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Old 05-02-2018, 07:13 AM   #11
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I've not yet had time to install the Bilstein's but that's coming up soon.

Between the Hellwig bars and Bilstein shocks I'm confident the ride will still be "firm" which is what I'm after.
Thanks JWA...yes also looking for a "firm" ride.....let us know how the shocks work out as well.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:27 AM   #12
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Thanks JWA...yes also looking for a "firm" ride.....let us know how the shocks work out as well.
Will do!

In fact I should get the Bilstein's installed ASAP so I can compare the ride in both the empty version and once again when the refit is completed.

On another note having driven this E350 EB chassis even with the raised roof its so much more comfortable driving than my E250 EB, normal roof.
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:22 AM   #13
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Very interested in what you think about the swaybars and the motorhome Bilsteins...... So you've got the 1.5" dia Hellwig? I think Mountainbikeroamer tried some of the motorhome valved Bilsteins but found them too stiff/harsh...
Hey! How's it going. Figured I should add some detail/clarify.
I did indeed try two different specs of those Bilstein shocks on my RB30 2WD.

When I chose between shocks, the two options available at the time for my application (1995 E250) were labeled by Bilstein as either 1) "Comfort" or 2) "HD." (Incidentally, I purchased them from eshocks.com --- great business to deal with.)

Like JWA, I was after a firm (controlled) ride. The original 20-year-old Ford shocks still on the van were floaty/worn out (and were probably similarly mushy when they were new), so I was highly keen to remedy that. And so I avoided the "Comfort" labeled Bilsteins....went straight for the HD models.

And wow, were they firm. On smooth/unbroken pavement, the van cornered darn near flat (or so it felt!) and body sway/roll/pitch was dramatically reduced. All good, right? Well, hold on a minute....and lets switch gears to how it handled sharp bumps and rough pavement....

.....which was absolutely like a jackhammer. I might as well have had replaced the spring packs with solid ingots of aluminum. These aggressive shocks (for the relative light weight of this RB van) had zero intention of allowing anything but extreme, extended forces to move the suspension. It truly felt like a sledgehammer was being applied to the suspension on sharp/hard bumps....essentially felt like zero compliance.

(And in that sense --- it felt like the handling was actually *compromised* -- the wheels/tires felt like they would chatter over rough pavement around corners, as the suspension wasn't being allowed to be as active. And a tire that's not firmly in contact with the road is a tire that's not in full control.)

Subsequent phone calls to Bilstein's North American customer service yielded a series of conversations with technical representatives....who cheerfully engaged in discourse about the ideal applications of the various shock valvings, HD vs. Comfort.

>>> What I was told....was that the HD models were indicated in their own technical notes to be best suited/reserved for Class C RV's (!) with seriously high curb weights and long wheelbases. They strongly suggested I switch to the Comfort valving version.

And so I went almost immediately and ordered up a set of the "Comfort-valved" Bilsteins and swapped out the HD's. And they were great! Still very controlled and a sharply marked improvement over the OEM shocks. Admittedly a bit less "German Sports Car" in their handling characteristics (I wouldn't be bombing freeway off-ramps **quite as much** like I was driving a GTI....) --- BUT --- the **ride characteristics** were stellar. For the weight of this van, these were unquestionably the right valving.

Every van is different though! And so, as well, is everyone's personal taste in ride/handling qualities. Every setup is a partial compromise. And tire size, tire make/model, tire class (DOT rating LT vs E), tire pressure, spring rate, etc are all equally influential in the overall ride/handling characteristics. Don't forget the all-important curb weight factor (and percentage of weight over each axle, front/rear.)

YMMV!

For reference, my E250 RB weighs 7000 pounds even. (With 3500 pounds over each axle front/rear.) I was running Cooper Discoverer AT/3's in size 245/75r16, load range E. (stiff, 10-ply tires these vans require.)

In hindsight, I'd love to have the opportunity to experiment a bit again with those HD shocks and bigger tires (more air volume, lower PSI, possibly some better harsh-impact compliance via those.) But that ship has sailed....the 5" lift kit and 33" tires (and Agile-tuned Fox shocks) have made it all a moot point
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:47 AM   #14
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.....which was absolutely like a jackhammer. I might as well have had replaced the spring packs with solid ingots of aluminum.
Nice visual!


I just looked at Rockauto.....it appears the Bilsteins are listed as long wheelbase class C motorhomes (sounds like your HD version) and short wheelbase motorhomes and vans (perhaps "comfort" version).

