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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start off by saying that the front shocks on my 69 convertible are SHOT. I can feel the car laying over around curves, and it definitely dips and undulates when I go over hills in the road. So most likely just installing any new shock will make an improvement. That being said, I have been doing a little research before I buy new ones. I see some folks who like the Koni Classic adjustables, others who just went with garden variety Monroe hydraulic or gas shocks. Sounds like the general consensus is that the KYB gas shocks are too stiff (although I had a set way back in the 80's on a 76 Camaro and liked them.) So I guess I am looking for some additional input. Car is completely stock, with about 75K miles on the original suspension (everything seems to be tight and in good shape). Since everything is stock, I can't really justify spending a bunch of money on some fancy shocks. I'm real tempted to just go with a set of Monroe gas shocks like you can get at the local auto parts store, but I am wondering if I actually want something a little stiffer considering that this is a big block convertible, so there is considerably more weight on the front tires with the bigger engine and the cocktail shakers throwing in an extra 100 lbs over the nose. For the most part, I like the way the car rides now - it is smooth and quiet. It's just on the curves and dips in the roads where it needs some help.

OK TC, I am listening. :) Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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Tom... I have some pretty generic (newer) shocks in the front, and no, the front end isn't stock (Helix U/L control arms, Hotchkis springs, ProForged BJs/steering parts) but the biggest improvement came with the installation of a 1.125" Helwig front sway bar. And yes, it's a big block (461) and I still might consider some adjustable shocks down the road, but right now I'm more focused on building a new rear end package.

I'd probably agree that a decent set of shocks like the Monroes would be a big improvement. Don't know how hung up you are on "correctness" but if you like flatter cornering... the big sway bar is pretty amazing.
 

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Might be a spring issue. If I recall the shock just controls the continuous up and down motion after the dip. The spring may have lost some if its original strength. Even with low miles, the car weight is always on the spring even when the car is parked. I am also looking into new shocks for my Z. I have a small block though. One of mine is leaking. I see KYB makes a regular shock for the front, and a heavy duty set as well. Hopefully someone here will chime in on my theory , and the KYB. Differences.
 

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Al - Waterloo, Iowa
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Tom, I'm a Gabriel fan from way back. In the day these cars were just daily drivers Gabriel was our go to shock. Ultra I believe is their best shock. Front number is 69600. I have had some trouble with Monroe's over the years. Most recent was on my Silverado. One front and one rear froze. They were only 2 yrs. old. Here's a link to Gabriel's at Summit for one supplier.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/gab-69600
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, the rest of the car is so untouched and original that I am a little hesitant to put an aftermarket sway bar on the car. Granted, that is something that can be easily switched back, but I think I will start with shocks and see if that is enough of an improvement. But the big sway bar is intriguing - a buddy of mine installed a big 1 1/8" bar on his Cutlass that we robbed off of a late 70's WS6 Trans Am, and it made an amazing difference.

Does anyone think I would want a stiffer front shock in consideration of all the weight on the front end of the car? Something like the KYB Gas-A-Just? Or would these result in a harsh ride? I am pretty satisfied with the overall ride - just would like it a little more firm in the corners.

Thanks for the replies! You sure can't beat the price of the Gabriels.
 

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I have an all original 69 RSSS, I replaced the shocks, all 4 with Gabriel HD gas shocks and added the larger sway bar. No one will tell the difference in the 1/2" larger bar. A much improved ride and not stiff like the high priced shocks, which I have never been impressed with for the extra bucks, I already have one of those and the ride is like a off road truck! Check the A frame bushing as time might have worn those as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have an all original 69 RSSS, I replaced the shocks, all 4 with Gabriel HD gas shocks and added the larger sway bar. No one will tell the difference in the 1/2" larger bar. A much improved ride and not stiff like the high priced shocks, which I have never been impressed with for the extra bucks, I already have one of those and the ride is like a off road truck! Check the A frame bushing as time might have worn those as well.
Bruce, do you have a PN for the fronts? Pretty much ruled out the KYB's based on complaints about stiff ride. Probably going with a set of the Gabriels.
 

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Maybe I can offer a different opinion: I have a mostly stock '69 RS SB, the front springs were replaced before me with I thing stock Moog replacements, same for rears. I replaced the stock sway bar with Helwig 1 1/8" and KYB Gas Adjust shocks all around. This was done in the 90's and really only got to drive the car in the last couple of years. I've read all the negative on the KYB's and it got me thinking I should replace them. The more I drive the car the more I like the setup, it corners flat and the ride is firm but comfortable, not harsh. The stock seats are not up to what the car's handling is capable of. It's not a long distance trip car, just a fun car to take out on a drive.
 
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