We regularly get asked questions regarding the fitment, adjustment, differences and testing of Koni dampers, he we have answered the most popular question we get asked.

If you do need any further assistance press feel free to contact us directly using the link at the top of the page.

We have a network of UK dealers and stockists which you can find here on our where to buy page HERE:

You will need to know what series of damper you have. This will be stamped on the body of the damper and are the first 2 or 4 digits i.e 26, 80 or 8741 etc.

26 & 30 Series - Gas Mono Tube Dampers
1) Remove the dust cover if fitted and expose the adjusting button.
2) Hold the damper body by hand where the piston rod emerges from the cylinder. Push the button carefully, by hand, and hold it in that position. (Do not use any device, other than by hand to depress button.
3) The adjusting device has been provided with a number of clearly distinguishable stops (clicks), each of which marks an adjustment position (zero +2 clicks = 3 positions, 3 clicks = 4 positions).
4) The damper may have already been adjusted earlier. Therefore, check whether the damper is in the adjustment position by turning the piston rod to the left (counterclockwise) with the other hand until the zero-stop is felt - DO NOT USE FORCE!
5) To increase rebound, turn the piston rod one or more clicks to the right (clockwise), and release the adjusting button.
6) Be sure the adjusting button fully springs back into position. As long as the button is depressed, do not turn the piston rod further; otherwise correct adjustment will be disturbed. As soon as the button has made its complete return, the piston rod may be turned freely. The damper can now be refitted.

A short adjustment video for 26 & 30 series dampers can be found HERE

80, 82, 86, 87, 88, 90, 8040, 8240 Series - Twin Tube compress to adjust dampers.
1) Remove the damper from the vehicle and hold it vertically with the lower eye or pin attached in a vise. Use clamp plates to prevent damage.
2) Fully collapse the damper, at the same time turning the dust cap or piston rod slowly to the left (counterclockwise), until it is felt that the cams of the adjustment nut engage in the recesses of the foot valve assembly.
3) Some dampers include a bump rubber concealed under the dust cover and it must be removed prior to adjusting.
4) The damper may have already been adjusted. Therefore check whether the damper is in the adjustment position or not by keeping it collapsed and gently turning it further to the left counting at the same time the half turns until a stop is felt. Stop turning then and do not use force.
5) Keeping the damper collapsed, make 1 half turn (180 degrees) to the right (clockwise). In case of prior adjustment add the number of half the turns previously found. The total range is 4 to 5 half turns.
6) Pull the damper out vertically without turning for at least 1 cm to disengage the adjusting mechanism. The dust cap or piston rod may now be turned freely.

Click HERE to see a short video on the twin tube adjustment procedure.

8010, 8041, 8210, 8241, 8610, 8641, 8710, 8741 Series Externally Adjustable:
These dampers are the simplest in the range to adjust, literally at the turn of a knob. Place the supplied adjuster know on the top of the damper and turn anti-clockwise to increase rebound force and clockwise the reduce rebound force. they can be adjusted in a matter of seconds, from a comfortable "touring" setting to a more firmer setting for a sporty drive. There is usually 4-5 half turns of movement.

A short video can be found HERE

Koni has designed an ingenious method of installing inserts into sealed housings thus allowing the use of performance dampers when they were previously unavailable.

It has become common practice for auto manufacturers all over the world to save money by using factory sealed strut housings rather than the traditional threaded closed housings when they build new cars. Whenever possible, Koni will make a complete strut housing damper but sometimes the necessary spring platforms and mounting brackets are unavailable or financially unfeasible. By designing the Koni Cut-A-Strut insert system, many vehicles with factory sealed struts now have performance damper options.

The installation requires only basic tools which most individuals already own. These tools include a cutting device such as a hacksaw, grinder or pipe cutter to open the strut housing as well as an electric drill. Generally, it takes an average of 15-20 minutes additional labour per corner over a traditional strut insert installation. A short video showing the fitment procedure can be found HERE

Although this is a fairly straightforward job for most qualified mechanics, we would suggest taking the car to a garage or workshop if you are unsure. Koni has been using this method very successfully for many years on numerous applications from Porsche to Ford, Honda to Hyundai.

KONI warrants all new shock absorbers to the original retail purchaser against defects in materials and workmanship (excluding mounting hardware and bushes) when used under normal operating conditions for a period of two years from the date of purchase. The vehicle on which the KONI shock absorbers were installed must be registered for road use.

