1993-2002 Camaro Koni STR.T Shocks Review and Install Info
Every F-Body enthusiast recognizes the Koni brand when it comes to racing and very high performance Camaro shocks and struts. A few years ago Koni realized that not everyone needs the added cost and complexity of their full on adjustable shocks, so they started offering the STR.T (“Street”) line of performance dampers. Koni STR.T shocks for 1993-2002 Camaro and Firebird have carefully tuned valving designed to offer the best balance of improved handling performance without being so stiff that they decrease ride quality on your daily driver. These shocks (Koni part numbers 8250-1005 and 8250-1006) have become wildly popular, so the Brothers performance team decided to take a closer look at what makes them such a highly regarded upgrade.
Koni STR.T shocks offer enough added stiffness to properly dampen most Camaro lowering spring kits on the market but are still soft enough to work with factory springs if you’re just looking to replace your old shocks and maybe look into lowering springs later. This flexibility, coupled with their budget price, is what helped make them the most popular shock Brothers Performance sells.
Despite their low price the STR.T line of shocks represents an excellent value because you’re getting a real performance shock, not just a whimpy stock replacement. Another important distinction is, like all Koni shocks, the STR.T valving is not just extra stiff to make you think they are better for performance, when that’s not all there is to it. Many of the cheaper sport shocks on the market have noticeably stiffer valving, but they are not very linear, sacrificing ride quality. Not only that, but shocks that have valves so stiff they just slam shut on impact can upset the chassis and actually work against you in maintaining cornering grip.
Koni is well known for spending countless hours developing their shock valving and it shows in all of their dampers, not just their race shocks. The Camaro STR.T offers a great balance of ride quality while being stiff enough for serious cornering. The very linear damping characteristics of these shocks is how Koni achieves great handling without sacrificing ride quality.
How do they stack up against the competition? The closest competitor is Bilstein. For years builders of many performance street applications and even some autocross and road racers (particularly those in classes limited to non-adjustable dampers) chose Bilsteins for their F-Body. Bilstein shocks have been around for a long time and are known for offering improved handling and great durability. Since the release of the STR.T line many of those guys have transitioned to using the Koni shocks on their Camaro because they prefer the valving. Even some of the top competitors in autocross events have made the switch to STR.T.
So, you may be wondering “what’s the trade-off then?” Well, not really a whole lot in this case. The one possible advantage is that Bilsteins are a mono-tube design, where the Koni STR.T is a twin-tube. Mono-tube shocks tend to be more durable over time than a twin-tube design, but that has as much to do with how well they’re built as it does with their tubing design. Mono-tube shocks also tend to be more expensive, which is why the Bilsteins typically cost noticeably more than the Koni STR.T. The reality is that unless you’re running your F-Body in off road rallies and making Dukes of Hazard style jumps, either design will likely hold up fine.
Installation of these Camaro shocks is very straight forward and can be done with pretty basic tools. The most exotic tool you’d need is a spring compressor and a torque wrench, but you can borrow those from just about any parts store in America if you don’t want to buy them. Besides that you just need some basic tools like an assortment of sockets and wrenches (though air tools are nice if you have the option). Also you’ll need a jack and some jack stands unless you are lucky enough to have access to a lift. From there, you simply remove the factory shocks and install the Konis in the reverse order. It's very important to properly torque all suspension fasteners.
Once you’ve installed your new shocks, it is always recommended you take your car in for a front end alignment. This not only allows you to prevent premature tire wear, but ensures that your car will handle properly. Many alignment shops will perform a more performance oriented alignment upon request. Essentially they just dial in more aggressive caster and camber than the OE specs, allowing you to keep more of the tire in contact with the road during cornering. More is not always better on a street car though, as the more aggressive you go the more likely you are to start causing uneven tire wear.
Brothers Performance offers Koni STR.T front shocks, rear shocks or a cost-saving complete F-body shock kit. We keep a wide variety of Koni shocks and struts in stock, covering many popular applications. If you don’t see your application listed on our website, just give us a call at 1-800-486-2681.
Koni STR.T Front Shock (93-02 Camaro/Firebird) 8250-1005
Koni STR.T Rear Shock (93-02 Camaro/Firebird) 8250-1006
Koni STR.T Shock Kit (93-02 Camaro & Firebird)