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M030 (ROW or USA) on a 2001 base Boxster


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I've started to think about the Porsche 030 sport suspension for my 2001 base Boxster (2.7, 5 speed). From what I read here and other places (e.g., http://www.cb-racing.com/boxster_030.html ), it doesn't sound like the 030 package for the base Boxster is that much of a difference from stock as it is with the 'S' model. Anybody here go from stock to the 030 suspension on a base Boxster, and if so, how much difference did it make in terms of handling and ride? Is there any real reason not to go for the ROW version instead of the USA version?

Do I just order the 030 suspension upgrade from Sunset as a single part number, or is it an a la carte deal? Parts number(s) to order, please? Or if I just say ROW M030 kit for a 2.7 Boxster, the parts guys will be able to figure it out?

Other than a slightly lower ride height, is there any other difference between the ROW M030 package and the USA version?

I am assuming because of power, weight, etc., it's best to use the base 030 package on the base Boxster, instead of trying to get fancy and use the 'S' 030 package on the base Boxster. Or is this a bad assumption?

Once I get the parts, should any reasonably competent suspension shop be able to do the installation? I assume I will need an alignment afterwards, won't I?

Sorry for so many questions - I'm just trying to make an informed decision. Any advice, experience, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Also, any tips on what to do and not do would be great...

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Hmmm... not sure how I missed that one. That writeup makes the ROW M030 sound like a no brainer, the only downside being the cost. Seems like the suspension upgrade would be a good item to add to the Xmas wish list :)

Many thanks for pointing this one out

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Hmmm... not sure how I missed that one. That writeup makes the ROW M030 sound like a no brainer, the only downside being the cost. Seems like the suspension upgrade would be a good item to add to the Xmas wish list :)

Many thanks for pointing this one out

the cost really isn't that bad if you don't do the dampers. it winds up being around $400 or so for the springs, sways and bushings. after having driven a 'stock' M030 car compared with my mix / match M030 car (see link posted above), i personally prefer my current set-up. i used the base boxster sway in the rear and the 'S' sway up front (i think). once it's done, you'll need to play w/ tire pressures & camber alignment to get it perfect, but the upgrade is really unbelievable. it's how the car SHOULD have been from the dealer.

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the cost really isn't that bad if you don't do the dampers. it winds up being around $400 or so for the springs, sways and bushings. after having driven a 'stock' M030 car compared with my mix / match M030 car (see link posted above), i personally prefer my current set-up. i used the base boxster sway in the rear and the 'S' sway up front (i think). once it's done, you'll need to play w/ tire pressures & camber alignment to get it perfect, but the upgrade is really unbelievable. it's how the car SHOULD have been from the dealer.

How did you come upon the mix/match front 'S' and rear base sway bar combination? Bigger and stiffer of each, or something else? Don't the shocks have to be matched with the springs? How much difference between your setup and the factory M030 configuration from a driving standpoint? I'm not planning any track time, and only started thinking about a suspension upgrade after driving a friend's RUF 987S with Carrera S engine. The power was nice (understatement!), but I really noticed flatter cornering and better steering through the twisties around where I live. As a starting point, I'd like something as close to Porsche OEM as possible, thinking I can go further later if I really want to go crazy

Sunset quoted me about $920 + shipping for the whole ROW M030 kit, which I figured wasn't as bad as lots of other upgrades. I'm estimating $300 or a little more for installation (not something I want to tackle myself, having never touched a suspension before)

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the cost really isn't that bad if you don't do the dampers. it winds up being around $400 or so for the springs, sways and bushings. after having driven a 'stock' M030 car compared with my mix / match M030 car (see link posted above), i personally prefer my current set-up. i used the base boxster sway in the rear and the 'S' sway up front (i think). once it's done, you'll need to play w/ tire pressures & camber alignment to get it perfect, but the upgrade is really unbelievable. it's how the car SHOULD have been from the dealer.

