Springs: GoWesty Dual-Rate Suspension Springs
Original VW Vanagon Syncro springs were excellent quality, just a bit outdated in terms of design. There have been several attempts by other manufacturers to improve on the design—most have failed miserably. We, too, learned this the hard way...
The photo above is of two identical 1987 VW Vanagon Wolfsburg Weekender Syncros. There are more photos at the end of this article. The white one is mine, and the burgundy one is Taylor's. We have subjected both of these vehicles to vigorous off-roading. (That is code for "beating the holy $#@%" out of them.) Taylor and I have taken our Syncros off-road many times, and the most severe off-roading we have attempted we have done together, he in his vehicle and me in mine. These two vehicles are set up identically: same engine, transaxle, gear ratios, shocks, and same exact 225/70-16 BFG tires (on different style wheels). You will notice Taylor's is sitting quite a bit lower than mine, pretty much the same height as a regular non-lifted Syncro. The difference: Taylor's Syncro has a set of aftermarket springs that did not quite cut it, and my Syncro has a set of GoWesty springs. The GoWesty springs do not show any signs of sagging whatsoever; the vehicle sits up front just the same as the day we installed the springs. When Taylor first installed these springs, his Syncro sat about 1-1/2 inches higher all around than it did with the original springs. When they were removed, the springs had collapsed to nearly the same length of a standard spring, as seen in the following photos. This is a result of improper design.
Making a spring simply longer so the vehicle sits higher is the easy part. The hard part is to make a spring that is the right rate, and that can be cycled from full suspension droop to full suspension compression repeatedly and forever without taking a permanent set, or “sag.” All of our springs are designed with all things considered, not just what it takes to make the vehicle sit a whatever new height is desired. And, we take it a step further...
The two photos above are of Syncro Westy suspension springs. The photo on the top is of front springs, rear springs are shown in the photo below it. In each photo, the spring on the left is an original VW Syncro Westy spring, the one in the middle is the aftermarket spring removed from Taylor's Syncro with less than 10,000 miles of (ab)use, and a new GoWesty spring is on the right. As you can clearly see, the GoWesty design has a significantly different appearance. You will notice that the GoWesty springs have some coils that are closer together than others, at the top. It is this design feature that makes the spring DUAL RATE. You can easily visualize that as the spring is compressed, the coils that are closer together will come in contact with each other before the spring is totally compressed. This is called "coil bind," and is intentional.As the spring is compressed (the vehicle is loaded or a wheel goes over a bump), the coils closer together stack up and become "inactive," effectively reducing the number of "active" coils. As soon as this happens, the SPRING RATE goes up, and the spring gets more stiff. That gives you the best of both worlds: A spring with a soft enough (about the same as the OE spring) rate to provide a comfortable ride, but one that will also stiffen up as it is loaded down. Notice that the original spring and the aftermarket spring do not have this design feature, and indeed offer just simple, linear spring rates.Just about every vehicle designed since the late '80s has non-linear rate springs. The Vanagon, having been designed in the '70s, was fitted by VW with linear springs. The other aftermarket springs are just a copy of the outdated original design, just a bit taller so the vehicle sits higher, and made from a slightly thicker steel with fewer coils so they offer a little stiffer, albeit linear, spring rate. So, even ones that are designed such that they won’t sag are just plain stiffer, linear springs.When we decided to get springs made, we figured we would kill a bunch of birds with one stone, namely:
1) Offer both standard height and increased height springs.
2) Have them made with the highest-quality materials and by one of the best companies in the business: no sagging, no collapsing, no supply issues.
3) Include a more state of the art dual-rate feature, so ride comfort is maintained, and stability and load carrying capacity is increased.
4) Support American workers and American ingenuity: Our springs are proudly made in the good ol' USA.
What we ended up with was a design that offers the best of both worlds: A spring that is stiff enough for the most arduous off-road mashing, load carrying, and cornering control, while maintaining the same comfortable, supple ride we have all learned to expect and love from our Vanagons.We offer standard-height and lifting springs for both 2WD and 4WD, and lowering springs for 2WD, that employ the experience we have gained. We have worked long and hard on these springs, and have sold many, many hundreds to lots of satisfied people all over the world. Give 'em a try: You won't be disappointed!
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