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Jerry
Jerry UberDork
9/6/18 6:58 p.m.

I took the Abarth in recently for an alignment.  Took it back to a local Tire discounters that installed the tires that I had ordered from Tire Rack (couldn't remember if I was entitled to free alignments & figured in any case...)  A local autocross guy works there so I was pretty confident in anything they did.

Got a message from him shortly after dropoff that it was done, but he had noticed it looked like the front right strut had leaked all of it's fluid out, and an accompanying photo of a very greasy suspension.  I bought these KW V1's from a shop in NJ that posted them on a Facebook racecar parts group, used with about 50k miles if I remember.  Maybe 1.5-2 years ago?  And only $699 with free shipping (he has a shop and was copying the build of a crazy modified Abarth in Italy, upgrading to $10k coilovers or something).

I told him what the tech said, he gave me a link to the contact form for KW.  I sent them a request for info (my first experience with coilovers).  Their reply:

"Thank you for contacting ST/KW. The average rebuild is around $180-200 per coilover with a turnaround time of 3-4 weeks once we receive them. Once the repairs department evaluates them they will contact you about what is needed if there is anything else and the total costs. The attached rebuild request sheet shows more information about the process and costs. If you decide to move forward Please complete and return this and a credit card authorization form via email. Once we review the completed tech sheet and CC form we can issue an RMA number for you to send your units back to us. With the amount of packages and shipments sent to KW North America any packages sent without an RMA number will be refused and sent back to the original address. Please complete and send the tech sheet back via Email."

So that means no drivey of the Abarth for at least a month.  And it pretty much gets stored at whatever location removes the offending strut.  Now with the mileage and one failing, what are the odds the other one is/will fail?  What about the rear?

I'm contemplating reinstalling the Eibach springs I had and struts/shocks that came with it, and calling this a learning experience.

Strizzo
Strizzo PowerDork
9/6/18 7:06 p.m.

usually if the rebuild parts can be gotten, any motorcycle shop can rebuild/re-charge coilovers. 

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
9/6/18 7:07 p.m.

Or, um put stock parts back on the car while the racey stuff is getting repaired.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/7/18 6:41 a.m.

For that $$$$. I would just get a set of Koni’s and move on.  

If you ever need help with them they have actual people you can call and they are great to deal with. Lee has been with them for a long time. He has been on GRM  live. He is just a phone call away if you need help. Oh and they are a great shock/strut. All my track car builds going back to the early 90’s have used there products. 

Jerry
Jerry UberDork
9/7/18 7:00 a.m.

In reply to Stefan :

Since I would have someone else do it, that sounds a bit $$$$$.  I think if I go Eibach/OEM Konis, I'll just leave them.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
9/7/18 7:05 a.m.

I’d just buy another set that would take a week at most to ship and install.... then get the others rebuilt.

unevolved
unevolved SuperDork
9/7/18 7:28 a.m.

KWs are not the best when it comes to service, both in turn-around time and build quality.  I've dyno'd brand new KWs that were low on gas pressure and cavitating something terrible.

But yeah, swapping stock parts back on is the way to go.

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
9/7/18 7:32 a.m.

Coilovers for street cars are a mistake.  I've done it twice and regretted it, twice.  Konis, reasonable springs, and factory perches are the way to go. 

Posting this mainly to remind myself not to do it again.

 

But yeah....swap your street stuff back.  Try to match up the telltale marks from previous alignment and ride it out.  You're going to have to do a complete reset when you put reassembled coilover back together, including corner balance, so I wouldn't worry with an alignment if you're just going to leave them on a few weeks. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/7/18 7:45 a.m.

Meh, this why you don't buy ENTRY-level coilovers. I've had adjustable coilovers on 4 different cars. The cheapest I've ever gone is Ground Control, and typically a new setup with camber plates and rear mounts is $2k+

The big thing that makes "coilovers" crummy on the street are:
1. Solid mounts, like race-style camber plates.  

2. Fuh raze spring rates. 

 

My old 318is was on Ground Controls, but a mild spring rate like 250/375 or something. It was plenty comfy and enough spring for only 215 wide sticky tires. 

My S52-swapped E30 was on Ground Controls, but with big boy spring rates. 550/775 on sticky 245s. It was rough on the street. 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
9/7/18 8:33 a.m.
Strizzo said:

usually if the rebuild parts can be gotten, any motorcycle shop can rebuild/re-charge coilovers. 

Not heard of this? Why motorcycle shop requirement?

 

Have dead V-max shock with less than 100 miles that I would like to try and rebuild in case the others also die. If anyone has knowledge of what fails with these and if/how they can be rebuilt, I am all ears.

 

 

 

Pete

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
9/7/18 8:38 a.m.
z31maniac said:

Meh, this why you don't buy ENTRY-level coilovers. I've had adjustable coilovers on 4 different cars. The cheapest I've ever gone is Ground Control, and typically a new setup with camber plates and rear mounts is $2k+

The big thing that makes "coilovers" crummy on the street are:
1. Solid mounts, like race-style camber plates.  

