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Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)

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jfcaramagno

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Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« on: August 15, 2015, 11:45:33 pm »
We have 14,000 miles on our 2014 2552 now and the shocks are getting soft so we're thinking of Bilsteins. Has anyone installed Bilstein shocks on their E450 and which level did you choose, Comfort or Heavy Duty? How did your choice work out?

Thanks in advance.
John and Carol

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bhgareau

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 01:10:44 am »
We installed Bilstein Heavy Duty shocks last year and we are very pleased with  the ride. Our coach is a 2400 with 4WD. The ride was very stiff with the factory shocks, and is much more comfortable now. We did replace all 6 tires at the same time with Michelins so I'm not sure how much of the improvement is to be split between the shocks and the tires.

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Barry-Sue

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 06:06:33 am »
We had bilstein HD installed on our 2008 2350 and were very pleased.  We just ordered and received the bilstein HD shocks for our 2012 2551 and they will be installed this week.  I found the best price at allshocks.com and will have a local frame shop install them.  We chose the bilstein because they are gas charged and they performed very well for us in the past.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2015, 03:54:19 pm by Barry-Sue »
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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2015, 06:32:30 am »
I don't mean to change the topic, but if I were going to replace my shocks, I would get Koni-FSD shocks.  They are more expensive, but the patented internal limiting valve inside reduces the harshness of the ride when cruising along.  They soften road imperfections without reducing performance when "heavy duty" is called for.

Anything we can do to reduce harshness to our rigs and contents is a very good thing.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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TomHanlon

Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 07:10:18 am »
I had Bilstein HD put on both my 2350 and my 2552. The last set was the new, at the time, silver ones. They are also used on most ambulances. The Bilstein customer service told me the HD would be best for a mini motorhome. At first they would ride a little stiff but after about 6k miles they get softer.  I have put about 14K miles on this pair and I am still happy with them.

When I bought this pair, Koni had the FSD shocks but not for the E350 or the E450. The reviews from the class A groups were very good for the FSDs.

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David J. Rotelle

Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2015, 11:46:13 am »
We installed the Bilstein heavy duty shocks on our Born Free with the E450 chassis and did not notice much of an improvement. This past Thursday before leaving for a two day trip I installed the Bilstein Comfort shocks on the front our 2351 with the E350 Chassis.

I am pleased to report that the ride is much smoother. We drove on some very rough roads through the center of PA into North West PA (Meadville) then across the top of the state on back roads to Bradford. It was a great test for the new shocks over a lot of bumpy roads.

We owned three Born Frees all with the Ford E450 chassis before we purchased our Phoenix. The Phoenix with these Bilstein comfort shocks and the rear Super Springs is by far the smoothest ride.

We replaced the shocks ourselves. The two in the rear were very easy, we replaced them several months ago. The front driver side was a challenge to change as the nut on the top is hard to get to.
After some researching how to replace the driver side I decided to bend a 3/4" open end wrench in the vise.   The wrench broke when I was bending it and to my delight the 4" broken open end of the wrench was the perfect tool to reach the nut.............I do have a decent size scab on the top of my left hand to show for it. :)

I was determined to smooth out the ride on the Ford E series chassis and am very pleased with the results.

Based on our experience I would definitely get the Bilstein comfort shock over the heavy duty.



Dave


« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 11:49:05 am by David J. Rotelle »

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jfcaramagno

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 08:07:49 pm »
Three votes for HD, one for Comfort and one for Koni. We returned from our vacation trip this week, driving from Washington state down through Oregon and Northern California on US101. This highway in Southern Oregon and Northern California is well past its sell by date, rough and crumbly. The ride on the old Ford shocks was terrible: vibrating and swaying. I sure don't want that same ride on new shocks, so I hesitate to pick the HD option, but I also don't want to spend all that money and not get better handling. Sigh.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 11:16:35 pm by jfcaramagno »
John and Carol

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Joseph

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2015, 04:07:57 pm »
I'm going to have to go along with Ron on this. I know the Koni cost more however everything I've read indicates its money well spent.

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jfcaramagno

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2015, 07:42:41 pm »
I called the Bilstein factory to get their advice which was to buy the Comfort shocks. The tech said both Comfort and Heavy Duty are heavy duty shocks, the Comfort is just a little more comfortable. Can't argue with that I guess. He said on a long drive I would be happier with Comfort, but for short drives the HD is tolerable. So I ordered the Comforts. Will report back after they are installed.
John and Carol

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savvydog

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 08:59:57 am »
First I want to say that this forum is great and this post very timely - so, thanks everybody!  I'm two months into ownership on my 2014 2600 (stretched 2400).  The ride seems very jarring over even the smallest bumps so I looked at this thread to learn something about shocks.  Based on the advice here, I did a little more reading online about the Bilstein and Koni shocks and saw some comments from people on other forums about shocks helping to minimize the effects of wind from passing trucks, etc. 

I have experienced some very frightening handling issues in windy conditions, not really from passing trucks, but on stretches of highway with gusty winds.  I literally have to maintain a death grip on the wheel to keep from being blown off the road.  It was so bad in Montana that we pulled off the highway to rest my nerves (and hands) and try to wait for the winds to subside. Montana was an extreme situation, but I have been surprised by small gusts of wind at many other times and I am now nervous about taking one hand off the wheel at any time on the highway.  Last week, I was at an RV service place for another issue and asked the guy about stabilizers and he sort of pooh-poohed the conversation and said he didn't think stabilizers would help with that.  The guy didn't seem in a helpful mood so I'm not sure if his comment was sound or if he just didn't want to deal with it, but that left me feeling like I don't know what to do about the handling issue.

Anyway, it hadn't occurred to me that perhaps better shock absorbers could help with this?  Anybody have any thoughts on that? Do you or have you had this experience with wind?

Thanks!
Gretchen

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Gail Staton

Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 10:34:55 am »
Gretchen,

I could have posted the same experience you had.  The first time we drove on I-95 we were shocked at the poor handling.   We are not new to motorhomes so knew this  handling was not something we could live with.

We took our 2100 to a rv mechanic we trusted.  He has had lots of experience with Ford's poor handling.   We had  a SAF-T-PlUS steering stabilizer, rear trac bar,  front and rear sway bars, and front and rear Koni shocks installed.

Gail

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savvydog

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 12:55:41 pm »
Thank you, Gail!  I will look into all that stuff.  Sounds like it could cost a pretty penny, but worth the safety factor.

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TomHanlon

Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 01:44:40 pm »
I would do the shocks, either Bilstein or Koni FSD, and the Saf-T-Plus steering stabilzer first. Try them and see if you need the other stuff. Years ago Ford put weak anti-sway bars on but now they have upgraded them. The trac bar is for racing and you most likly will not need it. Sure a salesman/mechanic will try to sell you the whole package. More money for them.

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savvydog

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 02:27:42 pm »
Sounds like a good plan, Tom.  Thank you!

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Barry-Sue

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Re: Need new shocks (Bilstein thread)
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2015, 05:17:26 pm »
A follow up to my previous post on this thread.  We had 22,500 miles on our 2012 2551 PC when we decided to have Bilstein HD shocks installed in August.  The frame shop that installed the shocks confirmed that all four shocks were bad but the passenger side shocks showed much greater wear.

It was not until mid September that we were able to take a couple of short trips (950 miles) around Michigan.  The shocks performed well and provided a controlled and fluid ride without excessive harshness.  Also, on one travel day we had constant side winds in the 20-30 mph range with higher gusts and experienced no handling issues.


Barry
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