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Old 09-18-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
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Bilstein shocks installed on 364

I finally got around to installing my Bilstein shocks on my 364. I did not remove the wheels so be be prepared to work hard with big tools in tight spaces if you do the same. Overall the installation was straightforward and working at an easy pace the job took about 2 hours.

I was not sure which part numbers to use so I called 3 different places until I had a consensus on the following:

2 X Bilstein B6 24-234511 for the front
2 X Bilstein B6 24-234528 for the rear

Please note that the proper part depends on your rigs weight so be sure to check with Bilstein for proper fitment.

I used the following tools:

1) Liquid wrench to loosen rusty bolts. Apply liberally and let work for a few hours.
2) Longish 1/2" inch breaker bar. Not too long or you won't be able to get it in.
3) 1 1/8" short socket (these are all for 1/2" ratchets so make sure you have one)
4) 1/2" ratchet
5) Hitch ball wrench with 1 1/8" end. I got an inexpensive one from Walmart that worked out great.

My general technique was to undo the bottom bolt and remove it, letting the shock expand. I then removed the top bolt. In some cases the tools could not be used on the proper side. Case in point was the top of the front shock. For these I put the socket on the nut end that was inside a mounting bracket. I then unscrewed from the bolt end with the hitch wrench. This allowed me to benefit from the ratcheting action of the socket wrench on the nut side.

The new shocks were an exact fit but it was sometimes difficult to adjust the levelling jacks to get the bottom hole to align. I started by installing the top bolt and tightening it down. I then inserted the bottom bolt, with washers for the front shocks, and used my hitch wrench as a lever to compress the shock 2". Once the holes were aligned, I pushed in the bolt.

My general impressions after a very short drive:

1) Bumps were absorbed very differently. Instead of a hard bang I felt a very muted and rubbery thump. There was much less vibration inside. While the ride was stiffer, the feeling was nicer.

2) The coach definitely handled better in turns. I mistakenly took a curve too quickly but was able to ride it out. The whole rig felt more planted and predictable.

3) The shock eliminated nearly all sway and porpoising. Rather than the 2 or 3 up and down cycles that the OEM shocks would need to absorb a bump or change, the new ones only needed 1.

In summary, I started to notice that the rear end was better controlled so I didn't have to constantly correct steering as much. The ride seemed more refined so things rattled less and the bumps were very muted compared to harsh bang of the old ones.

All in all I am happy with the upgrade and ok with the $400 cost. It is incremental so if you are expecting night and day, you will be disappointed. It's really the cumulative effect of small changes that are worthwhile.
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:41 AM   #2
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Great! Looking forward in hearing from you after you have your next long trip.
In comparison to the original Ford/Bilstein shocks were the new ones the same diameter and length?
Did the shocks you removed easy to compress than the new ones?

What part number were the new ones you bought?

Thanks
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Great! Looking forward in hearing from you after you have your next long trip.
In comparison to the original Ford/Bilstein shocks were the new ones the same diameter and length?
Did the shocks you removed easy to compress than the new ones?

What part number were the new ones you bought?

Thanks
Iggy,

I edited the post to include the information. I did not check if the old shocks were harder or easier to compress. I would guess they are the same because according to Bilstein, the only difference is the valving.

The different valving makes it harder for the oil to pas the piston, slowing down the shock. It is my opinion that the shocks on my 364 did next to nothing because they valving was too large, greatly reducing the damping effect.

I will check the old shocks later today snd update you.
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:29 PM   #4
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Thank your all your updated information.
I have almost 50,000 miles on my Georgetown with new tires and may consider replacing/updating my shocks if the ride is better.
Interesting to hear about how you talked about larger valves in the new shocks. Is this something you researched and found out would make a better firmer ride?

Oh I more thing. I also have the 242 inch wheel base and here is my weight sticker from the wall. Is it close to what yours is?


Thanks again and I think this thread is great information to all with older or more miles on their rigs.

Iggy
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Thank your all your updated information.
I have almost 50,000 miles on my Georgetown with new tires and may consider replacing/updating my shocks if the ride is better.
Interesting to hear about how you talked about larger valves in the new shocks. Is this something you researched and found out would make a better firmer ride?

Thanks again and I think this thread is great information to all with older or more miles on their rigs.

Iggy
Your coach sits on a 22K chassis, which is what I have so I it should be the same part number. You should still call Bilstein to validate.

In terms of valving, the simple answer is something I knew about but researched. Bilsteins are well known for adjustable valving, especially in the off road community. Watch the following video, at about 7:10, he explains the valves:

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Old 09-18-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
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Information for everyone.
Here is the 2016 Bilstein catalog for motorhomes shocks.

The ones you got are the ones ALL Ford F-53 chassis have since 1998 to present.


My 2012 Motorhome
The only thing I found on my original shock Ford installed is that they have 1.8" pistons but don't say if they are oil filler or gas filled.
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File Type: pdf BIL_Motorhome16_WEB.pdf (1.95 MB, 45 views)
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:11 PM   #7
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Not sure but I think you are saying that all Ford F53 since 1998 come with Bilsteins. I am not sure about when they started but on my rig you are correct.

The Ford OEM shock is a Bilstein but different part number. I called Bilstein and spoke to their engineers twice. According to them the only difference with the OEM Bilstein is the valving, and fancier outside metal, which is why it really irked me.

Again, the importance is the valving.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modmike View Post
Not sure but I think you are saying that all Ford F53 since 1998 come with Bilsteins. I am not sure about when they started but on my rig you are correct.

The Ford OEM shock is a Bilstein but different part number. I called Bilstein and spoke to their engineers twice. According to them the only difference with the OEM Bilstein is the valving, and fancier outside metal, which is why it really irked me.

Again, the importance is the valving.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:43 PM   #9
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These replace the OEM shocks, if I didn't mix them up:

I just went to check the shocks and noted the part numbers:

2 X Bilstein 9u94-18045aa Fronts
2 X Bilstein 9u94-18080aa Rears

It is interesting to note that the new shocks were harder to compress and felt much heavier. Better quality parts, more internal components, I have no idea. As far the Bilstein engineers told me, the only difference is valving.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modmike View Post
These replace the OEM shocks, if I didn't mix them up:

I just went to check the shocks and noted the part numbers:

2 X Bilstein 9u94-18045aa Fronts
2 X Bilstein 9u94-18080aa Rears

It is interesting to note that the new shocks were harder to compress and felt much heavier. Better quality parts, more internal components, I have no idea. As far the Bilstein engineers told me, the only difference is valving.

I did more research and OEM shocks are 1.63 diameter pistons.
(Ford motorhome bare chassis catalog 2012 for 22,000lb chassis with 242" wheelbase)

Your new shocks have 1.80" pistons which is a substantial difference.
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