NC Sport shocks, Sach's, Kong, Bilstein

Hi all,
I have the original Bilstiens on my 2008 2.0 sport. It currently handles like a half filled bath tub, interesting to say the least.

I know tyres and geometry need doing, but also aware that 12 year old shocks (at 72k miles) are going to be tired. So thinking about getting everything done at the same time.

I want comfort as well as secure handling, this is not a track car, and my favourite roads are back roads not fast flowing A roads.

Looking for the most cost effective way to update the shocks. I can see sachs for around £300, Bilston B4s around £400, B6/B8s around £600 and Koni (with springs) around £700. I also see Mazda supplied replacement Bilstiens for silly money compared with the B4 and B6 prices above.

So… has anyone tried the cheaper options? I am guessing you get what you pay for, but pretty sure anything will be a step up from 12 year old originals?

And should I bite the bullet and change the springs at the same time, even if I am happy with the high ish original ride height?

All thoughts appreciated.

So…

Interested in this thread too. Mk3 Sport, 70k on original Bilsteins and apart from rust, they appear visibly ok, but a lot of low speed knocking and grumbling. New drop links and also -35mm eibachs. Handles well but suspect the shocks causing the noise.

I recently posted a question about Vmaxx coilovers but didn’t get much positive feedback. Don’t really want the expense of Meisters as i don’t need the adjustability. So sensible cost shocks are a possibility.

Just you and me then? Lol.
I emailed Bilstein for guidance on B4 vs original Billies on the Sport. But I am kind of leaning towards a full B12 kit for c. £700. Will post here if any new news.

The MeisterR’s are not much more.

Bilsteins for me as described in above posts were worn out coupled with lowering springs made the ride and handling ok but on undulating roads bottomed out.
Couldn’t get to the bottom of why I had knocking on slightly uneven roads, ok over speed bumps or when I couldn’t avoid more severe stuff like potholes. Everything checked, droplinks changed still rattling from the rear.
MeisterR’s fitted nice and quiet and money well spent, as said though pricey. Adjustable for height if you have problems with speed bumps and ride stiffness but money well spent if your car is a keeper.

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The meister r come in at about £100 more than the B12 kit (b6/b8 shocks with eibach springs), so yes, in the same ballpark cost wise. Lovely though they are to look at, in the real world of using the car year round, do they hold up to the weather?

Idea of all that adjustment both appeals, and fills me with dread! Is fiddling with damping settings easy, or is it a shock out situation?

And with regards to the rear roll bar, does the standard one actually do anything? I am working under the car the last couple of days, and with arb disconnected at one end, I can rotate the other quite significantly by hand. I can’t see that it has any material effect??

Rear ARB? If nothing else it should be carefully tuned to match spring rates, shockers damping characteristics, and unsprung weight, simply to prevent axle tramp and wheel hop on acceleration and braking! Even tyre pressures and flex are significant in this respect.

Body-roll control is secondary at the rear, but a lot more useful at the front where the steering continually changes the wheel loading.

I spent years with my old bitsa Ford trying to cure the axle tramp (rwd, beam axle, leaf springs, too much power for not enough weight at the back unless four up with luggage), eventually ending up with Koni Selecta-ride shocks and assorted experiments with A-frames. But not knowing what I was doing, not having access to proper design methods, and going by hearsay from others it was a suck-it-and-see mess. All it needed was the Konis and a nicely tuned arb, which never happened.
Only years later did I see the technology being applied properly, and realised what a precise fine art it is when based on solid science. And no, I don’t have access to it now, and never had the ability to implement it - I know my place.

The shocks can be adjusted for ride height without removal, it’s supplied with a special spanner for the job. Adjusting the ride firmness or softening can be acheived by turning the adjuster on the top of each shock. Fronts via the engine bay and rears can be made easier with the extensions for the adjusters. Had mine fitted nearly 3 years and only adjusted them twice, it’s settled how I want it. Recently fitted the adjuster extensions for the rear ones.

