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      05-27-2011, 12:44 AM   #1
rzm3
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Arrow KW Competition Installed and Tested... 2.8 Seconds Faster than Stock

Constructed from the same internals as the M3 GTS and 1M MotoGP Safety Car, the KW Competition system is built for M3s whose owners demand more than the one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf coil over kits.

Designed using the 7-post rig and extensively validated on the track, each kit is customized and hand-built at KW Racing in Germany, and then FedEx'd over to the States.

Compared to the KW Clubsport, Competition uses upgraded competition quality parts for even higher performance and durability. For example, the already superb clubsport camber plate is reinforced, rubber bushings are replaced with full spherical bearings, the lower spring perches are now aluminum, and the rear shaft diameter is increased to 22 mm and available as a coil over.

This set up is designed specifically with the track day enthusiasts in mind. The adjustment range of the dampers allow the system to be comfortable on the street, and competitive on the race track.
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      05-27-2011, 12:46 AM   #2
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Arrow Stock vs. KW Competition

Since 2008, I've tried H&R, Dinan, Moton Street Sport, Moton Club Sport. This will be my 5th system in preparation for NASA Time Trail, so I wanted to do things the 'proper' way.

As I have a full data system on my car as well as access to MSR Houston, I decided to do a true apple-to-apple comparison -- same car, same modifications, same track, and same driver... the only thing that's changed is the suspension.

Car Specification:
2008 E92 M3 DCT
Yokohama AD08 265/35 & 295/30
CCW C14 Forged Wheels 18x9.5 & 18x10.5
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GT4 Aero

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      05-27-2011, 12:47 AM   #3
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Arrow Full Review

Driving Impressions

First, a little bit of the stock suspension.

It has been a while since I last drove with stock suspension. Overall, for a street set up it worked quite well on the track. Obviously the springs are soft which means you have to be patient, brake early, and let the car roll into corners. Or, in the words of a racing driver: "you turn the wheel and then a second later you realize 'oh shit' all the 3700 lbs are on the outside wheels."

The other noticeable attribute of the stock suspension is the mid-corner push as expected on most street cars. This is especially noticeable at turn 17/16/15 of MSR Houston. Some drivers will try to stab on the gas to get the rears loose and rotate the car, but during the process you transfer weight away from the front and understeer even more. In sum you lose a lot of time when the car understeers.

Anyhow, onto the main event – KW Competition.

I worked with KW and spec'd the kit specifically for a street legal weekend track car. KW has several set up combinations available based on their shaker rig testing and field experience. I chose rates which are about 15% stiffer than their Clubsport. This combination will give the car much quicker transition time vs. stock, and, at the same time, maintain a decent ride on the streets.

First impression is that the turn in is much, much sharper compared to stock. The stiffer springs combined with proper shock valving significantly shortens the transition time which allowed me to brake and turn in later.

Second impression is that there is much more grip in all four corners on the same tires. This is in part due to the front adjustable top mount will give you a max of around -3.5 degrees of camber. I've set mine to -2.8 degrees based on data from prior runs, but I can easily add/subtract if needed -- camber can be adjusted directly through the strut tower openings -- without taking the strut assembly off.

The balance: car is very neutral now at the limit. At turn 2 the carousel you can now be on the throttle for almost the entire duration. And at turn 17/16/15 I can easily get the car pointed at the right direction and power out of the exit.

The Results

1:48.3 is my fastest lap time on the stock suspension. 1:45.5 is my time on KW Competition. This is a delta of -2.8 seconds.



As you can see from the track data, through every corner the M3 is able to enter and exit at a higher speed. The most notable corner is 17/16/15, where the KW is 4 mph faster than stock. This is due to a much balanced chassis which allowed me to get on the gas pedal much sooner than when the car understeered on stock suspension.



The beauty of KW Competition is that it comes as an integrated suspension solution. KW has collected a tremendous amount of data on the M3 from KW’s shaker rig testing as well as racing experience, so the kits are truly tested and proven. On the other hand, most high-end dampers from other brands come as dampers only, and typically vendors who may not always have a lot of experience on the M3 are in charge of getting camber plates, spec’ing springs, setting shock valving, etc. Therefore it takes a lot of time and effort to tune a set up like that correctly (for me, I had two racing drivers help me tune my Moton set up).

Hope this has been helpful.

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      05-27-2011, 02:56 AM   #4
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Wow, those struts/shocks are a lot shorter than stock! cool.

I get really leery of using spherical bearings in the top hats on the street, especially since they aren't sealed against getting crud inside them.
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      05-27-2011, 03:09 AM   #5
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Great news Richard and really looking forward to seeing the times with this new setup.

Did you need to get an alignment after the installation as well?
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      05-27-2011, 07:32 AM   #6
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Looks nice, looking forward to
the comparison and vids.
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      05-27-2011, 08:31 AM   #7
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Very interested to read your review.
Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing the info with the community here.
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      05-27-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitw View Post
Wow, those struts/shocks are a lot shorter than stock! cool.

I get really leery of using spherical bearings in the top hats on the street, especially since they aren't sealed against getting crud inside them.
Should be no problem. You get lots of junk on the race track as well.

KW offers two top mount versions for Competition kits. The Competition version in the picture above, and the Clubsport version below. The Clubsport mount has boots for those who live in the snow belt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biglare View Post
Great news Richard and really looking forward to seeing the times with this new setup.

Did you need to get an alignment after the installation as well?
Yes sir!
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      05-27-2011, 10:27 AM   #9
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Wow...these look incredible! Definitely looking forward to hearing your reviews and thoughts!

Thanks for always providing this forum with thorough and educational information!
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      05-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #10
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Oh, I like the clubsport mounts! are they the same thing with boots or do they have some more rubber in them?
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      05-27-2011, 10:30 PM   #11
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Great stuff from Richard as usual! I'm in for result.
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      05-28-2011, 01:30 AM   #12
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wow thats a great looking suspension kit.
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      05-28-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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      05-28-2011, 05:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitw View Post
Oh, I like the clubsport mounts! are they the same thing with boots or do they have some more rubber in them?
Neither has rubber in this area. The designs are similar in construction, but the Competition version uses more material around the spherical bearing for higher durability.
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      05-29-2011, 12:09 AM   #15
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Nice looking mounts. Do they have radial bearings in them?
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      05-29-2011, 03:48 AM   #16
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wow i wonder how much these things go for
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      05-29-2011, 04:16 AM   #17
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A friend of mine swears by these! he has them on several of his cars, even street-driven ones.
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      05-29-2011, 05:48 PM   #18
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If your doing a true "apples-to-apples" comparison please make sure to post the compression & rebound settings of both coilover kits.

And please post an MSRP for this kit. Thanks
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      05-30-2011, 07:25 AM   #19
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Just have to comment that I am so impressed with how you have set up your car.
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      05-31-2011, 04:04 PM   #20
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What ride height are you going to set these at?
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      05-31-2011, 06:19 PM   #21
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Im going to put those on my must have list...
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      05-31-2011, 06:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STALKER View Post
What ride height are you going to set these at?
-0.75" from stock.
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