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rs32

Learning to drive my MkV R32

54 posts in this topic

A slightly strange post title given that I've had the .:R for nearly 12 months, but thought I'd share some recent driving experiences.

With the latest ARB setup and new-found engine behaviour after a major service, the car runs sooooo nicely smile.gif With this in mind, I've been trying to smooth out my own driving approach and really trying to make use of the gutsy low to mid-range torque that has been getting better and better in recent miles.

Usefully, mid-Sussex has some cracking B Roads that really let you get a flow of corners going. Up until now I've naturally been testing the car with various mods - and the temptation is always there to completely nail the throttle at all opportunities. What this doesn't give me is a feeling of complete control over the car - life on the edge as it were.

So with the car feeling so nice with it's latest ARB setup, the recent approach has been to slow down a bit, drive at 7 or 8 tenths, and really get the balance of the car through the corners with the right amount of throttle, rather than just always full throttle.

This is where the fun has really begun jump.gif

Not only can you "steer" the car with the throttle/Haldex PP, but you can also exit corners far quicker with a progressive throttle action rather than just full-beans (this has also been written elsewhere).

Just to expand on the steering/Haldex PP sensation - I've tried lining the car up with the steering so that if it were to continue through the corner with no other inputs, it would run slightly wide and put you in the opposite hedge eventually. At the point where the steering cannot keep to the correct line of the corner any more, add in a dab of throttle, then progressively more right foot as the corner continues - this is where you can really feel the Haldex working and the sensation of steering using the rear wheel power arrives. Fantastic ! I'm in control !

(note I don't recommend trying the above with <u>any</u> other traffic around, or you may end up drifting into the other lane - not good.)

The other thing that has really hit home is that the .:R it works just as well - if not better - if you choose a higher gear e.g. 5th instead of 4th. With the improving low-down shove in 5th gear, mine now gives the sensation of being quicker through a corner than if 4th was selected. The revs need to be starting at around 2000 to get this right, but again, very rewarding when it all clicks into place.

Really beginning to feel like I'm getting somewhere with this car now - and I'm hoping this new approach allows me to have more fun, more safely. The behaviour of the car in it's current form has without a doubt encouraged me to try this new approach.

That's not to say that I won't ever be nailing the throttle again though, what I mean by this post is "right amount of throttle and smoother inputs at the right times = MORE FUN" grin.gif

A Car Limits type course is definitely in order now - can only help me improve !

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I'm really chuffed that you're one of the few people to acknowledge that you can go sooo much quicker just by adjusting your driving technique. I've been a passenger too many times either on the road or on the track in a car driven by someone who is either always full on or full off the throttle. Check Dan's post in General Cars about the Ferrari FXX and take a look at Video 1 to see what I mean.

Have fun with your toy - I've found that the more I've tweaked mine, the more enjoyment I've been able to get out of it, rather than just adding everything at once.

Yee-bleedin'-ha 169144-ok.gif

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That's a great post Richard 169144-ok.gif It is great to see the passion you have for extracting the most from your .:R beerchug.gif

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Judging by your post, Richard, I think I'd be inclined to do the Drivetrain course (that Sam did recently). CarLimits is great and I would strongly recommend it to anyone to safely explore the absolute limits, but reports about Drivetrain suggest that it's more about roadcraft than car limits - If that makes sense!

More expense, but I'd actually consider doing both - CarLimits first and then Drivetrain.

Less Haste, More Speed 169144-ok.gif

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Rich, a great post as always, glad to know there's people who enjoy the little nuances of driving as much as I do. The whole idea of throttle adjustability in the corners sounds like a whole new dimension to the abilities of the car, like you I think I'll have to spend some time going back and 'learning how to drive' the cara again as well.

You expanded alot on how the car's attitude can be adjusted in and coming out of the corners - one thing I am still curious about is what effect the ARBs have had on the turn-in behaviour of the car - is it more immediate, flatter etc.?

Can't wait go get my tweaks on the car and start playing around as well!

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[ QUOTE ]

what effect the ARBs have had on the turn-in behaviour of the car - is it more immediate, flatter etc.?

[/ QUOTE ]

More direct turn-in and stays flatter, grip is also improved. But more than that, it feels like the rear of the car is 50% more engaged with directing the car through the bends.

I tried to make the car understeer on a wet & wide empty roundabout a few days ago and it decided a 4-wheel drift was more appropriate grin.gif Ease off the throttle, turn into the skid slightly, catch it then ease the power back on and away you go. It doesn't understeer really now, just tells you it's about to let go, then it goes.

