[xj-s] bilstein shocks

Just wondering if anyone on here has used Bilstein shocks on there
XJS’s. After gathering info I’m pretty much convinced that
Bilsteins are the way to go. Anyone know if there are different
Bilsteins for the same year depending on the Vin# or would I just
order for a 1994 XJS w/6LV12. Are the shocks for the 4L and 6L the
same? I found one website that sells them for $109.95 each which
was the best price I could find. Just doing the fronts at this time.–
Skyman
Greene/New York, United States
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In reply to a message from Skyman sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

I run Bilstein’s on my '90 XJ-S. Thoroughly satisfied with
the ride / performance / handling.

Disclaimer: I’ve never used anything else, so I can’t offer
a comparison with Boge or any other brand.–
Dave - '86 XJ6, '90 XJS, '73 Mercedes 220, '97 Honda VFR750F
Huntsville, AL, United States
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In reply to a message from Skyman sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

I replaced my front shocks with Bilsteins two weeks ago, and
I love them. In fact, I like them so much that I plan on
doing the rears this month.

They are considerably stiffer than what I replaced (worn
stock). I consider this a good thing, but I can see how some
may not like it. My local Carquest had them the next day at
a price that beat any online store I found.–
1990 XJ-S V12 5.3 Coupe, Marelli
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In reply to a message from Skyman sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

One thing to remember when replacing dampers (shock
absorbers) is the only ones which will have the correct
valving settings for the car, will be those made by the OE
manufacturer. They don’t make these settings available to
other manufacturers, they would be crazy to do so. Therefore
any non genuine make will only have approximate settings.

So if you want the car to ride exactly as per factory spec
then you need to fit OE units. Of course any replacement
damper will seem a lot stiff then the ones removed, as they
do lose their effectiveness over time.

Pre-facelift XJS used Boge dampers from the factory, not
sure about the post 1991 cars.–
The original message included these comments:

XJS’s. After gathering info I’m pretty much convinced that
Bilsteins are the way to go. Anyone know if there are different


1989 XJS V12, 1985 XJS 3.6, 1995 X300 4.0 sport
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In reply to a message from BillLM sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

There are shock absorber dynamometers available that can take any
damper from any vehicle and measure the damping forces at varying
stroke speeds. With this tool, any factory damper can be
duplicated quite precisely, if desired.

There are many factors that influence the ride quality and handling
relative to dampers. I have used Bilstein on five of my cars,
including one which had no application listed, so I created a set.
I have found that they are very tolerant of weights and spring
rates and have the best ride/handling compromises of any dampers
that I have used. They also have exceptional life. I usually
install a set and forget about further changes during the life of
the car, and I keep my cars a long time.

Disclaimer - I am a Bilstein distributor but do not expect to
sell any to users of this forum as there are too many discounters
in the marketplace.

Kern–
The original message included these comments:

absorbers) is the only ones which will have the correct
valving settings for the car, will be those made by the OE
manufacturer. They don’t make these settings available to
other manufacturers, they would be crazy to do so. Therefore


91 Classic Collection Convt. (NCHNTRS)
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In reply to a message from Skyman sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

I replaced my front OEM shocks on my 94 V12 coupe with Bilsteins at
55k miles and the improved handling was very dramatic. They are a
bit stiffer but I think the face lift cars are a little stiffer
anyway.
As much as this improved the car it was the rears that really made
the biggest difference. In my mind you must plan on doing the rear
shocks also ASAP after the fronts. You will be glad you did. The
only problem is the fronts are cheap and super easy to change, the
rears are not so cheap and certianly a lot less easy to change. It
is worth the $$$ to be sure. You and your car deserve them. See how
the boss likes that logic.–
The original message included these comments:

Just wondering if anyone on here has used Bilstein shocks on there
same? I found one website that sells them for $109.95 each which
was the best price I could find. Just doing the fronts at this time.


Mike Blair 2x94 XJS(6.0 Coupe&4.0 Convert)+85 HE&96XJ12
powhatan/Va, United States
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I’m 100% Bilstein and I LOVE them.

