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Old 08-22-2010, 08:03 AM   #1
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I may be shocked...or not

OK, a play on words - this is a shock absorber question.



BACKGROUND:
  • 2008 Damon Daybreak 3758
  • Ford F-53 228" WB with Goodyear 245/70R19.5
  • Per CAT scales 5,900 front and 12,800 rear (per wheel weight done also) when in ready-to-go mode.
  • Running 80psi all around per the Goodyear inflation chart.
  • OEM Blistein shocks
  • Original Owner
  • Now have 12,000 miles (all interstate with some minor state roads)
  • TOAD is a 2008 Ford Escape - 4 down.
  • Average MPG = 7.2 with TOAD
  • Last check-up (complete with oil transfusion) was great and tires looked fine.
CONCERNS:
Although the coach mostly rides and drives well (especially in the mountains with the addition of a 5Star tune), the rough roads and intermittent expansion strips are getting on my nerves. I especially hate traversing though Indianapolis on I70 and Virginia I66 near the Beltway. I cringe when I approach expansion strips and such. Sometimes things hop out of the shelves and scare the heck out of me and the Lab. I've moved as much cargo as I can to pre-load the underloaded front axle but it is still not enough. Slowing down to 50mph helps a bit, but I normally drive at 63mph (best MPG vs time per ScanGauge).



QUESTIONS:
  1. How long will the OEM Blisteins last?
  2. Are the OEM Blisteins different from the off-the-shelf (new) Blisteins?
  3. If I replace the OEMs with Koni FSD will there be a substantial difference in ride (I can purchase and have them installed for a total of about $860). I don't mind trading some Franklins for a better ride.
PS: I've investigated the MOR/Ryde solution and talked to them - I am not ready for that - at least not yet.


Thanks for your time
Katherine
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy_MD View Post
QUESTIONS:
  1. How long will the OEM Bilsteins last?
  2. Are the OEM Bilsteins different from the off-the-shelf (new) Bilsteins?
  3. If I replace the OEMs with Koni FSD will there be a substantial difference in ride (I can purchase and have them installed for a total of about $860). I don't mind trading some Franklins for a better ride.
Katherine,
  1. The shocks have a limited lifetime warranty.
  2. Yes they are. Some folks will experience that the off the shelf units are less aggressive.
  3. Koni FSD shock absorbers are by far the preferred shock absorber here on iRV2 in any number of applications from lighter weight 4 shock chassis up to 8 shocks absorber 45 foot motorhomes. The reason why they continue to be popular here is because of the great testimonials that people give them.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:00 PM   #3
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Katherine:
We have very similar situations. I have a 2006 model F-53 under a Coachman Mirada. I got rid of my stock Bilsteins with only about 8K miles on them and put on 4 Koni FSD's. The ride definitely improved. However, be aware that there is a limit to just how much improvement you'll get.

On a recent trip to Idaho from Texas, the roads in northern Utah just about beat us to death, FSD's or no FSD's! As has been said many times on here, your motorhome is basically a bread truck underneath and there's only so much you can do to make it better. I have a rear aux. sway bar, rear track bar, front track bar, Steersafe and the FSD's....yeah, it rides and tracks a lot better but it's still a bread truck. So my advice is to look carefully at the Mor-Ryde and get some input from someone who has installed it. That might just be your best bang for your buck.
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:24 AM   #4
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Have to agree with Driver, before spending an excessive amount of monies changing out your suspension, I would first highly recommend you try the Koni FSD shocks, particularly on your front suspension. They're a bit pricey, around $150 ea, but well worth the $$$. We have them installed on our 2000 coach and they provide a very comfortable ride. We also run 80psi in our tires.

Good luck and safe travels
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:05 AM   #5
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I agree with the above statements. The F53 chassis leaves a lot to be desired in the ride quality in the best of cases.

Some ride improvement may be realized with installing Koni shocks but in my case it didn't make any difference when I replaced the ones on the front of mine.

I have ordered and received new rear Koni's and will be calling the Ford truck dealer this week about installing them and checking the alignment. Somethings wrong and I just have not found it yet.

Will try to remember to post again when I get it done.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #6
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Hi Jerry, I'd be very interested in hearing whether the FSD's installed on rear make any difference. I have the Koni Adjustable shocks on the rear of ours, as I had them installed before the FSD's were available on the market. Sometime in the future I'm thinking about FSD's for the rear, but not sure they would make that much difference, so will be anxious to hear how yours work out.

Thanks & Good luck, Jim
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:07 PM   #7
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Well Koni's installed on rear today. Got them on front and rear now. Didn't seem to make any difference.

I'm going to do some serious playing around with air pressure again next week, then I think the next step will be two more new tires on the front. I will save the old ones as they have less than 10K miles on then and if new tires on the front don't help then will use the ones I take off and try them on the back.

I'm starting to get frustrated but all this started after installing new Goodyears. If I buy two more they will be Michilin I think.

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Old 08-28-2010, 11:30 AM   #8
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Hi Jerry, Were the Koni's you installed the FSD's? If so, you and a member on another forum are the only ones I've read where there wasn't a significant ride improvement.

I'm really sorry to hear after spending the money they didn't work for you. You may want to try and see if you can return them for a refund.

Regarding tires, we have the Bridgestone R250F tires on our coach and ride-wise work good for us. We run 80psi which is minimum recommended by the Bridgestone chart for their load range "G" tires.

Best regards, Jim
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Old 08-28-2010, 03:02 PM   #9
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People used to say the old VW's was the best car ever made until they got rid of the one they had. It's hard to admit your wrong.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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I have a older "bread truck", actually '97 F53. The chassis is rated at 17k, when I travel I usually weigh out right at 15K. I replaced 1 year old magnums in the front with the FSD's. It proved not to be worth the bucks. Maybe if you were replacing OEM Bilsteins, maybe you will find a definite improvement with the FSD's, I wasn't and I didn't. I currently am considering front air bags, don't know if they will help, but one thing I do know the FSD's did not.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:11 PM   #11
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I currently am considering front air bags, don't know if they will help, but one thing I do know the FSD's did not.
If you are keeping your RV for the long term consider Mor-Ryde. I am not sure if your GVW is supported by Mor-Ryde but you may want to check it out. This suspension system used on various F53 chassis has made a marked improvement for those owners who have opted to get this suspension upgrade.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:25 PM   #12
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Has anyone installed SumoSprings on their Ford chassis?
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:25 PM   #13
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Almost traded it in on this vacation, although I generally keep things for the long term, if the deal is right current rig would be history.

So no MorRyde for me.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:35 AM   #14
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Thank you all for your informative response to my queries.

Although I am tempted to install four Koni FSD shocks, I am hesitant due to the light mileage (12K) on my lifetime warranty Bilstines (OEM).

Basically, for my MH, this is a $860 gamble.

Additionally, I am a bit concerned regarding the reviews (this forum and elsewhere) of the Konis. Some state no difference, some state a bit of difference, a small majority state a vast improvement. I have tried to read these reviews while taking into account both the buyer-justification and buyer-remorse factors. I can only assume that the variance of the reviews is due to chassis age, loading, tire pressure, driving style, and, most importantly, expectations.

I'll continue to research, read and keep my credit card on hot-standby.

Again, thanks.
Katherine
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