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KW Variant 3 installed - quick review

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Hi all: I just had a KW Variant 3 suspension installed on my car (2003 996 C2), and felt I could share some

first impressions. I had originally planned to go with the ubiqitious bilsteins, but I waited for months for

the PSS10's, eventually getting p***ed off at Bilstein America for refusing to sell the PSS10s as long as retailers

still had old PSS9 stock on hand. So my second choice...

First off, the KW kit construction appears to be of good quality - stainless steel construction,

and all parts bolted up with no issues. I set the ride height to the upper end of KW's recommended range,

which appears to closely match the factory Euro M030 ride heights, which IMHO, is a good thing, to retain in the

factory's bumpsteer characteristics. Also, since this is a daily driver, I wanted the clearance for speed bumps,

driveways, etc. Had the car aligned to factory settings and corner balanced. So far, it passes muster on those.

Street driving - this is a very compliant setup! After driving around my area (Boston roads - pretty bad surfaces!),

I set the bump and rebound settings to favor ride quality, and I would say the ride is significantly better than

stock! Softer over road imperfections, yet the car retains the firmness and better control of the upgraded spring

rates (~200 lbs Front, ~515 lbs Rear, I believe). Cornering is flatter, and responsiveness is improved, at the

same time as yielding a plush ride comfort. Hard to describe, but it's definitely there. That floaty front-end feel

is gone, and the car feels more as one piece, rather than mostly the rear with a floaty front along for the ride :)

Track driving - so I bit the bug and took it for a 3-day run at NHIS (New Hampshire Int'l Speedway, a 1.75 mile

road course (superposed on the nascar oval), with some pretty technical elements and two heavy braking zones.

I focused on the car's feel across transitions (and there are a couple of nasty pavement transitions mid-turn, which in a

911, you want to have really good transitional control of the rear (heavy) end. I used Turns 3 and 10 to focus

the tuning. With the stock suspension, the rear end would bounce practically all the way thru 10 after the mid-turn

pavement transition, which feels almost dangerous at times.

Starting out with KW's recommendation for F+R bump/rebound settings, I would say it felt good almost

everywhere, but not quite in 3&10 - like a pretty solid, sporty setup, but still a forgiving road car feel.

Almost spot-on for the selected spring rates (which are really too low for a track car). But, the car was very

enjoyable to drive "out of the box", and I was happily keeping pace with most of the other advanced (Group 1) drivers.

This is a very good starting point, and entirely adequate for most tracks with smooth surfaces everywhere

(say, Mt Tremblant, or Calabogie).

For NHIS, however, I increased both bump+rebound beyond KW's initial setting, and immediately tightened up the

transitional response across the focus turns and pavement transitions. At this point, the car is waayyyy better than

I am, and I am very pleased with the setup. Despite attacking a couple of curbs at speed (including on the outside,

loaded wheels at the track-out prior to the front straight), the suspension never bottommed out, and always felt tight

to the track ("groundhook" damping).

At the end of the day, it was pretty easy to reset the bump/rebound settings and drive home at the "comfort"

settings. Given my mix of daily driving, with occassional sporting drives, I believe the KWV3 is really well setup

and suited for street driving (& ride comfort is stellar). For those of you hesitant to consider coilovers for fear of

a bone-rattling ride, I would easily recommend this kit, for it's versatility to be both sporty and comfortable.

If you are more focused and lean to a dedicated track car, I would recommend considering a higher-spec kit - it

needs more spring rate to really shine there, but the dampers are excellent, and have a large range to work with.

(KW's clubsport version, w/ ~900lbs and solid mounts w/ camber plates, or maybe Cross, JRZ, Moton, etc.)

Hope this is useful.

- Sanjeev

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  • 5 months later...


this is a very precious post and it decided me to go for the v3.

would it be possible to give me the 2 settings you are using ?

the comfortable for the road and the efficiant one for the track

and also may be th recommended kw setting.

thank you again for your post

jm from belgium

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