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Car Problems? NG900 or old 9-3 Only If you're experiencing problems with your NG900 or 9-3, post your question in here. CEL Code or GTFO!

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Old 07-08-2017, 10:54 PM   #1
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My Viggen, Koni Killer

2015: Right after I bought it, swapped in Konis all around. Almost immediately started hearing a noise when the front driver's strut insert would compress. Took it back to the installer. Replaced both upper strut mounts with OEM. Still made the noise. Techs could not find a cause for failure outside of the insert.

2016-1: Ordered a warranty replacement from Koni. Swapped it in, sent the old one back. Koni tested it, determined it had failed, refunded me. Noise went away for a couple months.

2016-2: Ordered a warranty replacement from Koni. Swapped it in, sent the old one back. Koni tested it, determined it had failed, refunded me. Noise went away for a couple months.

2017-1: Ordered a warranty replacement from Koni. Swapped it in, techs also found the front driver's ball joint to be toast. Potential cause? Maybe! Sent the old one back, Koni tested it, determined it had failed, refunded me. Noise went away... this time, for about a month.

WHAT IN THE HELL.

FWIW, the car has every brace you can buy: SRC&B, strut, 6pt, ARB, hatch. Potentially related? When turning the wheels at slow speeds it sounds like something is binding up and I'll hear/feel a pop. Guessing that's the steering rack clamp and brace (my old Vig with a SRC&B would do that sometimes).

Over this period it's been to 5 or 6 shops and I ask everyone to look at it whenever it's going on a lift. Other than the ball joint failure, no one has pointed at anything else.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:27 AM   #2
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Odd. No such problems with my Viggen. My 9-5 killed a Koni but that was with heavy TX wheels(GONE) and a evil pothole.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:12 AM   #3
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Are they being damaged during installation? Like, are they using an impact driver and spinning the shaft to seat the lock nut? That's the fastest way, but I think spinning the seals in there at high speed could reduce the life. There are tools for it, but I use a deep well 1/2" drive socket on the outside held with a vise grip, and then use a 1/4" drive through the back of the socket to hold the center.

Also, are the strut assemblies the right length, like when you tighten the top collar down, everything snugs up nicely and doesn't clunk around? The strut assembly can be punched too long if you hit something real hard, I've seen one that was punched the entire way through. That may be a source of the clunking noise too.
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Old 07-10-2017, 11:43 PM   #4
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Hmmmm. I have a clunk/pop at low speeds when turning in my ng900 with konis and vogtlands. I am having an incredibly difficult time troubleshooting as well. Everything looks sound and solid. Cranked on the strut insert nut with a pipe wrench but it barely moved.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:42 AM   #5
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Cranked on the strut insert nut with a pipe wrench but it barely moved.
The last shop I was at told me the same when I was getting debriefed, like btw, fyi...

For someone who doesn't fully understand why this is notable, can anyone explain? Assume the insert needs to rotate along with the wheels?
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:40 PM   #6
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I think that when that strut collar is tightened, the body of the strut inside the housing is supposed to be held tightly when the collar is tightened down, with no movement.

If the bottom of the housing is punched out or too long, then it may not matter how tight you make the retaining collar, because the floor of the housing is pressed out of shape so that it's too long even when the retaining nut is bottomed out and really tight.

On the one that I had that was punched out, I just replace the whole assembly because the metal was actually torn and corroded away, but you could maybe drop a washer or something down in there to shim things longer and then try to tighten it; I think it would be hard to hammer or press it back into shape because the knuckle is right there in the way. Something to look at anyway.

The ram or strut shaft can rotate with the movement of the strut bearings while the strut body is held still and tightly in place, but I don't think it's a good idea to spin the crap out of the shaft, like would happen if you used an impact gun to tighten the top retaining nut. On the premature failures, just guesses here, but the other thing could be that maybe people are using vise grips or something to prevent the shaft from spinning to tighten that nut. If you mar the surface of that shaft, when that deformation or scratch moves past the internal seals that could cause premature failure as well.

This probably isn't the right size, but you need a something like this): https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwaben...3046sch01a-03/
to properly install the top retaining nut. It allows an open end wrench or small socket to hold the shaft from spinning while the nut is tightened.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:30 PM   #7
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If the strut insert is loose in the housing do you see wear marks or physical damage to the insert when it comes back out? JK88, what did the old ones look like? Was there any damage visible?
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Old 07-12-2017, 04:04 PM   #8
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This is a good thread... pretty sure my struts were f-ed when I got the car and I've been dealing with a clunk for years new. I've chased lots of other parts all over the front end but nothing fixes it. This shines a lot of light on things!
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Old 07-25-2017, 01:23 PM   #9
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I looked at the bottom of the strut tube on the knuckles today.
They both look exactly the same.
Is it supposed to be flat? Or bowl shaped like this?


