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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided that for now I'm going to opt for an "OEM+" motif for my JCW. Part of that decision was centered around the fact that the new JCW Pro coilover offering is in fact built by KW, yet still comes with a MINIUSA warranty that spans the new car warranty. Motor City MINI gave me a lovely package price with the coilovers when buying the JCW, so it was an easy decision. Keep in mind the JCW is my daily driver, and I have my turbo Miata built up as the hardcore Hoosier-shod track car, so a dollop of comfort with sporting intentions are the theme here.


The bigger-than normal box fits comfortably in the F56's larger boot. :biggrin5:
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

The part number is 33502341197 for "retrofit kit sports suspension" (for cars without DDC)
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

A very nice microfiber bag holds the spring perch adjuster wrench
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

A little more unpacking shows the foam-wrapped rear springs, thread-locker compound, "Attention: John Cooper Works sport suspension installed" sticker (LOL), and front struts, the expanding foam keeping everything night and snug.
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

Here's an up-close of the stainless steel front strut, the stickers indicate "Left" and "Right" sides, and the "made by KW" clearly marked.
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

Here are the dampers and springs all together on the bench. The rear bumpstops have new dust boots snapped into them. I presume the fronts will re-use the original dust boot bellows
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

The rear springs, rear height adjusters with very nice rubber noise isolators, thread locker, wrench, and sticker. Where should the sticker go? :confused5:
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr

Close up of the rear height adjuster. It's nicely anodized aluminum, likely right off the shelf at KW but anodized black instead of purple. The rubber isolator is actually a very OEM looking 2-piece design that plugs into the coil spring end.
JCW Pro coilovers unboxing by Ryephile, on Flickr


In all it's a very nice looking kit. It's clear it's had an OEM touch over the normal KW offerings, which is a big plus. I'll post more information on the stroke and bumpstops when I remove the stock bits to have a solid comparison.
 

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You need a cargo net! Looks awesome...that's hard core!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok I got the analysis done and the coilovers installed, but I haven't had time to drive it yet and the ride height still has to be sorted out.

Pictures first. Here are the rear SS [black] and JCW [red] springs. The JCW spring wire is much thicker, but there are also more turns and thus longer wire length, so the final spring rate might be similar.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

One of each disassembled rear dampers, SS on left, JCW on right. Note the much different bumpstop size.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

One of each assembled rear dampers, SS on left, JCW on right. The mounting surfaces of the top-moutns are lined up; note the JCW is shorter overall.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

Front spring comparison, JCW [red] on left, SS [black] on right. Even though the JCW is wound shorter, it still has approximately 4 turns total. The JCW wire is about the same thickness, but the coil turn diameter is generally less, meaning a shorter overall wire length which means a stiffer spring. This is all assuming the wire alloy is similar, which is very well may not be.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

Front strut comparison. JCW [stainless] on left, SS [black] on right. SS bumpstop not shown here, but it's much bigger than the JCW bumpstop. Of note is the SS damper has surplus damper shaft, meaning at maximum possible stroke there's still some chrome damper shaft outside the body. This is important later on with the stroke analysis.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr


Here's a picture of the stock SS front strut installed in the car w/out the spring. This allows me to measure axle location at full droop, at first bumpstop contact [which I also call "free compression stroke", and compressing the bumpstop until the car lifts off its respective corner jackstand, putting the corner weight of the car into compressing the bumpstop. This demonstrates an approximation of full travel in a static situation, however dynamically [e.g. slamming into a speed bump] the bumpstop would compress slightly further, as indicated by it's typically unpublished rate vs. travel graph.

I did these measurements on one side of the front and rear.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

Here is a picture of a partially assembled JCW front strut, after doing stroke measurements.
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

...and finally something installed in the car!
OEM Sport vs JCW accessory suspension by Ryephile, on Flickr

numbers to follow
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here goes. I'll try to make my nomenclature easy to understand by starting with some definitions.


*Static ride height: The position the suspension sits when the car is parked. For this car, I'm using the centerline of the axle to the apex of the wheel arch trim directly vertical from the centerline of the axle.

*Droop: The amount the wheel sags or extends [e.g. when the tire falls into a pothole] compared to the static ride height. This will show more tire gap between the tire and the fender arch

*Compression: The amount the wheel pushes into the body's wheel housing [e.g. when you run over a bump]. This will show less tire gap between the tire and the fender arch

*Bumpstop: A carefully design micro-cellular foam piece that helps exponentially cushion the damper during large compression actions [e.g. a very large speed bump or too many fat American's climbing aboard]. The bumpstop usually compresses to between 1/3 to 1/4 it's normal height when the weight of the car is on it, depending on stiffness and design. Keep in mind that when the bumpstop is compressing the added spring rate exponentially approaches infinity. The bigger the bump, the harder the shock transferred into the cabin. The goal for bumpstop design is two-fold; to not allow the damper to bottom-out its internal bits, and to absorb enough force such that the largest intended impact does not exceed the point of the bumpstops compression curve where it approaches infinity. Sounds simple, right?

