Author Topic: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA  (Read 8492 times)

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Offline Danm

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2014, 09:39:17 am »
Hi

I am involved in this process so I can shed some light. LVV staff are not the pencil-pushers you might assume, we're a small organisation and each one of us is an enthusiastic petrolhead in one way or another:
http://www.lvvta.org.nz/about.html#about_staff
As well as the old Almac I have an A4 and a V5 Bora.

We have worked closely with the Transport Agency (NZTA) for over 20 years, developing alternative requirements for modified vehicles. We’re a non-profit organisation, not a government agency. We have a responsibility to ensure that vehicles are modified safely and that the modifications can be justified. If we didn't operate this way the ability for us all to make modifications would be under threat.

This KW suspension with the steering arm welded on isn’t of a common construction and so we need to ensure it is fit for purpose – loss of steering from a poor design or construction is clearly a safety risk, not only for the vehicle occupants but other road users.

We have requirements around welding of steering components. A steering component that has been modified or custom manufactured can only be welded if there is no other practical option being available, in which case:
(i) the component must meet all requirements specified in 18.9 ‘critical function welding requirements’ in ‘Chapter 18 - Attachment Systems’ of the NZ Hobby Car Technical Manual; and
(ii) the modification or custom-manufacturing process must be carried out by a person who is professionally engaged in motor vehicle construction, has substantial experience in steering component manufacture, and who is specifically nominated in writing by the Technical Advisory Committee of the LVVTA.

This KW steering arm design has multiple welds, which are all potential fail points, hence the requirement above. We have had recent experience of well-known parts failing and so we don’t take anything for granted. This infosheet covers one such case:
http://www.lvvta.org.nz/documents/infosheets/LVVTA_Info_01-2013_Unsafe_Aftermarket_Steering_Columns.pdf

Another more relevant case we have dealt with is aftermarket suspension struts with cast or forged steering arms welded to the upright. This infosheet provides information: http://www.lvvta.org.nz/documents/infosheets/LVVTA_Info_05-2012_Welded_Aftermarket_Suspension_Struts.pdf

A suspension supplier did go through this process and a strut was cut up and the welds inspected. It failed for poor weld quality. A second part was prepared and subjected to the same test and again failed. We concluded that the manufacturer did not understand how to weld to a casting or was not in control of their weld processes. The part was deemed to be sub-standard and posed a safety risk so it was not accepted.

Regarding the TuV documentation provided, this is the generic information TuV requires for suspension approval and does not make any mention of the steering arm. I suspect that a different TuV document should cover this aspect so we have asked for it.

We are working with KW to get all of the information to prove the suitability of the parts.

Regards
Dan
04 A4 3.0 Avant Sport Quattro 6spd manual
01 V5 Bora

Offline VW'n

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2014, 10:54:12 am »
We'll I found that post very informative, professional and it's good to see the process involved.
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Offline weta.worker

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2014, 11:31:22 am »
We'll I found that post very informative, professional and it's good to see the process involved.

+ 1

I don't know much about the subject but very nice to see a response from the other side.
1994 RS2 GUARDS RED
2001 RS4 NOGARO BLUE

Offline le mans

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A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2014, 11:37:56 am »
Thanks Dan. It's good to get some movement on this now and I appreciate your help liaising with KW. The rejection of the suspension really provided the clarity that this needed to elevated to a different level if any positive outcome was ever to eventuate. I hope KW are able to provide all the necessary data. I imagine some of it will be commercially sensitive so there will need to be a degree of trust on their part.

Looking at these certification issues from further back, would it not be worth doing some work with foreign certifying agencies to understand their standards? It might streamline things down the line for the LVVTA and avoid the need for these lengthy investigations and avoid us 'enthusiasts' from being left hanging in limbo for so long. The irony is not lost on me that if I lived in Germany and owned an RS2 I could fit this KW suspension and legally drive the car all over Europe. I do however understand that in NZ the LVVTA assume the responsibility for ensuring these aftermarket parts are safe and therefore you need to satisfy yourselves of that fact before you sign them off.

