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Old 04-11-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
vision.dynamix
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Default ST Coilovers (Also DMS Camber Plates) - An ongoing review.


KHD2012 - 1920 by Khanh Duong | KHDPhoto.com, on Flickr

On my own 2002 WRX, I have ran: Stance GR+, Stance GR+/PRO, BC Inverted, BC Standard, BC w/ 7k/5k Springs, BC Extreme Low, ISC Race, ISC Street coilovers over the period of about 4 years. Basically, "Thousand Dollar" coilovers. All provided a great "value", being double height adjustable, rebound adjustable, fully assembled with camber plates in front and either camber plates or flat mounts out back. For the most part, these parts are all the same.

All of which dissatisfied me. Ive had more coilovers rebuilt than I ever want to think about. The struts will blow. The Sphericals in the camber plates will wear, often extremely fast. The ride on all of the coilovers were harsh.

Over the winter, I sold the last set that was on my car, BC Extreme Low, and did some thinking.

-I want to do track days and AutoX
-I want coilovers I can leave on the car year round without worry of corrosion and collars seizing...
-Im getting REAL sick REAL fast of rebuilding or replacing bits on coilovers.
-I dont want to lose anymore height in my spine..Im a short guy and dont have much height to lose to begin with. What Im trying to say is, I dont want a harsh ride.
-Budget of around $1500
-Definitely need Camber Plates in the front. Camber plates in the rear is prefered, but not required.

Ive always known KW makes excellent coilovers, but it simply wasnt in my budget to pick up a set, even the KW Variant1. Then I stumble across the ST Coilovers. Built by KW to KWv1 specs, with a Zinc/Galvanized Steel body as opposed to the Stainless/Inox body on the v1.

Some features of the ST Coilovers (For GD Specific fitment):
-Single Height adjustable
-Factory preset damper settings
-340# Front Springs w/ Helper
-Progressive Rate Rear Springs
-Upper Clevis Mount Holes slotted for camber adjustment in rear.
-No tops included
-Approx $1250 MSRP
-5 year warranty

At about the same time, TurninConcepts posted an announcement about a new Front Camber Plate from DMS/MSI.

Quote:
  • Will work with stock style spring/strut
  • Will work with a number of coilovers
  • Two points of adjustment
  • Traditional "slotting" for the bearing
  • Multiple mounting points of the mount plate to allow for "canting" of the slots
  • 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Lifetime warranty on all but the bearing
All at an entry fee of around $300. No brainer.

To satisfy the rear mount, I wanted a camber plate, however, I had an issue. The Progressive rear spring on the ST and KWv1 is meant to be used with a stock style upper mount. To use a camber plate, you must convert to a linear spring, use a custom upper spring perch. (LINK: See this post by Matt over @ Wicked Innovation) This adds up to hundreds of dollars extra, which simply was not available in my budget. With the Clevis Mount being slotted, I decided to go with the Group-N Rear Tops.

This put me at a little over my budget, however, I knew it'd be worth it.

After discussing it at length with Tony at TurninConcepts, he had a set shipped my way, assembled and ready to install.



Initial impressions on the coilovers, I was very impressed.
-The clevis mounts were very thick
-The coilovers used a coarse trapezoidal thread
-The welds were phenomenal
-Whoa, it actually has mounting provisions for the ABS and Brake lines!


(You can also see how the upper hole is slotted for camber adjustment)

Oranges to Clementines comparison of the setup next to a set of BC Extreme Low 08 WRX set I had on hand.



The Camber Plates were absolutely beautiful.

Onto the installation, since TiC assembled them for me, it was straight forward, just like any other Coilover install. I think I did it in 45 minutes, including breaks to check on my buddies who were working on their cars.

The only run-in I had was the Front Passenger side coilover, the lower clevis was set up backwards from ST, with the slotted hole on the back side instead of the front side like it should be. Not a major issue, the bolt just has to go in backwards. (I later found out this made things slightly more difficult to reach during the alignment). This may just be a factory fluke on my set.

The coilovers came set to right at 13" Axle center to Fender Lip all around.