2. Fuh raze spring rates. 

 

My old 318is was on Ground Controls, but a mild spring rate like 250/375 or something. It was plenty comfy and enough spring for only 215 wide sticky tires. 

My S52-swapped E30 was on Ground Controls, but with big boy spring rates. 550/775 on sticky 245s. It was rough on the street. 

I had the GC Street/School setup on my 330i, about $2k as you said. It's the mounts that make you suffer.  Every pebble and crack is transmitted directly to the chassis.  The Konis and cushy springrates are great, but the poly mounts are hard on the car and the driver. 

Given BMW's propensity for cracking body structures, make sure to put the front and rear mount reinforcement plates on.

Lof8
Lof8 Dork
9/7/18 8:39 a.m.

Unless you have money to burn, paying someone to do the labor on modifying your DD is a losing proposition. Keep it stock or DIY. 

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
9/7/18 8:44 a.m.

As soon as I saw the thread title, I said "Yep!"

I've been thinking of ordering a spare front and rear coilover shock for my Corolla for the same reason. You should look into ordering a replacement shock to get the car driving again faster, and then maybe getting the blown one rebuilt so you'll have a spare.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
9/7/18 8:59 a.m.

I had Bilstien PSS9s on my daily driven 318ti. Did 40,000 miles on them without breaking anything.. except maybe shaking a few fillings loose

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
9/7/18 9:19 a.m.

I ran coilovers on the Forte from April to October. Stock October to April. I did blow a strut at nationals in 2014. Drove it home, swapped back to stock and over the winter had the struts rebuilt and revalved by FEAL. They had them done in under 2 weeks. I'd never run coilovers on a car I A.) didnt/couldn't install myself and 2.) during winter.  The Forte was a dream. I got the entire suspension swap down to under 40 minutes including getting tools and jacking up the car. 

Tyler H
Tyler H UltraDork
9/7/18 9:23 a.m.

I have a buddy with MCS remote resevoir coilovers on an E46 M3.  They actually seem livable based on my limited time driving his track car on the street.  

But then again, I though my 330 was sublime....until about an hour into a drive.  I'm turning into an old fart, though.  When I was in my twenties, they would probably be fine, as I wouldn't have known otherwise.

boxedfox
boxedfox Reader
9/7/18 9:23 a.m.
unevolved said:

KWs are not the best when it comes to service, both in turn-around time and build quality.  I've dyno'd brand new KWs that were low on gas pressure and cavitating something terrible.

Similar experience here. They use cheap materials and the quality control for their street dampers is atrocious. There are a lot of KW dampers out there with bent damper shafts and failed seals that aren't being repaired because people don't want to deal with their service center.

KW got a lot of global exposure and market share by copying Tein's marketing strategy from the 90's. But in consistency and durability, their coilovers are a half step below the new Taiwanese-manufactured line from Tein. I'm told that their competition dampers are ok but at that price point I would be looking at Penskes or Konis.

ebelements
ebelements New Reader
9/7/18 9:51 a.m.

KW makes great stuff, but 50k is a ton of miles for just about any coilover. 

Personally, I've had such bad luck with used suspension I've sworn off buying used for any car I actually like. It's a consumable IMO, and you never know what kind of life it had before you. In your case though, I'd throw something used/stock on the car until you get the coils rebuilt (all of them). Rebuilt KWs will still be worlds nicer than the chinese coilovers at the $800 or less price point (speaking as someone who has recently had experience with a set of Ksport coils).

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/7/18 9:56 a.m.

^Are you also a fan of watersports?

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man UltraDork
9/7/18 10:04 a.m.

For entry-level coilovers I wouldn't spend my money on anything other than BC Racing. The fact that they'll sell you a single replacement coilover and ship it out as fast as most places would ship Konis is a huge boon to the everyday enthusiast.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/7/18 10:21 a.m.

This has nothing to do with "coilovers". It has everything to do with damper design and quality.

You can get coilovers with good, long-life dampers in them. You can get non-coilover dampers that are crap (they're probably blue and have a Tokico sticker on them). Coilover is an independent variable.

Price is not.

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
9/7/18 10:47 a.m.

I've ran coilovers on my last 3 DD's, and I drive ~40K/year.  cool  

8valve
8valve Reader
9/7/18 11:41 a.m.

+1 agree with the thread title.  Weekend car is a different story. 

boxedfox
boxedfox Reader
9/7/18 11:47 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

This has nothing to do with "coilovers". It has everything to do with damper design and quality.

You can get coilovers with good, long-life dampers in them. You can get non-coilover dampers that are crap (they're probably blue and have a Tokico sticker on them). Coilover is an independent variable.

Price is not.

+1 to this.

APEowner
APEowner Dork
9/7/18 12:02 p.m.

That situation sucks but I think you've got the wrong take home message.  It's not that you shouldn't put coilovers on a street car it's that you shouldn't put cheap worn out coilovers on a street car without at least rebuilding them first.

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