Early on I wrote about my and your concerns about issues that affected us all in common on the early models W-Series chassis however over time we have been able to apply working solutions that improved our ownership experience. During that time I installed 4 Monroe Magnum RV shocks and they worked remarkably well.
Since then at some 36,000 miles we have found that the Monroes were starting to go away and that the ride was beginning to degrade. Perhaps my expectations for ride handling and comfort changed having experienced new vehicle ride and drives. Consequently I am now expecting more performance from the shock absorbers. that I have on my motorhome.
Bilstein shock absorbers are the standard shock on all new and recent W-Series chassis and they are a very effective system in providing a new level of ride comfort and control. In aftermarket Bilsteins have also been very successful since we constantly see these on the shelves at establishments like Camping World and other fine retailers.
Considering that Bilstein technology has been in place for quite some time and that the price point of the shocks was close to $100.00 each, I decided to explore the next level in shock absorber technology that I have been hearing so much about, dynamically adjustable absorbers from Koni.
The previous generation of Koni shocks were manually adjustable and could be dialed in and fitted to the needs of most any motorhomes currently in production. What I saw were retail prices hovering near $200.00 a piece for Konis so it's no wonder that I and many other folks were a bit gun shy.
Having a need on the other hand often interferes with the cost barrier especially when there's the promise of a brand new technology level that is affordable and leading edge.
Koni FSD Right Front Shock Absorber
Researching some of the new technology out there for Workhorse chassis we all have been introduced to the Stabil-Air suspension. One of the components of that kit are Koni FSD
shocks. Now short of having an entire Stabil-Air kit installed it struck me that a component of the kit might be the solution I was looking for.
Begging Santa for some new shocks it took a while but he delivered.
Right after the holidays, UPS showed up at our house with a package containing the Koni FSD shocks absorbers that I had ordered. Since these were my Christmas present I opened up the box with all the enthusiasm as if they were under the tree. Inside I found 3 more red boxes with Koni logos and pictures of shock absorbers. Checking out the new shocks I observed they were pretty hefty and impressive to look at with a made in Holland stamp on the casing. Absent was the rubber band retainer used by some manufacturers to compress the shock for installation.
The rears came in individual boxes and the fronts came together in a single box. The shocks are painted gold and if nothing else the color alone exudes a feeling of something special. The rear shocks came with a nut and stud cap for the bottom of the shock so once installed it would make for a clean look.
When we departed for Florida earlier in January I brought the shocks with us. I had originally wanted to install the shocks myself but I knew that within a couple of days that I would be at Turning Wheel RV and I could have them install the shocks. Once up on the lift I said bye to our Monroe RV Magnums as in succession they came off the motorhome. While removing the Monroes, Tony found that the left upper rear bolt was found to be loose. He showed me the bolt floating in the eye of the shock; it had about a ½ inch of play in it. The good news was that the top of the shock wasn't really going anywhere loose bolt or not but this is the reason why these things need to be torqued. Tony did a good job in installing the new shocks since he does these types of things all the time and he told me that going forward this isn't going to be any type of an issue to worry about.
Pair of "Gold" rear Koni FSD Shock Absorbers. Note the bottom nut covers - a nice touch
What the people at Koni continuously hear from customers and what I have personally found out is that it doesn't even take a mile to feel the difference. I felt a huge difference within the first 100 feet after I drove my motorhome off the lift and back to our campsite. The forward rolling motion alone of the coach gave me the impression that I was driving a Cadillac and not a close to 21,000 pound motorhome. Man what a grin factor! I would give it a 10 no doubt whatsoever. I couldn't wait to get out on the Interstate and up to speed.
When we departed Turning Wheel my mind was in overload having to pay attention to a number of upgraded features and paying close attention to the performance of each system. Taking to the road a new feeling of luxury - the Koni's were really doing a nice job in flattening out the road surface reducing the effect of expansion joints and delivering on the promise of new ride innovation.
Controlling porpoising isn't even on the radar screen anymore since the Monroe RV Magnums mitigated that issue however the Koni FSD shocks add quality to the ride of the motorhome more than I could have ever expected from a shock absorber.
The technology in the new Koni FSD shocks is described in the following text.
Frequency Selective Damping
Koni has designed a new shock absorber for Class ˜A' motorhomes. (Workhorse was one of the first chassis that can be fitted with the new FSD shocks). According to product literature, these FSD shocks include a special valve that filters out annoying vibrations before they enter the coach.
The FSD shock absorber is the first shock that offers superior handling without compromising comfort. You can't find a better shock for your motorhome than FSD: KONI Frequency Selective Dampers. We have combined the benefits of performance and comfort into one shock absorber. FSD is firm for control over large bumps and corners, but soft for comfort over expansion joints and rough roads. While KONI is known to reduce bouncing in motorhomes, our FSD shocks include a special valve that filters out annoying vibrations before they enter the coach. The result is an incredibly smooth ride, with plenty of shock left to control pitching and swaying.
See the stamp on the casing? "Made By Koni - Holland!"
While most shock absorbers are velocity sensitive, these shocks are frequency sensitive. The FSD valve is open during high frequency inputs like expansion joints and rough roads to ensure a smooth ride. Once you start to roll and pitch over low frequency inputs such as overpasses and large bumps, the FSD valve closes and makes a linear increase in damping forces until your RV settles down.
Put simply: the FSD feature is a hydraulic amplifier that delays the build up of pressure. One could say that an extra tuning option has been created in order to get the best possible combination of handling and comfort. Since it is an integrated part of the hydraulic valve system inside the damper, no additional cables, sensors or any other electronic devices are needed to operate an FSD damper.
FSD is the simplest and most economic way to significantly improve the ride and driving characteristics of every RV. Certainly in comparison with costly systems which work on the basis of computer technology, complex electronics and sensors.
FSD has a suggested retail price that starts at $170 each. Check the Koni website to see if they have FSD for your application today.
Warranty on KONI RV Shocks
KONI Inc. warrants all new KONI shock absorbers to the original retail purchaser on the original vehicle against defects in material and workmanship, excluding mounting rubbers, washers and bushings, when used under normal operating conditions for as long as you own the vehicle. This warranty does not apply to, and KONI makes no warranty for, shock absorbers that have been installed:
"¢ As original equipment on any vehicle.
"¢ On any vehicle that has been modified for a use other than or in addition to its originally intended use;
"¢ For an application that is not specified in the KONI literature;
"¢ On any vehicle that has been used off-road, for racing or for any other driving competition.
KONI is a leading supplier to automotive OEMs and the after market. Part of ITT Industries, it develops, manufactures and sells high quality, high performance shock absorbers for all kinds of private and commercial vehicles, including buses, trucks, trailers, railway rolling stock and racing cars.
For more information, contact;
1961A International Way
Hebron, KY 41075
(866) 566 4175
Obtaining these shocks directly from the Koni RV, they can be purchased for $150.00 each for both fronts and rears.
Part number 88051001 is for the front shocks and part number 88051003 is for the rear shocks. These part numbers apply only to 2001 to 2003 W-Series chassis. There are shocks available for 2004 to current build as well. Check the Koni website for part numbers.
Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has no problem anymore with strong side winds, thanks to special KONI Shock Absorbers