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Suspension time...Konis or KW?


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The clunking is getting pretty bad lol, I think it's suspension time.

 

I have JDM sport suspension with inverted strut Bilsteins.

 

They are working fine and I could get them lubed to get rid of the clunking but I am wanting a change too.

 

Konis of course are a well documented option. Either with aftermarket springs or OE 13-up springs. A bit over $600 for the inserts plus $200 or so for aftermarket springs. Plus donor struts, as its unknown if they will fit the Bilstein housings.

 

KW variant 1's get lots of rave reviews in many platforms about being set pretty much perfectly for daily sporty use, AND are height adjustable. But they list at $1500 or so.

 

I may be able to get the KW V1 from someone for about the price of Konis and aftermarket springs.

 

Interested in everyone's opinions.

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So I just lubed up the struts and it's peace and quiet again, lessens the urgency a bit so I can think clearly lol!

 

Yes I do want height adjustability. Roads suck here and I want to be able to dial in some height on longer trips.

 

I could go Koni and spacers to raise but I would be in high mode all the time.

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I would go Koni plus either the aftermarket or 13+ springs. As mentioned, you can always add spacers for the height. Also, what is the age of the KW V1's? If not new, they would need serviced earlier.
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NIB?

 

I'd go KW if the pricing is similar. I went with TEIN Street Basis Z on my car instead of rebuilding the Bilsteins, ride quality is pretty much the same, height is a tad lower (about 1cm, struts wound up to highest). Saved $200 :)

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If they are NIB, I think you may kick yourself for not going with the KW’s. The only real difference (if I read the KW site correctly) is the Koni’s are adjustable and the KW’s are not. That might make a difference on a long road trip.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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NIB?

 

I'd go KW if the pricing is similar. I went with TEIN Street Basis Z on my car instead of rebuilding the Bilsteins, ride quality is pretty much the same, height is a tad lower (about 1cm, struts wound up to highest). Saved $200 :)

 

Oh yeah we have the same Billies!

 

Yes, NIB. Im hoping they will ride better than OEM, everyone seems to rave how they are valved just right. :)

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[sorry for off topic post]

 

 

Haha nah we just shorten/butcher words, more coloUrful aye :p

 

 

what are you thoughts on light emitting diodes? ;)

They're great. I have them throughout my car. Philips 4000K T10 and 30mm festoon :)

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its unknown if they will fit the Bilstein housings.

 

I replaced all my dampers last week and I can confirm that the Koni inserts will not be compatible with our OEM Bilsteins. The "inserts" on the Bilsteins are beefier (bigger) than the usual twin tube struts, the Koni inserts won't seat snugly without modifying the Bilstein strut. You will definitely need KYB front strut donors if you're going the Koni route.

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I've been very pleased with my Koni/H&R setup since installing it last fall. Rides nice and handles far better than stock. The install is kinda a pain with the need to modify the front struts so if you don't want to cut stuff up the coilovers might be the way to go. FWIW I have put coilovers on several other cars and this setup compares very favorably in the end result.
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I replaced all my dampers last week and I can confirm that the Koni inserts will not be compatible with our OEM Bilsteins. The "inserts" on the Bilsteins are beefier (bigger) than the usual twin tube struts, the Koni inserts won't seat snugly without modifying the Bilstein strut. You will definitely need KYB front strut donors if you're going the Koni route.

 

Thanks Ivan! How did you end up getting the Konis on? And what springs did you use? Any other suspension mods?

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Thanks Ivan! How did you end up getting the Konis on? And what springs did you use? Any other suspension mods?

 

Actually, I did not go with the Koni's. It was an impulsive buy on KYBs but I chose the KYB SR's, which is the same size as a regular KYB Excels and that's how I made the conclusion that the Koni's will not fit on the Bilstein struts.

 

About the impulsive buy: The ride on the stock Bilsteins have gotten so bad to the point that I was actually embarrassed to have passengers in my car. One day my parents' car was in for a service at the dealer so I gave them a ride, when I looked at them they were holding on the grab handles as I was traversing a road that unsettled my Legacy so bad, very opposite of how that road would feel in their sedan (an '18 Mazda6 diesel which feels much sportier in the handling department but also rides miles better than my Legacy despite the Bilstein shocks which is embarrassing). Later that afternoon I ordered the KYB SR right-away out of frustration. So yeah, sadly, my Koni plan didn't push through because of this.

 

KYB SR: The compression is greatly improved compared to the Bilsteins, car still feels stiff, but handles the bumps better now. Braking is GREATLY improved, like I can't even believe it. Rebound feels the same as the Bilsteins, which means the car still feels crashy at times, especially when going over dips in a quick succession. So the major improvements are bumps, braking, and noise (it's a lot quieter now). The car is still not where I want it to be in terms of ride and handling, so these shocks might be temporary. Still haven't installed my Eibach springs as I can't afford to lose 1 inch of ground clearance given the conditions of our roads here. I'll do bigger diameter tires first (probably 245/45 R18) before springs to compensate for that 1 inch.

 

I'm currently in touch with a local guy (CS) who is known to rebuild and revalve high end coilovers and shocks, I might have him work on my old Bilsteins and see if he can decrease the high speed compression damping to improve bump absorption while maintaining the low speed compression to resist body roll. I'm also researching about this guy (FCM) in the US who is famous for his in-depth knowledge about Bilstein shocks. I know the easy way is to just buy Koni or KW, but given that I now have a set of used Bilsteins laying around, might as well use the opportunity to do some R&D.

 

EDIT: A friend recently took me for a ride in his Toyota 86 with KW coilovers, the car rides much much stiffer than our LGT but it handled bumps and dips WAAAY better. I couldn't even hear some of the bumps. I think the way his car rides is my goal for my LGT.

Edited by ivan.ej255
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Ivan, agree 100% on the Bilstein being stiff in city driving lol!

 

I also considered KYB SR's but research leads me to believe they are underdamped for the sport package springs we have. The SRs ride well with the right springs though, I paired SRs with Swift Sport lowering springs on my previous Forester SG9 and liked them. Ride was a lot better than the Legacy.

 

I think the Eibachs will be a better match for the SRs. You can adjust height with front and rear strut spacers to keep ground clearance. Or put in 19's with 245/40's to gain some height with looks. :p

 

I hear Coilover Specialist does nice work but revalving can be hit or miss IMO. And any adjustment will need the dampers to be removed from the car again. Unless he has experience with these particular dampers with those particular springs, it may take a few tries to dial it in. I'll probably have him replace the inverted strut bearings and reseal my Bilsteins once I get a new suspension though, so I have a set in reserve.

 

Your experience with KWs echoes what I read about them online. I'm leaning towards these as like you, I need the ground clearance. As a bonus, I'm looking forward to lowering these once in a while just for the look on well planned trips on good roads. :) Hoping to get the deal closed soon!

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