K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Suspension and other discussion

K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby Jason88AllTrac » Wed May 19, 2010 12:06 am

This is my review of the K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System. To my knowledge nobody else has done a review on these coilovers for the alltrac. This is a draft for your review, and I will add more information and pictures later. I am not an expert, but am quite knowledgable on suspension systems and the fundamentals of vehicle dynamics. I am doing this review for the benefit of others, should they decide to purchase the same (or one of the simialr) kits for their alltrac.

MSRP is $2000. You can find them listed on a lot of sites for $1300-1400, and if you really work at it you can find them for $1200 plus shipping. You can see ksport's information on them here: http://www.ksportusa.com/asp/coilovers_detail.asp?product_id=cd03

Points of information to consider, as the information is not always specific to the alltrac application and the pictures could be considered a tad deceptive:
-Monotube design long travel damper
-The springs included are linear rate
-Top mounts are not adjustable
-Damping adjustment is on the bottom of the shock body and uses a long removable allen screw, making it impossible to adjust with the coilovers installed.
-Color is black, except for the outside of the shock body which is silver (zinc plated).

I purchased the coilovers from Robert at 935 motorsports for my rallycross/ice car. He told me they would ship to him, then he would re-ship them to me. There is a 7-14 day build time, as they are custom built for each application. The point of this review is not to trash 935, so I will be brief. A full SEVEN WEEKS after ordering I had no coilovers and no refund, I went ahead and ordered them from Never Enough Auto. Less than three weeks later they were delivered to my door. I am VERY satisfied with the service I received from Never Enough, and I would recommend them to anyone else interested in ksport products. Visit them at http://neverenoughauto.com/

Onwards to the review!

Components: Here is the kit as it arrived to me.
http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn225/roasttchicken/102_3519.jpgNote the lack of a boot to protect the shaft. These are available for purchase, just not included as part of the kit. Considering the price, one might expect them to be included. Also, ksport camber plates will not work with these dampers. Ksport support was very good overall. Sadly, they suggested I try to find another manufacturer that sold camber plates that would fit their damper. The anodization of the aluminum parts (spring perches and top plates) was well done, however the top plates should have been de-burred along the edges, as the anodization was think enough that bare metal was showing through in numerous spots. The spring perches and shock body both rotated freely and had a reasonably good thread tolerance for a budget kit (though a tad on the loose side).

Installation:
Side-by-side comparison picture (rear, note fully extended shock length is actually greater than stock = more droop travel if desired):
http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn225/roasttchicken/IMG_0501.jpg
Old and busted (rear shown during removal):
http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn22 ... G_0500.jpg
New hotness (rear shown):
http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn22 ... G_0502.jpg

The install is pretty straight forward if you have ever r&r'd struts before. If you are buying this kit, chances are you have ;-). Do yourself afavor and plan to buy new rear endlinks before doing the job. Depending on your desired ride height, you are going to want to start with the shock body as 'low' as possible without rubbing on the cv boots. With minimal preload on the springs, this gave a ride height .5" lower in front and .25" lower in rear. Not bad. If someone wanted to lower more than that they could always lower the spring perch, but these are designed for rally use and rally cars are very rarely much lower than stock ride height on gravel stages. The ride height can actually be raised a lot using this kit; in the neighborhood of 2.5 inches should even more ground clearance be desired.

The lower brackets are pre-slotted to give a good amount of camber adjustment (up to almost -3 degrees as checked by me) and fit the knuckles perfectly. The rear swaybar/endlink mount is on the outside of the shock body and hence adjustable, but cannot go low enough to position the bar in its stock location. It should come off the lower bracket for correct locating of the rear swaybar, but this is the way they decided to do it. Fitment is quite a bit less than ideal, and the end-link ends up being at an angle... The brake hose mounts are also universal style parts, and need to be bent at wild angles to both fit and secure the hose correctly. The fronts also need to mount the ABS wheel speed sensor wire if you care about ABS. Plan to get frustrated with these, and also plan to use zip-ties like I did.

