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Performance Modifications for the NG900 / Old 9-3 This forum contains PERFORMANCE related Q&A's for the NG900 and 9-3. This may also include suspension.

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Thread: Thinking of switching from Bilstein HD to Koni adjustables Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-24-2012 12:45 PM
paulro Hi quattro, I realize this is an old thread but do you still have those Bilstein HD's for sale? I live nearby and can pick them up. Let me know, thanks.
06-30-2010 11:51 AM
quattro Long overdue update:

Its been a few weeks now since I've been driving with the reworked suspension. Again,
here's what I did:

-Switched from Bilstein HD shocks to Koni adjustables
-Installed new control arms (scantech) with stock bushings (previously had poly bushings)
-Installed GS 6 point subframe brace

Impressions:

Wow. I can finally enjoy the car again as a daily driver. The Konis are set to full soft, both front and back. I'd say the firmness of the ride is about 35% harder than stock. With the Bilstein's they were like 200% firmer. Steering response and road feel has been noticeably reduced after moving back to stock bushings, that said, I can do without feeling every pebble on the road. One huge improvement is the way the car now handles bumps on the road. Wheel impact no longer resonates throughout the car and feels contained. Front end feels alot sturdier and I figure the GS brace is responsible for the decreased front flex. Its interesting now that I'm hearing squeaks and rattles only from the rear hatch...has me thinking about getting the GS hatchback brace.

Overall, I'm happy with the results and shouldve gone with the Konis in the first place when I upgraded the suspension yrs ago. That said, who wants my Bilsteins? :P
05-21-2010 01:10 PM
Saabazz10 I used to have Intrax / Bilstien combo on my 99 9-3, then swiched to intrax / Koni combo in the front. But I realized the comfort problem was actually the Intrax springs after I switched to Eibach Springs Koni struts. The Intrax were soo low/compressed that I did not need a spring compresser to uninstall them!!!!! I would advise you to swap out the Intrax .....
05-12-2010 12:35 PM
quattro
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Man View Post
Is your bushing on the control arm at sub frame poly too? I think that would transmit more road feel then the other one.
yep those bushings are poly also..
the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to at least try out the ride with new control arms and OEM bushings. If its comfy enough for my liking, great. Worse case, they wear out in a couple yrs, in which case I can swap in the poly bushings I have now.

So, to summarize:

Going from:
Front: Intrax springs, Bilstein HDs, inner/outer poly bushings on control arms, poly sway bar bushings
Rear: Eibach springs, Bilstein HDs

To:
Front: Intrax springs, Koni adjustables, stock inner/outer bushings on new control arms, poly sway bar bushings
Rear: Eibach springs, Koni adjustables
EDIT: should add that I'm also installing the 6 point subframe brace

I think this could work.
05-12-2010 11:45 AM
mvadenais On my Viggen I have the koni kit. I have it set right in the middle which would be 2 of poss 4. Its not harsh at all. RI roads just suck and a tighter suspension lets you know its a tighter suspension. I do like the kit very much and it looks better than stock ride height
05-12-2010 11:38 AM
Ice Man Sounds like it's worth a try, especially if you have a nice tool to pop the ball joint without tearing the boot. Only down side is, the bushing that connects the 2 arms seems to wear out fast, like 1 to 2 years, at least on aftermarket arms....

Is your bushing on the control arm at sub frame poly too? I think that would transmit more road feel then the other one.

Send me PM and we can hook up when ur in town.
05-12-2010 10:28 AM
driver found Interested in this thread - my new 9-3 has HDs in the back. Will be putting Koni springs on soon. Currently stock up front. Had thought about putting Konis in the front - can people recommend how the HD's out back will mesh with the Koni's up front?
05-12-2010 10:09 AM
quattro
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Man View Post
It still has that distinct, firm, Saab feel so it's no Buick. I stayed away from the poly bushings as I wanted a comfortable ride to some degree. I just replaced my 2 year old aftermarket control arms with a the Nordic brand (that centre bushing had some play) Crazy what a new set of bushing do.... feels new again.

If your ever in the KW area I'll give you a ride in the Viggen.
Actually, I'll be making a day trip to cambridge in the next few weeks and might take you up on the offer! Thanks!

Funny you mention the bushings because I'm replacing the control arms as well. The existing ones have ball joint issues but do have the poly bushings installed so the plan was to order stock control arms from Nick, press out the oem bushings, and replace with my existing poly ones.

But now you got me thinking...maybe I wont mess with the bushings just yet and install the new control arms as is. I guess there's no harm if I go this route...the poly bushings can always be swapped in after.