Thanks again for your help on sorting this issue. I'm acutely aware that there is still no assurance that this suspension kit will be passed, but at least there is hope!
B5 A4, B5 S4, B5 RS4, P1 RS2

Offline Danm

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2014, 01:37:21 pm »
We communicate with other regions, mostly Australia and the UK. As part of my work I read a lot of regulations and standards  - the NZ rules are often based on them. The EU system seems very complex with many layers, down to individual country and it takes a long time to figure out where all the details are.

This KW case is a good example where a standard may miss an important aspect - the TuV document would be suitable for the majority of struts but not when there's a steering arm attached. That's not to say TuV hasn't considered it, there's probably another document for it we just need to find it. Along with a few other documents we should be able to 'tick all the boxes' and have enough data to make a robust decision.

We have many examples where a modification has passed in another country, only to find an issue, such as additional seats in the back of a camper van (half of our work is 'commercial', not all performance cars). There's an EU requirement that seatbelts must pass a load test of about 1600kg per occupant, so manufacturers build a frame and get it tested, like this one:
http://www.camperconversions.com/convert-your-van/seating-bed-systems/
The trouble is that on some campers nobody then checked what that frame was attached to. We saw examples of the frame just screwed to plywood, which won't take anywhere the 3200kg load of a twin seat. Fortunately there's usually a solution that can be applied to sort it out.

We've learned that nothing can be taken for granted and often we have to spend a fair bit of time digging up the right compliance documents, as with this RS2.

There you go, an insight into vehicle compliance you never wanted to know about.

Dan
04 A4 3.0 Avant Sport Quattro 6spd manual
01 V5 Bora

Offline RobClubley

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2014, 02:29:03 pm »
Dan - I'm finding your posts really interesting and I suspect others are too. Maybe it's an NZ small country thing but I can't imagine someone in the UK or European countries taking the time to post such a detailed, informative explanation on a forum like this.
It's great to hear your side of what's going on, and it helps dispel that "us vs. them" attitude that can arise between enthusiasts and "authorities" like the LVVTA
1985 ur quattro
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quattro project

Offline Danm

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2014, 05:05:19 pm »
Hi Rob

You helped me out a few years back with a bit of VAGCOM diagnosis on my black A4 avant.

I really appreciate the feedback; we don't pipe up on some other forums much as it can get messy. I should have known that Audi people wouldn't be like that.

We'd better come through with the KW struts or opinions may change... no news from Germany yet.

Dan
04 A4 3.0 Avant Sport Quattro 6spd manual
01 V5 Bora

Offline RS ZWEI

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 06:00:21 pm »
Hey Jon/Dan, any updates in this issue?
1980 VW Golf GTI Track Car
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Offline le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2014, 08:46:52 pm »
KW sent some more information Friday evening NZ time. I'm not sure if it is exactly what LVVTA need but will find out soon I hope.
B5 A4, B5 S4, B5 RS4, P1 RS2

Offline le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2014, 10:32:30 am »
KW in Germany have committed to doing static testing of the RS2 struts for the LVVTA, but have given a time frame of '2 - 3 months'  :(

LVVTA have asked for the following information, and I have no explanation why it is not readily available:

Quote
We still need the following information in order to assess the component and to gain assurance that the part has been produced in a controlled manner:
1.       Any other TuV documentation regarding the strut tube and steering arm assembly
2.       Material specification of the strut tube and steering arm
3.       Manufacturing process for the welding
4.       Details of quality control processes for the arm/tube/welding
5.       Test reports for the ultimate strength testing of the steering arm and for the cyclic durability, which should have comparison to the original Audi component

So far KW have not supplied any specific information on the RS2 KW suspension, only general information about TUV approvals and so on.
B5 A4, B5 S4, B5 RS4, P1 RS2

Offline RS

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 12:27:52 pm »
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

I was going to say "its a shame you didn't buy it off him"

Good on him for helping out, he was very helpful in communicating with the guys at KW when I had my KW's built up through autoquip, we highly recommend Chris.

