Custom KW's - whatevah you want!

Discussion in 'Suspension' started by [email protected], Jun 26, 2009.

  1. scott@txwerks

    [email protected] New Member

    May 4, 2009
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    Should you not agree with our choices of spring rates on our own 'packaged' Variant 2 and Variant 3 KW's, feel free to contact us to get a custom set of your own... Our packaged V2's and V3's are designed with the daily driver/track rat in mind - meaning that you can kill it at the track, and yet still maintain functioning kidneys if you drive it on the street.

    Are they optimized for the track? Yes, actually, KW met Dr. Mike at the track with their 18 wheeler and they tuned-and-tested-and-tuned until they got what Dr. Mike wanted, all the while scaring the bejeezus out of the KW lead engineer (who puked, I believe, at least once). Are they optimal for a race car? No. But, let's face it, nobody really likes to blood in their pee, do they? And how many people can really say that they "Don't care how their car rides on the street because it's just for the track, anyway, and I gotta have insane spring rates"? Our already-spec'd units are in stock and maintain your urinary health and meet 99.99% of a track junky's needs.

    But, if you're in that 0.01% that need something different - give us a call. We've shipped a couple of completely custom sets already, with more in the works - mainly to people that either don't daily drive their MINI or don't have/like functioning kidneys. :)
     
  2. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    Any chance you could post a review/comparison of the different variants? ( A little more in depth than what is on your website)
     
  3. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    whatevah I want? But I don't see "free" listed as an option. ;)
     
  4. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    Hey, I'm just Mike, not Elon freakin' Musk.
     
  5. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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  6. Rally

    Rally New Member
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    Whateva? Any chance of some shorter front struts?
     
  7. scott@txwerks

    [email protected] New Member

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    Absolutely...

    Variant 1's are stock, off-the shelf KW units. They are 'factory' present with valving that maintains a specific damping/rebound ratio that matches their 'cone' shaped springs (sorry, don't know how else to describe them). As such, they are ride-height only adjustable. They re-use the stock style OEM upper spring perches. They're a good choice for someone that wants to install and forget, drop their car, and still get better performance in the twisties - they are NOT designed for the track. They ride pretty nicely, IMHO.

    Our Variant 2's have different valving and springs than off-the-shelf KW's. We yanked the coney-shaped springs in favor of 60mm ID KW Race Springs. We supply a 60mm upper perch, so you can re-use the OEM upper strut mounts (but why?) or the camber plate of your choice (our new ones will be coming soon). And, we tweaked the valving to match the spring rates that were bumped from the off-the-shelf units. We used to use Swift springs - until KW proved that their Race line of springs had the same great characteristics for a lower price. Our KW's come directly from KW built to our specs, using 6 kg/mm rates at all 4 corners (that's ~342 lb/in for us in the States). The Variant 2's allow for ride height adjustment and are single-adjustable units - this means that you can crank up the damping as you would like (e.g. less for the street, more for the track), and the valving will maintain a preset ratio of damping to rebound. These ARE designed for the daily driver MINI that also sees autocross and track use. Single adjustables are recommended for the vast majority of people, since they're pretty fool-proof... They are hands down better than an off-the-shelf V2 - just our not-so-humble opinion.

    But, if you want to have more adjustability...

    Our Variant 3's also have different valving and springs than off-the-shelf KW's. Our KW's come directly from KW built to our specs, using 7 kg/mm rates at all 4 corners (that's ~400 lb/in for us in the States). Yep, just ~60 lb/in difference, but it makes a difference in ride quality on the street and a significant difference on the track. In other words, the V3's are more track/AX oriented, but still quite liveable on the street. In our opinions, anything more than 7 kg/mm is not necessary for a dual use MINI - if the system is right, you'll get all the track performance you want and still have a liveable ride on the street (for a race car or completely dedicated track car, 7 kg/mm is marginal). The Variant 3's allow for ride height adjustment and are double-adjustable units (DA)- this means that you can independently adjust damping and rebound. There is NO preset ratio of damping to rebound, and you can tune it to your driving, the course, and conditions (e.g. dry vs. wet, asphalt vs. concrete, etc.). This also means that you can ROYALLY screw it up, too, if you don't know how adjusting these independently will change the attitude of the car. More adjustment is generally not good for a majority of people, who end up a lot of time chasing settings and getting frustrated. If you do know what you're doing, these are a major step up from the V2's. We have solid baseline settings and can make recommendations for setups, but ultimately you should understand what the adjustments do and how changing them will change handling. These ARE still designed for the daily driver MINI that also sees autocross and track use. They are quite spectacular on the track...

    Our V2's and V3's have helper springs in the front and the back to keep the main spring in contact with the perches, since we don't run the same springs as the off-the-shelf units... We told KW we didn't need them, but they insisted in order to maintain TUV certification - in case sets get shipped back to the EU.

    And finally, if you want KW's Club Sport coilovers, we can also get those. They're kind of like a V3, in that they are DA's, and come with their own camber plates. They are not cheap. We have no experience with them, but have heard that some track junkies in the EU like them. I would have to get specifics on spring rates, etc.

    Oh, and - we can get KW's for any vehicle that they have an application for, too. Of course, these would be off-the-shelf units, but we can volunteer our services to drive and tune your GT3, Viper, etc. if you are blessed enough to have the bank to pull that off... :arf:
     
  8. scott@txwerks

    [email protected] New Member

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    Even shorter than they already are? :confused: I can check...
     
  9. Camaro

    Camaro New Member

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    YES:cornut:
     
  10. Rally

    Rally New Member
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    Yah, what he said^^:arf:
     
  11. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Mine are on the way, I think:ihih:.

