Project Land Speed Racer 240SX: KW Suspension
By Chuck Johnson and Mike Kojima
Photos by Joe Lu
If racing wasn't already hard enough on a racecar and all of its components, replace the well-manicured tarmac of a road course with a few hundred tons of salt and then racing becomes even more brutal. Salt is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts water. To make things worse, salt increases water's ability to carry electrons, which promotes oxidation or “rust” that can wreak havoc on a racecar. Combine the oxidation threat with the dirt and rocks of the El Mirage lakebed, and then things can get really nasty. To accomplish our 200 MPH goal, we need a suspension system that can confidently dampen the imperfections of a blemished, dirt and salt covered racetrack. On top of that though, we also need a suspension system that can endure the hostile environments that come with land speed racing.
Part suspension gurus and perhaps part mad scientists, Mike Kojima and Chris Marion infiltrated the KW Automotive parts bin to Frankenstein together the perfect set of coilovers for Project 240SX Land Speed Racer. This perfection came through the marriage of parts from both KW's Clubsport and Competition coilover kits.
Externally, the damper body from KW's Clubsport coilover was selected for its corrosion resistant properties. As a part of KW's “Inox-line,” the Clubsport damper body is constructed from highly corrosion resistant stainless steel. Many aftermarket damper bodies are constructed from plane old steel, which is not too effective at resisting corrosion. In salt spray testing, KW's stainless steel Inox-line lasted over 480 hours while other coilovers with zinc plated steel bodies corroded and seized up in half the time.T ake note that a zinc plated body is still better than most coilovers! The durability of the KW Clubsport's stainless steel body makes it ideal for street applications that see tough winters and coincidentally, racing on the salt at Bonneville too.
The Clubsport body also features a unique “trapezoidal” thread. The trapezoidal shaped, stainless steel threads help prevent dirt and debris from seizing the spring seat and making height adjustments a pain in the butt.
On the top of the front KW dampers, is an aluminum strut mount, which was borrowed from KW's Clubsport line. This aluminum strut mount allows for easy, on the fly camber adjustments. KW's aluminum strut mount features scaled adjustments to help minimize the guess work during suspension alignment and also features a stout sandwich plate configuration that is locked in place by tapered torx head bolts to ensure that the camber plate will not slip. Ever had a camber plate slip at speed? Let me tell you, it's not a pleasant experience. Lastly, the KW strut mount houses a uniball bearing protected by a tough sealing system that prevents moisture and debris from damaging the bearing.
Cool seal prevents stuff from getting into the pilliowball mount from the bottom.