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Old 04-23-2014, 02:47 PM   #1
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Different Shocks, Will it Improve Sway or Roll

I figure it's better to start a new thread vs. having to post this on the CHF thread.

I read lots of positive feedback for replacing the stock Bilstein shocks with Koni's FSDs. I ordered a set yesterday and then kept researching and found that some folk notice an increase in sway since the shocks offer a softer ride. Shortly after ordering them and reading the negative feedback, I cancelled the order, but come to find out they arrived today. Not sure how they do it that quickly.

Anyway, I'm no suspension/performance expert by no means and would like to know if a softer shock like the Koni will increase the sway or body roll. I'm assuming that the sway bar is responsible for most of the body roll and that the leaf springs and shocks help a small percentage.

I want to get rid of sway and body roll as much as possible and if the Konis don't help then I don't need them. If they do not decrease the sway or roll, but improve the bumpy ride...then they are worth keeping.
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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Roll and Sway are different. Here's my two cents :

ROLL is an angular, movement of the entire rig. That is, it leans side to side. Roll is controlled by sway bars (correctly called anti sway bars). Sometimes only at the front, but better at both ends. Reducing roll can be done by stiffer sway bar(s) and to a smaller extent by installing stiffer bushings for the sway bar mounting(s).

SWAY is generally when the back of the rig moves laterally side to side and is generally controlled by a track bar (Panhard bar). Since sway is generally allowed by excessive suspension compliance (slop), I don't think shocks will cure it.

Shock absorbers are also called dampers. That is, they dampen the movement of the suspension. The springs of your motorhome will allow the same eventual amount of roll or compression regardless of what shock is installed, but the rate of roll will very depending on the shock valving. A stiffer shock will reduce how fast the rig rolls, but it will eventually lean the same amount if you keep on turning since the shock will be compressed. Since a stiffer shock will make the rig roll/ lean slower, it will therefore feel more under control. The downside is that just straight up and down suspension movement from bumps will also be stiffer.

Having said all that, I understand that the FSD Koni shocks allow easier deflection from small movements, like bumps in the road, but act stiffer under larger movements, like turning / cornering / side wind. Maybe some Koni FSD users will add additional information.

Disclaimer: I'm not a suspension expert, but have done considerable suspension development on autocross competition cars (but I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night). In the real world the effect of, shocks, springs, track bars anti sway bars and alignment can be complex and it can be difficult to asses the results of one specific change.

Edit: since you reference the CHF (Cheap handling fix) I assume your rig is a Ford chassis with leaf spring rear suspension. Diesel pushers with air bags, etc. are kinda different, and may respond differently to changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by al2ride View Post
I figure it's better to start a new thread vs. having to post this on the CHF thread.

I read lots of positive feedback for replacing the stock Bilstein shocks with Koni's FSDs. I ordered a set yesterday and then kept researching and found that some folk notice an increase in sway since the shocks offer a softer ride. Shortly after ordering them and reading the negative feedback, I cancelled the order, but come to find out they arrived today. Not sure how they do it that quickly.

Anyway, I'm no suspension/performance expert by no means and would like to know if a softer shock like the Koni will increase the sway or body roll. I'm assuming that the sway bar is responsible for most of the body roll and that the leaf springs and shocks help a small percentage.

I want to get rid of sway and body roll as much as possible and if the Konis don't help then I don't need them. If they do not decrease the sway or roll, but improve the bumpy ride...then they are worth keeping.
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:21 PM   #3
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Me. I would check with Forest river owners to see what fixes they have done. Allso weigh the MH on all 4 corners things I have read say that can help
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:10 PM   #4
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George is absolutely correct in his statement, and very well explained. If you are getting too much roll your best bet is to look at you sway bars, both front an back.
Check for worn bushings and make sure that it is connected at both sides. If all is well you might need to go go to a heaver one or an add on that go over the top of the OEMs.
If your getting sway (side to side), tail wag, or just trouble holding its track then you might want to look into track bars, both front and rear.
Shocks, unless extreme, only improve or degrade the ride.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:28 AM   #5
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I would say as long as you have the Koni shocks put them on and try them. At the price compared to any place else if you don't like them you can probably remove them, install the old shocks and sell the Koni for the same price or more on Ebay. I'm going to install mine today 4/24/2014 , but may not get in a test drive.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:51 AM   #6
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On a scale of one to ten with one being how it was when we first got it and ten meaning that is has zero sway/roll (if that's possible), I would say our coach is about a seven. That's after installing a Tiger Trak, both front and rear CHF, and setting the correct tire pressure. Believe me, it used to be a one. I would like to get to a ten, if possible, and that's why I wanted to know the truth behind the shocks' truth/myth.

I do have a pretty set of golden shocks sitting in front of me so I might as well install them.

BTW, all my bushings are new. The only bushings that are not original are on the sway bar links in the front. I'm using the ones that came with the Hellwig links.

Note: Not sure when the F53 came with a front trak bar, but ours came with one stock....in the front only.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:03 PM   #7
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I installed the Koni fronts today 4/24/2014, took me about 40 minutes. Took the motorhome for a ride and yes it did ride much softer and not the bone jarring feel of the original shocks. Lets say I was very happy with the ride, so much so I just ordered the rears.
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