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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've gotten 14 good years of service on the Cady with Sport Bilsteins (sig shows susp. setup), and overdue to replace with new. I had imagined Koni's initially back then when I put the car together as I had run on my earlier drivers, but opted for Bilstein's good rep on the forum and slightly cheaper cost. I also have Bilsteins on the Impala SS and an '88 MCSS - love them all. I'm probably more just looking for a change than anything else, and considering the "next" 15 years the amortized cost seems affordable to pop for the Koni.

The Stickie provides good background, and the debate between these, and shocks overall, has been going on at least 15 years:
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/831257-price-difference-shocks.html

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/829961-koni-bilstein.html

Alternate low pressure v. high pressure designs for the two. Adjustable on Koni is pretty neat though I'd probably just pick one setting and leave it at that;) The only thing left is to check to make sure the spread on current pricing has not widened up between the two.

EDIT: Looks like yet another option has surfaced recently: http://vi-king.com/
Double adjustable
$170 each to start
 

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I think you missed your sale opportunity. Seems every spring, koni does a like 20-25% off sale. That's when I picked up my fronts after the one AK1195 failed as mentioned in the other thread. That puts them right around the same price. If memory serves, they were about 90something each.
Having them for a few years now, I wanna say they feel a little softer on compression where they be good with stiffer than stock springs. Rebound is great. But you need to be close to the max even with the stock ss springs I recall i'm 1/2 a turn from max after initially trying 1/2 and then 1 turn from soft.
 

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IMO, you need a lot of time and practice on roadcourses or AutoX to see the benefit out of the Koni's.
I have no doubt they're better when you get to that level where the car becomes the limitation rather than yourself.
I'm not there.....lol!
 

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I've gotten 14 good years of service on the Cady with Sport Bilsteins (sig shows susp. setup), and overdue to replace with new. I had imagined Koni's initially back then when I put the car together as I had run on my earlier drivers, but opted for Bilstein's good rep on the forum and slightly cheaper cost. I also have Bilsteins on the Impala SS and an '88 MCSS - love them all. I'm probably more just looking for a change than anything else, and considering the "next" 15 years the amortized cost seems affordable to pop for the Koni.

The Stickie provides good background, and the debate between these, and shocks overall, has been going on at least 15 years:
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/831257-price-difference-shocks.html

http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/17-suspension/829961-koni-bilstein.html

Alternate low pressure v. high pressure designs for the two. Adjustable on Koni is pretty neat though I'd probably just pick one setting and leave it at that;) The only thing left is to check to make sure the spread on current pricing has not widened up between the two.

EDIT: Looks like yet another option has surfaced recently: Rod Ends, Shocks, and Springs | Viking Performance
Double adjustable
$170 each to start
I carry Koni, Bilsteins & Vikings - I have Viking Coilovers on my '73 Camaro - Nice Product!
 

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Starting using the Bilstiens in 94 on an "for export only" Impala SS project. Quickly started having Bill Hindhoff @ Bilstien in San Diego revalving them for ever more rebound. The "soft" Bilstiens were about perfect for compression but even the "hard" (sport) ones were too light on rebound. We settled on rates very different for various springs, even then he had created a chart of about 20 different values to match the then few different springs. Fast forward to the present and while the Koni's are fixed in compression at just about the perfect rates, the rebound is even more adjustable than the Bilstien revalves would tolerate. Some people only adjust them after some wear, but from new they can benefit any setup by adjusting. So depending on which springs and sways they are combined with (both count) , the Koni's today can give a better ride and handling mix than any of the off the shelf Bilstien's. Any front spring/sway will work well with a full soft Adjustment on the Koni (softest ride) to various degrees of hard (about 2 1/2 turns toward full hard) to improve handling. Even tiny changes in the last 1/4 turn makes a big difference. Full hard in front on any spring rides pretty hard, actually smoother full hard the stiffer the spring and bar combo. It's not possible to get the front adjustment too hard for handling but the ride will really suffer, and a too stiff suspension bouncing over rough spots isn't "good handling". The frame can't be too stiff but the suspension easily can be. Rear is different. None of the OEM spring/bar combo's will benefit from very much harder Koni adjustment. The rear suspension doesn't really work well with crazy hard spring rates either (weight distribution has the front working much harder) or too much rebound but the stiffer the rear springs, the more rebound on the Koni's. Most stiffer aftermarket springs used with thicker rear bars do best with the rear shocks adjusted to 1/2 to 3/4 of full hard. A 300 lbs rear spring like on the crazy long wheelbase 8000 lbs stretch limo with a 1 1/2" solid rear sway bay works perfect with the Koni's at full hard from new. Compression stays very soft so the limo rides and handles best at full hard, not true for any B-body sedan. (Even a 200lbs rear spring would be too stiff on a 4000 lbs. sedan and require a front spring matched for bounce frequency that would be insane) In front any over 800 lbs spring couldn't be Bounce Frequency matched with any but a too stiff functional rear spring. Although Colin Chapman famously said (eons ago) "Any suspension will work if you don't let it".
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yo Scot. I appreciate your insights and intel. I've your thread detailing the locked up frame and full poly suspension of your stretch limo and have to say all that plus the wheelbase is my vision of perfection - times 2!

