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Bilstein shocks for 1st Gen


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On other postings Bilstein shocks are said to be available now for the 63-65 cars.

 

Has anyone got first hand experience with these Bilstein shocks?  

 

How much approx do these cost.  

 

Would installing them only on the front do any good?  I have air lift shocks in the back of my car, so would rather keeps those if I can.

 

Thanks for any feedback/advice.

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I have Bilstein shocks on my 63 and in my unprofessionally view they made a major difference. Here is a link to where you can buy them, the seller normally carters for German cars but he also has a Riviera just go down a little on the page.

http://www.autoatlanta.com/Porsche-914-Riviera-srch.html

Edited by SwedeDownUnderR63 (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, 65VerdeGS said:

On other postings Bilstein shocks are said to be available now for the 63-65 cars.

 

Has anyone got first hand experience with these Bilstein shocks?  

 

How much approx do these cost.  

 

Would installing them only on the front do any good?  I have air lift shocks in the back of my car, so would rather keeps those if I can.

 

Thanks for any feedback/advice.

 

I've had Bilstein shocks on my 71 Riv for many years now. In my opinion, you cannot get a better shock. They are not cheap, but they do come with a lifetime guarantee.  Performance Suspension Technology sells a set for $472.  https://p-s-t.com/

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5 hours ago, 65VerdeGS said:

On other postings Bilstein shocks are said to be available now for the 63-65 cars.

 

Has anyone got first hand experience with these Bilstein shocks?  

 

How much approx do these cost.  

 

Would installing them only on the front do any good?  I have air lift shocks in the back of my car, so would rather keeps those if I can.

 

Thanks for any feedback/advice.

Wondering the same thing being i am installing air shocks on rear of my 65 Rivi. Hope someone with bilsteins  in front only will chime in.

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Just curious as to why would you want that set up. Air shocks will help support extra weight but dont do much for handling if they're connected to just one air line. Putting pressure on one shock will force air into the other shock and over inflate it.  They're not designed to improve handling.  For that you'd want some manually adjustable coil overs.

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I have Bilsteins on all 4 corners. Can’t say how good they are cuz I don’t have anything to compare them to. But I don’t have ANY complaints. It had been maybe 20 years since I drove before the Bilsteins.
 

Can’t remember the cost. I bought them long ago. U might find more details on my build thread. 
 

If your current front shocks are worn, any replacement would be better. U may like the Bilsteins more & then junk your air shocks for Bilsteins in the rear 😆 

Edited by RockinRiviDad (see edit history)
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Never realized how much of an improvement bilstiens provide till I drove your car. A world of difference. Makes the car a lot more fun to drive 

51 minutes ago, RockinRiviDad said:

I have Bilsteins on all 4 corners. Can’t say how good they are cuz I don’t have anything to compare them to. But I don’t have ANY complaints. It had been maybe 20 years since I drove before the Bilsteins.
 

Can’t remember the cost. I bought them long ago. U might find more details on my build thread. 
 

If your current front shocks are worn, any replacement would be better. U may like the Bilsteins more & then junk your air shocks for Bilsteins in the rear 😆 

 

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6 minutes ago, arnulfo de l.a. said:

Never realized how much of an improvement bilstiens provide till I drove your car. A world of difference. Makes the car a lot more fun to drive 

 


ooooooh yeah…I totally forgot, your experience after driving my car vs driving your car is a testament to stock shocks vs Bilsteins…preach on brother 🤣

Edited by RockinRiviDad (see edit history)
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On 8/27/2020 at 10:01 PM, RivNut said:

Just curious as to why would you want that set up. Air shocks will help support extra weight but dont do much for handling if they're connected to just one air line. Putting pressure on one shock will force air into the other shock and over inflate it.  They're not designed to improve handling.  For that you'd want some manually adjustable coil overs.

Ed,

I have air shock on the rear of my 64 Riv.  I run them pretty much at the minimum pressure (25psi) for ride high I like.  It would think it would be very difficult to load one side to where you could over inflate the other side (max 150psi).  Just my though.

 

I would like to get the Bilsteins on the front and a rear sway bar.  I have not seen anyone offering a larger front sway bar, which would help a bunch.   Then said I don't drive mine aggressively anyhow.

 

Art 

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Originally the air shocks were right and left. One shock had two ports. One intake and one output. I was hooked to the compressor. Air would go into it through the intake port and out to the other shock, which had only an intake, and pressure was equalized between them.  Now what you get are two of the same shocks. Each with only an intake.  Air comes from the compressor into a T where it splits and goes to each shock.  Air can travel back and forth between shocks through the T.  Put a lot of pressure on one shock and air is forced through the T into the other shock.  Not good for handling through curves where weight is transferred to the outside tire/wheel then air is force to the other shock. One is being deflated while the other is being inflated.  Air shocks are princably designed to provide a cushioned ride over surfaces where both tires are encountering the same forces, or to compensate for extra weight like when towing a boat or a trailer.  They are designed to re-establish the correct height in the rear of the car.  Carbs are level, headlights shine where they're supposed to, and your steering geometry is where it's supposed to be.

