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Old 03-01-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
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Time for a strut replacement - I have a DIY to follow, but looking for extra tips...

My 2000 Boxster S has approximately 123,000 miles, and it is still on the original suspension, which is the M030 sport suspension. I would like to replace the struts as I feel the originals are most likely worn out at this time.

Options I am considering:
I don't think I am going to full coilovers at this time, keeping it under $1000 would be great

From looking at this DIY it looks like a doable project spread out over a few weekends, maybe 1 corner per day, taking it easy.

Boxster Hacks and Instructions

I plan to get new bump stops and the other rubber parts while I am in there.

If I like the M030 and want to just freshen it up, do you think the Koni's would be a good match, or should I spend a few bucks more on either the HD or SP version of the Bilsteins?

Any other thoughts or hot tips before I embark on this journey of exploration? (Not to commence for a few months as I have 5 track days from 3/12-5/1)

Thanks!

Steve
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Old 03-01-2016, 04:54 PM   #2
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This is something I've done a bit of research on, as I am going to completely rebuild my suspension eventually (more on that later). From what I understand, the Bilstein HD shocks are the same as the M030 sport struts as far as the valving goes. The Sport shocks are shorter than the HD shocks, which works well for shorter springs, and the damping rates are the same as the HD's. Also available are Bilstein Touring shocks, which are the stock base suspension valving.

I don't have any experience with the Konis, but that $860 price seems like a screaming deal. I got my set of Bilstein HD's for just over $800 on sale from ECS Tuning. At that time, the Konis were a LOT more. If they had been on sale when I was shopping around, I'd have chosen the Konis.

The rebuilding service that Bilstein offers is something I don't know about, so I can't help out there.

I ordered my Bilsteins in October, and the rears have been on backorder that entire time. Every month I get another email from ECS telling me that the expected ship date is another month out. If you do decide to get the Bilsteins, make sure the vendor you order from has them in stock. I recently checked Pelican, and they did have them in stock.

Hmm, now I'm mulling over sending my front shocks back to ECS and getting a refund, and getting those Konis! If the Bilsteins are still on backorder for March, I think that is what I'm going to do.

EDIT: After some more research, I decided that the Koni sport shocks would be more of what I'm looking for, as they are adjustable (the Bilsteins aren't) and are more suited to performance applications. It sounds like the FSD's are mostly aimed at moderate street driving, and since I intend to do track days, I'll be skipping the FSD's. I may ask ECS to change my my order to the Koni's if the Bilsteins are still on backorder.

Last edited by Racer Boy; 03-01-2016 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:46 PM   #3
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Steve - what are your objectives for this car? If racing, anything near seriously, you'll want to take into consideration the allowances of the class you'll be competing in, and spending some $ on shocks can be a great investment - one of the few modifications, for example, allowed in SCCA stock/street class.

I have experience with Koni sports on the 986. These are a good value for a versatile, but on a budget weekend warrior that maintains stock class eligibility. Not the best setup out there for extreme, no-holds-barred competition by any means, but the external adjustability (of at least the front Koni sports for 986 - rears are unfortunately the style that needs removal to adjust) is a nice upgrade over the oe Porsche shocks and non adjustable bilsteins. You can also have them revalved if needed, or modified (such as to make double adjustable) by outfits like Proparts or Truechoice. This is the cheapest way to get into a double adjustable setup. (The other way to get there is spending probably into the multiple thousands on something like, JRZ or Penskes.)

I hear some mini racers are having good results with FSDs, but they are not externally adjustable so you'd give up the ability to make fine-tuning handling adjustments in between runs or to accommodate changing road or tire conditions. I haven't heard many reviews on 986 FSDs, so not very certain how they are valved. You might try to reach out to Koni technical/service center, as they may know.

Not sure if aftermarket can revalve FSDs, but could ask truechoice, proparts, or Koni tech center. Out of the box, I suspect they will not be totally optimal for your M030 springs and sways. Probably good enough for more of a primary street driven car that you occasionally play with in not very serious competition. They would be the softest ride out of any of the still fairly decently performing options out there, so if that's of large importance to you, could be a good consideration.

One thing I have little doubt of is that you're going to see huge performance benefits upgrading your old and certainly worn out 120k mile shocks - probably in the >1 second range on a typical autox course. Happy to help with the replacement procedure as I recently tackled the job on my 2001 which had about 110k.

