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Shocks. Why do you prefer one brand over another?
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Datsun79z
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:01 pm    Post subject: Shocks. Why do you prefer one brand over another? Reply with quote

The subject line pretty well says it all. WHY, do you prefer one brand of shock over another. I am specifically interested in your opinions concerning Bilstien, KYB and Monroe. Any others will be welcomed as well.

The application is a Westy Weekender running Hankook RA08 tires (very nice ride by the way). The vehicle is a daily driver with an average cargo weight of 300 pounds (2 people). No high speed driving or cornering is done in this vehicle, that is reserved for my 1979 Datsun 280ZX.

This subject has been hashed up by quite a few. Unfortunately the majority of the comments are opinion based. What FACTS are your personal opinions based upon?

I welcome your input.

Regards,

Mike [/b]
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Gauche1968
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is wrong with opinions and what type of "facts" are you looking for?
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preference IS opinion. That's what you're going to get. It all depends on the drivers preference for ride and feel.
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Shocks. Why do you prefer one brand over another? Reply with quote

Datsun79z wrote:

This subject has been hashed up by quite a few. Unfortunately the majority of the comments are opinion based. What FACTS are your personal opinions based upon?


Rolling Eyes

does experience with a couple of different shocks count as fact or as opinion-based comment?
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presslab
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you can get shock dyno graph for each of the shocks you are interested in, all you're going to get is opinion. It will be nearly impossible to get said graph for ANY non-racing shock.

Good luck.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:57 pm    Post subject: shocks Reply with quote

Blue Bay Bus I would vote for fox, but I'm not rich so I went with Old Man Emu love them, and since I'm a retired engineer this must be a scientific deduction! Laughing There for old men, great taste less filling, what more could you ask of a shock! OK I have a syncro, I like a stiff ride. The van is high less lean with a stiff shock= better handling. To be able to adjust the shock like Fox, Koni would be cool but comes with a cost.$
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Last edited by joseph928 on Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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randywebb
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I prefer Kill Yer Back shocks, because I like putting cheap crap on my cars, and then getting to redo it all with Bilsteins.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Konis, I likey mucho.
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Datsun79z
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry if I ruffled your feathers, folks. I am merely trying to obtain what you base your opinions upon. This is strictly a non-jugdemental question. Opinions are often formed from previous experiences. Your input on this subject is respected and not meant to be a challenge to you as an individual.

I am interested in why you like, or dislike any particular shock over another. In other words, was one too stiff, not stiff enough, did you experience difficulty with fit and placement, did the paint peel off and leave a less than pretty shock?

Regards,

Mike
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70coupyel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike I have to ask a few things.
What Vanagon shocks have you driven?

I think it might be easier to come to your own conclusion,for each shock listed, based on what you have read here.
Every ones van is set up differently and what you want out of your whole suspension set up.
Ask a specific detailed question and it is more likely to be answered. Asking for facts based on opinions is going to be general and rehashed.

I have had oils filled,KYB, and Koni's.
I pick the Koni's because it makes my van handle in the safest manner on the street.
I have a full Westy. So being that your van is lighter it might be too stuff for your tastes.
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Datsun79z
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

70coupyel, joseph928,

Thanks for the professional response. I purchased an 81 Westy (my first) about 4 months ago. Several upgrades and repairs have been done since then. Naturally, I've had little experience with shocks on this vehicle. My next improvement is too include a new set of shocks. Hence my interest in why or why not members like or dislike a particular brand of shock absorber.

Once again I do not mean to challenge your views or opinions. I merely wish to listen to and glean from your personal experiences.

Regards,

Michael
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thummmper
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only have experience with kyb-- they are an asian made gas shock-- very hard ride. good for a truck with a load. otherwise they are too hard.
I have mounted bilstein hd's on my 89 gl. havent driven them yet- bilstein invented the gas shock and have a demo where the hydraulic shocks cavitate and foam within, losing their effectiveness after the second thrust. this is why the gas shock is the contemporary design.
I don't know how koni stays effective, being hydraulic. guys rave on them here.
I regret buying the KYB's. they were 40.00 or so each, where bilsteins were 83.00 ea. konis surpass 120.00 ea. you can look at a utube on the bilstein site.
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kuleinc
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put bilstein HD's on my westy, I find them to be too soft, I normally drive an M3 and prefer a firm ride. I will be installing Koni adjustable shocks so I can dial in my firmness. Consequently the bilsteins will be for sale Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koni's are user adjustable. This fact alone made me choose them over any other single setting shock. My van had Bilstein HD's on it when I got it and the ride was softer than I liked. I thought that they were probably worn out and decided to replace them with the Koni's, but after driving a few other vans with the Bilstein HD's, I think that is just the way they ride.

