Logo



Official JCW Suspension How-To

This comes from frequent contributor Mike Craven:

I just finished installing the JCW suspension kit (along with an Alta 22mm rear sway bar) on my 2005 MCS today. The install was totally doable but quite time consuming. It took me about 5 hours to install the kit from start to finish – and I did it all by myself too. :) However, after driving it, I found that it was totally worth the time and the money I spent on it. The car handles great now! It’s just what I was looking for.

I didn’t want something too stiff as I use my MCS as a daily driver. However, I wanted a suspension kit that would make the car more stable at speed and help make the new engine mods I just did (19% pulley, GIAC, JCW Injectors, Milltek exhaust, and JCW CAI) get the power to the ground. The JCW suspension kit does exactly that. While I am impressed generally, it would be nice if they would have sent the new struts fully assembled instead of making us go through all of the work of disassembling our existing struts just to use the old dust boots, etc.).

Also, just as an FYI, the JCW suspension (at least the struts) are made by Delphi in the U.K. They are the same company that made the OEM/Factory struts that I took off of the car.

[ JCW Suspension Instructions ] Offical MINI PDF

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Written By: MF Reader

  • Erik

    How about some before and after pictures? I know the JCW literature states the amount of drop, but pics would be better :).

    And let us know what wheel/tire size you are using. I understand there are some combinations that cause rubbing in the rear wheel wells.

    -Erik ’05 MCS

  • http://www.gbmini.net/ Ian

    Wow Mike – you are seriously into modding your new MINI aren’t you! :)

    I think you need a weblog …

  • Christian

    My ’03 S (before the softened suspension) has razor sharp handling and has a much sweeter engine note compared to an ’05 S I test drove recently. Some interior bits on the ’05 looked and felt cheaper as well like the map lights and seatbelt materials. It made me think twice about trading in for a new one because now I have to pay for a JCW suspension “upgrade” to match the handling of my current S.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    Christian – I also have the original SS+ suspension and I have also driven a MINI with the JCW suspension. I can tell you (with some authority on the subject) that the JCW suspension is a noticable improvement over the 02-03 SS+ suspension during aggressive driving.

  • nfo

    lets see some pics!!!

  • greg

    I just took delivery of a ’05 MCS w/JCW/JCW suspension. I keep hearing about this sway bar mod. This is added to JCW? You would think that for $2000+ that would be included! How much are sway bars and how much labor time to have them installed?

  • greg

    Mike. Is your car a JCW. I’m curious if you added the hp mods to a JCW and if you were concerned about warranty issues. I see pullies and flywheels that promise a lot of extra power cheap but do not want to invalidate the warranty on my brand new car.

  • http://mini.uglydoris.com Sean Bartnik

    Christian, I also had an ’03 before the softened suspension and now I have an ’05 with the JCW suspension.

    I can tell you from experience that the JCW suspension is definitely an improvement in handling from the stock ’03 suspension, especially during more aggressive driving. The JCW suspension upgrade does not match the handling of your ’03 S, it exceeds it.

    The rest of your comments are of course subjective matters, but I have say that I personally prefer the raspier engine note of the ’05 versus the previous models.

  • Erik

    “You would think that for $2000+ that would be included!”

    I’m sure MINI did not include the bar on purpose. That is, they still want the cars behavior a the limit to favor understeer (front wheels plow).

    Understeer is easier for the average driver to control and correct. The rear bar will make the suspension attitude more neutral with some drop throttle oversteer possible….i.e., harder to correct and an added liability. JMO

    -Erik

  • Mike

    Hi Guys/Gals,

    Wow! I wasn’t expecting to see this get posted. [GRIN]

    Although, I’m glad that it was as maybe it will turn more folks onto the JCW suspension kit. I don’t autocross my car, as it’s simply a daily driver, and so I wanted a suspension kit that would still allow the car to be driven (hard) on a daily basis with comfort (i.e. retain a lot of its factory drivability) and that didn’t slam the car down so far that it rubbed my tires or gave me an overly harsh ride on the bumps. Thus, I decided to give the JCW suspension kit a try and I’m very glad that I did. The setup is terrific and it’s a perfect match to the car and my daily driving style. The car was only lowered a small amount (just a bit shy of 1/2″ I’d say) and it still rides great on the streets around my home. I can tell that it’s a touch stiffer than the stock suspension over good sized bumps in the road, but for the most part it’s a really good compromise of ride vs. handling. The handling from the JCW kit is absolutely amazing. If you thought that a stock MCS handled well, after you’ve driven a MINI with the JCW suspension kit installed, you’ll definitely never want to go back to a stock one again!

