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Found some Bilstein inserts.


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Everyone:

I took apart a rusty sad example of a 73 the other day, and found what appear to be a decent set of Bilstein strut inserts waiting to be rescued.

Part numbers are P 30 061 (front) in green and P 30 062 (rear) in yellow.

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The posts on Bilstein shocks for Z's are far and few between, but they seem (ed) well regarded.

And as far as Bilstein themselves, they seem to be long since NLA from them.

Their action feels smooth in both directions, nice and firm, there is no signs of rust or abuse, the strut gland nuts are clean and came out easily.

There, that's everything nice about them that means absolutely nothing about how they might perform when actually in a car.

Worth the risk to throw them in my car and see what they are like? I have illumina's and really don't need them, but if they are a bit softer, might be worth it.

Anyone have any clue how they "rate" (a little shock humor there...) compared to their contemporary counterparts?

Jim

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Hi Jim:

As I recall - I put Bilstein Shocks in my 72 240-Z around 1975. They have been in there ever since, and performing just like new. They have a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. Years ago I spoke to a Bilstein Representative at the Daytona Raceway. I was complaining that the "life time" warranty didn't do me much good, since they no longer make shocks for the 240-Z. He said that if they went bad, just take the out and send them back to Bilstein - if they couldn't replace them, they would rebuild them - - but in any case they would honor the warranty. As I said - so far they are fine.

They are the best shock I've ever had on a 240-Z with stock springs. Firm when they need to be, soft ride but not too soft... As I recall, back in 75 they were advertised as being filled with nitrogen gas to reduce foaming, but not advertised as "Gas Pressure"...

Today several racers use various Bilstein shocks - selected via the shocks dimensions, and/or valve spec.'s. I'm sure someone else will know far more about that...

I'm amazed at the condition of the inserts - they look like new. I also don't recall the Part Numbers from the 70's - so really don't know how old the one's you have would be..

FWIW,

Carl B.

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More than you ever wanted to know about Bilsteins:

http://forums.hybridz.org/showthread.php?t=138601

http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets6.html

I'd run em. As Carl says they can be rebuilt by Bilstein if necessary, but it might not be. if you push them through their full stroke a couple times then you can feel for dead spots where there is no damping. If there are any, send them back to Bilstein. If not, run them as is.

Not sure what the valving is on the old units designed for the 240z. Not sure if there are any mods necessary to run them with stock isolators. I think you'll have to open up the hole in the middle, and I'm pretty sure you'll have to use an impact to tighten the nuts on top down since there will be no D shaped cutout left there. No biggee, and I think those are well worth the effort to use. Bilsteins kick arse.

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I had a pair of front inserts rebuilt by Bilstein a few years back. They were long NLA, Alpina-valved units for a gray market BMW 323i. No warranty for me, as I wasn't the original purchaser. But they had no problems rebuilding them, as long as I was willing to pay for the work. They came back working like new, turn-around was about a week. I don't remember the exact cost, but it was comparable to the cost of a new pair of Konis, which was the only choice left that was truly correct for that car at that point. And by rebuilding I got to keep the tuner-valving.

No secondary bump stops are possible or even needed with those Bilsteins. They have an internal bumpstop built in. If they came with accordion boots (gaiters) to protect the tube, I'd use them.

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Those parts numbers are correct for a 240Z-early 260Z. FYI, I purchased my Bilsteins for an early 260Z in 1984 for $77.35 each from a distributor called MIAH in Columbus, OH.

I had a set of Bilsteins installed on my wife's 2000 BMW 528i in December. The ride is a little firmer that stock and very controlled. The ride also seems to improve as more miles are put on the car.

Fixitman

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FWIW, I would have them rebuilt and use them. Rebuild only because they are out and I would hate to install them only to find out after a week one or more needs rebuilding.

Curiosity has got me now. Could you measure the insert tube, shaft length and overall length? Just wondering if they would fit into a shortened housing. If Bilstein does not want to rebuild them, let me know. I have located another company that will rebuild/revalve/dyno a Bilstein for a little bit less than what they charge for a revalve.

+1 on Jon's recommended reading at hybridz and Farnorth. More than you will want to know!

Edited by rxsleeper
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...they can be rebuilt by Bilstein if necessary...

Is that true again?

I had a set of Bilsteins in my 240 about ten years ago. I worked closely with Bilstein for my job as a Vehicle Dynamics engineer, so I asked them if they could rebuild mine since the car I bought with them had been sitting for close to a decade and they were leaking a bit. The local engineer I worked with put me in touch with their lab guy in San Diego. He told me it might be tough as they hadn't made that piston diameter since the mid-eighties, but he said to give him a few days and he'd see what he could find. He called me back and said I was in luck. He scrounged just enough parts to do four shocks. He then joked and said that I better not wear them out because mine cleaned him out of parts for good. I sent them to San Diego and had them back within a few weeks as good as new.

