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"shock"ing questions

Oct 30, 2001
Glen Burnie, MD, USA
1986 Bright Red Coupe
My 86 Vette has the FG3 Delco-Bilstein suspension option - and with 133000 miles on the car, apparently still has the originals! Unfortunately, they are one of the three items that failed inspection (the parking brake, which I knew about, and a backup light were the other two) so I have to get them replaced ASAP. The inspector said the shocks themselves were fine, but the bushings around the lower mounting points were shedding large chunks of rubber so he failed it on that.

Anyway, I'm going to NTW (chain of tires, batteries, and suspension) and having a pair of Monroe Sensa-trac's installed (two shocks, installed, is $89 - that's less than half the price of one STRUT for my Subaru) so I can pass. Afte that, though, I'll be looking for a full set of shocks. I'm assuming the FG3 setup is decent, but not the best value.

So I'm looking through Corvette Central's catalog and don't see anything specifically for replacing the Z51's suspension. They have the Monroes, at almost $10 each more than NTW. They have KYBs, an outrageously expensive Edelbrock, and a TPIS "custom-valved super shock" at $140 for a set of four.

The car won't be a daily driver, and will see some track and autocross use. What do you guys recommend? Or should I go back to Chevy and get the original Delco-Bilsteins? Does Bilstein make a decent adjustable strut for my Vette?

You have a few options.
Just replace the Bilsteins only order the HD ones instead of the Sport ones. I guess CC, Mad etc call them the regular or Z51 replacements.
Replace the other pair of shocks with those cheap ones also. Now you have all 4 Bilsteins off the car. Send them to Bilstein and have them rebuild them to your specifications. Just tell them what you want to do with the car.
There is one of the Konis I hear is popular with the autox'rs but can't remember which one.
Those super expensive Edelbrocks. You are referring to the Performer IAS shocks. I know of 1 person who is using them. He says they are very impressive. Smoother ride and better handling. But he's not sure that they are worth that much. He's still questioning whether he should have just sent his originals into Bilstein to be rebuilt.
Or spend all of your money and go to a complete coil over setup. For serious autox users. I've seen 2 Vettes with this setup and they are in the top of rankings for the year in local events.

I agree with Graham, Go with the Bilstein HD's, try VetteBrakes for selection and product technical support.


Don't expect cheap shocks to perform very well on a Vette in an autocross. The $70 / each Bilstein's is about as cheap as I would go.
Thanks for the replies. The cheapo shocks are only to get by inspection and let me bed in the new clutch; they won't be on there for anything serious.

I'll look at VetteBrakes.com; I checked Bilstein's web site and couldn't find anything about rebuilding my current shocks. Is there some other company that does that?

I will probably look seriously at those TPIS matched shocks. Maybe someone here has used them and can comment.

And while the coil-overs are nice, I think we can accurately say that I don't have $1600 to drop on suspension at the moment...
I'm not sure you'll find info on Bilsteins website but if you have their shocks they can rebuild them. You'll have to call them. It's probably just as easy to do as fastglass said though and get a set of 4 from one of the aftermarket places. about $300.
One other note I should add that I forgot to mention. If anyone puts a coil-over setup on their car it immediately bumps you up in class for autox. You would have to compete against cars that are trailored in and heavily modified.
The other shocks you mentioned are still considered original replacement and don't change the class you compete in.
Hey, I am interested in finding out about rebuilding shocks. I replaced the original Bilsteins a couple months ago (with new Bilsteins) and saved the old ones. If anyone finds out about rebuilding them, please let me know.


ps. I went with the Bils' b/c they were supposed to be firmer than the KYB and others. I was warned that they would wear out faster (20k miles or so) though. I that is a trade off I am willing to make to get a better ride. Besides, they look stock for under hood prying eyes.
Bilstein does rebuild their shocks. :)

Call or Write for more info:

-Bill Hindorf at Bilstein - 1-800-537-1085.

-Bilstein, 8845 Rehco Rd., San Diego, CA 92121.
Steel Half-Shafts said:
Bilstein does rebuild their shocks. :)

Call or Write for more info:

-Bill Hindorf at Bilstein - 1-800-537-1085.

-Bilstein, 8845 Rehco Rd., San Diego, CA 92121.

Thanks for that info. Bill was quite helpful. The address has changed, though - they're at 14102 Stowe Dr, Poway, CA 92064. Send them attn: Repair Department.

He recommends their slalom valving, which is $50-$55 per shock, and another couple bucks for anything else that needs rebuilding like my bushings.

So. I can get these rebuilt for about $225, or the TPIS for $140. Still need to find someone who's used them and can comment.

replacement shocks

Has anyone replaced the original FX3 setup with aftermarket shocks? I am not sure I want to spend the $ on the Bilsteins or on repair to the FX3 system should it go south. I don't use the various settings and don't really need the option of adjustment. Also, what to do with the actuators which are on the top of each shock other than disconnecting when the originals are removed? I think I would stay with the Bilstein "non FX3" shock if I change, however. Any thoughts and/or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you for the info on the rebuilds. I might have to do that! :s

Ron, if you decide to pull your FX-3 system, let me know. I might be interested in taking to pieces off your hands. I also have an extra set of regular Bilsteins that, as these gents have been nice enough to give info on, can be rebuilt to your specs.

Just an idea.
No Vette uses a "strut".

The Bilstein is the best thing going for street use on your Corvette.

There is an inexpensive solution for your shock problem and that is to ship the shocks back to Bilstein for overhaul. Bilstein North America offers that service at its facility in San Diego CA. Call them at 800 537 1085. Ask for Bill Hindorf and tell Bill I suggested you call and that you have a set of fixed-valve shocks to be rebuilt. I think you'll find the cost as fraction of the cost of new Bilsteins.

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