I debated for a long time, between the Bilstein HDs and the OME Nitrochargers, before getting a set of Bilstein HDs.
My Samurai is on stock springs, and my plan is to eventually put a set of OME springs on. My off-road trips are not extreme, being spent on off-road trails and unimproved roads, with 4wd only needed sparingly. Honestly, the Track/Kick would have served me just as well, if not better, but I really love the Samurai's spartan nature.
I could find no reviews of the Bilstein HDs on Samurais, so I only had the Bilstein blurb to go by, which is that Bilstein HDs give handling benefits with no compromise in ride. The ride is not that bad to me, so I figured more control with the same ride would be ok.
I had a set of Monroe Heavy Duty shocks on it before. They would pass the bounce test, but I felt like the Samurai needed more damping, because it would slam down after speed bumps, and bounce a couple of times after big bumps. It also felt way underdamped in transitions from turning one way to the other, on mountain roads, and it would bounce hard enough in corners that had bumps that the tires would brake loose.
I installed the front Bilstein HDs first, and felt that they might be under-damped, but they did give much better control to the front-end, and a marginally better ride.
I then installed the rear Bilstein HDs, and the ride was worse than with the Monroe Heavy Duty's. The phrase, "rides like a dump truck" comes to mind, and I am actually feeling a bit sore from driving it on mixed city and highway roads. I get jarred as hard from medium bumps as I used to get jarred from heavy bumps that would bottom the suspension out hard and almost all small bumps are felt more harshly than before. This means I am getting jarred a lot more often. Bigger bumps don't feel quite as jarring as before, and the recovery is much better. However, the big bump improvement is marginal.
I am hoping they soften up or I am going to have to get them re-valved. At this point, I can't imagine them softeneing up nearly enough, and so am lookng into revalving options now.
The Samurai does handle much better, and bumps are handled with only the bounce that comes from the tires. The suspension is very well-behaved in corners, and I don't think Consumer Reports could have tipped the Sami at all if these shocks had been fitted, because body roll is very controlled.
I feel like the front valving is probably close to ideal, but I feel like the rear valving was copied from a 1/2 ton pickup of similar.
If I had it to do over again, I would have tried the OME Nitrochargers first.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock
After putting about 300 miles on these shocks, they have softened up much more than I have ever experienced before. Usually, I can barely notice the initial stiffness slacken off a bit, but these have gone from "dump-truck" stiff to almost as good as I can imagine the ride being, on stock springs.
The control has only slacked off a little, and so it is still much improved over the Monroe Heavy Duty shocks and the ride is also better than it was with the Monroes.
The only area where the ride has not improved over the Monroes, is on bumps that rate a 3 out of 10, with 1 being as small as possible, and 10 being a decent pothole that bottoms the suspension. With those "class 3" bumps, the impact is about the same as before, maybe a bit stiffer, like the valving is not set up to cope with them as well as it is with other bumps.
The smallest bumps are still there, but the edge has been taken off of them and the edge is taken off of the bigger bumps as well. Many bumps that would have bottomed the suspension earlier, now result in a non-jarring impact. It takes a bigger bump to bottom the suspension now, and those bumps are much rarer on the street now.
The handling is also as good as I could expect, considering the level of comfort the shocks are giving, and the fact that we are talking limited travel leaf-springs and live-axles. The handling is the biggest improvement, and I feel that the handling improvement is well worth the money. Sami is now much more responsive to steering inputs, but also much smoother in reacting.
Braking is also improved, as the brake dive is slower now. Braking in a turn is much improved.
Sami will never be a luxury car, or a sports car, but I now find it much more livable than before, and while smoothness in steering and braking is still well rewarded, it is nowhere near as critical as it was with the Monroe shocks.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock
Glad to hear that you changed your mkind on the bilsteins, dad has them in his car and he absolutely loves them soo he was abit dissapointed when i told him they had been given a bad wrap, i am in the middle of doing a full spring and shock change on my sierra, in the middle because the kit i got came with pins that were to short for the hangars, however problem is solved so continuing with the fit this weekend and cant wait to see how the bluemax springs and lovells shockies combo goes
Greetings. I just joined this forum. I live in Bangalore and own a 2010 Gypsy which is the Old Samurai SJ413 with a G13BB 1298cc 80bhp engine and a LWB with a longer tail body, in production in India by Maruti Suzuki. I hope you folks can help me with my dilemma.
Currently I use Composite Fiber Leaf springs in place of the stock ones. The ride is much more comfortable and the sharp peaks in the shockwaves are effectively blunted over a longer time period (guesstimated in millisecs). The effect may be compared to the feel of a coconut shell or hard body flotsam in the water hitting the hull of a wooden boat. The shock and sound travels slowly along the length of the boat with dull thump. Those who have spent time in boats will understand. However there are still those pot-holes (Bangalore roads are basically a series of broken-metal pot-holes stitched together in asphalt) where I feel a jar that unsettles the mind. Even with CFLs, the current ride experience still robs the peace of ones mental repose and typically will prevent a passenger from sinking into the seat and dozing off.
I am hoping a set of Bilstein B6 off-road shocks will react faster and handle the jarring pitching and rolling much better although I am doubtful as everybody seems to suggest that gas shocks give a hard ride. I am however anticipating that the stiff gas shocks will complement the much softer CFL springs much better than the regular leafs. The CFLs are soft to the extent that a decrease in tightness of body+chassis+suspension integration was noticeably felt on first switching from stock leafs - its a feeling not a scientific observation but I hope you get it.
I plan to import them from Germany but am unsure of the exact part number as there are a different set for SJ413 and the Jimny as selectable here:Online Katalog
If I go by matching the G13BB 80hp engine I need to select the Jimny and the part numbers appear to be 24-193382 and 24-193399. However if I go by the Samurai/SJ413 match and choose an older model of 60hp engine the part numbers are 24-012164 and 24-012157.
Which ones do I choose?
Thanks very much for your advice.
I looked into the composite leaf springs, but could not figure a way to import them from India.
I would expect the Samurai shocks to be the ones you want and the Jimny shocks to be for the coil-spring suspension Jimny.
Keep in mind that the Samurai Bilsteins are designed for a stock height suspension. Anything over about 1.5" of lift will take them outside their design specification.
As an update, with an extra 130 Lbs of weight in the back of my Samurai, in the form of 5 gallons of extra fuel, fuel tank skidplate, and Shrockworks bumper, and now using Old Man Emu springs, the rear shocks feel just right now.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock
Hi, could you tell me more about your experience with these composite springs?
I've just inherited an SJ413 from my dad which he bought brand new 25 years ago. Currently going through a major restoration.
I will be driving it solely on the road so no lift needed. I may even want to drop it slightly to improve handling. It will hardly carry loads, and never more than 100kg, so the stock springs seem excessive right now.
I was thinking of going with coils, but they're complicated and I rather not have to modify the frame.
According to the website, these composite springs improve comfort. Is it true in your opinion? I'm curious how they achieve that. Or should I just bite the bullet and go with coils?
Roads in Malaysia aren't terrible with potholes but they undulate a great deal, with up to a foot up and down, so bouncing is really bad right now.
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