Ps - the factory shocks and all aftermarket bilstein options which use the factory sized spring (excluding the coilover/pss9 style offerings) are twin tube. Monotube bilsteins converted to adjustable (using the aftermarket methods I'm familiar with, at least) are not as good as adjustable Koni sports, because the adjustment you'll get affects compression and rebound. Adjustable Konis give you adjustable rebound, which is more critical and important to tune separately from compression damping. I'm not certain whether anyone offers modification of factory twin tube bilsteins to make them adjustable. Probably easier to just switch to Koni sports.
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Last edited by jakeru; 03-01-2016 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:29 AM   #4
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I got an email from Elephant Racing, who does Bilstein rebuilds, and it looks like the rebuild option is not an option for our struts:

we do rebuild bilstein struts. Unfortunately the 2000 Boxster struts are not rebuildable. They are a low-cost line that bilstein developed that are permanently swaged shut.

Dang, I would hate to see the "non" low-cost version. Strike that, I wouldn't...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer Boy View Post
EDIT: After some more research, I decided that the Koni sport shocks would be more of what I'm looking for, as they are adjustable (the Bilsteins aren't) and are more suited to performance applications. It sounds like the FSD's are mostly aimed at moderate street driving, and since I intend to do track days, I'll be skipping the FSD's. I may ask ECS to change my my order to the Koni's if the Bilsteins are still on backorder.
I will check these out, and good to know on the Bilstein being on back order everywhere.

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Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
Steve - what are your objectives for this car? If racing, anything near seriously, you'll want to take into consideration the allowances of the class you'll be competing in, and spending some $ on shocks can be a great investment - one of the few modifications, for example, allowed in SCCA stock/street class.
Just HPDE, no racecar plans or ambitions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
One thing I have little doubt of is that you're going to see huge performance benefits upgrading your old and certainly worn out 120k mile shocks - probably in the >1 second range on a typical autox course. Happy to help with the replacement procedure as I recently tackled the job on my 2001 which had about 110k.
I'm looking forward to it

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I have experience with Koni sports on the 986. These are a good value for a versatile, but on a budget weekend warrior that maintains stock class eligibility. Not the best setup out there for extreme, no-holds-barred competition by any means, but the external adjustability (of at least the front Koni sports for 986 - rears are unfortunately the style that needs removal to adjust) is a nice upgrade over the oe Porsche shocks and non adjustable bilsteins. You can also have them revalved if needed, or modified (such as to make double adjustable) by outfits like Proparts or Truechoice. This is the cheapest way to get into a double adjustable setup. (The other way to get there is spending probably into the multiple thousands on something like, JRZ or Penskes.)

I hear some mini racers are having good results with FSDs, but they are not externally adjustable so you'd give up the ability to make fine-tuning handling adjustments in between runs or to accommodate changing road or tire conditions. I haven't heard many reviews on 986 FSDs, so not very certain how they are valved. You might try to reach out to Koni technical/service center, as they may know.
Sounds like the Koni Sports are bumping up as a top contender. My fear is that I would adjust the rears wrong (and the fronts too, although it sounds like they are more easily adjusted). I can probably mitigate that with some research to find the right starting place for the back setting, and then adjust the fronts to match the set.

Thanks everybody so far, great information!
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:30 PM   #5
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I just got a return call from Bilstein US - they confirmed that they cannot do a rebuild on these struts.

I think I am going to go with Koni FSD. I am getting them from Carnewal for 650 Euro shipped to the US. I think there may be $15-$20 of import fees or something, but that is still a good savings over the other places I have found.

Steve
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:33 PM   #6
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Ksport Kontrol Pro coilover Kit for 1996 2004 Porsche Boxster CPO020 KP | eBay

do it. comes with camber adjustment so no need for expensive lcas or camber plates.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:50 AM   #7
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Ksport Kontrol Pro coilover Kit for 1996 2004 Porsche Boxster CPO020 KP | eBay

do it. comes with camber adjustment so no need for expensive lcas or camber plates.

Do you know where the Ksports manufactured..?
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:02 AM   #8
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I just got an email from ECS that my shocks had shipped. Guess I'll be using Bilsteins after all.

