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Upgrading to 18's

5776 Views 39 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  pooyaj
I just thought I'd share with everyone the problems I've encountered with the dealer while upgrading from the stock 17's to the optional factory 18's. They made me a deal with a GTI they had on the lot that had the factory 17's on it. I negotiated for them to upgrade them to the killer 18's in all the promo ads. So they added it to my bill of sale and we settled on a price. While waiting for him to come back from the manager's office I was browsing through the GTI accesories flier they had in the lobby and noticed a tiny note next to the optional 18's wheels that says:

(Must be used in conjuction with Bump stops 000 071 501, if not equipped with 18" wheels as standard equipment)

When I started asking around about the bump stops no less than 3 people AT THE DEALERSHIP asked me what bump stops were including the guy at the parts counter. So they obviously weren't planning on installing them on their own. So long story short, I got my rims in today and big surprise they forgot to order the bump stops so I'm having to wait until monday before the parts come in and I can get them installed. But what really makes me mad was that if I hadn't spotted that tiny little note, they would have installed them and sent me on my merry way only to incur possible fender and/or tire damage.

Note: I believe bump stops or "spring limiters" as they were called in the parts catalog are suspensions pieces that keep the suspension from bottoming out too far as to prevent the tire from rubbing on the fender during full compression turning manuvers.
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You're right on the bump stops. I'm glad now that I tracked down a GTI with the 18's from the factory and not buying them afterwards. I know I wouldn't have seen the footnote that different bump stops were needed.
I heard is it true 18's aren't as smooth as 17 is it a bumpy ride with 18's?
I'll let you know next tuesday. :)
Coming from a lowered sports car with 17's, the ride is much smoother in the GTi. I never drove a 17" equipped GTi though. The 18's are nice and the ride is great. Yes, it bumps a decent bit on the small ones, but does very well on the larger ones. All in all, you wouldn't pass this car up just because the ride was a bit too bumpy.... GTi = sports car. This ain't your father's cadillac.
your right about not passing it up i just dont feel the need to have huge rims on a sports car im more for power then looks
Thought I'd give everyone an update on my adventure of trying to upgrade to 18's. So the parts were supposed to come in last Monday, of course they did but nobody told me so here it is Wednesday and I call the part department to see if they're in. So after a great while they tell me that all the parts are in, the rims, tires and bump stops. My anger rising by the fact they had them and nobody bothered to tell me, but still grateful that they're in I retain my composure.
"Great" I say "lets make an appointment to get these installed"
So they transfer me to the service dept and we agree to get this done this Friday. I reiterate the fact that they aren't just swapping wheels and was asking how long it would take to install bump stops, he stutters for a bit and says he'll call me back.
So an hour or so later my sales guy calls me playing dumb wanting to know what's going on. I explain the situation and he says the service manager says that the bump stops don't need to be installed all of the sudden. Well this being news to me I ask why is says so explicitly in the brochure and I also had a printout of a parts catalog showing them on the installation of the wheels. Plus the parts have already been ordered and come in, why not just put them on?
"Well you see they charge us for the labor hours for this install" he tells me.
"Not my problem, if VW says they need to be installed they need to be installed. You are an authorized VW service center aren't you? Don't you have to install them per VW specs?"
"Let me talk to my manager. I'll call you back"
The End (for now)

So I'm showing up this Friday at the appointed time, and I'm going to ask to see these parts before they start, and I am going to ask to see these parts on my car after the work is done. I trust these guys about as far as I can throw them now. And I am getting more than a little pissed off at this whole situation.

PS the VW customer service center just called me to ask me how satisfied I am with my overall purchase. I told them to call me back in a couple hours when I get off work. I want to see how this unfolds before I rate my sales experience.
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Well your definitely going to have a story to tell when this is all said and done. The difficult part once all said and done will be keeping your wife/girlfriend from driving the car and putting a scratch the rim backing into a spot. ;)

As for the ride quality of the 18's. I'm happy with mine - I drove back to Columbus, OH from Chicago this past weekend on not so great interstates (your tax dollars at work over seas) and the ride was not any different from my Jeep Cherokee.

I guess it's just all what your used to. I prefer the 18's for their looks and ease of cleaning....I've had it with those 10, 15, 20 spoke rims and the brake dust.
Hi, I looked into this same issue and had the same problems getting a straight answer about the bump stops. I decided to just get a GTI with the 18's. I hate to add any more stress to your situation but VW also recomends a rear alignment when switching to the 18's as well. I could not get a straight answer on why this was needed. Check on the VW site under driver gear and look up wheels for the new GTI and they explain the alingnment. Good luck!
Thanks for the tip. I'll probably have to print that off and hang it in their faces before they'll do it for me. I went down to the dealership today and they actually had all my parts in stock including the bump stops. I made them show them to me, they're just some urthane discs with a slit to the hole in the middle. The instructions said all they have to do is pull up the shock cover and slide them on. Not rocket science, wonder why they put up such a fight to order and install them. What a bunch of douchebags.
I made the appointment for monday. Bout freakin time!