I updated my orig. post above and sig after (sadly) parting with my FTSS. Actually quite relieved it's been adopted into a great new home. Anyway, I'm working a new blank slate - and want to do it right - for the NEXT 15 years. I'd like to think I can put together a great integrated setup from the start and keep it that way. On the last one I went through 3 shocks, 4 coils and several bar combos until pleased.

I don't see any better shiny objects out there that wind me up. But, I sure wouldn't mind giving current design suspensions a run for their money with the perfect undercarriage upgrades on mine. Like you I believe the frame/suspension/brakes return the greatest performance and enjoyment.

I'm curious, in a perfect world and from your (immensely more than mine) experience what would be your dream setup on all counts if forced to work over the same FE1 creampuff I just snagged?
 

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"In the long run, men hit only what they aim for"

I need more info!
Everyone has a ride/handling balance fantasy. What's yours?
Do tires/wheels, entire suspension and frame rigidity right from the start and life is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
D'oH!

I'm guilty of my own pet-peeve with a classic "Help Me" but providing no data. OEM SS coils on FTSS, babied lo-miler with FE1 on the right.
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-It'll be my driver for the next 15 years, just as the FTSS was for the past 16. My official designated garage queen is the '96 Imp. There's a 6-speed laying next to it for someday, but I digress.
-The new white one (I'm liking the new Lincoln tanclay for repaint) will be the worker.
-Goal for this one will be approaching the handling of a nice new S-Maybach, - but for $170,000 less. You know nothing unreasonable.

Seriously, the car as it sets is a clean 52,XXXmile beaut, and short of an IRS and some one-off R&P steering I'm hunting for what you referenced as critical in correctly matching coils-shocks-bushings-bars.

The FTSS took 2 years to get right using cobbled together and repeat tries at used pieces off the Impala combined with eventually just stiff Bilsteins and some aftermarket LCAs. I'd prefer to do it right with the correctly matched set of new (retail priced) stuff - but only once.

My last FWB gave me the following:
-intersection turns that felt like autocrossing, and could never get the tires to squeal even trying hard
-very gratifying straightline road feel
-flattened "non-overcorrection-requiring" maneuvering between lanes
-got rid of the pushing, plenty of oversteer

I'd like to replicate as much of that as possible. Not a tall order. Just sacked out SS coils all around gave a good ht/rake (right at 2" drop in front with the old gray one and the new white one next to each other.

I hope that helps, though most of the input is qualitative. You may end up recommending just matching some simple samebrand coils, bars and LCAs and call it a day. But there may be some German skunkworks stuff going under the newest Audis or AMGs too that you know about. lol

Other points to entertain:
1.If going after boxing the frame - but without lifting the body - where would it be for you? The F- front brace is a given, welded of course. I'll even be looking into jounce bars of some sort. Anything that stiffens things for turns but without locking down straightline comfort to the point of feeling like an old Vette.

2.If compromising comfort a bit and allowing one place - and one place only - for poly bushings - where would you do them? I bet you say A-arms eh.

