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Old 05-07-2016, 07:54 AM   #1
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.7 Metre
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Help..! Which shock absorbers?..?

I'm restoring a couple of 1970s airstreams. I want to replace the shock absorbers on all of these campers, but they are too rusted to read.
I'd welcome your advise or opinion on which ones to buy.
Thanks, in advance, for your knowledge.
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Old 05-07-2016, 12:24 PM   #2
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To get at both ends of the shock absorbers, you'll either need to bend the axle-shock arms or drop the axles. That's the bad news. If you're gonna do that, you might as well go with new axles.

Andy of Inland RV swears up and down that the only shocks that will work are Gabriels made specifically to mount horizontally.

Colin Hyde suggests Monroe Gas Magnum Shocks part #555003.

You pays your money, and you takes your chances.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:15 PM   #3
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Bilstein shocks will work in any position, but they would need to be custom ordered. They have a lifetime warranty and IMO are the best shocks for any application.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:50 PM   #4
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Shock absorbers are designed to restrict suspension movement when traveling over uneven surfaces. This is done in part by fluid internally in a shock passing through a measured orifice. Since the fluid is influenced by gravity the internal workings of most shocks is a design for more or less vertical mounting with fluid passing through and orifice or several in a designed position.

In the late 1960s, (1967 I believe) Airstream redesigned the running gear to incorporate a more or less horizontally mounted shock absorber. This was in an effort to create greater room inside the coach of the RV. To do this it required a shock absorber that had internally designed valves for fluid that wasn't in a vertical position. Hence the special Airstream shock absorber that is made to be horizontally mounted. It is rather unique and shocks designed to be mounted vertically will not work in a horizontal position.

Regarding gas charged shocks, the mounting bracket isn't exactly super strong. And it is not unheard of for a bracket to bend or break. Gas charged shocks tend to be more resistant to movement and will put greater pressure on the mounting points. Could it work? Sure and may be not for ever.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:32 PM   #5
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You can order the exact shock you need from outofdoorsmart.com.

http://odmrv.com/catalog/index.php?m...roducts_id=199


They also have a video on their site that shows the "trick" to installing the new shocks without dropping the axles or bending the mounting studs.

http://odmrv.net/shocks/shocks.php

All that being said, a torsion axle usually has a functional life of around 25 years, so if you have the original, sagged out, axles on your trailer, it doesn't make a lot of sense to put a new shock on an axle that is in need of replacement. There are many threads on these forums that describe techniques for determining whether your axles of lost their "spring".

good luck!
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:44 PM   #6
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Interesting vid, and in the remove process the tech used a pry bar on the axle bracket. This can be done for installation as well.

As a tip for all vertically mounted shocks. Bleeding them by extending and contracting the shock before installation will go far to putting the liquid and gas in their respective places. During shipping and packaging the shock lays horizontal and the liquid is in places it will not be during service. Bleeding them with help the shock start in running form. With out bleeding the liquid (oil) in the shock will eventually get to the place it needs to be. By bleeding you are getting the shock set for service in the first mile. Not sure about horizontal shocks.


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Old 05-10-2016, 05:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Action View Post
Shock absorbers are designed to restrict suspension movement when traveling over uneven surfaces. This is done in part by fluid internally in a shock passing through a measured orifice. Since the fluid is influenced by gravity the internal workings of most shocks is a design for more or less vertical mounting with fluid passing through and orifice or several in a designed position.

In the late 1960s, (1967 I believe) Airstream redesigned the running gear to incorporate a more or less horizontally mounted shock absorber. This was in an effort to create greater room inside the coach of the RV. To do this it required a shock absorber that had internally designed valves for fluid that wasn't in a vertical position. Hence the special Airstream shock absorber that is made to be horizontally mounted. It is rather unique and shocks designed to be mounted vertically will not work in a horizontal position.

Regarding gas charged shocks, the mounting bracket isn't exactly super strong. And it is not unheard of for a bracket to bend or break. Gas charged shocks tend to be more resistant to movement and will put greater pressure on the mounting points. Could it work? Sure and may be not for ever.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
Action.

Airstream switched to the horizontal shocks during the mid year production of the 1968 models, or thereabouts, according to them. That's somewhere around Thanksgiving to Christmas of 1967.

As a surprise, the horizontal shocks work equally well when mounted "vertically".

Andy
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:05 AM   #8
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Shocking news

Monroe Gas Magnum shock #555003
....sales@stengelbros.com.....about $20.00 each.
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Old 05-11-2016, 11:27 AM   #9
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If the shocks are as old as the trailers, wouldn't the axles be suspect as well especially if they are the torque spring type encased in rubber. I am sure Andy would have advice on how to evaluate the current axles.

MOB
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Old 05-11-2016, 12:21 PM   #10
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Monroe Gas Magnum shock #555003
....sales@stengelbros.com.....about $20.00 each.

If you call Monroe tech support they will tell you that this shock WILL NOT WORK IN THE HORIZONTAL or ANGLED POSITION, MUST BE VERTICAL!

Buy the Gabriel, they are affordable and last many years.
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:25 AM   #11
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Clearly there are differing opinions on the Monroe vs Gabriel shocks. The Gabriel seem they'd be a non issue since Airstream uses them and they've been in use with success for some time now. Colin recommends the Monroe and likewise has a long track record. Anyone know why he recommends them instead of the Gabriel?
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Old 07-17-2016, 03:17 PM   #12
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Because they work just fine and they're cheaper and more readily available would be my guess.

Here's my question for those who maintain that only Airstream special shocks must be used for the horizontal mounting:

"How do you know which side of the shock goes up?"
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:09 PM   #13
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Here's my question for those who maintain that only Airstream special shocks must be used for the horizontal mounting:

"How do you know which side of the shock goes up?"
Horizontal means neither end is up. In actuality a horizontal shock is not mounted in a true horizontal manner. For shocks with a dust shield, the shock is mounted so the dust shield empties towards the ground.

And shock brand isn't the factor that drives the function. It is the design. Shocks that are designed for a vertical mounting are not designed to be mounted in a different orientation. This is because the internal valves are designed with gravity for oil flow. IN a horizontal mounting the effects of gravity are not present in the same manner. Don't take my work for it ask a professional.

Call Airstream, they are the ones that designed the system in the late 1960s.

>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:15 PM   #14
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Which side is up, not which end.
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