Fitting a set of uprated Konis
Dr Gavin Bailey (RV8 BRG 0766) from Surrey describes the results of fitting the uprated Konis supplied by Clive Wheatley. (Aug 04)

New Koni sports shocks on rear end (Photo: Gavin Bailey)

Those of you who visited the V8 Marquee at the annual International MG Meeting 2004 at Silverstone may have seen the front and rear sets of uprated Koni shock absorbers that Clive Wheatley has recently sourced for the RV8.

Clive had been concerned over the handling of the RV8 for some time and, through his contacts in the West Midlands, traced the uprated Koni units. He understands that although they were available when the RV8 was in production, the standard units were used instead. The uprated units transform the ride and handling of the RV8 when compared with the original units. RV8 owners in Holland were some of the first to order the uprated Konis as soon as they became available from Clive and from their reports they are clearly happy with the results!

The uprated units are the same size as the standard units but can be identified as they are bright yellow rather than orange. I fitted the rear units first and then tested the car to assess the benefits and then set about fitting the new units to the front end, followed by a test of the combination.

Original unit fitted to the car before removal (Photo: Gavin Bailey)

Uprated Konis on the rear end
Having fitted the rear units, I took the car out for a drive, deliberately going down the roads I usually avoid. Rather than behaving like the automotive equivalent of a bucking bronco, the rear is now well damped, and gone is the almost uncontrolled leaping around and crashing over bumps. So in summary, either the existing shocks were totally worn out or badly adjusted (which I don't believe they

The shiny new front units in their box before fitting. (Photo: Gavin Bailey)

were), or as Clive advised me, the original units were the cheaper of the two options that Rover was offered by Koni. They do say you only get what you pay for! When I get round to fitting the front set over the next weekend I will give a full report on my views in relation to ride and handling of the combination.

Uprated Konis on the front end
I have now fitted the new front shock absorbers. The job was completed easily without any hitches in under an hour and a half. I was particularly grateful to Peter Tothill for his note (see RV8NOTE214) which included the rough size of the timber wedges you need to insert to support the front suspension arms. During a short road test after fitting the new front shock absorbers I took the RV8 down a mixture of roads, it was clear that the new front units had made a further improvement in ride quality and handling of the car, especially over rough and undulating surfaces. In particular, the tendency of the standard set up to lose composure around bends at speed when on an undulating or bumpy surface is greatly reduced.

Original front unit dismantled showing the order of components. Note: the original units are red, whilst the new uprated units are yellow in colour. (Photo: Gavin Bailey)

Although the front dampers made an additional improvement over the standard set up, by far the greatest improvement was made by fitting the uprated rear shock absorbers, although it would seem sensible to fit a complete set of the uprated units if your budget allows. Lastly, although the new units are sold as "sports" units, the ride they give is not as unforgiving and harsh as you might expect from that name. All in all, I am very pleased with the end result - this latest modification along with new tyres I fitted earlier this year, plus the recent installation of an RPI Optimax chip, have improved the RV8 to an extent that I now enjoy driving it as much as my MGBGTV8!

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