Thoughts?
05-12-2010 09:43 AM
Ice Man
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattro View Post
This is the statement I've been waiting to hear. Actually, more for my fiance than me.
She hates the ride around Toronto's shitty roads and I've been trying to find a solution without getting rid of the car or going back to OEM.
It still has that distinct, firm, Saab feel so it's no Buick. I stayed away from the poly bushings as I wanted a comfortable ride to some degree. I just replaced my 2 year old aftermarket control arms with a the Nordic brand (that centre bushing had some play) Crazy what a new set of bushing do.... feels new again.

If your ever in the KW area I'll give you a ride in the Viggen.
05-12-2010 08:38 AM
quattro Front suspension is defintely different between NGs and OG9-3. The rear suspension is the same (at least for fitting springs/shocks). That said, dip has a write up on how to fit front OG9-3 springs onto the NG. I suppose then one could find a way to do the reverse, ie. fit NG bits onto the OG9-3?

http://photo.platonoff.com/Auto/2007...gs_From_a_9-3/
05-12-2010 08:25 AM
aireeca I think there's also some difference in the subframe, as in, you have to drop it to check the oil pan in the OG9-3 (this I know for certain) and not in the NG900.
05-12-2010 08:22 AM
BurnsSide42
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattro View Post
No plans for the used HDs. They'll be up for sale and will obviously help offset the cost of switching. Remember though that these shocks are coming out of an NG not the OG 9-3
There is a differance in suspension? Vehicles are the same aside from electronics and cosmetics. Different valving in the components maybe - but I don't see why.
05-12-2010 08:15 AM
quattro
Quote:
Originally Posted by BurnsSide42 View Post
Plans for the used HD's if you change out? I know a nice 2002 SE 9-3 which would love a set of those. I also know of a 00' Base 3 Door....
No plans for the used HDs. They'll be up for sale and will obviously help offset the cost of switching. Remember though that these shocks are coming out of an NG not the OG 9-3
05-12-2010 08:14 AM
christian900se I have Konis and used to have Vogtland springs but now have new OEM springs but still have the Koni shocks. To be honest, I thought I would take more advantage of the adjustibility feature but I have rarely moved my shocks off of full firm in the rear and a turn off full firm in the front and find it to be surprisingly decent. When they are at their softest, they are as stiff as stock but the better valving gives the car less harshness over bumps and poor quality roads. I have been very happy with mine, while I run full firm all the time, it retains reasonable ride quality while making the car handle very well.
05-12-2010 08:08 AM
BurnsSide42 I love the HD's in my 9000 - Aero springs and SAS sway bars - different car, but I love the ride, and I don't think it's too hard - just right. I have a set of KONI's for the rear of our 9-5 Wagon - not installed yet, still looking for AERO springs. I have a set of OEM Aero struts for the front once I have springs for it.

Plans for the used HD's if you change out? I know a nice 2002 SE 9-3 which would love a set of those. I also know of a 00' Base 3 Door....
05-12-2010 08:00 AM
PoisonBeef I have bilstein HD on the rear only, stock up front and stock springs. I know what you mean by harsh.
05-12-2010 07:44 AM
quattro
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Man View Post
It is very comfortable, maybe more so then oem setup.
This is the statement I've been waiting to hear. Actually, more for my fiance than me.
She hates the ride around Toronto's shitty roads and I've been trying to find a solution without getting rid of the car or going back to OEM.
05-12-2010 07:03 AM
Ice Man I have had the Koni kit on for almost 2 months. I have set it at full soft on front and 1 turn on the rears for a bit more firmness for my daily driving. It is very comfortable, maybe more so then oem setup.

Full firm it's too harsh for a daily driving.
05-12-2010 06:59 AM
quattro Right now I'm running BBS RK1s w 225-45-17 tires. I've tried varying levels of pressure on the tires - hasn't helped reduce the harshness to my liking. Also have the control arm poly bushings installed but it certainly can't account for my teeth rattling endlessly over every bump. And yeah the front intrax springs are firm but I'll create a bigger impact on the ride comfort by swapping out all the bilsteins rather than the intrax springs (plus, imo, the ride height with the mismatched springs is perfect).


Nick, tell me you've got the Koni adjustables in stock for NG 94-98. Looking to order in the next couple weeks along with a crap load of other suspension items.
05-12-2010 06:36 AM
GenuineSaab A good portion of the ride harshness comes from the tire/wheel combo. Not running too much pressure etc? Can you go up a bit in size? ex 215-45 17 to a 225-45 17

No FSD for the OG 9-3. Had to beg for the 9-5 set.
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