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Old 03-29-2019, 06:52 PM   #1
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Are the air suspension systems adjustable

Hi Folks,

Just took a weekend trip with our "new" 2003 Newmar Kountry Star 3702 coach and found that the ride was rather "mushy" and uncomfortable. I don't know if the shocks have been replaced on this bus, but doubt it as it only has 39,600 miles on it. Even if they haven't I would think they wouldn't be worn out yet.

I was wondering if the air suspension system is adjustable on this coach. You know, can the pressure be pumped up a little to give a stiffer ride? On the 2000 Safari that I had each air bag had an adjustable valve and the pressure was regulated by the "height" of the bag.

I'm not a coach mechanic and even though I know a fair amount about mechanics am unable to do much work on my bus due to physical restrictions.
That said, if the system is adjustable and easy to reach I might be able to do the work myself if I knew what I was supposed to do.

Any advise tossed my way will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Nick
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:59 PM   #2
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No. The firmness can not be adjusted by adding air - that will only inflate the bag more and lift the coach. Shocks can make a big difference. Soft (or worn out) shocks will fell mushy and let the coach bounce. Bilstein and Monroe are said to be soft, whereas Koni are said to be firmer.

Also low tire air pressure can make coach seem mushy and wandering.
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Old 03-30-2019, 01:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryB View Post
No. The firmness can not be adjusted by adding air - that will only inflate the bag more and lift the coach. Shocks can make a big difference. Soft (or worn out) shocks will fell mushy and let the coach bounce. Bilstein and Monroe are said to be soft, whereas Koni are said to be firmer.

Also low tire air pressure can make coach seem mushy and wandering.
Thanks Mike,
I was wondering about that. The other coach I had initially had the same ride, but after adjusting the bags to the correct height and replacing the shocks with Konis the ride improved dramatically.

I haven't been under the coach to check on the system there, but I do know that the tires are all at the recommended pressure. I'll get someone check out the shocks as well.

Nick
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:12 PM   #4
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Hi scalawagman,
Consider;
1. Heavy Duty Trac/Torsion/Motion Control/Sway Bar for the back axle.
2. Air bag restrictors. Go to https://supersteerparts.com/shop/mot...artan-chassis/ and read about the motion control units.

I did these items to my coach and it made a world of difference.
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:46 PM   #5
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Hi scalawagman,
Consider;
1. Heavy Duty Trac/Torsion/Motion Control/Sway Bar for the back axle.
2. Air bag restrictors. Go to https://supersteerparts.com/shop/mot...artan-chassis/ and read about the motion control units.

I did these items to my coach and it made a world of difference.
Hello Gary,

Thanks for the response and information. This coach is new for us and we really don't know a lot about it other than what we've learned from a lot of folks like yourself. I do know it is a 2003, Newmar Kountry Star and the model number is 3702. It is built on a Freightliner chassis and has a 330hp Caterpillar engine with an Allison 3000MH 6-speed transmission. Other than that I know very little.

One thing that would really help me would be learning how to find out which chassis the coach sits on, sources for maintenance and mechanical work, parts lists or a way of figuring out which part is called for and some diagrams, especially wiring diagrams.

We have put something like 1000 miles on the bus since we got it and right now improving the ride and handling is a primary concern. I went ot the Supersteeringparts.com site you suggested and can see that they will be a valuable resource. However, how do I identify which part fits my coach?

Sorry if I seem a little uninformed, I am! All this motorhome business is very confusing to me, not like going to Napa and looking for a part for my truck or car. And even then you have to know at least something about what you are driving.

All I know is after driving the bus for 1000 miles I find it very difficult to handle on the road. Lots of wind this last drive and I had to hold it down to 45mph to stay in my lane. I "think" the problem could be the shocks, perhaps the air bags aren't properly inflated (know the tires are), or I could have some loose components in the suspension. The steering seems tight and tracks well, but the coach sways and bounces all around.

Any and all help/advise appreciated.

Nick
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:33 PM   #6
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Hi,
You have a Freightliner chassis. Go to https://newmar.imgix.net/wp-content/...sel-pusher.pdf and download the 2003 KS brochure. Bypass the Class A section (that is Gas power coaches). Go to the diesel section. The KS line is not noted for handling well in a stock configuration. The KS line was the entry level diesel coach for Newmar.

Try going to a truck chassis shop (certified Freightliner shop) and have them do a steer axle alignment. Also have them look everything over. The KS line does have a tendency to follow the wind, crown in the road, passing trucks, etc. This is due to the 4 airbags. Have the air bags checked. If they are original, most likely they need to be replaced. That is where the restrictors come into play. When the coach body gets pushed one way or another, the chassis will follow. In stock configuration, air is allowed to freely roam in and our of the bags. The restrictors limit how fast this can happen. If the restrictors are a DIY project, the front and back are different sizes. The vendor should know when you call. Or it will be two trips under the coach to take the measurement of the hose size. The back are easy to install. The front are a PITA.
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Old 04-08-2019, 03:50 AM   #7
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So far as I know, only ride height is adjustable -- and you don't want to mess with that unless it's wrong.

Our 2008 KSDP 3723 still has its original Bilsteins (65,000 mi.). The front is a bit soft -- just like a bus. But I really don't want it any stiffer. And I've never bottomed out yet.

I don't know if gas shocks need to be replaced after so many years -- or just so many miles. But you might ask a truck alignment shop about that.
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Old 12-06-2022, 03:16 PM   #8
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Is there a way to adjust the rear height easliy on a 2001 Kountry Star 36' just for getting in and out of a garage with a driveway that's a little to steep to keep from dragging the rear hitch receiver assembly?
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Old 12-06-2022, 11:36 PM   #9
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Is there a way to adjust the rear height easliy on a 2001 Kountry Star 36' just for getting in and out of a garage with a driveway that's a little to steep to keep from dragging the rear hitch receiver assembly?
So far as I know, the ride-height adjustment is a very crude (but effective) metal strap thingie that either gets bent or has an adjustable nut and bolt arrangement.

So my answer would be NO, there's no quick and dirty way to temporarily change ride height.

But I'm no expert. And I haven't needed to change mine, so I've never done it myself.
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Old 12-07-2022, 06:07 AM   #10
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AFAIK ride height is also something with rather small margin for error.
The factory specs are precise.
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Old 12-07-2022, 07:58 AM   #11
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Keep in mind that rear ride height is set to keep the driveshaft U joint angles in correct position.

Raising or lowering it from specs will cause vibrations and accelerated wear.

Temporarily raising or lowering will involve some electric operated air control valves that bypass the ride height valves.
Without a bypass, they will work against you to maintain ride height.
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Old 12-07-2022, 01:28 PM   #12
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I think this is a little all over the place with suggestions. To start, the ride height is adjustable, but not for the purposes of stiffening the ride. However, if the ride height is incorrect, the coach can handle poorly. The purpose of correct ride height is to get the coach level and the weight distributed correctly. An imbalance can cause handling issues. Since the coach is new to you, I would have the ride height checked.

Regarding shocks.....most shocks installed from the manufacturer are of bare minimum quality and can be junk within 10K miles. It's amazing the number of people who will spend thousands of dollars on new electronics for a coach, but contend the shocks are still good at 50K. Replace the shocks.

Lastly, have a 4-wheel alignment done, get the coach weighed and then adjust the tires to the correct pressure for the weight.

By doing the above, you'll know that your coach is good shape, and everything is adjusted to specifications. The new shocks and correct air pressure should solve the majority of your issues.

You're probably looking at about a $1000.00 all in.
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