Shocking shockers

Puffin the camper was driving me round the bend or not as the case may be.

Being a fixed high top camper meant that there was always going to be some body roll when cornering, but I felt that it should drive better than it did.

After many hours googling suspension modifications for VW T4 transporters I decided that a complete replacement of shock absorbers was the first stage.

The shocks that were fitted were the originals that had travelled many miles, the ride was bouncy and the straight line steering was sloppy.

A set of Bilstein B4 Gas filled shocks were purchased from Transporters R Us as these were stated to be an up rated specification over the originals.

Jacking up the rear, putting axle stands under the body and removing the wheel gave me access to the shocker. I had previously read all about seized locating nuts and bolts that had to be cut off with an angle grinder, but these proved to be fairly easy when tackled with a breaker bar.

A trolley jack under the swing arm allowed me to raise and lower it to remove the old shocker and refit the replacement. All pretty straight forward really.

Rear Suspension Layout

Rear Suspension Layout

The front was raised up on to stands and again the nuts and bolts released without too much resistance. The cast top shocker mount was cleaned up and given a rust preventative treatment and the replacement shockers were fitted.


During the changeover I compared new for old and had a surprise.

When I compressed the old shock absorber by hand it travelled to the end of its stroke and stayed there, no rebound at all.

Tired Shock Absorber

Tired Shock Absorber

I knew that they were worn, but hadn’t realized that they were totally knackered.


The results?

The ride is so much better now that I have shocks that absorb and although the cornering is better I’m still not totally satisfied. The next stage will be to replace the front anti roll bar bushes. I wish that I had done them when changing the shocks as they aren’t expensive and I had already done half the work involved in replacement.


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