    The ALTA rear sway bar is a great match for the JCW suspension kit as well. In stock form, my MCS under steered (or plowed) really bad on fast, tight turns. Now that the larger rear sway bar is installed, it just seems to fly around those same corners with the greatest of easy. No under steer at all! I opted to go with the 22mm ALTA rear sway bar as my MINI is a Cooper S and it’s pretty loaded up with options (i.e. it’s heavy) and it seems to be a perfect match for my car. I installed the bar on its stiffest setting and I’m really enjoying the ride so far. It’s interesting in that all of the photos I’ve seen of the ALTA sway bars show the bars as being either black or blue (but mostly black). However, I received a brand new one drop shipped to my door direct from ALTA and it’s bright red. It perfectly matches the bright red coil springs of the JCW kit and it actually looks like it is part of the JCW kit itself. I’ll try and get some pictures posted so that folks can see what it looks like.

    Lastly, I’d just like to say that credit goes to Sean for hooking us all up with the official installation instructions for the JCW suspension kit. I was in need of the front and rear alignment specs for the JCW kit and Sean was nice enough to send me the official installation PDF which has those specs in it. BTW, I was also completely stumped as to what in the heck the two rubber fingers were that were included with the kit??? However, after reading through the installation PDF, I found out that they are bump stops for the rear upper control arms. On the 2005 cars, the body of the car has been modified (i.e. cut out) to allow the upper rear control arms to move up towards the body of the car a bit more. This compensates for the car being lowered slightly and is the reason why the suspension kit can’t be installed on older model MINIs I’d imagine. The new bump stops insert into the upper control arms and provide a stopping point (against the body) should the rear suspension collapse really hard on a hard bump. After seeing how this works in person, it makes me wonder what exactly happens on other MINIs that are using aftermarket suspension kits which lower the car significantly (i.e. 3/4″ or more). Those kits must just bend the heck out of the rear upper control arms when they smack into the body of the car really hard on a bad dip??? I can’t say for sure though as I’ve never seen how any of the aftermarket kits handle this problem (i.e. maybe they include a new upper control arm that compensates for this problem). All I know is that the JCW kit takes car of the problem in a very nice “factory” way. It’s perfect (and it works too as I’ve already hit the bump stop on the right rear in a very tight drop-in turn that had a huge bump in the very bottom that I didn’t see until it was too late [grin]. The JCW kit took it like a champ!).

    I’ll try to answer your other questions one-by-one…

  • Mike

    Erik,

    [How about some before and after pictures? I know the JCW literature states the amount of drop, but pics would be better :).]

    I’ll try to get some pictures taken for you this weekend and post them here.

    [And let us know what wheel/tire size you are using. I understand there are some combinations that cause rubbing in the rear wheel wells.]

    I have the OEM 17″ Web-Spokes installed on my car. They came with 205/45/R17 Dunlop Sport 9000 DSST performance runflat tires. I don’t get any rubbing whatsoever in the front or the rear.

    The Dunlops handle very well for runflats, but I can tell that they are indeed now the limiting factor in the setup. However, I don’t have any plans on changing them for the time being as I’m going to wait for the rubber to wear out before replacing them.

  • Mike

    Hi Ian,

    [Wow Mike - you are seriously into modding your new MINI aren't you! :)]

    Yes, I’m really enjoying working on the new car. My wife is starting to yell at me though so I think I’ll be slowing down a bit now. ;-)

    [I think you need a weblog ...]

    That would be nice, but just waaay too much work for me. [GRIN] I really respect folks like yourself who do them as they take a whole lot of hard work and effort to keep going.

