KONI Sports for Classic Z's

A forum for owners of S30 and S130 Datsun Z's... 240Z, 260Z, 280Z and 280ZX!
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KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:05 pm

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Motorsport has joined forces with KONI to create an exciting new product, one of the most requested upgrades for early Z-Cars we've had, to replace (and improve upon) the departed Tokico HP & Illumina Adjustable Struts. Completely new, constructed specifically for 70-83 Datsun 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, & 280ZX, these externally-rebound-adjustable, twin-tube low pressure gas-charged KONI Sport (Yellow) Struts are designed for use on both stock & modified street cars, as well as autocross & track day cars. Built to give a good balance of street ride quality and handling at the softer end of the adjustment range, the KONI Sports can easily be tuned up to nearly double the rebound damping force for more aggressive control needs: simply open the hood or rear hatch and turn the KONI adjuster knob. Not only can you tailor the struts to your local road conditions (and to your taste), you can also quickly and easily change the settings for a blast at a weekend autocross or mountain run, then easily re-set them for a relaxed ride home. Whatever suspension behavior you need is literally at your fingertips. Also, if you race on different tracks and race conditions, the adjustable damping gives you an edge in setting up your car specifically for any track or autocross course. Koni believes they will work great with Eibach Springs, and will be fine with even lower springs, as long as a proper bump stop is used. Let us know if you have any questions, [email protected] & I will get you an answer.

The first shipment, for 70-8/74 240Z & Early 260Z, is expected to arrive in the U.S. this March. We expect to receive the 9/74-78 Late 260Z & 280Z Struts 3-4 weeks later, and then the 79-83 280ZX Struts/Spring Seats 3-4 weeks after that. To reserve your set from the first shipment, the Pre-Sale is on now at https://www.thezstore.com/page/TZS/CTGY/classic20b04, where we also have more information (and more to come soon), more about KONI, an adjustment video, and a test drive report from Hector Cademartori.


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Koni Checks In

Postby [email protected] » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:29 pm

Lee from Koni checked in on another forum, here is a copy of what he had to say:

"Hello all, my name is Lee Grimes and I am the Automotive Product Manager for KONI Shocks. I have been working with Greg and Joseph to get these new Z-car parts to market and help answer some questions. He pointed me to this discussion to maybe give some clarity or assistance.

A bit over a year ago, Motorsport Auto came to KONI to see if we could revive and modernize our offering for the early 240Z, 260Z, 280Z and 280ZX. Needless to say we jumped at the chance to offer proper products for these important cars. Off and on through the years KONI has offered the traditional red painted KONI Special strut inserts with internal (off the car) adjustment for 240Z through 280ZX. In the late '70s-and early '80s KONI also offered an externally adjustable version for these cars excluding the ZX but they were discontinued by the mid-'80s. Now was time for an update.

With Motorsport Auto as an exclusive partner stepping up to take full production run volume, we developed and tested new externally rebound adjustable (knob adjustable on the car) yellow painted KONI Sport strut inserts for these cars and a externally adjustable rear shock for the ZX. We started with the external adjustables from the 1980s as the launching point and even used the same part numbers this time with the SPORT suffix in the part numbers. We then updated the internals a bit (it was no slouch to begin with back then though) to more modern seals and guide components and set the valving to work well with either factory stock springs (starting baseline adjustment at or near full soft) or performance lowering springs for performance street, autocross, track day, etc. use (starting baseline adjustment about 1/2-3/4 turn up from full soft setting).

Like all KONIs, the adjustment range is about 100% so they are twice as firm at the maximum setting than at the minimum setting. This is a very large range of adjustment so we suggest that you start in the lower end of the range, drive it for a bit to get a feeling for it, and then tune accordingly from there for your ride and handling preference. I think it will be very rare that people will use more than 1 turn (about 50% higher than full soft) for normal use when they are new. Because the adjustment range is so large, it allows you to compensate for wear over extended time, tune it high for an autocross or track day, and then quickly turn it back down for street use. Because the range is so large, it is possible to overdamp the car for your needs and actually make it more harsh and have less grip than needed so do not just turn it way up figuring that "more is always better". Although these could be used for a dedicated track and racing car, their needs and expectations are different and we do have other racing options (e.g. 8610 RACE and 8611 RACE) where street handling and ride quality, high mileage longevity, etc. are no longer important. These new Z-car Sports are targetted to take you from stock Z- car to just shy of all out racing. They carry KONI's limited lifetime warranty against defects and materials to the original purchaser as long as tht person owns the car registered for street use.

Regarding the discussion about bump rubbers, you can use a good condition OE type bump rubber for a Z-car, one of the black urethane ones that Motorsport Auto sells, or the KONI Racing Silastic bump tops made for use on a 22mm piston rod. KONI does not have a specific bump stop length suggestions as different ride heights and springs will determine what length you need. The imporant part is that you have some bump rubber installed to keep the strut or shock from bottoming out internally which can cause internal damage that will cause loss of function and will not be covered under warranty.

The first production runs of the fronts and rears for the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z are currently in-transit from KONI in The Netherlands due in mid-March. The 280ZX fronts are in-transit as well but the 280ZX rear shocks are awaiting final production due to to different component sourcing but will be here ASAP.