Reading above, JWA bought the short wheelbase version so it will be interesting to hear his comments........
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:24 AM   #15
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Nice visual!


I just looked at Rockauto.....it appears the Bilsteins are listed as long wheelbase class C motorhomes (sounds like your HD version) and short wheelbase motorhomes and vans (perhaps "comfort" version).

Reading above, JWA bought the short wheelbase version so it will be interesting to hear his comments........
Nice visual indeed!

I ordered these Bilstein's:

Rear: 33-176857 B6
Front: 33-187570 B6

Hellwig Anti Sway Bars:

Rear: 7085
Front: 7008

I will say emailing CSR Kevin at Hellwig was a bit tough to get a definitive answer if those bars were indeed direct fits on my E350 "stock" chassis. I speculate since Hellwig has never installed or documented this fitment they were a bit hesitant to say they'd fit. Since I could order and take delivery locally AND return them for a full refund (undamaged) I took the chance. Apart from being heavy as hell for a one-man install they fit without any issues at all. Having already installed three sets of Hellwig bars on E-Series chassis they're almost identical.

@MountainBikeRoamer, we'll call him R for short!

Interesting experience with your own Bilstein selection and installation---thanks for sharing.

It seems the terms we use individually as well as those applied by the shock manufacturers aren't quantifiable which is a bit problematic, at least for me. I read "comfort" and envision a 1950's large 4 door sedan that floated on the road. "HD" imparts an enhanced jounce/rebound rate which I'm almost always seeking.

If its helpful my present E350 extended body van with raised roof and almost fully gutted of any interior weighs 6,200# (Fr: 2980, Rr: 3220) riding on 245/75-R16 E-Rated LT tires @70psi all around.

(This van was originally equipped with a Braun wheel chair lift mounted in the rear, vehicle weights at that time: 6,700# (Fr: 2840, Rr: 3860)).

Once my build is finished and assuming that is about the same as others I've done I'll add about 2200# of tools, boxes, various shelving along with a usual selection of parts and materials. I make sure to keep most weigh between the axles, might even forego the rear mounted spare to reduce the weight carried behind the rear axle.

Once this van is on-the-road and in working trim AND the front/rear Bilstein's are installed I'll revisit this topic, it might help better define or describe how the HD Bilstein's work out in my situation.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:30 AM   #16
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JWA --- great update/details

But hey JWA....and boywonder and I....have we kinda hijacked docaman's build thread.....?

Wonder if a forum mod ought not to consider splicing this in-depth shock absorber/sway bar conversation off from this thread (into its own 2WD shock absorber thread....or even adding it into a previous 2WD shock thread?).....and thus give the focus of this thread back to docaman?

Just curious. Seems like these could exist as two very separate and lively conversations/threads.

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Old 05-04-2018, 11:23 AM   #17
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JWA --- great update/details

But hey JWA....and boywonder and I....have we kinda hijacked docaman's build thread.....?


On occasion we all have a bit of the pirate in us---in my case I post in a stream-of-consciousness so have to get it all on the page least I forget.

If this does get split off or becomes part of something else that works for me.

Sorry Docaman----didn't mean to derail or hijack your thread.

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Old 05-04-2018, 12:21 PM   #18
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I have not been that impressed with the Bilsteins that Deaver installed on my rig with their spring package. I've had two fail and rebuilt into 7100 series so I can revalve them. I haven't done that yet but if anyone is interested in valving and exactly what the configuration for their Bilstein shock this is the place to go: eshocks.com: 25-177473

In my research about valving shocks is it's kinda secret sauce. Nobody wants to reveal their magic valving combination. And of course all of our rigs are different to some degree. Jeff at Deaver was less than helpful and it turns out there's nothing custom-valved from my application. I can buy the same shock with the same valving off the shelf.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:15 PM   #19
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Well, today I received a set of awning brackets from 1Der... Thanks! I also got my fuel tank installed. I got a 40G tank from John at Agile last friday and got a chance to sneak into the transmission shop today while the van was on the lift waiting for its new tranny and 4x4 transfer case to be installed. The install was pretty straight forward with the use of the lift and tranny jack at the shop. I also plan to do a complete hosing of paint and then undercoating of the tank to help avoid any future rusting.
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:13 PM   #20
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I just picked up my van from the tranny shop and it drives very nice now! I went ahead and got the tranny built as a 4x4 with a T-Case and such. Now a but closer to having the 4x4 done once the interior build is complete. (don't look too close at the cross member... that is going to be changed out for a newer diesel one without the modification)
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