Gaz vs Bilstein

So i decided to give Gaz front shocks a try on my 88 V12 Xjs. Only test drove twice so far with two settings, but i can already tell the difference between the Bilsteins and Gaz. (And i have no affiliation with either)

The softest setting gives me the handling of the Bilsteins with a tiny bit less harshness. Three clicks firmer, i now have the harshness of the Bilstein, but oh does it handle better. The front end barely sways and feels more on rails.

Unfortunately, these Gaz will get you nowhere near oem Boge. I was hoping for a softer setting, oh well. I may try five clicks and up another day, but that must be for track use and i wouldn’t want my teeth chattering over manhole covers. This has been the second time I’ve ditched Bilsteins on two of my cars now, they are great shocks and seem to last, but there is just a harshness about them. I did really like the ride of my original Boges, but the front end swayed too much for my liking.

One other point of interest, the Gaz lowered the front end back to normal! Ever since i installed Bilstein, the front end went up. I measured, a 1/2" difference. This is important, because I’m about to put 1" eibach lowering springs, so looks like I’ll make sure to keep spacers so i don’t go too low.

Another thing, i like the Gaz stems, very easy to just hold with crescent wrench as you tighten top nut. One thing i hate about Bilsteins is their stem taking a allen/hex. No matter what, it seems to always strip as you tighten down. Not the best design.

So bottom line, if you like the smooth feeling of Boge, the Gaz aren’t for you. Neither are Bilstein. But if you want a sporty feeling, Gaz are great! I also wonder, the Koni adjustables, you could set it firmer as the shock wore out to get the same stiffness. Maybe the Gaz too?

And i have Bilsteins on rear, which actually do pretty well without too much harshness. AND I think it actually lowered the back by 1/4"!

1 Like

An interesting experience for sure. I still have a ways to go before I can get my XJS back on the road, but I’ll be sure to comment on the Koni performance.

1 Like

Several owners have reported new shocks getting softer after a break-in period. Think we should hold off on judgement for a while?

1 Like

Be careful with the Gaz adjustment, it doesn’t take too many clicks to get really firm. Also, whenever you’re under there and have access to them, turn the adjuster a couple of clicks forward and back. They can get stiff over time, one of mine was almost seized until I started doing this regularly.

1 Like

I don’t remember that, but I was going through an adjustment phase after installing them so may not have noticed. Shocks will also slowly degrade over a longer period, but if they are not leaking, and you keep the bushes in good shape, you can just bump up the adjustment over time and delay having to buy new shocks.

Thank you for the report! Always interesting to hear from people when they can compare experiences across different manufacturers!

I wonder how the Gaz would fare with the smaller, lighter 6 cylinder engines!

If you check their website I think you’ll find they do a number of different Jag set ups. They are built to order, so I’m sure you’ll be able to get something that works for you.

I think they just label the shocks for “all XJS”.

They do say that “these Gaz dampers are a replacement for your OE dampers and hence simply bolt in place of your cars original damper. If you wish to significantly lower your cars ride height please let us know when you receive your online order confirmation and the dampers (and any springs supplied) will be made to suit.”

They did fit no problem, but the upper washers were too big, used my original.

I think the Gaz are dual gas/oil. Bilsteins are all gas, which probably is why they raise the height and are more harsh.

I meant for different Jag models, not XJS variants: Jaguar Gaz Dampers Quite a big difference in performance required for a 420 saloon compared to an S1 E type.

Oh. OK. I thought there would be a marked difference in an XJS with the v12 and the XJS with the i6, at least for the front, but perhaps that is all solved with the clicks. Greg mentioned that he is currently at the softest setting, or close to it. Perhaps with the i6, the shock would be 5 clicks in to match what Greg has, since it’s a lighter load up front.

Wouldn’t it be the opposite? With less weight, the shock will be more forceful?

You are correct sir!

My GAZ have about 20 clicks of adjustment. Anything more than about 4 clicks from “soft” is just obnoxious IMHO. It feels like a mismatch between shocks and springs, if that makes sense. Very harsh.

My 2016 Mustang has a Roush suspension and is lowered 1". While it rides very firm, I don’t consider it harsh. It feels like everything works together.

My subjective .02.

1 Like

i could see that, as I felt 3 clicks from soft was nearing my limit.

I currently have stock OEM springs. I am going to install Eibach 1" lowering springs soon. I keep reading everywhere that these springs and Gaz shocks partner very well. Perhaps that extra 1" of compression makes the shock behave differently. I’ll report my findings once I get the Eibachs in. Probably not until late spring, I keep putting off this job because it ain’t gonna be fun :slight_smile:

1 Like

Geez, I can’t believe you’re gonna lower the car by an inch. I’ll be interested in how it drives. I feel I’m at the limit now, being careful when driving in and out of driveway ramps, and even intersections.

The backs shouldn’t be that big of a deal. You should be able to get it done in a day, if you end up taking the four shocks to a shop to have the springs replaced. I’ve never attempted to do the front springs yet…

Greg once you get those Gaz’s on please post some pictures, from what I recall your previous ride height and space at the front fenders looked like you had a lot of gap there. If you keep the starfish wheels and whatever size tires you use you might have some rubbing issues and some decent ride concerns.
Me thinks the XJ-S was designed and developed for a certain type of client who appreciates a nice smooth quiet ride for their discerning customers.
I suppose it comes down to what your end game or goals are?

Remember, the lowering will be of the body. Yeah, the subframe is not that far off the ground already, but the bumper and body still have plenty of clearance. And with the Gaz I still have 2-1/2" of space between fender and tire (I went down a tire profile) So it should be good. The front may be 1/2"-1" lower than back, but I like that kind of raked look, if done subtle.

I dunno what you’re thinking, but if shocks result in a lower ride, both subframe and body will be lower.

Pretty sure my front went up 1/2" and rear went down 1/4" when I went from Boge to Bilsteins.