How to soften up the ride on the Leon FR...?

Nautilus

Active Member
Dec 9, 2006
547
2
Bucharest, Romania
Softer springs are the poorest solution possible. Harshness is not due to hard springing, but inadequate damping. Fitting soft Mk4 springs would give a floaty, spongy, bouncy feel at motorway speeds, but improve only slightly the harshness on rippled tarmac, so you loose twice.

For a car with claims to sporty driving, an ideal setup is a medium spring combined with a very stiff damper, but a damper which keeps the damping rate constant regardless of weather. Koni has a few setups in the Koni Sport range, so does KW and Bilstein.

~Nautilus
 

samjolly

Guest
Nautilus,

Thanks for this. So Quality dampers would be the most significant thing I could do?

Would you say that the standard FR springs are medium springs? Or would I need to change these as well?

So my strategy so far is:

1) Change the dampers to quality ones. Test the difference, if more needed go to 2)
2) Fit quality medium springs, test, if more needed go to 3)
3) Fit 15" Alloy wheels with 195/65/R15 tyres - Golf style.

Am I on the right track?

Thanks,

Sam
 

Gordz

Caught The Mod Bug Again!
May 31, 2007
1,325
1
North East
Personally first thing I'd do would be the tyres. If you've already got 15's on your golf, then may aswell just do a quick swap. Wont cost you anything and if you still don't like ride, then you can start to look at putting a bit of money into suspension work etc.
 

Nautilus

Active Member
Dec 9, 2006
547
2
Bucharest, Romania
Medium = a spring which is harder than an usual touring car spring (i.e. a stock suspension Leon, a Highline Golf Mk4 or a Passat) but softer than an aftermarket spring or a dedicated race spring. Our LC / LFR springs are "medium" from this point of view. Exact code of springs can be found in ETKA by a parts shop, but it would be an useless effort.

A race spring on a LC / LFR chassis would be shorter and a shorter spring has to be automatically harder, otherwise the car would roll even more.

A soft damper on a stiff spring = poor damping of the chassis' bounce, car squats, dives, rolls and "wallows"

A stiff damper on a stiff spring, like race dampers and coilovers made for track = acceptable damping on good roads only, begins to rattle you to pieces on poor roads

A stiff damper on a medium spring would combine the roll stiffness given by the spring and also dampen the bounces of the bodywork upon ripples and bumps.

Koni has a Sport range which comes with springs and dampers tuned to fit each other

~Nautilus
 
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Nautilus

Active Member
Dec 9, 2006
547
2
Bucharest, Romania
Springs on the Leon Mk 1 FR (and most likely Leon Mk 1 Cupra / Topsport) are marked with 4 green dots and 1 blue dot, same springs as a Golf Mk 4 337 or 20th Anniversary (which also share the 02M 6-speed gearbox and 312mm front brakes).

These springs are of medium stiffness, about 130 lbs/in. Hardest springs on Mk 4 based cars are those on heavy-duty suspension Variants and Jettas, calculated for heavy weights and heavy loads.

A combination between a "relatively soft" spring and a stiff damper would yield a forgiving ride quality and reduced roll to increase handling quality.

~Nautilus
 

samjolly

Guest
Thanks all for your wonderful feedback.

Having driven the LFR for a little while now I am getting used to it. I am also finding out that if the LFR is driven the right way, then it can providing a relaxing ride. However I will review all of this shortly.

My 2 current bugbears are:
1) fuel Economy
2) radio intereference/bad reception

However I have different posts on the above.

Apart from these I am enjoying my characterful LFR.

Sam
 

Cupat

Active Member
Sep 21, 2016
68
1
Unsure on insurance etc.

But as long as you keep same wheel & tyre circumfrence etc. Then it should be fine.

Cost for alloys, could just use ones from lower models of Leon? or Golf?

e.g. 17" alloys with 45 profile down to 15" alloys with 65 profile will give the same dimensions.

As said above, may be worth a try using your golf wheels? (assuming it's a mk4 golf)

Yes i know this is nearly 10 years old before anybody pipes up..

Mk4 Golf wheels don't fit I've tried, well they don't fit the 09 Leon as the disc holes are spaced different. You'd need to chang them and the calipers and possibly hubs.
 

vwbassett

Joined the Dark Side
Aug 13, 2007
961
48
Surrey
Had both a Cupra R and FR diesel, the FR had an incredibly harsh ride but I found both R's quite soft and supple whilst having good roll control from the different ARB and damper/spring combo. Whilst it's an expansive and technical option you could upgrade the parts to R spec ie subframe/front arms/roll bars etc second hand and then buy R dampers and springs either new or used which in my view transforms the car for the better.

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 

SlashProm

Active Member
May 23, 2018
160
22
When I got my LC it had the wrong profile and width tyres on. To cut a long story short, I went from a 195/45/16 to a 205/55/16 and I noticed it straight away. Going over speed bumps with the old tyres was really harsh and made me cringe. With the right profile tyres it's so much softer over bumps. Also like people are saying, you can go smaller wheels and bigger tyres, but you can also just go bigger profile on the same wheels and you'd not only be softer, but gain a little ride height at the same time. It wouldn't be enough to cause any problems with your speedo or your abs/speed sensors. And It's not something you need to declare to your insurance, as your just changing tyre profile.

Example, if you go from a 205/50 to a 205/55 you'll gain around 5-10mm of ride height. And it would only effect your speedo by about 3%, which just means when your doing 60, your actually doing 58/62 mph etc

https://tiresize.com/tyre-size-calculator/ Use this and select the Tyre Comparison option. And have a play around.

PS: I know I'm bumping a 10 year old thread. Just hope this helps people in the future, as I know a lot of old owners ruin good cars by messing with wheels.
 
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