KONI Lee

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KONI Lee last won the day on February 11

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  1. Those white plastic rings are called "bump plates" and they are intended as an extra layer of protection for the piston rod seals for when the car compresses fast enough for the bump rubber to make contact with the end of the damper body. The bump plates have two different designs, one a closed ring with a somewhat waffle shape and the other are flat and C shaped with a gap in one side. Because bump rubbers are round, fast moving, and soft to compress, it is defintiely possible for a bump rubber impact to the top of the strut to drive a puff of compressed air and possibly some road grit into and past the seal lip and into the damper. The waffle or C shape gives a path for this to just blow out to the side and help protect the seal that much more. Because KONI dampers are expected to last a very long time, some extra seal protection can be helpful for longevity. After tightening the gland nut, the first step of reassembly is to just drop the bump plate ove rthe piston rod then reinstall your bump rubber, dust cover, etc. The Miata forum thread calls the bump plates "packers" which is a relatively common name from the Oval Track Racing world where you might stack several of them to make bump rubber contact happen sooner for a number of possible reasons but you also risk handling and tire grip issues as well. The comment about them being related to an old, multi-piece style of piston rod seal is something that the poster has made up themselves. Yes, in the early to mid '80s there was a change in the seal design (I talked about ti earlier in this thread) but bump plates having some involvement with that is just someone interjecting their own assumptions. I have explained the bump plate installation and usage many times over 23 years but never heard that one before.
  2. Hello All, sorry for the late response. I was away from the internet and emails for most of three day Easter holiday with family so I am just getting caught up to a flurry of activity here. Issues of the last few days: Oil in the strut housing around the insert is always a good idea but it does not really matter what type oil it is. The benefits are twofold, although one is real world and the other a bit more theoretical. As mentioned in posts above, some type of oil between the raw steel inside of the strut tube and the outside of the insert can reduce or eliminate the chance of rust forming between the two and making it very difficult to remove the strut insert from the housing many years down the road if any service or replacement is ever needed. Any kind of spare oil will do just fine so leftover used engine oil, any gear or motor oil left at the bottom of an open bottle, etc. will do just fine. Anything to fill the void so that water or moist air cannot accumulate and start to rust the internal surfaces. I do not recommend anti-freeze as it is water based and will very likely start to rust and make insert removal much more difficult. The more theoretical benefit is potentially improved from inside to outside heat transfer but honestly unless you are trying to race off-road with extreme sustained piston speeds and heat generation, there is no need for cooling the insert for its own function. When we had the KONI Challenge road racing series, we found that there was more wheel well heat generated from the brakes and hubs that might spread into the strut than there was heat inside the strut that needed to dissipate out. Regarding the fitment concern on Nils’ front struts, I think there may be an internal lip or edge that it is catching on and not letting it drop all the way to the bottom. These inserts are exact dimensional matches to the earliest KONI 86 series red strut inserts that were offered from the beginning. I checked old ‘70s KONI catalogs that simply state “1970-1974”so there was no exclusion for super early production strut housings or a later start-up date. I think Nils’ situation is an anomaly and exception and not the rule so they can get a deeper look on a case by case basis. If someone does have an issue, please let Joseph or KONI know.
  3. It is a good example of how these cars are regulary upgraded with more modern wheels, tires, springs, bushings, etc. that many people use today. Each of those steps takes some compliance out of the suspension's motion and sharpens the feedback up to the driver and passenger. These cars will normally use a slightly higher initial rebound damping adjustment setting than will a truly stock car with softer springs, taller sidewall tires, etc. might. The stock cars will normally be adjusted to at or near the full soft adjustment setting and the modified car will likely have a higher initial setting however it will rarely be even halfway into the full available adjustment range. This helps show that the new KONI Sport option meets its goal to cover a broad range of enthusiast Z-cars, whether fully stock, upgraded with modern parts but still needing a very streetable characteristic, or for even more aggressive cars for autocross. track days, etc.. If we had fixed damper valving with no damping adjustment to help work with a range of stock or upgraded performance parts, then there would be greater concern about needing multiple strut part numbers to cover the range of cars. Being adjustable lets the car owner match to his own upgrades, handling and ride preferences, local road conditions, weekend competition goals if any, and also compensate for long term wear.
