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Comparison of Model 3 Performance w/ Two Versions of MPP Coilovers

dfwatt

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Sep 24, 2018
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FL
It's no secret that MPP Coilover kits are a big hit on this forum. And there are lots of reasons for that, but I know a lot of forum members often times wonder what kit is better for their uses and preferences. Hopefully this summary can give folks the information to make an informed choice.

We just had the MPP Comfort Adjustable Coilovers installed – And I have to give a shout out to the excellent Merrimac Auto Repair (150 Amherst Street in Nashua New Hampshire) and the equally excellent service technician there who did the install, Ian. Ian is a real car guy, has his own streetable track car, a heavily modified Subaru (aftermarket brakes, coilovers, wheels and tires w/ full stage II turbo kit and 450HP), and he really appreciates performance sedans. It's very reassuring when you have a real car guy working on your car the way you would work on his own. Highly recommend that shop and Ian specifically.

Some context is useful – I've had the MPP Sports Coilover kit for over a year and love it, but it is pretty firm the way it's set up, (10/8 compression rebound, and with 265/30 and 275/30 tires), and my wife wanted the best possible ride - she's been asking me to "pimp out" her car to the same degree that I have modified my own! Who would've thought she would have given a bleep! Well it turns out my wife is in fact a Tesla Tweaking Junkie! She started out extremely skeptical, didn't want me to spend "that kind of money" on anything she was gonna be driving, and has always regarded cars as a necessary evil to get from point A to point B. After one week of driving the Performance Model 3, she was changing her tune: "it's the bomb!" Anything that I did to my car she basically wants at least consideration to having on her car. Who's to argue? After all, happy wife, happy life, as we all know. So after much ado, and the predictably long wait to get the excellent and backordered MPP Comfort Adjustable Coilovers (not MPP's fault!), sure enough, it actually took us a longer time to find a competent mechanic.
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I set the Comforts at the recommended 12/10 Compression/Rebound, so this comparison is a bit between apples and oranges in terms of shock settings as the Sport Coilovers on mine are set 10/8. but here are my impressions from a day of driving my wife's car, which has almost exactly the same wheel and tire complement, except mine has 265/30 PS4S fronts and hers has the stock 235/35 PS4S. Both have the seriously chunky 275/30 Tesla spec PS4S rears. The amazing thing about that tire is that it rides just as well as the stock 235/35, which seems impossible. It's also seriously wide, with a tread width of almost 11 inches.

1) The Adjustable Comfort Coilovers ride quality has a kind of 'liquid' and supple quality that's really hard to describe but that's missing from mine, which is just really firm without being harsh.
2) Both systems have excellent isolation from road noise or any harshness coming into the driver from the 'micro-grain' of the road surface, despite both having really low (35 and 30 series) tires, and no change on this point that I can tell from stock (my car also has traction and trailing arms with spherical bushings that I was originally concerned might add some 'grain' to the ride, but that hasn't been the case). I'd caulk that overall smoothness up to the really good suspension design with excellent rubber isolation of the suspension, and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S sidewall and tread being pretty forgiving, this despite a lot of tread and not a lot of sidewall (esp. on the 265/30 fronts on my car). This makes a huge difference on long distance driving fatigue, and is notably better than for example a late model BMW M3. There is some tire noise at higher speed, but it's mostly drowned out by the wind noise.
3) My car with the Sports Coilovers has notably less roll esp. as G forces rise in cornering, but hers is better than it was stock. I haven't pushed her car in a corner but i suspect it will have some terminal understeer with just the stock 235/35 front compared to my 265/30 front setup (no terminal understeer at all).
4) both cars have an excellent ride/handling balance, but mine is tighter, firmer, and almost rather abrupt and stiff over larger bumps. Rear spring rates are significantly higher in my car and I can feel this, esp. over bumps. Hers is softer without being at all mushy. I prefer the ride of hers over the stock car - she is less sure and wants me to dial back the shock rates. This is against my religion.
5) Appearance wise, the car looks sooo much better - in fact it's almost a centimeter lower than mine, and may need to come up a tad on the rear. But it's really hunkered down nicely.

Conclusion: You can't go wrong with either kit, but if handling is your thing or you want to ever track the car, get the Sports. If you have to share with your wife, get the Comforts and may be just tweak the shock rate if it's not firm enough for you - just don't tell her about it! (we are truly fortunate in that we each have our own car, otherwise we'd be fighting over who got the Tesla and who was stuck with the POS ICE car!)