*Motion ratio: The difference in stroke between how far the damper moves and how far the tire moves. Thankfully for the MINI, the damper motion ratios are basically 1:1, so they're not of concern. The rear spring on the MINI does have a motion ratio other than 1:1, but that's not something we'll touch on here.


_______________________________________________________________

Stock Sport Suspension:

Droop @ 17.375" front and 16.5" rear
Ride Height @ 14.75" front and 14.375" rear
Free Compression @ 13.75" front and 13.125" rear
Bumpstop Compression @ 11.875" front and 11.625" rear

Put into a different context:
Total Possible Stroke is 5.5" front and 4.875" rear.
From Ride Height to full Droop is 2.625" front and 2.125" rear
From Ride Height to first bumpstop contact, or "free compression travel" is 1.0" front and 1.25" rear.
Full bumpstop compression adds another 1.875" front and 1.5" rear of compression travel, but it won't be comfortable.

_________________________________________________________

JCW Accessory suspension kit by KW

Droop @ 16.625" front and 15.625" rear
Ride Height to be determined, however 13.5"-13.875" front and 13.25"-13.5" rear appears to be design breadth
Free Compression @ 12.5" front and 12.0" rear
Bumpstop Compression @ 11.0" front and 10.75" rear

Put into a different context:
Total Possible Stroke is 5.625" front and 4.875" rear.
Full bumpstop compression adds another 1.5" front and 1.25" rear of compression travel, but it won't be comfortable.


What can we learn from these numbers? Put it into a very simple statement, the JCW coilovers offer the ability to lower the ride height 1.25" front and 1.125" rear with zero compromise to compression ride comfort versus the OEM Sport Suspension. The bumpstops are shorter and thus more progressive, yet I'd wager the difference in very large bumps will feel basically the same. The total stroke of the JCW setup is actually slightly more in front and identical in rear, and the design intent is to locate the ride height between 7/8" and 1.25" lower than stock without any noteworthy compromise in ride comfort.

It'll be a few days before I'll be able to give quality feedback on the final ride height and dynamic behavior, but rest assured I'll update this thread when I do!

Cheers,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Here's how I set the car up tonight:

The "axle center to wheel arch apex" ride height is set for 13.6" front and 13.2" rear, the same chassis rake as stock, but 1.1" lower than stock. I haven't yet analyzed the roll centers, so this might not be ideal for handling, just FYI.

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr


And here's how the spring collars look. In front there are 25 threads of useful adjustment available. I set the collars so there are 10 threads visible below the collar, or 0.75" of exposed thread. In the back, it's "full down", with 0 threads visible.

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr


How does it ride and handle? Well, I drove it a whopping 2 miles through my neighborhood tonight, so my impressions are minimal. The ride feels pretty much the same, maybe 20% firmer due to stronger damping. The stock Sport Suspension IMO was lusciously soft and didn't seem fitting for a MINI, even a grown-up refined MINI-BMW like the F56. These JCW Pro coilovers aren't a drastic change, but they're a small step in the right direction. I'm not sure if my mother would even notice the change from inside the cabin.

I will be driving the car tomorrow, so I'll try to provide more thorough feedback then. First impressions are good; the ride quality isn't ruined at least, and the car looks a lot better not sitting on the factory lift-kit.
 

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Here's how I set the car up tonight:

The "axle center to wheel arch apex" ride height is set for 13.6" front and 13.2" rear, the same chassis rake as stock, but 1.1" lower than stock. I haven't yet analyzed the roll centers, so this might not be ideal for handling, just FYI.

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr


And here's how the spring collars look. In front there are 25 threads of useful adjustment available. I set the collars so there are 10 threads visible below the collar, or 0.75" of exposed thread. In the back, it's "full down", with 0 threads visible.

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr

JCW Pro coilovers installed by Ryephile, on Flickr


How does it ride and handle? Well, I drove it a whopping 2 miles through my neighborhood tonight, so my impressions are minimal. The ride feels pretty much the same, maybe 20% firmer due to stronger damping. The stock Sport Suspension IMO was lusciously soft and didn't seem fitting for a MINI, even a grown-up refined MINI-BMW like the F56. These JCW Pro coilovers aren't a drastic change, but they're a small step in the right direction. I'm not sure if my mother would even notice the change from inside the cabin.

I will be driving the car tomorrow, so I'll try to provide more thorough feedback then. First impressions are good; the ride quality isn't ruined at least, and the car looks a lot better not sitting on the factory lift-kit.
Great lookin car, looks identical to mine!

Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Looks fantastic. I assume that they fitted straight on with no problems?
Thanks guys :D

The installation was a breeze. MINI & JCW clearly worked hand-in-hand with KW to make sure there were no excuses or issues. I actually like how limited the rear ride height adjustment is; it tell me they had confidence in the ride height and only put the adjustment in as a fine-tuning, not a bulk ambivalence. You pretty much set up the rears on max low or near it, and then dial in the fronts to your preferred chassis rake. Easy peasy.

The ride quality is only slightly firmer than stock, primarily through firmer damping. This translates to a car that transitions weight quicker, so it sets up for corners very quickly and eliminates the floating feeling the stock sport suspension had. Since they still have lots of suspension travel, big bumps are soaked up handily. I picked up my friend at the airport last night, and DTW's surrounding roads are absolutely embarassingly poor; they look like the rubble left over after the Manhattan Project. Even so, the coilovers handled them far better than any previous gen MINI, and definitely better than my previous Abarth on Bilstein B14's....and that's with a loaded car and a big load of checked luggage.

I still haven't done any really aggressive corner carving, but cruising down the Interstate feels more planted, weight transitions quicker and more precise, and no more floating body movement. So far it's win-win. It's how the car should've come from the factory, seriously.
 

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May I ask, you have the 17in Track spoke wheels, I am having new ones fitted at the moment over my JCW brake u pgrade, and the clearance is only 1-2 mm between caliper and rim, is yours that tight, good to hear because your came from the factory?? I was concerned it was too tight??

Sent from my A0001 using Tapatalk
 

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Your analysis and comments have convinced me. When I read the first reviews of the sport suspension there were statements about how stiff it was; not okay for the roads like we have here in Michigan. When I drive the car, I think, this is not bad at all; better than my R53 and others that are my baseline. Concur that the car, for my tastes, could use some more precision and body control.
So, just need to figure out when this is going to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Your analysis and comments have convinced me. When I read the first reviews of the sport suspension there were statements about how stiff it was; not okay for the roads like we have here in Michigan. When I drive the car, I think, this is not bad at all; better than my R53 and others that are my baseline. Concur that the car, for my tastes, could use some more precision and body control.
So, just need to figure out when this is going to happen.
Hi Jon!

You want to meet up and drive the car for yourself? I'd also be willing to help you with the install; they're not tough at all to put in. Shoot me a message :)


Ride and handling update: I had the car loaded down with a full crew this weekend and while the ride was firmer, nobody in back complained. It's definitely rides best with only one or two in the car, as expected. I also had a chance to push it through my reference on-ramp, which is a banked uphill 270° corner. I was able to get another 2 MPH out of the JCW coilovers vs the sport suspension with the same amount of tire slip angle. It communicates nicely at the limit with safe understeer, but the limit is unprecedentedly high for an LRR summer street tire. The only cars that've gone faster had 100 UTQG or stickier. Very impressive cornering ability.

These dampers are literally have your cake and eat it too, and for not much money as a cherry on top.
 

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Hello Ryephile,

New to this forum. Thank you very much for this excellent post.

One topic that has not been covered yet (here at least) is car alignment after install.

Can you offer any insights on that?

Have you gotten the car aligned after the install? If so, what were the final camber and toe settings achieved? How they do compare to the stock values? Did you use or had to use any camber plates (front) or variable length link arms (rear) to achieve a those settings?

Thank you in advance!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good question, thanks for asking. I intentionally didn't share my alignment numbers as I'm not finished experimenting with various settings, but I will say that it's a smart idea to have the car's alignment checked before and after to ensure you have a solid starting point and then make the changes you feel necessary. Setting the car to the "factory" alignment may or may not be a good thing, it all depends on how you want the car to feel and your application.

The front toe has virtually no bump-steer, so front toe changes are in the noise. Front camber is non-adjustable nor does it change from the modest lowering. You'd have to go with a different factory knuckle part number or an offset front control arm bushing; there don't appear to be any aftermarket camber plates available, despite LAP Motorsports being rules-driven to offer them. I don't like the idea of the offset front control arm bushing because then it pushes the front longitudinal deflection bushing [aka the rear front control arm bushing] off axis and causes it to bind slightly.

The rear toe is slightly adjustable, but the bump-steer is also not worrysome unless you don't like the factory toe. The only adjustment you should have to make to the car after lowering it is pull back some rear negative camber, which is easily adjustable with the factory eccentric on the outboard lower control arm pivot.


That's basically it. Lower the car, adjust the rear camber, and you're done. It's way easier than setting up the suspension in a Miata. :)
 

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Cool! Thank you!

So no front negative camber has to be corrected right? Or at least noticeable.

I am trying to stay away from non mini parts and I remember my days back with Hondas and Toyotas having to dial back negative camber both front and rear with links, camber plates (that typically delete the shock upper bushing making road noise worse, etc...)

Anyway, if you care to share your final settings whenever that'd be great!!

Thank you once again!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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