Suspension Brakes 1st Gen What Shocks & Springs for GP

Discussion in 'Tuning and Performance' started by quikmni, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    My GP has 95,000 miles on the original JCW Shocks and Springs. At least the shocks need replacement. I was going to do coilovers but have decided to just do shocks and maybe springs. I am thinking JCW, Swift Spec-R, or WMW TSW springs. I am thinking Koni Sport (Yellow) or Bilstein shocks. Most people seem to like the Bilstein quality, however, I have heard the Bilstein B4 are a little soft and the Bilstein HD are a little stiff so I am not sure which way to go. I like the idea of the Koni adjustability but have read about quality control / consistency issues. Also the Koni rear is not really adjustable due to having to remove the strut to adjust. The car is a daily driver that I occasionally Auto-X. I have 19mm Rear Sway Bar and Front Camber Plates. I am interested in the WMW TSW springs because they are linear but their spring rates seem a little on the soft side and I am not sure the production issues have been worked out with the new supplier.
    So, I need some advice on which way to go:
    1. JCW Spring with Koni Yellow
    2. JCW Spring with Bilstein (not sure which, B4 or HD)
    3. Swift Spec-R with Koni Yellow
    4. Swift Spec-R with Bilstein (not sure which, B4 or HD)
    5. WMW TSW Spring with Koni Yellow
    6. WMN TSW Spring with Bilstein (B4 or HD ?)

    I am leaning towards the Swift Spec-R with Koni Yellow for the adjustability (softer for street and stiffer for Auto-X).

    Any thoughts or recommendations?
     
  2. mrntd

    mrntd Well-Known Member
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    I originally wanted to go with the TSW springs because of the linear rate and ride. But they weren't available at the time. I went with the Swift springs (progressive rate) as they were my second choice. The ride is an improvement over the stock MINI springs and they handle well. I think (because I don't have a direct comparison) that there is a little more initial role than would be with a linear rate spring. I do have a 19mm sway bar, fixed camber plates, and adjustable rear control arms.

    Next I want to do struts. I was sold on Koni Yellows as I used them in the past (a long time ago). But I helped a friend put on the Bilstein B4 and I was impressed with the strut. It's an inverted design. He said the ride and performance were both better than his worn out stock struts. I want to help him get the springs on so I can see what the package is like.

    That being said you know what the complete JCW spring/strut combo is like. They are designed to work together vs one mfg spring and another's strut. So maybe that is the way to go.

    With either the Swift and TSW springs you will need to get rear adjustable control arms because that are a little lower than the JCWs. I didn't see them on your list.
     
  3. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Swift Springs are a MUST.
     
  4. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    I'm a huge fan of the Bilstein Sport + Swift springs. I ran them for a few years on my old car and it was a great street setup. They were comfortable, yet plenty stiff for performance twisty driving and occasional track. I did not miss adjustability at all. It was nice to have an "install and forget" setup.

    That said, I'm ECSTATIC about my current Greene Performance + Swift coilover setup, for the new car. MUCH stiffer, probably stiffer than most folks would want on a street car. But simply fantastic handling on street and (especially) on the track.

    FWIW, I have a set of used Swift Spec-R springs for sale, if you opt to go that route. PM me if interested.
     
  5. myles2go

    myles2go Active Member

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    I agree with Dave and Paul, Swift springs are great. Buy the set from Paul before someone else does.
     
  6. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    Thanks guys for all the input. I am still undecided.

    - Sounds like the Swift Spec-R and Bilstein combo would be best overall ride but I am still thinking of going with Swift Spec-R and Koni Sport because of the Koni adjustability to stiffen for Auto-X.
    - You guys even got me thinking about keeping the JCW springs and just replacing the JCW shocks with new JCW shocks.
    - Maybe I even need to re-think my no coilover decision and think about the Greene BC option with a little softer than 7/8 kg.

    I do have 4 adjustable rear control arms ready to install. I just need to decide whether to install two (lower) and sell two or install all four.
     
  7. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    With a GP1, I'm a big fan of having four adjustable control arms. Because accessing the rear trailing arm pivots to adjust toe on a GP is not fun (it's not fun on a normal 1st gen MINI, but it's less fun on a GP).

    With the upper adjustable arms, once you have alignment in the right ballpark, you can fine-tune rear toe with the upper arms, and never need to mess with the pivot adjustments again. Since rear toe and camber and ride height are all linked, you probably need to fine-tune rear toe any time you make ANY suspension changes in the rear.
     
  8. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    I agree about the four control arms and being able to adjust rear toe. The alignment shop I use never complains about doing the rear toe but they also never get the panels put back on correctly and tend to break clips. The other thought I had with four control arms is that I can always move the rear wheels inboard a little if I have any rubbing issues at the wheel arch if I lower more than JCW springs. I am thinking I will start doing my own alignments so four control arms will be nice.

    I also need to decide on which size sway bar to use with the front camber plates and whatever shocks/springs I end up with. I currently have a 19 mm installed but I also have a new 25.5 hollow bar that I can install or sell. If I go with the Swift Spec-R springs that are a little stiffer in the rear than front (5 kg front and 5.5 kg rear) I will probably leave the 19 mm bar on the car. If I go with something like the softer WMW TSW springs I will probably install the 25.5 hollow bar. If I keep the JCW springs and go with Koni shocks, I will probably leave the rear a little soft and install the 25.5 bar.

    If I go with the progressive Swift Spec-R springs and Bilstein shocks, which Bilsteins should I use, B4 or HD?
     
  9. ColinGreene

    ColinGreene Well-Known Member
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    Ill happily build you something with a lower spring rate if thats what you would like.
     
  10. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
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    #10 BlimeyCabrio, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
    ^ THIS

    If you haven't already, you should CALL COLIN and talk with him about his coilover testing, what he does with his custom coils, and why. They perform similarly to a much more expensive setup...