Bravo @MountainPass for having two such great kits. His and Hers Tesla Tuning?

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Skione65

Active Member
May 5, 2016
1,732
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Kentucky
Finally a direct side by side comparison from someone who owns both!:) I’d LOVE to drive both versions to actually “feel” the difference. Thank you for your inputs and analysis. Please add ‘addendums’ to this as you gain more experience and time with both if you have additional inputs to or any changes in feelings one way or the other. Thank you for your contributions on this and to this forum.
You mention your wife still wants the shock settings ‘dialed back‘. Would you expound a little more on this. Is it just that she still feels she’d like the ride softer? Or is it still slightly to abrupt over bumps? Once again we appreciate your analysis!

Regards,

Ski
 
Thanks for sharing. If it's not too much trouble, your impressions of the ride/handling differences with the sport coil-overs set near the soft extreme (say 13/14) would be insightful.

My sport coil-overs have been on for a couple of weeks now. The improved handling finally makes the chassis body control commensurate to the power level. I asked for default MPP setting from the shop. My only quibble is that initial bump harshness is on the firm side - definitely not quite as comfortable as the stock suspension set here to my senses.
 

dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
3,521
5,687
FL
This is fantastic, thank you so much for this comparison! Up until now we were likely the only people to have driven both back to back, and who is going to listen to us when we describe our own products :p

Her car might look a bit better than yours, you might need to go a tad lower to stand a chance!

Haha this is like offering crack cocaine to a speed Junkie! I have some tweaking tricks up my sleeve. Next up the front bushing replacement. One question though is does it introduce any extra grain or micro harshness compared to stock?
 

MountainPass

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Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,735
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Toronto, Canada
Haha this is like offering crack cocaine to a speed Junkie! I have some tweaking tricks up my sleeve. Next up the front bushing replacement. One question though is does it introduce any extra grain or micro harshness compared to stock?

I paid very close attention on my own car and did not notice any difference after installing them, only that the steering becomes telepathic.
 

dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
3,521
5,687
FL
Thanks for sharing. If it's not too much trouble, your impressions of the ride/handling differences with the sport coil-overs set near the soft extreme (say 13/14) would be insightful.

My sport coil-overs have been on for a couple of weeks now. The improved handling finally makes the chassis body control commensurate to the power level. I asked for default MPP setting from the shop. My only quibble is that initial bump harshness is on the firm side - definitely not quite as comfortable as the stock suspension set here to my senses.

I was somewhat disappointed with the ride quality when I first installed the sport coilovers. But then I realized that the installer had made a mistake and had not put in the stock isolators in front (both isolator rings had in fact been correctly installed in the back on my car). This sport coilover (from about 18 months ago) set up again was with the older and taller aluminum column at the top of the front strut spring assembly, which was intended to replace the prior helper springs which were making noise but the older taller column pretty much precluded any version of a slammed look which the composite column (being significantly less tall) allows. I was somewhat surprised to see that the new composite column is slightly different in diameter so that the stock isolator will not readily fit.

When I put the stock isolator back in the front suspension assembly with my sports coilovers about a year ago (and only a week after the initial install), the difference in ride was discernible. I think it's possible you could probably cut down the stock isolator so that its inside diameter can be compressed to fit inside the new composite column. Curious what MPP has to say about this. The stock isolator is significantly softer than the two isolator donuts that they provided for at least quite a while with the adjustable kits, although when compressed I'm not sure there's a big difference.. Now those 2 isolator rings are no longer part of the kit, but I used those 2 rubber rings from my sports kit on my wife's Comfort kit because we could not fit the stock isolators. I'm a big believer in suspension isolation unless you are talking about a 100% track car. It's just not worth it to have that stuff taken out.
 
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dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
3,521
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FL
Thanks for sharing. If it's not too much trouble, your impressions of the ride/handling differences with the sport coil-overs set near the soft extreme (say 13/14) would be insightful.

My sport coil-overs have been on for a couple of weeks now. The improved handling finally makes the chassis body control commensurate to the power level. I asked for default MPP setting from the shop. My only quibble is that initial bump harshness is on the firm side - definitely not quite as comfortable as the stock suspension set here to my senses.

See my post about the deletion of the front isolators. Does your install have any isolation between the top column and the top hat?
 

dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
3,521
5,687
FL
We have had a decent number of customers/shops install the kits with backward damper settings (almost full stiff). If it doesn't feel awesome, I recommend watching this video to learn how to adjust them properly and check for yourself!

