Lotus Elan

NOS Koni shock question

PostPost by: tdskip » Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:52 pm

So I just met a guy selling NOS Koni shocks from the inland in San Diego area and while he was a super nice guy I ended up passing on the shocks.

It took two of us pulling on either end of the front shock to get it extended and then I could barely compress it back down with my 165 pounds leaning on it. I tried adjusting the shock to a softer setting but it was still extremely stiff.

Maybe that’s just how they are but that sure seems like it wouldn’t work properly with how lifht the Elan is.

I have Koni reds on my Alfa and one of the 914s and they were no where near as stiff.

Do you think I made a mistake on not understanding how stiff they should be or was I wise to pass on them given what I’ve explained above?

Thank you and I hope everybody’s weekend is off to a good start.
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PostPost by: sveris » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:36 pm

NO, you didn't necessarily make a mistake. The internal valving can go bad - exhibiting symptoms with just like the ones you are describing. Sometimes,they free up after several cycles, but not always.

Always store shocks in the upright position, and "exercise" them once a year.

I have NOS Koni Special Ds on the shelf as spares for my Europa, and they still operate smoothly in both directions, and also stiffen up if I adjust them - not that I would.

Steve in Ohio
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PostPost by: tdskip » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:48 pm

Thanks Steve - these were like rocks, so assuming they are skunked. Looks like they were stored on the shelf laying down unfortunately.

Have a great holiday and thanks for the feedback.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:47 am

these red Konis are adjustable (off the car procedure) : did you check they were not hardened all the way ?

I have some on my S4, had them set up almost as soft as possible (maybe 1 clic above full open iirc, when I uprated the springs for fast road). I understand they can appear hard to manoeuver by hand, this being subjective so difficult to be sure, but they are supposed to handle a quarter of a car...
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PostPost by: tdskip » Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:40 pm

nmauduit wrote:these red Konis are adjustable (off the car procedure) : did you check they were not hardened all the way ?

I have some on my S4, had them set up almost as soft as possible (maybe 1 clic above full open iirc, when I uprated the springs for fast road). I understand they can appear hard to manoeuver by hand, this being subjective so difficult to be sure, but they are supposed to handle a quarter of a car...


Hello - and good thought. I did have them on what should be the softest setting.

I think the take-away here is be very cautious when buying old shocks.
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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:56 pm

The adjustable Konis as well as the adjustable Armstrongs are fully rebuildable. If the price was not too high, they still might be a buy. Just send the to a rebuilder.
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PostPost by: SENC » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:14 pm

Lotus14S2 wrote:The adjustable Konis as well as the adjustable Armstrongs are fully rebuildable. If the price was not too high, they still might be a buy. Just send the to a rebuilder.


Agree re the Konis, sent my fronts and back off for rebuild - not cheap, but very happy with them.

Who have you found that rebuilds Armstrongs? My Seven has its original dampers and I'll need to have them rebuilt one day.
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PostPost by: reb53 » Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:55 am

tdskip wrote:
nmauduit wrote:these red Konis are adjustable (off the car procedure) : did you check they were not hardened all the way ?

I have some on my S4, had them set up almost as soft as possible (maybe 1 clic above full open iirc, when I uprated the springs for fast road). I understand they can appear hard to manoeuver by hand, this being subjective so difficult to be sure, but they are supposed to handle a quarter of a car...


Hello - and good thought. I did have them on what should be the softest setting.

I think the take-away here is be very cautious when buying old shocks.


I recall the new Konis I bought decades ago.
Straight out of the box I could hold them upright and they'd very slowly sink under their own weight.
There was no need to push them they were so precisely, and beautifully, engineered.
They are still on the car, 40 years later.
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