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Yes my car has wobbly suspensions and i would like to have a firmer ride and much less body roll in the corners.
I know there are plenty of good suspension upgrades out there (konis, bilstein, kw, etc), but i don't want my suspensions to cost more than the car.

My car has some brand new shocks in the front and rear (KYB i think) but still wobbles like crazy. Rear piggyback ARB did not help.

So my question is : since the shocks are new, will replacing the springs help with stiffness? I can get some Eibach or Vogtland lowering springs on the cheap (about 130-150 EUR for the set). Or will i need to replace the shocks with better ones as well?

If i need to also replace the shocks, i have 2 options:
1) find some used sport suspensions (kinda hard to find in europe)
2) try to fit some shocks / coilovers designed for other cars - i remember the 9-3 was built on the same platform as the vauxhall astra / vectra and i can find cheap coilovers for them (about 200 euros for the set). also i saw some cheap coilovers for the BMW E36 and they were looking similar to what i needed... i don't mind making a few modifications to make them fit...

So anyways, cheap solution for the suspension - any thoughts are welcome...
 

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Sport suspension components shouldn't be hard to find since they were used on all of the SE models. For the cheapest upgrade, I'd get a set of used SE springs, some new Sachs shocks, and double up the rear sway bar by adding a second factory one with longer bolts. That was the cheap trick years ago. The suspension on these cars is never going to be great. I remember thinking my parents' 1988 Accord handled better than my 1997 900 SE, but things can be done. I'm reasonably happy with my car now. It has Viggen rear springs and shocks, and Abbott front springs and the basic black Bilstein strut inserts. I also have an SAS rear sway bar. Still, my bone stock 2000 9-5 Aero wagon handles better than it does.
 

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Scratch some of my post, since I just noticed in the title that you have a 9-3 Aero, which would already have the sport suspension. Start with doubling the rear sway bars and go from there. Any other upgrades are going to be pricy, like Eibach springs, but that's what I'd do next.
 

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I think those KYB shocks are a real downgrade from stock Sachs. You really need a good quality shock to reliably control any spring, and KYB is fine for your average grocery getter but substantially lacking if you have sporting intentions.

How are your ball joints and bushings, especially up front? It does not take much degradation to turn an OG9-3 into a scary ride.
 

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KYB's are definitely weaker than stock. Not an upgrade. They barely handle the stock springs, which is why you are having issues.

Cheapest is the double rear bar and new SACHS/BOGE shocks and struts. $20 + $300

Much Better upgrade is 22mm rear bar and new SACHS/BOGE shocks and struts. $90 + $300

Even better is 22mm rear bar and Koni's in the front with SACHS/BOGE in the rear. $90 + $480

Best choice is a 22mm rear bar and Koni's in the front and rear (a very nice combo). $90 + $620

You could mix in Bilsteins instead of Konis for a price inbetween the SACHS and Konis.

Handler's choice (but not necessarily ride) is Koni's with Eibach. Don't even consider uprated springs unless you are willing to add Konis or Bilsteins. Bad idea.
 

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Not to hijack the thread..

How many of you with Koni's actually use the adjustablity? Is the $200 premium, compared to Bilsteins, justifiable?
 

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You'll definitely use it once, but unless your car switches duty (track vs. street, etc.) probably never again. The point is that you can fine tune the shock to match the spring, and that's a nice feature. Unfortunately nobody sells multiway adjustable shocks for older Saabs, but at least being able to adjust the rebound is nice - certainly the more important attribute.
 

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By and large retail pricing on Koni is fixed (by Koni) so you're unlikely to see a materially better price one place vs another. It used to be Koni had a 20% off sale every spring, and some resellers would pass the full 20% on to the customer, while others would hold back or not pass it on at all. However, I was told recently that Koni isn't doing that anymore. If they are it might be worth waiting two months as I'm sure Nick would pass it (or most of it) on... if not, whoops? :) I would definitely go through GS regardless!
 

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Andy, check out the Partsforsaabs.site They are in the UK. But you can get a great parts, good prices and reasonable shipping. I've already three sets of their suspension sent over for various rebuilds. All worked like a charm.
 

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Not to hijack the thread..

