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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a pair of shocks to upgrade the rear STOCK suspension of my ZTW wagon.
The issue I'm trying to fix is the rocking of the car on mild dips. The back just bobs up and down a lot more than I like. The car has only 7500 miles and I don't want to lower it.
The only shocks that I found are the KYB and the Koni. The KYB GR-2's seem like just OEM replacements and are under $30 each. The Koni Specials are adjustable and are probably what I'm looking for, but are $117 each.

Are the Koni's that much better or will the KYB's out-perform the stockers enough for me?

Any other brands or options that I should check out? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks all!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great list Enigma. I didn't know about Club Focus, Thanks. I now don't know where I saw the Koni's were adjustable.

What shocks/struts are you running in your ZTW?
 

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I know exactly what you're talking about. The GR-2's are 20% stiffer than stock.....these should work just fine. Id do them all at once though. Stiffer rears only will upset the handling.
Viney might be better equipped to answer this, but I though for adjustables, a street setting would be stiffer front (fwd weight) and milder rears.
 

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Dude,

I have a set of H&R springs (1.5 inch lower) in my wagon from Focussport.com it took about 4 hrs to install but 4 years later and still even. Front and back look exact the same. Go with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Maxis said:
Dude,

I have a set of H&R springs (1.5 inch lower) in my wagon from Focussport.com it took about 4 hrs to install but 4 years later and still even. Front and back look exact the same. Go with it!
Sorry, but I just ordered the Koni Special dampers from Tire Rack. I really wanted to keep this simple, tighten up the back a little. I think springs would change the ride too much and I'm not interested in lowering the car. I should get them by Tuesday and shipping was only $3 for both!
Front struts will be done when the wife forgets how much I've spent on the Focus recently. I'll start with them set on the softest setting as Koni recommends. If that isn't stiff enough, I'll go up a notch. I'll report back after I install and try them out.

We're also fixing up our old Z24 and it needs front struts. I'll probably get the KYBs all around on that since we just want the original ride back. We've decided to fix it up a bit rather than buying a new car.
 

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I installed some GR-2s on a Civic and they are noticeably stiffer then stock. I would say 20% at least but I can't vouch for the Focus application. BTW I tested a new SE wagon and that was the 1st thing I noticed, the rear shocks are lacking as if they were made for something with less weight back there. Well, that's OK, easily enough fixed and I think a GR-2 would do it in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
2 days after placing my order with TireRack.com, my Koni shocks are installed and I must say I am extremely pleased! I tried installing them myself last night but the upper bolt was too hard to remove without an ratchet swivel adapter and a lift. I checked TireRack for recommended local installers and found one called Tom's Tire & Automotive. It stood out as the one with the most pleased customer reviews and ratings. I called them while driving my wagon to work. Tom, the owner, answered and happily agreed to install them and to stop by at about 10am. When he said it would be $35, I thought that was very reasonable and would be there first chance I got. I got there around 11am and he took me in right away. 30 minutes and $35 later, my Konis were installed.
The difference was immediately noticeable, more stable, tighter but smoother, no body roll around corners and the main reason, the bouncing on the highway, gone! I think this is the best upgrade for the wagon that I could have done. Total cost, 278.55.
One of the old shocks had a cracked dust cover and was rubbing. I may give them to a friend of mine with an SE Wagon with 70k miles if he wants them.
I can't wait to drive it again tomorrow!
 

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My experience with the stock setup and satisfaction with the Koni "special" red rear-shocks-only solution mirror those of DidHeFocus. Unacceptable ride characteristics were eliminated.

Most of the topics at this site relate to modification for pleasure (and as someone who street-rodded a rabbit 25 years ago, I understand completely). This one is about rectifying what I think is a plain engineering defect, and probably making the car safer for every-day, get in here, get out there type driving...the kind of driving for which wagons are presumably bought. Some of the posts earlier in the thread are obviously from owners of other models who have no idea just how bad the wagon's heavy-load syndrome is in the rear end even at curb weight...the engineers who signed off on the stock design should have been fired and Ford should have at least boosted the specs for the production dampers drastically...but apparently the company has no shame, so the only solutions come from third parties. It's so bad you don't actually have to drive the car - just lean on one in a parking lot somewhere and watch the rebounds F&R and you'll see...it's as though the shocks are new in front, 20 years old in back. Unloaded.

Anyway, I got the wagon at 4 years, 33k miles and my first thought was that I had early rear shock mortality. I scored a pair of 5k takeoffs (from a seller with superb feedback) via ebay for a song, but when I went to do the swap I discovered they were no stiffer than the ones on the car...my conclusion, particularly supported by this thread, is that I was getting the ride that ford intended! I spent a few months wallowing down the road, waiting to read something more definitive about the KYB GR-2s in this application (because they are cheaper than Konis and who wants to pay for more than they need), but finally I couldn't wait any longer - and after the ebay wrong-turn I desperately wanted to avoid the possibility of undershooting the mark with GR-2s, so I took the plunge for the Konis. I too have left them in the mildest setting, which feels about right in the sense of being almost harsh while alone in the car but without any of the wallowing with a full car that the stock shocks delivered even in a low-load, driver-only situation. If this car was ALWAYS to be driven more fully loaded I might increase the setting, but as far as I can tell so far, I won't need to.

Installation notes: it helps to have an assortment of extensions, and a six point 15mm socket and a cheater stick are necessary because the bolts are torqued down pretty good (the nuts are captive/fixed on both upper and lower attachments). I spent about half the total installation time figuring out the wrench/extension layout/routing required to break the upper bolts loose. Asymmetry in the layout of interfering objects means different wrench routing for for L and R - at least it did for me. I did this with the car on the ground, with one wheel up at a time, and others chocked, but I'm still pretty skinny so this approach may not be feasible for everyone.

Product note: before purchase, I thought that the Konis would allow me to field-adjust from underneath the car by releasing the lower fitting and fully compressing the shock in order to engage the adjustment mechanism. But the adjustment cartoon that came in the box also shows that nested high under the cap is a rubber bump-stop which one must push down with a probe via a hole in the top of the cap and then remove from the shaft (this rubber part is split, not a true ring) before the shock can be compressed fully enough to adjust the setting....and I neither had the guts to toss these before installation nor can tell whether they can be plucked out from underneath when the wheel in question is unloaded. Probably some well-positioned dental floss would have made this feasible without creating interference between the cap and outer surface of the shock body when the wheel is loaded - on the wagon, access to the hole on the top of the cap seems hopeless once the shock is installed. As a result, field adjustment of the setting will be a lot more work than I'd hoped, and vastly more than for Koni struts with the little knobs on top....it's not something you'll do three or four times a year to suit particular payloads or road conditions for a particular locale. In my case, the out-of-the-box, mildest setting seems right, but I admit that I haven't driven around at GVWR, as seems inevitable at some point given the size of the cargo area.

Bottom line: my experience sheds no light on the KYB GR2 vs Koni 8040-1268 decision, but if you have a wagon you should stop waffling and get a pair of one or the other product for the rear end. You *will* wonder why you waited so long. Thanks to DidHeFocus for reporting on his experiences.
 

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FYI

The European Wagon comes with stiffer rear shocks. You can order them for about $40 (not Euro Dollars) a peice. No, shipping is reasonable. Say $20.
My guess, they would solve the alleged problem.
Ford specifically softens up the suspension for North American consumption. Stock dampers are NOT dangerous. That is total BS. Read any review by a professional car reviewer and you will read how the Focus is very predictible at its limits; one of its best charistics. Putting Konis or any aftermarket system is driver choice, not necessity.
 
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