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Old 07-10-2019, 10:58 AM   #1
jonc
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Question Bilstein vs Koni Struts and Shocks for a '89 245

Hey all,

Being young and dumb, my beloved 245 NEEEDS to be lowered, and I'm looking at getting IPD lowering springs. I also want to do struts and shocks since mine are on their way out anyways, but I don't want to murder my ride quality, with still having an improvement in handling.

So, Koni or Bilstein? Ive heard a lot of conflicting opinions about the Konis, but nothing but positives for the Bilsteins other than that they may need additional work to install with the springs.


I know people have come here asking this question before me, but a lot of the other specific threads about it ended years ago and I figured peoples opinions might have changed since then.

thx

edit: I already have IPD front and rear sway bars installed, and I'm also curious if the koni or bilsteins have any difference in how much lower they are from stock

Last edited by jonc; 07-10-2019 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: added some details
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:49 PM   #2
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I have Koni's in my V8 wagon and I am pleased with them. With a little tweaking on the adjustments the ride and handling is great.
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:43 PM   #3
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It's a lot about damping. A shock is designed to dampen vibrations from a spring. The stiffer the spring (higher the spring rate), the more compression and rebound damping you need in a shock.

Bilstein HD's seem to have more of all that (compression and rebound). So do Koni's. Koni's also have adjustable rebound damping (the fancy ones have adjustable compression damping.

When people go to a higher spring rate than stock, the shocks might not be up to the task. For a basic lowering using for example, stock ipd lowering springs (have a spring rate of about 152lb/in (Dave Barton's figures) you should be fine with the stock offerings. That's not terribly more than stock but it is stiffer.

Going even to a 250-350lb/in spring rate, the aftermarket dampers can have real trouble dealing with them unless the are adjustable or unless you get them revalved.

With really stiff spring rates, you can also have your existing struts/shocks revalved (Bilstein HD's, I think Koni's, and Decarbon).


So, moral of story, with ipd lowering springs, you're probably fine with the bil HD's or the Koni's but the Koni sports have the benefit of adjustable rebound. There are lots of other (more expensive options).

However... if you go down the rabbit hole like we all have and plan future upgrades and really want to destroy the market value of your car (humor).... you might want to spring for the nice dampers now.... just saying.

Last edited by 740atl; 07-10-2019 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:42 PM   #4
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I prefer Bilstein HD. There is a difference in ride quality. This IPD video explains it well.

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Old 07-10-2019, 03:44 PM   #5
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You may want to consider going to coilovers, you get a lot more control on spring rates and lengths and you also get a much better alignment range since you dont have the 8" diameter springs that volvo used.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkaplan View Post
You may want to consider going to coilovers, you get a lot more control on spring rates and lengths and you also get a much better alignment range since you dont have the 8" diameter springs that volvo used.
Do you have any recommendations? I know BC racing makes coilovers for 240s, but they require welding and I don't have the equipment for that, but I don't know of other brands that are trusted.

I also haven't looked so I guess I should get on that.

Last edited by jonc; 07-10-2019 at 07:48 PM..
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:29 PM   #7
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Check out the links in his (blkaplan) sig, he offers a bunch of great options for coilovers.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:00 PM   #8
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My personal experience on a few different cars, the Bilstein's rode harsher than the Koni's, but all of those were on aftermarket springs (H&R, TME, Lesjofors). I've switched my stuff over to Koni's, much prefer the better ride with very minimal loss in handling, if any. For stock springs the Bilstein's aren't too bad, but once you stiffen the springs a little, they seem overdamped.

Just my uneducated first hand experience (same impression from a 140, 740, and 850R).
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:08 AM   #9
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I am Running GAZ on my 940 F/B on a coil over conversion on the frount and love them

i have had a few set of Koni's on different cars and have been impressed with the GAZ and they come with a dyno sheet of each shock i Got them from Yoshi Fab
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2barxr View Post
I am Running GAZ on my 940 F/B on a coil over conversion on the frount and love them

i have had a few set of Koni's on different cars and have been impressed with the GAZ and they come with a dyno sheet of each shock i Got them from Yoshi Fab
Im not impressed with my Gaz struts or shocks. I just took my rear adjustable Gaz shocks off for some KYB shocks and the ride is has way improved in harshness over bumps. I couldn't get the Gaz shocks to the right dampening that I liked. Im debating about removing the fronts for Konis or billys.
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Old 07-11-2019, 11:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonc View Post
Do you have any recommendations? I know BC racing makes coilovers for 240s, but they require welding and I don't have the equipment for that, but I don't know of other brands that are trusted.

