VR6 5 Lug Plus Suspension Conversion Information |
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VR6 5 Lug Plus Suspension Conversion Information

This page is dedicated to the VR6 5 Lug "Plus Suspension" Conversion on a 4 Lug "Base Suspension" car.

Introduction: I have a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta GT. The GT on the outside looks like a GLX only the wheels, exhaust, and emblems are different. Other wise, aesthetically, it's the same only cheaper, slower, and more economical. Hence the original reason I purchased it. The GT also comes with rear disc brakes. GLXs also have rear disk. Other models like the GL came with drum brakes. When doing this conversion, it is "easier" to swap a rear beam in from a car that already has rear disc so that you don't have to mess with the hard brake lines as far as cutting and flaring, blah blah blah. Just don't mess with it.

Here are the parts you are going to need on a car with all disc brakes:
20 VR6 Lug Nuts
5(five) 15" 5x100 wheels ($250)
  • You need 15" wheels to clear 11.3" front rotors
  • Grab the spare if applicable
VR6 Rear Rotors ($50)
  • same 8.9" size, different bolt pattern
VR6 Brake Lines ($76.00 for front only)
  • The 2.0 brake lines are only 1 thread pitch off, I supposed that one could dye the threads one pitch lower but I don't think it's a good idea because the metal shavings might get into the lines
VR6 Front Sway bar and End Links ($70)
  • I'd replace end links since they are right there
VR6 Control Arms and Bushings
  • Might as wheel replace the rear bushing with Audi TT or R32 control arm bushings ($70)
  • When putting control arms back in, use a piece of wood on the ball joint side and pound it back into the subframe with a hammer
  • Have a shop press the old bushings out and the new ones it. It's well worth your time unless you have access to a press
VR6 Drive Axles and bolts for tranny
  • Make sure there are no torn boots
VR6 Steering Knuckles
VR6 Bearings
VR6 Hubs
VR6 Tie Rod Ends
  • For removal, turn the wheels hard over (if work from driver's side, turn wheels right and vice versa for other side)
    • Take a hammer and hit the knuckle out. It will pop right out
  • Use special tool indicated in Bentley
VR6 Front Rotors, Pads, calipers, carriers
VR6 Spindles
Brake Fluid

For Rear Conversion
  1. Loosen lug nuts
  2. Jack the car up
  3. Remove lug nuts
  4. Remove wheels
  5. Unbolt the caliper
  6. Unbolt carrier
  7. Take off bearing cap
  8. Take off the clip
  9. Take off that thing....yeah
  10. Unbolt rotor from stub axle
  11. Remove rotor with bearings
  12. Installation is the reverse of removal for VR6 Rear Rotor
  13. Install wheel
  14. Install VR6 lug nuts
  15. Torque to 89ft-lbs
For Front Conversion:

Note: I had an extra subframe and getting the sway bar back in after removal is a PITA. I thought I could get the VR6 sway bar without removing the subframe. Nope! So with the "VR6" subframe I put the sway bar back in. Threw the control arms on and removed the assembly as one unit. Steps 15-16 are not necessary if you are not removing the subframe.
  1. Loosen lug nuts
  2. Jack the car up
  3. Place two jackstands, one on each side, where the tire jack goes
  4. Remove all lug nuts (17mm)
  5. Remove both wheels
  6. Unbolt both calipers
    1. Hang with hanger off of strut
  7. Unbolt both tie rod ends
    1. This can be quite difficult. It was for me. Took a lot of elbow grease to get them off.
  8. Remove tie rod ends from housing
  9. Unbolt strut from spindle assembly but leave the bolts in there for now to hold it up (2x19mm)
  10. Unbolt both drive axles
  11. Unbolt both ball joints
  12. Now remove the two strut bolts and pull the assembly out (axles, spindles, rotors)
  13. Support the engine
  14. Unbolt transmission mount (17mm) and rear engine mount bolts (2x13mm)
  15. Unbolt the steering rack, 4x13mm bolts and nuts. Easy to get to when everything is already off
  16. Remove the subframe with control arms and sway bar attached
    1. There are 6 bolts holding the subframe in. Two near the wheel well (19mm), two that go through the control arm into the frame(19mm), and one at the rear(17mm). Put the rears on first, hand tight, then the ones that go through the control arms next, and then the ones near the wheel well.
  17. Installation is reverse of removal
  18. Replace any suspension component you can, ball joints, bearings, bushings

Q: I need to know if I need axles, master cylinder, E-brake cables
A: Yes you need the axles. VR6 axles are longer to accomodate the 1" wider suspension. No, you don't need a master cylinder. Yes, you need ebrake cables for the calipers as they are longer than drum.

Q: VR6 Subframes are not the same as 2.0
A: Wrong. They are exactly the same. It's the control arms, sway bar, and axles that are longer that make the difference.

Q: What is the advantage of Plus Suspension
A: Larger wheels, larger brakes, and control arms are stronger (VR6 is tubular steel, instead of pressed steel). Plus Suspension
improves the front suspension geometry by moving the lower ball joints further out and changes the thrust angle. This limits bump and torque steer, and widens the track slightly.

Q: Will 2.0 tie rods work?
A: No, they don't allow enough adjustment for the correct toe in/out

How about that rear beam? The MkII and MkIII proportioning valves are different. Can the MkIII platform use the MkII prop valve or vice versa?
It would be much easier to simply swap the disk brake components from one beam to another - ie spindle backing plate caliper rotor and cables

Any idea what the width difference for a Plus Supension beam and a Base Suspensio is?
All A2/A3 beams are the same dimension. On Mk3s, Golf GLs and Jetta GLs don't have a rear sway bar like the GT, GLX, and GTI.

Do I really need to do the 5 lug conversion when I do a VR6 Swap?
A: No. The VR6 will bolt right up to Base Suspension

Q: What if I just want 5 Lug and not Plus Suspension:
A: ECSTuning sells a kit with the following below.
You will be using your same knuckles with this kit so you don't need new axles, lower ball joints, control arms

ECS Tuning Stage III 4-5 Lug Conversion Kit-Front & Rear Kit $749.95!
Fits all four lug cars from 1988-1999
This conversion kit includes the following parts:
-288mm rotors that are cross-drilled & slotted (special offset)
-Brand new calipers & carriers & Front OEM pads
-New conversion hubs
-New Rear cross-drilled (5-lug) rear discs
-All new wheel bearings.
-ATE Super blue brake fluid
-Front S/Steel DOT approved brake lines

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