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What are the correct size Koni front shocks for a 1968 Beetle at stock height?

I purchased the (red) Koni D 80-1787 which Koni's site recommended as a stock shock replacement. My mechanic says they're too short. The wheels drop only about an inch when the car is on the lift. Thus there's no down travel and the car bounces when on the road.

Sitting on the ground the height from the bottom of the shock to the top shock mount is about 16-7/8". The Koni rep tells me that the heights for the 80-1787 are 16.8" fully extended and 13.3 or 10.7 compressed (depending on if the foam stopper is removed).

My understanding of how shocks work is that you should at least have some down travel. So, I basically have zero down travel.

Did I get the wrong part number? I've heard of a "lowered" version. Did I end up with that accidentally? The part number installed on my car is 80-1787 with an 18-2014 below it. The car was stock until I installed an Airkewld beam. Since the shocks mount to the beam I can't tell why it'd matter if it was lowered or not (which it is not).

Do I have the wrong shocks somehow? I'm looking for a stock amount of travel, just in a modern shock. And I basically settled on Koni because dampening is adjustable.

Image1 Image: shows shock fully extended on the ground

  • In the bottom picture, is that with the suspension on the ground? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 9 '16 at 1:26
  • No. It's just the angle from the front looking back and slightly down, so you see the ground in the background. It's a different view on the same thing in the first pic. – cloudsurfin Jan 9 '16 at 21:25
  • According to the FAQ on the rockauto.com page, the front should only have a 2.625" travel. That's a very small amount of travel, which is stupid to me. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 9 '16 at 21:39
  • These pics are sitting on the ground. Thanks for looking into it! – cloudsurfin Jan 10 '16 at 1:06
  • @Paulster2 Re-reading your first question...yes, that is with the car sitting on the ground. Not sure what I was thinking when I replied the first time. – cloudsurfin Jan 19 '16 at 19:13
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This question has been bothering me for a long time, so I did some cross referencing with some performance shock manufacturers. One I found was from KYB. It shows the shock for the front of the 68 Beetle to be PN: 343143 (OE Replacement) and PN: KG4520 (Performance Upgrade). The interesting thing about these two shocks is, it shows the travel for the shock to be at 5.12" and 5.31" respectively. That's over twice the travel for what the Koni D 80-1787 shows. Here are the full travel specs for both of these shocks:

PN:            Extended Len:        Compressed Len:      Travel:
343143         17.01                11.89                5.12
KG4520         17.32                12.01                5.31

In each case, there is at least extra length over the Koni shock as well. The performance shock from KYB would get you some extended length over the OEM replacement, while putting the travel more in the middle range of you're looking for.

I don't know if this helps, but it seems to me there are longer shocks out there for your application. If worse came to worse, you could extend the stud some to put the shock down into the compressed position further. It's crazy you cannot get one with enough travel to make it good.

  • 1
    This one has been open for a long time! – DucatiKiller Sep 1 '16 at 0:26

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