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Let's talk track with Devin H and KW Coilovers! - Subimods.com

Let's talk track with Devin H and KW Coilovers!

Written by: The Modfather

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Time to read 6 min

Why KW Coilovers?

When I first started looking to track my car, I knew I wanted to get rid of the body roll and extreme understeer that I had in my stock 2015 STI. I decided to follow my German roots and try out the KW 2-way Clubsport Coilovers with custom spring rates. In this article I will go over how easy the installation and set up process is for these KW Coilovers so you can decide if these are a good fit for your application and goals.

The KW Coilovers look absolutely beautiful all brand new and clean. Included with the 2 Ways is a little tool set that will help you to properly adjust the damping and height of the coils. The two things you can adjust are rebound and compression. The compression can be adjusted by the bottom knob and has 12 clicks of adjustments available. The rebound can be adjusted by the knob at the top of the assembly and has 16 clicks of adjustments available. It's important to remember that the adjustments can be moved clockwise and counter clockwise to be mindful of which direction you're going and try to keep count.

It's very beneficial to have two way independently adjustable compression and rebound adjustments compared to one way. Rather than only being able to effect rebound you're able to adjust both compression and rebound independently to better get the most out of the car in regards to the tire, aero and other supporting modifications on the car. It's also a plus because you can easily change the set up and have a track set up and a daily driving set up so that's more comfortable on the street.


The KW Clubsport Coilovers are designed for some canyon runs and spirited street driving so with that in mind they have rust resistant stainless steel bodies with corrosion-resistant sealed stainless steel bearings. Having been from up north where they still salt the roads a good bit, it's good to know that they won't rust up!


How do they compare to stock?

When comparing spring rates, the stock STI the come with a 5.8kg springs in the front and 5.3kg springs in the rear. The KW 2 Way Clubsports come with 8kg for both front and rear but are customizable. I worked with Mike Kojima as my suspension engineer and we went with 10kg for the front and 12 kg in the rear with the assumption the car was going to be mostly tracked, assessment of my skill of driving and a goal for the car to rotate more - luckily the standard valving in KW Coilover are able to accommodate the stiffness of the springs we choose without having them revalved.


To start the install of the upgraded springs on the front KW Coilovers, there are four allen screws on the camber plate that will need to be undone so we can take off the camber plate. Then we'll have access to the shock shaft nut - the lock nut can be removed as well as the spring perch and tender spring so we can then change out the springs for the upgraded spring rates. Once the new springs are on the tender springs, spring perch and nut can be assembled back in order. After the nut is tightened, the top hat and camber plate are next to be assembled before tightening the allen screws on the camber plate. It's important to note to that being too aggressive with the impact can unscrew the piston from the shock shaft so be mindful of that when tightening down the nut. KW has torque specs for the screws and nuts in their instruction manual that is provided to ensure proper install.


Next to install the upgraded rear springs, it will be very similar to installing the fronts minus the camber plate. Instead of a camber plate the rears have a top plate with that has a spherical bearing for the shock shaft. If you remember in our previous article where we covered the SPL bearings vs OEM, this is a similar situation where the rubber bushing that can deflect which would make the car have free osculation and lose camber. So the spherical bearing eliminates that from happening. Back to the installation of the springs - again we have four allen screws to loosen so we can undo the shock shaft and replace the shock with our upgraded ones. Reverse the process like we did for the fronts and now our rear coilovers are ready to be installed on the car. Loctite blue can be used on the bolts that hold up the top hats to the chassis to help keep them from vibrating loose.


Now that the springs are upgraded we can bolt the KW coilovers on the car, starting by tightening the three bolts that hold up the camber plate to the chassis. Next the two bolts that attach the strut to the knuckle can be put in place and tightened before adjusting the camber settings. The knuckle bolt hole is slotted on the KW Coilover so we can get more degrees of negative camber. The combination of the camber plate and lower bolt hole adjustment enables the front scrub radius as well as the kingpin inclination angle to be adjusted for optimal chassis tuning.


Moving on to installing the rear KW coilovers, it's similar to the fronts except the carpet lining (if you still have it) needs to be pulled back so the top hat bolts can be accessed. On the bottom of the coilover there is a bolt that connects it to the lower control arm, slide the shock over the mounting point and use a jack to raise up the lower control arm until the inner pivot bolt is flush with the hole that's in the mounting point of the frame. Next the inner pivot bolt can be re installed through the holes and the Clubsports are now in place.

One of the easiest ways to improve handling is to lower your center of gravity. By reducing the inside to outside weight transfer in turns, the contact patch of all four tires are able to be used more effectively. To lower the height of the car we turned the purple stainless spring perch clockwise to our desired ride height of 2" in the front and 1.5" in the rear lower than the previous stock ride height settings. To measure the ride height you can use the pinch weld on the chassis to the floor or the center of the wheel cap to the fender, which ever method you use be sure to keep it consistent to ensure accurate results.


Now that the springs are upgraded we can bolt the coilovers on the car, starting by tightening the three bolts that hold up the camber plate to the chassis. Next the two bolts that attach the strut to the knuckle can be put in place and tightened before adjusting the camber settings. The knuckle bolt hole is slotted on the KW Coilover so we can get more degrees of negative camber. The combination of the camber plate and lower bolt hole adjustment enables the front scrub radius as well as the kingpin inclination angle to be adjusted for optimal chassis tuning. Another perk of the KW Coilover is their remote reservoirs - they are accumulators that have a rubber bladder for the nitrogen gas that pressurizes the shocks. Having the reservoirs on the side rather than the bottom allows for a lower ride height to be reached while still maintaining wheel travel.

After installing these I was able to test them out at an HPDE Gridlife event at Road Atlanta. Mike Kojima was able to dial in the settings I needed on the Clubsports by listening to my feedback on how the car felt and by reading the temperatures and wear on the tires. Since not all of us can have a Mike at the track with us, you can learn how to tune your suspension yourself on the HP Academy's Training Courses for Suspension and Car Set up. It's definitely worth it because with a proper set up of the KW Coilover I was able to drop a full two seconds from my previous time and eliminated 70% of the body roll and understeer with no other suspension upgrades.

After I learned the car on just the coilovers we slowly upgraded more suspension components, areo and power from there - it's recommended to take the time to learn your car with one change at a time to ensure you're getting the most out of your mods. Driver mod will always be the best mod you can have! I'll be covering other companies that make coilovers in later articles to allow you guys to hear my experiences and the pros and cons so you can choose the right product for your application.

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