Jan 1998

Also what is the recommendation for shocks. The Bilsteins come in at about $80 each. That's a good guy price, they are often higher. The Napa and the KYB types run about $90 a pair. Are the Bilsteins worth the difference? With six of these these things involved, it makes allot of difference on the bucks. All are lifetime guaranteed anyway. What do you think the best buy is for the money and do you think the Bilsteins handle that much better? Any input would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Phil Swanson

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I put on the KYB, but that was before I met the CASPRO Shock. He will take them to the GMC Ralley in Vegas and if you can go do so. It will be an eye opener. I have waited almost two years to get the CASPRO Shocks because the KYB were brand new. If you have not ordered any, do not do so until you get to see the CASPRO shock. It is made for the GMC. They are equally as hard to pull up as they are to push down. This is important for our GMC because of the way the Air Bags on the rear work. The front end is typically light and pulling up is just as damaging as pushing down. The Caspro Shock to me looked like you get your money worth. Hope to get me six in March in Vegas. I do not sell for Caspro and am not in any way affiliated with them. Their products seem to be very good and I have the steering dampner, their final drive and transmission gears. A heaver torsion bar with different kinds of rubber fittings. They are not rubber. But from what I have seen in the demos they seem to be the best there is. The other problems he solved was getting the rear wheels to work as a team by having a stablizer bar between each pair of opposing wheels. The rear set of four has two bars and hardware locking them together across from each other. Caspro explanation is better than what I have said but they do work.

> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 22:45:06 -0500 (EST)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: GMC: KYB shocks

Recently purchased 6 new KYB shocks from Gateway motorhome company, for my 1976 palmbeach, 2 each KG-5435 for the front and 4 each KG-5436 for the back. They arrived the other day.

Upon inspection I found that the welds to the top and bottom mounting eyes were very poor, and were more tack welded than welded. I now am reluctant to install them. Anyone else have a similar occurrence or opinion?????? I am very reluctant to install them on the

motorhome as I do not want to replace them while on a long trip, even though they have a lifetime guarantee.


Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 10:30:35 EST

From: CHill113 <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

You may have gotten a bad batch. I have over 100K on KYB shocks and still going strong. That is not to say however. that the company hasn't changed their product. Take them back and talk to the vendor about it


Date: Sat, 04 Apr 1998 17:54:15 EST

From: (David L. Greenberg)

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

I've had KYBs on my coach for the past 60k miles and they seem to be all right, altho come to think of it I should be thinking about replacing them. Funny thing about is hard to tell when they stop performing as they should.

Anyway, after seeing the article on shocks in a recent GMC MH MP Magazine, I will undoubtedly go with Caspro's shocks. A picture is worth a thousand words!


David Lee Greenberg

GMC Motorhome Registry

Delray Beach, FL


Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 19:41:32 -0500 (EST)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

Dave, in the case of Caspro shocks could not agree with you more. Sometimes our eyes get us in trouble. The caspro shocks use the old double tube technology and hence APPEAR larger and more rugged. They are made by gabriel and are not in the same class as the Bilstiens or the KYB. Read the recent article in this months GMC motorhome news from cinnabar engineeing.


Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 19:42:13 -0500 (EST)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

P.S. the kybs are warrantied for life. If they are bad they will replace them.


Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 19:50:56 EST

From: CHill113 <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks


I too had, and have KYB shocks. After about 65K including a trip to Alaska I "assumed" they need to be replaced. I bought another well known brand. They never were as stable and after awhile began to leak. I took them off and a friend offered me his old KYB shocks he had taken off a short time before doing the same thing I had done. I put his used shocks on, and they are still as good as ever. Very stable ride. FYI


Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 20:24:35 EST

From: Gcbr <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks


Lets all go easy here. Is a Ford better than a Chevy? Honda better than a Toyato? Who can say as long as we all keep t


Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1998 20:52:06 -0500 (EST)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

This is not a matter of preference but one of technology. The highest performance cars in the world come standard with bilstien or KYB gas shocks. The selection of a shock for the GMC motorhome should be based on how well the shock works over a period of time, unless price is of primary importance. Old technology double tube shocks of the caspro (built by gabriel), monroe, gabriel style just do not hold up over even a short period of time. they start to degrade almost immediately upon installation. I have studied the technical design of the two shocks (I am a retired engineer), and believe that bilstien is the superior shock of the two, only because of the way the tube is manufactured, ie; the quality of the components. However the KYB is very close. When one takes into consideration the price of the two shocks $494/6 shocks for the bilsteins, $294/6 KYB's, I believe that the KYB is a far better buy. Both shocks come with a lifetime guarantee. My only question pertained to other GMCers experience with the shocks over time and the quality of the welds at the eyes.


Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 04:35:52 EDT


Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

I am a new GMC owner and have ordered Delco gas shocks and would like an opinion on them. I understand that Golby uses them on their own and we have installed the front ones on our 73 23'. Please tell me if the rear ones will be efficient and if the front ones might be also that. I just ask for a little advice. The existing ones are all in need of tlc due to age and in need of a good upgrade. Delco AC parts seem to be what I have been running in to lately. I just fired up for the first time the Onan 4000 today and it ran fine until it started blowing smoke and leaking dark oil down behind the front and on down to the muffler. Being a new owner I would thank and welcome any advise in these 2 matters. The onan seems to still start fine but I am hesitant to go any further without help from my Experienced Piers. Thanks


Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 11:06:45 -0500

From: "Larry Miglore" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

- -----Original Message-----

From: Gcbr <>

To: <>

Date: Saturday, April 04, 1998 8:25 PM

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

As the Maggot-infested, dope-smoking, FM-type "reporter" who queried Bill

Clinton said, "Can't we all learn to just live together?"

Nonsense to that and to the comparison of Honda to Toyota. Performance is

what counts (or is it character?).

Larry Miglore


Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 11:00:04 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: RE: GMC: KYB shocks

For everyones information from an inquiry that I made to KYB.

At 09:21 AM 4/7/98 -0500, you wrote:









Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 11:04:23 -0500

From: "Chuck Blanford" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

Ditto from Idaho. I installed the KYB's last year, and after reading about the Caspro's in GMCMM, I contemplated replacing them. (Nothing but the best for the old girl, you know) I will also keep the KYB's, as a result of the knowledge gained from the postings. Thanks, all.


77 Kingsley

- ----------

> From: David L. Greenberg <>

> To:

> Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

> Date: Tuesday, April 07, 1998 12:21 PM


> Thanks for all the arguments regarding KYB, et al, shocks. I am now convinced...I WILL stay with my old trusty KYBs. Thanks again for the inputs! Thats what makes this GMCnet so great.

> Dave


> David Lee Greenberg


Date: Tue, 07 Apr 1998 15:40:35 -0700

From: Phil Swanson <>

Subject: GMC: [Fwd: KYB shocks]

If anyone wants a killer deal on the KYBs, call PROAM at 1 (800) 847-5712, I got the rears for $35 each plus a small charge for shipping. Lowest price here in San Diego was $45 each plus state tax. Saved 40 bucks just on the rears!. Didn't need fronts. P/Ns are:

Front: KG 5435

Rears: KG 5436

Now if we can bust the prices of the Alcoa Wheels we'd be in business. We need to get someone who just got a set for the GMC to read the number right off the wheel so we can get the right ones at Discount Tire or wherever. No sense paying these middlemen these outrageous prices.

Keep on hunting for lowest prices, Phil Swanson


Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 17:53:45 EDT

From: RickStapls <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB shocks

Herm Beeck wrote:

> In reference to KYB shocks

> Can anyone tell me why I wear out the rubber bushings on my shocks?

> What do I do with a good KYB shock without bushings?


In my experience, the most common cause of worn out shock bushings is misaligned mounts. The upper and lower mounting studs or bolts must be parallel to each other, else the bushings get flexed, squeezed, and twisted with each stroke.

This is especially a problem with the GMC, where the front shock mounts are a bit fragile, and must do extra duty as bump/rebound stops. Also, since our coaches ride softer than most with longer wheel travel (especially in back), our shocks get exercised more than most.

You should be able to get replacement bushings from KYB and/or a well-stocked parts store. Be sure the mounting studs and bolts are dead parallel and perpendicular to the shock absorber (straighten as necessary). For maximum bushing life and best ride, the mounting hardware for the bushings should not be tightened until the coach is resting on its wheels at normal ride height (same as for any other rubber suspension bushings like control arms, etc.)

BTW, I sold and used KYBs for many years and consider them good quality shocks, but not as good as the Bilsteins I finally bought for 'The Dancing Bear'. I have a set (KYBs) on my 4-Runner that are just about worn out/leaking after 5 years. OTOH, I used to drive French cars for many years, and therefore never slow down for dips, bumps, or small boulders, so they've had a workout.

Good luck,

Rick Staples,

Louisville, CO


Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 08:59:53

From: Patrick Flowers <>

Subject: GMC: KYB Shocks

Didn't someone mention a while back that they had found a good source for KYB shocks? I think Golby has them for around $50 each.



