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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 7:24 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Let me look back at the photos I took of the Roadmaster bar. I don't *think* those are the same saddles, only because everything about the roadmaster bar was fresh and gold painted. But let me check and then return. If this were closer to October of 2014 (when I did this), I'd probably remember!

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm 
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Hmm, I don't have photos to jog my memory about the Roadmaster bar. But, I left the Roadmaster bar at the shop where I had the other work done (we traded/$/adjusted), and I am pretty sure the mounting hardware was with the bar when I brought it into their shop, but at that point I already had the E-450 bar on.

But if you look at the instructions here for the Roadmaster rear bar that fits our rigs, which is their part number 1139-117 (including 1994), you can see that they DO use the U-bolt type saddles. That said, the bushing for the E-450 bar would be a different size, since it's not 1-1/2" in diameter as the Roadmaster bar is.

http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdfinst/1139-117.pdf

Thinking back, I'm remembering that the saddles may have come with the junkyard bar (because I remember them saying oh, look, xxx came with too, sweet), but I did get new bushings (of course). I could be wrong on that though.

OTOH, if you could get the correct bushings for E-450 bar inside fit, and Roadmaster saddle outside fit, then I suppose you could order the Roadmaster saddles. I just don't think I used those...

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 7:41 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2015, 6:57 am
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Location: Northern NJ
Yep I'm going to find out if they'll sell those separately.

I also did find a few universal saddle kits ($100!) but only for 3 to 3.25" diameter axles.

If you're ever back out under again, I'd love to know the center distance between the u bolt nuts.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 8:01 pm 
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kdarling wrote:

If you're ever back out under again, I'd love to know the center distance between the u bolt nuts.


I didn't crawl under far enough to perfectly anchor the tape measure on the far side, but I'd say it's very close to 25" from saddle bolt to saddle bolt.

It was cooler under there! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 8:13 pm 
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Oh sorry, I meant between the nuts on the same u bolt, which will basically tell me the axle diameter, or at least what u bolt size to look for.

Hmm. Actually I guess the inside distance between the u bolt sides is more what we need to find a comparable u bolt.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 4th, 2017, 8:19 pm 
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Oh duh, I see what you mean. Just by the by, the Roadmaster E-350 Class C rear bar (i.e. dually) is the same from 1975 to 2017. Tried and true chassis!

I did just say it was cooler under there, so back I go :D

Okay, so my caliper might not have reached quite to the widest point of the axle tubes, but I think either it did or was pretty close. That gave me 3-1/2" as an axle tube diameter where the saddles go.

It was kind of hard to measure stud to stud across the saddle, but I'd say inside of stud to inside of stud was about 4-1/4" That sounds wide for a 3-1/2" tube but as I said, kind of hard to measure.

If there was a 3-1/2" axle tube, OR a 3-3/4" axle tube, I'd feel like re-measuring was in order, cause they're kind of close and more precision might be called for. OTOH, if it's some obvious difference (like 3-5/8" or 5", then it's likely the former. I don't think it would be less than 3-1/2" because that's what I measured with my caliper (I "closed" the caliper on the axle, but it's the Vernier type and the "depth" of the claws had to try to reach to the center, so it might be larger, but I don't think it could be smaller, unless they measure before they paint it, or at a different place or something (?).


Hmm, wonder what they show for an E-450 Roadmaster bar....

They do say to use the original mounting brackets for the E-450 Roadmaster bar. The saddle is the same part for either one, for what that's worth (B-141), because that probably doesn't depend on the axle diameter (?).

http://www.roadmasterinc.com/pdfinst/1139-147.pdf

You know, my buddy's E-450 dually has the added Roadmaster bar replacing the stock one, as it happens. I could take a look at the axle tube (not tonight though) to see how it compares. Might simplify things if it's the same diameter tube (wouldn't be surprised if it were).

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 6th, 2017, 9:28 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Back again - I do have a rear sway bar but I need to go under the rig to see if I can spot a brand. Maybe that IS the culprit for the harsh ride in the rear. Handles pretty flat around corners so I'm thinking it must be a pretty large bar. Will advise.

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 13th, 2017, 6:19 pm 
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Well, the front Bilstein HD shocks finally arrived today (I got them with cheap slow shipping since I was in no hurry), so after work I decided to see how far I could get with doing the replacement myself.

Taking off the old shocks is a known difficult task on the E series, especially on the driver's side, as Ford oddly designed the front shock mounts to be impossible to access easily. (It's widely thought that the factory installed the shocks in the chassis first, then laid the body on top, blocking further access.) If I had a mechanic whom I trusted nearby, I'd probably let him do the hard work and cussing, but all my regular guys have retired. Besides, I'm a old Southern boy and like the automotive challenge :lol:

...later at 8pm...

The hardest half of the job is now done: after three hours of steady, patient work, I finally got the old front shocks and grommets off. Yay! Tomorrow I should fairly easily be able to install the new ones (famous last words!), with the help of a floor jack to compress the little devils.

As planned, I went straight to the Sawzall solution, cutting the difficult to reach shock top stems off, like I easily did on the rear shocks. Alas, because of the much more limited saw blade space and thick rubber grommets, it took about an hour per side, as the rubber kept fouling the saw blade and I had to keep cleaning / changing it. And then after each stem was cut, it took a long time to cut out the old grommet. Plus it was getting dark and my light kept shifting from the saw vibrations. Makes me wish I had a cutting torch instead.

Nevertheless, the only unexpected glitch was removing the bottom nut on the driver's side. Turned out that my new front anti-sway bar U bolt on that side, got in the way and blocked me from using a socket to break the nut free from the rusted mounting bolt. (It took a cheater bar as well, as the bolts face the I-beams so you can't use a regular impact wrench. Grrr. More stupid Ford design.) Anyway, so I first had to partially dismantle the sway bar setup on that side. However, since I was the installer, I knew how to do that.

Can't wait to get started on the new ones tomorrow evening. Just by feel, I can already tell that these will be stiff shocks. Wonder how it'll ride. Guess we'll find out!

Kev (also feeling a bit stiff! At 63, getting too old for this! haha)

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 14th, 2017, 8:00 am 
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Below: On left, an old front shock with its top cut off. New Bilstein on right.

I tried compressing the old shocks and man did they sound "crunchy" instead of smooth. Not even full travel, either.

They probably haven't really worked in years, same as with the stock Ford steering damper shock before I replaced it.
Attachment:
shocks_old.jpg
shocks_old.jpg [ 2.15 MiB | Viewed 59 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Shock Absorbers
PostPosted: June 14th, 2017, 8:08 am 
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kdarling wrote:
Taking off the old shocks is a known difficult task on the E series, especially on the driver's side, as Ford oddly designed the front shock mounts to be impossible to access easily. (It's widely thought that the factory installed the shocks in the chassis first, then laid the body on top, blocking further access.) If I had a mechanic whom I trusted nearby, I'd probably let him do the hard work and cussing, but all my regular guys have retired. Besides, I'm a old Southern boy and like the automotive challenge :lol:



We had our shocks replaced in the middle of our first road trip. An old gas station mechanic noticed our shocks were bad, and said, we have them in stock and can replace them here. He and his younger mechanic partner replaced all five shocks (front, rear, steering) in 45 minutes in the gas station parking lot, using a floor jack to raise the camper. And they charged $30 each for installation. Now I'm impressed.

He installed Monroe RV shocks, and we're happy with the performance.

Clay

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