choob

Damper advice

11 posts in this topic

Before you tell me to search, I have. Lots. It's only made me more confused. Most comments simply state that xyz is 'better' with no explanation.

I'm driving a classic Range 3.5. Installed OEM spec Armstrong dampers 2 months ago and they're already dead. My commute is a 10km drive down corrugated gravel before I hit tarmac. The car is seldom loaded with more than groceries.

I'm looking into Bilstein B6 dampers with OEM springs. Some say they're horribly hard, some say they're great off-road, some say they're only good on road.

Does anyone have experience with them? 

Edited by choob

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I haven't personally used Bilstein's so can't comment on that.

However, I have also previously used OEM spec dampers, and only had them last a handfull of months. Last time I had this problem I choose to fit terrafirma gas dampers. I choose them combined on what was available, reviews and cost. They worked well and lasted until I sold the car. In fact I bet they are still on it.

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Before you go spendy on Bilstein B6's try the OE speck gas shocks from Delphi - bout 16 notes a corner

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No part number - I just order them form my local LR parts chaps. They last. Taunton to Magadan and back to Cambridge; still going strong. Probably the most extreme example. My wife's last 300Tdi Auto Disco was fitted with them three years back. The new owner tows a horsebox regularly. All still going fine after 10k a year

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I have DeCarbon dampers on my RRC, fitted by the previous owner years before I got it, and still going strong with over 120,000 miles since I bought it.  They could do with new bushes, but that's all.

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With the idea of liking anything whith (HD- HEAVY DUTY) in the title when I rebuilt my truck (90) I fitted terra firma big bore shocks,  4 years and 30k miles on they're still working well,  since fitted terra firma gas shocks to the camel disco and found them to be nice ride, will see how they hold out. 

I have also replaced a few other shocks for OEM Armstrong's and they've held out ok,  even re fitted a few new bush sets too them too...  those looked old but still worked ok. 

 

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10km daily at speed over corrugated gravel is a lot different than mostly road plus occasional slow speed off-road use, which is what most in the UK will be experiencing. I'd wager most cheap aftermarket fare isn't going to enjoy that every day, and even if it stands it it won't be comfy.

I'm impressed with my Bilsteins on the 109 but haven't used them hard at speed off-tarmac (yet) so couldn't make a meaningful recommendation there. Likewise the Koni Heavy Tracks on the ambulance got a fair run at road speed on gravel tracks in Norway but not exactly a sustained daily punishment. Old Man Emu seem to stand up well but I don't know what their quality is like these days - it certainly used to be very good.

I can say that ProComps will definitely NOT cut it. Mine on the 109 were bad on Russian tracks, and the SJ I was chasing overheated its set within minutes of being off-tarmac every day.

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I had a set of pro comps fail on me near the somali border. Not a fan. Also generally not a fan of anything heavy duty unless the car is going to be loaded up. The rear armstrongs were ok but the front ones were completely gone after 2 months.

I ended up getting the B6 dampers with Ironman springs. King springs were my first choice but the main supplier didn't have a full set; the other supplier adds a 50% mark up, paints them red and puts his name on them, which is crazy for springs that already more expensive than most.

Much firmer but not harsh at low speed and a bit bouncy in the back over speed bumps. On the gravel stretch it was great, much more control than the OEM parts they replaced and not at all harsh or bouncy like you get with some raised or heavy duty kit.

Bloody hope they last more than 2 months, the whole set cost 800USD plus fitting.

Thanks for all your help!

Edited by choob

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I can recommend the Koni Heavy Track, we fitted them on the front and rear of our 90 prior to our trip around Australia. We drove our very heavily loaded 90 16000 miles on a mix of tarmac and dirt roads including miles and miles and miles of washboard unsurfaced routes and a couple of desert crossings.

I was so impressed with the way they worked and the way they stood up to the punishment that I bought a set for my competition vehicle when we got home.

3 years later we're still running the 90 on those same shock absorbers without any issues.

Bear in mind you don't need the raid version that cost a fortune, just the heavy track version that cost around £80-£90 a pair.

The only other brand I would consider would be the Bilsteins (assuming you don't want to go into coiler territory). They do have a tendency to be a bit harsh though.

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Update. These have gotten progressively more comfortable (or my bum has gotten progressively more used to the firmness). Good on tar too. Would recommend the combination.

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