Author Topic: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA  (Read 8495 times)

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Online le mans

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A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« on: March 23, 2014, 11:19:10 am »
Some of you may remember me mentioning back in November/December that I was planning to purchase new suspension for my then very recently purchased Audi RS2. I did some research and decided to 'stretch' to the KW V3 adjustable kit as it appeared to be the bees knees (OEM plus quality with full adjustably) and therefore befitting such a special car. It is pretty expensive as you can imagine - it cost me 1400 GBP plus shipping plus tax plus MAF extortion. Here is a link to the product: http://shop.kw-suspensions.eu/index.php?page_id=product_single_view&sort=_&product_id=50951&mg=26&pg=160&page=1 I have previous experience with adjustable suspension with my RS4, so I felt reasonably comfortable going down this path.

Anyway, the suspension duly arrived mid December and after wrestling with Fedex and customs for a few days I even got to take it home. I enjoyed unboxing it!





It was fitted and set up, wheel alignment done and a certifier was there to sign it off. Here is where it went off the rails I'm afraid. The certifier took one look and said 'I can't certify this as it has an an aftermarket welded steering arm' (see the last picture above, which shows a front strut with steering arm). It turns out this certifier did not have the approval to sign off steering modifications but he was doubtful about getting it certified at all. He then referred me to someone who had the required approval to cover steering modifications. I was also referred to this LVVTA article which outlines LVVTA concern with aftermarket welded steering arms: http://www.lvvta.org.nz/documents/infosheets/LVVTA_Info_05-2012_Welded_Aftermarket_Suspension_Struts.pdf

Anyway, here is the car after having the suspension fitted. A bittersweet feeling I can tell you:



Here is the original OEM suspension after removal:


The new certifier sent mixed messages about the possibility of getting the suspension certified. He came and viewed the suspension fitted to the car in January and was quite positive about it at that time. He then took some photos and went away. I was advised that a formal approval would need to be requested from the LVVTA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The certifier did this on my behalf at  a cost to him of $95. The TAC requested the TUV certificate which I had supplied to the certifier. It can be viewed here: http://docs.kwsuspension.de/ga-KWGFw-07-2677.pdf

The TAC finally reviewed my case last Tuesday. And this is what they said:
Quote
TAC members viewed the TUV documentation, however the consensus was that there was still concern with the design and construction, and that the documentation was not sufficient to satisfy members that there was no possible chance of potential failure. TAC members all agreed that these can not be approved

So there you have it. This suspension kit, which can be safely and legally fitted to an RS2 in Germany or elsewhere in Europe, and support a car being driven on the autobahn at 260+ kph is not good enough for the LVVTA to sign off. So be warned, if you are considering aftermarket suspension for your B3/B4 you may never get it certified by the LVVTA.

I have nothing against the certifiers who tried to help me. To date I have't been charged a cent by either of them and they were very helpful to deal with. The communication was a bit sporadic, but you get that don't you! It seems that this ideological position of the LVVTA is holding them back. I have some sympathy as they assume some legal responsibility when they certify a 'modification' as safe, but the general lack of consideration for foreign certification is a bit over the top in my opinion, especially when you are dealing with an agency in the some country as where the car is manufactured. KW of course conforms to ISO quality standards too.

I am trying to refrain from more emotional language!




 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 07:05:05 am by le mans »
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Offline 00quattro00

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 11:38:09 am »
Wtf, some of the s**t that they come up with is unbelievable.

A possible solution is to cut the spring perches of a set of original struts, buy the threaded sleeves and just use the springs and hats of the kws, chuck them in and go get a cert and just refit the kws after. Bit of dicking around tho
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Offline beeker

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 12:27:47 pm »
Can you not go down the track of getting an independent structural engineer to certify it ?
ie like a kit car would be certified from the ground up.