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Old 07-25-2017, 03:33 PM   #10
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Turns out my rear KOnis are screwed. They were not installed correctly so the adjustment is gone, they are internally stripped so its like they are full soft or nothing.

I have a pair of Bils coming since whats the point of Konis if they aren't ON CAR adjustable.
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Old 07-26-2017, 11:16 AM   #11
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Turns out my rear KOnis are screwed. They were not installed correctly so the adjustment is gone, they are internally stripped so its like they are full soft or nothing.

I have a pair of Bils coming since whats the point of Konis if they aren't ON CAR adjustable.
Which Bils? IIRC the B6 are the standard equivalent? Haven't researched going to a different brand yet. Are the B6 on-car adjustable or is that just a Koni feature?

I've had Bil HDs on two cars in the past (88 c900 vert and e36M3) and didn't like the ride quality on either.

Curious for your feedback on how ride quality compares once you have an idea.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:22 PM   #12
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I looked at the bottom of the strut tube on the knuckles today.
They both look exactly the same.
Is it supposed to be flat? Or bowl shaped like this?

I have a set of Viggen uprights in the basement, what I don't have is time. Was hoping to take a look for comparison but haven't been able to get it done. Those don't look obviously bad to me though. Are they out of the car now? You could hit them with a wire wheel to see if they're deformed pressed out slightly(?)

Thinking through things more, another possibly is that maybe the top collars aren't shaped right for the profile of the Koni's? I've seen a few different versions of top collars externally, but maybe the inside machining isn't matching or leaving a gap, or is flat where it needs a recess or is a larger circle with an ID that allows slop in relation to the Koni top OD? Something like that could allow tightness of that top collar but movement side to side even when tight to make things pop? I'm just throwing things out there.
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:19 PM   #13
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They are currently in the car. I am not fully convinced it's where the noise is coming from.
The only other thing I thought of is those damn plastic disc spacers. Maybe they are supposed to go on the strut before the nut?
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:34 AM   #14
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Which Bils? IIRC the B6 are the standard equivalent? Haven't researched going to a different brand yet. Are the B6 on-car adjustable or is that just a Koni feature?

I've had Bil HDs on two cars in the past (88 c900 vert and e36M3) and didn't like the ride quality on either.

Curious for your feedback on how ride quality compares once you have an idea.
I think Konis are it for being adjustable without moving to a coil over.

The shocks I got are the B8s.

I am usually a Koni man but my M Roadster rides very well with Bils and H&R springs. Thats what was pissing me off as it rode much better than my wagon.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:42 AM   #15
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I generally like the Koni's better too and found the Bilsteins to be harsher.

Jeff, were your strut inserts fucked up when you got them out of the housings to return? Paint all scraped up or visible wear on the insert tube?
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Old 07-27-2017, 11:25 AM   #16
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Jeff, were your strut inserts fucked up when you got them out of the housings to return? Paint all scraped up or visible wear on the insert tube?
Didn't look too beat up to me, but I'll have to do it again and will take pics.

Will prob take it down to Bud in a couple months when the weather cools off and I only have the c900 to get around.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:20 PM   #17
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I generally like the Koni's better too and found the Bilsteins to be harsher.

Jeff, were your strut inserts fucked up when you got them out of the housings to return? Paint all scraped up or visible wear on the insert tube?
It's all about matching dampers to springs. I think Konis match Eibachs great. But my B&Gs seem to match Konis not so great. Same scenario when I had Intrax with Konis on one car. Rode great when I switched to Eibach. The Bils might match my springs better.
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Old 07-27-2017, 01:03 PM   #18
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That's very true. I haven't messed with suspension setups at all on the newer cars, all my experience is with what works on the 99 and C900. All I could tell was what customer's cars were like when they came into the shop with varying combinations of different stuff, but you don't really get a feel for it on 10 minute test drives.
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Old 07-27-2017, 05:23 PM   #19
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They are currently in the car. I am not fully convinced it's where the noise is coming from.
The only other thing I thought of is those damn plastic disc spacers. Maybe they are supposed to go on the strut before the nut?
Are you talking the strut bearings? I've had those make creaking noises, I think twice, on 2 different cars when they were bad. But in those cases it was a different sort of grinding/scraping noise that got worse over time.

Otherwise for me, unfindable pops have always came from the insert and been related to that top collar. On one occasion I took everything apart and swapped the collar and tightened it with a pipe wrench on the car and that finally fixed it. That's not including the one that was blown through the bottom, I didn't drive that car, just swapped the assembly out.

I'd put some money on it being related to how the insert is fitting in there (related to Drew's comments too); if that's true, then it's either a problem at the top or the bottom of the tube that's not holding it firmly in place or allowing it to move under larger sideways forces like during lock and suspension deflection
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Old 07-27-2017, 05:29 PM   #20
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They are some kind of spacer. According to some other forum, they are to prevent the bump stop from screwing with the shock seal...

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