Shock and Coil Recommendations

Hi All,

Getting a 1969 S2 OTS back on the road after 45 years in storage.

Have rebuilt the IRS, Front Suspension, Steering, new tires and wheels, new brakes, etc. Main issue right now is the ride feels very stiff, I feel every little bump particularly at low speeds.

I replaced the Shocks and Springs with the new Girlings but am starting to think it may be the problem. Anyone else using the new Girlings and has a view?

I know there are previous threads on the topic of shocks and coils, but what is the latest thinking?
I have heard Koni shocks are too stiff and there seems to a lot of problems wi the aftermarket springs.

This is strictly a road car with occasional spirited driving.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!


First observation would be to find another E Type to drive and compare it to your car. If you are familiar with Porsche 911’s or Jaguar F Types, E’s ride softer then they do, they are similar to 2007 - 2015 XK cars.

I assume you are using the original torsion bars - does the front ride softer than the rear? As to rear springs, there have been issues but usually they manifest themselves by too high a ride height. Your new shocks might need a few miles to loosen up.

Until you can find something to compare your car to, or get somebody who is familar with E’s to drive your car we’re all shooting blind.

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Excellent advice: in top notch stock form, the handling limits of an E Type are usually much higher than the average driver’s abilities.


The advice makes absolute sense, not sure how easy it will be to find one to drive.

The handling feels what I would describe as “tight” and very responsive. The issue is with how how it handles small bumps. From what I have read in the forums, and per the comments above, it should be a smooth ride and mine is anything but particularly at low speeds.

Torsion bars are new and I have the adjustable reaction plate from Rob Beere. I really struggled getting the ride height the same on both sides in the front until I got the adjustable plate, now I have it within factory specs on both sides. The torsion bars are .8 in size, a bit stiffer than original but not as stiff as most uprated bars.


After 35 years got my jag back on the road. Solid rack mounts . Uprated torsion bars . Koni shocks
New coils in the rear. New tires .
Really let down with the first drive . Horrible
Found the car had to settle in a lot

And I wasn’t used to driving it either
Steering wheel felt offset to the left .
Now after 4 years of driving it feels perfect .
Wouldn’t chang a thing
Very smooth over any type of road and I don’t feel the solid rack mounts at all.
Give it a chance !!!

As Roger says give it a chance. They need some break in miles to loosen up all the new parts. A little bit of friction makes a big difference on little bumps. Do you feel it in your gut at low speeds?

You’re welcome to share rides with me, but I guess you’re not in Michigan, if you’re out driving this week.

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Hi Michael…what other 60s cars have you driven…they are a lot different to a modern car…Steve

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And that’s exactly the issue I have with my car, and I have the original bars as well as a pair of the newly obtained original “RAF blue” fronts shocks.

Michael, I tested original and new Girling front dampers, the new ones have significantly higher forces so will inevitably feel stiffer on the car.

We still need to cut the original front unit apart to see if the internal construction is different, as is the case with the old / new rear units.
Numbing detail available here Getting the best out of standard suspension components for touring driving today - #814 by MGCJAG and in future as we continue this exploration of the obscure, for the obsessed.

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Hi Steve, this is my first Jag but I also own a 1967 Mercedes 250SL. A much smoother ride than my E Type.

Les, by RAF Blue, do you mean the new Girlings?

Clive, thanks for the information on your testing of the new Girlings. I assume the results will be similar on rear shocks? Any experience with the Gaz or Spax adjustable platforms, can I obtain a softer ride with them?

Thanks for the responses.

I need to look back through the data, we got delayed in cutting some units apart so I side-tracked into control arm and ARB bushings for a few months.
I didn’t do anything with Spax as my experience from 30 years ago was they were very crude. Maybe they’ve changed but I didn’t feel inclined to spend money to find out when there were more attractive options.
We bought, tested and dismantled Gaz, their construction is very simple, unlike any automotive damper I saw in 30+ years damper tuning and development. I might have missed a point but I would call them crude. Their adjustment is pretty brutal, affecting the low speed range where you would typically look for ride comfort. Based purely on bench testing and cutting them apart (I don’t have access to a car) I wouldn’t fit them to a car where I was looking for refinement in the ride.
You can get some background on the thread linked above, meanwhile a man in rural England assures me he is cutting Monroe, Woodhead and Boge dampers apart. I’ll post that data as I get it.

Having extensively driven both, neither is a good comparison to the other: the Mercedes is more along the lines of the land yacht than the E type.

E types are, by design, a bit more firm, but in good shape, and broken in from all new components, the ride is very supple and not at all tiring.

To add a little detail, the new Girling units have much higher rebound forces than compression. That will tend to hold the car lower to the ground, restricting its recovery after a bump - that can give a sense that you’re feeling all the detail of the road texture, not smoothing out bumps. Depending on the degree, some consider that a satisfying feeling of connection with Mother Earth, others find it disturbing and irritating. To each his own.

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Yes, apologies for not being specific.

Hi Michael…what tires are you running…Steve

Hi Paul, are you sure we talking about the same Mercedes model? Your description of a “Land Yacht” makes me think you are referring to one of the larger Sedans, the 250SL is a small 2 seater weighing about 2,900 pounds.

Thanks Clive, I have read a number of posts that refer to the Gaz and Spax shocks as crude, but also a number of people who are satisfied with them. Very confusing! With Boge not being produced any more and the Koni’s apparently too stiff, what other options are there?



Hi Steve,

I have a new set of Dayton wire wheels and 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tires.


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Digging out a little detail for the rear Girling dampers -

  • the original Girlings have a coil spring to control bump forces, flexible spring discs for rebound. This is an adequate and reasonable standard spec, then and now.
  • aftermarket Girlings have spring discs for both directions. In theory this is “better” - it gives scope for wider range and more finesse in tuning but that depends entirely how it was tuned.

I would expect to get better results with discs, given enough time for detail tuning. If time, skills or motivation are limited, discs would offer no benefit over a coil. A well tuned coil unit will be preferable to a poorly tuned spring-disc valve. Clearly the original units would have been very well tuned by the Jaguar engineers, back in the day. I take their test curves as a baseline for comparing other units.

I should add my customary note that I have no driving experience of any E-type. My comments are from analysis and test of parts purchased and donated, supported by 40+ years working in vehicle development in multiple companies and countries.

I am 100% sure I’m speaking about the same Mercedes: relative to the Jag, it is a land yacht!

Don’t get me wrong, because the 250SL is one of my absolute favorite two seaters of all time. That said, comparing the Jag to the Mercedes is like comparing cheese to chalk.

Apologies Paul, The word Yacht made me think large and threw me off!! As this is my first E Type it is very helpful to get a reference point that I can relate to. I guess what is confusing me is that many of the posts I read about the E Type suspension refer to the ride as smooth. When compared to the 250SL the E Type is much more responsive and certainly holds a corner much better, but the ride is bumpier! Also, I seem to feel the small bumps more at slower speeds, is this your experience? The 250SL is absolutely a fun drive, my young grandchildren always ask if we can go for a ride in the “old black car”