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Been reading up on a lot of old threads about damper+spring combinations, as I need to renew all four corners soon, and I've narrowed it down to two that I think would suit me at the moment. They are also around the same price range.

1 Koni str.t kit which comes with H&R springs (30mm lowered)
2 Bilstein b4's and Eibach Pro springs (30mm lowered)

Just looking for relatively decent, comfortable driving and have a little less of a wheel arch gap.
Is there much of a difference between the two? Some have suggested that the B4's + lowered springs are not good for the dampers and are better with standard springs, but others have said it's fine, so I'm none the wiser with regards to that.

It seems either of them would be fine but just thought I'd ask here first in case I'd missed or overlooked something.

Any input greatly appreciated.
 

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The stiffer the spring, the greater the damping required to control the spring. The 156 front dampers are set a bit on the soft side and don't really control the mass of the front suspension, brakes, wheels etc. That's why somewhat uprated dampers (at least on the front) are quite popular. For that reason, Koni Str.T front dampers make very good sense (as indeed would Bilstein B6 or Shortened B8 dampers. B6 and B8 are valved similarly but a bit more expensive).

AFAIK, the H&R springs are slightly stiffer. No one has really done back to back testing so I don't think anyone can say for sure. I think the lowering is similar but not definite. The Eibach springs use the Sportpack or Veloce springs as a baseline. If your car is Turismo (no side skirts) add 10mm to the lowering value of Eibach springs (they would lower a Turismo 40mm, a Veloce by 30mm. I cannot comment about H&R though.).

I found Eibach Pro Kit to lower my JTS 28mm. I'm very happy with the results but I think the Eibach springs are quite subtle and I'd prefer more firmness for really pressing on but that would mean a stiffer ride. I got Eibach springs from shop Alfisti website which Squadra Sportiva in Holland has as it's online portal. I paid €153. Front Koni Str.T dampers from Larkspeed for £116 the pair. Rear Boge dampers for Veloce (valved firmer than Turismo- Bilstein do not differentiate so take this as important) cost £160 the pair. For the reason of dampers specced for normal or sports suspension, I think the Sachs/Boge rear dampers will be better than Bilstein B4. I have no issues with my car and it is stable, predictable and very even front to rear.

The ride is a bit firmer than standard but not objectionally so and in many ways (mostly) considerably better than standard with worn dampers. My car has 16" alloys and it feels very similar to a friend's car with 17" alloys (apart from cornerning flatter and having noticeably better body control).

In short, get Koni Str.T front dampers.
Ideally get sports Sachs rear dampers or matching Koni Str.T ones (even if your car is Turismo).
Fit whichever springs you want. There is probably not much difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Fruity. That is some cracking info.

The Koni set at Larkspeed is what piqued my curiosity, as I was sort of aiming for the B4+Eibach combo but, knowing that the B8's were better suited to lowering springs, it was a concern that the B4's would be under undue stress. Seeing as the Koni's are sold paired with the H&R springs, I figured they must marry up pretty well. Mine is also a Veloce ( I should really update my garage description properly), so I reckon I'll go for the Koni + H&R spring full set @ £474, which is not too bad.

Thanks again.
 

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If you get that, it would be interesting if you could measure ride height before and a couple of weeks after as well as sharing thoughts.

Getting my stuff separately saved a little money but I paid more postage and the Koni Str.T kit with the H&R springs is only £50 more. Had I not wanted a direct comparison with Eibach with and without new dampers I think I'd simply have bought the Str.T kit which I think is what I should have done but as said, I'm happy with the results.
 

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I'll definitely do an update. I'm quite keen to get it done now as I'm tired of the clonking, jarring ride hehe.
 

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Unfortunately not. No one on here appears to have gone for the Novitec option. Even though it is the cheapest (decent) option perhaps most 156 owners are just a bit older and want comfort over a 45mm drop.

I'm aware Autodelta do a -25mm kit also.
 

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I may very well try the Squadra ones, when Im overhauling rear axle in spring. But still, bilstein's aren't that expensive. Ah well, deciding time.
 

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The 156 "Sportpack" versions that were out in the early years had Eibach strings. These were 25mm lower I think - I can't remember for certain as when I ordered mine it was using an italian spec doc faxed to the UK dealer!!

I think they may also have used Bilstein shocks but I can't be sure. I know my Sportpack 2 was noticeable lower that a stock 156 when parked next to each other in the dealer's forecourt. And my car had a lot more negative camber too. And the handling was fine from 1998 to 2016! I had to replace the rear struts as the spring plates rusted but they were TRW replacements.
 

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The Sportpack/Veloce versions were 15mm lower than standard and that is the baseline Eibach use when quoting lowering figures. I don't know about other spring manufacturers though.

