GWB: Koni Shocks Installation

ARCHIVE- GWB Koni Shock Installation

  • Don
  • Mon 18th June 2007, 8:16 am

Tools needed (for my 73):

  • 3/8" Ratchet

  • 3/8" Breaker (or lots of time and PB Blaster)

  • 19mm 6pt socket

  • 17mm wrench

  • 19mm wrench (vise grips or crescent wrench can be used instead)

If you fit under your bus (a close thing for me!) you do NOT need to jack up your bus. The instructions that came with the shocks said to keep the suspension at normal road extension. In otherwords, if you must raise the bus do it from the suspension, not the body.

New Konis

The box came from BD as two Koni boxes stuffed with newspaper and taped together. I love the way they don`t waste packaging! :) Props to BD again for recycling and avoiding waste!!

As you can see in this pic, the rear shocks are MUCH longer than the fronts. No worries about mixing them up! ;)

I`m slightly bothered by the following pics. Apparently Koni was in such a hurry to get these out they didn`t let the paint dry completely before boxing them up. Also, there are many places where the paint was chipped off before receipt. Not like they won`t get messed up during use, but I don`t like sending rust a printed invitation. Not enough of an issue to return the shocks, just a bummer that they weren`t "perfect" for $100 a pop.

I set them out of the box to full stiff on the rears and half stiff (one full turn from full stiff) on the fronts.

To adjust, hold the shocks vertically and compress as far as they will go. Then turn! You will feel it engaging a cam or something. You get two full turns of adjustment. Adjust all the way in one direction or the other so you know where you`re starting from. Clockwise is stiffer, counter-clockwise is softer.


The fasteners on the rear shocks were easy because I just replaced the original shocks with KYB Gas A Justs about a year ago.

I *strongly* recommend loosening both ends of the shock a few turns to start with, then removing the bottom one. Reason being that, especially if you have gas shocks, the shock will expand down. I also recommend some sort of cage to catch the bottom of the shock in case it expands quickly. Not an issue with oil shocks, but these KYBs were under quite a bit of pressure. Because they were in good condition they didn`t expand enough to get caught in my jackstand/cage. But still, I`ve seen old gas shocks with worn seals shoot the end off when the bolt was removed.

Undo bottom bolt with the 19mm socket on the bolt head and the 17mm wrench on the nut at the other end. Pull the nut out and let the shock extend. Undo the top bolt with the 19mm socket (captive nut on other side).

Clean up the bolts and nuts with PB Blaster and a toothbrush. Dry off with air (if available) and apply a drop of thread lock. Smear oil or grease on the smooth sections of the bolts. The only reason I used the thread lock was because when I installed the KYBs one of the bolts came loose a few days later. :oops:

Install top first finger tight, then bottom. Tighten both. I don`t have a torque wrench, so my 6" ratchet was my guide.


My front shocks were still the original Sachs plastic body shocks. I don`t think those nuts had been off since 1972. Even with the breaker bar I needed a few minuts of PB Blaster to get them loose.

In the fronts, the bolts on the bottom thread straight into the knuckle. The top bolt has a nut on the other side of the frame that, of course, can`t be reached from under the bus. Luckily the gap between the tire and the dogleg was large enough to get in there.

Again, loosen both then remove the bottom. My old shocks weren`t gas shocks so it didn`t really matter. Just convenience of having the shock hang instead of flopping in my way. ;)

I spaced on taking after pics of the fronts. Sorry... :oops: I was too excited and wanted to try the new shocks!

But here`s the old shocks out of the bus:

And the label of the Sachs that were on the front:

The front shocks were VERY worn. My 2 year old could easily compress and expand these. The KYBs still felt like they did when new however.


I should say that when I replaced my Sachs on the rear with the KYBs I was completely stoked! They made a huge difference! Since the front didn`t appear to stick or bounce I left the original ones with the intention of replacing them with Boges or something. Until the Koni deal came along.

But I was pretty skeptical. I trust Richard`s description, but it`s one of those gotta-see-it-to-believe-it things. Busses wallow and are subject to the wind`s every whim. Everybody sez so. So how much difference could shocks make to that situation?

An amazing difference.

Lateral stability improved 80%!! Yes, that number is correct. Winds barely move the bus now. Even the twisty-turny winds here in Colorado.

Longitudinal (sp? it`s been a long day...) stability improved at least 50% if not more. Brake dive and take-off crouching are cut at least in half.

I don`t believe these are exaggerations.

Not only that, but the bus feels much more surefooted. Confident. It feels like a much newer vehicle. In fact, it feels more stable than my Volvo. Bumps in the road are still felt but they don`t control my bus anymore. I`m in control now and the bus goes where I point it. Not where a bump in the road or a crosswind decides it needs to go.

That said, the ride is very stiff. I definitely feel every little bump and plate in the road. I think I want to take the fronts down another 1/2 turn. But I`ll give `em a few weeks first to decide I want to do that.

Whew. That was long. Time to read stories to my daughter!

Update 11/05

I wanted to post an update comparing the ride between how I initially installed them (as above) and how I changed them to be softer.

The initial setting of full hard in the rear and halfway in the front felt like a Camaro Z28. Rock hard.

So I switched the fronts to full soft, and the rears to halfway (one full turn). Somewhat disappointing. I lost a lot of the stability with that. Ride is awesome but now I`m affected by wind again, at a reduced rate.

I`m now debating whether to live with the hard ride or live with the lessened stability.

Stay tuned!

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