Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspension.

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Evil_Fiz
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Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspension.

Post by Evil_Fiz » Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:59 pm

I am in the beginning stages of a restomod project involving a 1970 Karmann Ghia convertible. My intentions are to build a daily driver that is fun to drive on the street and highway, has a fair amount of power, and most important of all can handle as well a modern sports car. I have no intention of racing/tracking the car. The most action it will see is an off ramp at less than prudent speed. The vehicle will most likely be powered by a Subaru 4 or 6 Cyl. with a Subaru 5/6-speed. Top end on the car will probably never exceed 90 MPH. I am interested in cornering, acceleration, and stopping, in that order. I would also like to add stability up to 150 MPH to ensure the car is stable and safe on the highway.

I have spent the last few days reading through the various posts on STF and was especially impressed and educated by FJCs autocross Ghia series. Based on what I have read so far it appears that the traditional Type 1 suspension can be made to handle very well in a Ghia. My question: is there any significant benefit to be derived from installing and tuning the Mendeola front A-Arm suspension in addition to their rear IRS kit. My concern is not the total cost of the product and aftermarket parts needed to complete the set-up but rather, is it money well spent. I have not been able to find any 3rd party testing data nor have I found any testimonials that directly address the claimed improvements in performance.

All things equal, it would be a higher accomplishment to obtain stellar performance from the original suspension than a product 40 yrs. its Jr. Any data or information the experts here can share would be invaluable to my project. I am not looking to be talked out of, or into, one direction or the other. I only need sound data to help me decide which option to adopt.

Thanks,
Emil

Wew're all in this together...

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FJCamper
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by FJCamper » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:15 am

Hi Emil,

I would love for the Mendeola A-arm front suspension to be a great advance, but like you, I can't find any apples-to-apples test. I even talked to the Mendeola staff at one time, offering any help I could give in testing. We do more than autocross here, mainly serious road racing at Daytona, Sebring, etc. They told me the Mendeola was far superior, and a comparison test would soon be published (no magazine mentioned) so I should wait.

My deductive experience tells me the Mendeola hasn't worked out in practice as well as it's designers hoped. That means all else being equal, a VW with a standard front ball joint performs just as well as the Mendeola. And there are probably some things the Mendeola does a bit better and some things it does worse than a ball joint front axle.

I like the Mendeola concept. If it had no advantage other than great anti-dive characteristics, I'd consider using it.

The Subaru conversions seem to be practical. One of our race team drivers has a Subaru 4-cyl in his VW bus. My advice from a pure handling perspective is to stick to the Subaru 4-cyl because of its lighter weight, keep the ball joint front end for performance and economy, and to boost your confidence in the ball-joint/IRS Ghis suspension, watch this video. It's just long enough so you know it's not editing that makes the Ghia seem fast.

Ghia vs BMW's
www.youtube.com/watch?v=yowKsYDy4UU

and a musical bonus

Little Karmann Coupe:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-nxYy6HEX0

FJC

Bruce2
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Bruce2 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:33 pm

Evil_Fiz wrote: My intentions are to build a daily driver .....
I would ask them what kind of long term testing have they done to prove it isn't going to wear out on you or break. I suspect that will be a very hard question for them to answer.

jhoefer
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by jhoefer » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:30 pm

On the rear you are gaining ease of adjustability and strength. Otherwise the suspension geometry is the same as the VW.

On the front, again gaining ease of adjustability and strength. The camber gain should provide more front end grip. In an ass-heavy car with oversteer issues, that's not necessarily better. But such things are tunable with spring/anti-roll bar/damper changes. I'm sure their part selections work just fine for a street car. I prefer the road feel of rack-and-pinion steering over a steering box. Not sure what amount of caster they run, but not enough caster is a common cause of VWs wandering at speed. The fix for the stock suspension is caster shims.

For a street car, adjustability isn't much of a concern as it's done rarely. Most likely, what you'll notice is stiffer, tighter, and "sportier" feel to the suspension and less body roll in corners. Whether that makes it actually faster than stock suspension rather than just feel that way, I don't know. They do claim hitting 1.04G on a skid pad, which is impressive, but that's also dependent on tires that you probably can't fit under your ghia.

No idea how much this stuff actually sees racing as it would likely put the car in a modified category (eg: SCCA Prepared) against better cars.

