Interested in what shocks/struts forum members have used and results of same. LT4 has 100K on the clock and until I purchased, appears to have had a very rough life. Thanks for your input.
What sort of use will the car see?? Normal street driving? occasional autocross? Track days? Do you want a smooth ride or give up some comfort for handling in the twisties? IIRC, the 96 was one of the softest-riding C4's as the spring rates were much softer than prior years.
For a very good replacement shock, consider KYB Gas-A-Just shocks. You can get them from Summit Racing www.summitracing.com for $28 each. If you want a replacement set of Bilsteins, expect to pay somewhere around $300 for a set. Try Vette Brakes or Van Steel for reasonable deals. There are a number of internet discount shock/suspension component suppliers so do a Google search of Corvette Shock Absorbers. Koni's and QA1 shocks are excellent shocks but they are pricey.
There are also sponsors here that can provide you with good deals too.
My 92 has the FX3 Selective Ride Control system and Bilstein's are the only choice but Bilstein can rebuild these shocks and even revalve them for specific driving applications. My 87 has Bilstein Z51-specific shocks and other suspension mods but it's my auotcross and track day car so it rides pretty rough on the street but handles great on the track or a-x course.
I had a set of the KYB shocks on a 78 with the FE7 Gymkhana suspension and they really woke the car up. The ride was stiff (due to the stiff springs) but the shocks still smoothed out the bumps. I though they were a great shock for the money.
FE1 and replacement Bilsteins here. You can go to Z51 shocks on it but in my case the new Bils cured all ills. It handles fine and is still stiff enough to get your attention on bumply pavement.
The rear hooks up with minimal spin, and it corners flat. No more hopping through rough corners. The '96 may have softer springs than previous years....thank goodness. It's Goldilocks just right for me. I can't take a hay wagon ride. If you have F45 Selective it's the only choice.
50k is the general lifespan for full performance. Great $300 maintenance/upgrade.
KYB gets good reviews and are about half the bucks. The adjustables are for the autox. Edelbrock IAS are good but more than Bils, and some say soft for a vette. I like seeing the GM stockers on my suspension. There are numerous threads on this topic for you to research. Hope this helps a little.
Having tried pretty much all the brands on a couple of Corvettes and one other car, and also done some driving school work, I would strongly recommend the T.P.I.S. specially valved shocks available through Mid America and Corvette Central if you spend most of your time driving the car in the real world. These are re-valved Gabriels, and provide a flat and well-controlled ride with no float. Also, they are very inexpensive. It's been a surprising and pleasant discovery for me that the best all-around shocks have also been the cheapest. A lot of the performance places push Bilsteins at you and denounce other brands such as Gabriel, Monroe etc. as "de classe", but my experience has been that Bilsteins are over-rated and over-priced shocks that, if they have any advantage at all, it's at the racetrack. You can actually go slower with these if you live in a town with crummy streets (like I do, in Houston), as they tend to be harsher and can cause some skittishness over broken pavement. One issue I and others have had with KYBs on C3s is that the shock has a fairly sharp and unsettling rebound under certain conditions. This might not be a problem with C4s.
/s/ Chris Kennedy
Thanks to all for your help.
I second Chris's opinion on the TPIS shocks. They made a world of difference in the ride on my 90 model. They come with a lifetime warranty if you get them directly from TPIS. I don't know about buying them from Mid America or another third party.
Just replaced my shocks with Bilsteins. What a difference. Highly recommended. You can find them on the internet around $300 including shipping. I had them installed at local tire shop. That cost another $125. Good luck
Quick question - does your car have the 'adjustable' shock option? Z51? or base shocks? Check the RPO codes sticker under the rear compartment lid.
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There are no struts on a Corvette. The dampers are just "simple" shock absorbers. There are a wide variety of choices for replacement C4 shocks. I'd not advise making price your primary concern, however, as the cheapest shocks (even if they are said to be revalved versions) are still made with parts which might have less durabllity than OE.
Originally Posted by LlanoBill
It was said earlier on this thread that the SRC shocks (88-95) can be rebuilt by Bilstein. The good news is that fixed valve Bilsteins, which are probably on your car now, are also rebuildable.
That is the choice I'd make on a 96. It will leave you with the shock valving which the car was originally designed with. That will enable good ride and acceptable handling. If you want more agressive damping, Bilstein can, also, revalve the shocks to 96 Z51 specs. The cost of rebuilding is less than buying new Bilsteins.
Bilstein Corp. of America can be reached at 800 537 1085. The person to speak with regarding rebuilds is Bil Hindorf ext 5952. Please tell Bill you heard about that service on the CAC.
Lastly, there was a mention of the "adjustable" shock option for MY96. That's called "Selective Real-Time Damping". If you have those shocks, you'll have a selector switch on the console. Unfortunately, the RTD shocks are not Bilsteins, cannot be rebuilt and are obsecenely expensive to replace.
Great guy and very available, to talk with. I had mine done to GS specs, per his advice; like the ride of this Z51 and now have a spare set of rears to unload.
Originally Posted by Hib Halverson
I've been very happy with my KYB shocks, they are excellent performing shocks for a bargain price. Quite frankly I can't tell the difference between the stock Bilsteins and the KYBs, they both seem good.
Again, thanks to all for responding. I'm going to look into a rebuild.
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