2nd Generation Vipers desperately need to be lowered. We accomplished this with a set of coilovers from KW Suspension.
The Viper’s stock suspension is actually quite good. The ride quality is comfortable enough to live with every day, there is not much body roll, and the handling is predictable and feels like a big Miata in character.
You can see the Viper can be made to understeer or oversteer in any part of a corner. It just does what you tell it to (whether that’s a good thing or bad thing depends on your inputs as a driver):
This is an important characteristic of a good “Driver’s Car”, and the Viper is absolutely a great performing driver’s car. The main problem with the stock suspension is that the car sits way too high.
At stock ride height, the 2nd Generation Vipers look a bit like a monster truck. With a gap between the tire and fender so large, you can fit your fist in between.
The KW coilover suspension system for the 2nd Generation Viper is a single-adjustable Variant-2. The rebound adjuster is at the top of the shock, just below the mount. This makes it easy to adjust without having to take the tire off.
KW was the suspension supplier for the record-setting Gen-4 Viper SRT10 ACR with a time around the Nurburgring Nordschleife of 7 minutes and 22 seconds back in August of 2008. The car is equipped from the factory with KW coilovers featuring independently adjustable compression and rebound valves like their Variant-3 coilover package.
The stock rear suspension was the first to go. The top shock mount is fairly high on the chassis due to the forked lower mount needed to clear the axles. The viper’s suspension uses upper and lower control arms in a Short-Long Arm “SLA” layout typically used in proper racing cars. This is also the layout of great handling cars, including the Miata, Lotus Elise, Corvette, NSX, RX7, and S2000.