Dont know the price but Gateway has them and push them real hard.

Take Care


Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 17:44:35


From: "Russ Bethel" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: KYB Shocks

If anyone wants a killer deal on the KYBs, call PROAM at 1 (800)847-5712, I got the rears for $35 each plus a small charge for shipping. Lowest price here in San Diego was $45 each plus state tax. Saved 40 bucks just on the rears!. Didn't need fronts. P/Ns are:

Front: KG 5435

Rears: KG 5436


Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 15:20:54 -0400

From: Ron Bartels <>

Subject: GMC: steering/trip

I had steering problems [student driver syndrome!] Alex Serum said I had no neutural position in my steering box he changed the pressure in the box and replaced my new stock GMC shocks with KYB'S. The diff was like night and day! We are leaving on a 3,500 mile trip Aug 9 from Stuart FL to upstate NY mostly over I-95 then over to Canada, down through Michigan using I-75 for the last leg. We have a BLACK 26+2' Sequoia 1974. We just purchased one month ago and have only driven it 700 miles local to date. Wish us luck!

Ron Cindy Bartels


Date: Fri, 4 Sep 1998 20:36:29 -0400

From: "Larry Delph" <>

Subject: GMC: Shocks

I found the KYB shocks for 29.95 ea at Performance Suspension Technology, PST. Their number is 800 247-2288. I believe I talked with Danny. I gave them the numbers for the shocks front KG5435 rear KG5436. To get that price you have to order at least 4 shocks. I got all six for 178.50 delivered.


I have KYBs on mine for about 100k miles. Lifetime warranty. Many folks think they are better than Billsteins and maybe better than everything available today.

That is what I heard.

David Lee Greenberg F22009

GMC Motorhome Registry

200 MacFarlane Drive PH4

Delray Beach, FL 33483-6829

Date: Sun, 6 Sep 1998 00:12:14 -0400

From: "Steven A. Smith" <>

Subject: GMC: shocks and drive shaft


My bent front drive shaft was a source of unknown vibration for a while. Tire balancing didn't do it. It was found by a suspension shop who was doing an "on coach" tire balance (works well, too). They noticed the drive shaft bounce while doing the balance.

Anyway, Wes at Cinnabar Engineering told me that the front shocks are the only suspension travel limiter. He says some manufacturers shocks will not limit the travel and then the drive shaft does - and bends. I would guess any good bounce will do it. I think mine was bent when I bought my coach, although I can think of many RR tracks, dips, etc. where we bounced pretty

good. He worked w/ Bilstein years ago to develop the shock specifically for the GMC.

The straightness (?) of a new shaft is 0.030 inches total indicator reading if I remember correctly. My shaft was over .060". the new shaft was easy to install, but not a nice way to spend a June Saturday in Phoenix.

Good luck - I bought Bilstiens.



Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 23:55:21 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Thomas G. Warner" <>

Subject: Re: GMC: Lower Control ("A") Arm Failures

Fred I am assuming that you are talking about the upper and lower control arms and the failures that several posters have described. You hit on an area that I am very concerned about.

I have inspected my upper and lower control arms and after cleaning them up they still have the original paint on them and appear to be in perfect shape, and do not appear to be cracked or bent. They still have the original upper and lower ball joints installed with the original rivets. They have approx 70K miles on them.

In my opinion there are a number of things that contribute to front end failures, and that includes bent drive axels.

1. Improperly installed ball joints. I would wager that none of the failed units posters have described were on originally installed upper and lower ball joints and control arms. Does anyone know? When new ball joints are installed the rivets are removed and if one is not careful it is very easy to enlarge the holes that later contain the new bolts that hold the ball joints in. Do not remove them with an air chisel or torch. The air chisel will surely enlarge the holes, and the torch may over heat the metal changing its molecular structure.

On the original equipment ball joints, the hot rivets when installed expanded to entirely fill the hole and ensure a very tight slop free fit. When installing new ball joints if the holes have been enlarged even the slightest or the bolts are not a good tight fit, the ball joint will slowly work lose and design forces can be exceeded on the control arms. In my opinion if new ball joints are installed one should ensure that the holes are not enlarged and that the new bolts are a tight fit in both the ball joint and the control arm. I would use nothing but Moog ball joints and front end parts. In addition I would very carefully check each ball joint to ensure that it is tight and the holes are the proper size before attempting to install them. I believe it was Cinnabar that had a batch of bad ball joints that were very loose. You may have to take a micrometer to the parts house and mike several bolts until you find ones that fit properly both in the control arm and the ball joint. The extra effort is worth it.