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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Bruce2 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:57 am

jhoefer wrote: On the front, again gaining ease of adjustability and strength.
What makes you say it's stronger?

jhoefer
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by jhoefer » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:01 pm

Bruce2 wrote:
jhoefer wrote: On the front, again gaining ease of adjustability and strength.
What makes you say it's stronger?
Because the stock trailing arms only attach at one end, they can flex laterally under heavy load, or worst case even get bent. An a-arm is supported on both inside ends so it doesn't flex under load like that and it takes a higher lateral force to deform it.

On the chassis side, it's tying into the outside ends of the napoleon hat, much like the beam supports you can buy for the stock suspension, and makes the front of the chassis more rigid overall.

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Lo Cash John
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Lo Cash John » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:34 pm

Evil_Fiz, I'm also in Jacksonville. Look me up some time.

The Mendy suspension is beautiful and everyone I know that's driven a VW was amazed by it. However Frank and the others make a good point about apples to apples comparison. So far no one has made back to back comparisons or had a skid pad shootout of IRS vs Mendy. I must admit that would be cool to see.

It sounds like you want to build a very high quality build. Are you new to the local VW scene?

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Jadewombat
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Jadewombat » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:33 pm

There's a very dark art of handling improvement and making things work right. Take a look at this if you have time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob-FUF0Sh_E

I'm also very skeptical a simple bolt-in kit is going to vastly outperform a 40+ year old stock VW system just because of all of the different factors at work to getting a vehicle to hold the road for the driver under so many variables of physics. There's way too many assumptions about tire size, vehicle weight, usage, etc. and every system is a compromise to one condition or another.

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Evil_Fiz
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Evil_Fiz » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:54 pm

Jadewombat wrote:There's a very dark art of handling improvement and making things work right. Take a look at this if you have time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob-FUF0Sh_E
The video you recommended is thoroughly amusing and somewhat informational regarding this topic. Since I don't understand all I know about suspension geometry I doubt I walk away with the insight you hoped I would glean from the video.

Would you kindly elaborate on your reservations and provide any insight and suggestions you may have on making the OE suspension perform at it's absolute best. As I stated in my original post, I find it far more eloquent and rewarding to extract top numbers from the OE suspension. If all the Mendeola offers above the OE suspension is the "OOOH, AAAH" cool factor then it is best left to the show cars.

Thanks for your reply,
...we're all in this together.

buildabiggerboxer
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by buildabiggerboxer » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:53 pm

Hi evil fiz,You won't get any of us old Skool racers on the side of added weight and complexity, my money saved on any elaborate system would be spent on better tyres for a gain in performance and maybe better wet tyres for when it rains, if myself and other posters in here were having a tough time by double wishbone sports cars, then we might open the wallet, but of course we are not, it's the reverse that's true,
We regularly beat such exotic machines, of course our suspension is set up and aligned perfectly, how to do this has been covered to death already by dozens of posts on here and other forums, Aircooled.net also offer a how to on their pages, enjoy,, Regards BBB.

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FJCamper
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by FJCamper » Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:31 pm

Hi Evil,

You have seen my own posting on road racing the Ghia (and Bug, by extension)?

http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic ... 1&t=127619

FJC

coolrydes
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by coolrydes » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:40 am

jhoefer wrote:On the rear you are gaining ease of adjustability and strength. Otherwise the suspension geometry is the same as the VW.

On the front, again gaining ease of adjustability and strength. The camber gain should provide more front end grip. In an ass-heavy car with oversteer issues, that's not necessarily better. But such things are tunable with spring/anti-roll bar/damper changes. I'm sure their part selections work just fine for a street car. I prefer the road feel of rack-and-pinion steering over a steering box. Not sure what amount of caster they run, but not enough caster is a common cause of VWs wandering at speed. The fix for the stock suspension is caster shims.

For a street car, adjustability isn't much of a concern as it's done rarely. Most likely, what you'll notice is stiffer, tighter, and "sportier" feel to the suspension and less body roll in corners. Whether that makes it actually faster than stock suspension rather than just feel that way, I don't know. They do claim hitting 1.04G on a skid pad, which is impressive, but that's also dependent on tires that you probably can't fit under your ghia.

