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156 V6 3.0 Sportwagon
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Discussion Starter #1
I was having a look at the suspension on my 156 SW and the currently fitted Koni shocks are looking in a sorry state now. Still functional but I want to replace them before they fail. There are a number of decent looking coilover kits out there from Bilstein, Koni, V-Maxx, AP, Eibach and KW to name a few brands. Cost seems to vary quite a bit too. Obviously quality and comfort is important here. I'm after something adjustable so my 156 can be set up to my liking. But which to choose? I don't want anything too hard because it is my daily car. I'm guessing there must be some people out there with these kits fitted so what are your opinions? My current set up with Koni shocks is ok but I have heard that coilovers are better if going for a full shock change.
Having done some research into this, my impressions are that the B12 kit is good but quite hard; KW is also quite popular but there are 3 variants to choose from - which get varied reviews. I'd like to know what people think of their suspension (if changed). A bit of real world consumer advice so that everyone might benefit before changing their tired old shocks and springs... thank you all.
 

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2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8TS
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For comfort, you should probably avoid Bilstein B14. It's a good kit, and I do run it myself (fitted last summer, ~25.000kms). Handling is phenomenal, as the rear has been stiffened up quite a bit - but obviously this does come with a downside, which is less comfort. For the most part I don't mind the stiffness, but I'm still just a youngster (aged 30), so my back isn't aching most of the time ;)

I only have previous experience with AP Suspension coilovers, but that was on my old Punto. Far more subtle ride than the Bilsteins, but still a definite improvement in terms of road holding. AP is manufactured by KW.
If you search the forum, you will find a post or two, telling you not to buy V-Maxx, due to harsh, unsettling ride.
 

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156 V6 3.0 Sportwagon
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice Brinker! I am edging towards the KW set up I think. Autolusso are unlikely to recommend something that isn't any good...
 

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2004 Alfa Romeo 156 1.8TS
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I'm assuming you mean B14 btw? As the B12 is spring and damper kit, not coilovers :)
 

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I'm running KW V1s ( the non-adjustable ones) in my '04 v6 SW, and they're great. Stiffer, yes, than standard but not uncomfortable. Definitely not harsh. It was mainly to get it sitting a wee bit lower - not bottomed out - like about 25mm.

I went for the non-adjustables because I don't track the car, and am not a suspension engineer. I raced mountain bikes downhill for a lot of years, and learned how to adjust shocks and to what effect - and that's just not necessary for the road.
 

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Sorry to jump on your thread Karl, I just wanted to ask BigSud where he got the KWs from in NZ? I need to replace the rears on my 04 v6 SW - I suspect that they are self levelling - so may need a bit of extra faffing around with to get fitted.
 

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After being up-close and personal with about half a dozen v6 SWs in NZ, I eventually concluded that the self-levelling thing must be a Europe-only affliction, and it appears I was right.

My new coil overs installed with no problem whatsoever. I got them from Autolusso Bournemouth, so not in NZ at all.

Sorry if you were holding out hopes of a local agent! Even if there was one, it would be the usual story anyway - twice to cost and half the service compared to getting them from overseas...
 

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Thanks - Yeah I generally get most of the parts I need from the UK. Although Italian Auto Centre do seem to carry quite a bit of stuff for the 156.
 
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