Results/Opinions:
I aligned the car to my own specifications which was zero toe front and rear, -1.5 front and -1 degree rear camber. Caster is factory 1 degree. Alignment was easier than many cars, as the strut bolts could be loosened and tightened easily without removing the wheels. This car will see both tarmac and gravel use, so I went for a setting somewhat in between either one. More testing will determine if this is sufficient camber, however I feel the toe setting is close to ideal.

Pavement/Tarmac handling with this alignement setting on these coilovers is very neutral with slight understeer when maintaining limit cornering (200' skidpad). The suspension is otherwise stock, but perhaps a larger rear swaybar would give even more neutral characteristics. On a 50 foot spaced Slalom, the car felt solid and planted, with a very neutral feel from that glorious pendalium effect. The difference from the stock suspension was simply night and day.

Gravel/dirt handling with this alignment setting on these coilovers is very neutral with slight overster with any throttle input (accel/decel). This makes the car VERY 'tossable' when coming into a corner. Initiating a powerslide is as easy as lifting, then power through. No need for the Scandinavian flick, e-brake, etc.

Ride quality is very good overall. With not being able to adjust the damping easily, you pretty much have to deal with whatever setting you put them on. I selected a setting near the middle as a compromise for the time being. On gravel they soak up bumps and ruts very well, even large ones don't substantially upset the vehicle or transmit a large amount of shock into the vehicle. Gravel is what they are designed for, and it's where they really shine.

Thanks,
Jason
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby lumbercis » Wed May 19, 2010 12:57 am

Excellent thorough review. Would like to hear more about their actual track performance once you get more track miles on then.

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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby Flying Bajan » Wed May 19, 2010 10:40 pm

I am interested to hear how long they last before the dampers are shot. Especially if you do a lot of gravel events... People in Barbados have had them on various street cars and our bumpyish tarmac destroys the dampers in very short order....

While I have not had any on my GT4, I definitely will not be and I suggest others stay away as well.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby MWP » Wed May 19, 2010 11:54 pm

The lower shock body/hub mount is aluminium???
No way would I ever trust that on a road-car let alone a dirt rally car.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby Jason88AllTrac » Fri May 21, 2010 9:04 pm

No, it's steel.

BY the way:
http://www.ksportusa.com/asp/press_rele ... ress_id=28

Even with design changes I am a tad concerned for their durability as well, but I'll find out soon enough. Monotube shocks are typically very durable if designed and manufactured correctly. If they arent up to the job of the local logging roads and some rallycross, then they would not make it through a typical rally event. At least there is a one year warranty.
Last edited by Jason88AllTrac on Fri May 21, 2010 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby 88st165 » Fri May 21, 2010 9:17 pm

The main thing I dislike about the ksports is that the swaybar tab is on the threaded part of the strut as opposed to being fixed to the portion that bolts to the hub. I have seen those tabs move/twist just from some spirited driving on my buddys mr2. I have the regular ksports on the rear on my white 165 and I always check the tabs frequently. I do have to say that the rally spec looks much better that the standard ones.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby ToySlider » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:57 pm

Any updates? I'm curious as to how these things hold up.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby Jason88AllTrac » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:18 pm

ToySlider wrote:Any updates? I'm curious as to how these things hold up.


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UPDATE:

I have had the car through two BRUTAL rallycrosses (I seriously felt bad afterwards for putting the car through them, but not as bad as they guys with the BRAND new evo's and STi's). They still have a thick coating of mud on them from the last event.
5,000 road miles so far, daily driving some of the worst sections of expressway in IL. So far they are working admirably. No strnge noises, no leaks. I did discover I could adjust the fronts without taking the free from the knuckle if I jack the car up and turn to full lock in either direction. The rear needed to be disconnected, so I needed to re-set the camber. I just lowered the car an inch (by the spring since the shock bodies are already as low as they can go at sotck height) and got it re-aligned with a little toe out in front. I also moved the upper mount back to gain some caster. Even though I still only have less than two degrees of caster, I'm hoping the increased ackerman from the toe adjustment will assist the low-speed understeer issue it seems to have. Either that, or I just need more tire.