It will be interesting to see what each of our impressions of our shock choices are. Your car has 123K on it, mine has 144K. I'm sure we'll both see dramatic improvements since our original shocks have probably been shot for 40K - 60K miles.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:08 AM   #9
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My Koni FSD are on order now. I am putting together a list of the other parts that I am going to be refreshing. Bump stops for sure, probably top mounts. If everything is coming off maybe transmission mounts. Wheel bearings? Drop links? I guess I will see what it looks like when I take the first corner apart and then place an order.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:10 AM   #10
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It will be interesting to see what each of our impressions of our shock choices are. Your car has 123K on it, mine has 144K. I'm sure we'll both see dramatic improvements since our original shocks have probably been shot for 40K - 60K miles.
I know what you mean. I am going to Road Atlanta March 12/13, then Sebring April 2, then Roebling Road April 30-May1. I am trying to figure how I can squeeze the install in between there somehow. Maybe after Sebring and before Roebling. I would hate to miss one due to the car being up on jack stands with a pending suspension installation... But I really want to see what the new struts feel like.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:04 PM   #11
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I know what you mean. I am going to Road Atlanta March 12/13, then Sebring April 2, then Roebling Road April 30-May1. I am trying to figure how I can squeeze the install in between there somehow. Maybe after Sebring and before Roebling. I would hate to miss one due to the car being up on jack stands with a pending suspension installation... But I really want to see what the new struts feel like.
Steve are all these events DE, PCA or what if I may ask, sounds fun.
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Old 03-07-2016, 04:29 PM   #12
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Steve are all these events DE, PCA or what if I may ask, sounds fun.
Oddly, none of these are PCA, which I who I usually run with.

Road Atlanta is with NASA-SE, the had some specials going on and a coupon for people new to NASA. They are still running a $100 off, I will.post it up. Edit for anyone finding this thread now that I have finished these events: this weekend was choked with cars, there was racing, time trials, DE, and all sorts of stuff going on. I don't think I got a full 20 minute sessions any of the first 7 sessions, then I left early on Sunday. Anytime there was a racing incident or something else, they took time away from the HPDE groups, at least my groups, which was HPDE1 since I have never run with NASA before. Here are the amount of laps I got in my sessions: 6, 5, 5, 5, app failed to record 2 sessions, and 5. Compare with MVP track time (6 sessions per day) 10, 10, 9, 12 (25 minute session), etc...

Sebring with Chin. Last time went with PBOC and it was choked with cars, I barely got any clean laps. Chin is a little more, but less cars and more track.time. Edit: it was awesome! It was *not* choked with cars. I will probably stick with Chin for running at Sebring from now on.

Roebling is with Just Track It. More track time, less groups and longer sessions. Edit: Lots and lots and lots of cars. Lots of run sessions, a warm up at the beginning and open track at the end, but looooots of cars...

I've never run with these groups before so we'll see how it goes.

I love running with PCA, but this spring they all fell.on birthdays, valentine day, and a work trip I had In January. So I had to get my fix

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Old 03-07-2016, 04:31 PM   #13
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:03 PM   #14
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Ok, Steve, now that you've got your shocks ordered, it's time to move on to the installation tips and planning other parts of the project.

I like the "boxster hacks" suspension DIY article you linked to the most out of the ones I found online, but here's another one from pelican you might want to also check out, FYI:
Porsche Boxster Shocks & Spring Replacement - 986 / 987 (1997-08) - Pelican Parts Technical Article

Also, I'm not sure if you already have a balljoint removal tool, but if not, and you are looking for a good deal on one, I had great results modifying the following seemingly excellent quality and economical tool from harbor freight, by grinding the inside diameter and width between lower fork halves out to 26mm ID. (If you have that done before you start the project, it will help the project go faster and smoother)
3/4" Forged Ball Joint Separator
Without modification, this tool will fit the tie rod ends perfectly, but it needs clearancing to fit around the wider ball joints. (And after clearancing for the ball joint, it will still work just fine on the tie rod ends). Grease the threads and the metal-on-metal contact points with some good quality EP grease (cv joint grease is perfect) to the threads while you're at it, and those ball joints won't stand a chance and I'm sure this quality-made tool will last a lifetime. Make sure to fully engage the tool around the joint *before* screwing it down, to make sure you have leverage working in your favor.

Don't try to cut corners by removing the struts without disconnecting the knuckle/bearing carrier from the other components, as IME, it just won't work. IME, loosening but not removing the coffin arm to vehicle body mounting bolt was necessary to get it to swing down low enough to disconnect the knuckle from the balljoints, (and also I think I got a bit of upwards motion somehow on the knuckle from the floorjack), and although while I think I left the trailing arms bolted to the coffin arms, this may have overworked the range of motion on the trailing arm monoballs a bit (I still had to apply pretty good downwards force on the end of the coffin arm to get enough clearance to get the knuckle clear of the the balljoint), so in your case where you have brand new trailing arms, I'd probably also disconnect them from the coffin arms so your brand new (and tight) monoballs don't get stressed.