  • Jake

    On what years can this kit be installed?

  • Mike

    Hi Christian,

    [My '03 S (before the softened suspension) has razor sharp handling and has a much sweeter engine note compared to an '05 S I test drove recently. Some interior bits on the '05 looked and felt cheaper as well like the map lights and seatbelt materials. It made me think twice about trading in for a new one because now I have to pay for a JCW suspension "upgrade" to match the handling of my current S.]

    I’m right there with Gabe on this one… I was lucky enough to have a 02 MCS with the original (i.e. stiffer) SS+ suspension as my daily driver for the last six months (it was the loaner car that we were given while we waited for our replacement car to arrive during the whole lemon MINI debacle), and so I too can tell you first-hand that the JCW kit is still worlds better than even that car’s SS+ suspension. I’ve read quite a few posts on NAM and MINI2 where folks claim that the JCW suspension kit is just the return of the original SS+ suspension and it always makes me smile as I know that the folks saying that have never driven a MINI with a JCW suspension kit installed. If you like the way your current MINI handles, you’ll love it ten fold more with a JCW suspension kit on it. Believe me!

  • Mike

    BTW…

    In my opinion, the JCW suspension kit is very competitively priced too. If you shop around, you can find the MCS version of the kit (i.e. the version without the sway bars) for right around $800 shipped to your door. You can then pick up a larger rear sway bar and have an awesome handling MINI for a really great price. And… It’s even cheaper if you can do the install yourself.

    The rear sway bar wasn’t at all hard to install. In fact, the entire suspension kit (including the rear sway bar) was quite easy to install. Just a bit time consuming is all. The only real hard parts of the entire installation process were getting the driver’s side front strut out (as you need to keep the spring compressed in order to be able to pop the strut out of the carrier – the passenger’s side has a lot more room and so it comes out easily without having to compress the spring), and swapping the coils from the original struts over to the new ones (as you need a light duty spring compressor to do that). I have no idea why the struts & springs in the JCW kit don’t just come pre-assembled as the parts needed from the old strut assemblies can only be something like $10 or so???

    Anyway… The entire install took me (all by myself) right around 5 hours and I’d say that maybe an hour of that was added on due to installing the rear sway bar. I’m sure that lots of folks could do it quicker, but I was taking my time to make sure that things were done properly the whole time.

    A NAM user named “twoturbos1mission” has posted a modified version of Randy Webb’s Springs How To that’s really good. You can find his post (with big pictures of the install) on NAM here:

    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30575

    Also, here’s a posting on NAM by Randy Webb where he mentions the trick of strapping the driver’s side spring in order to get it out (again, the passenger’s side comes out without a problem and so no strapping is required). It worked great for me!

    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showpost.php?p=78213&postcount=10

    It comes from this main thread on NAM:

    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6594

    Also, here’s a link to a How To from Outmotoring that’s really good for the rear sway bar:

    http://www.outmotoring.com/Howtorearswaybar.html

    Lastly, here’s Randy Webb’s excellent How To for the rear sway bar install:

    http://www.webbmotorsports.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14

    I hope this helps some…

  • Mike

    Greg,

    [I just took delivery of a '05 MCS w/JCW/JCW suspension. I keep hearing about this sway bar mod. This is added to JCW? You would think that for $2000+ that would be included! How much are sway bars and how much labor time to have them installed?]

    Your MCS actually already has a rear sway bar from the factory. However, it is a bit on the small side (17mm I believe) and so it allows the car to under steer (or plow) quite a bit. For liability reasons, most manufacturers build under steer into their cars (as it’s probably safer to under steer than over steer – although I’m no expert). All I did was simply swap the existing factory sway bar for a larger aftermarket one in order to increase the handling of the car.

    An average price for an aftermarket rear sway bar is right around $150-$200, and it will probably take 1.5-2.0 hours of labor to get it installed.

