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Old 05-12-2021, 06:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: VA
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Default Shock Absorber Test???

I put new Bilstein shocks on my 2006 Roadtrek 210P 10 years ago at 30k miles. I also raised the van 2-inches with stiffer front springs and rear airbags at the same time. Also replaced tie rods, idler and Pitman arm at 50k miles.

So now, 10 years and at 130k miles, the van still seems to ride fine but one nagging question: how do I know the shocks are still good? Unless there is a drastic shock failure, how do you tell that the shock has lost capability? The old bounce test doesn't really apply anymore from what I can tell from internet search, though if the shock is totally shock the bounce test might find that. Some sites suggest a road test with a number of checks: fast accel, rapid stop, ride over rough road, quick swerve... Nothing seems out of the ordinary but I still wonder.

One option is to just get new shocks and be happy I got 100k out of the old ones. But would hate to spend the $$ and find out the old ones were fine.

Has anyone changed out their Bilsteins and found new shocks were much better? Any other thoughts?

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Old 05-12-2021, 08:17 PM   #2
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Location: Texas
Posts: 2,623

If all seems ok to you, then keep driving on the old shocks.

However, find a speed hump in a neighborhood or parking lot. It you get more than one half cycle of bounce, that's a clue. But your mods may make this test irrelevant as you reference.

What happens to me is, the shocks fail slowly and almost imperceptively over time making subjective ratings hard. I usually don't realize how bad they've gotten until I replace them. But when I replaced the old OEM shocks at 25K miles with Koni FSD's, it was after my wife road in the back listening for a rattle and she said a bump almost raised her off the seat. She's got some spare time if you like to borrow her for a test ride.

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Old 05-20-2021, 05:30 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Alabama
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Remove the shock(s) and manually extend and retract them (full travel). Look for "dead spot(s)" (= spots with no dampening) which are usually found (probably always, if they exist at all) around the static ride height.
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