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Mixing shocks - bad idea?


New Member
Feb 9, 2016
Country Flag
Hi, am looking to upgrade suspension on my 5.7L 200.
After hours of surfing here, there and everywhere for both reviews and UK availability of parts, I have this thought.
(By the way for those who haven't seen, this is a very informative review (for a 100) ).
I want good on road high speed handling laden with people but not tons of kit and the ability to drive off road from time to time but not serious rock crawling.
I plan to put Bilstein B6 on the front and tough dog 41mm foam cell on the back.
I want good on road handling and Bilstein ticks that box.
The curves for tough dog and Bilstein are similar.
But the bilsteins are high pressure with it seems about 100kg residual force (reading from graph at 1000N at 0 compressive) so will lift the front (which has a hidden winch) a bit, maybe about an inch and level the car a bit, which is a good thing.
However, I may be unusual on here but I don't want to lift the back any more (sorry!) - I measured and with my 285/65/18 coopers there's 13 inches to the side step and call me a wimp but when the bumps get bigger than a foot I question whether it wouldn't be better to come back in something where I wouldn't have to worry so much about explaining the resculpting of the bodywork to my patient other half (which is why I haven't sold my 100) my ideal would actually be to be able to drop the 200 about 8 inches once above 50mph on road, but don't worry, I'm not going there (although this might be fun
Anyway, I digress.
The Bilsteins are very light shocks reducing unsprung mass on the front (the back axle is live so trying to shave a couple of kilos there is pissing into the wind) which is a good thing for steering and handling.
The tough dog are seemingly -tough- twin tube with steel outers and slightly more travel, ideal for the much more exposed rear.
And if a slight mismatch in characteristic means the front becomes just a little sharper and has a tiny bit more bite when cornering and that reduces the latent understeer the car has (at least when normally loaded) caused by having a whopping great 5.7 l lump and forward transfer case towering over the front wheels, that's a bonus.
I was thinking of Bilstein front, Koni 88 rear for similar reasons but looking at the curves and characteristics and damper type, I think that risks too much of a mismatch.
Another secondary reason is the Bilsteins are pricey and performance 4x4 only has the rear tough dog in stock so I'd have to wait a while for tough dog all round!
Now, I know the curves were not necessarily for the specific parts I'm getting.
And I know the shock manufacturers make a set for a vehicle, and if it doesn't balance I can't complain about either end.
If someone can tell me scientifically (rather than just a hunch) why it's really a bad idea, I'll go for Bilsteins all round but else I'll give it a try and let any of you who are still reading know how it works.
But if someone can point me to a better solution, available at a sensible price and lead time in the UK, I'm open to suggestions.
Just by way of a random question.... don't the Toyota tens shocks give you exactly the variable height and different performance fir different terrain, that you seek.
Is your 200 without KDSS?
I heard you could get it with conventional suspension in Oz, but were they ever sold without KDSS in Europe?
Last edited:
Is your 200 without KDSS?
I heard you could get it with conventional suspension in Oz, but where they ever sold without KDSS in Europe?

i believe thats the LC200 GX trim, but only with the diesel engine ( in Australia ) that came without the kdss. IIyak has the petrol US edition. I thought the whole point of KDSS paired with the TENS suspension bits was to solve the exact problem that he has at the moment..