The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
Pantera East Koni Coilover System
By Mike Dailey
After this picture was taken I lowered the front another 1/4".
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When I rebuilt my suspension in 2000 I found some slightly used OEM type Koini orange shocks to replace my original shocks and they gave the car a pretty nice ride. They were installed without the spring spacers, but after a few years I wanted to lower the Pantera a little more and new Koni yellows would do that.
I wanted to buy the new system from one of our Pantera parts vendors so I could take advantage of their experience on what works best for my Pantera. Pantera East had exactly what I was looking for with a turn-key high quality name brand Koni coilover setup that are pre-adjusted for the ride height and the rebound setting. They are sold ready to bolt in with everything you need to install them including high quality, springs, spring hardware, spherical ends, end spacers, bumper, etc. The shocks are the high quality Koni 30 Series that are designed for racing applications and are fitted with your choice of the well known quality Hyperco springs. I went for 450# springs on the front and 550# on the back. Other springs rates are available.
The overall length of the Koni 30 Series is slightly shorter than the OEM Koni but that’s not relevant because the body length of the shock from the top of the body to the center of the lower mount is almost identical to the original OEM Konis. The distance from the bottom of the bumper to the center of the top mount is also identical to the OEM Koni.
Installing The Front
On my car, the anti-sway bar mount on the A arm is easiest to remove with the suspension loaded so I removed the mounts on both sides before jacking up the front and putting it on jack stands. Disconnecting the anti-sway bar from the A arms will allow the A arms to be lowered so the old shocks can be removed.
After removing the wheel, the retaining bolts were removed from the top and bottom shock mounts. I kept the lower one in place until I removed the other bolt in the lower ball joint. I then pushed the lower A arm down while supporting it with a jack. The lower ball joint pivoted on the shock bolt. I removed the bolt and lifted the shock up and out behind the lower A arm and beside the brake caliper. Removing the shock by way of the lower A arm does not change the alignment.
My car being a 71, has a large radius mount for the upper end of the shock and I had to cut a small notch in the mount for clearance with my Dremel-Tool and a cut-off disk. I think the mount was smaller starting in the 72 cars and they should not require cutting a notch.
Before installing the shock assembly I installed wire ties on the top of the shock in the holes provided on each side. The wire ties keep the spring positioned in the upper perch so when the car is jacked up the spring cannot get out of the perch and get caught under the perch edge. I lowered the lower spring mount two turns before installing the shocks. When you make this adjustment It is helpful to put a piece of masking tape on the threaded tube to mark the position of the set screw in the spring perch. The threaded tube is free to turn so the tape marks the reference point as you turn the perch. This is especially helpful if you are adjusting them when they are installed on the car. The load must be removed from the suspension to make the adjustment and after the set screw is loosened you can turn them easily with your hands .
The new shock being smaller, is easy to install through the opening from behind the lower A arm. I attached the upper end first and bolted it in place.
The lower end slides down in-between and into the ball joint mounting ears. The shock end is a snug fit between the ears and must be aligned perfectly for it to slide in. I used the jack to lift the A arm and move the lower end of the shock in position. I then attached the shock with the shock bolt.
View of the Koni assembly installed with the suspension loaded and the anti-sway bar mount bolted in place.
After the new Konis are installed they can be easily removed by just be disconnecting the anti-sway bar end and unloading the suspension. No need to disconnect the lower A arm.
Installing The Back
Side-by-side view of the new and old back Koni coilover shock.
Unlike the front, the back coilovers do not need wire ties because the spring is held snugly between the perches.
The back anti-sway bar does not need to be disconnected to remove the old Konis. I jacked the back of the car up, placed it on two jack stands and removed the wheels. View of the old shock with mounting bolts removed.
The lower end of the shock can be pulled out and then moved to the front, pulled down and out.
The upper mounting tabs had to be cut to clear the upper shock perch.
The upper end bolted in place. Note the clearance provided by cutting the mount.
The shock fully installed without load.
I left the height adjustment on the back shocks as they came from Pantera East. This adjustment has the spring just snugly held between the perches.
The before and after view. Old OEM Konis on the left and the new Pantera East Konis on the right.
After this picture was taken I lowered the front another 1/4"
Measured from the top of the wheel arches, the car is about 3/4” lower in front and back than it was with the OEM Konis. Not all Pantera springs are the same so your results may differ. The distance from the pinch weld (just behind the front wheel well )to the ground is 1/4” lower than the back of edge of the pinch weld (measured just in front of the back wheel well) giving the car a slight nose down rake.
The ground clearance on bottom edge of the front tow eye hooks is 3 1/2” and the clearance at the de Tomaso logo plate on the back cross member is 4 1/4”
. At the lowest point under the engine frame rails it is 3 1/2". If you plan on lowering the front this much you will need to swap out the long progressive bump stops that come with the shocks with the shorter standard Koni bump stops for clearance. This can be done before the coilovers are shipped.
The lower back A arms are almost parallel with the ground. In this image the fuel tank is full, making the lift side slightly lower.
The ride is a bit stiffer and more solid than the old OEM Koni coilovers and it feels wonderful. I'm going to let the springs settle in for a few weeks and then recheck the ride height. After I get the final height set I'll take it back to Grand Turismo East to have Jeff check the alignment.
If you lower the front you may need to modify the windshield wiper motor cover for more clearance.
Many thanks to the nice folks at Pantera East for helping me with my improved suspension.
Learn more about the Koni 30 Series on the Koni Racing website.
Ride Height and Wheel Size Information
Back Dunlop SP Sport 8000 height 245/45ZR16 and 335/35ZR17. 24.63" 26.18" Top of stock bumper to ground (published in 1972 Motor Magazine for a 1971 car) 20" 24.5" Stock Koni shocks, without spring spacers. 245 and 335 tires. 18.50" 23.25" Pantera East Yellow Koni system. 245 and 335 tires. 17.75" 22.37" Nose down rake, measured at the bottom of rocker panel edge. 1/2 degree