No idea how much this stuff actually sees racing as it would likely put the car in a modified category (eg: SCCA Prepared) against better cars.
Our rear suspension may look like stock irs, but that is all that is the same. We have built in additional camber into the rear arms. We build our arms out of 4130 chromoly so they will not flex. Our rear suspension also features camber and toe adjustments, a 5 bar kafer bar system that fully triangulates the rear frame of the car. lastly we have a built in and tuned sway bar.

As for the front, we build our own zero scrub spindles, we have built in camber, caster and toe as well as adjustable springs and shock valveing depending on vehicle weights. We have figured in things like "CG" (center of gravity) "RC" (roll centers), anti dive, and much more. Our suspension system was designed and built by actual engineers that specialize in race car chassis development, unlike some of our competitors that design by sight and what can be easily built. For example, our front spindles our fully TIG welded and take over 3 hours a pair to complete. Ask yourself, "why would we spend this much time on a part, if it would not work any better then a stock spindle?"

A stock spindle will cause nearly 100% scrub in the front wheels. This means every time you turn the steering wheel you as breaking traction in the front wheels. If you want to stay on course, loosing traction is not the hot ticket.

We have a shop demo beetle that we have been trying to get time to go out and video so that others can see the advantages of our suspension kits. We have also been trying to put together some road course days, where we are willing to put our pink slip on the line to any one that can beat our times (barring mechanical break down) with a stock style type one suspension.

I have been road racing for over 15 years, and instructing for over 13 years. I am an accomplished road race driver. Before designing our suspension we spent endless hours doing everything we could to stock style suspension to make it handle, while we were able to get the stock suspension to handle better we could never break the full lateral G mark. Plus there were tons of problems with threshold braking. Even with a 215 40 17 front tire and brake biasing to the rear, we could not get the car to stop with in the desired distance to be safe. With our suspension we were able to also improve braking with shock valveing allowing the car to transfer weight.

I could go on about everything we were able to improve with our suspension, however what this gentleman is asking for is a comparison. I will do my best to get a road race event together or at least find one that can be attended by the average public so that the general person who thinks a stock style suspension will out perform ours can come out and put the rubber to the track and see who finishes first. Then we can all see the apples to apples comparison everyone desires.
Kevin "Coolrydes" Zagar
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coolrydes
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by coolrydes » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:59 am

FJCamper wrote:Hi Emil,

I would love for the Mendeola A-arm front suspension to be a great advance, but like you, I can't find any apples-to-apples test. I even talked to the Mendeola staff at one time, offering any help I could give in testing. We do more than autocross here, mainly serious road racing at Daytona, Sebring, etc. They told me the Mendeola was far superior, and a comparison test would soon be published (no magazine mentioned) so I should wait.

My deductive experience tells me the Mendeola hasn't worked out in practice as well as it's designers hoped. That means all else being equal, a VW with a standard front ball joint performs just as well as the Mendeola. And there are probably some things the Mendeola does a bit better and some things it does worse than a ball joint front axle.

I like the Mendeola concept. If it had no advantage other than great anti-dive characteristics, I'd consider using it.

The Subaru conversions seem to be practical. One of our race team drivers has a Subaru 4-cyl in his VW bus. My advice from a pure handling perspective is to stick to the Subaru 4-cyl because of its lighter weight, keep the ball joint front end for performance and economy, and to boost your confidence in the ball-joint/IRS Ghis suspension, watch this video. It's just long enough so you know it's not editing that makes the Ghia seem fast.

Ghia vs BMW's
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yowKsYDy4UU

and a musical bonus

Little Karmann Coupe:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-nxYy6HEX0

FJC
FJ, I watched your video and it looks like you did beat an older BWM 3 series, and not bad driving. However the white Nissan Sentra that was behind you in the beginning of the video got pass you and until he let you by he kept you behind him. The last time I checked a Nissan sentra will not out handle the older 3 series.

While I write this with all do respect to you, your driving is good, and your understanding of suspension is fair, however I would love for someone like you to test our suspension and feel what it can really do, and you'll feel the increased performance it does offer. once you drive ours youll find out what real performance is all about.
Kevin "Coolrydes" Zagar
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Steve Arndt
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspensio

Post by Steve Arndt » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:50 am

We would love it too. A real test.

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Roflhat
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Re: Advice needed - Mendeola vs Traditional type 1 suspension.

Post by Roflhat » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:27 pm

any tests?

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