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Old 08-20-2004, 09:22 AM   #1
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Bilstein Shocks

I would appreciate comments from forum members about their experience with Bilstein shocks - with emphasis on whether or not they noted a real improvement in ride comfort after installation. I'm not questioning Bilstein's quality - simply wondering whether switching from relatively new OEM shocks (---less than 20,000 miles) to Bilsteins makes sense - especially with a vehicle similar to mine.

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
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Old 08-20-2004, 09:43 AM   #2
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I don't believe the Bilsteins will fit.

Secondly, your trailer requires horizontal shocks.

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Old 08-20-2004, 09:45 AM   #3
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My experience was with a Ford Ranger 2 wd pkup. I choose them for
a long life as i do not like to replace parts any more than need to. Paying
good money is no problem as long as the product does what it is expected and advertised. The ride was very rough when the truck was empty. I was disapointed in that. Control was much improved, which i loved. If more weight was carried i'm sure the ride would be different and my comments would be different. I can't address as how long they will last as the truck was totaled 4 months later. The dream was to get about 90,000 to 100,000 miles out of 'em. Which i hear is no problem.
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Old 08-20-2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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Love them on my tow rig. Retrofitted them to replace the factory (1988 LOL) shocks. BIG improvement but still rides like a truck because it's a truck LOL. 3/4 ton burb start riding nice once you get 5 people and lugage in it.
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1988 R20 454 Suburban.
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Old 08-20-2004, 09:55 AM   #5
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Cracker, I assume we are talking about the truck. I changed my truck's OEM shocks to Bilsteins at 100k miles. Before changing them I did the normal shock absorber check by bouncing one side up and down and seeing how many oscillations it took to stop. It took about three, whereas I would hope for just one. I changed to Bilsteins, different! On the other hand, I changed to gas shocks after 100k on my Land Rover Discovery, and the improvement was phenomenal. Far less body roll on curves, in particular. I'm glad I changed mine, as 100k should wear out any shock. I would stick with the OEMs unless or until you detect more roll and pitch than when the truck was new. Nick.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
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Old 08-21-2004, 05:35 PM   #6
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I was definitely referring to the tow vehicle. Your kind of response is what I was looking for. The one thing that I don't believe new shocks, a change in the suspension, or any other modifications can overcome is the additional weight of the dually axle and a second set of tires and rims --- but that's why I put the question out! It takes a certain resistance to support any given load in a static position. That said, does it really matter whether or not that resistance is provided by springs, air bags, torsion bars, or some other device? The one thing I've noticed about my truck, when loaded, is that the piggyback set of springs have just begun to bear against their chassis contact points. This means that the upward resistance will increase suddenly following recovery from, or exposure to, dynamic loads - rather than "progressively." I've often wondered if the simple removal of the piggyback springs might offer the single greatest improvement for a loaded condition? I know there's such a thing as "spring rate." Maybe we can stir up some expert input.

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
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Old 08-21-2004, 08:28 PM   #7
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For most of the day to day driving and towing, you're not likely to notice a difference between Bilsteins and any other good shock absorber. But then thats not the point. Bilsteins come into their own when conditions get rough and abrupt, like rough bumps where asphalt meets concrete bridge aprons, or like cordoroy gravel roads, or like rough concrete expansion joints. If your vehichle gets squirrelly in those conditions, the Bilsteins help maintain control better than most. IF you're towing in those conditions, you slow way down because even though the TV can take it, the trailer is not near so tough.
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