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 Post subject: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modification!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Hey guys,

So I've been hearing things about Koni, discontinued this, can't get that, and it scared the sh*t out of me, so I made some calls to find out the facts. I figured I'd share, to put rumours to rest, and also encourage people to buy their s*#t, hence encouraging them to keep making them. The following, I have been advised, are currently listed, and available, with approximate prices as advised by an Australian distributor.


T SERIES GEMINI - KONI REDS (street/sports, very high quality oil shock):

Front, for "standard ride height/etc" - ie, listed for a Gemini
Part no. 80-2275. Price ~ $300/pr.

SEDAN Rear, to suit lowered Geminis (would be fine for standard too IMO), cross referenced from a Commodore, these are 25mm shorter at full stroke, perfect for keeping shorter springs captive:
Part no. 80-2597. Price ~ $300/pr.

* I forgot to get the listing for wagon, I'm really sorry guys! The Piazza rears might fit, but TBC. Just call and ask!


T SERIES GEMINI - KONI YELLOWS (sports/race, the model up from Reds):

Front, listed for Geminis:
Part no. 82-1886-sport. Price ~ $390/pr retail.

SEDAN Rear, listed for Geminis:
Rear 82-1740-sport. Price ~ $400/pr retail.

* I forgot to get the listing for wagon, I'm really sorry guys! The Piazza rears might fit, but TBC. Just call and ask!


PIAZZA RWD (YB) - KONI REDS:

Front, same as Gemini, tried and tested by me, these work fine:
Part no. 80-2275. Price ~ $300/pr.

Rear, I believe listed as Piazza, but whatever the listing, they should work:
Part no. 80-2233SP1 $300/pr.


WHY SHOULD YOU CARE:
Basically, if you've never driven a car with oil shocks, you might not understand what all the hype is about. I've had lots of people ask me "aren't Monroe GT gas pretty much as good?" NO! Imagine the best gas shocks available drive like a stock XD Falcon, then picture a set of oil shocks as being a Formula 1 car. That's kind of a good analogy. Adjustable oil shocks will do *more for your car* than springs, nolathane and swaybars put together, and I'm not kidding.

I'm not being paid by Koni, and also own Bilstiens myself (yet to test, can't wait), but I thought I'd share this to keep these readily available. I'll be calling Spax soon too, and will post results, because theirs are on-car adjustable, where Koni's are off-car adjustable. But I can't emphasize enough. GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN.


WHICH KONI IS WHICH?

Yellows are more race-orientated than reds - but I've been given the impression the difference is fairly marginal. Both are fully adjustable, but need to be removed from the car to do so. All are fully rebuildable. For a street car, I'd HIGHLY recommend Koni Reds all round. For a track car, Koni Yellows. And that nasty looking bloke? That's Kony. There, I said it. Last of all, try not to mix and match front/rear. Go the same all around.


HOW TO ORDER:

Contact a local distributor. Koni have a point of contact in Australia, listed on their website as Toperformance Products Co., they're located in Victoria, BUT **NOTE** they will probably direct you to a local reseller.

The South Australian distributor is Car Torque Products, Kent Town
Phone: 08 8362 7667

Alternatively, Toperformance (Vic) can be contacted on 03 9873 1722.

Once again, I have *no personal interest here* I'm just sick of every Gemini getting gas shocks and never reaching their full potential. And I don't want to see these products go out of stock. I'll post up again once I've contacted Spax.

Eli

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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Okay, so I called Spax today! These sound pretty freaking awesome.

On-car 28 stage adjustable oil shocks, fully rebuildable, with a 3:1 bump to rebound ratio***. These have a knob/dial on the side that you twist to adjust, so on-car adjustment is a very real and convenient thing. These are for a Gemini SEDAN as well, goddamnit I forgot wagon part numbers AGAIN. Someone kick me in the head. However;

The good news is these are MADE TO ORDER, and you can SPECIFY HEIGHTS. That means you can just tell them how long you need the shock to be at full compression, and full extension. This is ideal for lowered Geminis, and it's important that you mention it when ordering.

