Alfa 159 sportwagon KW V3 (Variant 3) coilovers - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Alfa 159 sportwagon KW V3 (Variant 3) coilovers

As some of you might know, a few weeks ago I saw a set of B stock (factory repcked)KW V3's on EBay from a German tuning shop. I think they were £800 and it seemed like way too much of a bargain to pass off, especially as V1's are about that price.

I thought I'd write a bit as there's not so much on the net about KW and 159/Brera/spider.

There wasn't anything majorly wrong with the set up I had of Eibach prokit springs with Bilstein B4 dampers and some custom made springs on the rear, but I've always wondered why there's so much praise for KW, so had to scratch the itch.

I've messed with enough suspension stuff now to know that generally I'm either disappointed or mildly content, so I was feeling a bit of a dick for buying the V3's. I thought I'd end up thinking 'oh well' rather than ' oh yeah'.

Anyway, they're bloody brilliant! I'm so chuffed with them. I've had chance to play around with them the last couple of days and think I've got them dialled in to my taste, which happens to be the same as KW's recommendation. Turns out they know more than me about setting their kit up

I've been trying to get my head around compression and rebound, which are both adjustable, there's some good guides on the net. I really wanted to feel what full soft would feel like, so it was my intention to soften the compression and rebound right off then begin dialling the compression in and backing off when didn't like the feel. When that's set, I would dial the rebound in. In reality the rebound is easy to adjust on the fronts, the rears need the seat bolsters pulling out which is only a couple of minutes, but the compression is a pain to do. It's wheels off to be able to get the key into the rear compression dial which is okayish with a pair of glasses and torch. On the front it's ridiculously hard- it's wheels off again and then try and get the key into the adjuster which is at the bottom of the shock. There's barely any space here and when I did manage to get the key in, I couldn't feel the clicks or gauge any turns because my fingers were so contorted. I reckon the only feasible way would be to drop the fork and hub to get onto the damper bottom easier. I think this system has been changed for an easier wheel now so maybe that's why mine were cheaper.

It'd take some serious patience to keep jacking the car up, wheels off and dropping the damper out just to see what every notch of adjustment does. I moved the rear compression harder than standard by 1 and then softer by 1 and then back to standard losing track of how many times I've had the wheels off. Maybe with a car lift it wouldn't be necessary to remove the wheels, but I haven't bought one of those yet

I didn't feel the need to go any softer than the recommended 9 clicks from soft (there's 16 clicks), so I've only tried going 1 notch harder and although I'm sure it would be better on the motorway, i didn't like it so much around town and crappy surfaced B roads.

I must say anyone who says these coilovers are too hard for roads, really wants to be driving a 1980's Cadillac. I've got so many more clicks to make them more comfortable, but they're not needed, they must go super soft and float over the worst rutted roads, in fact I might try it for fun (or shall I get the electronic adjustment fitted) They are super comfortable and I've got the added bonus that all the massive weight shift you get on the front of 2.4 when entering a corner has basically gone, this was always my main gripe with the the 2.4, so I'm well chuffed that's sorted. So much more confidence on B roads too.

I was concerned about the ride height when I saw the instruction booklet, the front axle being no problem at 340-370mm hub centre to wheel arch, but the rears at 330-370mm were worrying as I didn't want to go much lower than 370mm. Knowing that there will times when I want to put a bike rack on the rear and fill up with camping gear, I wanted the option to go higher on the rear. So I had some spacers made that are the same as the ones KW supply, but 23mm deeper. Before fitting into the Alfa top mount, you have to remove the metal plate, so my spacers slot in nicely and now I can wind up to about 390mm and down to about 360mm without taking the spring out of it's effective working range. Yes it would look daft at 390mm on the rear, but consider how much the suspension drops when one person gets in the back. I can potentially carry 4 adults, 4 mountain bikes on a towbar rack and kit and have the suspension perfectly level, it's a massive plus point for me.

I dropped the ride down another 5mm today, I just thought it looked a tad high standing there on the driveway. It's about where the Eibachs were- about 358mm or 98mcm rim to arch at the front and 368mm/ 103mm at the rear.

Other shallow plus points are you don't have to use Spring compressors to fit them becUse you can just wind the spring perch all the way down and they look very nice when you see them through the spokes .i think some coilover socks might be in order for winter though.

I assume KW V1 are set at similar if not the same settings as those recommended for V3. So anyone in the market for new suspension really ought to think about V1's or the ST coilovers which I believe are the same but not stainless steel, there's also the Novitec coilovers that Alfisti.net do, they hinted to me that these are the same as KW. In fact someone on here is trying to sell a set of used ST coilovers. I'd only go for V2 or V3 if you like to drive particularly fast most of the time and don't mind giving up a bit of comfort.

the 159 always felt like a boat, now it does not.

