If you have been following the progress on our Project C7 Corvette Stingray, you’ve seen us work on the brakes, suspension and cosmetics. After a test session at Buttonwillow things looked to be much improved, but we really need to upgrade our wheels and tires to get the most out of our suspension and brakes upgrades. In the meantime our Chevy Performance aero kit looked great, but since it hung low it was really hard to drive around town without scraping some expensive carbon fiber. To make things more practical we decided to put a lift system on our Corvette so we could raise the front end up when going in and out of steep driveways and speed bumps. KW Suspension makes a hydraulic lift system (HLS), which we’ve used with great success on our V8 FD RX-7 project, and we wanted to look at adapting it to our C7 Corvette Stingray.
To use the KW Suspension HLS we had to switch over to KW V3 dampers. The Chevy Performance Bilsteins worked well, especially with the stock wheel and tire combination, but we really wanted to add the front lift system. This required us to convert to KW coilovers for compatibility, as the lift cylinders fit on the KW spring perches. The KW V3’s get rid of the factory transverse leaf spring and convert the suspension over to coil over springs. An additional advantage is this will allow the car to be corner weighted. Another is that the coilovers weigh less than the big leaf springs.
The KW Coilovers have a corrosion resistant stainless steel body and rustproof engineering plastic clad stainless spring seats and collars. These are coilovers are truly 4-season worthy, even in areas with road salt. You won’t need to worry about the spring collars seizing to the shock bodies. The V3’s have a lifetime corrosion guarantee.
The top mounts have hard urethane bushings to transfer as much suspension motion through the shock as possible while still absorbing some vibration. The rebound damping adjuster is located in an easy to reach location, right on the top eye of the shaft. The adjuster knob is large and easy to turn. These little details make a big difference when trying to dial in your car at the track. The V3’s have micro-cellular progressive bump stops that make bottoming out less harsh and more progressive so that handling balance won’t be too badly affected if bottoming out occurs during hard cornering. A short dust shield protects the seals.
The rear shock has a clevis style mount with a captive nut. Note that the compression damping adjuster is also in an easy to reach location and it has a large wheel that makes adjustment easy. The canister on the shock body looks like a remote reservoir, but it’s not your typical one. The V3 is actually a twin tube shock with the compression adjuster in the foot valve and the canister is more like an accumulator that holds a gas-filled bladder. The gas in the bladder is to make room for shock shaft displacement. By having the gas separate from the fluid the damping stays consistent with no fluid foaming, which is typical with twin tube designs that allow the gas and fluid to mix.