How many of you with Koni's actually use the adjustablity? Is the $200 premium, compared to Bilsteins, justifiable?
You spend a little time dialing it in to settings that you like. As in weeks. If you change anything, and that might include tires, you tweak again. BUT, it's huge IMHO in getting the car to feel right and match your other components. I've driven both for extended periods on lowered/stiffened (Koni & Bilstein) and stock (Koni only) suspensions. I actually prefer the Bilsteins for ride with handling on lowered/stiffendeed as they damp strongly in both directions and handle bumps more smooothly, but the adjustability of Konis wins every time. Definitely worth the extra cost if you can afford it.
 

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Not to hijack the thread..

How many of you with Koni's actually use the adjustablity? Is the $200 premium, compared to Bilsteins, justifiable?
I have a different take that most people who installed Konis. After fiddling with them for a bit, I set them on full soft on my NG900 and called it a day.

Because of this, and the fact that Koni yellow shocks have paint that rivals the quality of the paint on a '71 Gremlin built on a Tuesday after a long weekend by workers who are very unhappy with their work, I put Bilstein B6 shocks on my 9-5. WOULD NOT DO AGAIN, TOO TOO STIFF is my take on it.

Bilstein B4s or whatever their "cushy ride" version might be acceptable.

To get back to Koni adjustments, I don't think anyone here has scientifically determined the adjustment effects using a shock dyno. Seat of the pants tuning just means you're making, well, a WAG.

Here's a couple of places that have actually properly tested shocks on a dyno:
http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets18.html

What this tells me is that fiddling at the soft end of the adjustment doesn't do much, while fiddling close to the stiff end of adjustment has large and non-linear effects.

The car worked very nicely with the full soft, but then it wasn't the sport suspension either. It certainly didn't wallow or bob (saabit?) around. At the same time, minor cracks in the road surface didn't bang like the BIlsteins on my more 'premium' Saab.
 

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Back when these cars were newer and people were more likely to drop $700 on a set of shocks and struts, it seemed like at least 75% of the people who put Konis on these cars left them at full soft. I helped a few friends upgrade the shocks and struts on a Viggen years ago, and the guy who owned the car said that his wife and kids didn't even want to ride in it if they were on anything but full soft. I'm happy with the Bilsten B4 strut inserts in the front of my '97 900. I'll put them on the back, too, when the Sachs sport (Viggen) shocks go out. I found a set of yellow B6 shocks for the rear at Pick n Pull a couple of years ago, but the back ends on these cars crash over bumps enough as it is, so I never installed them and sold them to someone else, instead. I don't regret that decision.
 

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Since Konis are only rebound adjustable, their compression tuning must be against one specific spring. Since Saab sold multiple springs, and there are (were?) several aftermarket options available too it's tough to know what Koni had in mind when they designed the compression valving. This kind of goes back to Bob's point, which is that you need to match the damper to the spring.

IMO, I don't think "soft" vs "hard" is really an apt descriptor of Koni's adjustment; really what you're talking about is slow vs. fast, or minimum vs maximum … how much control the shock exerts over the spring as it returns to resting (eg, rebound). It's possible that everything available for the OG9-3 fits into a small space, and maximum is never called for. I remember a conversation about c900 springs from way back when - someone (maybe Brad, maybe someone from Scanwest) observed that virtually every spring available for a c900 (base, turbo, Jamex, Intrax, Kilen, etc.) all fell within a few in/lbs of each other.... maybe the same is true on the 9-3 - you know until you get into real race equipment that nobody varies too far from the manufacturer specs. In any case, if minimum damping is all that's needed from the Koni to control the chassis, going higher is just going to make for a choppy ride. But, also, it depends on where you drive... if that's a racetrack, you might want the spring doing its best; if it's a place with a bunch of washboard roads, you going to want more control over it to prevent uncomfortable oscillations.
 

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For Koni classic red shocks, the instructions included a note that the adjustment was more to compensate for shock wear and resulting reduction in damping, rather than fine tuning the response.

The Konis at their base setting probably have more control than brand-new OEM Sachs, but I don't think anyone is going to do that test any time soon. Ideally, of course, this could only be settled by getting new Konis and new Sachs and putting them on a shock dyno.

The bottom line (so to speak) is that I installed the Konis and drove happily for six or seven years, without having to think about them. The Bilsteins on my 9-5 remind me of their presence on every patched road surface (which is every road surface around here, it seems).
 

