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Old 03-12-2007, 09:37 AM   #1
Jard
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Default Koni Insert Install Step-by-Step (56K Warning)

Email from Koni representative detailing their ideas on adjustment. I originally found this on miata.net:
http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread...ni+adjust+soft
Quote:
Russell,

Once again the "Misinformation Super Highway" aka Internet strikes again. There is fact in parts of the information you heard but much is used incorrectly.

First off, the KONI Sport adjustment range is as a rule of thumb 100% or they are twice as firm at the maximum setting as they are at the minimum setting. That is a pretty linear adjustment range so generally a mid way adjustment setting will generate forces in the middle of the range (although you'd think that was normal, that is actually very uncommon from many adjustable shocks). That is the broadest adjustment range of any street shock in the industry. When KONI develops a valving, we will
set the minimum setting at the point were we feel a stock car will get the best combination of
handling, balance and ride for general performance use. From there, you get the entire adjustment range to go up to tune to either your own personal ride and handling preferences and also to help match performance upgrades to the car such as increased spring rates, bigger wheels and tires, etc.

The original theory behind adjustable shocks was to allow for compensation of wear over time.
Although we use a number of low friction materials and devices in a KONI so they wear at a much slower rate, they are still a mechanical device subject to wear over time. This way after 30,000- 50,000 or more miles if you notice that the car is not quite as crisp as it used to be, then you can give it a quarter or half turn to freshen it up.

When a customer has a new set of KONIs and is installing them with a set of performance lowering springs that have a rate higher than stock, we usually tell them to give an initial adjustment of 1/2 to one turn or so to work with the higher rate. This is probably where the one turn setting info you heard comes from but it is by no means a limit or the peak of damping force. Just that the increase in force needed to work with street performance spring is usually only 1/4 to ½ way into our normal adjustment range. After you drive the car for a bit on a setting like that to get the feel of it, you are welcome to adjust it anywhere you want to. Some people think that "if firm is good then the firmest setting is the best" but that is almost always not true because the shock even at the minimum setting already starts life out as a performance unit and our adjustment range is very wide. For longevity sake on a car with performance springs, we'd rather see you in the low to mid range of the adjustment on the street with a pretty new damper. My own CRX in the parking lot right now with many upgrades and 1.75 inch lowering spring is on KONI Sports set at 1 turn and about 30,000 miles on the shocks.

In previous years, the KONI shocks had written instructions in about five languages but they were not always very clear since they were written by a Dutch person who may not have spoken that language as their mother tongue. In the case of the English translations, they were actually listed for Great Britain and sometimes the wording was a bit terse and could be misconstrued. One regular part was a comment along the lines of "you may not adjust your shock to the maximum setting". What they meant
was "you may not NEED to adjust it to the maximum setting" meaning that they make quite a bit of force already and on a stock car you may never need to ever adjust them to maximum for good performance. Because KONIs are sold in over 90 countries of the world and having four or five languages was not really enough, they switched the instructions universal pictograms to show the process to the whole world without words. However as with any instructions, if you are not in the right mindset the pictograms may not be completely clear either.

I hope this has cleared things up a bit. Yes, you can adjust your shocks wherever you want but with the understanding that they almost certainly don't need to go really high unless they have extreme spring rates, high mileage with wear over time, or if you want to induce the car into doing something like autocross when extra damping can cover up for other issues. Yes, half to one turn would be a good starting point with your springs but feel free to tweak it to your liking from there. No, don't go straight to max thinking that is the best solution. If you like this explanation, fee free to share it with others who may have heard the same mixed signals. Feel free to contact our tech line at 859-586-4100 or info@koni-na.com.

Best regards,
Lee Grimes
KONI North America
We did a Koni Insert Install onto an '05 RS Wagon at my house on Saturday. I was encouraged to document the process, so here we go.

I am not going to go through the whole process of removing tophats and springs because that is really well documented other places here on NASIOC.

These instructions will be assuming you are starting from bare stock struts and I am not going to go back into the final assembly with springs and tophats either since that's also documented well.

The donor struts came from an '04 WRX Wagon and seemed to be in really good shape.

All of this would be better done in a vise, but we did not have one available in my garage. I really need to get a nice workbench.