    If you’re happy with the way your car handles now, then I’d probably just leave it as is. If you start driving it harder (as you get used to the JCW suspension) and notice a lot of under steer, then you can always add in the larger rear sway bar later on. For street use, most folks go with either a 19mm or a 22mm rear sway bar. I’ve been told that the 19mm works better for the lighter MC and the 22mm works better for the heavier MCS. However, I’ve seen lots of folks with an MCS who’ve installed the 19mm and they’re very happy with it. To complicate things even more, if the rear sway bar you choose is adjustable (and I believe that most of the aftermarket ones are now), then you also have to decide on which stiffness setting to set it at. Most folks start with the softer setting and then move up to the stiffer settings as they get used to the way the car handles with the bar. Your goal is to achieve a neutral position somewhere between under steer and over steer. Too much under steer and your car will plow durning turns. Too much over steer and the tail end of your car will swing around on you in a fast turn if you happen to panic and let off the gas to fast.

    I hope this helps some…

  • Mike

    Hi Jake,

    [On what years can this kit be installed?]

    Good question, and unfortunately, one I don’t know the answer to. Maybe someone else can chime in with the correct answer.

    As far as I know, the kit can only be installed on 2005 model year (and greater) MINIs (07/04 and onward I believe) as they have the body modification (that I mentioned above) which allows the rear upper control arms to move up towards the body a bit more (this compensates for the lowered ride height of the car and allows the car to still use the full length of its suspension travel). However, the official installation PDF indicates that the older models can also be modified (i.e. cut) to conform to the 05 specs in this area. I don’t know if anyone has done this yet though, and I also don’t know if there are any other changes made to the 05 suspension so that the kit will fit.

    Anyone???

  • Mike

    Hi again Greg,

    [Mike. Is your car a JCW. I'm curious if you added the hp mods to a JCW and if you were concerned about warranty issues. I see pullies and flywheels that promise a lot of extra power cheap but do not want to invalidate the warranty on my brand new car.]

    My first 2005 MCS had the JCW kit on it. However, as I’ve mentioned in the rear view camera topic (here on Motoringfile), it turned out to be a lemon and had to be bought back by MINI/BMW (that had nothing to do with the JCW kit though). I absolutely loved the 210 HP JCW kit on my original MCS, but for my replacement MCS, I opted to go the aftermarket route instead (mostly because I could get more bang for my buck).

    To answer you question, I am indeed a bit concerned about possibly violating my warranty (since it’s a brand new car and especially seeing as what happened to my other MCS – that was one hell of a stressful mess that I wouldn’t want to wish on my worst enemy), but it was a chance I was willing to take. I loved JCW 210 kit, but I felt that I could get a bit more out of my car for less money, and I really wanted to spend some time wrenching on the car myself (as opposed to the dealer doing it all with the JCW kit). If you’re happy with your car (and I’m more than sure that you are), I’d leave it as it. The thing I remember most about my old 2005 MCS with the JCW kit on it was how utterly smooth it was. No matter what anyone tells you, you’ll never get that with the aftermarket parts. My car runs great with the aftermarket parts on it, and it probably makes a bit more power than the JCW car did, but it doesn’t even come close to matching the smoothness of the JCW car.

    I like them both, so I guess that it’s just up to the owner to decide which is best for him/her. If you’re not good at working on your own cars, like the comfort of having BMW back your car to the fullest, and want a really smooth and strong running car, then go with the JCW kit. However, if you like tinkering with your own car, don’t mind risking parts of your factory warranty, want a bit more power than the JCW kit offers, and want to save some cash, then go the aftermarket route instead. Either way, you won’t be disappointed as the MINI is an AWESOME car!

    Lastly, I’m not sure if I answered your question directly so I’ll try again here… If it were me (and I had my original car with the JCW kit on it), I wouldn’t touch it. The car runs great as it is, it’s super smooth and plenty powerful, and is very reliable too. I doubt that you’d get any significant improvement (power-wise) out of adding additional “bolt-on” aftermarket parts to it (such as a smaller pulley, lighter flywheel, etc.). The ECU software in your car is tuned perfectly for the JCW kit and so if you start messing around with it (by adding on a different pulley, etc.), I’d bet good money that you’ll loose that smoothness and you’ll probably never be happy with it again.

