Hi all,

Several online parts suppliers offers KYB GR-2 gas shocks as replacement items for SB struts and claim they offer improved performance and ride quality.  While I have no doubt this is true for "performance" or off road applications, I'd like to know whether they would create a noticeable improvement over the stock oil struts in general (not racing) driving over average paved roads.

For the people that have done this conversion, have you seen an improvement in a daily driver type application?

In case it matters, I have a relatively stock '72 SB Convertible (not lowered).


Quote 0 0

Here's something I found on the net:


Isn't a gas shock better than an oil shock?

Yes and no. A popular misconception is that a gas shock works on gas where as an oil (normal) shock works on oil. All conventional automotive shocks work by forcing oil through a programmed set of holes, however a gas shock will use compressed gas to keep the oil under pressure.

This is done largely to minimise aeration or "foaming" of the oil which would reduce the effectiveness of the shock as air passes through the valves rather than fluid. To see what this is like, tip a conventional shock absorber upside down and pump the shaft a few times. You'll notice the movement become jerky and uneven as oil and air intermittently pass through the valves.

The gas also helps to dissipate heat which keeps the oil cooler and maintains the viscosity and therefore the shock "rate". Gas shocks are ideally suited to long travel applications like rallying and off road. In fact, this is where the technology was primarily developed in the first place as lots of spring travel over big bumps really tests a conventional hydraulic shock.

There are many types of gas shock, twin-tube, mono-tube and remote canister combinations for super heavy-duty use like rallying and off-road racing. Most of the economical gas shocks are of a twin tube construction (low-pressure) where as most performance or race gas shocks use a mono-tube (high-pressure) system. There is no such thing as an ideal system, it really depends on the application as mono-tubes may have advantages in some respect but the high-pressure gas can act as a spring complicating the suspension design process.

The main disadvantage of a gas-pressurised shock is cost; more of it compared with a conventional hydraulic. Which leads to a very simple rule of thumb to help avoid confusion. If faced with a choice of gas or oil for the same price, it's unlikely that the real working part of the gas shock is of the same standard and level of sophistication as the oil. You get what you pay for. And, choosing gas shocks generally mean you'll need to design the rest of the suspension system around that fact with spring and bar rates being affected.

Quote 0 0

Very interesting Wayne.


I put heavy duty gas shocks on the front of My non super beetle and the ride was terrible...

It was impossible to press down the front of the car...

I replaced them with oil shocks and the ride is excellent...

I also have a set of standard gas shocks which I haven't tried...

the heavy duty shocks were called "Comfort Gas"  ....??

maybe on a 2 ton truck... lol..


I wouldn't recommend gas shocks for the front of any Beetle

because of the very low weight of the front end...

Rear end... Yes...

although I have heavy duty oil shocks on the rear of My Beetle...

and they work great...

Our rural roads are very rough, although sealed [bitumen] and very bumpy...


Lee  -- 68AutoBug -- Australia --


68AutoBug - helping keep air cooled Volkswagens alive in Australia & around the World -
Quote 0 0



Your story is very similar to my experiences with my Jetta. I replaced my entire suspension with Bilstein gas shocks and struts with racing springs and front and rear sway bars. All in all, it lowered my car about three inches, but like you said, I could not even budge the front end at all. Perfect for track applications, not very good for daily highway driving. Top the suspension off with some ultra low profile Z rated tires, and I was riding extremely rough. I could sling it around curves though. I really don't know what I was trying to accomplish with that setup. I think I was just caught up with the idea of having my Jetta handle like a race car. My mom, upon her first ride in my newly redone Jetta, summed it up best. After a mile or two, she said, "Now let me get this straight. You spent all of that money to get your car to ride this rough?" Here I am, four years later, with the same suspension, only now it has loosened up a bit. I think it looks cool with almost no gap between the top of the tire and the wheel well, but I am sure my frame has taken a beating for it... 

72 Super Beetle
Quote 0 0