In the past, to get 3-way adjustable damping on your car, you need to invest in really high-dollar sophisticated race-grade dampers. The trouble with this kind of shock is that although they are designed to take the abuse of racing, these types of shock are not designed for long-term durability with little maintenance. Race dampers are rebuilt every season or more frequently and are not subject to tons of miles and use under corrosive conditions such as driving in the rain all the time and salted roads in winter. The lightweight alloys and low friction seals will degrade quickly under these conditions and need maintenance. For those enthusiasts that want the best and still rack up all-season miles on their cars, KW Suspension has come to the rescue with their 3-way Clubsport dampers. The 3-Way Clubsports have the same independently adjustable high and low-speed compression damping with a separately adjustable rebound circuit just like race shocks packaged in KW’s durable and rebuildable Clubsport package. We have featured these shocks on our flagship Project R35 GT-R which you can see in our video. Today we will be installing and dialing in these dampers on a rare Evo IV RS.
The KW 3-way Clubsport has all of KW’s famous durability features that are loved in the industry, like the corrosion-resistant INOX stainless steel body and the thermoplastic clad anti-seizing stainless adjusting spring collars. These won’t stick even after many winter’s use on a salty road. I don’t think any other coilovers can make this sort of claim, even ones with anodized or zinc-plated bodies. Another feature that we like is that there is camber adjustment at the bottom of the strut with slotted upper bolt holes. If possible, we always prefer to adjust the camber here. Using the camber plate on top of the strut affects the scrub radius and steering inclination angle which can have effects on steering pull and loss of contact patch under turning if used to the extreme. On race cars, we try to control the scrub and SAI at the top and adjust the camber on the bottom for this reason. This is a nice touch from KW.
The KW top mount/camber plates have some offset to gain almost a degree of positive caster. This helps straight-line stability, and self-steering effect and gives some negative camber gain on the outward loaded tire in cornering. The front camber plates also have full seals on the bottom of the bearing to keep road splash and debris out. The bearings are also stainless steel for corrosion resistance. The rebound damping is easily and quickly adjusted via a supplied tool or an allen wrench at the top of the shock shaft.
The 3-way Clubsport uses sealed beatings and dust boots on the rear top hats to keep water out and corrosion at bay. The spherical bearings used are also stainless steel to resist corrosion. The bump stops are progressive microcellular urethane to reduce the effects of suddenly bottoming out and full dust shields are used. The Clubsport shaft seals are designed for durability and positive sealing over a long period of time in a dirty environment and are OEM rated meaning they have passed several manufacturers’ stringent long-term durability tests.
Hmmm are these still twin tubes? I’ve seen first hand KW Clubsport twin tube struts fail in <10k miles of road driving. The most common is the shaft guides wear and you end up with a pretty shocking wobble. Beyond that you can even pop the piston out on roads that well tuned OEM suspension can take daily without issue.
Also those front top mounts from underneath look really spindly (look at the picture at the bottom of page 5). Quite a few of these crack and fail on strut cars.
Every single case that we have seen was caused by air impact guns being used to install or remove the shocks. We have seen the shaft wobble on race cars after a season when they were being removed for rebuilding but a lot of shocks will show this sort of wear after a season of racing. In either case, these shocks have a generous warranty. As for the camber plate being spindly, it looks no weaker than any other camber plate I have ever seen. In fact, since a lot of adjustment is on the bottom, the slot can be smaller actually making the camber plate stronger than many.
I can confirm from a customer that even my “free” dxf I send out for an offset flat plate made in 1/4″ 6061 takes a hit hard enough to buckle the A-pillar to even bend the top hat.
A046s in 2022!
The stance looks great, and not low at all. What is your recommended ride height for the platform?
Unless geometry correcting parts are used, no more than 1.5″
so are these basically the same as V3’s with camber plates / top hats and having separate low and high speed compression adjustment? are there technology differences? or just valved differently with the same tech inside the damper?
Cause at 6k you’re in full race damper territory… I’d wanna know I’m buying more than just a tricked out V3 at double the price… If I’m spending 6k on suspension I want something like an MCS or JRZ or Penske… Monotube dampers. How does the Clubsport 3way compare to those? specifically in terms of damper tech, I know the Clubsport has better street use features like all the stuff being sealed and the corrosion protections.
The compression valves are pretty different, they use turret orifices like Moton for totally linear high-speed compression damping. The low speed uses a washer stack but with a spring-loaded floating needle to blow off to the high-speed circuit with gives pretty good high frequency, low amplitude response, I really like how these shocks work, the adjustments are more linear than KW Motorsports shocks and heck most others. The only shock as good in this respect is Moton.
ok so they really are more special than just V3’s with a couple more features. Thanks for the info!