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Old 01-09-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
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differant rear shocks

Has anyone tried putting shocks on the rear for a smoother ride? I have a 1985 Bluebird. The shocks are probably original and were designed to carry the weight of 66 seats and 66 kids. All the seats are gone now, replaced with a few couches, and I usually have less than 10 people on the bus for any given excursion. A couple of years back we were heading out to the All Good music festival with four bicycles in a bike rack mounted to a Reese hitch in the rear. When we arrived I noticed that the front wheel of my bike had been bounced off somewhere between Indiana and West Virginia. The ride is extremely harsh. I was wondering if any of you have ever tried a differant set of shocks to smooth out the ride! Thanks
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:34 AM   #2
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Re: differant rear shocks


Removing some of the short leaves might help, but it is hard work.

I have been tempted to cut some of my short leaves with a cut-off wheel, so there is but spacer blocks left of them, but have not dared try. (Then again, I usually carry enough weight to smooth it out!) For your light duty use, cutting some leaves might work. Just be sure you don't nick a leaf you are keeping -- cut the last leaf 3/4 way thru and let it break on its own. But tape and tie it securely so it does not fall in the road! This is just a brain storm. May not be a good idea.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:07 AM   #3
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Re: differant rear shocks

As was already suggested, shocks, or better called "dampeners," do nothing about how stiff springs are. Improper compression dampening can give a harsh ride, but that isn't your issue. Before you do anything drastic I would make sure the conversion is fully to the point you want it to be as weight plays a huge role.

You can spend a lot of money to get the ride you want. Air ride is ultimately going to be the best, but it's going to cost some money and take some engineering. It might be easier to find a bus with factory air ride (they are becoming more common on the used market now). I'm not sure about the feasibility of removing individual leafs. I just don't have experience doing it on medium duty trucks. I have done it on lighter duty stuff though. The trick was to cut the spring off behind the axle leaving the front half alone. The rear half (or shackle side half) is what supports the load. The front half is there mostly just for purposes of axle location. Removing the rear half softens the ride, but retains most of the height because the thickness of the leaf is retained. It also leaves am element in place to fight axle wrap.

A quick and easy trick for softening the ride would simply be to run less air in the tires. Your tires may well have 105 psi in them because this is what the placard says. However, that placard lists the tire pressure for maximum load which you are nowhere near. A good tire place should have a chart available giving you the load rating of the tires at a particular pressure. Ask anyone with a 1 ton pickup. They might run 80 psi in them when loaded, but I bet they drop it down to about 40-50 unloaded to soften the ride.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:59 PM   #4
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Re: differant rear shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
A quick and easy trick for softening the ride would simply be to run less air in the tires. Your tires may well have 105 psi in them because this is what the placard says. However, that placard lists the tire pressure for maximum load which you are nowhere near. A good tire place should have a chart available giving you the load rating of the tires at a particular pressure. Ask anyone with a 1 ton pickup. They might run 80 psi in them when loaded, but I bet they drop it down to about 40-50 unloaded to soften the ride.
http://www.goodyear.com/truck/pdf/edb_loads.pdf

Pages 9 and 11 have the load ratings for typical bus size tires at various pressures. Other tire manufacturers probably have similar information, but the pressures should be close. I'd stay slightly over those pressures just to be safe.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: differant rear shocks

The Goodyear link I posted offers load ratings for their truck tires down to 70 PSI. To figure the weight, the easiest way would be, once the conversion is "complete," fill every fuel/water/LP tank to capacity and go to a truck scale. They can tell you total weight and weight on each axle. Estimate the weight of passengers and cargo, then divide each axle by the number of tires. Find the weight on that chart in the row for your tire size (always round the weight up to be safe) to figure your safe pressure. To be safe, I'd add 5 PSI.

Another good way to smooth out the ride that no one's mentioned yet is to simply go easy on the bumps. Slow down when necessary (people behind you can go f*** themselves...you're in a large vehicle) and adjust your lane position to avoid visible bumps if you can do so without causing an accident. I notice a huge difference in my own driving versus riding with co-workers: Driving the same bus on the same road, I'll give you a much smoother ride and get to the school about half a minute later.
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