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Discussion Starter #1
Trentsaab reckon Eibach springs are OK with standard shocks. I wish to buy a set of Eibach springs which I can get at a good price. Is matching them with Eibach shocks an unnecessary expense if I can stick with my SAAB shocks?

What are the pros and cons?
 

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In 2001 I ran my 9-3 with Eibach pro lowering springs with standard dampers. I found the car handled worse than with standard spring/damper combo to be honest.

Sweeping bends with a series of road compressions would have the rear bouncing around out-of-tempo with the road. The Eibachs and the standard shocks just didn't match.

Once I changed the shocks for the yellow sports adjustable Konis, it tightened everything up considerably.

I drive the same road now as then and the difference is really noticable. I would say that if one is thinking about fitting lowering springs, it's a good idea to match them with sports tuned shocks too, that way, bound/rebound rates will be matched to the characteristics of the stiffer spring.

For proof of what I'm saying, check out the video of me driving Maarten van Dorst's NG900SET, with Hirsch springs on standard dampers around the 'ring.. I'm bouncing all the time and the car never settles.. then check out me driving my 9-3 with the fuller suspension changes.. much less bounce and more composure..
 

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Upgtrading the shocks might be considered 'unnecessary' - but OTOH will result in much better body control and likely give superior ride comfort compared to using the springs alone. It's a gradual difference - the springs will affect the 'coarse' dynamics more (body lean, understeer) as long as the standard shocks can cope, upgraded shocks will then add the handling 'polish' - how the car copes with bad road surfaces, offset cambered roads, how it reacts to small steering inputs, and generally help the ride/handling balance - to distinguish a truly well handling car car from one that's merely 'OK''. Whilst a light car often can get away with changing only the springs and still be considerably improved, a heavier one will need better shocks to go with them sooner.
In this case, if the car's had not that many miles (more likely with a 9-3 than with a c900) chances are the original shocks are still close to spec, in which case I'd trust Trent Saab's judgement and go for the springs as a 'Stage 1' upgrade, with the shocks being the next station on the way to 9-3 nirvana. For shocks, I'd consider the Koni Sport ones - the Eibach/Koni combo on Mark's TiD does a fantastic job.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think I shall wait and fit at the same time as Eibach pro-kit dampers. Would have considered Koni, but the man from Koni is a bit slack. I'll go for Eibach springs and dampers, I reckon.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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In 2001 I ran my 9-3 with Eibach pro lowering springs with standard dampers. I found the car handled worse than with standard spring/damper combo to be honest.

 [/b]
of course, where you drive will make a big part of the equation, too - I'm guessing here, but the Eibach springs/standard shock combo might have been quite acceptable and considered an improvement on Dutch motorways, but things would start to fall apart on the Scottish B-roads... Was it anything like that, Mark? Or am I completely mistaken?
FWIW, putting stiffened/lowered springs on Saabine (one of my first mods back then) did improve matters somewhat, but not half as much as when the Koni's joined them. Have no first hand experience with doing things the other way round - but Mark reported the Silver Arrow did handle really nicely on its stock springs, after the shocks were replaced with new Koni's. But then again, the somewhat lighter and appreciately stiffer two door 900T didn't have 'big' body control deficiencies to deal with in the first place. After 250,000 kms it still felt quite nice 'n tight.
 

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Yeah to be honest.. if you spend a lot of time on motorways.. I guess the springs only would have been fine.. however a series of rapidly hit undulations (German autobahn style) could really get the rear bouncing on the standard shocks in my experience.

Now it simply doesn't happen.

On the Classic900 I found the handling balance to be excellent on sports shocks/standard springs actually... however we digress.

Obviously if you get both done at the same time it will save on fitting charges. Depends on budget really.
 

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In all this it should probably be noted that the Koni adjustable dampers are NOT suitable for either the 9,3 Aero or the Viggen - which is a problem for those of us like me, driving a 9,3 Aero with a Viggen body. This is per Koni's fitment information. I've not heard from Giles at Abbott on this point however.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmmmn, an academic question really (since I will go for Eibach dampers) regarding the Koni and Viggen/Aero. My 9-3 is a Sport, which is the predecessor to the Aero. Would they or would they not fit a Sport?
 

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Does anyone know why the koni's aren't suitable for an Aero or Viggen??

Since I want to upgrade my '98 9-3 SE Turbo with Koni shocks (already bought) and Viggen springs, I wonder if this is actually a possible combination?

The reason I'm considering the Viggen springs because I don't really want to lower my car as much as the Eibachs do (30mm)
 

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I don't know a answer to the Viggen and Koni question but I can add to the conversation that I believe any time you go to stiffer springs, shocks to match should definitely be done. As Mark A and others said above, there will be a lack of control when the dampers aren't vavled strong enough to match the springs. I have H&R springs matched with Koni adjustables and love it. The ride is a tad harsh sometimes but the control and handling in the curves is flat out awesome.

One other thing to note on the GM900/9-3 suspension, a larger rear sway bar does wonders for the handling. Steering goes from to much understeer to a much better and closer to neutral feel. When I then softened up the front shocks a bit compared to the rear, my 9-3's handling balance is just great now. It is now quite neutral all the way to the limit where it just starts to understeer.

Oh, one other thing, like you already decided /john, install both springs and dampers at the same time so that you don't pay twice for installation.

Have fun!

Eric Burr
 
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