The first step is to mark the center of the bottom of the strut. Try to mark as close to dead center as you can since this will be the hole for all your future drilling. After you have marked the bottom with a punch, you can drill a small hole to release pressure in the strut. You will have a small fluid explosion when you drill through here and it WILL be messy.

^^^^

People have clarified that this will not happen if you drill them upside down in a vise. You will have a small off-gassing, but the fluid will stay in the strut.





The next step is to measure from the top of your new insert to the set of little raised bumps on the strut body (sorry, no picture of this right now, but you can see what I mean in a few later pictures). Ours measured 46mm and looking at the instructions that came with the inserts this meant we had to measure and cut 40mm off the top of the stock struts. In the following picture you can see the cutting taking place with a big pipe cutter. The pipe cutter works for the front struts, but does not fit on the rear struts. We had to use an angle grinder and Dremel to cut those.





Finished product after cutting. The pipe cutter did a great job of making a clean and smooth cut. The struts cut with the angle grinder and Dremel required some smoothing, but they also came out well.



The next step is to drill a bigger hole in the bottom of the body where the bolt will be attached to hold the insert inside the body. The instructions call for a 14mm drill bit. We used a 9/16" drill bit. I had to go and buy a set at Harbor Freight in order to get a metal bit big enough.

This is why you need to mark as close to the center as you possibly can with that first punch and hole. Ours was a little off, but it turned out okay. The 9/16" bit is slightly bigger than 14mm, so you will have a tiny bit of play, which is probably better since it's going to be hard to get the exact center.



Now that cutting and prep is done, we can start the assembly.

Take the little rubber boot and slip it onto the strut body.



Insert the new Koni Insert into the strut body. Here you can see the little raised bumps that I talked about earlier for measuring. The insert will slide down until these bumps rest on the strut body.





The insert will not be flush with the bottom of the strut body yet.

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Last edited by Jard; 09-19-2007 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:37 AM   #2
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Take the bolt for the bottom of the assembly, insert it, and begin to tighten it down. We torqued to the specs on the instructions, which was 55 ft-lb.



You can now see that the bumps that were resting on the strut body have been sucked down into the strut body by tightening that bottom bolt.



Take the rubber boot and slide it up over the gap.



That's it...all done! Now reassemble as you normally would and reinstall.

If you have any feedback to make this better, I'll be happy to make edits.

Last edited by Jard; 09-19-2007 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:48 AM   #3
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I was the patsy that drilled the first two struts. I would recommend using a vice for both the punch and for drilling. Also try to keep your head behind the strut while drilling. I have sweatshirt and work gloves soaked with hydraulic fluid. You really do not want your face anywhere near the blast area.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:50 AM   #4
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I think that about covers it soup to nuts. These went on my car btw, and me likey.

For the drilling, cutting and draining of the struts I'd recommend a drop cloth. It is really messy. The grinder for the rears was a god send. It is very hard to cut those straight, but afterwards I touched them up with a dremel to even them up and remove any burrs.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:51 AM   #5
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Great job illustrating how easy it is to do.
Most people are intimidated by doing the Koni inserts
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:54 AM   #6
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Looks good. What are your thoughts on the ride? Do they require a brake in of sorts or is it just plug-n-play?
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:57 AM   #7
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drinking beer and making fun of people covered in hydraulic fluid helps too...
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirWilliam View Post
Looks good. What are your thoughts on the ride? Do they require a brake in of sorts or is it just plug-n-play?
I am not aware of any break-in necessary. Maybe someone can comment on that. I really like the ride. Full soft is very close to OEM and full stiff is WAY stiff but'll be nice for track or autox. I'll be messing with the settings for a while to get the right DD setting I imagine.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:13 AM   #9
99SR20DE-Ltd
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Nice pics. I'm thinking of installing the Koni's on my 05 sedan. Did you stay with the OEM springs?
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99SR20DE-Ltd View Post
Nice pics. I'm thinking of installing the Koni's on my 05 sedan. Did you stay with the OEM springs?
It's Rice & Gravy's car...

He has STi sedan springs, RCE camber, plates in front, stock tops in rear.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99SR20DE-Ltd View Post
Nice pics. I'm thinking of installing the Koni's on my 05 sedan. Did you stay with the OEM springs?

