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Just let me know if you've done this as it seems there's no way I'll get a solution under $2000. I'll sacrifice and just replace with OEM if the ride feels somewhat better than what I have now.
 

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I love my Bilstein but I don't know about Kony's to compare.
What I do know is that it's much of an upgrade over the OEM by far. I haven't installed the rear so I'm driving on worn out rear OEM and the front hugely helped .
 

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I have Koni fronts and stock rears and its pretty much same thing as stock, Well i keep mine at the lowest settings. I havent tried playing around with adjusting the rebound because i dont really care about it. Im not a suspension guru
 

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I have a question: will it work with front Bilstein B8 and H&R lowering springs at front.
OEM dampers with H&R lowering springs at the rear. Have quite new rear shocks thou they have been replaced for oil leek couple of months ago.

Sorry to hi jack the thread and my bad spelling….


//best regard from Sweden
 

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That's what I have at the moment...
B8 are meant to work with H&R so the only component to question is the front bias of the Bilstein.
One of my OEM rear is leaking and I presume the other one isn't that much in better shape.
So at the moment the car still feels better than on all OEM. It was actually a huge improvement even with bad rear shocks so that's good.
But I can also feel the rear doesn't always follow the front. Is it because they are old? Most likely I think but I would presume to always be the case in some cases since the OEM are inferiors to the Bilstein both in terms of stiffness but also of adaptive dampening ability.

So I would say that for most driving conditions it would still be an upgrade if you put the Bilstein only to the front. Occasionally you'll get the rear bouncing funny but nothing dramatic I would think and likely not that noticeable.
 

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Bilstein

I put Bilstein HD's on the front of my '07V50 @135k miles and kept the OEMs in the rear.

HUGE improvement installing the Bilsteins in the front.

Then, after about 2 months of driving with OEMs in the rear I put the Bilstein set in the rear as well. You can find them online for like $100 each if you do some searching.

Anyways, yet again another HUGE improvement overall for the ride/handling.

The fronts only = good,

fronts and rear = amazing.

I have the stock springs and 18" wheels as well, non AWD.
 

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I'm running Koni FSDs in the front and the OEMs in the rear. I did a quick post about it a month or so ago.
They feel great. Only thing I really notice is the struts are obviously mismatched and you can feel it at speed going over bumps/dips.
This is the setup I will continue to run as long as I own the car. I'm not interested in Coils.

PS, all-in (parts n labor) I spent under $1200CDN including tax.
 

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I'll post some feedback as soon as I get some time behind the wheel... my 05 AWD is up on the lift right now getting new Bilstein (HD) on the front with a new set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs all around...

My front struts were shot to hell and so I'm going for the whole kit-n-kaboodle... (New strut, spring, mounts and bearings up front) and I'm going to be keeping the OEM rears in for right now... I wanted to upgrade if I was replacing the rear but as we've seen discussed you don't really have that option with AWD...

I just crossed the 90K threshold and I drive pretty hard on bad New England roads/highways so I will definitely be able to report on what it feels like to run a complete new front setup with new springs in the rear with a broken in/slightly worn out rear strut...

Getting an alignment done after the springs (and resultant drop - negative camber in the rear will be compensated for by adjustable camber arms that are getting installed today as well...)
 

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excellent Ivandr. looking forward to your updates.
 

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excellent Ivandr. looking forward to your updates.
Ok... well not toooo much to update because I've only driven on them for about 3 days now (picked the car up Friday after work)... but I'm loving the new feel of my car!

I've been putting off doing this fix/upgrade but I am very glad I did... for those just joining into the conversation I went from:
Standard Struts/ 'Comfort' Springs (OEM) on all 4 corners + Standard sway bar
to this:
Bilstein HD Struts Front, Eibach Pro-Kit Springs, OEM Rear Struts and IPD rear sway bar

Because I was going to do all of these upgrades and I don't have the ability (read: a lift/spring compressors/tools/etc) to do it myself I went to a local garage that does work on Volvo and Saabs and had all of this put in at once...

The feeling of the car against the road is completely rejuvenated... I was previously hitting my bump stops up front regularly and the car sounded like it was literally slamming down to a full stop at the bottom of my suspension travel... even with minor road imperfections. Now the car does react and bounce with the road a bit but the dampening from the new Bilsteins up-front is amazing!