You would hope that both the haldex upgrade and correct ARB setup would work together - whatever they're doing has made a big difference and transformed the car laugh.gif

169144-ok.gif

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That's exactly what I was hoping to hear! Ooo can't wait now...in combination with R compound tires, I imagine the car's going to really shine at the autocross, I can feeeel it...precisely the type of improvement I'm looking for jump.gif

And you're not using the switchable haldex are you? Or are you? 169144-ok.gif

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It seems NO-ONE has switched their GenII HPP yet, so NO-ONE has reaped its full benefit...

Rich: awesome post! It's always a great feeling to read someone put into words your exact emotions... Great stuff!

So, what arb setting are you running now? Also, what tires are you using, and what pressure do you have them set to?

-My cheapo tires are balding now and have near 0 grip: a great way to have fun at low speeds, and really see where the chassis wants to take the car. When getting it sideways through lift-off oversteer, and getting back on the power, the A3 feels just like my Series IIA 88" Land-Rover. Lemme explain:

The lack of center diff (when the Haldex is fully engaged, the A3 and R32 are just alike and old 4x4 with no center diff) makes for equal and constant 50:50 torque split meaning 1)the whole car feels solid, as one unit and 2) the slip angles of both the front and rear are near equal. Just the fact I ould mention both cars in one post makes me smile ;-) But it makes sense: neither have a center diff when AWD is engaged.

Drive an A4 Quattro or a Passat 4-Motion (both with Torsen center, iirc) and you will notice torque being shuffled front to rear and back again as either end struggles to lay the power down. It's just not as nice as having a locked center diff, which is just what Haldex does.

Likewise, (and those who have green blood in their veins will know), drifting a Range Rover in sand or snow isn't as fun as drifiting a Series LR.

Anyways, one thing you may end up noticing (easier to see on ice) is that the tail hangs out more easily/at a wider angle while turning left. (Due to the rear ring & pinion setup.)

And to hit on what you were saying RS32: it's almost MORE fun to take turns at peak Tq (circa 3000rpm) that at peak Hp (6000rpm). The old advert "Horsepower for the turns" comes to mind ;-) 169144-ok.gif

edited for spelling, and sorry for the lengthy post...

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yes I thought about getting the switch installed for the Haldex PP Ben 169144-ok.gif

However the car doesn't really need any more rear-ward bias and for long-term use it's ust fine as it as.

Granted, on the track it makes sense to have the switch for the "Race" setting - but not really necessary for the road.

Regarding the track, I'm just about to go and collect a Clio 172 Cup - then off to APS for some track-prep and brake upgrading etc in the next few weeks.

ECLIPSe.gifjump.gif

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So learning to drive my clio thread next then RS32 ! jump.gif

No disrespect to the R but that clio will be a hoot for a tack day .... nimble, light, late braking, raucious engine etc grin.gif169144-ok.gif

Is it a road car or ex race car ? if the former are you going to have a cage fitted to stiffen things up a bit ?

Back to the R .... isnt a gentle 4wheel drift totally in the 'zone' as they say! When you've got lots of space and have just gone over the limit of total adhesion and your gentle right foot can make it 'dance' grin.gif

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Brilliant post Rich, sums up all the sensations about driving the R that we all love and enjoy... jump.gif

Am i right in thinking that the synchro/4motion, what ever you want to call it, AWD viscous Haldex system on the R, doesn't actuall start biasing torque to the rear until the front wheels ACTUALLY start slipping? so in theory, if youre not approaching the limits of grip for the front wheels during a turn (or accelerating start for that matter) then the car remains primarily driven by the front wheels. This is my understanding of the Haldex centre differential operation. With that in mind, then how do the ARB's affect the point at which the front starts losing grip and torque transfers aft? Guess what i'm getting at, is with the ARB settings that you have chosen, do you feel they are working in opposition or together with what the Haldex is trying to do?

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Jam, I think you'll find that the Haldex system which is a viscous coupling differential, is actually categorised as a Central Dif. The 4motion system is basically the old synchro system in that the Centre Dif is a viscous coupling set up with a electronically managed viscous multi plate clutch system. It is possible for this system to vary the torque split between front and rear from anything from 100% front (as is normal under non slip driven conditions) and 100% rear torque bias when the front driven wheels have lost grip and are slipping. Some cars also have a rear diff fitted, usually the mechanical Torsen (TORque SENsing) which is a locking differential useful for serious off-road vehicles. This type of differential has the same parts as an open differential, but adds an electric, pneumatic or hydraulic mechanism to lock the two output pinions together.

