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      05-21-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
JAJ
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Drives: 2014 Shelby GT500
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC

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KW ClubSport Setup using Koni Instructions Review (long)

When I wrote my set of posts on suspension options for the M3 (http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=339168), I concluded that the best choice for my specific needs was the KW ClubSport suspension. I ordered it in January, it came in February and I installed it in April. The kit was complete, very well made and (I do my own installation work) pretty simple and straightforward to install. My first opportunity to go to the track with it was Monday this week.

My ride height decision was to run about 10mm below the factory height. Factory is 355mm from fender to the center of the roundel; I’m running 345mm or so, depending on the fuel load. My front camber setting at is around -1.5 degrees for daily driving and -2.3 degrees for the track.

When it comes to setting up the dampers, KW provides recommendations for initial settings as well as directions on how to stiffen or soften the damper settings. However, they don’t offer any advice on how to tell if you have the settings right. Since this was my first time with double-adjustable dampers, I wanted instructions to follow. It turns out that Koni publishes setup instructions on www.KoniRacing.com. They’re excellent, and having followed them, they work.

What I found with the compression settings is that they have to be exactly right in order to keep the tires connected to the road. The surprise was that the recommended settings from KW – exactly half way between hard and soft – were perfect. On all four corners, compression damping is set one full turn from full hard, which is six clicks if you’re counting clicks.

Koni’s directions on rebound adjustment is also dead-on. However, following their instructions, I ended up setting the rebound much softer than the initial recommendation from KW. KW recommends the front be set at 6 clicks from full hard and the rear at 9 clicks. I was satisfied with the performance of the suspension using 11 clicks at both front and rear.

How’s it work? I ran the day on my OEM PS2 19’s, and once the dampers were set, the handling was phenomenal. The track has three really bumpy turns and with the dampers set properly, the car just drove through the bumps without any drama. If there’s too much compression damping, the car tends to skip sideways, while too much rebound produces understeer or oversteer or a diabolical combination of both. The sheer ability to get the power down on corner exit was something I’d never experienced before. I was used to nursing the throttle on corner exit to avoid wheelspin. With the dampers set right, it was like getting shot out of a cannon – no wheelspin, no drama, just raw acceleration at full throttle. I was hitting the limiter in 2nd at points where previously I couldn’t even use full throttle.

Overall, I’m really happy with the results. The KW Clubsport suspension is excellent, and if you follow the the Koni setup directions you can get good results with ease (ok, so it is a bit tedious jacking the car up and taking the wheels off to adjust the compression settings between runs, but once they're set, they're set forever). You end up with a softer-riding car than you might expect. With the damping right, the wheels move up and down over bumps without fighting the chassis, and you get a smooth ride AND phenomenal grip. The motion of the car in turns takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get used to the sensation, the ability to direct the car and use all of the power is breathtaking.

Last edited by JAJ; 05-21-2010 at 07:36 PM.