2. Changing of original equipment tires with wider ones thus changing the steering axis inclination and increasing the forces on the ball joints. You don't need wider tires than the originals if you stay within the load recommendations.

3. Towing vehicles in excess of 1000 pounds. The coach was simply never designed for the kinds of forces generated while towing these vehicles. And yes there are increased forces on the front ends when towing, both during emergency stops or quick turns, wash board roads where the coach changes attitudes often etc. And forces passed from the hitch through the coach frame to the front end. Everything is fine while towing in a straight line, but when directions are changed fast....look out!

4. Using incorrect shocks on the front of the coach. The only thing that limits the travel of the control arms is the shock, and it has to be a double acting shock. I would use only KYB or Bilstein shocks. Reason, they do not deteriorate like double tube shocks. All other shocks deteriorate from the day that you install them. When I purchased my coach the front shocks were in terrible shape. On one of them the rod was entirely busted off at the top and the other was completely shot. And make sure that the bushings on the front stabilizer bar are in good shape.

5. Driving with a malfunctioning rear suspension system. When it is not set correctly the front suspension could be overstressed due to the improper raising of the rear end. The rear height not only has to be properly set, but maintained during driving. Several times on this net I have read posts from owners that drive with the suspension system in hold because they can not maintain the correct pressures. you are asking for trouble. The rear suspension system has to work correctly all of the time.

6. Over loading the coach. The factory manual gives the correct GVW for front (4200#) and rear (7500#). Exceed those limits and you are asking for trouble. Most people I know exceed it. They tow cars that are to large and drive to fast.

Lastly in my opinion the best insurance that you can buy is joining a GMC club where you can regularly get "hands on" technical help. This forum is super and a god send for most of us, but there is nothing like hands on technical help from a knowledgable GMC owner when we run into problems that we don't understand. Most clubs have regular technical sessions at all of their meets where you learn the proper way to repair your coach. In addition they usually have the expensive tools that most of us could not individually afford. I can't say enough good things about these GMC clubs.

Just my observations gleaned from the short time that I have owned a GMC.

At 09:19 PM 9/12/98 EDT, you wrote:

>Last week, there were a number of messages about lower control arm failures.


>Some contributers strongly suggested that the arms should be removed and further reinforced as a means of buying down the risk of them fracturing.


>Before doing that on arms that appear to continue to be fit for service, I would like to know some of the circumstances of failures that have occurred. For example -


>a. very high mileage (200+k miles)?

>b. preponderance of use on "washboard" roads?

>c. design loads on front wheels exceeded?

>d. what is lowest mileage in "normal" use that failures have occurred?

>e. just hitting a pothole?

>f. other?



>Fred Hudspeth

>'78 Royale

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 11:33:24 -0500

From: Zachary Zehnacker <>

Subject: Re: GMC: ZaK's Website


Thanks for the "professional" comment :). Those square "shocks" are exactly that. Square box tubing. We needed to get the front section as low to the ground as possible to get it back under the GMC, and our Caspro shocks do not compress that much. We made some replacements from the box tubing for moving the front section back under the motorhome. We also cut the tires off the old steel wheels to get them as low as possible. We still used floor jacks to slide it under (just like we took it out), but this way, the GMC wheels would stabilize unit which made it easier/less risky to get it back under. Once it was under, we changed them out for the Caspro shocks.

It probably would have handled real well and looked pretty cool with the lowered front and solid front suspension though :). I just thought of something! Maybe that is the handling solution everyone here is looking for. I think if we replaced the air bags with solid wood/metal and replaced all the shocks with metal tubing, the GMC would really handle like it was on rails. There would be no sway whatsoever. We could make it even lower to the ground since there would be no suspension travel to worry about. That would really improve things even more. I think I see a $1000 kit here :). Just don't expect it to glide over bumps like the GMC air suspension :).


Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 12:11:36 EST


Subject: Re: GMC: ZaK's Website(Frame replacement)

In a message dated 1/17/99 11:33:28 AM Eastern Standard Time,


> We made some replacements from the box tubing for moving the front section back under the motorhome. We also cut the tires off the old steel wheels to get them as low as possible

Hi Zak!

Thanks for the reply.

Ok! From what I understand you put those rigid shocks (square tube) on so the front control arms would not flop around because you did not have the torsion bars attached. Correct? Also you only put the wheel rims on the front for protection of the oil pan, etc., if the front section fell off the wheel jack, correct? Or did you actually use the wheel rims as a way to roll the engine frame around?

