the units because I'd rather not deal with the hassle of going through a 6 week replacement turn around. The problem with that is will they refuse to revalve / repair the shocks if i do this?

Ill be giving APR a phonecall on monday to see if i can get a better idea of what is causing this problem and if theres a way to expedite this whole replacement process, even if i have to pay extra for it.

If I'm totally off my rocker or being unreasonable throughout this entire ordeal I would definitely like to know, I don't like to be a person to bitch and moan about something if it's all baseless.

Photos:


Detailed image of the break point along the material near the weld:




Image of the PASSENGER side drive shaft rubbing against the swaybar, i do not know if this was caused before or after the damage occured to the DRIVER side strut point.


Images of PASSENGER SIDE STRUT SWAY BAR MOUNT POINT. Notice the deflection, a straight pry bar side was used to show how much it is.




Update 4/21/13
More fun stuff, one of the rear shocks dampening adjustment clicker is now seized in place and wont move with simple hand pressure. Not sure how or why that happened, just noticed it when i took it off the car and put it in the old VWR box. I have 3 super expensive paperweights now.

Update 5/5/13

New units went on the car without hitch. I'm glad to be back on better dampers.

Sway bar link included with my new units....which oddly enough, look EXACTLY like aftermarket Ksport units that i saw on Golfmk5.



side by side comparison to old units (top of photo)



New sway bar mounting point, notice the shorter bracket arm and also longer weld point, almost double the length of the old units. Also the arm is now mounted at an angle instead of coming straight out of the unit.


Installed on the car:















Long term review coming soon along with track day and canyon road notes.

I would like to point out that after being on stock suspension for several weeks and now going to these units set to the lowest (street) damper setting, the ride quality is VERY similar to stock. Although i would consider it firmer but the higher quality dampers definiately make the ride better.

Middle "7" setting, that the unadjustable streetsport units come on is still pretty damn firm and just tolerable for street use.

I wrote this post at work so more info to come for those interested.
 
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Gunkata

Go Kart Champion
very strange.. those brackets are, and it looks like they would be easy / prone to breaking. This could just happen again with more tracking, yes?
 

GP813

Ready to race!
very strange.. those brackets are, and it looks like they would be easy / prone to breaking. This could just happen again with more tracking, yes?
Yeah, a definite possibility, but close inspection of the passenger side exhibits no stress fractures or other anomalies in the structure of the shock. Granted, when your going Clockwise on tracks all the time, that driver side is getting more stress. Its something I will have to be conscious of.
 

greasyginzo

Go Kart Champion
That style bracket found on many other coilover kits always looked a little suspect to me but never thought they would break off. Maybe the metal had a hairline fracture or some other anomaly
 

GP813

Ready to race!
That style bracket found on many other coilover kits always looked a little suspect to me but never thought they would break off. Maybe the metal had a hairline fracture or some other anomaly
Im trying to look for other brands adjustable high end coilovers to compare designs, feel free to insert photos if you can.
 

dustinouch

Go Kart Champion
Geezus. Glad you weren't hurt.

It looks like it failed just above the weld. I'm not an engineer but it doesn't appear to have enough support at that tab? I'd be interested to see what VWR/APR says.
 

GP813

Ready to race!
Geezus. Glad you weren't hurt.

It looks like it failed just above the weld. I'm not an engineer but it doesn't appear to have enough support at that tab? I'd be interested to see what VWR/APR says.
Looking for AST 4100s or similar that PandaGTI used to have, not finding any images though.

And the KW V3s use a similar mounting style.
 

dustinouch

Go Kart Champion
Its not clear from the picture but these AST4100 from Vorshlags site have a similar mount



Look how high the endlink goes relative to the threaded body.
 

NS2G8TR

Passed Driver's Ed
Yeah it looks like the Bilstein and Ohlins are similar in design and a bit more reinforced than the others.
 

GeorgeHill

Ready to race!
Those are my H&R Street Performarce SS Coilovers... Looks like the same as VWR and KW's. Bilstein and Ohlins seems stronger.

 
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the bruce

Go Kart Champion
Not the first sway bar link bracket I see failing, but the first one of a quality suspension.
I already know similar failures from Taiwan stuff like IS-Racing, K-Sport and so on.

What about the sway bar touching the control arm? Did you look for marks on LCA
and sway bar? This would cause harmful peak forces. Sway bar link length needs to be
adjusted to prevent this.

Another point: You said you had vibration while driving home. A broken sway bar link will
shurely never cause any vibrations. But: Did the drive shaft touch the body? Do I see
some marks on the drive shaft?




I cannot believe AST/VWR do make struts with brackets that aren't up to withstand
the increased forces of uprated sway bars.

Nonetheless some others:
























Taiwan "quality":







 
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