 

I had an 85 Riviera coupe on which the leveling sensor and the compressor both shot craps about the same time.  I replaced the rear springs with cargo springs and the air shocks with conventional shocks.  Made a world of difference. I could really tell when returning from the 2010 ROA event when we came through the mountains of West Virginia on the way home. No more having to constantly fill the shocks, no binding parts when the air pressure went down, and I liked the way the car handled much better. I'm about to do the same to my Roadmaster wagon. Just waiting on Rock auto to ship the parts - four new KYB shocks and a pair of cargo springs.

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3 hours ago, awk409ak said:

I would like to get the Bilsteins on the front and a rear sway bar.  I have not seen anyone offering a larger front sway bar, which would help a bunch.   Then said I don't drive mine aggressively anyhow.

 

Art 

 

Art,

 

Go to Tom Telesco (telriv) for your rear sway bar. He can get you Bilsteins too. Addco makes/sells front sway bars. They are sold by any number of vendors, so shop around as prices will vary greatly. You will want to purchase from someone that offers free shipping as well. That bar is heavy.

 

Bill

 

 

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Edited by Riviera63
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Art,

 

   I have the Bilstein shocks in stock as well as the front, 1 1/4", & rear, 1", sway bars.  If you install the rear bar by my instructions it will raise the rear of the car approx. 1/2"-3/4" & you would not need the air shocks any longer & I could ALSO supply you with the Bilstein shocks for the rear.

 

Tom T.

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Get a flashlight pointed up at the top of the frame arch over the rear axle. If the body mount is squashed out an extra inch in diameter and the rubber looks only 1/2" thick your handling symptoms could be from the loose body dragging across the frame on hard corners. Those are the easy ones to see. There are more. Those mounts compress but the bolts stay the same length. Be careful about those upgrades.

Bernie

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I have bilsteins on my car and love them. Gas means that they go down hard and come up hard giving a firmer more in control ride. Do not know how many sets I have sold over the years ever since convincing the bilstein company to make them for american cars.  You will LOVE them and they will last a lifetime

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I would venture to say that when George (@DR914) had Bilstein make these shocks, he and the folks at Bilstein took into consideation the specs from the OE shocks. Are you looking to put them on something that isn't a stock spec'd Riviera? 

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Hi Ed,

I have been researching the air shock idea still, but have not decide on anything yet.  I enjoy the research.  I'm planning on putting a table together with all the numbers for anyone that is interested.  Gabriel's are ext 25.64, com 15.03.  Monroe's are ext 24.675, com 14.625.  Like to get Bilstein's and KYB.  You may be right, because on the Bilstein website there are no listing for 1st Gen Rivieras.

 

Art

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    That's gonna be a beaut when done & on the road Art.

 

That's correct ART as George & I are basically the only one's selling them.

For ANYONE interested the 1" rear sway bar that John Carlson & I spec'd & built late '69-early '70 has just been re-produced by Addco & exclusively handled by myself since I took the original rear sway bar off my car to have them copy it EXACTLY.  I KNOW it fits & works as intended.  Can't be anymore a positive testimonial to the quality & fitment of my original rear bar as it's been on the car for more than 50 years.  Everything is bolted solidly with NO end links to wear out or rattle & squeak. Even though drag raced & twisty courses & NEVER a squeak, moan, rattle or loosened bolts, etc. 

    I was the one that brought to their attention of the problems with the front bars produced a long time ago.  They ONLY came in 1 1/18th. inch.  The front bar should be at least 25% bigger than the rear bar & were two inches TOO wide as they were intended for Wildcat, LeSabre, Electra cars.  AND, most recently the proper length of the end links as what was supplied was much too short.  Getting these bars through myself you KNOW you are getting the correct bars that FIT.  AND, with my modification pertaining to the installation of the rear bar you will be more than SATISFIED I'm sure.   Only caution I can supply is to double nut the front end links. Even though they supply locking nuts over time they loosen up & NOW you need to find only one side to replace the missing end link.

 

    In the grand scheme of things I'm just a little guy trying to supply parts I KNOW WORK & that I INSTALL.  I've been there & done that already so you know they fit  & are for the most part a bolt-in so I won't have the best pricing available or can afford to ship for free.  How much time & $$$$ are you willing to spend to end up with a product you may or may not be satisfied with.

 

     Like my Forged pistons for the "NAilHead, or mini-starters or faster ratio steering boxes & a variety of other parts.  Why do you think Clark's supply's the BEST upholstery products. It's ALL because of myself. 

 

Not to tout my own horn, BUT, like I've mentioned been there & done that already.

 

Tom T.

