Koni VS Tein VS KWV3 - MR2 Owners Club Message Board
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 10:19 Thread Starter
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Koni VS Tein VS KWV3

Hi, right now I have Tokico's 5 way adjustable with lowering springs and they been pretty damn good and reliable for the last 10+ years, but I want to try something may be a little better. I have narrow it down to Koni's either 8610 or even the 8611, Teins, and KW coilovers. I would like your opinions on why I should go with what you think or have experience is best. My car is a street car and occasionally a weekend warrior (Drag racing only). I would love to get coilovers so I can corner weight/balance my car and take advantage of it when drag racing. Here is what I gathered so far

Teins: Cheapest option of them all.
Well known and very good reviews.
They have done tons of research and test their product.
16-level (click) Linear Damping Force Adjustment System.
I can just buy them and drop them in, no custom work required, they even come "corner balance" out of the box.
Nothing negative to say about them from me except they are so cheap now I'm not sure they be as good as they where before.

KWV3: Similar/cheaper pricewise to custom Koni's.
Well known and good reviews (found a few inconsistency though, shocks not performing as they should etc.).
They have done tons of research and test their product.
Just like the Teins plug and play.
lifetime warranty only against manufacture defects.
Stainless bodies and brackets (very durable and nice touch).
One negative thing I have to say is the fact that you can't adjust the entire shock at the mounting bracket, in other words as you lower the car you also lower the shock travel length.

Koni's 8610/8611: Similar or even more expensive than KW depending on which I choose.
Well Known and excellent reviews (I also rode my friends mr2 with the 8610 and lowering springs and the car was a dream to drive).
They also have done the research and test their product.
A lot of custom work required.
Lifetime warranty period.
For me 8610 make more sense than the 8611, but how much better are the 8611? I mean will they really make a difference when I drag the car? I have managed 1.5 sixty foot consistently with my Tokicos iluminas.
ONE negative thing I have to say about then is the fact that they DO NOT click when you adjust them, and that bothers the hell out of me. How can you be sure you adjusting them properly? I think the 8611 click on the bottom adjuster but what about the top?

Thanks! in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 10:58
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Originally Posted by JNRmr2 View Post
Koni's 8610/8611: Similar or even more expensive than KW depending on which I choose.
Well Known and excellent reviews (I also rode my friends mr2 with the 8610 and lowering springs and the car was a dream to drive).
They also have done the research and test their product.
A lot of custom work required.
Lifetime warranty period.
For me 8610 make more sense than the 8611, but how much better are the 8611? I mean will they really make a difference when I drag the car? I have managed 1.5 sixty foot consistently with my Tokicos iluminas.
ONE negative thing I have to say about then is the fact that they DO NOT click when you adjust them, and that bothers the hell out of me. How can you be sure you adjusting them properly? I think the 8611 click on the bottom adjuster but what about the top?
I can comment on the Koni option, though I have no experience with the others.

The 8611's aren't "better" than the 8610's, they just have more adjustability (separate compression adjustment). If that is important to you, or if compression adjustment is beneficial in drag racing, then they are better. But they are basically the same shock, just with the added adjuster.

Yes, the 8611's have clicks on the compression adjuster, the rebound adjuster is the same as all other Koni struts. I agree, it's probably the one thing I don't like about them. I mean, it's not actually that hard to count turns, but it would be nice if it had clicks.

The 8610s and 8611s are "race" shocks, and do NOT have a warranty, FYI.

Lots of custom work, lucky for you, you don't have to do any of it yourself if you don't want to: https://wilhelmraceworks.com/koni-coilovers
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A retro-active build thread for my track / autocross car
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 12:25 Thread Starter
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I can comment on the Koni option, though I have no experience with the others.

The 8611's aren't "better" than the 8610's, they just have more adjustability (separate compression adjustment). If that is important to you, or if compression adjustment is beneficial in drag racing, then they are better. But they are basically the same shock, just with the added adjuster.

Yes, the 8611's have clicks on the compression adjuster, the rebound adjuster is the same as all other Koni struts. I agree, it's probably the one thing I don't like about them. I mean, it's not actually that hard to count turns, but it would be nice if it had clicks.

The 8610s and 8611s are "race" shocks, and do NOT have a warranty, FYI.