I also haven't looked so I guess I should get on that.
BNEshop.com You can get fulll bolt on ready coilovers without any fabrication required. We sell many levels in terms of damper adjustment and quality.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Texas240 View Post
Im not impressed with my Gaz struts or shocks. I just took my rear adjustable Gaz shocks off for some KYB shocks and the ride is has way improved in harshness over bumps. I couldn't get the Gaz shocks to the right dampening that I liked. Im debating about removing the fronts for Konis or billys.
So what wheel/Tire are you running that has an impact as well

I was running 205/40/16 square on hydras and now I am F 245/40/18 and 265/40/18 with IPD rear springs.

I like a slightly harsh ride and that is the way i have it set up now

I think The GAZ can re-valved to your liking
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gsellstr View Post
My personal experience on a few different cars, the Bilstein's rode harsher than the Koni's, but all of those were on aftermarket springs (H&R, TME, Lesjofors). I've switched my stuff over to Koni's, much prefer the better ride with very minimal loss in handling, if any. For stock springs the Bilstein's aren't too bad, but once you stiffen the springs a little, they seem overdamped.

Just my uneducated first hand experience (same impression from a 140, 740, and 850R).
How long have you had your Konis? On a post from about 5 years ago a lot of people noted that the Konis gave out after a couple of years. Since I drive harsh roads, the softer feeling appears to me, but I'm worried about their longevity
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Old 07-11-2019, 07:24 PM   #14
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Keep in mind ride is subjective based on rim/tire combination in conjunction with shocks and springs as the tires themselves are springs and while not directly effecting spring rate they do dictate some comfort level. Obviously, the taller the sidewall the nicer the ride quality at the sacrifice of steering responsiveness.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:17 PM   #15
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Have koni yellows on my daily done the Kyoto way. 300lbs springs on the front are cash money. I don’t know what the spring rate is on the iPads? I thought they were still considered soft last we talked about them?
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2barxr View Post
So what wheel/Tire are you running that has an impact as well

I was running 205/40/16 square on hydras and now I am F 245/40/18 and 265/40/18 with IPD rear springs.

I like a slightly harsh ride and that is the way i have it set up now

I think The GAZ can re-valved to your liking
215/45/17 Front 225/45/17 back. fronts were valved for 450lb and back was for 200lb. These have maybe 5k miles on them over the last 3 years of getting them. I remember my Billys back when I was living in Cali in 2009-10 with chopped stock springs and rode nice and handle well but that also 10 years ago when I like a really harshed ride.
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by blkaplan View Post
BNEshop.com You can get fulll bolt on ready coilovers without any fabrication required. We sell many levels in terms of damper adjustment and quality.
what are you running in your wagon ben?
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:01 AM   #18
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140 has had them in the rear for about 3000 miles, not a good tell. The wagon has had the same set in the rear for around 100k, had a front fail around 80k, started leaking, replaced under warranty. The wife's 850R had them for around 220k before one of them started leaking out the adjuster. Both fronts were starting to get soft, rears were still in good shape, moved to another car at that time.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:19 PM   #19
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...8" diameter springs that volvo used.
Aren't they only about 6.5"?

If we're still using original style upper strut mounts, then spring diameter won't be a limiting factor. But once you change to a camber plate that allows for more negative camber, then you can run into problems. The big diameter stock spring can hit the inside of the strut tower, and when that happens, you'll notice the steering doesn't like to re-center after a turn because the spring is rubbing against the tower and trying to turn, but there's resistance. No big deal, easy fix, but it does limit the max negative camber.

2.5" ID coilover springs with camber plates give more range for negative camber adjustment, and many more choices of length and rate.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:26 PM   #20
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Satisfied with my GAZ shocks.

350lb front 225lb rear are controlled well.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:39 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Texas240 View Post
what are you running in your wagon ben?
At the moment, Koni double adjustables upfront in reinforced shortened housings. Koni Sports in the rear.

I have a set of JRZ pros set aside for it when i get my trailing arms finished up.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:42 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by towerymt View Post
Aren't they only about 6.5"?

If we're still using original style upper strut mounts, then spring diameter won't be a limiting factor. But once you change to a camber plate that allows for more negative camber, then you can run into problems. The big diameter stock spring can hit the inside of the strut tower, and when that happens, you'll notice the steering doesn't like to re-center after a turn because the spring is rubbing against the tower and trying to turn, but there's resistance. No big deal, easy fix, but it does limit the max negative camber.

2.5" ID coilover springs with camber plates give more range for negative camber adjustment, and many more choices of length and rate.
I'm glad you are paying attention... Was wondering if anyone would call it out. Regardless between 6.5 and 8... not much difference, either way its HUGEEEEEE.

I'd say if you were to run a nice strut mount like my offset units, the biggest problem is the lack of caster adjustment more then negative camber. If you have a general street car, the -.8 degrees you can get with stock springs is ok,,, -.8 degrees camber not good, not bad. The ability to run an extra degree of caster is something most people should want on their street car.
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