Ohlins DFV (Road & Track) R32 GTR

Ohlins DFV - BNR32

Ohlins DFV R32 GTROhlins – A brand considered  amongst many as the ultimate in performance and motorsport focussed dampers and can be found on anything from road cars, to race saloons, single seaters,  motorbikes/ race bikes and even mountain bikes! When we were offered the chance to fit and test the Ohlins DFV (supplied by Carrozzeria Japan) on our Nissan Skyline R32 GTR is was offer we simply could not turn down.

DFV stands for dual flow valve which gives the same characteristics on rebound as it does on compression, thanks to the damper fluid having a consistent path of flow in both ­directions. What this means on the road or track is that the wheel and tyre can resume its normal position quickly thus always keeping in contact with the ground.

Because DFV opens more quickly and easily on minor road imperfections, ride comfort is surprisingly supple and more akin to an OEM strut than a coilover set-up. Over undulating surfaces, the compliancy of the road & track units allows the car to crest bumps and pot-holes, whilst still keep stable and in control. Traction is always maintained at its optimum level. When comparing suspension, why settle for second best?

Lets us take a closer look at the technical specification of the DFV for the BNR32.

Front

– Conventional Shock Absorber Design
– Top mounts – Spherical Bearing or Rubber
– Height adjuster (independent to preload)
– Length adjuster (approx. 15 mm lower than standard)
– Single bleed adjuster
– Spring preload adjuster
– Coil Springs (rate 10kg/mm)
– Dustcovers

Rear Features

– Conventional Shock Absorber Design
– Top mounts – Spherical Bearing or Rubber
– Height adjuster (independent to preload)
– Length adjuster (approx. 15 mm lower than standard)
– Single bleed adjuster
– Spring preload adjuster
– Coil Springs (rate 8kg/mm)
– Dustcovers

Fitting was relatively straight forward, the units come supplied semi built, so only things that needed to be done were to fit the springs, top mounts and set the preload (compression of the spring). We opted for 2mm as this is what is recommended by Ohlins. Once fitted to the car, (again no major dramas here, fitting was perfect as you would expect) the damping was initially set to 10 front and 8 rear, as we didn’t want to go too soft as the springs more on the firm side and from past experiences dampers seldom work well towards the soft setting because they tend to become under damped.

Ohlins DFV

Ohlins DFV as fitted to our BNR32

Road test was carried out on country lanes, but en route we did have to go through some of London’s not so finest roads, immediately it became apparent how the Ohlins dampers were able to soak up small imperfections and ripples on the road surface much more smoothly and the car felt composed with no bouncing around or jumping, even over speed bumps bump and rebound settings felt very well matched. There was a noticeable difference when comparing to the HKS Hipermax III which when set to a softer setting you could feel it was a little underdamped and began to bounce a little due to a softer rebound (7kg front and 6kg rear) clearly the benefits of the DFV – dual control valve clearly working well.

Onto the country lanes, with its gradients, twists and turns, the car handled impressively on the relatively smooth surface – solid and responsive on the steering, change of direction capabilities were very impressive but also partly down to the stiffer side walls of the Advan Neova AD08R tyres we were using. Bumps and undulations at 70mph with the damper settings used proved a little challenging as the car felt a little nervous, so we pulled over to make a quick adjustment softening up the damping two clicks front and rear. This made a improved difference when encountering uneven surfaces and even at speed the car was much more planted and forgiving, soaking up the bumps in a similar manner to when we drove through some of London’s roads.

A point to mention was how much noticeable change just a couple of clicks of the adjuster can make. With the dampers set to 8 and 6 to soft damping was well with in match for the springs and felt that even going further two clicks towards soft would still be with in range.

Conclusion: From our experience of the test carried out on our BNR32, the Ohlins DFV performed better than expected, you always get big claims and marketing hype from manufacturers, but in this case they lived up to all that and worked very well around town and on fast and flowing country lanes where more often than not you are faced with poor road surfaces. The DFV element excelled and was very much noticeable and the adjustment are very precise with almost each click either up or down will allow you to dial the dampers to the road condition and to your preference. Overall you cannot fault these dampers they do everything exactly as they should expect perhaps the price tag, approx. £1800 including delivery and taxes.

We can supply Ohlins for R32 by  special order via Japan. R33/34 readily available. Contact us for pricing.