This warranty does not apply to, and KONI makes no warranty for, shock absorbers and suspension kits that have been:
 Not purchased new by the current owner.
 Modified or installed improperly.
 Bottmed, due to excessive lowering or damaged by bad raod conditions (potholes etc) .
 Over Adjusted.
 Bent or broken indicating abuse.
 Supplied as Original Equipment by the vehicle manufacturer.
 Used on any vehicle that has been modified for a use other than its originally intended use.
 Used for an application that is not specified in the KONI application data.
 Used on any vehicle for racing or other driving competition.
 Exported for use outside of the EU.

In the event of defect, malfunction, or failure of the KONI shock absorbers to conform to this warranty, the original purchaser must contact the original supplying Koni dealer (with a copy of the purchase and details of the fault) The suspect unit will need to be returned with a completed warranty claim form to Koni. Upon verification of a genuine warranty fault, the unit, will repaired or replaced at no cost to the original user, or if a replacement has already been purchased refunded.
KONI will not pay for the cost of the installation of the new or repaired shock absorbers.

KONI Heavy Track shock absorbers are designed to improve ride and handling characteristics for overall all-day use. Sizing of the original shocks absorbers is respected and with the high quality components KONI uses the durability is improved. KONI HT RAID is intended for heavy duty use. The additional technical features HT RAIDs have make sure the shocks will last through very demanding safari’s, bush trips, pole expeditions, and so on. Capable of use in combination with heavy duty springs, HT RAIDs are often designed to cope with raised suspension.

KONI's are designed to fit standard height cars and can work with lowered cars as long as they don't bottom out internally and become damaged. Unlike some shocks, KONI's are not position sensitive so they will work properly anywhere in their stroke range providing they are not bottoming or topping out. Different vehicle suspension designs have different stroke travels but a good rule of thumb is that most vehicles can be lowered acceptably about 30-35 mm, beyond that the possibility of bottoming increases rapidly although some longer stroke cars can go lower. Most vehicles are equipped with bump stops to keep the shocks and springs from bottoming out. When lowering a vehicle be sure to reuse your bump stops as they are cheap insurance to avoid bottoming damage. Remember also that severely lowered vehicles typically also have a negative effect on suspension geometry, ride quality and handling, and tyre and suspension part wear.

There is no single best adjustment setting for your KONI's because every driver has different preferences for comfort, performance, performance modifications and roads to drive on. For most vehicles, we suggest that new KONI's be installed in the full soft position. (the standard setting right out of the box) to take advantage of the balance of ride comfort and handling designed by the KONI ride development engineers. If the car has performance upgrades (springs, wheel/tire packages, etc.) or the driver wants the car a bit more aggressive, most people find the optimum setting in the 1/2 to one full turn from the full soft range. Over the extended life of the damper or if the driver wants a specific firm handling characteristic, the dampers can be adjusted up higher. Very rarely will KONI ever need to be adjusted to the full firm setting.

This is a difficult question to answer because every KONI application is developed for that specific vehicle to get the best handling characteristics. In general, most factory shocks are under damped for optimized handling so KONI engineers select firmer valvings. Unfortunately factory shocks are generally chosen for financial reasons rather than performance so lower technology, cheaper shocks are standard. In some instances, a factory shock may have good characteristics in some parts of the working range but need some help in other parts and there are even a few instances where the KONI engineers found better handling by softening the factory units.

Koni Traditional yellow sport shocks are (in most cases) adjustable for rebound damping force, some need to be removed to adjust, some are top adjustable and can be adjusted whilst fitted. Our orange STR.T dampers are fixed rate, non adjustable dampers with a setting very similar to a Sport shock on its minimum position.

There are 2 Factory authorised but independent Koni service centres in the UK, all able to service, repair or re-build Koni road or race dampers, you can find there details here

The real answer is no a human being can't move the shock fast enough to even begin to flow oil through the piston valving.

What you feel by hand when you make adjustments is the bleed changes (oil bypassing the piston valving) and some amount of seal and guide friction/stiction that can be accentuated by the fact that the shocks are brand new and the parts have not worked together much yet.

If these also have low pressure gas a side effect (not a function) is that the shocks may self-extend on their own but that force is very, very small and the bleed portion of the adjustment and any light amount of friction can alter the extension rate.

Just in the same way that you would never run an engine on a dyno and measure your horsepower and torque at engine idle speeds (below the design rpm range of the camshaft), trying to quantify a shock by hand is operating it far below the piston speeds where oil is actually flowing through the piston valving.

Every single KONI shock absorber is dyno tested at the factory prior to advancing to the paint line. If someone receives a KONI shock with paint on it, this is proof that it passed the dyno test when it was built.