How did you come upon the mix/match front 'S' and rear base sway bar combination? Bigger and stiffer of each, or something else? Don't the shocks have to be matched with the springs? How much difference between your setup and the factory M030 configuration from a driving standpoint? I'm not planning any track time, and only started thinking about a suspension upgrade after driving a friend's RUF 987S with Carrera S engine. The power was nice (understatement!), but I really noticed flatter cornering and better steering through the twisties around where I live. As a starting point, I'd like something as close to Porsche OEM as possible, thinking I can go further later if I really want to go crazy

Sunset quoted me about $920 + shipping for the whole ROW M030 kit, which I figured wasn't as bad as lots of other upgrades. I'm estimating $300 or a little more for installation (not something I want to tackle myself, having never touched a suspension before)

Try $1000 install with $100 alignment. I found an independent with really low labor rates and had it done for $575. It's about 11 hours for the job.

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Try $1000 install with $100 alignment. I found an independent with really low labor rates and had it done for $575. It's about 11 hours for the job.

Wow! :o From http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=7073 I was assuming installation would be in the 3-4 hour range! Are there any parts I could do myself, or is the whole process so involved that it's not worth doing part myself and the rest at a good suspension shop?

I guess I need to call around and get some estimates on installation before I order any parts

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Try $1000 install with $100 alignment. I found an independent with really low labor rates and had it done for $575. It's about 11 hours for the job.

Wow! :o From http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=7073 I was assuming installation would be in the 3-4 hour range! Are there any parts I could do myself, or is the whole process so involved that it's not worth doing part myself and the rest at a good suspension shop?

I guess I need to call around and get some estimates on installation before I order any parts

The rear suspension is fairly involved and is about 70% of the cost.

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I've made countless changes to my car and I have to say that upgrading the stock suspension to ROW M030 was the best money I ever spent. I got the kit for about $900 (complete - sway bars, springs, shocks, bushings) and installed it myself.

It is a bit pricey but if your suspension is getting old, some of the components will need to be replaced anyway. I changed mine out at 60k miles (mine is a 1999 2.5L Boxster). The ride got smoother, cornering is flatter, and handling is improved all-around. All-in-all the kit is a great deal and well thought-out.

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the cost really isn't that bad if you don't do the dampers.

Think of the suspension as a system - the dampers have a sweet spot - the springs have a sweet spot. Mixing dampers and springs will bring different results. The overall result might be just fine however, you may find that the dampers do not 'control' the springs at the limits of compression/extension.

See http://www.pca.org/panorama/sample_article_3.html

ROW 030 is a system. The linked article -though it relates specifically to 996 - explains the integration and design of ROW030. The physics and modifications to the 996 and 986 suspensions is exactly the same. There is lots of other information at PCA.org on the subject as well as here and on PPBB.

I've had ROW 030 since 2001 on my 1999 and after 50,000 miles (car has 62k), the suspension has settled-in nicely. Check PPBB archives for my many posts on the subject.

Here's a comparison of wheel/fender height:

rowcomp.jpg

ROW 030 is the black car on the left. Since the front is lowered more than the rear, the car as a more aggressive stance, and at speeds over 60 or so, I would assume that downforce on the front end is slightly greater. With the standard suspension, at speed, the front end will rise slightly.

row030.jpg

I live in Los Angeles - our streets are in serious disrepair - ride is much firmer than stock. Some harshness is noticeable on rough surfaces but not enough to offset the benefits.

ROW 030 is a must have if you seek a performance biased street Boxster. IMHO YMMV etc.

Edited by LemmyCaution
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...

Think of the suspension as a system - the dampers have a sweet spot - the springs have a sweet spot. Mixing dampers and springs will bring different results. The overall result might be just fine however, you may find that the dampers do not 'control' the springs at the limits of compression/extension.

See http://www.pca.org/panorama/sample_article_3.html

ROW 030 is a system. The linked article -though it relates specifically to 996 - explains the integration and design of ROW030. The physics and modifications to the 996 and 986 suspensions is exactly the same. There is lots of other information at PCA.org on the subject as well as here and on PPBB.