I'd like to know if anyone has had 240Z Bilstein dampers rebuilt in the last few years. I believe I had mine rebuilt around 1998. I guess if the demand was high enough, they might have made a small run of pistons and seals, but it would surprise me.

I LOVE working with Bilstein and find their products to be as good as anything I have ever used. When we used them on our SVT products at Ford, they were easy to tune and held up great. I remember dynoing an SVT Lightning set before and after vehicle durability testing and the curves were unchanged. That simply does not happen with OEM shocks. Durability testing simulates 150,000 customer miles. Most shocks are lucky to last 40,000 miles before degrading.

Here's where the story goes south. When I sold my 240 with it's freshly rebuilt Bilsteins, the guy who bought it restored the car beautifully and replaced pretty much everything on the car. When he bought it, I told him over and over how rare and good the Bilsteins were and the story about them being freshly rebuilt. After his car was fully restored, he showed it to me and told me about everything he had done to it. One of the "upgrades" was the suspension. He replaced the Bob Sharp springs and bars and the Bilstein strut inserts. He took out the Bilsteins and replaced them with Tokico blues. Surprised, I asked him what he did with the old struts. He shrugged and said all the old junk was pitched. :stupid:

It was none of my business, but I couldn't help but be saddened. He sold the car a short while later and it ended up in Paris, France. The new owner is a member here. I like Tokicos and have Illuminas in my 280, but I'd never consider them over Bilsteins.

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P30 denotes a 30mm piston. I just bought the 30mm piston VW GTi struts mentioned in the Hybrid Z thread last year and had them revalved. So yes, parts are available and never should have been unavailable.

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New Bilsteins still available in the UK to any spec required. I have a new set to rally spec. They are fitted to coilovers. I havn't quite worked out the top mount arrangement yet although I will be using stock top mounts which need to be drilled out to 14mm. Incidentally, the top of the strut has a allen key hole to facilitate tightening.

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As sold in the 70's/80's the Bilsteins for the 240Z required no drilling - they were a direct bolt in - with the "D" shaped shock rod to fit in the stock mounts.

As Jon mentioned - you just have to run the nut down with an impact wrench. I had a machine shop drill to hole in the top mount out -for some other shocks, on another car - - given the original "D" shape and the fact that its hardened steel -I wouldn't recommend doing it with a hand drill...

FWIW,

Carl B.

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  • 5 months later...
New Bilsteins still available in the UK to any spec required. I have a new set to rally spec. They are fitted to coilovers. I havn't quite worked out the top mount arrangement yet although I will be using stock top mounts which need to be drilled out to 14mm. Incidentally, the top of the strut has a allen key hole to facilitate tightening.

Where in the UK did you get your Bilsteins and are they standard length or shortened?

Regards

Tim

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  • 1 year later...
Worth the risk to throw them in my car and see what they are like? I have illumina's and really don't need them, but if they are a bit softer, might be worth it.

Thought it might be worth my while to revive this post if I can find who to send a set of Bilstein inserts, for refurbishing. I disassembled everything that has been sitting on the shelf for the last 5 years, choosing all the best pieces for refinishing and was surprised to find these hidden in the strut tubes. They were matched up with a set of ST springs.

Jim - Did you have yours rebuilt or try them as they were? If you did have them rebuilt, I'd like to know who did them for you. These are the same part numbers as yours but they are all yellow.

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Ron, here is what Bilstein's website says about servicing them:

http://www.bilsteinus.com/products/search-service/service.html

But - if they don't have any dead spots, you can (with effort) move them smoothly from full extension to fully collapsed, and they don't show signs of leakage, I myself wouldn't bother. I'd run them as is.

In fact, send them to me and I'll test them out for you. ;)

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Thanks for the link Arne. I haven't taken the time yet to compress them through several cycles, but they are more than 25 years old and have been dormant for most of that time, if the 1984 plates on the car were any indication of their age and usage. It's good to know they can be serviced by Bilstein, but I am also interested in learning of alternatives such as rxsleeper had found..."I have located another company that will rebuild/revalve/dyno a Bilstein for a little bit less than what they charge for a revalve". Also if Jim has found a repair source here in Canada, that could possibly bring the cost down substantially. Just looking at all the options and not even sure if I will use them myself or not.

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...not even sure if I will use them myself or not.
If you decide not to use them, please keep me in mind. I think I'd love to have them on my car.
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Do they offer anything that will fit a 240?
No, directly. As Jon noted above, there are ways to modify other fitments to work in a 240Z, especially for racing use.
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I am rebuilding my old Z. I have a set of 4 that were in the box from the late 70's. They bolted right in not problem. I was told they were the best shocks available at the time. Looking around the internet I still think they are the best. I would use them if they are good or rebuild them so you don’t have any surprises. Good find…

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