Front part number: G165, cost approx. $360/pair (sold as singles for $180ea)
Rear part number for lowered *highly recommend over standard*: G258EA
Rear part number STANDARD HEIGHT ONLY: G582, cost approx. $400/pair (sold as singles for $200ea)
WAGON rear: G003 (listed for standard height, will physically fit lowered but may not keep springs captive)

This is from an Australian distributor, and he said postage to Adelaide would be about $20 - so pretty minimal freigh costs. He said they'll take maybe 3 weeks to order, manufacture and ship in, although I think you might have to allow a few days extra to get it to your house. Settings-wise, he said on the softer settings these are comfortable on the street, or on say 12-16, ideal for grip days, and if you crank it up, should be a smidge heavier than Koni's max'd out - so quite decent range. And, of course, fully rebuildable and able to be re-valved.

*** Alternatively, if you're serious about racing, they can provide double adjustable, offering 28 stages of bump, and 28 stages of rebound adjustment, fully independent. These are some serious toys, but cost about $700 per shock. They can also adjust the valves towards your application - ie, potentially tougher, if you're a complete nutter.

These can be ordered through Suspension Concepts:
Email: sales@suspensionconcepts.com.au
Mob: +61 414 244 790

Once again, I have no affiliation with these guys.

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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:55 pm
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Location: Oakden
Car(s): 1977 Tc Coupe
Awesome i like the sound of these, But you can get them in wagon?? Also do they have a recommended spring to go with them for awesome street handling?


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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:00 pm
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Car(s): TX SR20DET, TX G200W, Dato 1200 Ute
... or spring for lowered race handling?

I am helping a mate build a 300zx track car. We've taken all the x out of it (weight, softening, luxury) and now its a raw track machine... Hes got a set of springs/shocks/rubbers/swaybars from the states, and It looks like its going to handle awesomely. Its a lot softer than my track car though. I think I need to loosen things up a bit. What I have is awesome for drift but to solid to hold the road. I think I need to invest somewhere. Maybe just the shockers, but I think the pedders in the front might be too hard too. Im very interested in getting something that will lower the car about 2.5" from stock (about where it is currently, i think) but to suit race. Maybe I should get these shockers first, and see how that goes and do the front suspension if its still too hard.

Thanks for the write up, its easy to read whatever you want to read on the net, great to get some first hand information from another gemini enthusist.


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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:30 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Chris I'm completely confident that both manufacturers could provide rears for panelvan/wagon. If I get part numbers I'll post them up, but you can just call them (or a distributor) to order and get the number on the spot.

Random tangent on springs to suit...

*** As for springs, if in doubt, I HIGHLY recommend getting adjustable oil shocks and trying them with either King Springs/etc, or standard post-RTS springs, and deciding for yourself ***

Springrates are really really dependant on driver taste, the surface you're driving on, the type of motorsport, and the rest of the car's setup. You'd be amazed at how much shocks alone will toughen up the car, and, being adjustable, you can change it according to how it feels in the real world, on the road. You can always change your springs later if you'd prefer - I'd start with shocks. My track Gemini has fairly standard sports springs, but feels rock hard with the Koni reds cranked up - I mean absolutely rock hard, like, throwing my entire bodyweight down on it might yield 10mm of movement if that, where Monroes/etc with the same springs would give about 40mm. Obviously if I backed the shocks off, it'd feel really soft again.

Now, of course, you "should" match your springs somewhat to your shocks. Once again, I'd suggest finding a shock setting that suits you first, before you change springs, because you can adjust shocks for free. Once you've found how tough you like it, you can pick a spring based on that... But here's my personal take on springs anyway. I should also say that I may not actually know anything about anything!

- Stock pre-RTS springs: Virtually useless, way too soft.

