Labor Day Weekend Upgrades to our '05 Sea Breeze
Alrighty then ... Labor Day is appropriate description for me this weekend
I got a lot of things done so far this weekend on the RV - not everything I wanted, but that's how it goes. Items to check off the list:
- rear poly SB bushings, done!
- rear CHF, done!
- new Konis front and rear, done!
- powerwash the RV, done!
- zep wax, done! -- we'll see how I like it tomorrow. I do see a few drips tonight that I will need to deal with tomorrow. I have not yet zep'd the roof. Now, did I zep over some imperfections - yes. Do I have a week to clean up every imperfection before applying zep? No
I was a little hesitant on doing the zep - but the RV "bled" white paint noticeably during the wash cycle, and she's 12 years old AND she looks pretty nice right now with the first application of zep.
What didn't get done?
- front SB bushings. After getting 3 of the 4 bolts loosened - and WOW, loosening these bolts was nearly as hard as the rear shock bolts, I found that the last bolt is rounded and I could not get the socket on it securely enough to remove it. I decided it was best to re-tighten the other 3 bolts, rather than risk not being able to drive the RV. It's likely that this 4th bolt will need to be cut off. The current bushing are still solid/appear to be in good shape, so I'll be ordering 4 new bolts/nuts for the front SB and then tackle that when they come in
- CHF on the front. I can see how using the stock links will bring the SB really close to the leaf springs. I think I may just order new links for the front, and have a local place extend them to 14" center to center for me, and then try the front CHF.
So after all the suspension work, how does the RV handle?
Pretty darn well I think! I took her out for a few runs and I can certainly feel the improvement in the chassis:
- there is much less body roll/rocking while taking corners
- while a bump in the road is still a bump, I feel that the Koni's absorb them much better. I can still feel the road bumps, but to me - it seems that they are absorbed at/below the floor level and have much less impact on the upper part of the "house"
- Corners and exit ramps are soooo much easier to take - again house/body roll is significantly reduced. I know that I was able to take the exits that I have taken for 6 years, at a better pace than before, with much better control.
- The overall ride is noticeably improved.
I don't think that I can point to one item that has improved the handling - since I did 3 suspension changes at once (shocks, bushings, CHF), but I will say that the time and money spent on these suspension improvements were well worth it --- although the real review on these changes will come when the DW gets in the RV for a ride
While the SB bushings on the rear and the CHF were relatively easy changes, the shocks were anything but. I had bilsteins all around and I assume these were the original shocks on the RV. The bolts were *really* difficult to get off - especially the lower rear bolts that had 12 years worth of road debris hitting the threads. I did complete the change of all 4 shocks in one day, but for me it was about 7-8 hours. I expect that it would have likely cost me at least 6 hours of labor at our local shop - at a cost of $125/hour. So I definitely saved myself some money - even after spending about $250 on new tools/stuff to complete the job.
I'm glad that I prepped with WD-40 a day prior, but even still, getting the bolts loose took some *SERIOUS* muscle. I had to put my entire body into getting the bolts off, knees/legs up against the tires to give me the most leverage. After the bolt removal, installation and tightening - I was really sore. Nothing a few advil and an adult beverage(s) at the end of the day didn't fix
Installation of the shocks was relatively easy. Given that these are not gas shocks (like the bilsteins), I was able to just extend the shock to the length I needed to install it.
Getting the rear torqued to the correct specs was difficult due to the limited access I could get with the torque wrench - but I got it done -- 1 ratchet click at a time.
So this weekend, my wallet is a LOT lighter, my muscles got a workout, I'm a little sore - but the BEAST handles so much better, got a bath and the zep treatment. In my book, a win all around.
Ohhh, let's not forget that I installed a new fuel pump for the Onan 5500 this weekend also. I had previously replaced the fuel filter (latest revision), carb (latest revision), air filter and oil filter - before our last trip. After replacing the filter and carb with the newest versions, I unhappily discovered, that I should have also replaced the fuel pump with the latest version. Now I can check that off the list as well.
Tomorrow I tackle my headlight problem - adding relays and some custom wiring.
2005 National Sea Breeze 1311
2015 VW Tiguan SE 4Motion (trailered)
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