The slotting on the rear lower clevis mounts will allow you to hit over 3* of negative camber, EASY. However, with my 18x9.5 et38 wheels and wide 255/35s, this caused inteference. Not an issue, since I dont want to run -3* of camber in the rear anyway.

With the DMS Plates set in the 3rd hole, and the OEM Camber Bolt in a negative position, I had -3.9* of camber. It was easily dialed back to a more reasonable -2.5 using only the bolts.

Needless to say, there is LOTS of camber possible with this setup. I will be swapping my plates left to right and canting them to gain some caster (At the sacrifice of amount of negative camber possible...but Ive got some to spare. )

Taking Tony's advice, I raised the car to 13.5" all around.

Off to the alignment shop I went, where I aligned the car to -2.5* Front, -1.5* Rear Camber, Zero Toe all around. These numbers have worked very well for me in the past, with tens of thousands of miles without excessive camber wear on my tires.



With a 255/35R18 Dunlop Z1 Star Spec, Whiteline 24MM Adjustable Bars Fr/Rr w/ Whiteline HD End Links, Holy Crap, the grip is incredible. Even on brand new, still slick tires. Even in 40* weather. I cant wait for warmer weather and to get my 255/40R17 Nitto NT01s mounted.

The ride height is a departure from my previous setups of slamming the car on it's face, but after driving the car for a couple weeks, I do not miss it at all. Something about being able to drive the car, being able to turn, go over bumps without scraping and rubbing...maybe those guys who make fun of slammers are onto something!

I have about 400 miles on the setup now, and I can say the ride is much more comfortable than any of the other coilovers Ive had. Bumps are very well controlled and not bouncy, and trecherous New England roads dont cause internal bruising.

Not having a dampening adjustment knob does not bother me at all. The engineers at KW know a lot more than I do about setting up dampening.

I leave for now with some photos of the car.




I have 2 track days planned for next month along with AutoXs, so I will be sure to update. I wanted to hit the AutoX this past weekend but my brakes are still at the powder coaters.

MAJOR thanks to Tony and the guys at TurninConcepts, along with Matt at Wicked for answering a few questions I had along the way.
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Last edited by vision.dynamix; 05-09-2012 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:06 AM   #2
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Great review. I have been eyeing these for a while, and this may just be the thing I needed to convince me to pull the trigger.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
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In for results, nice write-up!
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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If you dont NEED a camber plate like I do, the Whiteline Offset Mounts or even a Group-N Front mount is a great option. Being into this set for $1500 (or even less) is very possible.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #5
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Great information for the masses, helps get people into legitimate suspension. Thanks for the mention

Subies can handle and ride so well with the right combo of parts, sane ride height, and proper alignment.

M@
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision.dynamix View Post

The only run-in I had was the Front Passenger side coilover, the lower clevis was set up backwards from ST, with the slotted hole on the back side instead of the front side like it should be. Not a major issue, the bolt just has to go in backwards. (I later found out this made things slightly more difficult to reach during the alignment). This may just be a factory fluke on my set.
I think they are all like that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision.dynamix View Post
On my own 2002 WRX, I have ran: Stance GR+, Stance GR+/PRO, BC Inverted, BC Standard, BC w/ 7k/5k Springs, BC Extreme Low, ISC Race, ISC Street coilovers over the period of about 4 years. Basically, "Thousand Dollar" coilovers. All provided a great "value",

All of which dissatisfied me. Ive had more coilovers rebuilt than I ever want to think about. The struts will blow. The Sphericals in the camber plates will wear, often extremely fast. The ride on all of the coilovers were harsh.

Ive always known KW makes excellent coilovers, but it simply wasnt in my budget to pick up a set, even the KW Variant1.
I don't understand how you could spend $1K eight times on a "great value" but couldn't find $2K in your "budget" once for a truly great value? Not to mention labor and down time?