The springs lowered the car to the point that I noticed right away when I walked up to pick it up a difference in height (eibach claims 1.2-1.4" drop and I'd agree with that). This drop makes the wheels look much more centered in the wheel well and also reduces the gap height above the tire to the top of the wheel well nicely.

The combination of the springs, new front struts and sway bar have drastically improved the handling and responsiveness of the car... I feel more 'connected' to the road through turns, and the previous lean when hitting turns hard is greatly reduced (there is still some roll, but it is much improved). I do feel the road more through the steering wheel especially at lower speeds with city roads (aka bad roads)... hitting bumps, potholes or other road imperfections no longer slams the front end downwards but I do feel the higher tension spring pushing back but the new shocks dampen almost all rebound...

I have been trying to test on corners and curves to see where my new breaking point will be (speed when I start to enter a skid in a turn) but I haven't managed to get there yet... took a tight clover-leaf off ramp the other day starting around 70 and ending in the high 50s and not a bit of squeal or side-hop... this new setup really enhances the turning ability of the car and I feel much more confident in turns even at slower city speeds... I do notice that i can crank the steering wheel further than I previously wouldve and the car just whips around and follows where I point the wheel...

Again this is based on my first few days but I would agree with ndotym that its a great mix between performance and comfort for a daily driver who doesn't want to sacrifice too much performance. I assume that the car will settle slightly on the new springs and the new suspension will feel a bit different over the next few weeks as it gets broken in and I'll check back in to update people after I've gotten some more time behind the wheel... and after I've done a few longer highway trips to see how it performs when I do my monthly run to NYC from Boston (currently working to shave time down on my prior 3.5 hour door-to-door run to midtown NYC from the south shore :p)


Oh and once the wallet recovers I'll probably be looking to replace the OEM rear struts (yea I know I'll likely end up replacing with OEM bc us AWD owners are left in the cold when it comes to suspension options) because I do think that I can feel a bit of 'sponginess' in the back of the car as I drive especially hitting bumps/road height variations...
To describe what I mean further it feels as if the rears aren't dampening sufficiently and when the car hits a bump theres a bit of lag to when the rear end recovers from the bounce as compared to the front... minor, minor feeling but I did notice it once or twice over the weekend...
 

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Hi,

this is a great write up. Just curious any reason why you decided to go with the bilstein HD for the front vs the Bilstein sport for the front?

I was thinking of doing the same setup as you are desribing on my AWD.
 

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Hi,

this is a great write up. Just curious any reason why you decided to go with the bilstein HD for the front vs the Bilstein sport for the front?

I was thinking of doing the same setup as you are desribing on my AWD.

There aren't any aftermarket replacements for the rear struts so my current struts on the rear are OEM and any future replacement will be OEM (unless someone comes out with aftermarkets for a now discontinued model... unlikely if you ask me). The OEM strut heights are longer than Bilstein sport heights and so if I dropped the bilstein sports into the front and left the rear on OEM the car would have a bit of a forward lean... not a look I want.


Plus given the sh*t roads in New England and more specifically Boston where this car is my daily driver, going to 'sport' height struts would have me bottoming out no matter how much I dodge and weave potholes...
 

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FYI, I'm not sure that Bilstein Sport or HD would change the front height of the vehicle.
My understanding is that yes the piston rods are shorter but the main body housing is the same height.
I believe the reason they made the sport version is for lowered cars and likely to allow better use of the shock absorber.
If your car is lowered the starting point of the HD piston will already be somewhat compressed while the Sport version will start at the beginning the way it was meant to using more efficiently the dampening mechanism.
Well at least that's what I think . . . It's possible their is a slight variation but I doubt it would be visible. Don't take my words for it...
 

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FYI, I'm not sure that Bilstein Sport or HD would change the front height of the vehicle.
My understanding is that yes the piston rods are shorter but the main body housing is the same height.
I believe the reason they made the sport version is for lowered cars and likely to allow better use of the shock absorber.
If your car is lowered the starting point of the HD piston will already be somewhat compressed while the Sport version will start at the beginning the way it was meant to using more efficiently the dampening mechanism.
Well at least that's what I think . . . It's possible their is a slight variation but I doubt it would be visible. Don't take my words for it...
Thats a good thought... to be honest I'm not sure if your explanation or mine is the right one... I'm a car enthusiast but not to this level of detail... anyone else have thoughts?