Lowering increases front negative camber more than the rear so my Pro Kit sprung cars now have 2 degrees of front neg and about 1 degree 40 mins neg of rear.

AFAIK, the Eibach Pro Kit is the most subtle of lowering springs and, as I've posted elsewhere, the -50mm Sportline springs appear to have the same spring rate as Pro Kit- it's just they are lower.

I think that kind of explains why Eibach also do an anti roll bar kit. I think the likes of H&R and (probably especially) Novitec use firmer springs. Day to day, the Pro Kit is great but a little more body control (flatter cornering) would be nice for press-on driving. The JTS is better than the TS in that respect thanks to new Koni Str.T dampers rather than softened 100k factory originals (which are markedly better than the JTS ones were).

Not wishing to ramble on but I only changed the JTS springs because they had 120k on them. Both cars had factory sports suspension but I think the 9 coil JTS front springs appear more resilient to breakage than the 10 coil TS springs (but one JTS against 4 TSs is hardly conclusive).
 

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Last year I upgraded my GT to a combination of Eibach Pro Kit springs, Koni FSD dampers with Eibach anti roll bars. I also changed from the standard 17 inch wheels to 18 inch Jetfin wheels. I drive on a variety of different road types and find the ride quality is firmer but much less crashy. The body control is much improved and the handling and roadholding is incredible. The car just sticks to the road with very little body roll.
 

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Guys with the increased camber do you find you get excessive inner side tyre wear?
 

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I haven't worn through a set of tyres yet to conclusively detail how the lowering has affected tyre wear. So far I'd say hardly at all. I think possibly the most noticeable improvement was the dampers. I changed these one my JTS and then subsequently did the springs. The upgraded front dampers appeared to hold the outside of the car up far better through corners.

I'd agree with ed5000 on the effects (I don't have the Eibach ARB kit). I didn't have the money at the time but I was unsure of how the ARB kit may affect tyre wear. It may be worse, or it may be better.
 

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There is a big difference in damping on the front end. My car had 100,000 km (60,000 miles) on the clock when I changed everything so I don't think it was completely worn out. It just couldn't cope with potholes at all. The anti roll bars have also made a huge difference.

Tyre wear has been ok. I had the tracking etc adjusted just after the revamp and it's been fine. I have Uniroyal Rainsports on my car which really don't last long on the front but as I only do about 7000 km per year the payoff in grip is worth it.
Just after I had all this work done I took the car on holiday through France and Northern Italy On the constant hairpins of the Petit St Bernard Pass and the Col De Turini the car was in it's element. It was totally worth it.
 

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Just to add, a few years ago I had a mk2 Golf which I fitted Bilstein B4's with Eibach pro kit springs to. On smooth roads (not many of those in Ireland) the handling was great but the ride quality was shocking. People would wince whenever a I made contact with a bump or pothole. It ruined the car so much I sold it. I just couldn't face changing the suspension again. The GT is different. It doesn't feel modified. It's the way it should have been from the factory or at least much closer to how it should feel.
 

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It doesn't feel modified. It's the way it should have been from the factory or at least much closer to how it should feel.
Yes, I completely agree. That is probably the best description of the upgrade. It now no longer needs excuses for the compromises and bares comparison with factory sports suspension (or better) on premium German cars. It just feels better developed and my JTS rides better than a friend's JTD TI (greater sprung mass= better ride) but the biggest improvement in ride quality is definitely decent sport dampers.
 

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If the toe is set to zero as per the specs, then tyre wear on the inner edge should be negligible .. unless the lower arm bushes are shot too! :)
 

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I've got eibach springs with Bilstein B8 shocks on a '02 JTS Sportwagon and I don't find the ride unduly harsh and it's a lot of fun to drive. I bought the car this way so can't compare it to stock (it's a Veloce, so if what others have said is true, then the handling would be roughly equivalent). I've also just acquired an '01 2.0 TS Sportwagon, and it is much softer sprung although part of this I expect is down to it being on the original suspension with nearly 96,000 miles under its belt.
 

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Might just be worth mentioning, when replacing front suspension/shocks on the 147 I found the bolt clamping the fork to the strut just about impossible to undo, the first side (N/S) someone had already in the past had a go at and made a right mess and failed, thats quite likely why the shock that side was well past its best. Dismantling the suspension completely to remove the strut and fork, I used a disc cutter to chop the bolt, then drift it out, working on the bench, still not easy and the job took a lot longer than it ever should have. I ran out of time that weekend, so to avoid the aggro on the O/S I bought a strut on ebay for 25 quid which I restored before using the disc cuter to chop the forks to make removal of the next one easier which when I reassembled I used the ebay fork, fitting the strut to the car and then fitting the fork after. You might just want consider doing the same if, say you need the car for work on Monday
 
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