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Old 04-30-2014, 08:22 PM   #1
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Shock Remorse

I just completed a round trip down I-5 from Sacramento to LA and down the 405 to Long Beach after installing 8 new Bilstein comfort shocks I got from eShocks, new Michelin XZA3 tires and trailing arm cross braces made from Vanwill's design. My coach is a 2007 Diplomat 38PDQ and I drove most of the way between 60-65 MPH. I was also towing our 98 Camry @ about 3,500lbs.
We had strong cross winds both down and back and I fought the coach the whole way. Not only did I experience significant lateral control difficulty, but the most alarming thing was significant porpoising whenever I went over any significant dips in the freeway. To be fair, this may be among the worst highways in the US today and there are significant dips at the joints between the roadway and underpasses or whenever the pavement changes. Each time I hit one of those, my coach bucked wildly down and then up, sometimes making a second cycle before the reaction was dampened. My wife, who is not very technically astute was very alarmed and thought I was having trouble controlling the coach. I did not feel a loss of control, but the combination of porpoising and lateral control difficulty in gusty winds kept me with a white knuckle grip on the wheel.
I presume this is the way a "comfort shock" is supposed to handle, but I would definitely say that the porpoising is noticeably more severe than the Monroe's I just took off. I wish I had done more comparative evaluation in both configurations on the same stretch of road, but I did not. So, my comparison may be somewhat flawed for that reason. I do not think this has anything to do with the Vanwill cross braces or the new tires, and the coach does ride smoother than it did before the installation of these improvements.
But, I am at this juncture finding myself wishing I had paid the extra money for Koni shocks. I also find it curious that I have not read any other reports like mine so I am not sure what to think about this. I would definitely appreciate hearing from others who may have relevant experience or knowledge to share. Harry, Vanwill, William, what say you about this? Have you seen this and am I expecting too much?
Cheers,

Roy and Debbie
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Toading a Toyota Camry
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:58 PM   #2
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The only part of this I can comment on is that I just changed my steer tires to Michelin XZA-3+ tires and just completed a 300 mile trip for the first time with the new tires. I noticed no increase in the ride "softness" with those tires compared to the old tires. I would guess the poiposing has nothing do with the new tires.

Gary
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:17 PM   #3
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I don't think it is the tires either, and I do believe Vanwill's trailing arm cross braces improved handling. I noticed a distinct improvement on the test drive after installation. So, I suspect that what I am seeing is a combination of shocks that are much softer than I expected and lateral control issues related to the front axle and high wind conditions. Trailing arm bushings look good but I know that is no guarantee they are. The coach has 35K miles so I don't think they are bad yet. Ride height is correct. The cross winds were very strong and I did notice big trucks swaying some too, so maybe I don't really have a problem with lateral control.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:40 PM   #4
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I've been watching the shock wars for years. When I bought my 36' Diplomat new in 2005, it would beat the heck out of you, especially on choppy roads. I eventually bought the Koni FSD's and was extremely happy. As a matter of fact, I've never heard anyone dislike the FSD's on a Roadmaster chassis.

I know it's too late, but reading all of the shock posts, it seems the Bilsteins worked best on the Class A gassers and the Koni's on the DP's.

I believe that when Source Engineering did all their research to make the perfect Bilstein shock for Roadmaster chassis', they did it in unison with their ride enhancement kit. I know Monaco Mama tested the Bilsteins on their Diplomat for Source Engineering, but they also had the ride enhancement kit installed.

Sooooo.....my humble opinion is that the Bilsteins you buy for a Roadmaster are designed to work well with the ride enhancement kit, but are not set up for a stock Monaco. They should probably offer two models. One for the REK outfitted units and one for stock units. This is just my opinion. If someone has evidence to prove I'm full of baloney....maybe they'll post and prove me wrong.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:47 PM   #5
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Don,
Thanks for the comments. I am migrating toward a conclusion that I shoulda got Koni's. I may wind up doing it anyway and eating the sunk cost. Maybe I can find someone interested in buying slightly used Bilstein's.