A question that raises both of our perspectives (feel free to chime in TG and alter if I'm not reading you correctly):

In the following situation, which version of Bilstein shocks would be useful and how would each fit in the car...
  • Using eibach (or similar lowered/sport springs) that drop the standard ride height of the vehicle between .75" and 2" (over estimating for varied spring sizes in the 'sport' spring category) would it be more sensible to use Bilstein HD struts or Bilstein Sport (B6?) struts?
  • Additionally, because of the lowered ride height, would standard length (ie. OEM, Bilstein HD etc) struts start from a partially compressed position? (I think this question is answered by my 'example' below - aka both struts start from a partially compressed position...)
  • If this is true, would that mean a reduced amount of performance from the strut because the full length of travel isn't being utilized?

TG does that accurately capture your side and mine? Does anyone have explanation, detail or ideas around this question?



Additionally TG... if a strut length is made up of the length of the housing added to the length of the piston (aka overall length from top mounting point to bottom mounting point) The length of OEM (or Bilstein HD which are meant as 1:1 replacements to OEM) would seem to be longer than the overall mounted length of a sport strut because the piston is shorter... right? see below for a made up example

/START EXAMPLE
(Simple math used for illustration:
Length of Bilstein Strut [HD] 10" Piston, 30" housing - overall length would be 40" from top mounting point to bottom mounting point
Length of Bilstein Sport 8" Piston, 30" housing - overall length would be 38" from top mounting point to bottom point

When the HD strut is mounted to the car, the total available travel would be between an extended length of 40" and 30" when compressed (yes I know piston doesn't go all the way down... just keeping numbers simple)
When the Sport Strut is mounted to the car the total available travel would be 38" and 30"

Now picture this test vehicle on a lift, suspension installed including springs... when the weight is off of the wheels, the springs will push the struts to a fully extended position. 40" for HD and 38" for sport...
When said vehicle is dropped to the ground, as the wheels touch, the springs start to take on weight and the struts compress until the point where spring tension upwards is fully supporting the weight of the vehicle... lets assume that this is a 5" compression (if using the same springs, regardless of the length of strut the amount of compression will be the same assuming the vehicle weight is the same...

At this point, sitting on all 4 wheels, the struts would be at the following 'positions':
HD 40" - 5" compression = 35" length, with 5" of piston and 30" of housing... this strut has 5" of travel from standing (weight bearing) to fully compressed
Sport 38" - 5" compression = 33" length, with 3" of piston and 30" of housing... this strut has 3" of travel from standing (weight bearing) to fully compressed

Regardless of HD or sport... the weight of the vehicle presses the strut down from its 'full' length to its 'functional length' where it sits when not on a lift and all weight is distributed to the 4 wheels... the difference at this point between HD and sport is that sport has less travel between its 'functional length' and fully compressed length...

Conclusion: regardless of which strut (HD or Sport) used, the struts don't start from their full length, but from a 'functional length' that is a composite of the vehicle weight, spring type and type of strut. The difference would be that the HD strut has more travel length (both compressing and extending) available when hitting bumps and other road variations than the Sport strut would have... however both strut types would cause the car to sit at the same height, just different levels of compression on the strut and piston length...

/END EXAMPLE

Basically I made up my example and as I walked through it logically, I realized that you were correct TG and the vehicle height would be the same in either case... but I think that with this example, its reasonable to state that BOTH the HD and Sport version of the strut would start from a partially compressed height...

As you said TG, I'm not an expert on struts and their optimal use/application, but I don't think that the sport struts would 'allow for better use of the shock absorber' when paired with sport springs because the weight of the vehicle compresses both kinds of struts by the same amount based on their tension countered with the vehicle weight... (This statement is what I think but I could very easily be mistaken...ANYONE ABLE TO CHIME IN AND CLARIFY/ANSWER?)

Have I lost anyone? because I lost my own thoughts a few times trying to work through this :p
TG, and all others in the post, I'm not trying to argue one way or another... but more trying to discuss what my perception of this is and compare/seek more knowledgeable opinions than my own so that I can understand this better... if I came off as anything other than inquisitive, I wasn't trying to be... chalk it up to the nature of reading written content on the interwebs without being able to convey emotion, body language, facial expressions etc... aka I'm just curious and seeking answers and I hope I didn't step on TG or anyone else's toes...

This was more or less a stream of conciousness post while sitting in a boring meeting at work... I'll try to go back and edit and clean it up when I have some time and hopefully until then its not too much of a mess...
 
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