KONI FSD Possible FAILURE - CORROSION

Skipton01

Well-Known Member
I chose the B8s as they were around £100 cheaper than the FSDs and they use more modern suspension technology (upside down and fully sealed piston rods for example) than FSDs. Truth be told, after a couple of years, the variable damping on my Konis was gone and even though the makers now say they've modified their manufacturing techniques, I think the FSDs are an old outdated damper.

Also, as I use a slightly shortened spring compared to stock, the B8s is tailor made for this application, unlike the FSD which is meant for stock spring lengths and although they can be used with shorter springs, the damping will be compromised due to the piston rod already being partially compressed when at rest.

I'd no longer recommend FSDs to any A2 owner with non-stock springs for the above reasons.
 

Louis

A2OC Donor
Thanks for this info. Mines are in their 8th year now.

Louis


Mine failed earlier this year after 10 years on Tank. Although I could have argued the toss with the distributor, having the box an receipt still, I couldn't be bothered and decided just to fit Bilstein B8s instead, which are superb.

My failure was the main tube, around the top where the seals are crimped in. Offside front started rattling after going over a minor pothole and when I got home, 15 miles later, I discovered the damage. No impact on the arch, tyre or anything else though, so I got quite lucky. Popped the original dampers back on whist I waited for the Bilsteins to arrive, so ended up doubling the work (swapped out to originals, then 3 weeks later, swapped originals out for Bilsteins), but an alignment check showed that things were out by 0.1º overall, which isn't bad.
 
Mine were worse than they looked from the outside so beware. They had rust on the internals too. The bang in the pothole had pushed the rusty sleeve out of the tube.

See photo.
 

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murdo

Admin Team
Mine were worse than they looked from the outside so beware. They had rust on the internals too. The bang in the pothole had pushed the rusty sleeve out of the tube.

See photo.
Are you pursuing this under the lifetime warranty or racking it up to experience and buying a different product?

It's always worrying when club members post these pictures up. That damper looks pretty bad
 

murdo

Admin Team
Evening crew,

Plonker has a new password Mr Grim sir.

The premature failure of the FSDs is very worrying and a potential safety issue IMHO. The failure has occurred within 5 years of ownership and with only around 20k covered. The corrosion looks akin to 10 plus years I would suggest.

I have as yet to contact Koni direct, but need to do so a.s.a.p. I personally wouldn't want or trust the brand again - my opinion. Diane now drives my former pride and joy and carries the children in the car daily. If the shock had failed completely and at speed this might have ended tragically. I was lucky enough that Diane complained of noise and on jacking up the vehicle I noted the problem immediately. Shredded tyres too.

I advise that all FSD owners undertake a comprehensive inspection as matter of urgency. My deepest apologies that I was not back on here sooner with a word of caution.

Darren















A reminder of Darren's FSD's with 20k miles and 5 years of use.
 

spike

Well-Known Member
The passenger side front spring broke a couple of days ago so no option but to strip the suspension. My Koni FSDs were fitted in 2007 and looked quite rusty around the spring pan area so was expecting to need replacements in addition to the spring and various fasteners. I've been very pleased with the Konis so in spite of all the glowing reports about Bilsteins, was planning to replace the fronts with the new Koni Special Active (FSD upgrade) at approx. £270 for the pair.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the Koni was in good shape, with only minor surface pitting evident once the flaking paint and surface rust had been removed. The seals and piston rod were fine and the damping seemed OK - as best you can tell without a test rig.
A dose of Bilt Hmber rust remover and a coat of black paint should see them last a few more years - Just hope the drivers side is in as good condition.
Maybe the liberal coats of Waxoyl over the years have actually been worth it. It certainly seemed to have worked on the roll bar plastic sleeves which I sprayed when the car was new. No signs of the sleeves cracking, and it's still on the original roll bar bushes

Cheers Spike

Forgot to mention the spring compressor I used. After struggling with the traditional 'hook and threaded rod' design for years, I splashed out and bought one of these. Not sure if it will work on every spring design but it worked brilliantly on the A2. -
 

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murdo

Admin Team
If there was a book being kept for owner most likely to defy the reported corrosion problems with the Konis it would be Spike! Waxoyl from new must be the answer indeed.
 