Roy
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:19 PM   #6
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Try and return them.....tell them you're not satisfied with the performance.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcb View Post
Don,
Thanks for the comments. I am migrating toward a conclusion that I shoulda got Koni's. I may wind up doing it anyway and eating the sunk cost. Maybe I can find someone interested in buying slightly used Bilstein's.

Roy
Sorry to add to what you don't want to hear, but I can verify that I experienced significantly reduced porpoising after going to Koni's from the Monroe shocks that came with my Diplomat. Although, I upgraded my previous coach to Bilsteins and they were fine. But that was a 36' Discovery on a Freightliner chassis. (Roadmaster chassis are very different.)

If you just got these, maybe it's worth a call to eShocks to tell them how dissatisfied you are. Maybe they will do something for you on them, or maybe they will give you a significant discount on Koni's if you trade them out. At some point, maybe it wouldn't hurt to let 'em know that you are discussing this experience on an RV forum with over 125,000 members (currently 125,130 names on the members list), and you would like to tell everyone about your good experience with eShocks.

UPDATE... After posting this, I see Don had the same suggestion for you. If you do talk to them, please let us know how you make out.
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:28 PM   #8
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Good idea. Thx Robin and Don. Think I will try that. I assumed it was a done deal, but maybe not.
Roy
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Try and return them.....tell them you're not satisfied with the performance.
yup, discuss with the seller and see what you can work out.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:26 PM   #10
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Source shocks

I have the Source Bilstein shocks on my rv without the REK. I do not have any shock issues. I replaced the factory Bilsteins with the Source shocks about 20k miles ago.

I haven't driven I5, however I have driven the majority of the country from Utah to Miami with the current setup. I did do about 600 miles with a 40 mph crosswind. That was not any fun.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcb View Post
Don,
Thanks for the comments. I am migrating toward a conclusion that I shoulda got Koni's. I may wind up doing it anyway and eating the sunk cost. Maybe I can find someone interested in buying slightly used Bilstein's.

Roy
Roy,

I hate to tell you this, but if you purchased the Bilstein's from eShocks you DID NOT get the shocks tuned for the Roadmaster chassis. Those are tuned especially for Source Engineering and you would need to purchase the 60mm Bilstein's from them for the front and the standard diameter for the rear. That said, I have the Koni FSD's and love them. Put them on years ago and they made a tremendous improvement in in ride and handling. Bear in mind that they were the FSD type. The non-FSD Koni's would not be anywhere near as good and might even be less effective as the standard Bilstein's.

Bob
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:11 AM   #12
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I have driven that section of road several times and it is one of the worst Interstate roads in the USA. It is scary hitting those expansion joints on bridges. It seems like some of the repairs are worse than the previous damaged road. Last time I drove it was in my 44' Signature with ten air bags, ten shocks, tag axle and Michelin XZA2 tires and it was horrible. In my opinion it doesn't make any difference as to what you are driving or what shocks you have on your MH on that road. If you are trying to fix your MH just for that road then save your money. As far as crosswinds are concerned you have a lot of sail area on that MH and the only true way to stop being blown around is to get a heavy MH (42,000+ lbs) with a tag axle. My MH does NOT react to crosswinds like my previous non tag MH. Changing the known new shocks to another brand will not stop that instability in the crosswind. New stiffer sway bars may help some but it is still going to happen in a crosswind. Personally I think that your shocks and tires will be OK when you drive on a fair road with no crosswind and you should save your money.
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:23 AM   #13
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Comment on Bilstein's on gassers vs. Koni on diesel:

I bought my 38' gasser three years old in'07. I assume it had OEM shocks, rode like it did not have any shocks. First change was to Billsteins. Nice improvement. Three weeks ago, with 43k miles on the Bilsteins, change to Koni FSD. My gasser is riding much better. When we leave our house, drive one block, must turn left or right. Where street meets, big three inch drop between the two asphalt streets. Only going 2-3 mph from the stop sign the rig would ""rock" significantly.....with new Koni's barely a sway.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:09 AM   #14
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Minor contributor could be new tyres inflated to whatever the tyre fitters think is the correct pressure rather than what it should be.

I find that slowing down 10 or 15mph in difficult conditions does wonders too.
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