The latest mod to my Golf R didn’t take all weekend, but it did take me a small part of two weekends. How’s that? I’ll explain, I ordered Rally Armor mud flaps. And I began the installation late on a Sunday. Don’t judge, I ran errands all weekend. I started on one Sunday, and finished the project the following Saturday. Now, how long should it take to install four pieces of plastic/rubber in the wheel wells, a few hours at most right? Well it would have, had the hardware supplied in the kit worked. What I mean by that is that when I received the kit promptly from Rally Armor’s NYC warehouse I proceeded to verify all the specified parts on the supplied instruction sheet were included (first time ever for me), and I then I went a step further doing a fit the hardware without fastening everything on two of the flaps just to visualize how the pieces went together. Great, they provided me with everything I would need to install their product on my car. I then proceeded with installation of the front two flaps. Done, and done. Success!! The instructions listed the tools needed for the project; T25 Torx bit, offset ratcheting Phillips screwdriver, and 7/16″ wrench. I put the front two flaps on with a regular Phillips screwdriver, T25 Torx bit, and an 11mm wrench.
When I moved the back two wheel wells I discovered that my hand (think size of a small bear paw) didn’t fit so great inside the well with all the hardware lined up, and fastening it all onto the body with the screwdriver. Strike that. I could not fit the screwdriver in between the wheel well and tire. My inner voice called out to me saying, “That’s the reason the kit mentioned using an offset ratcheting screwdriver!”. Aha! I did in fact read the directions before undertaking this enterprise, and clearly saw what was required to install this kit yet chose to ignore that information.
Why did I disregard it? Because I have enough tools, and one of those should work. Now the kit includes: the flaps themselves, a few plastic adjustment bars for the front flaps, stainless self tapping screws (3 sizes), spacers; both round plastic and soft foam, “u” clips, brackets, lock nuts, and washers. Everything was going smoothly on the rear wheel installation until I lined up the spacer, the bracket, flap, washer, and screw. They all went together well, with the spacer resting against the body and the washer pressing against the flap backing against the bracket, connected by the screw pinning all the other components in harmony. That was until discord erupted. That moment occurred when I began fastening the screw to the body, and the screw slipped through the washer. I was caught by surprise, and attempted the operation again, and again with the same results, the head of the screw passed through the washer and the rest of the components. The washer is the stop gap, the tie that binds, the glue. Undeterred I went to the local hardware store, and brought the hardware with me to obtain another stainless #6 screw with a larger head. They do not make a larger head on a stainless #6 screw. Still undeterred, I picked up small stainless washers to act as the larger head keeping it on the right side of the kit supplied plastic washers. Success! The rear passenger flap went on with no issues, as did the driver’s rear flap. Next up was hiding that bright stainless color of the hardware visible on the inner wells.
Looking at the car from behind the mud flaps looked good, but approaching from the front, and your eyes are immediately drawn to the silvery dots inside each wheel well. 2-4 points of light in an otherwise dark environment. Well now, if the wheel well was supposed to be dark, we probably shouldn’t leave it like that. The day I finished the project it was windy with unpredictable gusts. My thought was to use spray paint, collected in a bowl, and dab the stainless hardware with a brush or sponge to take off that shine. Maybe it works, and maybe it doesn’t, but at least I knew enough to know I didn’t want to spray paint near the rest of my wonderfully red car leaving anything to chance with the gusting winds.
The satisfaction I had at a job well done was short lived when I walked around the back of the vehicle, and noticed the flaps were not exactly perpendicular to the ground. More of an angle as opposed to perpendicular. That won’t do! It took me all of 5 more minutes to make a few minor adjustments to both rear flaps to make them perpendicular to the ground. All in all it was a quick improvement to make, with the slight hiccup of the screw head being smaller than the washer opening. Overall this project was a 2 on a 1 to 10 scale of difficulty just behind installing an air-freshener. It would have taken me maybe 25-30 minutes from start to finish had all the hardware worked. Still though finishing all of it in about an 1 hour and 15 minutes isn’t all bad when you consider that I had to run to the next town over to get the correct washers. My initial impression as to the quality of the product looks to be good, and I throw out the caveat to you all that I’m not a mud flap expert. I noted that the brackets and other related hardware seemed beefy, and capable to do the job. The only possible exception were the #6 screws supplied with the kit that seemed a little meek. They offer several color options for their logo at the bottom of each flap, and I chose the most muted one I could find since plain black was not an option.
Only time will tell whether this was a modification that delivers notable stone chip protection to the rear quarter panels. I’ve also been told these kind of rally flaps help keep the back deck cleaner, longer. Even though I don’t plan on any off-road rallying, I wouldn’t mind gaining some of the benefits from the gear. There are other options for mud flaps out there, but so far I’ve been pleased with the installation process, and happy with the end result.