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dumb question - why are my Koni reds so much shorter than the stock SPICA's?

2814 Views 15 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  r-mm
Subject line pretty much says it all... am I missing something here?

Bought them used so I'm not totally positive they're model correct, but bought them from a BB member who seemed to know what he was talking about. Were previously installed on a 70's or 80's spider IIRC.

Of all the car/motorcycle work I've done over the years, I've somehow avoided working on shocks/springs so there may be a simple answer to this...


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Er, have you pulled the Koni to fully extend it?

If you're worried you can probably look up the koni part number stamped on them.
Well, like I said, it was a dumb question. Guess I always supposed that shocks were pressurized and would naturally reach their full extension. Guess they are just dampers (as the name suggests) and resist up ward/downward motion rather than positivity locating themselves?


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Yeah, that'll do it :D

As you found out, the Koni reds for the Spider are not pressurized. Also, make sure you set the rebound stiffness the way you want them before you install them: there are instructions on the Koni site or at IAP. Should probably be full soft for stock springs and only adjusted stiffer for wear.
They are fairly easy to mismatch the adjustment, so if you are installing used shocks, you should reset them to full soft before making any adjustments.
I'm installing them with new original (euro) spec springs from alfaholics. I'll start on full soft all around. Thanks for the tips.
Start fully hard front and fully soft rear.
You will likely find the cars ride height is lower with the Koni as well, because the pressure of the stock shocks is lost, unless the new springs compensate. Mine plowed the dirt fields surrounding PIR with Koni's, so I put new stock ones back on.
For reasons unknown, when I bought the car the front sat WAY high. I know the US cars were sat up that way but this thing looked like it has hydraulics. I can dig out a picture somewhere. I'm going back to stock euro springs and konis as a starting point. I want a basically stock ride.

Aren't the springs (and associated shims) the sole determinant of ride height, wheels not withstanding?
Aren't the springs (and associated shims) the sole determinant of ride height, wheels not withstanding?
No, I measured almost a 2 inch drop with Koni vs stock shocks alone.
Height is mostly springs, but pressurized shocks can add a little because they apply an outward force. My Milano came down about a half inch in the rear when I went from gas rear shocks to non-pressurized Konis. I've seen Spiders with KYBs or some other gas shocks that were at nosebleed height.

I don't remember...were the stock shocks gas? I thought they were non-pressurized. Anyway, I personally never had any problems with bottoming out when I went from stock to Koni reds on the Spider, but I don't race.

Full stiff on the front with stock springs is not good advice. Koni's recommendation is to start at full soft and only adjust for wear. Also remember that they're only adjustable in rebound, not in compression.
Well, I used German Sachs which I assumed was a stock oem, but now that I look in an old Shankle catalog, I guess they made clutch, pressure plates, etc for Alfa, and possibly not the shocks. They sure helped my ride height without changing springs. Got the Sachs from a very low mile 89 or 90 Spider owner, so I thought they were his originals from his car, but probably way different than early 70's in any case.
Clearly I'm the guy who knows little to nothing about shocks, but I do know the stock ones are marked SPICA on my car. Since I can move them in/out by hand would that suggest they're not pressurized?
Yeah, the Spicas were stock on my '91 as well. Sounds like they're not gas shocks so I guess my memory isn't completely gone yet.
I just sold a set of Sachs shocks that were on my 79 Spider when I bought it in '99. They are non-pressurized, rebound only - just like SPICA but stiffer.
Here's the stance on my car, engine removed in trailer pic, engine instaled in other pic. Does it look like a standard US spec stance?


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