Yes from the factory mine came with some wild settings. Car would have ridden like a truck. I took Extra Care in double and then obsessively triple checking the shock settings. I would describe the ride as really kind of liquid. I'm curious what the differences are in Shock valving between the sports and comfort adjustable coilover sets? And also between say the stock shocks and the Comfort set up set at its default 12/10 settings? My wife insists that the car is stiffer but that doesn't feel like my experience seat-of-the-pants so to speak. And the rear springs are definitely softer than stock. No question about that.
 

MountainPass

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Global Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
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Toronto, Canada
One thing I've noticed is that when you're really hyper-focusing on ride comfort, the car always feels stiffer. You are trying to pay attention to every bump, so of course, you feel every bump!

However, her car being lower will result in it engaging the bump rubbers earlier than your car, so on large bumps that could be what she is noticing. The other thing I've noticed is it does seem like the dampers lose their initial "edge" and soften up after 500-1000 miles of driving or so. This could be placebo of course.

I really don't think we should publically speak too much to the valving differences and comparison to Tesla dampers, but of course the springs are softer.

When we tested the composite upper perch to the aluminum one with the rubber isolator, we were surprised at how well the KW composite spacer isolated the sound. So we didn't feel it was worth the added complexity and time delays to design a new composite spacer that would engage the OE rubber isolator without a discernible improvement in NVH. I'm sure there is some, or the thinner compressed rubber may work out to the same isolation as the longer composite path.

It seems like most of the NVH comes from the top of the rear damper if anything, and that would be the main area we'd want to try to isolate more in the future so that the damper sound is even front to rear.

Thanks again for the awesome review and comparison :)

- Sasha
 
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dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
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One thing I've noticed is that when you're really hyper-focusing on ride comfort, the car always feels stiffer. You are trying to pay attention to every bump, so of course, you feel every bump!

However, her car being lower will result in it engaging the bump rubbers earlier than your car, so on large bumps that could be what she is noticing. The other thing I've noticed is it does seem like the dampers lose their initial "edge" and soften up after 500-1000 miles of driving or so. This could be placebo of course.

I really don't think we should publically speak too much to the valving differences and comparison to Tesla dampers, but of course the springs are softer.

When we tested the composite upper perch to the aluminum one with the rubber isolator, we were surprised at how well the KW composite spacer isolated the sound. So we didn't feel it was worth the added complexity and time delays to design a new composite spacer that would engage the OE rubber isolator without a discernible improvement in NVH. I'm sure there is some, or the thinner compressed rubber may work out to the same isolation as the longer composite path.

It seems like most of the NVH comes from the top of the rear damper if anything, and that would be the main area we'd want to try to isolate more in the future so that the damper sound is even front to rear.

Thanks again for the awesome review and comparison :)

- Sasha

Thanks Sasha. For sure when you are focused on every little imperfection in the ride it feels like your ride hasn't improved. But I personally felt when I first test drove my wife's car that the Comforts set at 12/10 felt like they had a kind of "liquid" smoothness that I don't remember in the stock ride in my wife's car. I don't drive her car a lot so I'm relying on memory but when I first drove the car with the comforts I thought the ride was better and for sure the handling had less roll in the corners. My wife is frankly a bit like the Princess and the Pea. At least she laughed when I told her that.

On the other hand I'm pretty confident that the older aluminum column without any isolator on the front between the spring/column assembly and the top hat was discernibly 'edgier', and I got a definite ride benefit with no discernible handling degradation or steering feedback changes by having the installer put the original stock isolator back on top of the aluminum column. If my Princess of a wife insists, I may modify the stock front OEM isolator so that it will work with the composite column. If I'm successful, I can send you guys photos in case there are other princesses out there that want the best possible ride isolation.

Understood about proprietary information, but just to clarify, I know the rears in the comfort set up are softer rate springs, but are the Fronts also softer? When you get the OEM springs off the car they are really honking items. And the front springs from the comforts look downright delicate by comparison. So I have to assume they are softer rate also? Also curious with the overall weight savings is? It seems like the stock equipment weighs significantly more put in the same box that your stuff came in. Like 5-10 pounds more?

Very excited to get the front bushing upgrade – Just put in the order. Keep the stuff coming! I'm only limited by my budget!

Best, Doug
 
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See my post about the deletion of the front isolators. Does your install have any isolation between the top column and the top hat?

Well....I tried to remove a front tire to check for the front isolators and adjust the dampers, but I don't have enough room to get the jack under the jack-point any more. Now I need to find a thinner set of jack isolators or an even lower jack. Better to find this now than when it comes to to put winter tires on.