Another corner that's not worth trying to cut: don't try to install the spring compressor while the struts are still in the car, as the fenders are just too tight around the struts. Get the struts off the car before installing the spring compressor.

Definitely plan to have an alignment done after replacing the shocks.

I managed to successfully restore the front bearing plates, by basically cleaning them out completely and repacking them with fresh grease. Recommend having some silicone grease on hand for that as there are a bunch of plastics and butter-soft, rubbery seals that I got the feeling that a conventional petroleum-based grease could attack. (Also the original grease there seemed based on silicone to me)

I replaced my front strut mounts, but the originals were in good enough shape they could have easily been reused. Reused the rears, which were also in excellent shape. Kind of hard to predict which rubber bits may still be in good shape, but it comes down to inspecting closely for any cracks or tears. For any rubber engine mount, coolant hose, or suspension component that had motor oil or (normal/petroleum-based) grease on it for a length of time, there is a good chance it's degraded enough it should just go ahead and be replaced.

I freshened up and reused all my balljoints and tie rod ends by unclipping the small ends of the boots, depositing plenty of fresh grease deep down inside the boot (using a toothpick to insert dabs of grease), and rotating them 90 degrees. But putting this kind of attention into your suspension project (to refurbish older but still salvageable/serviceable parts, instead of simply replacing) will definitely extend how long the project will take.

Good time to closely inspect and consider replacing any torn cv boots. (My inner cv boots were starting to go and have a few cracks, but I decided I would tackle them later on). So far, no signs of any problems on my wheel bearings. I managed to leave the axles connected to the rear wheel bearing carrier/knuckles, by the way - but I did disconnect the the inner cv joints from transmission output flanges. Make sure your inner cv joint bolts don't have their allen heads stripped out, or otherwise you should have some replacements ready to go. I also left the e-brake cables connected. Hope this helps - best of luck and hope the FSDs work well for you!
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:53 AM   #15
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That is great stuff, thank you Jake!
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:24 AM   #16
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Do you know where the Ksports manufactured..?
Yes, i know it.

[6/96-12/04] 986 - K-tec Germany
Gewindefahrwerk - K-tec Germany

Wir über uns
https://www.google.de/maps/place/K-Sport-Germany/@51.3528,12.2050001,15z/data=!4m6!1m3!3m2!1s0x0:0x5e9adaecee63ec93!2sK-Sport-Germany!3m1!1s0x0:0x5e9adaecee63ec93

Quality of K-Sports products is OK, but not always overwhelming.

Regards from Germany, Markus

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Old 03-09-2016, 10:57 AM   #17
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Yes, i know it.
Quality of K-Sports products is OK, but not always overwhelming.
Regards from Germany, Markus
Thanks Markus!

Even if the K-Sports don't have overwhelming reputation, I am sure that the German quality is much better than any Chinese knock-outs (and I assume are TUV approved).

I was curious because these coil overs come with the adjustable camber tops and could be a good choice for someone that wants an entry level coil over set.

A few years ago I installed a set of KW V3 and really like them, despite the fact that they are a pain in the butt to adjust the compression/rebound, because you need to raise the car to access the compression adjusting screw at the bottom of the strut ...
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:33 PM   #18
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I'm thinking now of the KSports, something is going on with my Koni order and I don't think it is shipping anytime soon.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:45 AM   #19
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Ksport Kontrol Pro coilover Kit for 1996 2004 Porsche Boxster CPO020 KP | eBay

do it. comes with camber adjustment so no need for expensive lcas or camber plates.
I just ordered a set! They are in stock and should be shipping today from Arizona.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:58 AM   #20
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i think you will be happy. I am happy with mine, but I have nothing to compare them to other than my oem suspension. -1.5 in the front is no problem, and seems a good compromise for a street track car. with a bit of modification of the tool and some insulation trimming in the back there is no issue adjusting the shocks. I've got two full seasons on them with no issues or funny noises, including lots of potholed northern roads and 6 or 7 track days per.

I have read some complaints about them, but temper these with the ideas (a) early production run, and (b) folks not prepared for the compromise required with a stiffer track-oriented suspension. and it's hard to find an opinion from race folks as very few are running cars outside of spec where only pss9s are allowed. I do think that spring changes are no problem with these units, so you can tune them as your needs change. you can pay an extra $1k for pss9s, but not sure what that buys you?
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