Competition. It’s a driving passion and a motivational input that keeps us moving forward to do better. I love competition and that’s why I seek out the best things in life. I work hard, I compete, and I motivate myself to reach forward and grab excellence by the hand and rejoice within its glory. That’s the fighting spirit and that’s where life counts.
Last time we checked in with the project S14, it was pretty much somewhat finished. It was equipped with D-MAX coilovers, HKS catback exhaust, interior details such as the classic Nardi 330mm wood grain steering wheel and accompanying Nardi shift knob, and other light performance mods. I wasn’t too comfortable with doing motor swaps since I lived in California and it would’ve been a huge hassle because I didn’t have the space. I felt this was pretty much it and I really needed to stay focused on saving up money for more important things in life…I guess.
But that all changed. I felt a sense of automotive revival pumping throughout my veins. Something just clicked inside of me. Maybe it was the constant nagging of my cousin that eventually lead me to revisit my love of cars. Or maybe, it was the people that I met along the way. They were the source of my inspiration and even maybe my competition. This was my gateway to reviving the S14 project once again and I was pumped.
To kick off the S14 project rebirth, I went ahead and ordered myself a set of KW Variant 3 Coilovers. These were a step up from my D-MAX coilovers and from the reviews, I was in for a major performance upgrade. Incorporating a 2-way pressure valve system and compression and rebound adjustability, this German grade state of the art coilover system was my pick of the crop. I wanted performance and I wasn’t going to settle for less.
With all KW Variant systems, they do not include a top hat as they are designed to adapt to the stock top hats or with an aftermarket camber plate/top mount. A few days before the install, I called KW to check out if they offer top mounts and they did for the Clubsport setup or if you wanted to, you could order the camber plates found on the Clubsports for around $500 a piece (wowzers). As much as I love baller parts and killer quality suspension, I couldn’t build myself to dish out another $2000 on top of this $2000 plus coilover system. Imagine that, I would’ve been running a $4000 system if I did! Crazy! Rather than going with the KW top mounts, I went ahead and picked myself up a set of Tein pillowball mounts for front and rear.
If you’ve ever had experience with changing out the stuts or springs on your car, then this install is a piece of cake. However, it did take me a hour or so, just to figure out a safe way to compress the coilovers to install the pillowball mounts. It took me so long, because I wanted to get the install right and I didn’t want to damage the coilovers in the process because that would be a $2000 mistake that I didn’t want to make.
I was a bit preoccupied during the install so I wasn’t able to take shots of the coilover plus top mount install, but I managed to snap pics of the before and after. As you can see the car is not anymore slammed, but at a moderate and fantastic stance. As much as I love the whole slammed and stance scene, I feel like I’m pretty much past that phase. I want to create a performance driven car that looks good, feels good, and performs well. So with the ride adjustability, I dropped the front to their lowest setting and kept the rears the stock KW height which gave me a slight California rake with 6″ front clearance and 6.5″ rear clearance from the sideskirts to the ground. It’s drivable. It’s tuned. It feels right.
After install wrapped up, it was time for the drive home. You’ve heard the stories about these epic coilovers and from my first drive with these coilovers, the KW Variant 3 system is brilliant. One of the biggest concern I had with my D-MAX coilovers was the rough ride at low speeds and over uneven surfaces. Unlike the D-MAX coilovers, the KW Variant 3s exceeded my expectations and they provided a very comfortable ride at low speeds and over uneven surfaces. They feel very comfortable, but firm, tight, and responsive. The high speed turning capabilities were also an amazing feel as I pushed my driving limit running a 45 mph corner at 80 mph comfortably. Due to the KW Variant 3 technology, during turn in speeds, variable suspension control due to the 2-way pressure valve system allows high performance cornering capabilities while retaining stability through the corner. Likewise, the suspension keeps the rubber on the tarmac and provides substantial traction. Bottom line is the KW Variant 3 coilover system is worth the hefty price tag.
I still need to break the coilovers in and I’m sure it’s going to get better. I’ve got big plans for the S14 this year so stay tuned. The sky is the limit.