Regardless of what the shock might feel like when moving them by hand or by watching the self-extension rate from the internal gas pressure, this is not real data that has any indication of actual function on the shock in operation on the car. Only a shock dyno that can move the shock fast enough to make it operate car-like at piston speeds will flow oil through the actual piston valving and quantify the real damping forces generated.

We often joke that after trying to measure a shock's performance by moving it by hand, one should take their tongue and lick the shock body to see what it tastes like. Ridiculous as that sounds, it is probably about as good a testing method as moving a shock by human hand. We are going to feel different things like friction, gas pressure, bleed, etc. but we won't feel the actual valving force itself.

Leaking Koni dampers is extremely rare, but other factors could make it look like you have a leak. this guide will help you to identify whether a leak has occurred.

Misting vs. Leaking

Repairers and automotive spare parts distributors are sometimes asked to inspect, assess and replace shock absorbers that are mistakenly diagnosed as leaking. Misdiagnosis invariably results in unnecessarily taking productive vehicles off the road thereby inconveniencing customers, drivers and fleet operators with delays and unwarranted expenses as spare parts are ordered, delivered, and fitted. The environmental impact of unnecessarily replacing functioning components is also significant with waste going to landfill, an environmental no-no, and recycling of components although responsible, requiring time, freight, energy, and someone to pay for the process and storage of materials.

Misdiagnosed leaks primarily fall into two categories.

  1. Assembly Oil
  2. Misting/sweating
  1. Assembly Oil

Several different lubricants are used in the construction of shock absorbers. KONI uses assembly oils which are yellow or black in colour, sometimes appearing brown on the damper. This assembly oil is easily distinguished from the hydraulic damping fluid which is used within the shock absorber.

Blue hydraulic fluid.
KONI passenger car dampers (Classic, STR.T, Special Active and Sport).
KONI 4WD & SUV dampers (Heavy Track, Special Active and a few Sport).
KONI commercial vehicle cab dampers.

Red hydraulic fluid.
KONI 4WD (Raid)
KONI commercial bus, truck and trailer applications.

New shock absorbers may have a slightly moist rod, seal and/or body. Excessive assembly oil which will not be detrimental to the damper itself may even “run” and stain the cardboard carton the damper is supplied in. If excess oil is evident, wipe the damper clean and proceed with the installation. The damper is fit for service. If a brand new damper has bright red or bright blue hydraulic fluid droplets, the damper should not be fitted to the vehicle. The fitter needs to contact their original supplier for further instruction.

  1. Misting/Sweating

Any mechanical moving component requires lubrication for a long service life. A shock absorber is no different. It is necessary for the oil seal the rod passes through to remain lubricated.

As a vehicle travels over uneven terrain, the continuous inward and outward movement of the shock absorber piston rod will invariably cause oil to “sweat” from the top seal and drift through the surrounding air. We refer to this condition as “misting” and it will be evident from the moist stain on the outer body to which dust and other contaminants will adhere. Usually there are no droplets of oil clinging to the shock absorber. There is no need to be concerned by this condition as it does not indicate the oil seal has failed. It can be surprising how just a small amount of oil can leave a large stain, however the relatively small volume of hydraulic fluid emitted through misting has no effect on the operation of the shock absorber. In fact, because KONI does not compromise on the quality and volume of hydraulic fluid used in their shock absorbers, a KONI damper can lose up to 30% of its total oil volume before its operation is negatively impacted. Damping forces are not reduced through misting and a KONI shock can remain in service with this condition for many years and many miles. We do however recommend that any shock absorber be cleaned to remove any build up of dirt during regular maintenance.

Where bright blue or bright red droplets of hydraulic fluid are evident on the surface of the shock absorber body or dripping from its base, the seal may have failed, and the damper may need to be replaced or repaired (if it is of a design that can be serviced). Please contact your distributor or importer to discuss potential repair or replacement options.

… it’s probably not leaking!

KONI produces large volumes of shock absorbers for general automotive, off road/SUV, bus, truck, commercial trailer, racing, military, railway, and civil engineering applications. KONI shock absorbers are used in extreme environments all around the world and yet KONI piston rod seal failures are extremely rare. Regrettably, sometimes totally serviceable KONI shock absorbers are removed from vehicles and sent to Koni for warranty assessment only to be found to be functioning normally and not leaking hydraulic fluid.

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By RFT on 22 Feb 2023

The UK Home Of Koni Performance Dampers and Suspension Systems