    Just my $0.02…

  • Christian

    Thanks for the feedback, I did find the newer model quicker, it’s just that the standard suspension was a bit soft and the engine a bit raspy at 6k+ revs (not broken in properly?). My next ‘S will definitely include the JCW suspension, however, I think I’ll wait till the ’06 model year…hope they offer a reasonably priced performance package as I would want the JCW engine upgrade as well!

  • greg

    Hi Mike. Thanks for your reply, I appreciate your advice. One more question. Are you familiar with DINAN mods(BMW)? They show a bunch of performance mods for MCS’S on their site. They appear cheaper than JCW although I’m doubtful the prices include installation(I am not capable of doing any mechanical stuff). Curious if there are DINAN mods to up JCW hp as DINAN should not invalidate the warranty.

    Sway bar does sound appealing as I would like my MCS/JCW to handle as good as my BMW Z4-3.0.

    Thanks again!

  • KE3VP

    Mike, thanks for the great review. I took note of your mention of tearing down the original struts for parts – If it’s not too much trouble, could you publish a list of the items one would have to get in order to do the install without tearing down the originals? Thanks for all your MINI (many) contributions. Bob

  • alfredino

    Hello!

    What about the idea of a shade tree mini mechanic’s diary for those of us who enjoy the pleasures of working with your mini.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    greg – To clarify, Dinan mods are no different than any other aftermarket parts in that they do not fall under any factory warranty. Hence they could invalidate your factory warranty just like any other aftermarket part.

    Any warranty that does come with Dinan is of no relation to the MINIUSA factory warranty and are typically only valid at participating MINI dealers that sell Dinan.

  • Marty

    I dont know if this has been said already (im too lazy to read the blog) but…

    I have a stock MCS and the car is a gokart- anyone who is unhappy with handling in the MCS and needs another suspension must be crazy.

    Marty

  • http://mini.uglydoris.com Sean Bartnik

    Marty, I don’t think the issue is that anyone is unhappy with the stock suspension — it’s an excellent suspension.

    It’s just that there are some of us who would be happiER with an even more tightened-up suspension. It just sharpens up the car’s reflexes and makes it even more of a go-kart.

    So if making a great thing even better is crazy, then call me crazy. :-)

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    I’ll second that. If the MCS has the Sport Suspension Plus (optional on the MC) then the JCW suspension could be called the Sports Suspension Plus Plus. It’s just a little more of a great thing.

  • Mike

    Greg,

    Alas, I’m afraid that I’m not familiar with anything from Dinan (although my neighbor works for BMW and he really seems to love their parts/kits). However, I believe that the prices listed on their web site DO NOT include the labor costs (since they provide the required labor units).

    Thanks Gabe for clearing up the warranty stuff on the Dinan parts as I didn’t have a clue. :-)

  • Mike

    Bob,

    [... I took note of your mention of tearing down the original struts for parts - If it's not too much trouble, could you publish a list of the items one would have to get in order to do the install without tearing down the originals?]

    I don’t know the part numbers, but if you have access to the Bentley manual for the MINI Cooper, then…

    For the front suspension you would need two each (one for the left strut assembly and one for the right strut assembly) of the following parts from page 310-12:

    Strut top mount Dust protection collar Washer Upper spring seat Upper spring seat pad Rubber bump stop Dust boot Lower spring seat pad

    For the rear suspension you would need two each (one for the left strut assembly and one for the right strut assembly) of the following parts from page 330-7:

    Center strut retaining nut cupped washer Upper mount plate Upper spring seat Spacer ring Rubber bump stop Dust boot Upper spring seat pad Lower spring seat pad

    On paper, it looks like a lot, but it’s really not (they’re just a bunch of small rubber and plastic parts). Once you see the stuff in real life, you’ll see exactly what I mean. It wouldn’t take anything for MINI/JCW to include those extra parts with their suspension kit and provide the strut assemblies completely assembled. Doing so would make the installation a complete breeze and I’d gladly pay an extra $10 per assembly (i.e. an extra $40) to have it done for me. Heck, it took near an hour of my time to swap over the parts, so the $40 would be money well spent. Also, for those folks who don’t have a set of spring compressors, it will probably cost them the same amount to take their strut assemblies into a garage and have them swap over the parts.