BTW do you have the link? I looked for a bit, found the suspension limiters link and the 18's and it mentioned that if you upgrade you need an alignment only if you have a Jetta. No mention of a GTI.
Another update in my saga to get 18's on my car. Well they finally installed the 18's and the bump stops. I get the car home and notice there's a very deep 1/2 gouge in one of the rims right next to the tire. I guess they had an amatuar install the tires on the rims, I'm taking it in today for them to look at. Also they forgot to include the adapter for the Torx head that my lug bolts are to the standard lug so my spare tire kit will work. Have I mentioned yet today that I hate this dealership?
So I took my car down to the dealership again yesterday after work. I showed them the scratch and they said they already knew about it!! Nice of them to tell me. They were just going to wait and see if I noticed and then take care of it after I complained. Great custiomer service policy. Anyway they have some guy who's on vacation right now who can supposedly repair it. So I have go come back again this friday to see what this guy can do about it. I'm trying to be optimistic about this, but it's hard when you've been s*** on so many times by these guys.
That place sounds exactly like the VW dealership in Lowell, MA that I complained about a while back. "Sorry, we can't replace your timing belt because the only person that knows how to do it is on vacation." And the one thing they said that they did fix, they didn't properly fix. That was more than 3 years ago but service that bad sticks in my memory.
mightytightywhitey said:
So I took my car down to the dealership again yesterday after work. I showed them the scratch and they said they already knew about it!! Nice of them to tell me. They were just going to wait and see if I noticed and then take care of it after I complained. Great custiomer service policy. Anyway they have some guy who's on vacation right now who can supposedly repair it. So I have go come back again this friday to see what this guy can do about it. I'm trying to be optimistic about this, but it's hard when you've been s*** on so many times by these guys.
I know you probably don't have the energy anymore but it is B.S. that you PAY for NEW rims. In return you get a damaged one that they are going to "patch up". I would stay in the ring and fight for a new rim that isn't scratched. But if that isn't an option I have had rims cleaned up and they look just like new.
Yeah, I know, but you're right, I just don't have the time or energy anymore. As long as they end up looking acceptable I'll just take my wheels and hope to god that I never have to go back there. I'm sick of dealing with incompetence and mediocrity every time I walk in there.

I burned them pretty good when the VW Customer Service called me asking me to rate my overall customer satisfaction on a scale of 1-5. My sales guy kept telling me "When they call, I have to get all 5's or else I won't get my bonus this month" Guess what.....he's not going to get his bonus this month ;D
Don't get the 18's. It's not worth it. I think for the street 17's are much better. I don't think the 18's are worth the extra harsh ride and more expensive tires. Beside I don't get the whole "wagon" wheel look anyway! Bigger rims do not always = better performance. If anything it's more about appearance when you start going over a certain size. I'm more about performance, and for me you can't argue appearance because I don't want to look like I'm driving a "stage coach". But hey what ever turns you on. I can tell you from experience when upgrading my 02 WRX to 18's I hated the ride and handling, braking and looks. For small cars too big of rims just makes the car look out of balance.
I don't think the 18's look too bad, I got mine with them, and I like them. I have actually had a handful of people say "I love those wheels!"
Yeah...they don't look bad on the GTI....I just come from an old school back the bigger rims just don't appeal to me as much. 18's are not to bad.....but in general I hate the whole 20's, 22's, etc look. My friend had a great idea, that I should build a website called where there would be pictures of Escalades, etc, with old western "stage coach" wheels superimposed. You know some good ole fashioned 54" wooden wheels on your car would look really cool! 18's are not bad depending on the car. GTI in my opinion gets away with it. But in general people are not really considering the performance ramifications and practicality of bigger wheels vs. a smaller wheel. But I guess 18s are becoming the norm, so I can't really knock them. I just wonder when the bigger the better thing is going to stop, otherwise we may soon be riding those 54" rims ;)
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I got my rims repaired and they looked better than I thought they would so I'm happy. Since I've gotten them I've gotten a ton of compliments since all my friends and family got used to seeing my car with the standard 17's then I get the 18's. I think they totally make the car. It makes it distinctive in a world of conservative spoke alloys.
I haven't noticed any difference in ride quality or road noise. Just more looks at the stoplights. I've really happy I upgraded.
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