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Old 05-21-2017, 07:19 PM   #1
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How can I tell if I need new shocks?

We have a 2001 DSDP with 80K miles on a Freightliner chassis that is "less than a pleasure" to drive. I can feel every crack in the road regardless of speed. If I cross a speed bump on a diagonal it will put everything on the kitchen counter in the floor.

We received no documentation when we bought the coach so they might be original shocks.

It has new tires that were balanced, the front steering and suspension look and feel tight in that I cannot jerk on something and see it move. I've raised the front wheels and can find no play in the front wheel bearings or spindles.
It has air bag suspension that seems to work but this is the 1st air bag suspension I've owned so that might be questionable.

It has the solid front axle like the old Ford pick ups we knew and loved.

I cannot bounce the front fender and see if it bounces more than once like we did on old cars.

So is there any thing to check or just pull them off and see what they feel like? That is to say if I can easily expand and collapse them then I know they are shot.

Are these "hydraulic dampers" or "gas charged shocks" ? There are no signs of oil leaking out of the shock body.

Any and all input is appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:25 PM   #2
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Have you weighed your coach and set the proper air pressure for your tires? If you have too much air you will feel every crack in the pavement.

To check your shocks pay attention when you hit a dip. If the coach keeps porpoising excessively after you hit the dip you probably need new shocks.

Jon
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the question of weight. That was a good thought.

Yes we had weighed the coach and got the correct pressure from the tire manufacturer.

We really like your names
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:44 PM   #4
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At that age i'd replace them and check the tire pressure like others mentioned.
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Old 05-21-2017, 09:12 PM   #5
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If you are getting excessive 'porpoising' at bridge expansion joints or uneven concrete slabs, you probably need new shocks. Body roll at those diagonal bumps will not completely go away with new shocks, but they sure will slow the rate of travel down and reduce the cycles. A lot of RV'ers swear by Koni's FSD shocks...You can do a search on this site for more info than you really wanted on the subject.
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Old 05-22-2017, 10:50 AM   #6
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"Feeling every crack" is too much tire pressure, a common complaint after new tires are installed. Tire dealers & RV shops mistakenly believe that every tire should be inflated to the max shown on the sidewall.

Shock absorbers don't actually absorb shocks and help the ride comfort. Theyy are there to prevent a series of bounces after the suspension takes the initial shock. Without shocks, the tires actually bounce up off the road as the suspension rebounds. If your coach gives one bounce after hitting a hole or bump, your shocks are fine. If it continues to bounce up & down after the initial, then you need shocks.
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Old 05-22-2017, 12:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
"Feeling every crack" is too much tire pressure, a common complaint after new tires are installed. Tire dealers & RV shops mistakenly believe that every tire should be inflated to the max shown on the sidewall.

Shock absorbers don't actually absorb shocks and help the ride comfort. Theyy are there to prevent a series of bounces after the suspension takes the initial shock. Without shocks, the tires actually bounce up off the road as the suspension rebounds. If your coach gives one bounce after hitting a hole or bump, your shocks are fine. If it continues to bounce up & down after the initial, then you need shocks.

Great advice!
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Old 05-22-2017, 02:04 PM   #8
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Go on Toyo Tires website and determine what tire pressure should be used front and rear.
Replace your shocks because they are old and it's probably time. Not that big a cost.
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:26 PM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for their input.
I'm off to the shock store to get shocked
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Old 05-22-2017, 03:34 PM   #10
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You need shocks! First off, the shocks that came with the coach were probably the cheapest thing the manufacturer could find. Shock technology has changed a lot in the past 16 years, making your shocks obsolete. Pushing on the fender or seeing or looking for porpoising in a motor home will not tell you anything about the shocks. That was never even a test for cars.

You really have two choices in shocks, Bilsteins or Koni's. On diesel pushers, I think Koni's are a better bet, particularly the Koni FSD.

Your best ride will be a combination of shocks, wheel balance, ride height adjustment and tire pressure. You said you have set the air pressure properly and the tires are balanced......has anyone checked the ride height recently. If the ride height is wrong, your coach can drive/react poorly because the weight is not distributed properly.

No matter what, you need new shocks, have them installed and at the same time get the ride height checked.
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Old 05-22-2017, 05:43 PM   #11
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I just replaced the shocks on my RV.
They had about 120K, and were probably original, but I have no record of their replacement one way or the other.

The RV rode and handled well, but at 120K miles it did bounce a bit more than I thought it should have.

I replaced the original Bilsteins with new Bilsteins, which are gas pressure shocks. I was not able to find a cross reference for Koni's listed for my RV.

I first did the rears and one shock had an inch of dead play --a sure sign it was bad. The other had no gas pressure as it would sit depressed if left that way. The fronts were in a similar worn condition when I replaced them. Replacing the shocks was a lot of work as I did them myself.

I have only driven a few test miles to date (maybe 50), but I can tell the reaction to winds and passing trucks is better. The ride seems more "planted" with less extra motions.

While the overall ride and steering was good to start with I would now call it excellent.

Recent work --- new front ball joints, new air springs, new shocks, new front Toyo tires.

You could now easily drive this RV with two fingers and keep it going right down the road if desired (not recommended of course). I would call it the exact opposite of "white knuckle" driving; very easy, comfortable, and controlled.

I am looking forward to driving on our upcoming 15,000 mile trip.

thx Dale
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
You need shocks! First off, the shocks that came with the coach were probably the cheapest thing the manufacturer could find. Shock technology has changed a lot in the past 16 years, making your shocks obsolete. Pushing on the fender or seeing or looking for porpoising in a motor home will not tell you anything about the shocks. That was never even a test for cars.

You really have two choices in shocks, Bilsteins or Koni's. On diesel pushers, I think Koni's are a better bet, particularly the Koni FSD.

Your best ride will be a combination of shocks, wheel balance, ride height adjustment and tire pressure. You said you have set the air pressure properly and the tires are balanced......has anyone checked the ride height recently. If the ride height is wrong, your coach can drive/react poorly because the weight is not distributed properly.

No matter what, you need new shocks, have them installed and at the same time get the ride height checked.
How do you check ride height on a 2014 34' Newmar Ventana?
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:41 PM   #13
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Ride height is measured by the distance between certain points on your suspension, it varies by the manufacturer.
Ride height is varied by changing the adjustment on the ride valve sensor rods. Not something that is recommended as a do it yourself thing and the RV moves very quickly and it's easy to get crushed if not familiar with safety precautions.
Changing front shocks is easy even on IFS units, rears can be more problematic due to clearance issues.
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Old 05-22-2017, 06:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gda raiser View Post
How do you check ride height on a 2014 34' Newmar Ventana?
chassis manufacturer has the ride hgt specs
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