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Old 09-03-2014, 04:17 PM   #1
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Bilstein Shock Absorbers

My 2005 National TropiCal, 37' Diesel Pusher with Air bags pounds uncomfortably on highway roadstrips, bridge seams and uneven pavement. A friend tells me that the pounding that he experienced with his motorhome was improved greatly when he installed Bilstein shock absorbers. Have any of you replaced shocks with Bilsteins, and are you pro or con ?
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:45 PM   #2
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When we bought our MH in 2012 the shocks were in bad shape. The porpoising was really bad over wavy roads, and the strips in the concrete highways sounded like we were running over 2x4's!

I replaced all 8 shocks with the Bilsteins. I considered the Koni's but read some comparisons that made me decide they weren't worth the extra money. The Bilsteins stopped the porpoising immediately, and there was a definite improvement on the highway strips, although not as much as I had hoped for. This sounds crazy, but it seems that it has gotten better over a period of time! I wonder if there's some kind of "break-in" period with these!
Anyway, I don't regret making the change!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:57 PM   #3
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I think you my be running your air bag with to much pressure. This can cause the problems you are talking about. I may be wrong but your air bags should make shocks worthless.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:57 PM   #4
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Bilstein Shock Absorbers

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Originally Posted by cwit View Post
I think you my be running your air bag with to much pressure. This can cause the problems you are talking about. I may be wrong but your air bags should make shocks worthless.

I have 10 air bags and 10 shocks. They both work well, and together. The shocks dampen the initial "shock" of a bump so it does not get transmitted "upstairs"; they soften the blow.
Air bags add more "cush" to the whole experience, and keep the rig level.
I am "up in the air" about Konis v Bilstein, but will stand by for more info.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:40 PM   #5
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I think you my be running your air bag with to much pressure. This can cause the problems you are talking about. I may be wrong but your air bags should make shocks worthless.
Air bags control ride height and suspension; shocks control "rebound" when the wheels make a sudden move. If the body bounces more than twice after hitting a pothole, shocks need replaced.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:50 PM   #6
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Bilstein Shock Absorbers

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Air bags control ride height and suspension; shocks control "rebound" when the wheels make a sudden move. If the body bounces more than twice after hitting a pothole, shocks need replaced.

Thanks Ray!
I have an 09 on a RR10S tag chassis with 43K miles. The front axel hits a bit hard on bigger bumps due to about 19K lbs on a 19,600 max front axel, with 115 psi in front tires. So, there is more noise in the front than the drive and tag (85 and 75). I expect that front noise, but wonder if new shocks might be in order, and how to know.
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:55 PM   #7
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I agree with Ray.... shocks control wheel rebound. When traveling on rough roads (which is mostly in southwest interstates) we lower air pressures on tires and suspension bags for smoother rides but when driving in cross-winds, air suspension and tire pressures are increased for better control. bumps are what they are!
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:32 PM   #8
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Agree - shocks and air bags serve entirely different purposes, at least in a DP where the air bags are the only suspension. Plus, you really don't get the option of adjusting the air bag pressure in a DP suspension. It's not like the assist air bags you add to a spring suspension.

I think any new shocks would improve the ride on Michguy's 2005. Whether Bilstein or another brand is open to a lot of debate. Bilstein is good, but so are Koni and Sachs and Road King.

This article may be helpful in choosing the brand:
Shock Therapy: RV Shock Absorber Test
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Old 09-04-2014, 01:44 PM   #9
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Ours came with the Bilstein shocks and I was going to change them out for the Koni's as I heard alot of good things about them. I decided to drive it for awhile to see what if anything I really need to modify. So far we have put about 6000 miles(+the original 2000 miles from shipping) and it rides great. Like said before either we are getting more used to the ride or the shocks/suspension are breaking in, as the ride has actually improved. California has some really bad roads and we do get some pounding when driving freeways in/around big cities. But out on the open road it drives really smooth, no noise, and tracks well. As of right now I'm going to keep the Bilsteins, and am not planning on any handling modifications.
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
Agree - shocks and air bags serve entirely different purposes, at least in a DP where the air bags are the only suspension. Plus, you really don't get the option of adjusting the air bag pressure in a DP suspension. It's not like the assist air bags you add to a spring suspension.

I think any new shocks would improve the ride on Michguy's 2005. Whether Bilstein or another brand is open to a lot of debate. Bilstein is good, but so are Koni and Sachs and Road King.

This article may be helpful in choosing the brand:
Shock Therapy: RV Shock Absorber Test

Gary, that's the comparison tests that I had read before deciding on the Bilsteins! Thanks for posting!
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:28 PM   #11
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The air bags are like the springs on your car, they cushion the ride. The shocks are only to control rebound but in many cases the valving can also help in side sway and stability. I installed Bilstiens on mine a month back for a 1200 mile trip we did and they made a world of difference as well as really improved the control. Saw no reason to spend the money on super expensive shocks, and glad i didn't.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:47 PM   #12
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I had Bilsteins on my 2011 Serrano 33ft. The ride got better after about 15,000, and even better after 20,000.
The same was true for my 2012 Wrangler. It got more nimble the more I flexed it.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:03 AM   #13
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I had Bilsteins on my 2011 Serrano 33ft. The ride got better after about 15,000, and even better after 20,000.
The same was true for my 2012 Wrangler. It got more nimble the more I flexed it.

Glad to know that I'm not imagining things!
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