  4. I don't have a Z-car damper readily at hand to check one but most KONIs have a roughly 2.0 to 2.25 turn adjustment range from the stop at full soft to the stop at full firm. Depending on any minor stack height difference of the internal valving components used in that application, there is some possible variation but rarely does it go less than 1.75 turns or more than 2.50 turns. Because all KONIs have greater than 1 full turn of adjustment, having external numbered markings like the Tokico would not work.
  5. Thanks for the review and feedback, Ian. For clarification on knowing where your KONI adjustment settings are, just use the physical hard stop at the full soft setting (clockwise until it stops) and then the number of full or partial turns counter clockwise up from that point. Example: Full soft, 1/4 turn from soft, 1 1/8 turn from soft, etc.. This is always repeatable and easily matched side to side, front to rear if desired. In general most people probably use 1/4 turn adjustment increments but you can do larger or smaller increments if you want. We have a highly respected and picky BMW tuner whose recommendations go to the 1/16th of a turn. If you can discern judge that small an incremental change in your car, more power to you but most people are probably more in the ¼ turn range. Unlike the Tokicos that had only 5 defined adjustment settings, the KONIs can be adjusted to many more settings across a larger overall adjustment range min. to max. with broader affect across the working piston speed range.
  6. The new Z-car KONI Sports are a perfect drop in, easy fit to the factory Z-car strut housings so there is no need for any modifications to make them fit. The KONI RACE inserts are not Z-car specific but are a generic fit-all insert valved specifically intended for racing usage with a range of dimensional options in a wide range of cars including Mustangs, Porsches, Nissans, Mazdas, etc.. There are a number of vehicles that really respond well to the RACE valving but the factory strut housings are very tight such that one might need to take extra efforts to increase the ID of the strut housing (hone or bore) or decrease the OD of the RACE inserts (sanding down paint, etc.). If the car is a dedicated racing car, the extra effort to fit the KONI RACE into a Z-car is worthwhile and has been proven with a number of championships. If the car is used for the normal and performance street driving, autocross, track days, etc. but not up to the level of racing with very high spring rates, the KONI Sports are the right answer. Also, the KONI Sports do carry the full normal KONI Warranty because they were made for street use on that specifica car whereas the KONI RACE carry no warranty because they were specifically designed for racing on a wide range of cars.
  7. With the adjustable KONIs, you are adjusting the rebound (the upward stroke) damping forces generated when oil flows through the piston (the "plate" you reference) valving. By turning the knob higher or lower, you are closing or opening piston rod orifices and increasing or decreasing spring preload holding valves closed against the piston blocking other piston orifices. This provides changes in damping force from the slightest piston motion through very high pistons speed and lets the KONI Engineers finely contour the damping curve for optimizing both control and comfort. The lower the adjustment setting is, the more open or less restrictive the damper valving is and the softer the damping force is. That means you have less motion control but that doesn't necessarily mean that you have a softer or more comfortable ride quality because sometimes insufficient control can provide an uncomfortable ride quality.
  8. The 80 psi gas charge that you saw in the damper does not equate to an 80 psi increase in the spring rate, it doesn't work that way. It does add some quite limited preload boosting effect in conjunction with the preloaded spring rate when the weight of the car is loaded onto it and the damper gets closer to full compression. In the past I have heard engineering generalizations that internal Low Pressure Gas charge effect might have some similarities to a 7-8 psi spring rate increase but even that is not exact because it doesn't really work that way between gas charge and spring rate. I definitely disagree that one should try to change your spring rate or installed length to compensate for internal gas charge, especially when there are so many ways throw off ride height measurements. The most common that we see is taking measurements before the car has had an opportunity to move enough to settle from being raised in a droop situation, or from tightening control arm and similar bushings when in droop then putting the car on the ground with some lifting effect og bushing wind up in it. There are certainly others but those alone can cause measurements to be unintentionally off by greater amounts than the gas charge itself alone. I do not have any records to see if the factory Z-car dampers were originally LPG or non-gas charged so we don't know if there gas any gas effect or not in the factory info. That doesn't really matter though. If the limited effect of the LPG charge is still bothering you so much and you feel that you absolutely must must must have a non-gas charged, one could pretty easily degas the dampers oneself. This is a trick that has been used for years (only in a T-T LPG, not M-T HPG!) in Stock/Street class autocrossing and can be beneficial mostly on slight weight, light sprung independent suspension cars that get some camber change with ride height change. I am not going to explain how one would degas them on a public forum for a host of reasons but it can be done with no ill effects. Technically this could put your warranty at risk but the damper's actual function or longevity will not be altered if done properly.
