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      01-31-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
1speedbike
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PSA: ST Coilover Quality Issues & PITA Warranty

Hi guys. Been busy, and it's been a long time since I've posted on here, but I figure I should post on here just to let everyone know of some issues I've been having with ST coilovers.

I bought STs because they're made by KW, and I thought that would mean they are built with quality in mind. Apparently that is not the case. Somewhere between KW's engineering and the actual ST product, quality control was lost.

My set has less than 25,000 miles on it, but one of my coils started making noises like the shock went bad on it. I thought "probably just something loose, no way the shock is bad that soon" so I brought the car in. Apparently, the shock definitely is bad, and this isn't an isolated incident.

My usual shop said they have been having DOZENS of customers come in with ST coilover problems. Since they sold/installed them, they've been losing money on warranty claims and labor time lost, so they just stopped selling them or installing them. They feel very bad about all the customers who have been left with a hole in their pocket or a car left sitting unusable for weeks while trying to fight warranty battles with ST, but there's nothing they can do.

The worst part is that the warranty claim procedure is completely obnoxious. You have to specifically measure ride height and several other parameters, take out the coil, send it in along with the data, and then wait for them to assess whether or not your issue will even be covered. Meanwhile, your car is out of commission for quite some time, and you may not even end up being covered in the end because they seem to like to deny claims if your car isn't within a certain ride height range, etc.

My car is being looked at right now, and I'm having the coilover specs measured and documented, but I'm probably not going to even bother based on what I've been reading and hearing about the process. Why bother going through this headache just to have another shitty coilover crap out on me down the road?

I just wanted to post this to let others know that if possible, stay away from ST. I was extremely happy with mine at first. True, they weren't exactly "sporty" but they were "sportier" and felt like a really nice balance between stock ride comfort and nicer handling. And like I said, being that they're made by KW I thought they would be a quality product, more so than similarly priced Eibach kits. Normally, I wouldn't make a post like this if I was the only one with this problem, but after researching the brand, seeing other people's complains, and being told what I was told by my shop, I want to save others from making the same error in judgement I made.

Incidentally, I am now looking for a reasonably priced replacement, used or new. Anyone have any suggestions or leads?
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      01-31-2014, 01:35 PM   #2
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Straight to the point, what's your budget?

What are you driving habits?
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      01-31-2014, 01:38 PM   #3
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I’ll be upgrading to V2s or Ohlins R&Ts come Spring time, the STs are too soft for my tastes. But in fairness, I’ve had zero issues in terms of product defects or failures, albeit they’ve been on the car for like 10K miles so I’d certainly hope that would be the case.

Try to find some used V2s, can usually be had for a non-headache inducing price and are a nice, well-rounded upgrade.
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      01-31-2014, 01:42 PM   #4
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The warranty process for ST and KW is no different. KW also requires you fill out a data sheet with height measurements of the coilover perch and even the car itself... Turn around time is about 1 to 2 weeks, and they usually warranty all repairs unless you give them bad measurements.
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      01-31-2014, 01:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSt|G View Post
Straight to the point, what's your budget?

What are you driving habits?
Budget is as cheap as possible, but I don't want crap like Megan coils (from what I've heard). Something around or not much more than the ST price range would be preferable. Technically I can stretch my money but I'd rather not. Driving is all roads at this point, usually very spirited. I live in NYC now but drive my car in Jersey when I visit my girlfriend and family. My extended warranty ends in July and I was thinking about starting to AutoX the car once that happens, but because of recent new time constraints I'm not even sure if that's possible. I wouldn't mind something stiffer than KW, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 135Pats View Post
Iíll be upgrading to V2s or Ohlins R&Ts come Spring time, the STs are too soft for my tastes. But in fairness, Iíve had zero issues in terms of product defects or failures, albeit theyíve been on the car for like 10K miles so Iíd certainly hope that would be the case.