I believe the synchro system set up is a viscous coupling (Haldex) for the Centrak torque splitter and splitter lock with variable front/rear torque splitting and a free wheel Rear diff lock...

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Yes... and no.

A viscous differential transfers torque purely with rotational speed difference. The meshing plates bathe in viscous liquid so that torque is transfered from one set of plates to the other.

The Haldex unit works more like a clutch, where pumps (two of) apply pressure to the plates which then transfer rotational torque.

One pump derives its power strictly from rotational speed difference. i.e. a few degrees of rotational difference (both front wheels spinning faster than both rears) gets this pump to apply pressure to the clutch pack, which then transfers torque to the rear diff, and on to the rear wheels.

The second pump is electrically powered and is computer-controlled. The GenII version actually ties into the CAN-BUS system and gathers information from various sensors (steering, throttle etc). Depending on how that computer is programmed, the pump will react differently to driver inputs. Accelerate and the pump applies pressure to the clutch pack and torque is transfered. Accelerate harder and more pressure is applied. And so on and so forth until the clutch pack is locked, and you are in the AWD no center differential scenario (à la Series Land-Rover).

The Haldex Performance Part is just a new computer with a new program (well, actually 3 programs) and a different pump.

You can use Vag-com to monitor how much pressure the pump applies and how quickly. With the GenII HPP in "sport" (intermediate) mode, pressure on a hard standing start is 32Nm whereas standard it is "only" 22Nm. Same

can be found for turns, where the HPP applies more pressure faster, which thus transfers more torque more quickly, which sets the car more neutrally, which puts a smile on your face.

The important point is that both std and HPP GenII Haldex units don't need to slip to apply pressure.

Where this all gets interesting is in deceleration. You may have heard of the "Orange" GenI HPP sold by HPA, which stays locked under braking... This causes the rear wheels to have an increased slip angle in deceleration, thusly increasing lift-off/braking oversteer. I can't wait to see whether the "race" mode of the GenII HPP works like this too...

Sorry if my explanations aren't very clear. It's the end of my workday and I can't wait to go... Cheers,

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[ QUOTE ]

Sorry if my explanations aren't very clear. It's the end of my workday and I can't wait to go... Cheers,

[/ QUOTE ]

Don't apologise Ben, nice to find someone else who is prepared to spend the time typing it all out! Still, if you're at work...

What do you do for a living and where does your knowledge come from?

beerchug.gif

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Nice post, very similar to the Haldex site which has lots of pretty pics too...

Linky

I'm very interested in the 'Race' setting of the GEN II, as soon as someone comes up with a switchable unit which doesn't look like it should be on the front of a 1950's tv set, i'm going to look more seriously into having it fitted... I know it's more useful on the track, but it'll put an even better smile on my face... lol

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IIRC, Rich (RS) has a switchable one 169144-ok.gif

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I don't have the switch as decided it wasn't necessary for a road car.

Brakesnake - to answer your question, it definitely feels like Haldex and ARBs are constantly talking to each other to get the angles and torque biasing in harmony - the setup is fantastic and certainly the best I've had on any car.

[off-topic]Check out pics of the Clio in the French forum- the 172 Cup gives more feedback and control than the Golf, straight out of the box.

Torque-steer's is fun as well grin.gif

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You'll have lots and lots of fun in the clio mate, have driven the 172 and its a hoot jump.gif

Thanks for the info, just waiting for Ed at APS to get some ARB's in so I can have em fitted ASAP grin.gif

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[ QUOTE ]

I'm very interested in the 'Race' setting of the GEN II, as soon as someone comes up with a switchable unit which doesn't look like it should be on the front of a 1950's tv set [...]

[/ QUOTE ]

You mean, something not like this? LOL

APSHPPswitchfrontcloseup-web.jpg

To be honest, everything about this switch is top-notch. The construction, high-silica wire protection, etc...

APSHPPswitchrearcloseup-web.jpg

This one is made for my car and uses an Audi dashboard blank button. This switch was made PER MY REQUEST WITH WHATEVER NOB WAS AVAILABLE and should not reflect on its builder's tastes in switches (disclaimer over).

I haven't installed it yet as I haven't found someone competent enough yet (my Audi dealership is NO good!). I may take a drive to APS and have it fitted there (while I live in southern France I do go to Paris a lot, and have family in London).

