Robert had been suggesting a quad-shock installation for quite a long time, and I was admittedly reluctant. My coach has always been a “rough rider”, and adding shock absorbers seemed to be a sure way to transmit more road bumps up through the suspension to my long-suffering box of rattles.
However, the lure of better handling overcame my reservations, and I decided to go for the mod. My risk was small… Except for the expense of the installation, any “damage” could easily be un-done by simply removing the extra shock absorbers.
Although straightforward, the installation requires some sophisticated mechanical skills. Among other things, special brackets need to be fitted, formed, and welded; tapered washers must be installed and rotated to correct positions; all bolts need to be fitted, spaced, seated, and properly torqued. In short, although I’m really good mechanically, I’m very glad I let the experts do this one.
Clearances checked, welds inspected, bare metal painted? A-OK. Let’s go for a test ride.
Amazing. The performance difference was not subtle, it was absolutely blatant from the first bump in the road. Contrary to our worries, the extra shocks actually reduced road rattles. The noise level in my RV dropped so significantly that even my wife commented, and she is not given to noticing small differences in handling.
The overall effect was a sense of smoothness and suppleness, resilience in the suspension. My engineering brain has since analyzed this as an improved suppression of wheel bounce (which I didn’t even know that I had). Rather than transmit road roughness through the shock, the new setup caused a smoothing of wheel travel that substantially improved the ride (and sound level) in my RV. I’m very curious how it will handle the next dirt-road washboard experience.
This all should really come as no surprise; after all, the off-road crowd has been running quad shocks for decades, and guess what? They too have large, heavy wheels and tires that need extra damping for proper performance.
So now I’m wondering what those REAR wheels might profit from; Robert and I are talking about this — stay tuned.