    I remember ordering a Koni suspension kit for my old 1983 VW Rabbit GTI (the original “Pocket Rocket” and the car that the MINI totally reminds me of) and their strut assemblies came completely assembled. JCW should do it too!

  • Mike

    Oops!

    My list formatting got messed up. Let’s try that part again:

    For the front suspension you would need two each (one for the left strut assembly and one for the right strut assembly) of the following parts from page 310-12:

    Strut top mount

    Dust protection collar

    Washer

    Upper spring seat

    Upper spring seat pad

    Rubber bump stop

    Dust boot

    Lower spring seat pad

    For the rear suspension you would need two each (one for the left strut assembly and one for the right strut assembly) of the following parts from page 330-7:

    Center strut retaining nut

    cupped washer

    Upper mount plate

    Upper spring seat

    Spacer ring

    Rubber bump stop

    Dust boot

    Upper spring seat pad

    Lower spring seat pad

  • Marty

    okay I geuss I get it

    haha

    -Marty

  • KE3VP

    Thanks, Mike / Marty. Bob

  • greg

    Thanks Mike. Thanks Gabe. P.S.Gabe, I’ve been reading your site for about half a year. Great Job! It’s part of my daily routine.

  • Rollin

    Did the optional SS+ option for the Cooper also get softer after 2003?

  • greg

    Mike. If the JCW suspension has a rear sway bar can it be adjusted as the after market products?

  • Mike

    Greg,

    I’m not sure. However, somehow I doubt it. More than likey, all you get is the same sway bars that come stock on the MINI when you get it with the SS+ suspension option (which is standard on the MCS). In fact, if you look at the installation PDF for the JCW suspension kit, it only shows a single hole on the end of the bars. Thus, it appears that they won’t be adjustable.

  • Mike

    Rollin,

    I would assume so as the optional SS+ suspension that is installed on the regular Cooper is the exact same setup as the standard SS+ suspension that is installed on the Cooper S.

  • ZAKdog

    SS+ suspension on my 02 has a rear 16mm bar…which will be replaced with an RSpeed 22mm that I just won on ebay! woo hoo!

    I would like the lower springs at 3/4″ and not the 1″ to 1-1/2″ that some aftermarkets bring. It is still $$ for my poor-one-mod-a-year budget :(

  • 1275 Mini

    I wanted to comment on the JCW suspension that was installed on my new 05 MCS with JCW engine kit and 18″ wheels.

    A waste of money!!

    After reading comments here, I ordered the package and found it destroyed the ride of the car. The stock “Sport” suspension is ridiculously soft, boarding on the point of luxo barge. It in istelf should not have been an upcharge. The tires squealed in corners, and the body rolled drastically. My stock 02 MCS with SS was amazing, no roll, firm ride and terrifc cornering.

    What the hell happened!? Nanny state gov and liability BS have turned the car into an understeering muffin!

    So on with the JCW kit, and the same thing, heavy roll and understeer only now with sharp turn in…and a ride that reminds me of when I chopped the coils on Datsuns 20 years ago. Junk!

    I’m having the old suspension re-installed.

    Before you flame, remember that the specs say 10mm lower, and high claims of excellent handling. The rear alone was dropped 2 inches, and NO sway bar upgrade. Not what I wanted. A firm ride is one thing, having the suspension crash over bumps and jitter over every cigarette butt is another.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    If you car was dropped 2 inches in the rear, there were some serious installation problems. I wonder if the dealer installed the 05+ version on your car rather than the just release 02-04 version.

    I’ve driven a car equipped with this same set-up and found none of the issues you mention. Except for the normal understeer which you can blame US liability law for that one.

    Did they give you your money back?

  • http://www.TheOfficeMaven.com Mike (The Office Maven)

    I absolutely love my JCW suspension kit! The car handles great, and while the bumps are indeed a bit harsher than the stock setup, they’re not too bad. There’s always going to be a compromise between comfort and handling.