  9. KONI is not outsourcing any services. We handle our warranties internally (replacement with brand new dampers when possible) and we still build our own prototypes and our own internal damper work as needed. We no longer offer automotive damper rebuild/revalve services to consumers directly ourselves because far less than 0.1% of KONI dampers ever get serviced and there are three independent outside companies who have decades of experience at it. It's just like an independent auto mechanic shop servicing someone's car except that we first require significant training, tools and component parts for them to be authorized. When we offered it, complete dyno testing was usually about $30 each to cover the time required for testing and that was waived if the there proved to be an issue that required internal service work. Since your stated that your adjusters are stuck, I would see no use to dyno test them because we already know that some internal service would be needed to get them fully functional. If the adjusters are stuck because the damper bottomed internally (similar to bending engine valves by hitting piston tops if you break a timing belt in an "interference" engine), then the ends of the piston rods will be bent and the compression valve cartridges will be damaged. Replacing those parts would further raise service costs far above the price of brand new. Its all about the best balance of time and money to get to your desireed end result. Making a KONI warranty claim is something completely different and not connected to having your existing dampers serviced by one of the outside shops. If you meet the warranty criteria (which it sounds like you do since you bought them new and still have the car), then we can start a warranty claim by using that link posted above to get the shocks inspected to see if the issue is warrantable or not. Once inspected and the trouble root issue is identified, then we follow the best path for resolution from there.
  10. A. There is no longer a KONI North America Automotive damper service facility as it was integrated into our Railway shock service facility several years ago. There are 3 outside businesses that are authorized KONI Automotive rebuild facilities in the US and their info is listed in the right side column of this link that can do testing and service for you: http://www.koni-na.com/en-US/NorthAmerica/Locator/ but you will have to pay them for their work. The Datsun Z strut with the attached spindle (used sometimes on ‘70s cars like RX7, 2002, etc. but rarely used since) is neither common nor simple so most companies with shock dynos do not have proper fixtures for strut housings, much less ones with spindles attached. We have a special dyno fixture for inserts which must be compressed within an outer structural shell for testing but that is very uncommon outside a company like ours. B. If you bought them brand new and have a purchase receipt in your name, have a current vehicle proof of registration still in your name, and there is an identifiable internal manufacturing or materials defect in the damper that is causing the problem, then it certainly is a candidate for warranty replacement for as long as you own them. Because those dampers were discontinued 25+ years ago, that causes some complications but they can be addressed. The warranty does not transfer to a non-original KONI purchaser, if sold on the car to a new owner, does not cover non-defect damage caused by external means (bottoming damage inside from hitting something, incorrect installation or usage damage, etc.). In my 20+ years of experience, stuck adjusters are almost always of external cause and not internal defect cause. It could theoretically be stuck from a defect cause but that is extremely rare and also extremely unlikely to happen to all four of the dampers in a single car set. Your comment about having them tested and possibly serviced made no reference to defects or warranty so I commented based on that. If someone is going to pay for service to be performed, the labor and parts cost will almost always cost more than a brand new one if an off-the-shelf modern replacement is available and you do not need a customized unit for racing, special needs, etc. If the above warranty info fits your situation, then KONI North America will be happy to address it that way. Most people 30 years later likely don’t fit that so a modern updated version is often the cheaper, faster, and better route for the future.