Have said it before, if you want KW buy from him, his pricing was cheaper than buying online with the bonus of after sales backup.

Hope you get it all sorted soon, another avenue could be to talk to a motorsport company, you may be able to have them covered under an authority card, down side would be the cost and hassle of having to be a car club member and hold a club sport licence. Mine are covered by my authority card  ;)










Offline le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 09:22:28 pm »
I was going to say "its a shame you didn't buy it off him"

Good on him for helping out, he was very helpful in communicating with the guys at KW when I had my KW's built up through autoquip, we highly recommend Chris.

Have said it before, if you want KW buy from him, his pricing was cheaper than buying online with the bonus of after sales backup.

Hope you get it all sorted soon, another avenue could be to talk to a motorsport company, you may be able to have them covered under an authority card, down side would be the cost and hassle of having to be a car club member and hold a club sport licence. Mine are covered by my authority card  ;)

Chris has absolutely gone above and beyond the call of duty. Dan has also been really helpful. Without both of them getting involved I would have made no progress I suspect. I do regret not going through the local KW agent, but I did not know about autoquip when I started looking at aftermarket options. I had also considered kits from Koni, H&R and 2Bennet. I was also expecting the certification to be a formality, as it was when I installed the Bilstein adjustable kit on the RS4. So it's been a steep learning curve you might say! One thing I'll say is that the KW kit is top quality. Although the steering arms are fabricated items they are rock solid. As 80vert said to me in an email - 'you could hang the whole car off one of those arms'. Unfortunately these fabricated arms go against some fairly entrenched engineering principles held dear by the LVVTA, and I can certainly see where they are coming from even though it's outside my area of expertise.
B5 A4, B5 S4, B5 RS4, P1 RS2

Offline Danm

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2014, 10:03:02 am »
... another avenue could be to talk to a motorsport company, you may be able to have them covered under an authority card...

Sorry that's not an option, the authority card doesn't cover suspension, if over threshold (adjustables are) it has to be LVV certified.

From MSNZ: http://www.motorsport.org.nz/content/lvv-motorsport-authority-cards
"MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) in conjunction with NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) has formulated alternative standards for vehicles permanently modified for motor sport competitions which require to be road registered and used on public roads.The MotorSport/LVV Authority Card is proof that a vehicle modified for motor sport purposes complies with accepted alternative standards (to those of the original manufacturer). The Authority Card details the owner, the vehicle and the applicable approved modifications. The Authority Card is recognised in the NZTA Rules and the LVV Code and is required in order to obtain a Warrant of Fitness.When an owner of a competition vehicle wishes to use it on a public road it is a legal requirement to have an Authority Card issued by MotorSport NZ, if any of the following items are fitted / modified:

Competition safety harness
Roll protection that extends forward of the front seating positions and/or modifications that effect the interior impact rule
Removal of an airbag SRS system
Braided hydraulic brake lines
Hydraulic handbrake
Plastic glazing."

Dan
04 A4 3.0 Avant Sport Quattro 6spd manual
01 V5 Bora

Offline RS

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #28 on: May 05, 2014, 11:21:51 am »

O.K, scrap that then. Forget I mentioned anything!  :-X  :police:

Must be some kind of given that rally cars get away with it, non of our rally cars have ever needed a Low Volume to get a WOF or pass scrutineering or any other audit.

One of the cars has over $20,000 worth of suspension that would no doubt fail inspection for some reason, the car can handle 200kph on gravel through ruts though  ;) >:D





Offline le mans

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Re: A cautionary tale...aftermarket suspension and the LVVTA
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2014, 10:45:53 am »
OE and KW front struts were taken to the LVVTA TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) meeting last night. I don't know what their thoughts are yet. Here some side by side shots I took today:














« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 07:13:36 am by le mans »
B5 A4, B5 S4, B5 RS4, P1 RS2