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Old 05-26-2019, 07:43 PM   #1
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Best suspension for street and occasional track/autocross use

Hi folks,
I took a drive up through the mountains of NH today and it's clear to me that the stock shocks are really tired on this car - it takes a while to "settle", and it feels a bit squirrely. When I bounce the rear of the car, it goes down, up, down, settle, instead of the tiny-bit-of-down, up slowly into settle that my MS3 with Bilstein HD's does... and the right side is much worse than the left, leading to that awful boat-ey feeling because the car rocks unevenly. I had fun anyway (and wow are those brakes amazing), but it wasn't, shall we say, confidence-inspiring.
I've always loved Bilstein HD's (apparently they call them B6's now), and I've put them on almost every car I've ever owned for a long period of time - my S6, my 5KCSTQA's, and my MS3. To me, they are the perfect mix of upgrade with streetability.
I've been reading about the Bilstein PSS9 and the M030 upgrade kit, but it sounds like the PSS9 is stiffer than the M030, which is stiffer than stock, and also the M030 sounds like it lowers the car.
One of the things I really love about my '01S is that I don't really have to be that careful with it as far as ride height goes - it's a pretty normal height, and I'd really rather not lower it at all, not even the 15mm or so that it sounds like the M030 kit does. Maybe that's not a big deal though. I will track it occasionally, and autocross as well... though primarily this is a daily driver. This car has 169K on it and I appear to be driving it around 20K miles a year. I drive it more often than anything else, and I don't see that changing.
Does anyone have the M030 kit on a daily driver? I'm in New England - we have rough roads everywhere all the time. I'm really leaning towards just getting a set of HD's, but I could be swayed to the M030 kit or maybe Koni FSD's, which I did enjoy on my Jetta TDI... opinions?
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:48 AM   #2
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One thing to note for future planning is that the oem spring perch can really limit the size of wheel and tire you can run in the front. If you never plan on going 245 or 255 in the front you’ll be okay. If you think you’ll ever go that wide I’d looking into some budget coilovers with custom spring rates to offset the rough roads.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:04 AM   #3
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If you plan to do AX in a stock class you have to use OEM shocks. If you decide to drive in a modified class you will need to make all the allowed improvements in order to be competitive.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:49 AM   #4
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You will be very happy with the M030. Great improvement that keeps you in the ‘stock’ class as Anker said.
With PSS9s higher spring rates, you will feel every pebble on route 202 �� (I was on it yesterday and I know).
Also - get out to a PCA, NE-SVT, TCUSA, or BSCC event at Devens AFB. Great groups. Motorsportreg.com
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:01 AM   #5
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I agree with the others that the *Best* suspension for a dual purpose car at a reasonable price point is the M030. Good street comfort and more precise control of your contact patch in AX.

I had PSS9s on my Boxster for 6 years and they were just ok. A compromise shock that allows some adjustability, they improved track precision but even with stock spring rates were quite firm on the street. I actually prefer M030 on a dual purpose car.

You didn't include a budget but if you spare no expense the JRZ suspension is the absolute best on any Boxster/Cayman I have driven. My brother's 987 has this setup and while it is good on the street it is phenomenal on the track and can be tuned to any race track, tire compound, or driving style. Including competition sways, install, and corner balance it was around $10k, so if you truly want the *best* no-compromise setup, this is what I recommend.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:09 AM   #6
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Best suspension for street & occasional track autocross, I have really enjoyed the USA M030 setup, with the worn out struts replaced with Koni FSD (now called special active)

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Old 05-27-2019, 06:18 AM   #7
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My feal coilovers are very good street or track even at spec boxster spring rates
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:02 AM   #8
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I went from a totally worn-out stock suspension on my 148K-mile '02 base to the Bilstein HD (B6) shocks with the ROW M030 springs and sways, and I like it. I'd describe the ride as quite firm on the street, but it's not harsh. It's pretty decent on the track; if my priority was track days, I'd go stiffer with both springs and sways. Since I use it on the street, I'm pretty happy with the compromise.

This year I went from max performance BFGoodrich summer tires to track-oriented Hankook RS4's, and the much stickier tire is a lot more fun to drive on at the track. The ROW M030 handles the stickier tires just fine, with no added roll or wallowing.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:14 AM   #9
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Hope you don't mind me jumping in here, I'm in the same boat as the OP.

Would folks mind sharing where they are purchasing the ROW setup as well as what they are usually paying?

Full ROW setup
ROW springs only, to pair with either B6 or Koni FSD or Sports.

FYI, I believe Koni's site seems to have the best prices (for now) for Koni FSD or Sports.

https://konimarket.com/products/1996-2004-porsche-boxster-boxster-s-986-koni-sport-shock-front-1572

I'm personally leaning toward the Koni sports for the adjustability, unless the general consensus here is that the FSD has the technology to compensate according to needs (street, track)? Thoughts?


Thanks!
Jake
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anker View Post
If you plan to do AX in a stock class you have to use OEM shocks. If you decide to drive in a modified class you will need to make all the allowed improvements in order to be competitive.
That depends on the organization you run with. SCCA Street Class allows you to change the shocks to whatever you want, but you must keep OEM springs.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by jgopinath View Post
Hope you don't mind me jumping in here, I'm in the same boat as the OP.