    Went with the V2, 8kg front, 9kg rear. Will wait on install depending on what is best to do camber plate-wise with this setup. Right now I have 3 year old (and beaten up) IE adjustables.

    - Marc
     
  12. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
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    I just got mine on, track day in two weeks (provided I get a replacement for the hydraulic engine mount in time). They ride great, I've lowered about an inch on all 4 corners, and no problems day to day (although I haven't driven much due to the friggin' failing engine mount). I went with TSW's spring rec's; maybe down the road I'll go with stiffer springs, but I'll give this a shot first.
     
  13. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    They're only 1.6" shorter than stock, which is about half as much shortening as Rally wants/needs! :devil: You can call him Crisco. :ihih:

    I've emailed back and forth with TSW on their custom KW setups, and it seems they've done their homework in setting them up for the enthusiast. I'd like to add that their intention is to use softer rear anti-roll bars, so those that subscribe to the stiff-anti-roll bar theory will want to ask for a stiffer front spring from TSW's recommended setups. This would only be applicable for smoother/faster racetrack setups and less useful for those that auto-x.

    Cheers,
    Ryan
     
  14. Camaro

    Camaro New Member

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    Rally and I want 2+ inches lower than stock at its highest:D
     
  15. scott@txwerks

    [email protected] New Member

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    #15 [email protected], Jul 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
    Thanks, Ryan... You are right, we do spec a softer rear bar, mainly because we want a car that changes directions without waggling the rear and allows throttle input for things like slaloms and high speed offsets (in other words, autocross). A much stiffer rear bar causes issues with keeping the rear settled in those scenarios, and we're trying to cover as many applications as possible with one setup (e.g. street, autocross, and track). We came to this conclusion after instructing at several autocross schools, where a really stiff rear bar caused many, many people to loop it in fast slaloms (including instructors) - we went into the paddock and softened up several rear bars, and wallah, rotation WITH control. You want the car to rotate a bit as you ease off the throttle, in order to change directions for the next cone or gate, but not uncontrollably... Same for the track, where you sometimes want to position the car with throttle inputs, but don't want the bootay stepping out too much or too quickly - most people panic in the situation, and instead of rolling back into the throttle, they lift more, which will definitely make for a fun ride on a car with a neutral setup... We err on the side of caution. With our V3's (properly setup), a stock front swaybar, and a 19mm rear swaybar (full stiff), you can expect a neutral car that will take your input and place you in control (which can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on the driver - hah!). With a 21mm or bigger rear bar, you will need to do some fine tuning to get it right - starting on full soft and then changing the effective rate as you desire (again, err on the side caution at first, then tune to your desire).

    As Ryan said, if you wanted a stiffer rear bar for the track, you would want to bump the front rates up OR use a bigger front swaybar - either way, but we do prefer to let the springs do most of the work and fine tune with the swaybars.

    We'll contact KW and see if we can come up with a different custom set to trim the ride height more... Right now, our setup provides about 1.5" of lowering if you set the perches right in the middle, IIRC. Dr. Mike can chime in about that, since he played with the setup on his to see how much adjustment there was...
     
  16. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    The guys who want to slam their cars are right about most (all?) of the coilovers out there. The shocks will bottom out higher than they would like, which is REALLY bad on the shocks. KW has enough thread on the shock bodies to really lower the car, but I don't recommend running them so low because the likelihood of shock damage is so high.

    I haven't seen an extra-short set of coilovers from KW for really low MINIs, though I admit I haven't asked them about it.
     
  17. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
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    Good to know. I just put the V2's on with the TSW recommended springs, car is lowered now about an inch on the rears, inch and a half up front, and it rides the same, maybe even better, than before lowering (Haven't driven it too much because of a blown engine mount). I have a 19mm rear sway bar, I backed it off from stiff to soft after swapping the suspension. I may eventually put it back to stiff, but I've spun before, so I'll start on the softer setting first. Eventually maybe I'll go with stiffer springs, but I still drive the car everyday, so the current spring setup will probably be ideal for me.
     
  18. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    I wanted to take a moment to give props to the guys at TSW. I recently upped the suspension ante and got a set of their TSW tuned KW Variant 3 coilovers with 70N/mm springs front and rear. I was initially weary of going with a significantly stiffer spring in back, however after a run through my suspension spreadsheet the dynamic spring rates indicated I just needed to change my H-Sport Comp rear bar to "medium" to get within a few pounds of weight transfer of my previous setup. TSW's setup guide is very close to spot on, however I'll be dialing that in at the next track day. At the moment with the same tires and alignment on my "reference on-ramps" I can extract another 1-2 MPH out of the car before the tires give up the ghost. A marked improvement. I do think there is room for improvement however. Using the stock rear upper mounts is a big negative in terms of binding and strength compromise, and the rear dampers aren't shortened as much as the front, which induces an undesirable [but not insurmountable] rake to the chassis. The overall weight of the dampers is killer; 6 pounds heavier than stock! The pluses probably outweigh the negatives however; the KW race springs are excellent [about as good as Swift springs], the damping curves are very good and nicely digressive for good ride quality and excellent transitional response. The build quality of the KW's is also top shelf, and having independent [low speed] compression and broadband rebound adjustment is invaluable for serious track work. TSW's service and support is also very good, which is tough to put a value on and increasingly rare in the age of annonymous internet sales!

    Cheers,
    Ryan
     
  19. scott@txwerks

    [email protected] New Member

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    We're decidedly not a 'big box' company... :)

    Thanks for the feedback, Ryan!
     
  20. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Got my V2s installed! Will post impressions after this weekend's shenanigans at NJMP.

    - Marc
     

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