Further, I would take it up with KW, as they would be shocked at such a ruling as it effectively bans their product from sale. They may be able to provide further evidence of it being formerly certified in other countries, especially if anything was done in AU being such a close neighbour who we borrow some regulation from, it might be reason for an appeal.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 12:30:33 pm by beeker »
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Offline ziptie.nz

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2014, 01:56:15 pm »
I reckon Welded Steering arm would be at the very least twice as strong as the Poxy Cast Iron Factory Item...

Offline spooln

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2014, 09:26:21 pm »
I had an adjustable HnR kit in my rs2 and it was signed off. Said it was the best suspension they had seen.
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Offline zeitgeist

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2014, 11:13:44 pm »
KW should have full testing documents etc with all specs and regulation authority details included. Try and get that info off them perhaps?
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Online le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2014, 08:09:14 am »
I had an adjustable HnR kit in my rs2 and it was signed off. Said it was the best suspension they had seen.
Do you remember what the front strut looked like? Did it have welded or cast steering arms?
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Online le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2014, 08:11:19 am »
Can you not go down the track of getting an independent structural engineer to certify it ?
ie like a kit car would be certified from the ground up.

Further, I would take it up with KW, as they would be shocked at such a ruling as it effectively bans their product from sale. They may be able to provide further evidence of it being formerly certified in other countries, especially if anything was done in AU being such a close neighbour who we borrow some regulation from, it might be reason for an appeal.
I was following the guidance of my certifier and kept asking him if there was anything more I could do to support my case. All he wanted was the TUV certificate and indeed that is all that the TAC asked for. Zeitgeist has kindly given me a contact so will see where that goes.
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Online le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2014, 08:14:57 am »
KW should have full testing documents etc with all specs and regulation authority details included. Try and get that info off them perhaps?
Thanks again for the engineering contact. I did email KW's 'technical' team in Germany and received no reply. P*ssed about that but not overly surprised. I am going to email the local KW agent now. I have been avoiding that as I imported this kit myself and so I may not be very popular with them. The volume of KW components likely to be sold here with fabricated steering arms would be extremely low I would think so they may not be very interested. Anyway will see.
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Online le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2014, 09:57:11 am »
Can you not go down the track of getting an independent structural engineer to certify it ?
ie like a kit car would be certified from the ground up.

Further, I would take it up with KW, as they would be shocked at such a ruling as it effectively bans their product from sale. They may be able to provide further evidence of it being formerly certified in other countries, especially if anything was done in AU being such a close neighbour who we borrow some regulation from, it might be reason for an appeal.
Thanks Noel. Are you saying there is a way of certifying the car and completely bypass the LVVTA? I was under the impression that the LVVTA was the only agency that could issue certs?

The NZ KW agent has forwarded my email to KW in Germany so hopefully they can supply some more supporting data. All may not be lost just yet!
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Offline HaNs

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2014, 10:02:43 am »
A few suspension sets ups need to be cut and welded to allow coil overs (mainly BMW e30), they require someone with a current welding cert and a NDT test (usually xray) to verify the welds are fine.

Maybe esquire about what testing they require to pass?

Offline 00quattro00

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2014, 10:23:29 am »
The bmws dont have the arms welded to the strut like the audis do. Kw move them down and point them inwards slightly to correct steering geometry when its lowered
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Online le mans

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A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2014, 06:30:43 am »
Engineering contact doesn't do certification work unfortunately so that's a no go at this stage.
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Offline beeker

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2014, 08:28:42 am »
Thanks Noel. Are you saying there is a way of certifying the car and completely bypass the LVVTA? I was under the impression that the LVVTA was the only agency that could issue certs?

The NZ KW agent has forwarded my email to KW in Germany so hopefully they can supply some more supporting data. All may not be lost just yet!

Try Frasers cars on the north shore. They obviously build their own cars, and their are also a MANZ certifier. They should have some 'custom car' certifying experience.
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Online le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2014, 10:19:03 am »
Thanks Noel.

Big ups to Chris Petch at Autoquip, who is the NZ agent for KW. He has been really proactive on getting this sorted since I got in touch with him. Hopefully there will be a good outcome to this eventually. Seeing as Chris is being so helpful I'll plug his company here: http://www.autoquip.co.nz
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