Suspension Brakes 1st Gen Succeed where everyone/thing has failed...

Discussion in 'Tuning and Performance' started by Bimmer Lite, May 11, 2009.

  1. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

    May 5, 2009
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    Okay, here's the challenge: help Marc spend money he doesn't have!

    I'm ready for a new suspension (been ready for a long time), and I have a list of demands:

    - TRACK oriented (does this mean stiff springs?). Don't care if it's rough on the street.
    - Not too complicated. Don't give me 800 adjustments I'll screw up.
    - Fairly priced (is between $1k and $2k fair?).

    Recent consideration (this changes almost daily):
    - Swift lowering springs @ 5kg + Bilstein Sports. Simple, relatively inexpensive.

    Past consideration:
    - TSW/AST/Swift track setup @ 8kg.

    So how can this wonderful place help?

    - Marc

    Oh - running stock suspension with an H&R 19mm, Alta RCA's, IE Adj. camber plates, and an alignment of around -3 F, -1.3 R (yes the springs make a lot of noise against the wheel well on tight turns).
     
  2. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    How about the TSW/KW setup? Sounds like a V2 setup would fit the description.
     
  3. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    #3 Bimmer Lite, May 11, 2009
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
    What does the V2 get you over the V1? Can I get any spring rates I like? They don't seem to be listed on the site...

    Are the V2's TSW's new track-oriented option, or are they "good for both."

    Thanks!:smile5:

    - Marc

    Edit - just got the spring rate info over on NAM - nevermind!

    DrMike - what are your impressions of this setup? Thanks! I was hoping to hear from you in this thread:yesnod:
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
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    I try to stay very vendor neutral, but I know some local track junkies that now have the latest TSW coilover set that DrMike setup with the KW folks specifically for the R53 and speak very highly of them. I have no complains with my AST setup from them, but those are no longer available..
     
  5. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    We set up the V2's for street/track duty. They have a single adjustment, so it's easy to set them up and not get lost. The spring rate we sell with them (roughly 325 lb/in) is a wonderful balance between a stock ride and a full track setup.

    We can mix it up, though, and put heavier springs on the V2 set if desired, as we do for the more track-oriented V3 setup.

    I have the V3 setup with 400 lb/in springs on my car, and I drive it daily. The high-speed valving on the KW takes the edge off of the nasty roads out where I live, so the ride is quite nice. It's probably too much for a place that has highways full of 2" chuck holes, but for reasonable roads it's really not a problem. And on the track - oh man is it sweet!
     
  6. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Oh boy light is at the end of the tunnel!

    Final info/specs tomorrow after I solidify it with TSW:D.

    - Marc
     
  7. btwdriver

    btwdriver New Member

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    I have the TSW KW V2's and they kick butt! They are on an R56 FWIW.

    Let me start off by saying that no suspension that performs well on the track is going to be great on the street, the goals between the two are just too far apart. That being said, the KW's are very tolerable on the street, some might go as far as say they are a better ride than stock. That would be a matter of perspective.

    On the track they handle exceptionally well, the car feels very balanced and predictable. If I had it to do again, I wouldn't hesitate getting the KW's.
     
  8. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Yep, this is what research told me, too. I decided to figure out where I want the car in the long run and will make a concession on street comfort.

    More later.

    - Marc
     
  9. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    I would recommend a coilover that has limited adjustment, like others have stated. The KW V2 would fit this bill nicely, however they'll need a new top hat which is annoying and it'd require some research to figure out what spring rates are acceptable for the damper curves. From what I can tell the included springs are too soft for a track setup.

    Doing a BC/Swift setup is in the same price range, and isn't too tough to setup since compression and rebound are tied together. With its less overall travel is better suited for most track setups. The only hesitation is I'd have to walk you through their assembly, which isn't too tough. Adjust the overall length to minimum, and then set spring pre-load to zero [assuming normal spring rates like 8kg/mm front and 6kg/mm rear]. From there the damping would be something like 13 clicks from soft front and 12 clicks from soft rear. This combo is do-able at 1000+450

    I would offer a recommendation on the Cross [with Swift springs], but nobody has any info on them other than "they're great, I love them", which is barely helpful. I handled a set at WMW's booth at MOTD this year, but was unable to get any good measurements as I didn't feel like getting in trouble dismantling them on the spot! They appear to be a higher quality BC-ish but with an inverted monotube front strut, but also lacking the rear pillow ball mount [you'd have to use stock, meh]. Allegedly their compression and rebound are also tied, which makes setup easy. Doing this setup however would be relatively expensive at 2300+450.

    I wouldn't bother with lowering springs as they aren't going to offer enough compression travel to be predicable through rough corners. I drove Nathan's AST/Swift setup at MOTD and it showed great promise, so keep those in mind too. Does TSW still offer these? They're not on their website anymore.

    I guess that's all the input I have for now.
    Ryan
     
  10. btwdriver

    btwdriver New Member

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    From talking with Jeff before I bought the TSW KW's they are running their own spring rate not the stock springs that normally come with them. My understanding is that Dr. Mike worked with the KW engineers at the track to determine the correct rates. This was a large factor for me in choosing the KW's vs something like the Cross's, the TSW versions have been engineered specifically for the Mini.

    I also inquired about the springs, knowing that the Swift springs have a very good reputation for their linear rate, and apparently the KW springs have a very linear rate as well.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    I'm not sure why a new top hat is annoying, since the TSW V2 sets come with new top hats. Maybe I missed something there.

    I agree that the springs provided by KW in their off-the-shelf V2s for MINIs are way too soft for the track. That's one reason we worked with KW at the track to put together what we feel is a much better package.