    They're Badazz
     
  11. GokartPilot

    GokartPilot Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    They do look sweet, cant wait to install. :drool
     
  12. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    OK here is the story:
    Colin's BS Coilovers look nice but I just sold my new AST 5100 coilovers because I got frustrated working with the distributor and AST to get springs selected for my 2006 R53. I selected AST for the inverted design and bottom adjusters that can actually be reached in the rear. I went through various spring rates and lengths based on who I talked to at the distributor and AST. I never installed the coilovers so AST was good about exchanging springs but it was a painful process and I had no confidence that they knew anything about spring rates/lengths for a Mini Cooper. I also figured that coilovers would just hurt the value of a GP and I have decided to sell the GP in about a year so it did not make sense to struggle with getting the coilovers setup correctly. Thus, my decision to just sell the AST coilovers and go with shocks and maybe springs.

    Colin's coilovers seem great for the price but still no easy shock adjustment in the rear and the spring rates (7/8 kg) seem a little stiff for a daily driver. I know Colin will work with me to select different rates but then we are back at guessing spring rates.

    Here is my current thoughts on coilovers:
    1) If the coilover rear shock is going to be a set and forget due to no easy access to the adjuster, 2) I am only going to lower the car 1/2 to 3/4 inch and leave it, 3) if I have no plan to corner balance the car, 4) I do not plan to change spring rates once initially setup, 5) I am only going to be able to adjust the front shocks, 6) the car is mainly a daily driver that I Auto-X (for fun) about 4 times a year, 7) coilover is more expensive, and 8) coilovers add no resale value to the GP (probably lower the value). Based on these conditions, it does not seem to warrant the extra complexity of coilovers.

    To me, it seems to make more sense to find a nice set of shocks (OEM strut design) that work well with the JCW springs or get Swift Spec-R springs and nice shocks. The only disadvantage that I can think of with springs vs coilovers (for my usage) is that the JCW and Swift Spec-R springs are progressive and I would like Linear springs since I Auto-X a few times a year (open class so stock setup does not matter). The only option I have seen for linear springs (non coilover) is the WMW TSW springs but their spring rates seem a little soft. Are there other options out their for linear (non coilover) springs that work well on the Mini Cooper?

    Does my logic of OEM Strut design vs Coilover make sense? Am I missing something in the advantage of a coilover for my usage?
     
  13. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    Sent you a PM.
     
  14. ColinGreene

    ColinGreene Well-Known Member
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    #14 ColinGreene, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
    I hope thats a typo.

    having a inverted rear shock to make it adjustable is actually completely stupid.
    it compermises how the suspension works for convenience. I really really hate thats how they chose to do that.
    I know first hand that AST is a paint to work with, you could have just called and i could have set those up for you. I just did it for a guy in NC.
    AST and some others were 0 help for you at all.
    I weirdly and stupidly will go out of my way for people if they really do need the help.

    As far as 7/8 being stiff for a daily driver it comes back to how the shocks are valved.
    Its not a guessing game as far as spring rates if you want the car to be comfortable for a daily driver, i just did a set of those for someone about 6 months ago.
    See if you call i can go over all of this with you.
    You know you can easily drill the rear of the car to put a adjuster in, its really not a huge deal to do.

    That said if you really do plan on putting the car on the market in the next year i would put it on stock suspension and call it good. really though, id never sell the car regardless of whatever reason im given. but thats sort of how i am.
    If you need further help you know where to find me.
     
  15. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    Sorry for the inappropriate typo. I did mean BC.
    Thank you for the response and offer to help.
     
  16. myles2go

    myles2go Active Member

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    I have Colin's coilovers on my GP, with 7's & 8's. It is firm, but the stock setup was more harsh. I set them before I installed them, ask Colin, and have had no reason to play with the settings.
     
  17. GokartPilot

    GokartPilot Well-Known Member

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    I am the guy from NC, I might be the DD setup too, I know we talked about it. I too was looking for a suspension upgrade. I am a complete noob when it comes to suspension performance and this is too big of an investment for me to throw money at to not be happy with what I ended up with. So I did some reading, and the only thing I came up with is the best setup depends on who you talk to.
    I purchased some adjustable camber/caster plates from Colin and was leaning toward shocks and springs when I read a few comments on his coilovers. They were the same comments you see when a GP comes up for sale ‘wish I was in the market’ , ‘if I had the money’, if I didn’t already have’, ‘should of, could of, would of’, yada-yada-yada. Well I was in the market so I invested the extra cash to make sure everything worked together and for the performance that was praised on this forum. I am not trying to sell you on Colin’s coilovers, just attesting to the fact that he will answer any question that you have. I am sure that most of my emails left him scratching his head.:confused:
    As for the resale value of you GP, if you are going to sell it next year why even bother? Resale only helps you on insurance claims and trade in. What you get for it is what it is worth. Anybody that knows what a GP is worth is not in the market for it because they have too much invested in the MINI they already have. I am sure you have seen some of the prices they have gone for, most well below book value, and with less mods than what you have listed on your signature. I gave up on resale, I know I am never selling mine, the wife has already promised it to our grandson.
     
  18. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    FYI Coil overs come standard on the GP 2 so I don't think you would de-value a first GP1.
     
  19. myles2go

    myles2go Active Member

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    Shocks, struts, and spring wear out and need replacement at some point! So replacing them shouldn't be a concern to anyone. Coilovers won't drop the value anymore than replacement springs and struts. If you're worried about keeping it complete, keep the originals in a box for the next owner to keep in his garage.
     
  20. ColinGreene

    ColinGreene Well-Known Member
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    Actually my comment was about helping a guy get the correct springs and set up on his AT5100s His name is Jose.
     

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