Project E39 M5, Part 3: Installing and Adjusting KW V3s

Project E39 M5: Part 3 – Installing and Adjusting KW V3s

by Martin Gonzales

In this latest installment of Project E39 M5 we will be outfitting our M5 with a set of KW V3 coilovers. We will not only be giving you our usual evaluation, but will also be spending some time explaining our basic theory of basic shock adjustments. It's no secret the grand majority of the MotoIQ staff are huge proponents of KW Suspensions' products. Either from personal experience in their own cars or from simply test driving one of our KW equipped project cars. I fell in the latter category. 

Like any other long time car enthusiast, I have gone through the trials and tribulations of choosing suspensions. I've also played the dollar game and come out on the losing end by not getting the performance or longevity I wanted from my purchase. Upgrading the suspension on your car is not cheap and there are a lot of options. The decision you make will have a dramatic effect on the handling and dynamics of your car, so it is very important to have clear goals and the right expectations.

The goals for our E39 project are to tame the weight transfer it exhibits, while not sacrificing too much of its daily driven ride quality. With wheel and tire upgrades in our project's future. ride height adjustability would be important. Ride firmness tolerance varies tremendously from one person to the next. What some may find comfortable and sporty feeling, some may find harsh and unbecoming of a luxury sedan. I tend to like a sportier ride and are willing to give up a little more on the comfort side for extra cornering performance. So with that in mind, shock adjustability is a must. 

 
The KW Suspensions Variant 3 coilovers offered and claimed to meet all of our goals and expectations. Height and ride adjustability in a quality durable package. The V3's feature all weather durability like no other coilover by having a body machined from stainless steel.  With a reinforced composite spring perch, seat corrosion and sticking of the ride height adjusters is something that simply doesn't happen, even on rust belt salted roads.  This stainless construction enables KW to have the confidence to offer a lifetime warranty. 
The front coilover assembly is a complete replacement of the OE McPherson strut assembly. The new strut mount and hardware is provided by KW and it all comes completely assembled. No parts to replace, refresh or put together while you're in there. The front V3's come with a tender spring that provides constant preload on the main spring which helps reduce the chances it will make noise.  The tender springs also help the tires maintain contact with the pavement on the non loaded inner side of the car under cornering. This enhances grip, particularly at the rear wheels.
The rears on the other hand will require some assembly and re-use of a few parts. The upper spring mount shown here is one of the new OE mounts we chose to replace our old and worn upper mounts with. 
With our suspension decision made, and a couple of new OE parts in hand, we were ready to install our new suspension hardware. We will be taking our Project E39 M5 to our favorite local BMW shop for the work: Pure Performance.

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