As regards keeping them clean, well I’ve given them a wipe over a couple of times when doing wheel off maintainance (brakes) and they seem to be holding up well, no corrosion or damage to the finish surface. My car is cosseted though so doesn’t see every day use and sorned in winter. :ok_hand:

I’ve had my CRD’s on 4 years driven year round. Given a good coat of grease around the area of the preload and height adjustment collars when fitted to preserve the threads. They have been faultless so far. Unless you can test drive another car with the suspension you aim to buy before purchase you have little idea whether or not it will suit you. At least the meister give the option of ride height and damping adjustment. The spring rates offered are comfortable on all but the worst road surface. Oh and Paul likes them…

Here is my latest thinking…

  • Koni str.t - old reviews suggest these are poor quality, but more recent units were made in a different factory and are pretty good units. Around £360 for shocks alone, or £500 for kits with HR springs. Some suggest they are a tad under damped.
  • Meister - very appealing, kits around £800.
  • Bilstein B4 - not made by Bilstein, and equivalent of sachs, Monroe, and any of a number of cheap shocks available from around £200 per set.
  • Bilstein B6/B8 - around £700 for a complete kit with Eibach springs, or £600 without.

But, then I found if you buy the Bilstein from Eibach, they are cheaper. Best I have found is a complete kit for just under £600.

I am also aware that a good many mk3s have failed mot tests due to broken springs (from looking at mot history on countless cars while searching for the one I bought), so think new springs may not be a bad idea even if the original sport springs still seem fine.
I also have a Bilstein b12 kit on my BMW 140, and am very happy with that.

So, just about to pull the trigger on the ‘Eibach B12’ kit, at £200 less than the Meisters, that makes more sense on a car that is only worth about £3k, plus being non adjustable I will have no option other than ‘fit and forget’. My only hesitation is that I can not find many reviews from anyone who has this setup, does that mean there is a reason why they seem an unpopular choice? Safer bet maybe the adjustability of the Meisters, but I really don’t want to spend that much.

I know that you folk know this - but newbies may not . . . . prices of kit do NOT include fitting :wink:

Interesting solution. Seems you get the 30mm lowering too which aesthetically is a must. Maybe factor in new bump stops and bushes. When I stripped my bilsteins to fit eibachs, the bump stops were clean so I re-used them but now I worry that in hindsight they were rock hard and may not be performing optimally. Wish I swapped them.

Also looks like they re-use the top mounts so watch that the boots on the originals aren’t torn, mine were.

When you factor this in, the b12 kit is close to £700-750. I’ve seen Meisters for less at Moss when sales are in.

I’ve ordered the b12 kit. £575 including delivery. Intend fitting myself, and then getting laser alignment done (about £100 around here).

Boots and bump stops; I did intend reusing what was there, but you make a good point. I know the boots on the back are split, need to check the front. Presume I just need to replace with mazda parts? I have asked Bilstein this question, but anyone know from experience? I assume the bump stops are dependent on the size of the push rod, and that may vary by shock manufacturer.

B12 kit, shocks and springs fitted, pretty straight forward to do. Fitted new bumpstops, but they were not needed, old ones were fine, also fitted new boots on the front, but couldn’t find new rear ones for sale anywhere, so the old ones were repaired using an old inner tube. I used a cheap pair of spring compressor’s from Amazon. I recommend buying something better if you are doing this, I made lots of chip marks on the spring I had to touch up when installed.

I expected the old shocks to be a bit knackered, but the push down and time the extension test showed around 5 or 6 seconds to full extension. Much slower than I thought, so there is still some life in them. Will put them up on eBay when I get round to it.

Tracking was booked for this morning, but the garage could not shift the front tracking adjusters and one of the front castor adjusters, so the car is still with them and I now have a loan microthing.

