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Installing JVABS on VW MK2

Posted by BobOfTheFuture 
BobOfTheFuture
Rob Russo
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Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 01, 2016 06:02PM
Hey everybody,

I figured I'd make this thread if anyone was interested, and to brain storm some things.

So I started out with a '86 Jetta that was a rally car forever. Up front it had some kind of custom housings with leaky Bilstein inserts and stock top mounts.

Due to some things happening, I decided to have them checked out and rebuilt/improved into JVABS.

The actual install went well, the ears fit nice and the extra travel is very obvious when placed on the car.


A small thanks to my friend Tom, Who has been helping me with the car, including at the majority of events.

It was suggested that I use Subaru top mounts in conjunction with modified Subaru top mount strengthening plates.


I got the plates from TSS fab and bought some stock Subaru top mounts.

The plates had to be modified a bunch, I cut about 2 inches off the 'outboard' part of the plate, and I had to bore the hole out a bit to fit around the stock VW 'volcano'. The plate appears somewhat hardened, though a file will bite it and the plates ate up my grinder bits. A quick stop at a local parts store/machinist shop widened the hole for install.

I haven't welded yet, the idea here is to get it all installed and just weld around the perimeter of the plate when I'm at a friend's who welds.


The Subaru top mount only barely fits into the VW stock 'volcano' that is part of the body shell. I was hoping to keep it stock, and on the driver side, it worked out. The studs, while short, just barely fit and pull the mount into the volcano.


On the passenger side, not so much. I cant get the top mount to install properly and ended up stripping one of the studs that come on the Subaru top mount. Still thinking on this one...
Without the plate, it fits just fine.


Another thing of note, Was the tool used to adjust the spring perch.



John suggested that the tool from Coleman racing would work out, and sure enough it fits nicely!



Enablers, All of you.
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Dexter
Dexter Clark
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 01, 2016 11:48PM
You wanted to retain the original mount for some reason? I'm no SME, but I was under the impression that you're supposed to chop all of that out - essentially replacing the entire top of the strut tower. That's what we did on Bill's MK2 as most of the TSS installs I've seen (which isn't many). Here's a link to the page with photos if you didn't see it.
http://www.rallyanarchy.com/phorum/read.php?5,104314,106136#msg-106136
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BobOfTheFuture
Rob Russo
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 01:46AM
I wanted to try. Doesn't really seem like too terrible an idea to be able to still revert to stock stuff right?

I'd like to do the whole plating of the strut top thing, But I don't have a welder. I was thinking that this way I can have the car rolling and work on other stuff, then get it welded at my convenience. Think I'm wasting my time?

I'll check out the pics, thank you!

Edit:
Oh, I see now. Those are pretty large extensions, I wasn't planning on anything like that. I just wanted to get the strut mounted and not destroy the tops of the towers. The plates I got from TSS were just that, flat plates, as suggested by John.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2016 01:51AM by BobOfTheFuture.
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Pete
Pete Remner
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 07:40AM
Why u no have welder?

PS. The mobile version sux with a 10" tablet. On the other hand the tablet is big enough that desktop version works out okay so maybe no big deal.



Pete Remner
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Dante
Allan Dantes
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 11:14AM
My current setup is the same as your 2nd picture with the Subaru mount but no reinforcement plate. My team also stripped out one of the 6 studs. I would be more concerned about actually blasting the entire strut tower off the chassis, as this is what happened to one of my donor cars. No sign of it yet on the rally car, but I will be looking to stitch front and rear this winter.



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BobOfTheFuture
Rob Russo
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 02:28PM
Pete- I live in an upstairs apartment, and do my car work in the gutter infront of a friends house, where I keep the car. As it is, Half the living room is full of car stuff. Don't think Dana would be ok with a welder ontop of that pile... Heck, She is still waiting for me to disassemble the press I got and store it at my parents!
Not sure I could get a welder up and down the stairs by myself anyway thumbs up smiley

Allan, Glad to hear that no support isn't the end of the world. While I too plan on welding those plates in and whatnot, Who knows when it'll happen.

I was considering upping the stud size, and going with some wheel studs in the top mount. What do you think?



