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The Volkswagen MK4 Jetta (VW Bora) was first introduced in 1999 and ran through 2006. Nowadays, it has quickly become a vehicle many auto enthusiasts like to mod, and for good reason. With a set of coilovers, wheels, and a few other aesthetic mods, the MK4 Jetta can be extremely appealing. The MK4 Jetta features many engines: 1.8T, 2.0L, GLI 1.8T, 1.9TDI, and a 12v or 24v Vr6. Given these Jetta’s are over two decades old, the factory suspension may be on its way out. However, there is a better solution to a brand new factory setup, coilovers. In this post, we will be going over components that make up coilovers, the benefits of coilovers, the differences between coilovers and springs, and the best coilovers to choose from on the market.
Before getting into coilovers, it is important to determine the goals you are trying to accomplish with your MK4 Jetta. Are you trying to build a stanced Jetta or a rare track Jetta? These two require vastly different coilover setups, so we’ll give you a second to think about what you’re trying to accomplish.
MK4 Jetta Coilovers Considerations
Okay, now that you’ve thought about what your vehicle goals are, let’s jump right into it. Before exploring our favorite coilovers on the market, let’s discuss the components you should take into consideration when choosing coilover kits. There is monotube vs twin-tube shock designs, different spring rates, fixed or adjustable dampening, and coilovers vs lowering springs. Again, all of these components come down to what you are trying to achieve.
Near the end, we will go into the best coilovers, in our opinion, on the market. All of which are tailored to different driver goals: stance, street, or track. So let’s dive into it.
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
These are very technical terms that we could go into a whole lot of detail about, but we will keep it simple so it is easier to understand. Monotube and twin-tube refer to the internals of a coilover and how the shocks are designed.
Monotube coilovers have a single chamber that contains hydraulic fluid and gas that never mix, which provides a more stable suspension setup. These specific shocks are found on most track cars because they need the most stability when the vehicle is taking turns at 60+ mph. With that said, they tend to be more stiff, sensitive, and provide more consistent dampening. If your vehicle goals are building a track car or wanting a high-performance street suspension setup, then monotube shocks are the way to go. Something worth mentioning is that these happen to be more expensive because of the higher technology in the single chamber.
Twin-tube shocks on the other hand are polar opposite setups. As the name states, “twin” there are two chambers: one chamber contains hydraulic gas, while the other contains hydraulic fluid. Unlike the monotube, the gases and fluids sometimes happen to mix which dampens ride quality, resulting in a rougher ride. Since this occurs, you can imagine that they tend to be less precise and less sensitive. However, this isn’t a bad thing if you are going for stance or a more comfortable driving experience. These tend to be for the stanced or daily driver, but can also be high-performance street coilovers, depending on the set you go with.
Spring rates are an important aspect because they measure how much weight or pressure it takes to compress a spring by 1 inch. Why is this important? Because a higher spring rate, ie 420lb/in, will provide a stiffer ride, while a lower spring rate, ie 220lb/in, will provide a softer ride. The spring rate will commonly be distinguished as pounds per inch, or KG/mm overseas, to refer to how much weight is needed to lower the spring by an inch. Daily drivers tend to prefer lower spring rates as it will provide a more comfortable ride, while track drivers will prefer higher spring rates for a better performing suspension. Enthusiasts that are looking for stance can do either. Depending on how low you are wanting to go, it may be more beneficial to go with higher spring rates to prevent scraping.
Coilover Dampening Adjustability
Lastly, probably one of the most important factors, is dampening adjustability. Dampening simply refers to the control of the compression of the springs and how quickly the spring “rebounds” after being compressed. Therefore, dampening adjustability refers to having the ability to adjust the compression and rebound of the spring. Now, not all coilover kits offer adjustability of dampening, and for good reason. Not all setups allow the driver to adjust dampening. Why is that? Again, going back to goals. If you aren’t trying to race your MK4 Jetta around a track, then fixed dampening may be the way to go. Many aftermarket companies put a lot of time and effort into the research of these products. With that said, the fixed dampening option will be sufficient enough for daily drivers or stanced drivers. If you tend to lean more on driver experience, then you may want to opt for adjustable dampening coilovers so you can directly control the driving experience.
MK4 Jetta Coilovers vs. MK4 Jetta Lowering Springs
A commonly debated topic when it comes to lowering a vehicle is whether to go with a coilover kit or to simply apply lowering springs. If you are budget conscious and are just wanting to lower your vehicle a couple inches without any care for the driving experience, then lowering springs may be for you. However, hear us out. For only $200 – $300 more, you can receive not only updated springs, but you can get upgraded struts and shocks. This is not including the driving and other benefits you can receive, listed below.