    However, I’d have to agree with Gabe on this one… If your MCS was dropped that much in the rear (or even half that much!), it sounds to me like your dealer botched the install for sure (might have given you the wrong springs, put the struts together wrong, etc. – who knows???).

    Sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with your kit. All I can say is that I love mine and I’m glad that I got it. :-)

  • 1275 Mini

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I’ll check with the dealer as the rear sits very low, (lower than the front) and has 1″ of negative camber. I’ve seen pics of JCW Mini’s, and they appear to have no camber.. I could be wrong here.

    I doubt I’ll get my money back..but I love my Mini, so its not a big deal..just dissapointed after my 02.

    I’ll wait for the JCW sway bars to come in and have them installed with stock SS. That way I can keep the doorhandles from scraping the tarmac in corners!

    Can’t wait for the 06!

  • http://www.myr53.com SB
    Christian – I also have the original SS+ suspension and I have also driven a MINI with the JCW suspension. I can tell you (with some authority on the subject) that the JCW suspension is a noticable improvement over the 02-03 SS+ suspension during aggressive driving.

    Gabe, I’ve been debating over a year now about doing work on my suspension for a better feel. I obviously changed the rear swaybar for less understeer but I still want to do away with softer, less sharp feel of my 06 suspension compared to the pre-softer riding suspension of my 03 MCS.

    Do you feel the JCW has the firmness of the early 03 suspension but added cornering ability? I autocross but my main concern are roads such as the dragon. Autocrossing is just for fun and not worth it to me to dump a grand or more on coilovers. So it seems the next logical thing to do is look at the JCW suspension. I just don’t want to dump the $700 if they have the Cadillac feel of the 06 suspension.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Do you feel the JCW has the firmness of the early 03 suspension but added cornering ability?

    Yes. But… the ’02 and early ’03 firmness is not really a performance plus and I think the difference is greatly overrated having owned cars with both suspensions.

    I autocross but my main concern are roads such as the dragon. Autocrossing is just for fun and not worth it to me to dump a grand or more on coilovers.

    Agreed. However (for what it’s worth) I was easily able to gobble up some heavily modded MINIs in my bone stock 2007 MCS press car. A lot of times (and I’m sure you know this) it simply comes down to experience over mods.

    So it seems the next logical thing to do is look at the JCW suspension. I just don’t want to dump the $700 if they have the Cadillac feel of the 06 suspension.

    I think you need to take a drive in a DeVille if you’re calling the 2004-2006 SS+ “Cadillac feel” :)

  • http://www.myr53.com SB

    Thanks for the reply. It’s good to hear the JCW firmness and handling seem more appropriate for my taste. I wasn’t insinuating the firmness made for better handling. I prefer a firm ride that lets me feel the imperfections in the road especially in the turns. Maybe a Cadillac was a poor comparison on my part. None the less the current ride is more compliant to the taste of most Americans.

    I completely agree with experience over mods. My first mod in 03 was an intake from Outmotoring. More for the increase in sc whine than performance as most intakes don’t give much more than better throttle response. The next and best mod was a driving school. Something everyone, with the exception of highly skilled drivers, should take before increasing performance on their vehicle. Horsepower or suspension.

    See you at the dragon next year. Make sure to bring db and Todd this time. No more I’m going out of the country excuses. ;)

    I still think you need to get the JCW spoiler. Just have it painted to match. :)

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I still think you need to get the JCW spoiler. Just have it painted to match. :)

    Now there’s an idea!

    Something everyone, with the exception of highly skilled drivers, should take before increasing performance on their vehicle. Horsepower or suspension.

    Totally agree.


Sort by MINI model

MotoringFile on Instagram








MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

Advertise with MotoringFile

If you or your company are interested in advertising on the most influential MINI website in the world, please visit our Advertising section. If you have further questions about becoming a sponsor or would like to see our rate sheet please feel free to contact us directly.
mini mini
Translate MotoringFile with Google: 
 

BF

MotoringFile Buyers Guides

R50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide

BF

SF



MotoringFile Reviews

Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


cafepress