So still waiting for the ‘end result’, but the brief 15 miles I have done on a range of roads was all good news. Car is as comfortable as standard, yet so much more composed. Very pleased. Did touch down on a speed hump, so need to be more careful in the future.

If I can work out how to post pictures, I’ll show what it looks like height wise when I get it back.

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Must say, I am very happy with the result. The appearance was not really an issue to me, and I would not have gone lower if it sacrificed comfort - but this upgrade to the B8s and Eibach springs really makes the car handle like it is on rails, rails that you can move around like flicking a switch, and the road surface imperfection are now smoothed out. So performance and comfort. Mmmm… what is not to like?

I really don’t know why there are not many folks out there with the same set up - I wonder if they are put off by already having Bilsteins on the standard car, and thinking the B8s would be the same? In the BMW world, Bilsteins are the go to aftermarket choice. I have them on my 140, and that had a large part in persuading me to try them on the Mazda. Good decision :slight_smile:

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Looks great and good to hear it has met expectations. Interesting to hear your comments about road imperfections. Presume it’s quiet too?

Seems like a great result :+1::+1:

Hiya, car looks good at that ride height :+1: just a little confused though about what you’ve actually fitted. You mentioned you’d bought a B12 kit but then talk of B8’s? Not nit picking in any way but for future readers of this topic, could you clarify please? I have no experience of replacement Bilstein other than binning the OEM ones on my Sport Tech for Meister club race. :joy:

Barrie

The B12 kit is a combination of B8 dampers and matched Eibach springs.

To confuse things further, there are both B12 Prokit, and B12 Sport line kits. Prokit is what I have (and all that is available for the MX5), and the Sport line kit is very track focused with a bigger drop and firmer springs.

The B12 kit can also come with B6 dampers, which are longer, for use without lowering. Again, not available for MX5. Typical buyer maybe running an SUV or truck.

Also, as in the thread above, you can buy an Eibach B12 kit, or a Bilstein B12 kit… and they are the same thing, but the Eibach kit is cheaper.
Also, Eibach sell two different part numbered kits, and they are the same, Eibach say the dampers are different and the springs are the same, but the Bilstein part numbers are the same. I bought both and am sending one back.

Confused?

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:smiley: thanks for the reply! I understand now (I think) so a B12 kit has B8 shocks with upgrade springs :thinking:

Either way, as I said previously, car sits well and your experience is that car rides well too! What’s not to like? TBH, I went for the Meister set up as I’ve had earlier versions on previous 5’s. Never considered the Bilstein upgrade as an option. Fair play to you for going this route and posting your results, it’s another option for folks which is great!

Barrie

Barrie

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Just a quick update a few hundred miles after fitting the B12 kit.

Handling and cornering is like glue. Brings out a more sporty, darty nature which is very nice.

But I am thinking it is a touch too low for me. I have touched down a couple of times on aggressive road humps, not severely, but enough to make me wish I was 15mm higher. I think the car has dropped 30mm from standard - but don’t have any ‘before’ measurements. Does look the part though, looks much better, but I am more into function than form.

I also just looked on the Autodoc Web site and the price of the kit is now £844, which is 15% off RRP of £993! I guess in a couple of weeks they will have an “Amazing 40% Off” eye catching offer.

When I bought mine a few weeks back I paid £575, (plus another 80 or 90 quid for rubbers from mx5parts) which is one of the main reasons I went for these and not the Maester set at c. £800.

Kind of wish I had gone the ride height adjustable Maester route now. I might end up having to buy another set of springs to lift the car a fraction, or come up with a spacer of some sort to fit on the end of the spring.

So, if you are looking for a high quality lowering kit, strongly recommend the Bilstein Eibach combo. But be aware of big price fluctuations and don’t over pay. If you are not too sure how low you want to go, I would suggest paying the extra for adjustability.

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Maybe in the uk but in the Netherlands the MeisterR’s will be around 1000 euro’s, Bilstein B12 slightly over 600 if you do a good search :smiley: For 100 difference I would go with the Meisters though.