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I am extremely happy with the Bilsteins that I installed on my 63. I use the same brand on my old Volvo 940's which is why I got them for my Buick.

Pricey? Yes but not only do they give me a great ride, the shocks do also give me better control and, hopefully, will assist me in an emergency to save my car and my life.

I have my Riviera because I love to drive it and the Bilstens shocks together with the "GS" springs that I also bought transformed it to a more modern car whilst still being the milestone car that it is.

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KongaMan    181

Interesting stuff when you start poking around a bit.  For example, the KYB rear shock references to a 1993-98 Toyota T100.  When you look for other shocks that fit that vehicle, you find the Bilstein 24-021289.  Similarly, the fronts also reference to the Belair, Corvette, etc.  And again, there are Bilsteins listed for those applications (part # 24-009461).  Unfortunately, Bilstein doesn't seem to have their specs readily available, so it's not clear exactly what you'd be getting or how well they might fit the Riviera.  If they do work, though, they are widely available for substantially less than the Bilsteins that are quoted for this car.

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RivNut    1,019

In one of the really early issues of the Riview (when it was typed, photocopied, and the pages were stapled together in the corner and the club was a 63 - 65 club) there was a reference to some OE shocks from other makes that would cross to the Riviera.  One was from a Dodge pickup.  I don't know the year or whether it was front or rear.  

 

If you know anyone in the parts business, ask him if you can look through his Shock Absorber \book.  It will give all of the dimensions for each shock.  Find the one for the Riviera then you need to manually start cross-referencing to see what has the same compression, extension, and what kind of mounts are on the bottom and the top.

 

Ed

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KongaMan    181
10 hours ago, RivNut said:

In one of the really early issues of the Riview (when it was typed, photocopied, and the pages were stapled together in the corner and the club was a 63 - 65 club) there was a reference to some OE shocks from other makes that would cross to the Riviera.  One was from a Dodge pickup.  I don't know the year or whether it was front or rear. 

 

Vol. 1 No. 2 notes that the rear shock from a 1980 Chevy C-10 will fit.

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KongaMan    181

FWIW, KYB's published spec sheet shows no shocks with a front mount to fit the 63-65 Riviera.  In fact, the mounting tab on the KG4550 appears to be the longest one they make.

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DaveC6970    10

Maybe a little late to the discussion, but would either the KYB's or Bilstien's work in a lowered application? I'm installing my coil spring specialties 2" drop springs and seems like replacing the shocks would be a good idea. -Thanks Dave

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Black River    97

I've got the kybs on mine and its lowered over 3". You just run them lower in their stroke, but since the car still hits its bump stops at the same spot, they don't bottom themselves first. Its probably not technically "correct" to run them this way, but I've done it for years on other lowered cars. I think jaamco sells shocks specifically for lowered rivs if anybody is worried about it.

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This is what came out of my 63 that has the "heavy duty springs and shocks" option according to the paperwork. I had a set of new Gabriel's as replacements but now I am not too sure.

 

If you look at the photo, the Monroes that came out are a whopping 51mm or 2" diameteter in the body with a heavy 15.8mm or 5/8" shaft. The Gabriel's are dwarfed by them as the only measure 41mm body or 1 5/8" and 12.6mm or 1/2" shaft.

 

The Monroes have 5030 stamped on the body but have not seen this number anywhere. 

 

Can anyone help with some possibilities in replacing these heavy duty units with correct replacements. 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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KongaMan    181

I had Monroe 5030s in mine.  I replaced them with KYBs.

 

As noted earlier, the KYB is not a drop-in fit, but only minor mods were required.  First, the slots in the tab were a bit too small to accommodate the mounting bolts.  I had to file the insides to open them up (just a little; less than 1/16").  Second, the tab was a little short to span between the two bolts; the end of the tab was just past the midpoint of each bolt.  I used some oversize thick washers on the bolts.

 

As an additional note: you can't press the tab and busing out of the KYBs and replace it with the tab and bushing from the Monroes:

- The eye in the Monroe is just a ring; the parts press out easily.  In the KYB, there's a lip around the edge of the eye that's crimped down around the bushing.  You can press the old one out with some effort, but pressing it back in is a different matter entirely.

- The ID of the eye is different on the two shocks; the bushings aren't directly interchangeable.

- The KYB bushing is bonded to the tab; it won't just slide off.

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Thanks KongaMan. Sounds like the KYBs might be a struggle.

 

So are the Monroe 5030 a standard OEM shock or were they a replacement?

 

The Gabiels that I have look way undersize compared to the Monroe, hence my reluctance to fit them. However, there is little information coming back to verify what they are.😥😢😥😢😥😢😥

 

Lets hope someone on this forum can shed some light, as it would be good to replace them with something similar.😀😀😀

 

tnx Rodney

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KongaMan    181
2 hours ago, rodneybeauchamp said:

Sounds like the KYBs might be a struggle.

 

I dunno.  Knowing what I know now, it would take about an extra 5 minutes to make the switch.  The only thing you have to do is widen the inside of the opening a bit -- that's literally a couple of passes with a file.  Put a couple of oversize washers on the bolts and crank them down.

 

AFAIK, the only replacements are Monroes (for that squishy, floating feel), Bilsteins, and the KYBs.  Given those choices, the KYB was in the sweet spot.

 

 

2 hours ago, rodneybeauchamp said:

So are the Monroe 5030 a standard OEM shock or were they a replacement?

 

They'd have to be replacements.  I seem to remember putting them on ~35 years ago.  They are much beefier in appearance, but I don't know that translates directly to better performance.

 

BTW, mine were absolutely shot: I compressed them by hand, and they still haven't rebounded. ;)

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Thanks for that. Currently I have a full set of Gabriel's that were supplied, they are current technology, gas filled.

 

The supplier says these provide a slightly firmer ride than Monroe as they do keep both. 

 

If the 5030 is an aftermarket replacement, then the Gabriel's might be ok. Just looking at them side by side says the Monroe would have much more volume of oil which should equal firmer ride. But I don't mind firm but don't want it to be harsh.

 

Least I now know where the 5030 came from, I got all excited thinking they were OEM.

 

Lets see what Monroe Factory say when they get back to me😀

 

Cheers Rodney

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jsgun    31

This has been a great thread. I'm completely sold on the Bilstein shocks. Gonna save my pennies for them.

 

About a year ago, there was a 65 Riviera in the L.A. craigslist that had been converted to coilovers. Fully adjustable valving up and down, and ride height. It used a standard spring, so it could be changed to pretty much any rate you wanted. A good idea if you're not worried about originality and have a deep wallet..

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fatbuick    28

I put a set of George's Bilsteins on my 65 a fews ago and they are the best. Worth every cent. Wish he made them for my 71

I had to pay quite a bit to get them shipped Downunder too, not to mention the exchange rate.

Combined with my custom rear sway bar and heavier front bar it corners extremely well.

Hey, it's not compulsory, buy what you want.

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