Lots of custom work, lucky for you, you don't have to do any of it yourself if you don't want to: https://wilhelmraceworks.com/koni-coilovers
Thanks! Alex for the response. I did not know they don't come with lifetime warranty. Do you have any experience with their sport units? 8641 I think. How would they compared to the 8610/8611?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 15:52
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The regular Koni Sport shocks (the stock replacements for the stock housings) are great, except that being stock replacements they are stock length, which makes them really long. To the point where you run out of travel pretty quickly when you lower the car. Not ideal for a coilover build as a result. They aren't valved to handle as high of high spring rates as the Race shocks, and they don't perform *as* well on the track, but they aren't bad. If you are looking for a better replacement for your Tokicos while keeping your lower springs, you can't go wrong with the Koni Sports (aka, Koni Yellows).


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 19:50
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I have extensive experience with all those dampers/coilovers on other platforms, and a little bit on an SW20.

I bought my SW20 with Tein Street Basis on it. Honestly, they're a great street, very mild track setup. I would 100% go with these over a Koni + spring setup, and they're cheaper. Non-adjustable on damping, but they're set to a pretty comfortable street level. No real negatives noted when driving on them other than they cannot go super low as you'd expect. Previous owner had the car about 3/4" too low, but after raising it up, it drives really well for what they are. I plan to put some track time on them this year, so I'll get a more accurate impression, but they'll do fine I'm sure.

The Tein Flex Z's I had on an AP1 S2000 - they're a little more aggressive on their spring rates than the Street Basis, but still a street/track oriented setup. The shocks are pretty good, but not quite as refined as the Koni 861x I'd say. I wouldn't let their cheap price turn you off, as they're an amazing value IMO. I thought they were great on my AP1. They dropped the price by going with non serviceable dampers, and welded steel camber plates, which isn't a huge negative for their market segment IMO. If you need a new damper, you won't be crying like you are replacing/rebuilding a set of 4x Koni 8611s. My biggest gripe on the Flex Z's is that the adjustment range felt kinda narrow, with you really having about a 4-5 click window of adjustment you should actually be using. Below that was way too soft, and above that way too stiff (especially at high piston speeds). But it does give you plenty of adjustment to tweak things a bit, just don't go crazy with it or you will be disappointed with the results.

KW is a good performer, but IMO they're not worth the price. I honestly would put the dampers roughly on par with what you'd find in a Tein Flex Z that's ~40% the price. I've ridden in a bunch of cars with them, and I've never thought they didn't perform, but at $2k+ for v3s, it just comes at a high price, and they're honestly not setup super great like a Koni IMO. I've also seen some worrying reliability issues with them on friends cars.


Koni 8610/8611's are a great damper, and you can really dial things in with the customization there. The question is do you think it's worthwhile for you? IMO, if you're going to go over $1-1.2k for a suspension setup, these would pop to the top of my list, and I'd go to Alex W for a set without hesitation as he's done all the hard work for you.

tldr; Tein Flex Z's on the cheaper end if you want adjustability, Street Basis for just cruising (doesn't sound like your usage, but advice holds), but if you want to really tweak things and are willing to spend the $$$ - go Koni 8610/8611. For a drag setup I'd probably do 8611 in the rear and 8610 in the front.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old March 25th, 2019, 22:19
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Thanks for the insight. I've been trying to save up for the Koni's and always wondered how they stack up against the KW V3. I have the koni yellows now, but I'm doing more racing than I have in the past.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old March 26th, 2019, 10:51
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Koni 861x have a more aggressive valving than Yellows, but they'll feel roughly similar-ish. The main advantage of the 861x is the ability to go to higher rates and still control things, and having plenty of travel.

KW v3s are actually pretty long on most applications - barely shorter than stock length dampers. KW views them as a "nice street setup" - so a "decent" drop and track usage are generally not what they're designed for, so running out of travel is common unless you run the car pretty high. The Clubsports are the closest comparison to something like a custom 861x Koni setup, but unfortunately they're not made for SW20s to my knowledge. They're also closer to $3k+ for most applications, so they really start don't to make sense for the $$$ IMO.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old March 27th, 2019, 21:29 Thread Starter
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Thanks! for the replies. After doing more research I came across the Tein EDFC active pro. Has anyone have experience with it? It looks very appealing to me and with the Teins I would definitely get it. It would be even better if I can adapt it to the Koni's.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old March 27th, 2019, 21:31
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Would only work for Teins. I could see it being cool, but I wonder how much usage something like that would be used.
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