  11. Looks like Week 3 (January) of 1987 production. Being the 8641 prefix, they are the externally rebound adjustable, twin tube low pressure gas version that were made for a few years in the 1980s. I believe that the 8641 versions were likely made primarily (and maybe solely) for the North American market and likely even built in a US factory in Virginia that operated from about 1982 through 1989 or so. If the adjusters are not turning (probably from jamming by hand or impact tool or internal bottoming most likely), then dyno testing them will be of no value and wasted money and time. Additionally, whomever tests them will need to have a dyno with fixtures to hold the Z-car's uncommon spindle attached strut housing. They could likely be rebuilt but it would actually be much cheaper, faster and have a full warranty if you were to simply purchase the brand new ones from Motorsport Auto. You would be much farther ahead to start with fresh ones than pay the labor and parts to fix the old ones which would still not be entirely new. It is definitely less expensive per unit to build new in a large production batch than rebuil;d them onesy-twosy paying for labor and parts.
  12. Actually this photo shows that you have one each of the early, older generation seals and guides (fronts) with integrated gland nut threading and the later design (rears) with the different guide, modern Viton seal and a separate gland nut. What is interesting to me is that the 1980 date code on the newer design means that they must have started that conversion earlier than I'd thought. Since there are no 40ish year employees left from those days before major computerization, there is little to no record keeping and archives showing exactly when things happened. I'm pretty sure that happened over a period of time.
  13. Any spring that you want to put on it, from any soft OE springs to any much higher rate aftermarklet performamcne lowering springs. As you increase spring rate, you need a little bit more rebound damping but it is a non-linear relationship so often doubling or higher the spring rate may only require a 20-30% rebound damping increase to control excess oscillation. Since these KONIs have a roughly 100% range of adjustment, they will work well with about any spring from stock to quite aggressive that you might use. You simply turn the knob adjustment a little higher to meet your ride and handling preferences for your car, roads, modifications, etc. There are many variables involved beyond comparing simply spring rate and damping rate so your being able to tune to your own preference and usage is the best answer. As I stated in the first post, most people will find their preferred adjustment spot in the lower half or less of the adjustment range for normal to aggressive street driving when new.
  14. The new MSA Sports are twin-tube low pressure nitrogen gas charged (8641 prefix with the 4 indicating low pressure gas charge) and the Classics are 86 (twin-tube hydraulic non-gas charged). Generally an increase in internal gas charge can have a pretty minor if any increase in static ride height and can vary from car design to car design, I think your 1 inch comment might be overestimated as most cars are more likely to see 1/4-1/2" difference with several variables involved. Any static height changes are going to be related to a mix of things including the amount of gas charge itself (from zero gas charge to low pressure gas charged (3-5 Bar usually) to a mono-tube high pressure gas charge (10-20 Bar usually) in addition to vehicle weight, spring rates, damper piston rod diameter (effect is more on a large rod diamete, less on a small rod diameter), suspension geometry, etc. How well and consistently you make your before and after measurements and do the installation may likely have a greater impact on a height change than actual internal gas pressure difference. KONI is one of the few companies who makes all three different shock designs (T-T non-gas, T-T LPG & M-T HPG). Very few people understand what internal nitrogen gas really does or doesn't do in a damper however the gerenal public's limited info perception (mostly old ads from mass market, commodity shock brands) is usually that gas charged is better than not gas charged so often we will include a small gas charge to satisfy that "Is it a gas shock?" question if we don't have the abulity to discuss it technically. In fact, we are working on a KONI video script now addressing the very common misconceptions of gas charging or not.
  15. The red KONI Classics that have been made in the last roughly 20ish years are the much younger siblings of the very old set that I discussed just above. Their part numbers will be 86 1811 and 86 1812 (for 240Z/260Z) and have the modern seals and low friction guides and pistons and 86 strut insert part number prefix that I discussed. These were out of production for many years but it was revived in the mid '90s when the car saw a popularity rise including Nissan's official revival/rebuild program on some early cars. They have stayed in low volume, limited availability since then. They are the internally adjustable (compress-to-adjust off the car) version so they are not as friendly to adjust for general tuning, going back and forth for street, autocross, & track day use, wear compensation, etc. Their valving is a bit softer (but certainly not a "soft" damper) than the new Sports that we have just developed with Motorsport Auto. These were of twin-tube hydraulic (non-gas charged) design so they won't self-extend if you compress them off the car but that has no relation to actual damper function on the car.