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83 911 SC shock absorbers

I am looking into replacing the shocks on my 83SC. It has 104K miles on what appear to be the original shocks. Underneath all the grime appear to be green struts/shocks indicating Bilstein all the way around. Were Bilstiens front and rear standard equipment on the 1983 SC? I thought the fronts were normally Boge. I plan to replace with Bilstiens, but I am wondering if I should go for the sport shocks. Car will be used for fair weather trips to work and some autocross/track duty.
Old 09-11-2003, 07:06 AM
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Hello,

On, a related subject, how do I know that I should change my shocks? I mean, in france, a car has to be inspected every 2 years (and if you fail, you have to fix it or you can not drive it), and one of the thing that they test is shocks (they have some type of vibrator table stuff that they use to do that...
This is realy cool to monitor the health of your car on an every other year basis, but here, in the US, I have never seen such a thing (the only test that my cas has to pass is emission (with really low standard) every years...)

so, can someone explain me (in easy terms) how I can now if I need to change my shocks?

thanks, cyrille
Old 09-11-2003, 07:46 AM
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Bilstein shocks were an option. Generally if they are original you had the same brand of shocks/struts front and rear.

It's not at all unusual that you have Bilsteins on an '83.

I put sports all around on my '88 and love it. It's stiff, but not uncomfortable. I drive mine daily.

Cyrille,

Unfortunately the normal American way to test shocks doesn't really work on a 911. Usually with an American car you bounce a corner of the car and then when you stop you expect a good shock to make the car stop bouncing, but a bad shock will let the car bounce more. The suspension on a 911 is so stiff that, that method doesn't work. I change my shock this spring, my car still passed the bounce test, but the shocks were VERY bad.
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Old 09-11-2003, 07:57 AM
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I don't know if the Bilsteins were standard or optional. I replaced mine just a few months ago with Bilstein Sport shocks and my car has far fewer miles than wt's. Twenty year old shocks almost have to be due for replacement. That's my opinion. As far as how can one tell? Most people think that as long as a shock hasn't broken, its okay. Not necessarily so. The valving inside begins to deteriorate and the shocks become less effective. Some people can live with that and do for a long time. If you want your car to handle properly, or as well as the SC is capable of handling, worn shocks should be replaced.

If you are going to do some autocross and drivers ed, put Sports on the car. Some people have suggested using HDs in the front and Sports on the rear so the ride is not too harsh. I put stiffer torsion bars and Sports on all the way around and am very happy I did. The car handles great and the ride is fine. Just my opinion.
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Old 09-11-2003, 08:01 AM
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My '83 SC also has green shrouds, meaning Bilstein shocks. The car is quite unmolested AND unoptioned so I tend to think that they were standard.

BTW, I plan to change them ASAP, since my mechanic adviced me not to drive too aggresively...
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Old 09-11-2003, 08:22 AM
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Boge's were indeed standard, with Bilstein being the option.
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Old 09-11-2003, 08:41 AM
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Mine came with Bilsteins, and I replaced them with Bilstein Sports all around. If you have 104K miles and 20 years on the original shocks, yes you need new ones. There is no "test" that will give you a definitive answer on the state of your shocks. My car with the old shocks felt OK and passed the bogus "sit on the bumper and see if it bounces" test. With new shocks, the car totally rocks...very big difference.
Old 09-11-2003, 08:47 AM
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Just replaced mine on my '83 which were original and what a difference - you will be amazed! I used the HD all the way around and replaced the t-bars with 28 mm rear, 22 front. Handles great. I also have a Cab, which may make some difference.
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Old 09-11-2003, 09:42 AM
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FYI, Biltsteins can be rebuilt by the factory for about $80 per shock. They will also re-valve them to match non-standard torsion bars.

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Old 09-11-2003, 09:52 AM
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I have Bilsteins on my 83SC. I replaced the rears last year with sport
Bilsteins and plan to do the fronts in a couple of weeks.My SC is lowered and has larger torsion bars so the sport shock is recommended.
Old 09-11-2003, 11:20 AM
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Hi wtmeyer,

After your shocks are replaced, how much do you estimate it will cost? (cost of shocks, installation, any extras?) Also will you need to do an alignment after the shock are replaced?

I am in the same situation you are. My 83SC has 94K miles and will probably need new shocks soon.

Thanks!!

Quincy
Fountain Valley, CA
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:59 AM
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Quincy;

I am estimating about $500 for the parts (front and rear). I will do the rears myself becasue they look easy to do. I may pay for the fronts since this looks a little more complicated. From what I remember in the Bentley manual, you do not necessarily need to re-align the car as long as you do not disturb the orientation of the plates on the top. This may be easier said then done. If I have someone do the fronts I will probably also pay to have it aligned while it is in shop (~$125 for alignment). A performance alignment with cornering balancing would probably run about $250. All told I estimate around $1000 if I have someone else do all the work.
Old 09-11-2003, 12:26 PM
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Thank you!!

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Old 09-11-2003, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
I will do the rears myself becasue they look easy to do. I may pay for the fronts since this looks a little more complicated.
I just changed the front and rear shocks myself on my '82SC. It had Bilsteins. I put replaced with Bilstein HD's in front and Sports in the rear. I found the rears to be more complicated than the fronts once I figured out the process for the fronts.
My tip for the fronts: use a real punch to remove the roll pin. Do not try to use whatever other tool you have within reach (perhaps a screwdriver). I spent several hours trying to hammer out then drill out the one roll pin. I finally borrowed a punch. Several good whacks and the pin was out. Once the insert was ready to come out I had to detach the brake line to clear the fender with the shock housing. This of course means bleeding the brakes once the line is reconnected.
The rear passenger-side shock is a pain due to limited access to the top shock mount. Removing the filter housing/snorkle helps. Grab the top of the square pin on top of the shock with vice-grips. You will only get 1/4 turn on your 17mm wrench at a time. A wratcheting end wrench would be a good investment. Driver-side rear shock mount is much easier. Another tip, credit to JW, is to put a 3-4 inch length of fuel hose on the tip of the new shock to thread it through the upper mount from below. Then, after attaching the bottom of the shock to the lower mount, use a floor jack to push the shock the rest of the way through the upper mount. New bilsteins have a hex wrench socket on the tip instead of a square end so you wont be using vice-grips for installation.

Upon removal I found that my old rear-left shock had zero dampening. It was acting like a gas filled spring! It must have leaked all of its oil. I suspect these shocks were original on my 180K mile 'SC. Even while the old shocks were in place the car passed the jump-off-the-bumper test. Strange.
Good luck

-Brad
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Old 09-11-2003, 01:37 PM
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