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This is seats of the pants... but lots of pants: I find the Koni adjustment important. With stock springs in both the NG900 and 9-3 (uprated rear bar only in both) I ran the Koni's at 1/2 turn front and 1/4 turn rear. Noticeable difference in that vs. full soft. Played with it a bit with road tests over the same corners at the same speeds. You could definitley feel the difference in handling vs 0, 1/4, or 1/2 turn at one or both ends. I tried the front up to 3/4 but the bumps started to get harsh. The best combos, regardless of setting, were always with the rear 1/4 turn less. It seemed to let the rear sit down a bit on the inside rear wheel. FWIW, both cars were a very comfortable ride with stock springs and Konis: it had the unusual effect of both a better ride and better handling, which is a hard upgrade to find.

With uprated springs (Eibach), I found the same settings were optimum. I've also driven Bilstein on uprated springs for an extended period. Note that with stiffer springs, both are too harsh over short, fast bumps (like 6" long front heaves, or short frost heave cracks of 2" or more height, unmatched steel bridge expansion joints, etc). Positively jarring. But, both are fine on reasonable roads. I give the edge to Bilstein on the normal bumps. But I buy the Koni's for the adjustability, which favors handling IME.
 

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Here's a couple of places that have actually properly tested shocks on a dyno:
http://farnorthracing.com/autocross_secrets18.html

What this tells me is that fiddling at the soft end of the adjustment doesn't do much, while fiddling close to the stiff end of adjustment has large and non-linear effects.
Ed:

Interesting on the variations. Perhaps my two sides are mismatched, but it doesn't seem so. Regardless, my adjustments seem to work properly as noted.

I don't see where he quantifies the adjustments except to point out the non-linear aspect. His chart shows force and rate, but there's no adjustment shown. As for his assessment of "last half to full turn to full soft does nothing", I have to assume he means in turns of the rates you'd use in autocross. There's a discernible difference even in a crude bounce test. Some dyno charts on specific shocks at different adjustment levels would help.

Agree on the paint. The tops of my Koni rears are rusted away. I need to engineer replacement rubber boots. Not sure how to find a generic that will work No wonder Bilstein uses plastic. I even toyed with refitting Bilstein boots but they have a funny clip arrangement I didn't think I could reproduce easily on the Koni. Maybe something with a top that would just sit on the shaft with a washer, etc.
 

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You're right, the "autocross to win" site does not quantify the adjustment turns. But the other link I gave:
actually does have the number of turns labelled. Scroll down past the double-adjustable Koni plots to the yellow sport plots.

The Wilhelm plots don't go up nearly as high in velocity. I am not sure what a reasonable velocity range is for street driven cars. What the plots show is that the first half turn from full soft does almost nothing; the next half turn does something, while each half turn further does more and more. And it's the last eighth turn to full firm that makes a big and non-linear difference right down at the lowest speeds, unlike all the lower settings.

For sure, those plots say don't turn your Konis to full firm.
 

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You're right, the "autocross to win" site does not quantify the adjustment turns. But the other link I gave:
actually does have the number of turns labelled. Scroll down past the double-adjustable Koni plots to the yellow sport plots.

The Wilhelm plots don't go up nearly as high in velocity. I am not sure what a reasonable velocity range is for street driven cars. What the plots show is that the first half turn from full soft does almost nothing; the next half turn does something, while each half turn further does more and more. And it's the last eighth turn to full firm that makes a big and non-linear difference right down at the lowest speeds, unlike all the lower settings.

For sure, those plots say don't turn your Konis to full firm.
Ed: Thanks... I thought you posted was two references to the same site, not two references to two sites. That site is much more useful. The graphs are also zoomable to a readable size, which is a real feature.

In addition to the question of street velocities, we have to add in the spring rate question i.e. what is the range of damping we care about. Here is the only reference I was ever able to find (in many years) with actual spring rates for popular NG/OG options: https://www.saablink.net/forum/902655-post51.htm . I don't know that it's 100% accurate, but it looks reasonable and the rates are comparable to each other. Seems legit.

If we then focus/zoom the graph to cover the range of rates that we will actually see in our cars, adding a little for the sway bar, (and ignoring the progressive action of the EIbach rear for simplicity) we end up focused on the 0-200# of damping. In that range, I think the smaller adjustments on the Koni's matter.

But... there's a lot of assumption in here vs. science. We don't have exact numbers for our Konis or setups and bars. What really matters is how it drives. So, when it dries out here in a day or so, I will do some more experimenting. I think the differences in 1/4 turns are important in our cars, but I am willing to prove myself wrong if I can't feel the differences to a point where I'm still willing to stand on it.
 
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