    The TSW valving on the V2s works well with springs stiffer than the street/track springs we usually provide with the V2 set. We can and will put together custom sets for customers - just give us a call.

    TSW does not carry the AST line any longer. We've moved over to KW because we are enjoying quick, responsive and extremely competent support from them. We feel that the benefits to the customer will be very evident.
     
  12. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    If I may drmike, none of that information is on TSW's website. Knowing the V2's come with top hats is good to hear, perhaps the 'site picture should be updated to reflect that. I would appreciate seeing added to your website the TSW specific information regarding valving the spring rates [digressive or linear, X Lb/In springs?], as that clearly differentiates your version of the KW coilovers above standard KW catalog offerings.

    I'll revise my statement to say it's still annoying KW's don't come with camber plates; that and the lack of length adjustment are the only two things keeping them from being an irresistible choice, IMO. While I'm keeping my temper in check, why the hell don't suspension manufacturers EVER publish stroke and bumpstop data?! :mad5:
     
  13. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    This is what I ended up doing - thanks to all who have offered help, both here and other sites, through e-mail and on the phone:Thumbsup:

    I'm going with the TSW KW V2s with 400lb fronts and 500lb rears. Dr. Mike is going to figure out what the length of the rear springs will need to be (or if it needs to change), and then they'll get them ordered from KW and mated up with the V2s.

    I could put a synopsis here of the whole decision process (it's a few years now:mad2:), but I'll spare you all (pm me if you're interested). Basic idea is that I want a setup that's compromises street comfort for track capability. The TSW kit with their rates would accomplish this, but I have to be difficult.

    Very excited, and I have to reiterate that TSW is a pleasure to work with.

    - Marc
     
  14. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    Perches: yeah, the front perches are not in the pictures. We will fix that (when??? So little spare time these days, as Jeff, Scott, and I each have two jobs). It does say, "This system is custom made for TSW and was track tested with the help of the KW support team. It comes complete with 60mm springs and perches selected specifically for the MINI" in the description, but of course it also says the struts match up with "our 60mm camber plates" which are not currently available. Sigh.

    We will be addressing the camber plate issue ASAP - stay tuned. As for publishing specific data, hmm. It's not like we keep it a big secret (besides, it's written on the springs!), so we could put the spring rates on the website.

    By length adjustment, what do you mean? Length of stroke, or length of the rod, or something like that?
     
  15. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    Of course we'll be really eager to hear your feedback!
     
  16. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Well, as far as track suspensions go, this will be my first, so professional opinions will not flow through this keyboard. Impressions, excitement, and comparisons to where the car used to be most certainly will!

    - Marc
     
  17. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    I look forward to hearing your feedback as well.

    Doing a 400#/in front and 500#/in rear spring setup is very aggressive. Your car will oversteer easily, so be on top of your counter-steering. The car will also be willing to snap its rear out through bumpy corners as the spring rate bump balance front-to-rear is very slow, meaning the car will be naturally unstable at high speeds. A more balanced spring rate centered around 70MPH [with a 400#/in front spring] would be in the 275#/in to 350#/in depending on your weight balance [i.e. removed rear seats, light exhaust, light battery and the like].

    Of course, all that is based on my suspension spreadsheet and experience. I should start a new thread or something that publishes all the motion ratios and suggested wheel rates based on a few fundamental setup criteria [like auto-x, road-course tracks, fast street]

    Is anyone else using a 400/500 setup on a road-course track? I can see it working for auto-x but being too tail-happy for track work.
     
  18. Mike

    Mike New Member

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    I agree with that, it's quite aggressive.

    Looking at the weight distro alone on the MINI, I would agree with you, not to mention a more in-depth analysis. But experience has shown me otherwise. Even with 400# springs at both ends (and a 19mm rear bar on "full stiff"), the MINI is not really prone to snap oversteer unless the rear control arm bushings get bad, and then watch out! I ended up swapping out my rear springs for 450# springs to match up with the stronger front swaybar I have, and the car is still quite neutral.

    I'd love to see your numbers, it would be very educational - I hope you do this.
     
  19. Bimmer Lite

    Bimmer Lite New Member

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    Thanks for sharing the experiences/knowledge guys. I went with the 400/500 based on a recommendation from someone who races MINIs, but as I'm the first to admit, my knowledge of it is limited.

    So I gather from reading the posts above that a more balanced (safer?) ratio would be 450/500?

    Thanks again - learning is fun.

    - Marc
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Apr 23, 2009
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    You beat me to it Ryan. I have far less technical know-how to support my own choices but my first thought when I read 400/500 (w/ the 19mm rear bar) was "wow, unpredictable oversteer potential.....might be fun in some circumstances but a bit too touchy for me." Disclaimer: I've never tried these rates so this is just a gut-level reaction.

    Just to add another subjective data point, I settled on 375/375 with a 19mm rear bar, lightened exhaust and rear seats removed (and it's a non-S so the battery is in the front, etc). I thought about lowering the rear rate slightly to 350 (vice upping the front to 400 as this is mainly a street car) until I got it out on a road-course track; VIR, south course. With the rear bar on the softest setting both my instructor and I felt it almost neutral with a great balance between ability to induce a bit of oversteer (without any surprises) and only a hint of push from time to time (and I can always up the rear swaybar setting if I want to swing the balance a bit further). We were also both marveling at great turn-in without any hint of high speed instability, though that may be more down to damper settings and alignment.

    Again, mine is a street car for the most part, with objectives of neutrality and stability.
     

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