Would folks mind sharing where they are purchasing the ROW setup as well as what they are usually paying?

Full ROW setup
ROW springs only, to pair with either B6 or Koni FSD or Sports.

FYI, I believe Koni's site seems to have the best prices (for now) for Koni FSD or Sports.

https://konimarket.com/products/1996-2004-porsche-boxster-boxster-s-986-koni-sport-shock-front-1572

I'm personally leaning toward the Koni sports for the adjustability, unless the general consensus here is that the FSD has the technology to compensate according to needs (street, track)? Thoughts?


Thanks!
Jake

Suncoast Porsche has the ROW kit, but availability shows limited on the site. So I'm not sure what their inventory levels look like. I also recently saw that ECSTuning has non ROW M030 for sale, but not sure if they have accurate inventory levels.
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Stroked & Blown View Post
You will be very happy with the M030. Great improvement that keeps you in the ‘stock’ class as Anker said.
With PSS9s higher spring rates, you will feel every pebble on route 202 �� (I was on it yesterday and I know).
Also - get out to a PCA, NE-SVT, TCUSA, or BSCC event at Devens AFB. Great groups. Motorsportreg.com
OP should also keep in mind, that if they are running with the SCCA, ROW M030 will not be considered street or stock class. To stay in Street, one must have US M030, and depending on the model year, you have the find the correct springs as well. Because I forgot how it went, but there was different M030 springs for either Base or S or pre-refresh vs post refresh. They were color coded, but I forgot what the color codes were.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:22 PM   #13
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I don't care about being competitive in AutoX or on the track - I only do it for fun and don't have any interest in beating anything but my previous time. I've been occasionally AutoXing and doing very casual track events (like Track Night in America) for about 22 years, but never been any good, just competent.

I also don't think I'll ever go wider than 225 in the front.

Sounds like pretty much everyone thinks the ROW M030 is the way to go for a dual-purpose car. I was looking at the kit from Suncoast - they say that they expect it to cease being available, but that's all it says.

How durable are those shocks that come with it? I assume they're factory, so they'll last around 100K or so? One attractive thing about Bilstein HD's to me is that I've put well over 100K on several sets and never had them wear out or even get noticeably softer.

Anyone know why the kit for the manual-transmission S is $200 more? Weird. I see someone saying they put the Tiptronic kit on their manual car and it sounds like maybe that would make it not lower the car? I'm worried about losing any ride height... Perhaps the Tiptronic kit has slightly longer or stiffer springs?

My budget is around $2K, which is arbitrary, really.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
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Old 05-27-2019, 08:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmjosiah View Post
I don't care about being competitive in AutoX or on the track - I only do it for fun and don't have any interest in beating anything but my previous time. I've been occasionally AutoXing and doing very casual track events (like Track Night in America) for about 22 years, but never been any good, just competent.

I also don't think I'll ever go wider than 225 in the front.

Sounds like pretty much everyone thinks the ROW M030 is the way to go for a dual-purpose car. I was looking at the kit from Suncoast - they say that they expect it to cease being available, but that's all it says.

How durable are those shocks that come with it? I assume they're factory, so they'll last around 100K or so? One attractive thing about Bilstein HD's to me is that I've put well over 100K on several sets and never had them wear out or even get noticeably softer.

Anyone know why the kit for the manual-transmission S is $200 more? Weird. I see someone saying they put the Tiptronic kit on their manual car and it sounds like maybe that would make it not lower the car? I'm worried about losing any ride height... Perhaps the Tiptronic kit has slightly longer or stiffer springs?

My budget is around $2K, which is arbitrary, really.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
The ROW M30 will lower the car, if I remember correctly its about 10mm but don’t take my drop as accurate but it will lower the car.
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:39 PM   #15
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The drop from stock to ROW M030 is barely noticeable. 10mm is less than half an inch.
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Old 05-28-2019, 03:02 PM   #16
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I put the tip M030 kit on my manual car. Handled great and you get a touch more rake. On my next 986 a 550 no less with the M030 already on it albeit high mileage I binned the springs and dampers for Koni FSD and H&R M030 spec springs. If all the combinations I've tried this feels the best overall for a touch more focus than a standard car.
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Old 05-28-2019, 03:10 PM   #17
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IIRC, the ROW M030 drops the front 20 mm and the back 15mm
I could have that reversed

In any case, that aroyund 1/2 to 3/4 inch
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:47 AM   #18
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After talking with a bunch of my car-geeky friends, I decided that I really like the stock suspension for what it is - a good compromise of performance and comfort - and this is primarily a daily. I only want to take it on the track for fun, maybe once a year, and compromising the streetability of it, even with only 1/2" lowering, isn't something I want to do, so I ended up just getting B6's. I haven't put them on yet, but I can't wait for the boatey feeling to go away

Maybe in the future I'll do the M030 springs and sways, we'll see. Thanks everyone for your thoughts!
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