I'm trying to get a neater button made for the switch. It too would replace an in-dash blank, but would be a push-push-push affair, whereby each push would toggle to the next level: std. to sport to race. It would be backlit with "HPP" written on it. Beneth the lettering would be two red LEDs (to match Audi interior) Push once and one LED lights up indicating sport, push twice and two ight up for race. This button would sit right next to the ESP OFF button (which my girfriend reads as the "oh sh*t" button lol).

There is an Austrian who claims this can be done, and who already sells looks-only blanks:

8pslinelinksmj7.jpg

8pringelinksco1.jpg

from this thread: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=3009447

Iirc, there is a blank in the R32 as well, which could be exploited in much the same way... If this does develop into anything, I'll be sure to mention it here, as I am certain every GenII HPP owner would want this.

As far as what I do, I run a private mental health facility: www.cliniquedemiremont.com where we treat depression rather successfully. Before doing this I had done a little mechanical engineering. I get my information from magazines, books and the internet. Besides going fast in cars, I like going everywhere in cars hence the 1967 Land-Rover which I rebuilt with a few upgrades...

RS32 sorry for the thread-jack! How do you have your bars set? And how much do driving schools cost in the UK? (wonder if they're cheaper than in France...)

Thanks!

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Anyone criticising that "1950s" knob should realise that it's a design which will be far easier to use in practice and should show you exactly which mode you are in. That S-line switch might look cooler but it tells you nothing. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Just for clarification, the "S-Line" button is there to show what the button's maker can produce. For the .:R, a blanck .:R button would be used. On that button could be an etched and backlit "HPP" logo, with 2 leds beneath it. One on for sport, two on for race.

The knob above, while striped, offers no illuminated indication of position.

We could start another thread? I wouldn't want to thread-jack RS32's excellent stuff.

Cheers,

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I prefer the less functional but nice looking blanker button... but then what do I know... I'm a fashion at the expense of functionality victim... jump.gif

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Just curious...does anyone know how hard the switch is to install? Thinking of getting it from APS, just wondering how skilled the installer would have to be. Do APS provide instructions or something?

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Okayyy...finally last week a couple of boxes with 'APS'on them arrived here in Dubai. Thanks to the great advice of other .:R owners here on TS, those boxes were filled with H&R roll bars, a haldex Gen II HPP, a BMC Panel filter and a rather shiny new milltek catback.

Install of everything took 2 days, in part because yours truly has a peculiar habit of carrying the custom locknut for the BBSs in my pocket so the mechanics couldn't get the wheels off to fit the front ARB because I was at work!!!

Picked the R2 up tonight, only visible clue of the fettling being the rather large Milltek tubes coming out the back of the car...ah, anticipation. After getting a laser alignment done, ended up spending all night hooning around in the car, so am in a position to offer some driving impressions of the 'new' .:R laugh.gif

The'new'is a pretty apt description because when you slap all these mods on together the character of the car changes very definitely...rs32 got it very right with the title of this thread because it really is like driving a new car. And very much in a good way, I'm happy to report!

The first thing you notice is the Milltek...my god, it sounds sweet! No flapper valve so the sound is constant - when idling it's quiet but the minute you blip the throttle the car clears its throat with the most beautiful brassy baritone sound I have heard in awhile...a nice, lumpy 'enhanced' version of the classic R32 staccatto at low rpms which morphs into a spine chilling yell as you go through the rev range. Delicious!

Yes, the sound alone is almost worth the price - but as an added bonus, when combined with the BMC panel filter, the engine is suddenly alot more responsive than before - not jerky or abrupt at all, just perfectly in sync with your foot...instead of pressing on the gas, it seems like you simply 'will' the car down the road in great wooshes of thrust accompanied in berfect harmocy by that burbling, ever-changing milltek exhaust note - everything feels much more connected, much more like a homogenous unit. No definite, noticeable improvement in power but it's only day 1 so the ECU hasn't adusted much yet; suffice to say that the butt dyno is very happy.

It's as if the soundtrack had been turned up a few notches and the EQ properly tuned so to speak - like driving the car in full surround sound instead of just stereo. Grins all around.

But once you stop grinning about the noise the biggest improvement to the car has to be the handling - it really is like learning to drive the car again! The ARBs and the Haldex work together to infuse the .:R with a good shot of genuine hot hatch-ness - behold, the .:R suddenly has a playful side!