3.For any return on actual performance or ride comfort (and especially considering the cost and work) do AirRide systems belong on anything other than lo-riders and tractor trailers?

I read decades ago the famous Cadillac Ride was their engineering really wimpy spring rates together with stiff shocks (well as stiff as blu-hairs could tolerate and still not feel the road at all). You make mention of keeping rates low which is exactly my reasoning - but without your scientifical experience of course. The front simply must drop - almost 2" I'd say. Some for stance, but mostly for road viewing ahead. The difference between FTSS and this new one is unnerving, like between seeing everything v. the feeling I'm going to run over a little kid I can't see.

The only thing pretty much set at this point will be some sort of 17-18" 8 1/2" wheels, but with at least the same or greater rolling ht tires as stock. I saw something on an Infiniti SUV that looked great. I ran simple SS wheels with 255 55's before, and that provided plenty wide pattern and decent sidewall cushion.

Finally, I'll have to do NavyLifer's rear discs AGAIN, but that's not really susp./chassis.

Thanks for playing along. I hope this makes up for the last post. haha
 

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Hey Scot. Been a while. Always enjoyed our spring discussions. Don't want to jack 96's thread too much :)

Been getting bored so tried a new rear spring/shock combo that has me really liking. Wanted to try something stiffer than the SS springs that were there to see how far it can be pushed. So picked up some moog 6381's at 198lbs and install right at essentially stock SS height. One bad thing, they're loose when jacked up with the soft bilsteins. Becomes a two jack operation to seat them correctly each time. But they gave a better ride than expected. Actually better over rough roads. I did pull off the 1 1/2 solid rear bar at same time as it would probably have gotten dangerous. But kept the front HO bar. It feels like it wants a touch of a bar. Think the stock one would be perfect. Might pull the one of the 95 for a test. You can tell that the front now feels soft. To keep the bounce the same, it would need like a 565lbs spring. Not to far from the numbers you provided on the eibach at 588. To deal with the shortness of the rear springs, I gave the station wagon KYB Gasadjusts at try. KYB gave me the rates compared to the sedan version and they are stiffer a little too. Well winner winner. Can't get over how well it rides now. Really really good. They may not last as long as koni's or bilsteins. Time will tell. But they are cheap enough to just change out every couple of years.
 

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Keep in mind that removing the giant rear bar did more to improve the ride quality than anything else you did. That bar has one hell of a spring rate itself and just is never optimal (OPTIMAL...) on any normal weight B-body of less than about 6000 lbs. Your using springs that would work well with the tiny sways from the FE1 suspension,or the FE3, 9C1 bars; all of which maintain the 1/8" delta GM insisted on to dial terminal understeer in. Just using the same diameter bar F+R (either both solid or both hollow) corrects GM's bad idea. Your rear spring rates are close to 9C1 specs : 160 lbs from 93-96 and pre 1992 they were 184 lbs. only you just benefit at stock SS height instead of sky-high 9C1 height in both ride and handling. Even the 1 1/16" FE1 Front bar + 1 1/16" FE3 Rear bar would be better than a big front and no rear, and the car would handle better and ride better. Balance is magic grasshopper. As it is , as it corners the front bar alone also has too much spring rate and overloads the outside front tire, you perceive the better ride just like the 1 1/2" rear bar kept the car so flat you perceived better handling. At Virginia International Raceway, Lisbeth's 94 Impala with SS springs, 1 1/16" F+R bars, Koni's and the radical stiff frame had the very fastest times.
PS The ideal no longer produced Eibach #3832.140 are 588 linear front and 143-228 progressive rear at SS ride height. The OEM SS is 444 linear front with 154 linear rear. The delta of the two spring sets shows just were the balance is, go 140 lbs stiffer in the front, go up the linear equivalent of 50 lbs in the rear. Much stiffer front spring reduces the understeer a lot, a little stiffer rear spring slightly increases oversteer= balance.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey Scot. Been a while. Always enjoyed our spring discussions. Don't want to jack 96's thread too much :)

...
No, go right ahead and jack away! All intel is useful for something. Funny though, I gave away a new set of front KYBs that simply didn't cut it. So vive le difference.
 