IMG_0881.JPG IMG_0882.JPG
 
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dfwatt

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Sep 24, 2018
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Well....I tried to remove a front tire to check for the front isolators and adjust the dampers, but I don't have enough room to get the jack under the jack-point any more. Now I need to find a thinner set of jack isolators or an even lower jack. Better to find this now than when it comes to to put winter tires on.

View attachment 595045 View attachment 595046

Yeah I hear you on this one! Been there and done that!

Here's what I found as a solution. Jack the car up very carefully using the jack point but without the usual hockey puck contraption in the Jack hole. Then, if the suspension is fully extended it will not collapse all the way to its normal ride height if you lower it very slowly, and you have an extra inch or so in which you can now insert the lift assist hockey puck. I've had to do this 2-stage jacking procedure on my car for the last year.

PS take a picture of the top of the column and post here. I'm curious to what you have for front isolators. Do you have the composite top piece, the aluminum top piece, or the old helper springs?
 
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TwoK4drSi

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Apr 3, 2019
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DFW
Yeah I hear you on this one! Been there and done that!

Here's what I found as a solution. Jack the car up very carefully using the jack point but without the usual hockey puck contraption in the Jack hole. Then, if the suspension is fully extended it will not collapse all the way to its normal ride height if you lower it very slowly, and you have an extra inch or so in which you can now insert the lift assist hockey puck. I've had to do this 2-stage jacking procedure on my car for the last year.

PS take a picture of the top of the column and post here. I'm curious to what you have for front isolators. Do you have the composite top piece, the aluminum top piece, or the old helper springs?
I guess a weird question would be:

Can the comfort coils be more tuned to be track driven? 75% comfort and 25%sport?
Or can the sport coils be more tuned to be comfort driven? 75% sport and 25% comfort?

I know dampers tend to degrade over time so adjusting the click to the degradation is common. That’s what happened on my old car but not sure anyone has experience high milage MPP coilovers.
 
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dfwatt

Best Car Ever
Sep 24, 2018
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I guess a weird question would be:

Can the comfort coils be more tuned to be track driven? 75% comfort and 25%sport?
Or can the sport coils be more tuned to be comfort driven? 75% sport and 25% comfort?

I know dampers tend to degrade over time so adjusting the click to the degradation is common. That’s what happened on my old car but not sure anyone has experience high milage MPP coilovers.
Good question. My assumption is that the Comfort coilovers cranked close to full stiff would be plenty stiff enough for track work. Maybe even too stiff. But the spring rate issue obviously can't be modified. Despite the softer Springs the Comfort coilovers actually feel like they have less roll in the corners than the stock P car. Of course the car is significantly lower so that may be a variable too. I've never dialed the shock rate down on my Sports setup, but I do recall that at 12 / 10 they were pretty cushy. I'm sure at something like 14/12 or even 14/14 , the car would have really good compliance and still handle better. I like the very locked down tracking of the firmer shock setting (10/8). But it is firm to the point of being abrupt over a larger bumps. I just slow down.

And yes, it is a great point to emphasize for the folks who wonder about the cost of all this, you are getting shocks you will never have to replace. Just crank 'em up a notch or so. That is worth a lot of money frankly because at a hundred thousand miles most stock shocks are shot. Say that five times fast!
 
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TwoK4drSi

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Apr 3, 2019
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Good question. My assumption is that the Comfort coilovers cranked close to full stiff would be plenty stiff enough for track work. Maybe even too stiff. But the spring rate issue obviously can't be modified. Despite the softer Springs the Comfort coilovers actually feel like they have less roll in the corners than the stock P car. Of course the car is significantly lower so that may be a variable too. I've never dialed the shock rate down on my Sports setup, but I do recall that at 12 / 10 they were pretty cushy. I'm sure at something like 14/12 or even 14/14 , the car would have really good compliance and still handle better. I like the very locked down tracking of the firmer shock setting (10/8). But it is firm to the point of being abrupt over a larger bumps. I just slow down.

And yes, it is a great point to emphasize for the folks who wonder about the cost of all this, you are getting shocks you will never have to replace. Just crank 'em up a notch or so. That is worth a lot of money frankly because at a hundred thousand miles most stock shocks are shot. Say that five times fast!
Thanks for the insight. You make a good point the only thing you can’t change is spring rate. So the real question is...can the dampening on both versions compensate for the spring rate? I am assuming we need to decide which spring rate matches our lifestyle more and the shocks will take care of the rest.
 
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