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Gas adjustable shock absorbers: Worth the money, or not?

Dave C

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The title says it all really.


I've read comments that the standard (cheap) shock absorbers are rubbish and that (expensive) gas adjustable shock absorbers are a good upgrade.


I've also been told the standard shock absorbers are fine and that gas adjustables look good but are a waste of money.


So which is it?


Is it just one of those subjects that divides opinion or is there more to it?


I'm just trying to make sense of the conflicting comments I've heard and advice I've received so your real-life experiences would be most appreciated.


If adjustables have made a difference, can you describe or quantify the improvement?





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the cheap black ones are just about OK. Search the autojumbles and you will find much better standard ones (old stock etc) and not expensive. If you drive the car hard, you may want adjustable shocks. I chose Koni (as they are probably the best, they are valved better than spax/gaz etc but are not height adjustable)

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My Mk2 Vitesse had the old lever arm dampers on the car (standard for Mk2) but fitted the conversion unit and used Gaz shocks.


Have to say it transformed & improved the handling immensely. 


I presume you already have shocks on the rear - but without a doubt IMHO an upgrade to gas filled adjustable is a step forward without a doubt.


1. the car sits better


2. absorbs the bumps in the road FAR better and does not jump around 


3. power handling in to corners feels much tighter


4. general driving attitude & road manners of the car is much improved. 


As to Spax / Koni / Gaz, it is down to personal choice and your type of driving really.


I'm a Gaz fan as they do exactly what they are designed for and you are not paying for the name.





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Std shocks should be made to conform to a specification devised from miles of testing and dynamometer


rig tests, so if of reasonable quality should be fit and forget does what it says on the tin.


adjustables can be a nightmare of twiddling to get a bump and rebound to suit you and your car

gaz are the easiest to adjust via a accessible hand wheel .

spax is a screwdriver


the Vitesee had gaz front and spax rears , never pleased with the settings , forever too hard too soft

Balance front to rear was never right , and you cant see whats going on on the road to decide

whether to stiffen or soften , I would suggest for good to fast road use fit the best std you can find and use the residual cash to fuel the tank and drive her



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If I recall, your Vitesse was non Roto-flex; do you think that may have had a different bearing on the adjustable set-up ??


The Mk2 obviously sits "more square" on the road.


I have only used Gaz at the rear and kept standard at the front.


Oh to be able to see what is going on underneath as the car motors on !!





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think there's no doubt old lever arms are and never were the bee's knees, 


yes she was non rotaflex , had courier spring and 1" drop plate,  having failed to get anywhere with a swing spring 


stick to basic spec would have saved a load of £££


have been involved with many truck testing and films of the real what goes on is eye watering  


the last in house bit of video my small dept made is now history , you tube  RB44 made with a camera a rubber duck ,1/2 a brick and some good will




its an awful copy but there's some good suspension and tyre deflection shots   but nowt on shockers   Ha"



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We used to sell Monroe standard dampers, however they no longer make them for our cars. The black "generic" ones are adequate but do not last any length of time and also if they do outlast the the rubber bushes the bushes on these are a non standard size and you can't get replacements.

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