Please be clear that these were specifically developed only for these Z-car applications and they are not crossovers from some other vehicle. Because these parts are exclusive to Motorsport Auto and no other KONI dealer has access to them, we will not be listing these part numbers on our official KONI websites for North America www.koni-na.com or Europe www.koni.com. If you have any questions, please contact our Technical Staff at [email protected] or 859-586-4100 Option 6 from M-F 8-5 Eastern time."

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:17 pm

Koni Test Drive Z Owner Ian Stewart’s Impressions

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“Hello everyone, my 260Z was used as the test vehicle for the new Koni struts. The car was the perfect candidate as I had already rebuilt the suspension with new ball joints, Urethane bushings throughout (both front and rear), stiffer springs and Illumina struts. The only change that was made for the testing was replacing the Illumina’s with the Koni’s.

The Koni’s are an improvement over the Illumina’s in my opinion. You need to get used to not having a way to tell where you are at as the Koni does not have an indicator, but the adjustment range is much wider and you can really feel the difference when you make a change. I never really noticed differences when I adjusted the Tokico’s, whereas I can definitely feel the difference when I adjust the Koni’s. My car is fitted with 160in-lb front and 180in-lb rear springs that lower it about 1.5 inches from stock. Note that these spring rates are similar to most aftermarket spring sets for Z-Cars, at roughly 2X stiffer than stock springs. At full stiff on the Koni adjustment the car is too harsh, but at full soft, it is comfortable (to me) for street use, I like the ride. I have not auto-crossed the car yet, but expect the full stiff setting will work very well.” Ian Stewart.

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby AZhitman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:21 pm

THIS is cool! With so many Z cars being restored and not modded, or returned to their original condition, this is a win.

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:40 pm

The first wave of 240Z  and early 260Z Sport struts have arrived from Koni.  Pre-sale orders have already shipped if you were one of the early birds.  A special thank you to Lee at Koni for his knowledge and support for the Z community.  Koni has done an outstanding job and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with them to offer such an amazing product.  I will update everyone once the batch of late 260Z and 280Z struts arrive as well as for the 280ZX.  Thank you!

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:25 pm

Our Test Pilot Hector Cademartori got back from Daytona and finished his write up about the new Koni Sports (and for you racing fans, a bit about Daytona). Apologies to Hector, he finished it weeks ago, I finally just caught up to him (which is easier to do while NOT on the racetrack).

The article is fairly in-depth, so instead of posting the whole thing here, I'm just including a link to the Test Pilot Page in our store.

As a reminder, 70-8/74 Koni Sport Struts are in stock now. We hope to hear the arrival date of the 74.5 to 78 Struts from the Netherlands any day. There should be plenty of time to get your Z ready for all the fun you'll have this summer on track or at your favorite mountain pass.

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Thanks Hector!

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:35 pm

Lee from KONI just let me know that the 9/74-78 260Z-280Z KONI Sport Struts have arrived in the U.S., are being processed, and will be on the way to California soon. We want to publicly thank KONI for meeting their production estimates. We wish more of our manufacturers were like this!

280ZX owners, we believe the original estimates (240Z before end of March, 280Z before the end of April, 280ZX before the end of May) are still good. We're glad KONI is spending as much time as necessary to make sure they get the 280ZX rear spring seats/shocks correct. They obviously take a bit more work than the simple early cartridges, and getting them right sure seems to be one of KONI's prime directives.

Great job KONI, and thanks Lee!

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Fri Apr 05, 2019 2:59 pm

Hey late 260Z & 280Z owners, look what showed up in our warehouse this week!

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If you pre-ordered your struts, they are already on the way. If you didn't pre-order, get yours from the first batch so you don't miss out on adding these in time for the summer driving season (the huge box of 240Z & early 260Z struts we posted previously, for instance, is half empty already).

280ZX owners, we'll update you here as soon as we have more info. Thanks for your patience!

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:31 pm

Our apologies to all of the patient 280ZX owners, sorry for the delay, as Koni had to spend some extra time on the more-difficult-to-create rear units to make sure they were right. As far as we can tell, they went into production in mid-July. After that, sea freight generally takes about 6 weeks to arrive to Koni in the U.S., and then from Koni U.S. to our warehouse about another week or so. If all goes according to plan... then hopefully that means we'll have them in stock sometime after mid-September.

We hope to have images soon, and of course will announce it here when they arrive.

280ZX's are awesome!

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Re: KONI Sports for Classic Z's

Postby [email protected] » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:36 pm

Oops... Guess what arrived in September just like we said? Our apologies for saying we'd announce it when they arrive, and then neglecting to...

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Here they are! The front 280ZX cartridges look and function basically the same as the 70-78. However the rear shock/spring seat version features a little extra. Note that these are designed with a 3 position spring seat perch. So if you know you will be touring often with lots of luggage and want a bit more ride height, you can set them to the top position. If you want them to ride a little lower, set them to the bottom position (they are set during installation, to change the position later, the struts must be removed). Nice little option to have available, thanks Koni!

So now the Koni Adjustable Sport Yellow Struts/Shocks have been completed for all of 70-83 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, and now 280ZX. We've heard some good reports so far where people like how they function, especially with Eibach Springs.

Thanks again to Koni and Lee Grimes for all the great work!


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