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Cool. Yeah, didn't care for the fronts either I tried once. But was nice to know they acknowledged the wagons have stiffer springs and make a stiffer shock.

At some point when I get around to trying stiffer front springs, might try their monomax shock. Listed for other vehicles but have the right dimensions. And was a little more than 50% stiffer on rebound if I remember right.

What I like about the rears is there behavior on our pot hole repaired streets. Almost like driving on cobble stone patches..Much better than the soft bilsteins. Yet handle the stiffer springs much better too. Nice tight. Dips in the road that would have body compressing a lot now almost go unnoticed with that spring/shock combo. No feelings on track performance, but I don't do that anyway. Just looking for good street manners on our kind of roads.
 

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ok

1.If going after boxing the frame - but without lifting the body - where would it be for you? The F- front brace is a given, welded of course.

The weak point in the frame is the C-channel in the wheelbase. Gusseting without lifting the body. Measure the space, roughly 2"X 4.5" cut pieces of steel 1/4"thick, maybe 8 per side, weld them in and presto...90% of a boxed frame in 2 hours.

2.If compromising comfort a bit and allowing one place - and one place only - for poly bushings - where would you do them? I bet you say A-arms eh.
OK and at the diff on the U+L rear control arms and at the frame attachment point of the Rear LCA's. 10 minutes more to weld in a homemade frame brace there which will do even more than the DMR bolt in.

3.For any return on actual performance or ride comfort (and especially considering the cost and work) do AirRide systems belong on anything other than lo-riders and tractor trailers?
Horrible idea, do not go there. AirLift bags in the rear springs is all the Air Ride you want.

I read decades ago the famous Cadillac Ride was their engineering really wimpy spring rates together with stiff shocks...
GM never knew what a stiff shock was for a B-body and in compression you want soft, rates like the "soft" Bilsteins or less. Hit bump, tire moves easily, compresses spring. Radical rebound control, rates almost three times the "sport" Bilsteins on rebound, spring SLOOOWLY returns. Eliminates brake dive and acceleration squat too. Who does this? Oh just all the super high performance Eurotrash.
The front simply must drop - almost 2" I'd say.
That turns out not to be the case.
Some for stance, but mostly for road viewing ahead.
"Danger Will Robertson"! Faulty logic.
Leave all 4 OEM springs, raise the rear with the AirLifts. Think "New Bentley SUV among others" which can run away and hide from Impala SS's. Handling does not require slamming.