Phil Sanfilippo
1991 XJ-S Classic Collection Convertible-----Original Message-----

From: Skyman skyman83d@aol.com
Sent: Jan 5, 2011 12:28 PM
To: xj-s@jag-lovers.org
Subject: [xj-s] bilstein shocks

Just wondering if anyone on here has used Bilstein shocks on there
XJS’s.

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In reply to a message from BillLM sent Wed 5 Jan 2011:

Bill, Koni, Bilstein, GAZ, Boge etc. are not idiots, they are in
business to provide the aftermarket with a better product than the
OE fits because they don’t build to a price.
They actually purchase OE shocks and test them so as to provide a
baseline for their offerings and can guarantee they provide a
better performing shock.
In days gone by the OE’s offered one shock and no options, now they
offer adjustable settings from the cockpit, just flick a switch and
you go from std to sport mode, why? because the after market showed
them that that is what the customer wanted.–
The original message included these comments:

One thing to remember when replacing dampers (shock
absorbers) is the only ones which will have the correct
valving settings for the car, will be those made by the OE
manufacturer. They don’t make these settings available to
other manufacturers, they would be crazy to do so. Therefore
any non genuine make will only have approximate settings.
So if you want the car to ride exactly as per factory spec
then you need to fit OE units. Of course any replacement
Pre-facelift XJS used Boge dampers from the factory, not


850225/679,1E21003,2W2001BW,JNAEY3AC100218,SAJNV4841KC156072
HEIDELBERG HEIGHTS, Australia
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In reply to a message from Norman LUTZ sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

All automotive components are built to a price.

During development batches of all the vehicles components
are quantatively durability tested. This does rely on the
tests carried out being sufficiently comprehensive, but
generally this does ensure the components fitted are up to
the job

When it comes to the aftermarket, well its a huge market and
everyone wants a piece of the cake. So there’s a lot of
money spent on marketing, especially with regard to trying
to raise the status of their own brands. However at the end
of the day, there is very little independent testing carried
out on most aftermarket products, so most of the time it
comes down to having to take their word for it.–
The original message included these comments:

business to provide the aftermarket with a better product than the
OE fits because they don’t build to a price.


1989 XJS V12, 1985 XJS 3.6, 1995 X300 4.0 sport
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In reply to a message from Norman LUTZ sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

All automotive components are built to a price.

During development batches of all the vehicles components
are quantatively durability tested. This does rely on the
tests carried out being sufficiently comprehensive, but
generally this does ensure the components fitted are up to
the job

When it comes to the aftermarket, well its a huge market and
everyone wants a piece of the cake. Its a highly competitive
market and all products are built to a price. There’s a lot
of money spent on marketing, especially with regard to
trying to raise the status of their own brands. However at
the end of the day, there is very little independent testing
carried out on most aftermarket products, so most of the
time it comes down to having to take their word for it.–
The original message included these comments:

Bill, Koni, Bilstein, GAZ, Boge etc. are not idiots, they are in
business to provide the aftermarket with a better product than the
OE fits because they don’t build to a price.


1989 XJS V12, 1985 XJS 3.6, 1995 X300 4.0 sport
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I’m not sure that I agree with this. Not sure that I disagree, either, as
semantics enters in :-). When you mention “built to a price” it implies a
quality issue…which isn’t exactly the same design compromises and how a
shock performs on the car, if you get what I mean. IOW, you could have a
high quality shock that doesn’t suit your personal standard of how a shock
should “perform”.

The XJS “SportsPack” cars had Bilstein shocks. I don’t know if Bilstein
provided an off-the-shelf shock for this application or built something to
Jaguar-provided specification. Nor do I know if Bilstein shocks sold through
aftermarket channels are better/worse in terms of build quality or driving
performance than buying a Bilstein shock in a Jaguar box…although I’d be
reluctant to accept that they are necessarily lower quality just
because they are in a Jaguar box.

A better example might be the X300 cars. As I recall there are six or seven
different OEM shock absorber part numbers for the various build
configurations and, as far as I know, all manufactured by Bilstein. I think
Bilstein offers only three X300 shocks via aftermarket distributing. Are
they better? Worse? Same? I dunno. I think we’d have to drive 'em all for
performance evaluation, and then tear 'em all apart to tell if they work
better or were built to a higher standard in terms of quality.

