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Old 08-04-2014, 10:51 AM   #11
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Hey --- can anyone report back on their "ride quality" experience using these Bilstein shocks? HD or Comfort?

I've got a '95 E250 RB 2WD, so this thread is totally what I need to hear the group wisdom on.
My SMB still has it's factory-original shocks in it! Only 76,000 miles on the clock, but it's definitely time for some new bounce-control units.

FWIW, I just spoke to a representative at Bilstein this morning, and she (along with several of the techs there at the North Carolina facililty, where my call was routed) expressed a preference for me to go with the "Comfort" shocks, instead of the "HD" shocks. I explained to them that I was driving a converted camper version of the E250, and that it was quite often not a lightly-laden vehicle (between the on-board Sportsmobile equipment, passengers, and gear for trips.)

Despite this, she indicated that their best recommendation was the "Comfort" shock.

In particular, one of their best ride-quality techs had made a note in their computer system (paired to the part numbers for the Comfort and HD versions of the Bilstein B6/4600 series shocks) that mentioned that the "Comfort" version worked ideally for Ambulances and small RV's (under 29 feet in length.) The "HD" shocks were only recommended for RV's over 29 feet in length.

So what to do?

Curious how the Bilstein recommendations I just received stack up with your real-world experiences (and choices) on these shocks. Up until I made this phone call, I was largely ready to go ahead and buy the "HD" shocks, based on what I'd been able to read on these forums so far. (Haven't heard picster's feedback yet though, on how his truck rides with the HD shocks he ordered.)

Thoughts? Real-world experiences?
Thanks!!!!!

Cheers ----
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Old 08-05-2014, 03:36 AM   #12
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

My EB E250 that runs at about 7,800# loaded as a daily driver on Michelin LTX tires and Hellwig sway bars (front & rear) is using the HD version. Its not stiff, uncomfortable to ride but does give me the control I was originally seeking.

Computer generated recommendations based upon this and that input is all well and good but out in the real world its a different story. Our individual perception of "comfort" vs "heavy duty" clouds our decision. For example I'd think "comfort" as being a mushy ride whereas "heavy duty" would be better able to damp body roll quickly and decidedly when needed. If we're only riding on super smooth highways perhaps the "comfort" shocks would be great? Since most of us aren't running only on smooth roads we have bigger concerns---or so I think.

While I'm a huge fan of Bilstein shocks their decision point of HD or Comfort being over/under 29' in a motor home leaves so many other factors out of the mix-----I'm stunned they try making it that simple.

However either initial choice carries little downside since you're covered by Bilstein's ride guarantee. If one doesn't work you're not out the full cost of a complete new set, just labor to R&R and shipping which ever set originally ordered.
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:09 PM   #13
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

JWA --- thanks!

Your SMB sounds similar in weight to mine, as well as what your goals were for improving the ride/handling. Been definitely planning on the rear Hellwig sway bar, hadn't considered the front one however. (Since there's a factory one already in place. I'm assuming the Hellwig unit is thicker/stiffer.....)

Good info to go on.
Ordering the HD shocks sometime today, hopefully will be able to report back at some point in future with some ride quality feedback.

Cheers/Best Regards,
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:55 AM   #14
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

My preference for the Hellwig front bar is how and where it attaches to the I-Beams. Their version moves the mounting points outboard of the factory holes--along with being a larger diameter this is more responsive than OEM, IMHO anyway.

Add in the soft mushy factory rubber bushings wear out quickly stock sway bars quickly become fairly ineffective. If left long enough you can hear them bouncing around in the I-Beam holes---unnerving for the aggravation but of higher concern is the loss of their function.

Stock bushings can be replaced with urethane versions and that's a good compromise. I've done several of those and they do get easier each time.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #15
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Hey, reviving this thread again.

RAN INTO A SNAG: I'm still waiting on back-ordered rear Bilstein HD shocks.

The guys at eshocks.com were originally hoping to have them in stock by last week, but it's now been pushed out to late September.

Does anyone know of any places that still might have them on store shelves? I've received the front HD shocks, but need to find (hopefully) an alternate source for the rears.

Thanks so much guys!
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:29 PM   #16
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Update: (For anyone else who might be looking right now)

No luck in any of my searches. I'm told at least another 3 week wait (at just about every online seller) for the next possible shipment of the rear HD Bilsteins.

In the meantime, when they do become available again --- I'm definitely not going to pay this guy's prices.....(though they do have free shipping, lol....)

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Old 08-22-2014, 04:16 AM   #17
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Is that each or for all four? Shipping should be free along with installed in your driveway or simply including a new van too!

I do notice they're said to enhance the vehicle...................
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:37 PM   #18
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Update:
Shocks have arrived. (Bilsteins in the "HD" designation.)
Installed last week, and been putting miles on them around town/on freeway.

They are DEFINITELY more firm, as was to be expected.
In my RB length van (I really need to find a set of scales and get this thing weighed properly), my first impression is of the ride quality being a bit on the "nervous" side (rapid, quivery vibrations transmitted to the driver seat).

I must confess: I'm currently second-guessing the "HD" choice for my van.

I had driven a good many miles on these Cooper tires with the original, stock shocks before the Bilsteins arrived, and had the feeling with the older shocks that the van was more "planted" on the freeway and in corners. When I say "planted," I mean that while the van probably was susceptible to more "roll" in its turns, the tires stayed "glued down to the pavement" and better in control --- where with these new, stiffer HD shocks, I feel like the tires and suspension are actually doing a little bit of "skittering" over small shudder-bumps and irregularities in the road.

As the saying goes, YMMV. Just sharing my experience.

As one last note -- I've heard from several sources that these shocks may "break in" after a certain amount of time and get a bit less shuddery-stiff, wondered if anyone else had heard that as well, if there was any scientific/realistic merit to it.

Sure seems like adjustable-damping shocks would be ideal for these vans, since their weights can vary tremendously based upon the journey they are taking, and what passenger load/gear is coming along for the ride.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To give anyone else who might be debating the "HD" vs. the "Comfort" shock for their rig, here's some more data points to factor into their own decision:

My '95 2WD E250 RB30 SMB is still at stock ride height, running stock springs and has about 77,000 miles on the clock.
Brand-new (less than 500 miles) set of 245/70/16 Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:11 PM   #19
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer
Sure seems like adjustable-damping shocks would be ideal for these vans, since their weights can vary tremendously based upon the journey they are taking, and what passenger load/gear is coming along for the ride.
The problem is they only adjust compression damping and not rebound. Too much compression is why you have a rough ride and not enough rebound is why it doesn't feel settled.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:37 PM   #20
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Re: new shocks for 2WD E250

Hi BajaSportsmobile --- hey, much thanks for making that more clear.

I know it's an entirely different animal, but I keep wishing for shocks for the Sportsmobile that have the user-adjustability that the front/rear Fox Shox on my mountain bike has.....(compression, rebound, spring rate, etc....you're able to fine-tune the heck out of those....)

Just sent you a PM, hoping to get your opinion as to whether (for a stock-ride-height RB 2WD) Bilsteins (either HD or Comfort) are the most sophisticated aftermarket shock option. My perception has been that shock options are limited unless a significant lift kit is installed.

Cheers/Best Regards --- Mike T
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