Lowering springs basically have a couple benefits: adjust ride height and replace factory springs. This is ideal for the driver that just wants to go for a stanced or lowered look on a budget. Coilovers provide many more benefits for a few hundred dollars more. A common example we like to use is imagine getting a set of springs that fit a specific wheel fitment. However, a year later you no longer want to run that same setup so you get new wheels. Now the fitment doesn’t match the ride height so you have to purchase new springs. If you had coilovers, it would allow you to adjust ride height to squeeze those tires like they should.
MK4 Jetta Coilover Benefits
- Ride height adjustability (up to 4″)
- Increased handling performance
- Dampening adjustability
- More comfortable driving experience
- More cost-efficient option for replacing factory suspension
Best MK4 Jetta Coilovers
We like to reiterate when it comes to purchasing coilovers, make sure you have your vehicle goals in mind. Although some sets can run $400, it still isn’t a cheap decision to make without any research or goals in mind. The three sets listed below are OUR favorites on the market provided for the stance, street, or track driver. Like many aftermarket parts, there are many different other great brands on the market for coilovers.
1) Raceland MK4 Jetta Coilovers
Raceland will always be our favorite choice because they offer 3 different cost-efficient setups for any driver. They provide the biggest bang-for-your-buck with kits ranging from $419 – $519.
The first kit is their classic, which features a twin-tube shock design, can lower the vehicle 1-3″, and have spring rates of 325lb/in. With the classic kit starting at $419, depending on if you want to upgrade strut mounts which we highly recommend, you can’t get better than that from a monetary standpoint. They also provide to other tiers, Ultimo and Primo, which can satisfy the high-performance street need a driver may desire. The Ultimo features a twin-tube design, provides a 2-4″ drop in ride height, and spring rates of 385lb/in in the front and 240lb/in in the rear. The Ultimo kit comes in at $449, with the option of upgraded strut mounts, and is a step up from the Classic as far as driving experience goes. Lastly, the Primo kit features a twin-tube shock design, provides a 2-4″ drop, and spring rates of 385lb/in in the front and 240lb/in in the rear. The main difference between the Ultimo and Primo, is the adjustable dampening the Primo kit provides. For all of the bells and whistles of a coilover kit, we highly suggest going with the Primo kit, especially since it is only $519.
The Raceland name has been around in the suspension scene for a while and they are known for building high-quality suspension setups at a reasonable price. They also provide a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, have a lifetime warranty, and have exceptional customer service.
Driver: Stance or Street
Buy Here: Raceland Volkswagen MK4 Jetta Classic Coilovers
Ultimo Raceland Volkswagen MK4 Jetta Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″)
Primo Raceland Volkswagen MK4 Jetta Coilovers (Lowering 2-4″ with dampening adjustment)
2) H&R MK4 Jetta Coilovers
H&R coilover kits are well known in the Volkswagen realm, so we wanted to ensure we included a set for the high-performance street driver. The kit listed below features a monotube shock design, provides a 1.5-2.8″ drop in ride height, progressive spring rates, and comes with fixed dampening. H&R provides a 2-year limited warranty and has great customer service.
Buy Here: H&R Volkswagen MK4 Jetta Street Performance Coilover Kit
3) Bilstein MK4 Jetta Coilovers
Bilstein is another aftermarket name that has been around in the suspension space for over two decades. They mainly focus on high-performance street and track setups. The PSS9 coilover kit features a monotube shock design, provides a 1.4-2.25″ drop in ride height, and has 9 different levels of dampening to suit any occasion. Coming in at $1,565, this kit is for the big spenders who strive the have high-performance street coilovers or drive on a track.
Driver: Street or Track
Buy Here: Bilstein Volkswagen MK4 Jetta PSS9 Coilover Kit
MK4 Jetta Coilovers Conclusion
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the right coilovers, you must determine what your goals are before making the “best” decision for you. If you are just going for a stanced look but also want to improve handling performance and driver comfort, twintube shocks are the way to go. If you are going for a stiffer more precise ride for the streets or the track, monotube is the way to go. The best bang-for-your-buck when it comes to MK4 Jetta coilovers will always be Raceland because they offer different high-quality setups at a reasonable price.
Good luck on your coilover journey. Let us know about your experience with MK4 Jetta coilovers in the comments. Finally, if you want to read up on more MK4 Jetta content, here’s our write-up on “The 6 Most Common Volkswagen MK4 Jetta (VW Bora) Engine Problems”.