The only thing pretty much set at this point will be some sort of 17-18" 8 1/2" wheels, but with at least the same or greater rolling ht tires as stock.
Wrong! See how much better..."that turns out not to the case" sounds?
I saw something on an Infiniti SUV that looked great. I ran simple SS wheels with 255 55's before, and that provided plenty wide pattern and decent sidewall cushion.
Bad idea for you. See my post about the new Nitto 555 Extreme's in 275/60-15? I've not tried them yet but they test out very close to all the 555's from Nitto; which is super. BFG Radial T/A's were the only one's really fit after Firestone killed the 275/60-15 Firehawk but now we are saved. 275/60-15 is a 28" tall tire, lots of cushy sidewall. Every pound added to go from 15"wheels/tires to 17's (bad) to 18's (worse) to hey! How about some 90 ( before tires) pound 24's??? Deadly! FOR YOU...OEM 15's and OEM springs and given everything you told me...ride and handling you'll love. Physics 101...ever greater unsprung weight is always a negative for every car. The lightest wheel and tire is your friend for handling, braking, accelerating and ride quality. Why such big wheels on new cars? Forget room for big brakes, it's marketing hogwash. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. My ECIRC Championship (2004 or 5? Jesus really?) 1996 Caprice won it all, first place on 15 X 8.5" Caprice alloys. Really
Your OEM wheels are so cost effective for you, will fit the 275/60-15 (those who say you need at least a 7.5" wheel are wrong. I've worn out plenty of 275's on 7"wheels without any problems) Sure 15 X 8" or 15 X 8.5" wheels are better, cheap too used, or megadollars for custom forged ones; but I'd rather see you spend the money elsewhere. Super cushy FE1 OEM springs, no cost to swap them out, maybe $100 for Airlifts, Koni's adjusted for the sways, and we brainstorm the sway bars but the HO/HA set for $321. is running ahead right now. UMI LCA's are a no brainer at U+L's for <$349. This car will be neutral with minimal fine tuning @ what 4600 lbs and the ride will be "so loverly" ! Heavy? A Lotus next to my Limo! My daughter went around VIR with the Limo @ the average speed of a stock Impala SS (many, many times) [She adjusted those Koni's a dozen times] Big brakes and 427 HP @THe wheels helped too. Pointless and un necessary aside...The Limo stroker motor is a torque monster but the Arnage has 700 ft pounds of torque (not a typo) in a 6000 lbs. car with 4 wheel drive and the Limo is still more fun. PS The Bentley came from the factory with 4L60E GM transmission. Yes brand new before install it they do Kevlar HD clutch packs and a zippy Sun Shield; but need a new one someday and then they sell it to you for $30,000. Limo trans got the same guts 5 years ago in Va. and cost 27,000 less, and so now they both have the same 4L60E transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
....
Having them for a few years now, I wanna say they feel a little softer on compression where they be good with stiffer than stock springs. Rebound is great.....
Yes - I notice less "immediacy" in the car reacting to dips and bumps. Quite pleasant on longer interstate rides. The SS bars are a big improvement, but need much bigger wheels/rubber for more improvement turning.


....
But you need to be close to the max even with the stock ss springs I recall i'm 1/2 a turn from max after initially trying 1/2 and then 1 turn from soft......
Now remember I've kept the wimpy-ier FE1 coils on this Cady, so I partly used your guide to initially set mine at 2 half-turns from soft (40% for those who don't know Konis give about 5 "half turns" adjustment). I'm looking to back off the much firmer feel and responsiveness on my last FWB which was SS coils-F/front - double/SS rear - stiff Bilsteins.

End of story I need to re-set the fronts to zero to see if that loses the slight 'jiggle' in the nose. I'd like to cut 3/4" off the fronts, but will have to be satisfied with some Airlift 1000s for a tiny rake.
 

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So depending on which springs and sways they are combined with (both count) , the Koni's today can give a better ride and handling mix than any of the off the shelf Bilstien's. Any front spring/sway will work well with a full soft Adjustment on the Koni (softest ride) to various degrees of hard (about 2 1/2 turns toward full hard) to improve handling. Even tiny changes in the last 1/4 turn makes a big difference. Full hard in front on any spring rides pretty hard, actually smoother full hard the stiffer the spring and bar combo. I

Most stiffer aftermarket springs used with thicker rear bars do best with the rear shocks adjusted to 1/2 to 3/4 of full hard.
Pretty much what I have noticed too. I had both kinds of bilsteins on a few cars, and prefer the Konis. I'm running the fronts with the 700 lb front springs on full stiff, and the rears at 3/4 hard with moog CC623 in one wagon and moog cc625 in the other. It rides a lot better than with the bilsteins. They don't all seem to have the same amount of turns, so I usually go backwards from stiff. I agree that the last 1/4 turn makes disproportionate changes compared to the rest of the travel.

Overall I was very satisfied with the bilsteins when I had the old RCMP eibach springs on my sedan. I wouldn't have paid to change them out to konis unless they wore out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

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SSuperwagon Springs

I have Tahoe Rear Springs for Towing.
They are too bouncy on a rough road. Using Belsteins all around.

Has lower Metco Control Arm and SS Roll Bar.
For towing have Airbags and Electric Airbag Pump to help keep level.
Makes for good level cornering.

Rebuilt Front end with SS Roll Bar and Springs.
Front sits higher than with the Eibach that were in there before.

QUESTION:
Front end sit too high and a bit higher when the rear is loaded for towing.
Solutions are to cut SS spring or find another front Spring of similar same rate that will lower the nose.

Need recommendation for a better rear spring?

Dan
 
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