From the first turn of the steering wheel after i picked the car up I noticed that the steering sudenly felt completely alien - in a good way. Turn in is immediate and feels much more pointy, as if the steering is lighter and somebody sped up the ratio on the steering rack - you turn and the car doesn't hunker into corners so much as simply pivot the nose directly at the apex with no drama whatsoever. A very noticeable change even at parking lot speeds; intrigued, the only thing to do was up the pace and explore further - cue midnight rendezvous with a certain black Clio 182 at a secret 'private circuit' in the far outskirts of Dubai.

After 'feeling' out the new behaviour of the .:R fo a couple of laps, the time came to give it a real shakedown on the very flat, twisty and abandoned private 'circuit' and boy-o-boy I am impressed!

The Haldex and ARBs are like a 1-2 punch in the corners - coming towards a roundabout very fast, then off the gas,firm on the brakes, let off, twist the wheel and holy smokes, the nose of the car just dives straight in to the apex! With a little fancy wheel-and-toe work you can choose to simply slice right through the corner smooth as silk like a juggernaut on rails or, if you so choose, deliberately let off a little more abruptly and/or be a little more aggressive with the steering to get the tail to come out and play as well! Never did that before!

Whereas cornering quickly in a stock .:R is simply a matter of being as smooth as possibe and balancing on the edge of traction at the very threshold of understeer with the throttle, the .:R with ARBs and haldex upgrade is an entirely different animal. Go in a little too slow and you can simply choose an arc in your imagination and then roll hard on the throttle, letting the haldex pick the car up and shoot it right along your intended path like a scalectrix car with zero drama. Go in a little too hot and you can let off the gas abruptly, pitch the nose right in almost as hard as you like, feel a little even drift come on as the speed gently scrubs down to the perfect threshold and the arbs rotate the car into perfect alignment and ....pow! Haldex time!

So roundabouts are suddenly a playground. But as the laps keep coming, and you get in the groove, you notice that the car is also much more composed in high speed corners too...only the slightest steering and throttle inputs are neccessary; the ARBS making the car alert and the Haldex system allowing you to power your way through pretty much anything with perfect composure. Chicanes are no problem...brake, brief steering input then keep the wheel pointed at the next apex and the haldex pulls you right through.

It's so easy to build up a rythym with the new setup which quickly becomes an astounding pace - you barely notice it because the car flows so beautifully from corner to corner, never getting out of shape, allowing small corrections without bleeding off any pace. Understeer is of course not completely vanished but much less terminal since there are a variety of ways to drive through it, such is the newfound depth of the .:R's chassis.

We never timed our laps so I can't say accurately how much, if any, faster the car is but I can defenitely say that it's much easier and enjoyable to drive fast now - everything feels measurably more alive, connected and agile than before and the .:R has begun to display much more character than when in stock form - the agility reminds me of my old Peugeot or a Clio but combined with the huge levels of grip and confidence that are so characteristic of the R32.

I suppose anyone reading this is getting the picture by now so time to give the keyboard a bit of a rest. Tomorrow is the first genuine autoX outing in the .:R's new trim, so we'll see soon enough whether are measurably improvements or not as timed by stopwatch!

Highly recommend this combonation of mods - definite improvement without any drawbacks. As others have said before, this is how the car should have come from the factory!

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VERY good write up shadow!! 169144-ok.gif These mods really do make the car change it's character completely. I've had mine on for a few months now, and finally getting used to the new set up. You are spot on about the turn in on this car now. Too much speed and you'll start to understeer, but lift off the gas and the nose tucks right in, you can even hear the rear tyres chirp as the try to swing out, then gradually add in the throttle and the car slingshots out form the apex, with a feeling of being pushed rather than being pulled. It really is an amazing car now... Just been down to Egham near london for 2 days to plan a road trip with some mates, and one of them has a stock .:R He had a drive of mine and vica versa, and needless to say he now wants to have all the mods on mine done to his! From my point of view, it was interesting to drive the stock .:R again and appreciate just how different this beast is now...!

Anyways. Got cams and the race mode switch for the haldex lined up next, and will be able to report back on how different it feels after our road trip in may... 5 cars -2 R32's, one 350ZEd, a new 330i and a carrera 4s... We'll be driving over 11 days, from calais to belgium, germany, a day at the 'Ring', Switzerland, the alps, Turin in Italy, Monte carlo, Reims, then back up through the French alps to lille to stock up with booze before the ferry home... Will be a once in a lifetime trip, and can't wait to have 3000 miles in the .:R driving through 6 countries... jump.gif

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