How low will the new KW V3 coilovers go on a 944??
Lower than this actually lol… but not much. But let me back up & fill you in, because this is an ongoing project/saga.
The KW coilovers only come for ‘late-model’ 944 fitment.
That means models 1985.5 and up. If you have an early model 944, like this ’84, you have to make some fairly minor cuts & grinds on the front to get them to fit. It’s not a huge deal, just a minor setback. Check out this post if you want to see the process I went though on the front. The rear however – is a whole different ugly animal. Again – if you have a 1985.5 or newer, it’s a direct fit. But if you have the early model (as I do), you need to swap & update the entire rear end of the car. Luckily, Elliott Grafton from 944 Barn is fairly local to me, and has all the parts you’ll ever need for any 944. If not for him, I would have been pretty dead in the water. But even if you have the late-model car, you still need to pull the entire rear end to install coilovers, BECAUSE of the Porsche 944’s rear torsion bar suspension design. Here’s a post for the rear.
The KW coilovers are designed to work in combination WITH the 944’s torsion bar rear suspension.
That means a couple of key things:
- As mentioned just above, you need you pull the entire rear end out of the car. It’s not fun. But it’s essential, because you need to reindex the torsion bars 1-notch down. Re-indexing the torsion bars will give you a significantly lower ride height. I believe that reindexing the torsion bars 1-notch down gives you about 1.5″ of drop, on top of the coilover adjustment. Therefore if you don’t reindex, you probably won’t get enough adjustment from the coilovers to be happy.
- Because of this odd torsion bar + coilover design, the KWs come with light duty 285lb springs in the rear. That’s because they don’t need to take on the full weight of the car. The coilovers are just assisting the torsion bars, and giving you ride-height adjustment.
This is where I got weird for a minute…
In all the hoopla of swapping the rear end & messing with torsion bars, I got slap-happy and decided I was going to lift the 944 instead of lower it. I did that by reindexing the torsion bars 1-notch up instead of down. But let’s ignore all that now, because I backed out of that decision. While it’s a neat idea, it’s not how these particular KW V3 coilovers were designed to work. So… I had to pull the rear end back out of the 944 for a 2nd time yay! That’s because I had to undo my wrongdoing, aka the upward reindexing on the torsion bars. But this time while I was there…
I decided to get rid of the 944 torsion bars altogether.
Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. With torsion bars out of the picture, the 944’s new KW coilover suspension will be straight-froward, simple, & serviceable. And I will forever be done with having to reindex torsion bars on this car. I called KW and got a pair of stiffer 571lb springs to swap into the rear coilovers. This way, the coilovers will support the weight of the 944 without torsion bars.
Disassembling the KW V3 coilovers is a trick…
I had to disassemble the rear KW coilovers to swap in the stiffer springs. There is no ‘bolt at the top’ of the coilover… or obvious path to disassembly. However, there is an eyelet at the top of the coilover, where the top mounting bolt goes through. That eyelet piece spins/threads off. But know – it is tight, and it has thread-locker on it. I went to the hardware store and bought the longest grade-8 bolt they had that would slide through the eyelet. Then I put a jack handle over the end of the bolt… and that was my leverage. You then need a way to clamp down the shaft of the coilover, or the whole thing will just spin. Ridetech makes a rod clamp specifically for this purpose. It yields a lot of surface area & clamping power, and won’t scar the shaft. If you scar the shaft, you’ll eat-up the seals in the coilover. I used the Ridetech rod clamp up at the very top of the shaft, out of the range of suspension travel. That way even if the shaft did get scratched, it’s irrelevant. Note: a race buddy of mine said you can cut a square piece of 2×4, drill a hole in it that’s just slightly smaller than the shaft diameter, then cut the 2×4 in half… then put the 2-pieces around the shaft & clamp it down in a bench vice. He says that works. I decided to just get the Ridetech tool because I was tired of losing lol.
So here’s how it’s sitting…
This is just where I set the coilovers at install… 5 threads up from ‘bottomed-out’ on all 4 corners. I’m sure I’ll be making minor upward adjustments as parts come in. It’s just always fun & satisfying to see a car dumped on its balls for wow factor.