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 Post subject: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 3:30 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2015, 11:54 am
Posts: 207
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Almost ready for summer. New 12/120 volt fridge, "car seat" springs removed from jackknife sofa and replaced with 3" of dense foam, Dynamat under the new cab carpeting, engine doghouse and hood and sun shades for all windows. Rig goes in next week to have the dinette side reupholstered to match the new sofa.

Now I'm ready to do something about the cement-mixer ride and will start with shocks and am leaning towards Bilsteins. I am looking at 33-187563 for the front and 33-176840 for the rear. My rig is a 2003 Premier on a 2003 chassis. I got these numbers from the forum but want to make sure I'm ordering the correct part number and if there is a better alternative. I have a rear sway bar so I don't need more cornering stability as much as I would like to smooth out the ride. I've toyed with the idea of having scholastic shackles put on but thought I should change out the stock 14 year-old shocks first to see if that does the trick.

Any input would be welcome.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 4:47 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
Posts: 573
Location: Northern NJ
Those are the C for "Comfort" ride versions. They ride softer than the Heavy Duty HD versions.

Here are our Bilstein shock choices:
Attachment:
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 53.55 KiB | Viewed 383 times ]

http://eshocks.com/bil_veh.asp?Model_In ... &SubChar=Q

I recently put the HD version on the rear of my 1994. I like them. My rear rides smoother now, but then, I think all my shocks were originals, so no huge surprise there.

Anyway, I've seen plenty of people who've put the HD on back and the Comfort up front. So I was stumped about what to get for the front, and have indecisively gone back and forth for days.

I Googled like crazy and found people who favored each kind, but in the end someone's comment that the Comfort model might as well have been a stock Ford shock, finally tipped me towards the HD for the front as well, as they'll supposedly help prevent sudden tips because of the faster damping. OTOH, they could end up riding rough, who knows.

I just ordered them this morning. I'd love to hear opinions though. In fact, it's too bad we don't all go in together on a Chinook dedicated to simply testing various part choices :D

Kev

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on June 4th, 2017, 6:09 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2017, 8:38 pm 
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Joined: August 8th, 2015, 11:54 am
Posts: 207
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Kev - great chart! I find the front end ride and handling to be pretty good even with the stock Ford shocks but the rear shocks are very harsh. I'm also a bit concerned that the "Comfort" models could be too soft for the front so I'm still thinking about the HD models. I know Blue favors the Koni adjustables and up until I got my Navigator I ran KYB's on everything I've driven for over 30 years. A lot of options out there so I'm anxious to hear your review once you put those HDs on the front. (Notice we're using Kev's rig for this experiment! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 9:06 am 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Ha! Cute :D

Oh forgot to ask. Do you have an addon rear antisway bar? If so, that could cause hard riding in the back.

--------------

Okay all you Chinookers who've put on Bilsteins...

Any idea which type you used, and any feedback on the ride?

Thanks!

P.S. I've read nothing but horror stories about replacing the left front shock yourself. Anyone here done it? My plan is jack up that side, undo the bottom of the shock, and immediately go for cutting the top bolt just under its mounting point with my sawsall. Or... take it to the local Ford dealer. Not my first choice though, and would they even install shocks you brought yourself??

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on June 13th, 2017, 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 2:02 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
Posts: 1912
Location: 1999 Concourse
I just wanted to clarify something: I don't necessarily "favor" the Koni adjustables (not that I mind you saying that since I do have them on my Chinook). It's more that that's where I ended up in the trajectory and decided it seemed good. I have never tried any of the Bilsteins so can't compare.

The big thing for me was adding the large (Roadmaster) rear anti-sway bar. I had already put on Koni FSD shocks, and they were fine along. But as soon as I added the big rear anti-sway bar, boom, the rear suspension became intolerably harsh.

I think the main thing that improved it was changing "down" to the E-450 sway bar (if the Roadmaster is a "large" you could call the E-450 a "medium"). I probably could at that point have kept the Koni FSD shocks on the rear, but I was a bit gunshy by then, and the Koni adjustables seemed a bit softer, so I went with those. So I think the main thing was dialing back the rear bar a bit (after I dialed it way up with the Roadmaster bar). Much MUCH better than no bar, or a super thin bar though.

So in summary, for me (no Mor-Ryde, just started with stock E-350 suspension).