timmus

A2OC Donor
My FSDs were fitted in 2011, I think. They must've done approximately 100,000 miles, 90% of which was just sitting there on the motorway.
I've just replaced them with the Koni Special Active dampers; the replacements for the FSDs. I decided to give Koni the benefit of doubt. They know that they dropped the ball with that particular batch of FSDs, and their dampers are so well suited to the A2 that I didn't want to have to start playing about with suspension setups again, searching for something that works for me.
I decided to replace the FSDs because I was worried about the spring seat breaking off. The exterior corrosion was getting a bit scary, though they still performed flawlessly. Surely enough, once removed, huge sheets of rust could be peeled off. The exterior diameter of the whole damper had increased significantly due to all the rust. However, the internals were still perfect. With the new Special Active dampers fitted, the car doesn't drive any better.
I've kept the FSDs and will get in touch with Koni. 8 years of life from a premium product just isn't good enough. My sister's A2 is 15 years old and still on its original dampers, and they look like new compared to the FSDs.

Cheers,

Tom
 

Darren C

Admin Team
I genuinely believe this was a faulty manufacturing process, isolated to a bad batch or two and a quality assurance issue. Pleased to learn it is relatively isolated, as the failure we sustained is very much a safety critical matter and one I’d not want any members to endure.

For me, once bitten and all. Safe motoring all.
 

timmus

A2OC Donor
the failure we sustained is very much a safety critical matter and one I’d not want any members to endure
Well, exactly. As I stared into my front wheel arch, looking at the corroded spring seat, I thought of what had happened to yours. It's ultimately what made me replace them, despite their performance still being absolutely fine. Having chatted to Koni and their distributors, and been convinced that they've addressed the issue, I have decided to give them another go. I now have a shiny new set of bright red dampers.
 

bretti_kivi

Member
Newer Konis no longer have the lifetime warranty. I've spoken at length with someone who used to work for them and he was in agreement about quality control. The incidence of rust is significant.

It's pretty obvious that we've written them off on the German forum; failures after 5 years and 100000km is simply unacceptable. And then an "offer" of Special Active for >€300. B4s are cheaper, easier to find and apparently work better.

- Bret
 
Are you pursuing this under the lifetime warranty or racking it up to experience and buying a different product?

It's always worrying when club members post these pictures up. That damper looks pretty bad
I have not persued Koni under the warranty nor the council for the potholes that broke it. As I have been told, on here, they were for a Polo I guessed that Koni wouldn't play ball with that. I didn't bother with the council as the rusty dampeers were an advisory on the last MoT.

Has anyone had any luck claiming warranty from Koni???

Cheers

Rob
PS The spring platform was also deformed.
 

murdo

Admin Team
As I have been told, on here, they were for a Polo I guessed that Koni wouldn't play ball with that.
Hi Rob. I can't understand why the model of car they were fitted to would be a factor. You didnt have to modify or alter them to bolt them in did you?
My understanding was provided you had evidence of purchase from Koni or a distributor then the parts have a lifetime guarantee.
 

bretti_kivi

Member
When I took my FSDs off I went back to Koni and was told in the first instance to go back to the retailer, in this case Larkspeed in the UK.
Larkspeed essentially said "wear and tear isn't included" on the phone and made it pretty clear they weren't interested; Koni had also said that replacement was at the discretion of the retailer. That I'd also have to ship them to the retailer at my cost meant I just dropped it.

The lifetime warranty was dropped several years ago IIRC.

- Bret
 

murdo

Admin Team
^^ That's a shame for people who bought them with the belief they had a lifetime warranty. A cop out if thats the case..
 

steve_c

A2OC Donor
^^ That's a shame for people who bought them with the belief they had a lifetime warranty. A cop out if thats the case..
Koni still appears to offer a lifetine warranty to original purchasers in North America (the company is US owned). Here in the UK, they now limit warranty claims by the original purchaser to the first two years.

Anyone buying Koni shocks should ask for a written warranty at the time of sale. The truth is, Koni is a badly damaged brand as a result of their shocks rusting, and it's difficult to see why customers should support them without an extended warranty.

I can remember when Koni were the absolute premium brand, before they fell into the clutches of corporate raiders.
 
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photon

A2OC Donor
Have just posted full set of Koni Special Actives ( best replacements for FSD) in "For Sale" section at advantageous price to A2OC members.
 

steve_c

A2OC Donor
Have just posted full set of Koni Special Actives ( best replacements for FSD) in "For Sale" section at advantageous price to A2OC members.
Advantageous? Sorry but I'd prefer inflated. Given that these are pre-owned, and come without warranty, there's going to be little any buyer can do when they start rusting. Surely it's better to get a set of Bilstein B4s and avoid all that hassle and expense.
 
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