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2016 02:30PM by BobOfTheFuture.
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Robert Culbertson
Robert Culbertson
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 02:31PM
The studs in the tops mounts shouldn't be a weak point. If you want to put something nice in there, just toss in some bolts from the underside. No need for anything over 8 or 10mm.
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BobOfTheFuture
Rob Russo
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 03:20PM
Quote
Robert Culbertson
The studs in the tops mounts shouldn't be a weak point. If you want to put something nice in there, just toss in some bolts from the underside. No need for anything over 8 or 10mm.
\

I was just thinking studs to keep things simple. But for sure bolts would work... its a pain, an extra 5mm or so and it'd be job done.


Allan, What sort of suspenders are you running?



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LexusFman
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 03:50PM
So wait, the Subaru top mounts fit onto your VW chassis with no modifications? What about camber/caster plates? Is that a possibility to add to that setup or would that be too weak?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2016 03:53PM by LexusFman.
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Dante
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 06:18PM
Quote
BobOfTheFuture



Allan, What sort of suspenders are you running?



I've been running 2way HotBits for the last 4 years. They have been ok, but now I need to decide if I'm going to get them refreshed, or replaced. No complaints, bends, or failures with them; but it would be nice to try something else in the front.



Owner, Driver, Head Mechanic, and Janitor at Tower City Race Team, headquartered near L'Anse. Michigan.
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Robert Culbertson
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 02, 2016 10:35PM
Quote
LexusFman
So wait, the Subaru top mounts fit onto your VW chassis with no modifications? What about camber/caster plates? Is that a possibility to add to that setup or would that be too weak?

Adding just the subi top mounts will raise the car ~1in because the bearings sit at a different height than the VW ones. The "other" way to add the Subi mounts is to raise the top surface ~1in and then plate it down to the sides of the strut tower. Adds a bunch of strength and gets the ride height back to proper.

As far as the camber/caster plates, you could. Except I've heard (not personally experienced) that the slide type caster/camber plates can slip when they get into rally service. Most rally cars use a solid aluminum piece with the strut bushing offset to gain more caster or camber. This also eliminates the chance of it slipping, and makes it much stronger too.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2016 01:30AM by Robert Culbertson.
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john vanlandingham
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 03, 2016 02:27AM
Quote
Robert Culbertson
Quote
LexusFman
So wait, the Subaru top mounts fit onto your VW chassis with no modifications? What about camber/caster plates? Is that a possibility to add to that setup or would that be too weak?

Adding just the subi top mounts will raise the car ~1in because the bearings sit at a different height than the VW ones. The "other" way to add the Subi mounts is to raise the top surface ~1in and then plate it down to the sides of the strut tower. Adds a bunch of strength and gets the ride height back to proper.

Correct..
If I was an idiot.
And if you knew more about making struts than you actually do..
But you don't.

Man I wish you would learn to use qualifiers and the passive voice.



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Robert Culbertson
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 03, 2016 03:06AM
Chill Winston...

The subi too mounts drop the upper shock mount about an inch right? Won't that decrease the amount of bump travel that the strut will have? There's not a lot of room on the top of a VW insert to drop the top that much and not reduce available bump travel. The solution to this is to raise the vehicle the same amount so overall bump travel is the same as if it had a mount in the stock location.

Or am I completely missing something here?
Cheers.
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Josh Wimpey
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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 03, 2016 11:44AM
Tein makes (or made) a subaru top mount that had a 'dome' to bring the bearing up almost 1". Not sure if they were for lowering cars and retaining bump or for getting more bump out of gravel cars...

Sorry for the bad photo, it is all I have at the moment.

https://quantumrallysport.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/44683_435722869600_6784801_n.jpeg

Also, the TSS tower option with subaru rubber mounts can leave you at the same height

https://quantumrallysport.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/35680_419829764600_6809788_n.jpeg



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Re: Installing JVABS on VW MK2
January 03, 2016 11:47AM
Rob, in the upcoming weeks the garage will be cleared... Not sure if i'll be able to help prior to WMWR but can do so afterwards...



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