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 Post subject: Shock recommendations?
PostPosted: June 23rd, 2015, 7:30 pm 
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I got this as a pm from txgrans

"Murphy's law strikes again.
The Bilstein shocks are on back order till after August 15. Tom wants recommendations for what everyone has and your opinions. Seems no trips until he feels safe with shocks and steering stabilizer installed. He is still undecided about the Safe T Plus or another brand.
Please help get us on the road. I'm ready for a trip.
Thanks,
Carroll

The other half of TX Grans"


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2015, 7:41 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I have Koni FSD shocks on the front. Very happy with them (prior to that it was the originals, which at 49k felt like driving a mattress).

I also put the Koni FSD on the rear, which I liked until I added a rear anti-sway bar. Then I found that I wanted to soften the rear a bit, so I went with a set of Koni adjustable shocks there, set to the lowest setting. I have regular leaf springs, not More-Ryde, btw.

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PostPosted: June 24th, 2015, 4:28 am 
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Location: New Hampshire
Seems odd that the most common aftermarket shock absorber for RVs and on the most common chassis (Ford E-series) isn't available during peak RV season. Wonder if that was the word from a dealer or from Bilstein? <-- I checked the part numbers on the Bilstein website and googled them. There are vendors showing them as in stock.

My 2004 Concourse has Bilstein shocks (motorhome series) and here are the part numbers:

Rear = F4-B46-1614-HO
Front = F4-B46-1613-HO

Think those ^^^^ part numbers are older numbers since replaced with newer ones but I don't have that information. I also don't know the make/model of the steering stabilizer (haven't looked).

I pulled the current numbers from the Bilstein website:
Ford E350 chassis Class C motorhome, 1992-2007

B6-C Front = 33-187563 Rear = 33-186863

OR

B6 Front = 33-187570 Rear = 33-186900

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PostPosted: June 25th, 2015, 7:31 am 
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Joined: October 31st, 2014, 10:25 pm
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We just replaced our Concourse shocks on the road when a gas station mechanic (correctly) discovered our oem shocks were completely shot. He installed Monroe RV gas shocks, and the rest of the trip was a completely different driving experience. Obviously, I am not a picky driver, as I thought the Chinook drove pretty good before, but it drove much more like a car than a truck after the transformation. I am sure the premium shocks (Bilstein, Koni) are great, but Monroe has been around a long time, and they know what they are doing as well. I'm very happy with the new ride, and feel a lot safer.

I also discvered that when getting repairs on the road, all the fussiness over brands kind of disappears and the question becomes "Do you have my size in stock?"


clay

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2001 Concourse
Santa Barbara, CA


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PostPosted: September 7th, 2016, 5:33 am 
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Location: Goffstown, New Hampshire
Has anyone installed steering stabilizers recently? If so, which ones did you use? (trying to eliminate some of the wandering while driving)


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PostPosted: September 7th, 2016, 9:24 am 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Not exactly "lately," but two years ago I had a Safe-T-Steer installed. It wasn't on the top of my list of handling additions, since my Ford is not a real wanderer (but of course none of them would be mistaken for having rack and pinion steering!), but I was having some other work done at a place that installs them so decided to try one out. They first put on the one recommended for the Concourse, which is the model 31-140. I don't remember if the 140 is pounds or what, but it's a unit of force. Larger coaches get bigger ones (180, 240, etc.). I had to wait over a weekend for some other parts, so took the Chinook on a 4 hour drive to a coastal campground. This gave me a couple of hours on the Interstate, plus a couple hours of twisty highway driving.

On the Interstate it was great. Wheel was glued to center. I could almost go back and make a sandwich :lol: But on the curvy highways - or around town - it was too stiff for me. My arms got tired and suddenly I was only looking for straight-aways. Boo!

So when I went back I asked if they had one with less force. They did, but it was (IIRC) a "70." Made for a Toyota Dolphin as I remember it. They installed that and I tried it out. It was a bit better than stock (and no downside), but I really wished they would make something like a "100." To my mind, that would be perfect. In fact, they said they had several customers with Class C's who felt the same way and they were going to request that the company make such a size (but I just looked on their site and don't see anything smaller than 140, so I guess they haven't done).

Maybe if one's steering were more wandery than mine, or if the driver more burly, the 140 would be great. It was too powerful for me/my Concourse though. The 70 adds a bit of control, and of course is supposed to help if one has a blowout. I'm glad I have it but it would be nowhere near the top of my list of must-haves. If they made a 100 it might move up on the list though.