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Thanks guys for your input on Bilstein shocks.  Hard to know without riding in a car equipped with these shocks as to what the improvement would be.  

 

Maybe next time I'm in So. Cal I can get a ride in David's '65 to feel the difference 😎

 

BTW - Is there a quick roadside test to determine if one's shocks are worn out?  

 

 

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was very important that the length was correct for the front and rear. Of course the bilsteins do not collapse when hitting a bump like the original oil shocks do so are a bit harder to install, and if one has cut springs, the bilsteins will hold the car a bit higher.  Also although the kyb shocks are gas as well, the bilstein valving is much more sophisticated so the ride is not as harsh as the kyb and compression and rebound much more controlled

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I was so used to driving Porsches with bilstein shocks, that when I finally got my Dad's car from him, I thought that something was wrong with it.  (as a youth the few times he let me drive it, I loved the way it handled and accelerated). There was nothing wrong with it at all it was the fact that I had become used to a truly great handling car.  I wanted to put bilsteins on it immediately but they were not made.  Had a bunch of conversations with them as we ordered hundreds of bilsteins for our back then mail order business and FINALLY they heard me!!!  Installed them and night and day difference right away.  STILL though floats and plows and the seat does not have much side support and the steering is slow and the drum brakes!!!!!

    Needs Tom's stuff, quick ratio steering, larger sway bars, four wheel disc brakes, GS springs and bilstein shocks. (along with a factory look am fm converted radio with blue tooth, and updated ac with a stronger blower and cooling fan, THEN the first generation will arrive in the current generation yet retain the classic look that we all love

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George,

 

   But the KYB's have a small advantage of $$$$ & IF you are willing to install some washers in the front & order Toyota pick-up truck rear shocks & I'm sure most would be happy with the outcome.  I've installed MANY over the years without a problem & I don't feel or believe they actually ride harder. Maybe over the stock shocks, BUT no harder than the Bilstein's.

   For all concerned shocks have NOTHING  to do with ride height other than air shocks or coil type stock shock replacements.  They are ONLY there to control coil spring oscillation. 

Valving plays a huge role in a shocks performance & that's where the Bilstein's shine over ANYTHING else out there.

    For the 60's the Rivs. handled EXTREMELY well.  With the spare installed under the rear shelf the rear balancing is almost EXACTLY 50-50. The front not as well, BUT the overall is 56% front to 44% rear.  There are things that can make the front better like installing the 27 series battery in the center of the trunk under the spare tire. Takes weight off the L/F.  In actuality with A/C is slightly better as it balances it out more from L-R.  I just weighed a '64 A/C Riv. 6 months ago & was surprised of the outcome using the scales my son uses for his rally/drag race cars.  I know MANY don't have the opportunity to own scales or go to a shop that has them & have to pay to get things like this done. 

     I have this luxury as both my boys are into ANYTHING car or motorcycle or turbo including diesel.  

 

 

Tom T.

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I ran KYB on a old mustang, I found them harsh until they broke in, then pretty good. I'm eventually going to do the swaybars and steering box on my 64, looking forward to having it on the road and see what the baseline is.

 

My father is a retired diesel mechanic, it was great to have lots of tools around.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/29/2020 at 3:59 AM, jsgun said:

Been considering going with Viking double adjustable shocks. About $200 more than Bilsteins, fully rebuildable. 

JS, how about coil overs? Just asking. I need to lower my rear end an 1”.

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On 9/16/2020 at 11:17 AM, Turbinator said:

JS, how about coil overs? Just asking. I need to lower my rear end an 1”.

I don't think i've seen any bolt in options for coilovers. Although I feel like the rear shock mounts are strong enough to allow mounting. When I was shopping for a Riv, there was a 65 listed on the LA Craigslist with coilovers at all 4 wheels, but no pics of the installation. Looking back, I wish I had gone looked at the car, it was a good deal at 15K. Looks like it's possible, although I suspect the front frame mounts would require some work. 

 

There's a company that offers coilovers with a hydraulic cylinder at the spring, to allow 3 or 4 inchs of lift. Similar to what supercars use to lift the front over speed bumps. That's my ultimate goal, although i'd have to sell a couple of internal organs to make it happen. Link: https://www.kwsuspensions.net/products/hydraulic_lift_system

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Greeting Gentlemen, my first post here and a new owner of a 64 Riviera. I've been lurking for a week or so and reading the vast amount of knowledge that is being shared here. My 64 can use a little help the suspension area. The front has new springs and rubber, but the rear is still original. The rear springs are sagging, track arm need new bushing along with the control arm bushings. I've read about Tom T. (telriv) sway bars and faster ratio steering box and find them interesting and would like to know how to pursue getting them for my 64. In addition, the rear springs need to be replaced, and I was wondering if the GS springs would be a better solution given that Tom's sway bar raises the rear a half inch or so. Thanks in advance for any advice you can share with me. 

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