In our latest DIY video, Director of Motorsport and driver of the #72 Volkswagen GTI TCR Nate Vincent walks us through step-by-step how to install a Sachs Performance Coilover Kit and 034Motorsport Camber Plates in an MK7 GTI. Here's how (with video!).
Tools You'll Need:
- 17mm thin-wall socket
- 13mm socket
- 10mm socket
- 18mm socket
- 16mm socket
- 22mm socket
- T20 bit
- 10mm triple square
- 14mm triple square
- 21mm flange wrench
- Hex keys
- Breaker bar or impact wrench
- Pry bar
- Transmission jack (Optional)
- Spring compressors
- Eye protection
- Soft mallet
Parts You'll Need:
- Sachs Performance Coilover Kit
- 034Motorsport Audi/VW Camber Plate Set
- 034Motorsport VW Street Density Shock Mount - 2x
Let's Get Started:
First things first, the wheels have to come off the car. Break the wheel bolts loose with a 17mm thin-walled socket attached to your breaker bar or impact wrench and get the car in the air. While we completed this install on a lift, it is possible (but slightly more difficult) on jack stands.
Disconnect the bracket that connects the strut to the knuckle using your 10mm socket and ratchet. Next, disconnect the sway bar link with your 18mm socket; if the bushing starts to spin, counter-hold it in place using a hex key and push the link out of the way to free up some much-needed movement.
Remove the axle flange using a 10mm triple square socket. You may need to hold the rotor in place to prevent it from spinning; we suggest sticking a screw driver in a rotor vane to counter-hold it against the brake caliper, but also to rotate the rotor to gain access to the axle flange fasteners.
Using a SP14 triple square, counter-hold the strut knuckle nut as you spin the 18mm nut from the other side. This bolt may require a breaker bar to break free. At this point, you can remove the three 16mm nuts holding the lower ball joint to the control arm. Using a pry bar, carefully pry between the control arm and ball joint.
Next, use a shim or small chisel and depress the anti-rotation tab between the strut and the strut bracket. Have a partner or transmission jack support the brake and knuckle assembly as you tap the shim between the tab and bracket to prevent the assembly from falling forward.
With some coaxing, the strut assembly should separate from the steering knuckle. That's all you have to do down below! The next step takes place under the hood.
Remove the small plastic clip and rubber seal above the strut tower and bend the cover slightly back. You will now have access to the three 13mm bolts holding the strut hat to the strut tower. We recommend breaking each bolt loose, then keeping one bolt in place as you remove the other two. This is done to prevent the strut from falling out on its own. With one hand on the strut, carefully remove the last bolt and allow the strut to detach from the tower.
Using a set of spring compressors, carefully push the spring down just enough to relieve tension from the top mount. You'll need a 21mm wrench with a large flange or a "deep well" as well as a 7mm hex key socket to remove the top nut. At this point, you'll have the top mount, strut bearing, protection tube, spring, and old strut disassembled. The only part of this assembly we'll need is the original strut bearing.
Next comes the fun part -- assembling the new struts! Before installing the bearings, springs, and mounts, thread both adjustment rings all the way to the bottom of each strut to avoid spring tension during assembly. Install the springs (taper facing down) and combine the strut bearing with the new 034Motorsport Camber Plate, being mindful to match the tabs on the bearing and plate before installation. Using a 22mm socket and impact wrench, tighten everything down and head over to the GTI for reinstallation. Be sure to adjust the ride height and dampening before installing the coilovers.
Installation is the reverse of removal. The only difference is that you must use the new 034Motorsport hardware supplied with the camber plate. Otherwise, the top mount will not attach to the strut tower. With some careful movements, the strut will seat back into the knuckle but will complain the whole time. Reinstall all fasteners and torque to correct specifications. Don't forget your sway bar end link, axle flange, and ball joint!
Moving on to the rear, things become much easier. Remove the wheel and undo the many T20 fasteners holding the fender liner in place. Once free, pull the fender liner out, being mindful to protect your eyes as dust and debris may release. Set the fender liner aside.
Using an 18mm wrench in conjunction with an 18mm socket, undo the bottom shock bolt and knuckle bolt on either side as well as the 13mm sway bar links; this will allow each side to drop down independently. Using a soft mallet, tap the sway bar bolt through and out of the lower control arm. Do the same for the shock absorber bolt, being mindful that the lower control arm will drop slightly after doing so. Lastly, fully remove the bolt holding the lower control arm to the knuckle -- be careful as the control arm will drop further downward due to spring tension. You can now remove the springs.
Remove the two 16mm bolts holding each shock mount to the car. As we did for the front struts, hold the shocks with one hand while undoing the bolts to prevent the shocks from dropping to the floor. The only component from the old shocks we reused are the dust caps attached to the top mounts. The new shocks are inverted and already have bump stops installed and we are using new 034Motorsport High Density top mounts instead of the original mounts.
At this point, set your preferred dampening setting and assemble the new shocks by placing the new 034Motorsport mounts onto each shock. Secure the new lock nuts using an impact wrench and snap on the original dust caps before reinstalling the shocks.
After you snug down those top mount bolts, install your new springs. We reused the bottom spring pads and replaced the top spring pads with the new adjusters; remember to set these rear adjusters to the same setting as the fronts. The round side of the new springs will seat into the spring pads while the flat side of the springs go against the adjusters. Once everything is seated, thread the bolt holding the knuckle to the lower control arm and tap it into place.
Next, secure the bottom of the shocks to the control arms using the original 18mm bolts. You will need to wiggle things around to fit both spacers into place, so take your time here. The spacers are interchangeable in their placement as they are identical.
Reinstall your sway bar links and torque down all three nuts securing the control arm to the sway bar links, shocks, and knuckles. Reinstall the fender liners and get the car on the ground to settle the suspension, making any fine adjustments as needed.
That's all there is to it! The Sachs Performance Coilover kit makes things super easy and with the right tools, you too can tackle this install. Follow along with the video below and be sure to leave a comment telling us what you think of the new kit.