Recently bought a 2006 AWD t5 V50, and it has a rear shock on the way out. I've been reading all of the past threads about this and largely condensed the info down to a few points:
1. If you're racing it, KW coilovers, custom Koni's, or somehow finding a Heico kit are the best options,
and 2. If not, go OE.
Looking at doing both rear shocks alone in the official Volvo parts seems to be around ~$400 for the kit. Adding Bilstein B4s in the front brings it up to around ~$820. The only reason I'm considering not doing this, is that right now the pound is a bit weak, and I could get a set of PB coilovers for $880 /shipped/. I don't want to slam the car (I live in upstate NY, potholes are a significant part of life), but I wouldn't say no to a 15mm drop or so. I would however like the stiffer handling from upgraded suspension, especially considering the price vs OE replacements.
My question is, if I got picky about spring rates/install, would I be able to get better handling out of the PB kit without throwing my ride quality straight into the garbage? Considering the price is almost the same it's a tempting proposition, but I've heard some mixed reviews, and no one seems to mention getting custom springs (which PB offers.) It seems like their default springs are probably meant for significant lowering and don't seem to offer any of the original ride quality, which doesn't exactly suit my uses. At most it might see some autocross, but generally I would describe my use pattern as "enthusiastic daily driving". For reference I was looking at a set of Bilstein B6's before I realized the rear shock problems.
All things being equal, what's a good compromise here? Has anyone been able to customize their coilovers for a more minimal stance w/ better comfort? Is this whole endeavor a bit dumb?