Quote:
The ride height is a departure from my previous setups of slamming the car on it's face, but after driving the car for a couple weeks, I do not miss it at all. Something about being able to drive the car, being able to turn, go over bumps without scraping and rubbing...maybe those guys who make fun of slammers are onto something!
Good to hear you've seen the light and will finally experience what your car was designed for in the first place. Now about that wing...
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:53 PM   #8
vision.dynamix
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You're assuming I paid retail for the parts then threw them away. It takes me 45 minutes to swap coilovers alone, in the dark. I get time on a hunter alignment system for next to nothing. Considering I've never lost money coilover whoring, it's not that bad.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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Well if you enjoy working on your car that much I can see your logic but I personally would have seen the light after the second time. Not sure why you would bother keeping any of them after they failed?
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:06 PM   #10
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Hundred page reviews, "ours are better" promises, working with vendors, running out of time, etc.

Let's not derail this thread.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:53 PM   #11
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Funny I told you this years ago :-p
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:56 PM   #12
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Sub'd

I was looking into this same setup when these DMS streets tops first came out. Interested to see your impressions off the street.

P.S. That Fusion really sets off the packaging, when I think sporty suspension I think Ford Fusion
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:07 PM   #13
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too bad they don't make these for 08+
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:08 PM   #14
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Actually after our experience on this one we've been looking at some things we can do.

We're going to be putting a package together on our site with these, MSI street fronts, and group n rear hats.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn in Concepts View Post
Actually after our experience on this one we've been looking at some things we can do.

We're going to be putting a package together on our site with these, MSI street fronts, and group n rear hats.
Looking forward to hearing the clever name you come up with for it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:49 PM   #16
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Oh boy. lol
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:57 PM   #17
vision.dynamix
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I forgot to add that if you want to slam the car on its face, these are not the coilovers for you.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:56 PM   #18
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how low can you get them before you suck up all the usable stroke? i dont necessarily want to slam it, but getting rid of most, if not all, of the wheel gap would be a concern.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:10 AM   #19
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This is a set of coils we are looking at for our FSXT. Awesome write up. Now time to talk to Tony.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #21
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I have been talking to Tony about these vs a couple other options. Do you think the spring rates are too soft? Our concern is the Foz weighs more and these might be a bit too soft for it.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:17 PM   #22
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Nice, I have a similar setup to this except I have group N fronts.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:37 PM   #23
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I dont like answering questions in PM because the answer can benefit many people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuggedWrx
Hey, I have a very similar setup to you for my coilovers/strut mounts. I have group-ns in the front, but I have been thinking about upgrading to camber plates, to run a wider rim and tire. What I was worried about was a lot of people say I would need -3/-2.5 to fit 18s and a 255 tire.

I just had a couple of questions if you don't mind answering them.

So I guess i was wondering what kind of mods did you have to do to fit the wheels that you have onto your car?
Do you have camber bolts in the rear as well?
And how is the ride is it super harsh or anything?

Thanks!

Best regards,

Edison
Wheel fitment really depends on the wheel offset and ride height. I have run as little as -1.7* front camber with a 18x9.5 et38 255/35R18 setup. On a setup with the same specs, with the car much lower, I had to run -3* or so.

My front fenders are rolled flat. On the rear, I have shaved STI Quarter Panels and Fender Flares resulting in a half inch or so more room than even rolled stock quarters because of the way the replacement quarters were grafted in.

I do not have camber bolts in the rear. The slotted hole allows way more adjustment than a camber bolt could ever dream of having. I would strongly discourage using an eccentric bolt in the slotted hole. I suppose you could use an eccentric bolt in the lower hole, however I do not see a need.

The ride is great. Absolutely nothing like on taiwanese coilovers.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:32 AM   #24
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Do you mean the slotted hole that is already on the coilover? and the ride is still good even with the camber plates?
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:11 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision.dynamix View Post

The only run-in I had was the Front Passenger side coilover, the lower clevis was set up backwards from ST, with the slotted hole on the back side instead of the front side like it should be. Not a major issue, the bolt just has to go in backwards. (I later found out this made things slightly more difficult to reach during the alignment). This may just be a factory fluke on my set.
Not a fluke, its on all of their GD coilovers and something that has annoyed me from day 1 about KW's. Sure, its a minor detail, but when a cheap taiwanese company can get this right, why can't KW? For me, its just lazy design and manufacturing.

Of course, other than making alignment a bit more difficult, it doesn't affect the actual performance of the damper.
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