I've had ROW 030 since 2001 on my 1999 and after 50,000 miles (car has 62k), the suspension has settled-in nicely. Check PPBB archives for my many posts on the subject.

...

I live in Los Angeles - our streets are in serious disrepair - ride is much firmer than stock. Some harshness is noticeable on rough surfaces but not enough to offset the benefits.

ROW 030 is a must have if you seek a performance biased street Boxster. IMHO YMMV etc.

Thanks for all the great insights, comments and suggestions! :D Excellent article - somehow I missed that one

I was afraid to call the dealer to get an idea of installation cost, but did talk to two suspension shops in the area (Bagge in Culver City and Johnson Alignment in Torrance). Both looked up the book cost for the install and alignment, each said they could do it faster, and both said it would be a little over $600 including alignment. The most interesting comment from each was that they had more experience removing sport suspension setups than installing them, because most people find them too low and stiff for driving around here. The boss at Johnson recommended the Bilstein HD shocks instead of the stock Porsche ROW M030 ones. So far, that sounds like the most reasonable change from the stock Porsche ROW M030 setup I've heard.

LemmyCaution - I know the streets around PdR are really bad (and getting worse!). How often do you bottom out on speed bumps, driveways, etc., and how much more noticeably harsher is the ride, compared to the stock suspension?

Based on everyone's comments, it sounds like the ROW M030 setup is worthwhile for driving, but for housewives that bought a Boxster as a fashion accessory, it's way too much.

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Think of the suspension as a system - the dampers have a sweet spot - the springs have a sweet spot. Mixing dampers and springs will bring different results. The overall result might be just fine however, you may find that the dampers do not 'control' the springs at the limits of compression/extension.

See http://www.pca.org/panorama/sample_article_3.html

ROW 030 is a system. The linked article -though it relates specifically to 996 - explains the integration and design of ROW030. The physics and modifications to the 996 and 986 suspensions is exactly the same. There is lots of other information at PCA.org on the subject as well as here and on PPBB.

I've had ROW 030 since 2001 on my 1999 and after 50,000 miles (car has 62k), the suspension has settled-in nicely. Check PPBB archives for my many posts on the subject.

...

I live in Los Angeles - our streets are in serious disrepair - ride is much firmer than stock. Some harshness is noticeable on rough surfaces but not enough to offset the benefits.

ROW 030 is a must have if you seek a performance biased street Boxster. IMHO YMMV etc.

Thanks for all the great insights, comments and suggestions! :D Excellent article - somehow I missed that one

I was afraid to call the dealer to get an idea of installation cost, but did talk to two suspension shops in the area (Bagge in Culver City and Johnson Alignment in Torrance). Both looked up the book cost for the install and alignment, each said they could do it faster, and both said it would be a little over $600 including alignment. The most interesting comment from each was that they had more experience removing sport suspension setups than installing them, because most people find them too low and stiff for driving around here. The boss at Johnson recommended the Bilstein HD shocks instead of the stock Porsche ROW M030 ones. So far, that sounds like the most reasonable change from the stock Porsche ROW M030 setup I've heard.

LemmyCaution - I know the streets around PdR are really bad (and getting worse!). How often do you bottom out on speed bumps, driveways, etc., and how much more noticeably harsher is the ride, compared to the stock suspension?

Based on everyone's comments, it sounds like the ROW M030 setup is worthwhile for driving, but for housewives that bought a Boxster as a fashion accessory, it's way too much.

If that is Steve Alercon's shop in torrance you are talking about, do what he says. He it the PCA/POC suspension guru widely recognized everywhere. He is a big time racer as well, which gives him hands-on insight to what setup he recommends. As far as personal experience, I have had my Carrera and 914 aligned by him. The difference, on Streets of Willow, was very noticeable and well worth it.

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