Try to find some used V2s, can usually be had for a non-headache inducing price and are a nice, well-rounded upgrade.
I was thinking of V2s but now that I'm having this warranty issue I'm thinking I would really prefer to buy new. If that's not possible used V2s or Ohlins would be nice. I'm really just worried about layer issues cropping up because I don't have the time to deal with this shit any more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SfValley335i View Post
The warranty process for ST and KW is no different. KW also requires you fill out a data sheet with height measurements of the coilover perch and even the car itself... Turn around time is about 1 to 2 weeks, and they usually warranty all repairs unless you give them bad measurements.
I see. Are all coilover manufacturers like that? I don't drive my car often but when I need it, I really need it, and I can't afford to have the car sitting around. Also, i would really rather not just replace the ST coil if another is going to break down the road, so having a full set of new coilovers sounds appealing. At least if something happens I'll have the new manufacturer warranty and it hopefully won't happen for a while. Thank you for the input. What would you personally suggest if I were you?
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      01-31-2014, 03:08 PM   #6
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Sounds like you can't afford coilovers then. Get a good spring strut combo like Bilstein B12s or Koni Yellows with Eibach/whatever.

To put it another way, it sounds like your budget allows for a very nice well made spring strut setup, or a garbage coil setup. I can't imagine opting for the later for the word "coilover".
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      02-01-2014, 11:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSt|G View Post
Sounds like you can't afford coilovers then. Get a good spring strut combo like Bilstein B12s or Koni Yellows with Eibach/whatever.

To put it another way, it sounds like your budget allows for a very nice well made spring strut setup, or a garbage coil setup. I can't imagine opting for the later for the word "coilover".
I wouldn't mind springs + shocks, but I need adjustability more than anything. The issue is I stopped working last summer and started med school and now can't afford $3000 coils, but I want something decent for the street.

I can't get a non-adjustable setup because I don't want to drop my car too much due to my aggressive wheel specs, and I don't want to buy springs+shocks and then have to buy new wheels as well (ending up spending as much, or more, money than just getting new coils for springs + shocks + decent wheels). I don't need coils for the track because I no longer have time to pursue my autox/track fantasy after my extended warranty is over, so I don't mind a softer coil setup.

I mean if there's really no other choice, I'll drop 2+ grand on something with a long warranty that won't crap out on me. It's just that I'd rather not because I really don't need something super stiff anyway, so if there's a decent cheaper option I'd take it.

I'd sell the damn car because it's ending up costing more out of my savings than I'd prefer, but i really love it too much. it's paid off and I want to keep it for a long time. Idk it's just a shitty situation.
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      02-01-2014, 09:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1speedbike View Post
I wouldn't mind springs + shocks, but I need adjustability more than anything. The issue is I stopped working last summer and started med school and now can't afford $3000 coils, but I want something decent for the street.
You don't have to lower. Just get Koni Yellows and pair them with the stock springs. They are designed to work with them as a solid all around upgrade.
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      02-01-2014, 11:09 PM   #9
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This is not the first I've heard of dubious quality issues with ST coils. In the Mazda world there were A LOT of cases of coils binding, snapping sounds, and poor damper build/quality control... Good luck getting things sorted.

If you're having all of these issues and can't swing it, just go back to stock and save yourself the headaches.
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      02-01-2014, 11:39 PM   #10
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Seeing how your location says NJ, NYC, Baltimore -- seems like you'll have issues with most aftermarket suspensions eventually. What was the purpose of coilovers, to be able to run lower than a regular spring/shock setup? To be able to run same or higher at certain times? Or were you looking for increased performance?

If you're looking to go slammed, no option will work for you in the long run seeing how the roads you drive on are crap.

If you're looking for adjustability, I would think about picking up Koni's and a coilover conversion kit like the one GC offers (not sure if they make something for the 1-series but they did for other makes). Or just research different ride heights by different spring/shock setups based on user feedback here and choose the one that *works* for you.

And if it just comes down to performance, you'd be surprised how far a good set of performance shocks will go in terms of handling.

*edit*

Saw your last post, you mean ride height adjustability? That tells me you want something that'll avoid rubbing yet something lower than stock. There has to be a spring combo that works for you, whether that be something mild like the BMW Perf springs or Eibachs. My point is... do you actually need something you can adjust throughout the year or do you need something that'll simply clear your wheels? If it's the latter, there are springs out there that'll work -- you just have to search. Or worst case, find spring/shocks you like and work on the fenders and think about adding some camber to tuck the wheels in. 9 times out of 10 coilovers are unnecessary for street and only needed when someone wants to go lower than they should. I find it funny when someone actually spends the money for a decent set of coilovers and doesn't even bother getting the car corner balanced.
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