In the 70s I think Girling was the usual supplier to Jaguar and then, in the
80s, Boge. I’ve never heard or experienced anything that would suggest they
are/were sub-par in terms of quality or performance…although its a fair
better that they were biased towards the “comfort” side of the compromise.
As a comfort shock they probably “performed” their design-intended task very
well

Cheers
Doug Dwyer
Longview Washington USA
1995 XJR

Bill, Koni, Bilstein, GAZ, Boge etc. are not idiots, they are in
business to provide the aftermarket with a better product than the
OE fits because they don’t build to a price.
They actually purchase OE shocks and test them so as to provide a
baseline for their offerings and can guarantee they provide a
better performing shock.

// please trim quoted text to context onlyFrom: “Norman LUTZ” nalutz@hotmail.com

In reply to a message from Doug Dwyer sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

I didn’t mean to imply that built to a price implies low
quality. But price is a big factor in all components so does
have a significant bearing on design and manufacture.

Bilstein will have manufactured the parts to a specification
given by jaguars development engineers, determined during
their prototype work. There can be all sorts of reasons for
choosing a particular manufacturer, apart from quality some
firms are a bit more flexible and might be willing to
produce lower smaller quantities.–
The original message included these comments:

semantics enters in :-). When you mention ‘‘built to a price’’ it implies a
quality issue…which isn’t exactly the same design compromises and how a
The XJS ‘‘SportsPack’’ cars had Bilstein shocks. I don’t know if Bilstein
provided an off-the-shelf shock for this application or built something to
Jaguar-provided specification. Nor do I know if Bilstein shocks sold through


1989 XJS V12, 1985 XJS 3.6, 1995 X300 4.0 sport
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Norman LUTZ wrote:

Bill, Koni, Bilstein, GAZ, Boge etc. are not idiots, they are in
business to provide the aftermarket with a better product than the OE
fits because they don’t build to a price.

I dunno about British cars, but I remember reading years ago that the
typical shock absorber on an American car costs the manufacturer
about $1 each – and are shot by the time the car is delivered,
thanks to bouncing around on the truck or train.

– Kirbert

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In reply to a message from Kirbert sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

A slight hyperbole, perhaps, since they cars are lashed down tight
for transport and don’t bounce much. :slight_smile:

But, yes, they weren’t very good nor very long lasting. I can
remember (talking 1960s here) Dad getting new shocks for his Buicks
every couple of years…and the ‘‘best’’ ones (’‘good-better-
best’’…remember?) were about $10 each :-).

Cheers
DD–
Doug Dwyer
Longview Washington, United States
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In reply to a message from Doug Dwyer sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

‘‘I can remember (talking 1960s here) Dad getting new shocks for his
Buicks every couple of years…and the ‘‘best’’ ones (’‘good-
better-best’’…remember?) were about $10 each :-).’’

Me too, but I remember Dad’s Buick shocks as being those cast-iron
double cylinder lever arm things - and they certainly were no match
for the modern direct acting cylinder shocks.–
lockheed 92 XJS Cpe/97 LT1 Miami FL/ 96 XJS Cv 4.0 Austin TX
Austin, TX, United States
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In reply to a message from Doug Dwyer sent Thu 6 Jan 2011:

I have bought absolute top of the line Koni’s double adjustable
aluminum bodied shocks built to spec for my racing XK-E V12 (spent
thousands)
Now I will be going to the junk yard to buy my shocks for my
race car… You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve found new or
near new shocks for $4.00 each at the junk yard…
In fact I sometimes think that’s a requirement to junk a car… The
owner buys new tires, sometimes new wheels… does a complete brake
job, Replace the shocks, and then shortly thereafter (in mileage
terms) have a head gasket blow or transmission take a vacation… At
which point the owner has decided he’s spent too much on the car
and it’s no longer worth it…
It languishes in the junk yard a long time because Few Jaguar
owners could consider used anything on their used Jaguar…–
MGuar
Wayzata Minnesota, United States
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