After over a year of researching on the "perfect" suspension upgrade, I finally bit the bullet and purchased a set of Bilstein Sport shocks. Everyone here on CL are raving on how good these shocks are and we all know about Bilstein's reputation. I didn't go with lowering springs because on the stock suspension plus my wheel and tire combo( G35 forged 19's + 245/45/19 & 275/40/19), I had less than an inch gap at the rear and maybe 2 up front. It had a decent ride height perfect for a comfortable daily commuting for the wife. The wheel and combo set up looked very aggressive, giving it that street and muscular look I was going for.
When I removed the stock shocks, I didn't know just how bad they were. All four corners were blown and I could compress them by hand easily, I was not able to do that with the Bilsteins. When everything was all put it and buttoned up, I noticed that the car is sitting maybe 2 inches higher. The car was basically sitting on the springs with no aid from the stock shocks. So I am now looking at springs with a decent drop but nothing exceeding 2 inches just to minimize the fender gap.
I wish I can say installation was a breeze, but in my case, was very frustrating. I definitely want to say a breaker bar is needed, quality sockets and an impact wrench along with a torque wrench. Taking out the shocks was the easy part, maybe 1 1/2 hours to take all four off, compressing the springs on the other hand was a pain in the @$$. I had an impact wrench but I had the wrong hose diameter and didn't have sufficient air to do the job and ended up doing it by hand. This was by far the most frustrating and hardest part of the install. Aligning the strut tower bolts to the chassis and the shock mount hole was also frustrating and required me to put them on the car and removing them to align. Overall, it nearly took me 10 hours to do this job, including getting it on stands, taking my time, breaks and torquing everything to spec. When I get my springs, I'm definitely taking the springs and shocks to my uncle shop and compress them there. Doing this will cut install time more than half.
During the test drive, I noticed improvements immediately! The car never felt so solid and the "boat" like feeling is gone. It definitely feels like a high end sport sedan now! The car corners much flatter and more securely, body roll is kept at a very minimum(+ EnergySuspension poly bushings F/R + poly steering rack bushings). There is minimum nose dive during breaking, yet further enhancing confidence and improving braking power. Squatting is also dramatically minimized when accelerating from stops. There is no evidence of the "floating" sensation on the freeway and corners during high speed driving are taken with confidence. I definitely recommend Bilstein Sport shocks, just go for the best and skip going to KYB or OEM entirely. I'm very excited how the car will react with some sport springs to match.