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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.

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Old Mon, Oct-01-2018, 11:58:36 PM   #1
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Default KW V2 install, Adjustments, Experience and Tips

Hello everyone

I finished my KW V2 installation this weekend and wanted to pass on what I learned so that it may help someone in the future. This isn't intended to be a comprehensive HOW-TO. I intend to share only things that I couldn't readily find a ton of information on or that I found to be particularly difficult. I'm also not writing this for the beginner or novice. So It's not at all a step by step guide. For anyone that has the KWs or similar, feel free to add anything from your experiences as well.

Starting out, my car had White Line FCABs, SDW RTABs, and Turner anti-sway bars.
All else in the suspension was stock, including original (175K mile shocks/struts). Which was why I decided to do this upgrade.

First thing I learned, is that this car has a very annoying suspension setup to work on. Unlike every other car i've worked on, almost none of the major suspension components on this car simply unbolt and come out. They all require quite a bit of brute force persuasion.


Lets start with the front strut, which is trapped between the knuckle/hub and the chassis, even with the FCA/knuckle/hub lowered as far as it will go (at least this was the case on my car). The only possible way mine would come out, is if I removed the knuckle/hub from the FCA completely, or if I used a spring compressor. I opted for the spring compressor because once the knuckle and brake assembly are removed it gets very cumbersome to work with.

-Spray WD-40 into the knuckle clamp area located at the bottom of the strut as soon as you get the wheel off. If you live in an area prone to rusting, you might want to let it sit over night.
Use a pry bar to open the clamp enough to start working the strut out.

-Make sure you have spring compressors handy. Compress the spring enough so you can get the strut out. You will still need to use moderate force to compress the shock. I've read of some people using a bottle jack from the bottom to compress everything enough to clear the knuckle/hub, but I didn't have one. So brute force was necessary.
I bought these and they worked great;

-Unbolt the three bolts from the top of the strut tower and lower the hub assembly down until the three bolts clear the strut tower holes. This will give you room to wiggle the strut and compressor around and get a good grip on the spring. Grab a hold of three coils on each side with the compressor jaws.

-The KWs lower the car a lot. Setting your KW V2s to about 222mm measured from the spring seating surface on the purple adjustment collar to the knuckle bolt center, should get you a nice ~13.5" ride height (wheel center to fender).

-Push your camber plates all the way out. This should make the car safe to drive to the alignment shop. I used Turner camber plates. I'm not 100% sure if it's a requirement, but I suspect it is.

The rear is probably more annoying than the front, especially for making adjustments to ride height.
The spring requires quite a bit of prying, rotating and pulling to coerce it out. I couldn't find a better way of doing this.
-Make sure you have a few big pry bars handy. I had three, 12, 17 and 25". I used all of them.

-If you have the turner anti-sway bars installed, you'll probably have a hell of a time getting the stock spring out. This is because the turner bars curve under the drive axles, limiting the distance the trailing arm can drop down toward the ground. I disconnected my sway bars to make it easier to get the stock spring out.

-The stock top spring pad, gets moved to the bottom of the KW springs.
This is in the instructions, but seemed a little vague.

-The rear KWs lower the car quite a bit, even with it set to the maximum ride height.. I ended up setting my ride height to 34mm, measured from the spring seating surface on the purple collar, to the rubber surface that seats against the chassis. This puts the rear ride height at about 13".

-The adjustment is not 1:1. I did some searching on this, and found conflicting opinions. From experience, and now from looking at it and working on it, I can see it's definitely not 1:1. Think of the trailing arm, spring perch/chassis and wheel hub as a scalene triangle. I wish I would have documented this more definitively, but from what I remember;
10mm change in spring adjustment roughly gets you 25mm change in ride height.

-The KW spring adjustment has some German voodoo self-locking thread on it. It will NOT let you adjust it if there is ANY amount of force on the adjuster (from the sides, top or bottom). You can't reach the damn thing while it's on the car anyway, Thus, the spring and adjuster has to come completely out of the car to make any adjustments - this is EXTREMELY annoying. Hopefully it doesn't take you 3-4 attempts to get it right, like it did for me.

-Stock rear camber adjuster seems to be sufficient for street and probably track duty as well. Although, I think camber arms like the ones ECS designed would make it quite a bit easier.
Adjust your camber all the way IN (opposite from the front, since the adjustment is on the bottom). This will make the car safe enough to drive (temporarily) to get an alignment.
2006 Carbon Black ///M3 ZCP

Last edited by Napalm; Tue, Oct-02-2018 at 12:07:00 AM.
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Discussing KW V2 install, Adjustments, Experience and Tips in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)