Another note is that although they don't directly address steering, anti-sway bars do make things nicer on the highway (not just in curves/swerves). They make the rig flatter so things like wind and trucks don't cause the tippy/blowy feeling as much. Of all the improvements I've made, if I were starting over from scratch they would (still) be my first one. Well, that and the new front end with the bigger brakes. But I mean for actual driving (vs. stopping).

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PostPosted: September 7th, 2016, 12:11 pm 
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Location: Goffstown, New Hampshire
Thanks Blue,
Did you replace the front factory sway bars?
tim


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PostPosted: September 7th, 2016, 2:44 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Yes, I did. I think I wrote about it more in another thread, but a brief re-cap. I could look up mm thickness numbers but for now will speak in general terms:

1) Stock is a medium thickness anti-sway bar in front (don't have mm number to hand) and no anti-sway bar in the rear.

2) I had the front one replaced with a thick Roadmaster (formerly IPD) bar. That was golden and I woudn't give it up.

3) I had the thick Roadmaster put on the rear and immediately the ride became harsh and jarring. The "flatness in corners" effect was great, but the jarring was too much to put up with. Doing a bunch of experiments isolated it to the new rear bar. But I didn't want NO bar, as it was stock.

4) So I sourced an original E-450 rear bar from a junkyard. This was easy and inexpensive (under $100 shipped). The size is about halfway between the original no bar, and the thick Roadmaster bar. This was the Goldilocks one, and gave me most of the benefits of the thick bar, but without the downsides.

So what I am running now (and have been for two years) is the Roadmaster front bar and the stock E-450 rear bar (from a junkyard). I did put on new bushings with the junkyard bar (and of course new bushings came with the Roadmaster bar).

This makes it so I can go about 15 mph faster through curves and feel totally in control. I know because I took a certain curvy road with marked turns on my way to get the bars, and then the same road on the way back. On the way up I felt like I would tip over if I went the marked speed in the curves; on the way back I could easily push 5mph over the marked speed (for testing purposes). They also make the rig more resistant to wind buffeting. Another "side benefit" is, you know how if you go off a bumpy gas station or other driveway into the street, and you kind of go diagonal to keep from scraping? Well before when I'd do that the rig would sway from side to side, and I'd instantly find out if anything in the back wasn't nailed down. With the bars it just goes off with no fanfare, just a tiny bit of side to side that doesn't loosen brick walls in the back :mrgreen:

If you need to justify it, I had a car I drove for years with thin bars, so knew just how it handled. I put on thicker bars at a friend's place (garage with a lift!) and on the way home on the Interstate, had someone come barreling down the ramp right into my lane. I swerved basically straight sideways at 65 mph. I don't *know* that I would have lost control with the thinner bars, but I feel as though I might have. With the larger bars it was like my car just moved sideways, "flat" into the other lane, no drama. So they could be considered a safety feature.

One potential side effect is that handling can move from understeer to oversteer. In the case of the car it was designed with an annoying amount of understeer, so ended up just right for me. In the case of the Chinook, I really can't notice a difference, but then of course I don't hot dog it around gravel corners at 55mph either.

Summary: For my rig the Roadmaster front bar (replaces stock bar) and the E-450 rear bar (replaces no bar) ended being just right.

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PostPosted: September 8th, 2016, 5:07 pm 
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Location: Santa Cruz
I removed my OE steering damper unit when it started leaking. I went big-money and bought ONE OF THESE. I have no wandering at all, but I still have to make mild corrections when big rigs counter pass me on two-lane roads. Not sure if it matters, but my weight right now is 8000# gross loaded wet, 3250# on front axle, and recent tires that I re-balance frequently (every 6000 miles). Also, new shocks, no wheel simulators, and no inflator hose thingies. Just data points. Not sure how it all adds up. Soooo many factors. And I think the steering box can make trouble for some ...

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Last edited by Scott on September 9th, 2016, 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: September 8th, 2016, 7:23 pm 
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Wow, 8,000# is light! That's great. I thought I was one of the light ones at 10,000#. Guess not! Oh well, I'm still happy because even when I'm loaded up and towing I can keep the rear axle under the rating. I consider that to be a coup on the E-350 chassis. (And was slightly concerned about it before purchasing the Chinook).

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