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Hi all.

I called Bilstein UK yesterday to enquire about the availability of B6 shocks to fit my SLK350.

I was asked if I had the sports suspension, which I have, option 486 on my data card.

I was then told I would be better off fitting the B8 shocks instead of the B6 shocks.

My criterior is I do not want the car lowered, I will be using the existing springs, so therefore which shocks do I order?

I want the car to remain at the same height, will the B8 shocks lower the car and will the B6 shocks raise the car?
 

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The shocks will neither raise nor lower the car, it's the height of the spring that does that. The ride height and rake can be dialed in to your liking by altering the spring pads, which are different thicknesses. The shocks are dimensioned and valved to work with particular spring heights and spring rates, so if the B8 is recommended then that is the one that has the characteristics which best match the Sport package springs. The B6 is probably softer and longer, for the standard springs. It may still be a stiffer shock than stock, but intended to work with the stock spring.

The spring pads are supposedly to be selected according to a points system that's detailed in the shop manual, which broadly speaking tends to use thicker pads for cars with more options and thus more weight. But they can be used to establish a higher ride height with sport springs. If the spring kit says that it lowers from 1" to 1.3", you can use thicker pads to push the drop towards the lesser drop rather than the greater one. It all depends on the look you want; thicker pads won't affect anything other than ride height.
 

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You should go with the Bilstein recommendation. The B8 is obviously valved to match the spring rate of the Sports Pkg springs. For a further check, you might check with your Mercedes dealer. Here, my MB dealer used Bilsteins to replace the OEM. Finally, you could check with this:

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Speaking from experience, the B8's on a 350 with sports package suspension did not work well. The shortened length of the piston did not match well with the spring rate on the sports suspension. The springs were too tall for the B8 shocks especially in the rear. Since the rear springs on a standard 350 are the same the sport package SLK 350, you’d be better off with the B6’s, if keeping the standard ride height is important.
 

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Slightly off topic, I replaced the stock Bilsein B4s on my standard SLK350 with B6s to help the handling and it did not help. Just made the ride harsher. Would not do it over again. I'm wondering if Sports suspension anti-sway bars will help handling w/o further degrading the ride.
 

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Speaking from experience, the B8's on a 350 with sports package suspension did not work well. The shortened length of the piston did not match well with the spring rate on the sports suspension. The springs were too tall for the B8 shocks especially in the rear. Since the rear springs on a standard 350 are the same the sport package SLK 350, you’d be better off with the B6’s, if keeping the standard ride height is important.
You are exactly right! I found out from the horse's mouth, Bilstein, that the only difference between the B6 & B8 is the latter has a shorter stroke. Otherwise, they are identical, ie, physical dimensions, damping, etc.

This is a common mistake. For example, my BMW has the M-Sport Pkg option, and owners of this model rush to install the B8. Wrong! Bilstein recommends the B6. Bilstein will cross reference your stock part numbers to determine the B6 or B8. In most cases, it'll be the B6.
 
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