The Koni's are on sale at Bus Depot right now. Fronts are $99.95 and rears are $109.95. I think that is a great price for great shocks.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$96.95 front
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_523_775/front_koni_shock.html

$99.95 rear
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_296_775/rear_koni_shock.html
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right after I bought a set of Monroe Gas Magnums for a very good price, my friend finds 2 Vanagon rear Koni's (used) and will give them to me. Now I don't know whether to sell the Magnums and use that money toward the front Koni's or simply run the Magnums.

No idea on how worn these Koni's are or how I can tell.
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RCB
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago when I had bought my 1982 Westy the ride seemed OK. I had no real way of comparing the ride until I had the Bilsteins installed about two years later. What a difference!!! The older shocks that were removed were KYB brand. Thats my experience with shocks so far. Lots of kudos for Bilsteins BUT Im sure the Koni's that get great reviews might ride even better, but Im happy with what I have now.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a sample size of 2, my data is not statistically significant, but here you go:
Bought the '88 Wolfsburg with KYB shocks... I don't know how old they were. I guess I could go through the receipts. I really haven't cared for the squishy (scientific tech term) ride. I bought some low-mile Bilstein HDs off a local guy who found them too soft for his Westy. I've installed the front shocks, hopefully I'll get the rears on this weekend. They've made the front feel a little better when braking through a dip/gutter and rolling over bumps, but still softer than I'd like.

Maybe at some point I'll spring for the Konis, but I'll wait to see how the other variables change... because there are a lot of them! I'm running Les Schwab Wildcat tires that I bought out of desperation when the Michelens started disintegrating while vacationing with the family. I've been less than impressed with how they wear, and VERY disappointed with the quality of service from Schwab... never again will I buy Schwab tires. I know I'm digressing, but I'll drift back to my point. Smile

Last Winter, on the recommendation of the wise folks here, I put Nokian Hakkapelitas (is that even close?) on the back of the van. The ride, as measured scientifically through my hands and butt, was probably 80% better as I pulled out of the tire store's lot! That was with just the new rear tires and they weren't inflated to the pressure I like to run. I can't wait for the opportunity to put those tires up front too... I think it's the sidewall stiffness that makes the difference, but whatever it is that made a bigger improvement to the handling than the front shocks.

I also don't like the low Carat suspension and will be trying an '85 set of springs all around. I don't know what that's going to do... the springs are way taller; 16" unweighted vs. 12" for the Carat springs. That will get me higher up so I don't scrape coming into the driveway (the Bilsteins did help with the scraping... to drift back on topic), but I've read that they're "softer." In any case, they're going to change the way the shocks interact with the van.

So the moral of the story... there are so many variables to consider, and then we're layering personal preference, driving style, and driven environment onto the physics. You may need to go to Syncro Solstice or Syncro de Mayo and ask to take a spin in vehicles similar to yours that are set up with different shocks to build your own evidence/preference infobase. Otherwise all you're really going to get is more of what's been written in the other threads. Make sure you take your regular passenger with you to get the load right and a second butt to measure the ride.

Paul
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like many; I'm on the cheap/poor side of the tracks so Koni & Bilstien are out. I had KYBs on one van and previously, Monroes on the current ride.
I found gas charged shocks to be too stiff and went with Meyle (sp) non gas charged similar to the original Boge. Very nice difference w/o any appreciable loss of stability! My $0.02
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Konis are the best shock I have found for a stock 2wd Vanagon.
They have some adjustability, that alone puts them in a class above all the others.
They will work on all year vans and different models from Carat to Westfalia GL.
Not everyone wants to lift there van or have to shim to level.
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