- Stock post-RTS springs: A world apart, potentially quite usable for a street setup, or something where a little give is preferred. Sometimes springs around this rate will actually gain you time anyway, depending on the surface and corners you're tackling. I find springs around this rate are great to learn on, they tell you what the car's doing and encourage you drive better.

- King springs standard/low/superlow: front rates are around 305lb/in, or 5.45kg/mm. Bear in mind that the front springrate works on a 2/3 ratio, so the EFFECTIVE front springrate is 3.63kg/mm. Rears are progressive rate, uhh, 175-225lb/in I THINK. It's been ages since I checked. Which works out to 3.13- 4.03kg/mm. I think these are actually an excellent spring for street, hillclimb and general tarmac use with street tyres. The shocks toughen things up, and these springs give a little support, without doing the shock's work for it (which is a bad thing). Lots of people go too tough, thinking it's faster. It's often not. I think these offer a good compromise. It's worth noting that Whiteline are very similar, but a tad softer - I'd prefer Kings personally. Allegedly Lovells are a smudge heavier - I have those in my track car, but they're about the same overall.

- Custom rate. Suitable for people running serious tyres, and/or driving on smoother surfaces. These are cases where you won't be hitting many bumps, and shouldn't need to hussle the car excessively due to surface/condition changes. In my eyes, custom rates (ie, HEAVER than the above) are beneficial where you simply want the best geometry, constantly at your disposal. I'd suggest 450lb/in front (8.05kg/mm, but it effectively works as 5.37-ish), 300lb/in rear (5.37kg/mm), but again, it really depends on your situation. For serious grip on semi's, that's what I'd be running - or trying out, at least. This tougher setup may or may not actully be faster - I'd even try normal king springs and the proper shocks first, and see how it feels, but I'd personally guess semi's would simply have too much grip for normal sports springs.

RIDE HEIGHT is worth considering too. Lower centre of gravity is god when you're talking serious grip, and it reduces functions like body roll, squat and dive (not to mention, reduces chances of rolling the car) - BUT, it can and will throw things out of balance, alter suspension geometries and arm sweeps, in ways that we can't foresee or understand without extensive calculations or under-car inspection and measurements. I haven't done these calcs, but I've thought about it. On one hand, I think Geminis really need the lower centre of gravity, but it's worth noting that when I lowered the back end of my track car recently (went from approx. 25mm tyre to guard clearance, down to about flush) it suddenly felt a lot more tail-happy, and not in a good way. Kind of like a forklift. I've tinkered with the shocks and tamed it a bit, but I was surprised how much it changed things. Ride height is important - so keep things symmetrical front to rear, and try to make changes one at a time. Once you have adjustable bits, you can offset these kinds of changes.

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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:55 pm
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Location: Oakden
Car(s): 1977 Tc Coupe
Awesome thanks Eli this is a great read as im currently thinking up set ups for my wagon so this is really good to get me thinking


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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:00 pm
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Car(s): TX SR20DET, TX G200W, Dato 1200 Ute
Yeah thanks for that. I guess mallala is pretty flat, so perhaps the stiffness in mine is ok. maybe i just need to get some castor/camber on the front. hmmm...


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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Hey - it's all just opinions really, I don't have the real experience to back it up. More of an educated guess based on what everyone else seems to do globally, considering my own fairly limited experience, and using very vague logic/physics.

My suggestion would be to start with my vague guess, and work from there. Preference/driving style as well as my own mistakes might mean you'll prefer something else! But it's a starting point :)

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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Car(s): TX SR20DET, TX G200W, Dato 1200 Ute
sounds good! i might need lowered front too, not sure yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Oil shock absorbers - the single best handling modificat
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
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Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
The impression that I've got is that normal fronts should suit lowered vehicles too - the front spring should still remain captive even with lowered springs, so that's not an issue - the only issue I've heard of people having is the shock absorber bottoming out and damaging itself on full compression with extremely low setups.. but I've only heard of this once and it's possible they had the wrong shocks altogether.

So fronts should be cool - but lowered rears is a big plus for everyone IMO.

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