GT 3.2 V6 - Q2, KONI FSD & EIBACH PROKIT, GTA REMAP, MICHELLIN PS3's, BMC CDA
159 SW 2.4JTDM TI - ALFATUNED, WIZARD BACK BOXES, KW V3 COILOVERS, NOKIAN WR A3/MICHELLIN PS3, PCA DYNAMICS ALIGNMENT.
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Many thanks for taking the above comprehensive effort to share your experiences.
Not yet for me, too low mileage and quite satisfied with the stock set-up (shocks by ZF Sachs), but will certainly consider your review again once the time has come, thanks!

Last edited by Leo_NL; 27-03-16 at 18:39. Reason: Erase of fully quoted text
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Regarding your expectations based on previous occassions having switched dampers and springs, would you be able to compare with KONI and H&R for instance?
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I'm afraid not, my experience is with Eibach Bilstein b12 kit on my old 156 then with some Japanese shocks, koni fsd and Eibach on my GT and Eibach/Bilstein b4 on the 159. Believe me, I've been through enough grief and wasted money to know what I'd do in the future. Do it once and do it right.
Done 100 or so miles today, mix of motorway and rural roads, I just keep thinking how good the suspension is- so chuffed.
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It's heart warming to know you are doing all the investment and we are getting 'free' advice. You should charge for it!
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Well i invested some more money in diesel today partially because I'm just enjoying driving the car at the minute:big laugh:

The main thing that dawned on me today is how quickly the V3's deal with things. The B4/Eibachs were plenty comfortable and pretty good on body roll, but say if you got some road that would be deteriorated and patchy (not pot hole)around town, then they would get out of shape. The V3's just deal with the situation, reacting a lot quicker yet staying comfy, kind of like the SAS V SO19, both do a good job, but one just goes in, does the job and gets out:big laugh:

I realised how much better it is when braking fairly hard, it's a great feeling, very little nose dive. I need to play a bit more, but I reckon 1 notch harder on the rebound would be better at 80mph, it almost feels a touch too comfy, ever so slightly wafty. It's probably just the fact I know I can dial this out, otherwise I wouldn't think twice about it, it really is fantastic. Of course the downside to stiffening it up on the motorway is those expansion gaps or raised seams, I'd defo start feeling those more.

I think this guide is more for track use, but it's a good read-
https://robrobinette.com/S2000KWV3Tuning.htm
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SAS V SO19; which one was yours?
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SAS every time
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Good review and thanks for sharing it.

I fitted Eibach sportkit and Bilstein's to my Brera 3.2 and I rate it as the worst suspension I've experienced in a car, so I'm not surprised the V3's are dramatically better.
The eibach/bilstein kit is ridiculously soft and the car wallows all over its front suspension. Stock suspension was harsh on small bumps but at least had some wheel control.

I'll look out for some KW's I think.

Cheers

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Just back from a tour of the French Alps in the car. The KW's were awesome in their adjustability for this trip.
Knowing how much weight the car would be carrying, I wound the rear coils up 30mm and then stiffened the rebound up a notch. Put the tyres up to loaded PSI too.

We had a tow bar bike rack with (I'll drop
In the bikes) a YT industries Capra CF, Canyon Strive, Canyon carbon road bike, Boardman road bike and then in the boot a Lapierre Zesty 714 another Canyon Strive and a Comtat Carbon road bike.

Roofbox on too, full of kit and 4 blokes.Thats 4 blokes, lots of kit and 7 bikes in a Sportwagon- brilliant! The tyres only just got lost in the wheel arches, I reckon if I'd not raised the suspension, we'd have struggled with tyre rub and bottoming out. As it was, the suspension only bottomed out 3 times and that was on horrible holes every time.

Other than that it was a magic carpet ride especially on the smooth French toll roads. Car pulled like it was only 2 up and thankfully (because I've been low on confidence with Alfa's recently) there were no hiccups.

Had a nice 2 week break from looking at Alfa Owner too, quite refreshing actually and I stopped worrying about what can go wrong with my Alfas

So, so chuffed I splashed out on ththe KW's
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Just back from a tour of the French Alps in the car. The KW's were awesome in their adjustability for this trip.
Knowing how much weight the car would be carrying, I wound the rear coils up 30mm and then stiffened the rebound up a notch. Put the tyres up to loaded PSI too.

We had a tow bar bike rack with (I'll drop
In the bikes) a YT industries Capra CF, Canyon Strive, Canyon carbon road bike, Boardman road bike and then in the boot a Lapierre Zesty 714 another Canyon Strive and a Comtat Carbon road bike.

Roofbox on too, full of kit and 4 blokes.Thats 4 blokes, lots of kit and 7 bikes in a Sportwagon- brilliant! The tyres only just got lost in the wheel arches, I reckon if I'd not raised the suspension, we'd have struggled with tyre rub and bottoming out. As it was, the suspension only bottomed out 3 times and that was on horrible holes every time.

Other than that it was a magic carpet ride especially on the smooth French toll roads. Car pulled like it was only 2 up and thankfully (because I've been low on confidence with Alfa's recently) there were no hiccups.

Had a nice 2 week break from looking at Alfa Owner too, quite refreshing actually and I stopped worrying about what can go wrong with my Alfas

So, so chuffed I splashed out on ththe KW's
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