Right now I am running just a 195 RE050 for street and a 185 winterforce for running the gravel: seasonal/fireroads and rallycross. The coilovers are also going to get transferred to my blue car, which is stripped out. It's midway through getting prepped for SL class ice racing next winter, which is stud limited: 240 per tire and less than 1/4" so grip should be slightly better than gravel. I should have an old set of tires to use for studded ice racing, and if the cage, lights and other parts go on I'll definately have some real endurance testing... and cool videos to share.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby BNZ » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:06 pm

I'm also running those,painted in orange and branded XYZ !
I have them for about one year on my car,and they do what they are supposed to do,but well,i must admit i was expecting more from them as overall performance (foolish of me,maybe,trying to compare them to my mate's gravel Proflex on a Group N Subaru).
One strange thing I've noticed tough...in cruising mode,they are hard as stone...the car feels every small bump and that's getting annoying from a stage to another !
P.S. I'm sitting in bucket seats,so i kind of feel what the car feels :)

Here's a short movie on a stage during "road notes-checking" ,not at great speeds,but it can be seen how the car behaves on winter tires : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ywewi7atbV0

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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby 88st165 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:01 am

How are these ksports holding up for you?

I have been exploring the options out there for a gravel suspension setup. I have been considering the usual DMS, ground control/koni, and these ksport rally spec gr coilovers. I have been reading the reviews on the ksports on various rally and subi forums and the reviews are closely split good/bad. It seems that ksport has changed the design of these as the bottom mount is now 6061 alum instead of steel. They also do not specify the spring rates on alot of the sites that sells them including the ksport site. No mention of spring rates concerns me.
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby warmachine » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:07 am

ive had the ksport grs for about 8-10 months now, and i have to say the height is nice (i raised my car about 1 inch) and they handle great in small rallyXs, but on the street they are hard as a fucking rock! most of the time i only feel my tires flexing. wisconsin roads are utterly terrible and it actually starts to hurt my back after a while (stock seats). granted it is my winter daily, and rally suspension is not meant for dd, its meant for rally. i actually thought ksport messed up and sent me the wrong springs untill i felt how stiff my friends dms are on his impreza rally car. my shocks are probably set too stiff too, but they are next to impossible to adjust without taking them out so im rollin it. id like to run something closer to a real stage with it, but i should be able to get a bunch of rallyX in this season so ill give a better review then. overall id say im happy for the money, but i would never put them on a dd again lol
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby johndgt4 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:21 pm

It may be worth, you guys who are not feeling them being particularly compliant on road, trying some swift springs.

On my 205 I have a bilstein/swift setup with 14kg/mm fr (205 tend to be higher due to SS) and 7kg/mm rr and use them on a daily driver. They are stiff and do have some bounce (due to the tyres) but they just soak up potholes, ruts etc with a firm thud...hard to describe really.

I thought I'd break my back with those sorts of spring rates but I'm really impressed with Swift springs and they appear to work as they claim. No coil bind like cheaper coilovers....but this is comparing to std KSport, D2, XYZ etc......even though mine are shortish stroke tarmac setups.

You could also add a tender spring to make the initial part of the stroke more compliant.

Food for thought anyway.

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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby Gary ST165 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:45 pm

John, where did you source yours from in the UK?

http://www.swiftsprings.com/products-co ... rings.html
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby BNZ » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:49 am

I have the exact same feedback as warmachine regarding the XYZ/K-Sport Gravel stuff...i also tough something is messed up as on the road between stages the car bounces like a ping-pong ball on the tires as there were no give in the suspension. On the Gravel on the other hand is another story...it's like as harder the kick is the more softer it becomes to absorb the shock.

@johndgt4 what's the weight on the front axle on your 205 ? is there any give on a bump from that 14kg/mm springs ?
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Re: K-Sport Rally Spec GR Damper System Review

Postby 88st165 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:47 am

After contacting many vendors for these ksport gravel coilovers all of them got back to me saying that these were discontinued for the alltrac application last April. Real bummer bc I wanted to try them out.
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