I have 04 STi springs on it. And we also did the Race Comp Eng. lowering camber plates on the fronts in conjuction with this install.
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Old 03-12-2007, 11:47 AM   #12
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Great work on the step-by-step photo and instructions -- thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalow72 View Post
I was the patsy that drilled the first two struts. I would recommend using a vice for both the punch and for drilling. Also try to keep your head behind the strut while drilling. I have sweatshirt and work gloves soaked with hydraulic fluid. You really do not want your face anywhere near the blast area.
I drilled and drained my donor struts a while back, and it is my opinion that hydraulic fluid wins the prize for being the foulest smelling stuff on my car that I've dealt with so far!

Last edited by thorongil; 03-12-2007 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:10 PM   #13
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Good writeup.

Any pics of the rears? Just not enough room for the pipe cutter on the back?

I have also heard that if you do the initial hole with the struts upside down, that the gas can escape without as much fluid blowing out. The fluid can be drained out later.
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
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Very nice write-up!
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Old 03-12-2007, 01:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbletop View Post
Good writeup.

Any pics of the rears? Just not enough room for the pipe cutter on the back?

I have also heard that if you do the initial hole with the struts upside down, that the gas can escape without as much fluid blowing out. The fluid can be drained out later.
RE: the rears, the spring perches did not leave enough room to get the pipe cutter down in the area where we needed to cut. I was able to start a little groove in one area with the pipe cutter, maybe 2 CM long, but not go all the way around. That allowed me to start and use the grinder the rest of the way. I think that is the one thing we did not get a picture of.
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Old 03-12-2007, 04:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorongil View Post
I drilled and drained my donor struts a while back, and it is my opinion that hydraulic fluid wins the prize for being the foulest smelling stuff on my car that I've dealt with so far!
Worse than man. transmission fluid???
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:08 PM   #17
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lets see some pics, i'd like to see how much of a drop you had with the RCE camber plates.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:17 PM   #18
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I think this may deserve a sticky.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:23 PM   #19
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I will take pics tomorrow. And I have pics of the car before with just STi springs on it too to compare.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:00 PM   #20
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I think this may deserve a sticky.
I agree
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:22 PM   #21
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Very nice... I just did mine last week, and will reinforce/add a few points:

1) It's not that hard. I thought I would order them professionally assembled, but after some encouragement here, I tried it myself and despite my lack of wrenching skills, it went fine. Sore arms from using a hacksaw instead of that nice pipe cutter, but I got a good workout that day

2) If you go the hacksaw route, you'll definitely want a workbench with a vice to hold the strut body. Keeping the hacksaw cut oiled will make the cutting much easier. And a Dremel to smoooth out the uneven cuts will help.

3) Yes, holding the strut perpendicular to the ground while drilling will prevent the major explosion of oil delivered when drilling horizontally as pictured (I'm glad I had my glasses on while doing that first strut!) And yes, it smells about as bad as old tranny fluid, especially when it has exploded all into your hair

4) My bottom punch was pretty off-center on one strut (about like the picture here) and I thought I was hosed, but as shown above, there was enough play with the 9/16" hole that it bolted up fine.

5) I left a little more strut body than needed (i.e. cut a little high), such that the bottom bolt wouldn't reach the struts with the washers on. With the washers off, I could at least get a few threads of the bolt into the strut, tighten bolt (which pulled the strut into the housing), then remove bolt, apply washers to bolt, and finish it off. Saved me a trip to the store to buy a longer bolt. I know some people mentioned using a hammer to gently tap the strut into the body and I tried a few blows with a rubber hammer, but it's such a tight fit, it didn't seem like there was any way that would work.

And thanks, I now see that I should be pulling the rubber boot all the way up to the gap at the top of the strut. Nice write-up!
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:33 PM   #22
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Oh yeah, you might want to crosspost this to scoobymods
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:17 PM   #23
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Worse than man. transmission fluid???
Yeah, significantly worse!
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:38 PM   #24
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When measuring the top of your new insert to the set of little raised bumps on the strut body, draw the line the whole way around the strut body by taking the measurement every few mm then connecting those dots for a more accurate cut.
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philsdabom View Post
When measuring the top of your new insert to the set of little raised bumps on the strut body, draw the line the whole way around the strut body by taking the measurement every few mm then connecting those dots for a more accurate cut.
You should be a hand model.
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