Now, the other question on my mind is-- did you make your own tool to compress the pivot arm on the torsion bars? I made my own using the attachment brackets from the engine stand, some 1/2x 6" gr.8 bolts and another 1/2x3" nut and bolt but was not to impressed with my gizmo. Any suggestions?


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 14:12:19 -0500

From: "Larry Delph" <>

Subject: GMC: KYB Shocks

Check Performance Suspension Technology (PST) for KYB shocks. I payed $178.50 for 2-KG5435 and 4-KG5436 delivered UPS. Call (800) 247-2288 or


Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 15:16:30 -0800 (PST)

From: Chuck Botts <>

Subject: GMC: Bilstein Shock Absorbers

Re March 1998, Number 15 GMC Motorhome News [Cinnabar] Article by Terry Kane goes over the Bilstein's specifically designed for the GMC and the advantages [except higher cost to manufacture] of Bilstein's over the other designs. I am very satisfied with the ride even with the higher spring rate four air bag rear suspension system.

Chuck Botts, San Diego, Ca.


Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 10:19:17 -0800

From: "Mike Finnicum" <>

Subject: RE: GMC: Shocks - Monroes????

Here we go again!

I have Monroe shocks all around on my 78 Eleganza (Fronts 19,000 miles, rears 28,000 miles). Slap my hands! But everyone who has driven it says it is one of the nicest handling GMCs around. It will literally go down I75 at 70mph hands off (for several hundred yards). Just ask Dave Greenberg, or Alex Sirum. I put over 19,000 miles on her last year with no problems.

She has none of the symptomatic problems many here seems to hope that "miracle" shocks or tires will cure. I have NO sway when passed by 18 wheelers, NO problems with "truck ruts", NO crosswind problems, NO handling problems, NO looseness in steering, and NO white knuckles. She just goes down the road straight and easy. My better half (105 lbs) drives her as much as I do.

I can adjust the ride best with tire pressure ("E" 60lbs for soft to 80lbs for hard). I run with 75# front and 70# rear as it slightly improves my mileage. I also have Goodyear Workhorse Tires (Slap me again!) which are strong but not expensive or exotic (I paid $597 last year for all 6

including all mounting and taxes).

I also have a 74 stretch with 6 KYBs (all with less than 5,000 mi) and it drives the same way. No better - No worse. It has 6 ALL STEEL 10 ply Bridgestone tires. Do I get extra credit here for paying almost $1,000 for tires? OK, so the prior owner put them on.

However, when I replace my shocks on the 78 they will be KYBs because of the reasons below. I don't think 1 of us in 20 could honestly tell the diff between the ride of KYBs or Bilstiens if installed on the same coach on the same day. I don't think you would go wrong with either. I'll also guess that most of us couldn't tell the diff between Bilsteins, KYBs and other high qual shocks.

Pepsi and Coke used to do taste tests all the time at fairs, concerts and events. Reason they don't any more? Most average people could not tell the difference!

While I am sure that a few of our "experts" might be able to tell the difference between KYBs and Bilsteins, my guess is that most of the rest of us could not. Plus you have a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly.

If you have worn out lousy shocks now, any new shock is going to make a world of difference. Also if you have other suspension problems - no shock or tire is going to fix that.

So for now I'll go with the strength and savings as I'm not convinced that $200+ more money buys me something worth $200 (with 2 coaches that's $400+). GMC Marketplace had a real nice comparison - if you read it real carefully (written from the Bilstein perspective) it demonstrates the clear advantages of Bilstein over all the other shocks except KYBs. While KYBs were in the

article their comparison with KYBs was glazed over.

The story (according to Alex) is that both Billsteins and KYB shocks are designed to have resistance in and out (important for our GMC rear bogie action). This is what most shocks do not have. He like BOTH shocks but likes KYBs for the following two reasons:

1. KYBs are far less expensive as you can get them from many sources (competition).

2. They are heavier duty (thicker shaft) - he has replaced several broken Billsteins but of all the KYBs he has replaced some for various reasons but claims none for breakage. But I am sure there are some broken KYBs out there somewhere. Fess up guys (and gals).

Alex will also tell you, any good shock is fine on the front of the GMC (dual action not an issue). He also has KYBs on all the coaches he drives and owns.

I kinda like the extra $400-500 in my pocket right now.

Just my 11 cents worth - won't even buy you coffee

Mike F