Shocks and struts are similar in that they both damp (slow down) the vehicles motion. The key difference of a strut vs. a shock is that a shock only controls the cars motion while a strut is a locating member of the suspension. What this means is that if you remove a shock the spindle or axle will still be completely attached to the vehicle. If you remove a strut the spindle or axle will be able to move outside of its normal motion. Shocks and struts may or may not have a spring mounted to them either. It is often assumed that any damper with a spring is a strut, this is not the case.
This is a difficult question to answer because every KONI application is developed for that specific vehicle to get the best handling characteristics. In general, most factory shocks are under damped for optimized handling so KONI engineers select firmer valvings. Unfortunately factory shocks are generally chosen for financial reasons rather than performance so lower technology, cheaper shocks are standard. In some instances, a factory shock may have good characteristics in some parts of the working range but need some help in other parts and there are even a few instances where the KONI engineers found better handling by softening the factory units.
The KONI Special (red) has been engineered to maximize the ride comfort with good handling performance for each vehicle application. The KONI Sport (yellow) typically starts at a higher initial valving baseline to give a sportier feel and work on vehicles with higher performance parts. In some instances, KONI will only offer a Special or Sport valving and not both. Some modern cars come from the factory with higher tech suspension systems and wheel/tire packages so they would move directly into the Sport range, however they are still valved to give a comfortable ride with very good handling capabilities.
First of all there is a difference in basic shock design: KONI Sport is adjustable, KONI STR.T is not. A second difference can be found in the valving: where KONI Sport is developed to provide an overall sportier performance, KONI STR.T is best described as semi-sporty: improving the road handling to a considerably sportier level than standard (also suitable for lowering), with an overall comfortable feel.
The KONI FSD adapts itself to the driving conditions (driving speed and road surface). The result is a very smooth ride under an very wide band of circumstances. The KONI FSD valving performs best in combination with the car’s factory springs. The KONI Sport offers a sportier, more responsive feel to the car under all circumstances and work on vehicles with higher performance parts. The higher initial valving baseline and the possibility to adjust the damping offers better compatibility with any aftermarket sports or lowering springs.
The ride height adjustable KONI coil-overs offer the possibility to lower your car to your specific needs. Compared to regular lowering springs, KONI coil-overs can in general be adjusted to offer a lower ride height. Springs used in KONI coil-overs are designed with that fact in mind, which results in a higher rating and thus a very noticeable sporty feel on the car. With ride quality being “priority number 1” shock valving, spring rating and maximum lowering have been kept on a level which suits all-day use.
KONI Heavy Track shock absorbers are designed to improve ride and handling characteristics for overall all-day use. Sizing of the original shocks absorbers is respected and with the high quality components KONI uses the durability is improved. KONI HT RAID is intended for heavy duty use. The additional technical features HT RAIDs have make sure the shocks will last through very demanding safari’s, bush trips, pole expeditions, and so on. Capable of use in combination with heavy duty springs, HT RAIDs are often designed to cope with raised suspension.
One of the great advantages of KONI adjustable shocks is that there is no specific spring for matching optimum performance. Instead you can adjust your KONI's to match your springs. Most performance springs have a higher spring rate than the vehicle's original springs. Since the shock controls the motion of the spring, increased spring rates require more rebound damping for control and that is one of the reasons why KONI's (except for FSD and STR.T) are rebound adjustable (and some are double adjustable). Using higher rate springs with OE or soft shocks will very quickly overcome and wear out the shocks. The KONI adjustment range is typically about 100% (twice as firm at the full firm settings at the full soft setting) to allow for proper damping of OE springs and high rate performance springs.
KONI's are designed to fit standard height cars and can work with lowered cars as long as they don't bottom out internally and become damaged. Unlike some shocks, KONI's are not position sensitive so they will work properly anywhere in their stroke range providing they are not bottoming or topping out. Different vehicle suspension designs have different stroke travels but a good rule of thumb is that most vehicles can be lowered acceptably about 30-40 mm, beyond that the possibility of bottoming increases rapidly although some longer stroke cars can go lower. Most vehicles are equipped with bump stops to keep the shocks and springs from bottoming out. When lowering a vehicle be sure to reuse your bump stops as they are cheap insurance to avoid bottoming damage. Remember also that severely lowered vehicles typically also have a negative effect on suspension geometry, ride quality and handling, and tire and suspension part wear.
There are basically three types of shock absorber designs: mono-tube high pressure gas, twin-tube low pressure gas and twin tube hydraulic (non-gas). Each of these designs has a certain ride and performance characteristics that can enhance the performance of a vehicle and KONI is the only company that makes three designs. KONI ride development engineers evaluate each new vehicle and can decide which shock design would best apply to that vehicle. Some cars respond to mono-tubes, some like gas pressurized and others don't. Most shock companies utilize only one or two of these style because it is less expensive for manufacturing but are therefore limited in design capability and function.
The automatic extension of a shock absorber is caused by gas pressure. Not all KONI shock absorbers are gas pressurized (see also Q: KONI makes some shocks that are not gas shocks. Why?). The automatic extension can also be reduced or cancelled out by the shock’s valving (even more when adjusted), something noticeable the most on low pressure gas shocks.
KONI has designed an ingenious method of installing inserts into sealed housings thus allowing the use of performance dampers when they were previously unavailable. It has become common practice for auto manufacturers all over the world to save money by using factory sealed strut housings rather than the traditional threaded closed housings when they build new cars. Whenever possible, KONI will make a complete strut housing damper but sometimes the necessary spring perches and mounting brackets are unavailable or financially unfeasible to produce. By designing the KONI Cut-A-Strut insert system, now many vehicles with factory sealed struts have performance damper options. The installation requires only basic tools which most individuals already own. These tools include a cutting device such as a hacksaw, grinder or pipe cutter to open the strut housing as well as an electric drill. Generally it takes an average of 15-20 minutes additional labour per corner over a traditional strut insert installation. KONI has been using this method very successfully for many years on numerous applications.
There is no single best adjustment setting for your KONI's because every driver has different preferences for comfort, performance, performance modifications and roads to drive on. For most vehicles, we suggest that new KONI's be installed in the full soft position. (the standard setting right out of the box) to take advantage of the balance of ride comfort and handling designed by the KONI ride development engineers. If the car has performance upgrades (springs, wheel/tire packages, etc.) or the driver wants the car a bit more aggressive, most people find the optimum setting in the 1/2 to one full turn from the full soft range. Over the extended life of the damper or if the driver wants a specific firm handling characteristic, the dampers can be adjusted up higher. Very rarely will KONI ever need to be adjusted to the full firm setting.
Whenever possible, we try to have the application be externally adjustable so that they can be easily adjusted on the car. In some cases this is not possible due to design constraints imposed by the vehicle. Some cars have no way to physically access an adjuster on the car or have mounts that prohibit an adjustable shock. In these cases, the shocks are still adjustable but must be removed from the car to do so.
No, KONI FSD's are continuously adjusting themselves. This technology replaces the adjustability by hand.
No, we have introduced these series as non-adjustable alternative to our other product ranges.