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      05-21-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
JAJ
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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.
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      05-21-2010, 04:17 PM   #2
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Hmm, wonder if it would work the same way with the KWv3...
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      05-21-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armorrig View Post
Hmm, wonder if it would work the same way with the KWv3...
The Koni instructions are generic, so I imagine they'd work fine. It helps to have a track to do it at, though. I never got enough side-load on the street to be able to really tell how the suspension was working. On the track, you can push it and feel the way the tires are hanging on (or not) to the road.
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      05-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the writeup JJ. Do you leave the same settings for the street? How is it on the steet? I was at the track today and would love to be able to rocket out of corners. My problem is probably more my driving than the suspension but still...
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      05-21-2010, 09:54 PM   #5
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Nice write up.
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      05-21-2010, 11:41 PM   #6
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Nice write up. So you feel the 514#/800# combo is pretty neutral?

Also the Penske manual is pretty helpful as well, though perhaps a little too detailed.

http://www.penskeshocks.co.uk/downlo...TechManual.pdf
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      05-22-2010, 03:30 AM   #7
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Nothing feels better than some perfectly setup coilovers! Thank you for the excellent writeup.
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      05-22-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgdog View Post
Thanks for the writeup JJ. Do you leave the same settings for the street? How is it on the steet? I was at the track today and would love to be able to rocket out of corners. My problem is probably more my driving than the suspension but still...
Other than driving home from the track, the car's been parked all week, so I'm not sure how it will feel when I head out this morning. My intent is to adjust the front camber to a lower setting for daily driving, but leave the dampers alone. Given how much softer it is now than it was with the "KW recommended" settings, I'm thinking it will be fine. I'll post later today after I've done some running around.

By the way, adjusting the front camber is a ten minute job provided you get both front wheels off the ground at the same time. Lifting both sides together leaves the suspension slack and you can move the camber plates with just a gentle push. The same thing is true of ride height, although I'm not likely to change it very much or very often. If you try to adjust with one front wheel on the ground and the other wheel jacked up, the sway bar transfers suspension load from the side still on the ground to the lifted side and nothing will move very easily.
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      05-22-2010, 12:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rldzhao View Post
Nice write up. So you feel the 514#/800# combo is pretty neutral?

Also the Penske manual is pretty helpful as well, though perhaps a little too detailed.

http://www.penskeshocks.co.uk/downlo...TechManual.pdf
Thanks for the link to the Penske manual - it'll take some digesting!

The KW Clubsport 514/800 spring rates translate to about 475/260 at the wheels. With that much forward bias and the narrower front tires (I was on factory 19" 245/265 PS2's instead of my r-comps) I expected a level of understeer that I simply didn't experience. What I experienced was that the front end was solid and planted and I could drive it anywhere I wanted without it even threatening to wash out.

What was really surprising was that the PS2's drove like r-comps with the suspension set up right. They didn't get even a little bit greasy and the grip was remarkable. They didn't build up as much heat as they usually do either.

I haven't looked at the tires since the track day to see how much wear they took, or whether it's even, but I'll report back later today or tomorrow.
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      05-22-2010, 05:24 PM   #10
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Fantastic write up!
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      05-22-2010, 06:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
...I haven't looked at the tires since the track day to see how much wear they took, or whether it's even, but I'll report back later today or tomorrow.
So, now I have inspected the tires, and I'm impressed:

Front:

Name:  Front Tire. wjpg.jpg
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Rear:

Name:  Rear Tire w.jpg
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Needless to say, the stock 19" PS2's stood up very well. There is no evidence of the usual outer shoulder wear at the front or the rear. In fact the wear across both the front and rear tires was quite even. Also, they didn't wear nearly as much as I'd expected they had, given I was working on keeping up with a couple of GT3's. I didn't push really hard, but I was maintaining better pace than I used to on my r-comps.

It looks like getting the suspension tuned is good for your tires.

UPDATE: Here's a quote from Page 17 of the Penske damper manual that talks a bit about tire wear:

"Rebound adjustments are usually indicated by the driver asking for more stability. By increasing low speed damping, stability will be enhanced; decreasing damping will allow more movement in the car, but will result in a little better tire wear."

The front and rear tires are clearly wearing nicely with the relatively soft rebound settings I adopted. I didn't feel the car was unstable (exactly the reverse, actually) but I didn't run much over about 110MPH either.

Last edited by JAJ; 05-23-2010 at 02:02 PM.
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      05-23-2010, 01:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgdog View Post
...Do you leave the same settings for the street? How is it on the steet?...
Now that I've had a chance to go out for a drive on the local roads, the daily driver ride is quite pleasant with the track settings. The roads around here aren't in great shape, so there are lots of repaired patches and bumps, and the car just rolls over them. You do feel the stiffness of the springs, for sure, but there's no harshness to the ride.
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      05-25-2010, 12:53 AM   #13
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How does the rear helper spring seat on the rear camber arm? Is there a special spacer?
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      05-25-2010, 10:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rldzhao View Post
How does the rear helper spring seat on the rear camber arm? Is there a special spacer?
Yes, there's a bushing (not really a spacer) made of FRP. It fits around the cast-in sleeve on the LCA and holds the helper spring in place.

It keeps the helper spring from grinding its way out through the bottom of the LCA.

The helper spring handles any misalignments (when the rear suspension is at full droop) between the main spring and the LCA spring seat, allowing the main spring to stay straight below the adjuster.
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      05-25-2010, 11:14 PM   #15
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Thanks for the info. It would be great if you could take some detailed pictures of your kit
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      05-25-2010, 11:48 PM   #16
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Another resource for those who are interested: (From A. Staniforth, Competition Car Suspension)
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      05-26-2010, 12:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrackRat View Post
Nice write up and good understanding of the car's reaction to shock changes. Many times shocks have excessive rebound which lifts the inside wheel causing loss of grip and the inability to put power down on exit without an LSD. It feels good but it's not the best set-up. By dialing in the proper bump damping you reduce the need for excess rebound damping and thus allow the tires to stay in contact with the road surface. It's all good!

The reduced body roll from the stiffer springs combined with the negative camber will make the tires stick and wear better. With R-comps you may need to adj. the shocks a click or two?
Thanks! I'm expecting to have to make some adjustments with the r-comps, but I couldn't run them last week for logistical reasons, so I used the PS2's instead.

I'm out again, on the r-comps this time, on the 17th of June. More write-up then.
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      04-13-2011, 06:58 PM   #18
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KWs holding up well?
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      04-13-2011, 10:40 PM   #19
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KWs holding up well?
Due to rather bizarre behavior by BMW Canada, I'm driving a Ford Mustang GT 5.0 these days. The KW's were superb, but they and I have both moved on...
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      04-13-2011, 10:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Due to rather bizarre behavior by BMW Canada, I'm driving a Ford Mustang GT 5.0 these days. The KW's were superb, but they and I have both moved on...
Warranty issues?

Yeah, those 'stangs are faster out of the box. And probably that's no news to anyone...
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      04-13-2011, 11:02 PM   #21
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Sorry to hear that. Great write-up though.
Did you get a Boss Mustang? Laguna Seca package?
It's sad when Ford gets it and ///M has lost it's way...
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      05-25-2011, 05:18 PM   #22
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Sorry, little OT.
Just got my Clubsports. Is the angle from the top over extended, are these damaged from shipping, or is that normal adjustment range from the camber plates?

I hope they are not bent from shipping.
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