1) Koni FSD shocks to replace originals - great.

2) Roadmaster front bar to replace original (smaller) Ford bar - great.

3) Roadmaster rear bar - Ugh, ugh ugh, rear ride became super harsh! This has to GO.

4) E-450 rear bar, ahhhh, that's more like it. Still have most of the bennies of the bigger bar, but the major harshness is gone. Yes!

5) Switched the rear Koni FSD for Koni adjustable. Not sure this was necessary, but the opportunity was there and I thought the adjustability might come in handy. I have them set on softest setting.

6) If I did anything further, it would likely be to try Sulastic shackles. But overall I'm very satisfied now, the Chinook has the "Sportscar of Motorhomes" feel that it was lacking before, and it's fun to drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 2:41 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
I actually want to try your stock Ford rear bar idea, but my chassis did not come with attachment points on the rear axle. Grrr.

So I suppose I could find a welder shop and swap them in from a donor axle, or try to obtain big enough U bolts and shackle to fake it like the aftermarket kits do. I'd try exhaust clamps but I suspect they're nowhere near strong enough.

Also I'm not sure my exhaust gives room for the passenger side of the bar. Could redo it of course.

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Last edited by kdarling on June 4th, 2017, 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 2:43 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Let me take a look, but I don't think the bar uses attachment points, per se. I think they are U-bolty clampy things. Be right back after I shinny under and look...

Okay, I'm back - had to refresh my memory. I didn't install the bar, but I was down in the pit with the pro who did. Anyway, there are basically two types of attachment points. The bar is a sort of U shape with a long bottom and short arms. The whole U lies flat with the ends facing forward. Down on the bottom of the U (under the axle), it attaches with saddle brackets that are part of the bar not the axle. They include the bushings. That whole bit (came with the bar) sits under the axle tube and attaches to the axle tube with U bolts that fit over the axle tube and come down to meet the saddle.

The tips of the U attach to the frame, forward of the axle. There are vertical "rods" (I know the name of those but it's 98º in the shade and I think that part of my brain has melted) that go up and have holes at the end and those holes are bolted to the frame. They also were part of the bar IIRC. I can't remember right now if we used existing holes or made new ones. I *think* the instructions talked about how you might need to make new holes if the stock ones didn't place it correctly but I believe mine did so we used stock holes. I realize you have a '94, but likely the same frame (nothing guaranteed of course, we know how that goes!). I can take a photo later if that would help.

Main thing, as I've mentioned before, is that is has to be a "dually" bar. A "singly" won't work as I understand it.

I can't imagine not loving the bar upgrade, unless you hate cornering and/or never come off a gas station driveway at an angle. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 3:54 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Thank you for taking the time in the heat to check!

Not to hijack this thread too much, but yes sir, I'd love a photo of your u-bolt saddle bracket attachments.

Cuz here's what a normal E450 axle looks like... notice the welded on attachment points.
Attachment:
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image.jpeg [ 94.2 KiB | Viewed 355 times ]

Btw, I'd never have thought to ask about being sourced from a dually. Good reminder!

Thanks again!

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on June 4th, 2017, 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 6:50 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I see what you mean in the photo. You know, I think perhaps our Chinooks didn't have any rear bar to begin with (it's been a while!). So perhaps that's why no welded on mounts on my stock, original, E-350 rear axle. I can say that both the Roadmaster bar (which I had mounted for a couple of weeks) and the E-450 bar (that I have had for the past 2-1/2 years) used the same mounting system. This is - as shown in the photos below - "saddles" below the axle that are attached to the axle with U bolts over the axle.

So here we go. First somewhat of an overview, although you can't quite see the passenger side (just a bit of the edge of that saddle). Second a close up of the driver's side "saddle," and third, a close up of the driver's side end link.

Attachment:
Overview.jpg
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Attachment:
Saddle.jpg
Saddle.jpg [ 178.95 KiB | Viewed 348 times ]


Attachment:
End link.jpg
End link.jpg [ 275.53 KiB | Viewed 348 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 6:53 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Again, many thank yous!

Hmm. I wonder if they might have reused your Roadmaster sway bar u-bolt based mounting kit. Is that possible?

In any case, for any of us to follow what you have, we'd need those saddle parts somehow. The used bars I've found all came from trucks having a factory axle mount, and thus don't have a separate saddle and u bolt assembly.

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