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Koni Shock Failure on Recent Diablos

Recently there has been a lot of discussion amongst Diablo owners about a problem with the Koni shocks in 1997 and later Diablo's. The problem with these cars is that the shocks often fail (leak oil) if the car hits a major bump in the road. It appears to be a design problem related to the fact that these cars have a mechanism that allows the driver to pump oil from the power steering into the shocks that raises the car about 4 inches.  A very nice feature when going over bumps in the road or driving up a slope. 

On the  Yahoo Lamborghini discussion group an official from North America KONI has responded to the owners complaints in a generalized letter. This reply is reproduced here for those that may be interested

  My name is Lee Grimes and I am the Street Aftermarket Sales Manager for KONI North America. Today it was brought to my attention that there was a thread on the Lamborghini List regarding issues about the OE KONI dampers on the Diablo cars. I am truly sorry for the troubles that people are having but would like the opportunity to explain the situation and clear up a little misinformation.

KONI car dampers fit into two primary categories: Aftermarket and Original Equipment. The shocks made for the KONI Aftermarket segment are as the name implies intended to be installed after the new car market sale. Basically they are made for used cars and this is the vast majority of performance car shocks made. Everywhere but North America, KONI aftermarket shocks carry a three year warranty. In the US and Canada, KONI North America increases that warranty to become a lifetime warranty against defects and wear out to the original purchaser for as long as they own the car registered for street use. Here is a link of the exact text:

KONI Original Equipment shocks are developed in conjunction with a vehicle manufacturer and are placed as OE on new cars when they are built. At the time of the agreement on the program, KONI Holland (our international HQ) and the car manufacturer will agree on how the dampers will be covered under warranty and by whom and any other plans of product exclusivity. That I know of, the only OE fitment to carry a KONI warranty was the '84-86 Ford Mustang SVO and all others including GM, Chrysler, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Renault, etc. chose to cover the the KONI damper under the cars original new car warranty from the manufacturer. That means when you have a Diablo, Camaro, Viper, Prowler, etc. with OE KONIs, the dampers are covered by the factory warranty and not KONI. There is no difference in the quality, materials or technology, just who has the long term resposibility. Additionally, the car manufacturer can have an exclusivity agreement with KONI not to manufacture or allow the sale of OE dampers to anyone else. That is the case with the Diablo dampers. Even though KONI North America is an arm of and is overseen by KONI Holland, we have no access to Diablo dampers no matter how much I would like to get them or what they would cost. Because of this, KONI North America and our warranty are completely outside the loop on the Diablo with zero access to the product. We also don't have access to design data, rebuilding service parts, etc.

Because KONI North America is completely outside the loop on the Diablo, until quite recently we had not heard of many issues with the OE dampers on the car. What we do know is that the Diablo has a very interesting system that allows the nose of the car to raise up for clearance by being pressurized by the power steering pump. This is a system that is particular to Lamborghini but also seems to be the root of the problems that people are having. The other aspects of the Diablo dampers is that they are part of the
KONI 82 series family that we sell tens of thousands of each year for many decades with extremely few problems. The other aspect is that the Diablo dampers use an electronic adjustable rebound damping system that we have used with great success with our electrically adjusted drag racing shocks that have dominated the NHRA Pro-Stock division since their introduction over a decade ago.

After talking with Luigi today, I spoke with our KNA R&D team here to see if there is anything that we can do to find an alternative to this issue. In the next few days we will talk with some of the Dutch R&D team to see if they have any ideas what the true cause of the problem is: dampers themselves, other aspects of the system damaging the dampers, general design theory, etc. There is a possibility that although we may be unable find a way to fix the current system as it is designed, we very likely would be able to come up with a non-height changing option with the reliability and performance that KONI is known for at a fraction of the replacement cost of the OE height changing system. If we are able to come up with an alternative, it might be a new manufactured piece or a conversion of your existing Diablo dampers done here in the KNA Service Shop. If we are able to come up with an opportunity, we may need to ask a member of your group to let us test the final system on a Diablo near our Greater Cincinnati area headquarters (no Diablos as KONI company cars currently).

I am sorry for the long post but hopefully it has clarified some of the situation. Again we are sorry of the inconvenience it has caused but it is truly outside of our realm in North America. What I can say is that we will do some investigation and see what we can come up with. I don't know what the answer will be but then again I didn't even know it was a problem until this morning. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the KONI North America technical staff at
info@k... or 859-586-4100.

Best regards,
Lee Grimes
KONI North America


This page was last modified on 03/12/2014

This page was last modified on 09/06/2014