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JBNeal

Shock Absorber Replacements for Express Models

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While doing some research, I found gaps in information for shock absorber replacements on the B-series.  Back when we had a local auto parts store that used actual parts books, I was able to get replacement shocks for my B-1s that matched my originals, so I had some crossover information to start with.  Monroe and Gabriel have useful yet incomplete websites for older models, so I was able to verify the technical specifications listed to the parts I had on hand.

 

Since I purchased those shocks years ago, I have acquired several B-3 and B-4 models (though one of the B-4s was stolen by some scrap iron banditos who also cleaned out a small barn full of spare parts, even the copper wire in the bldg).  These trucks have rusty shocks on them that I was not able to locate a complete part number, but I was able to verify something I spotted in the parts manual regarding different part numbers for the shock mounts:  B-1 and B-2 models have 5/8" mounts; B-3 and B-4 models have 11/16" mounts...

 

The parts manual goes into great detail about getting replacement parts for the shock absorber assembly, but these pages of part numbers are obsolete as I am unaware of anyone economically selling these parts, since the bulk of shock absorber sales are for the non-serviceable assembly.  In studying the parts manual, there were several part numbers listed for different applications, but I was able to glean some useful information coupled with the aforementioned crossover info.  For B-1 and B-2 models, the Monroe 31000 shocks fit the front axle, and the Monroe 32207 fits the rear axle, for 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-ton models.  But the B-3 and B-4 shocks have a different part number for 1/2- and 3/4-ton models, and the parts manual lists the quantity for front and rear axles.  So from a cost savings standpoint, Dodge chose one shock instead of two, since the previous front and rear shock specs were very close.  And even more perplexing, none of the parts manuals I have list a shock absorber part number for B-3-D or B-4-D models.  So judging from the consistency in the overall suspension designs from '48-'53, I am assuming that the 1 tons all use the same shock absorbers, as required...while eye-ballling my '51 dually, it has no rear shock absorbers nor any mounting brackets nor studs to install them...something that isn't spelled out in the parts manual (that I could find)...

 

So doing some digging around on the internets and putting my sleuthing skills to use, I was able to locate by the specifications listed to verify the part numbers missing in the factory parts manual.

For B-3 and B-4 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-ton models (front and rear):

 

Mopar 1450647 --  Monroe 66858  -- Gabriel 82065

 

Monroe does not list the B-series as an application for their p#; Gabriel sorta does...both are more economically priced than some of the items listed around the internet as "rare parts"...


All told, I reckon I spent about 3 hours looking at physical parts and scanning online information, most of this while watching the Chiefs-Titans game, after having this research project on the backburner for over 8 years...but now I can move forward with my projects, and others can service their projects accordingly :cool:

Edited by JBNeal
updated info

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As I recall, I have Gabriel shocks on my truck. I got them from Auto Zone about 12 years ago. They had them listed on their web site, and even had the fronts in stock at my local store. The rear set was ordered in and I had them a day or two later. 

It even shocked the kid behind the counter when I asked him for shocks for a 1950 Dodge truck. His first reaction was, ”We won’t have anything for that.” I encouraged him to go ahead and look them up. (I already knew they were listed in their system) “WOW, we even have the fronts in stock!” Was his next comment. “I can have the rears here tomorrow.” 😄

 

I don’t have the P/N’s anymore, and the Auto Zone web site no longer lists them, but they were different numbers for the fronts and rears on my 3/4 ton truck. 

Edited by Merle Coggins

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Brian, thanks for taking all of the time and effort to compile this information.  It was very timely to say the least. 

 

Much appreciated!

 

Brad

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I dug up the shock absorbers that I pulled off of the '49 1-ton to study them a little more, as they appeared original with the DPCD logo stamped into the dirt shield.  I was able to get the p#s off of them and critical dimensions:

  • F  --  1261982  --  12.38  --  20.25
  • R  --  1196294  --  11.75  --  18.75

I could not find neither of these p#s in the parts book nor could I find any reference to them online, so I'm not sure if these were original to the truck or if the p# I'm looking at on the dirt shield is referencing something else...these dims compare very close to the dims of the 31000 & 32207 shocks that I've been using for years from Monroe, which were listed as replacements in their interchange book back in the 90s.

 

So I did some studying of the parts manual and Monroe's Instruction Guide, as well as Gabriel's Online Catalog (which took some digging to find), and found some more part replacement numbers that could be used.  Some shocks are more available than others, and some shocks are cheaper than others, but after putting a few more hours into researching this topic, I think we have more options available for builds and restorations.

 

One thing I noticed in the parts manual is the specification of 1" domestic and 1-3/8" heavy duty export.  Looking at the shocks available, the common spec for passenger cars is 1-3/16" bore, with light truck shocks having a 1-3/8" bore.  I switched to a large bore shock on The Blue Bomber years ago, and it produced a slightly bouncy ride unladen but under a heavy load or pulling a trailer, the truck rode nice and smooth, and braking was much more controlled, with noticeably less nose dive.  So if you are just going to use your old buggy for commuting, then the 1-3/16" shocks should work fine, as they are a stronger design than the originals...if you plan on carrying a load on a regular basis, then the bigger shocks are a good investment.  I know when I was hauling water with both my '48 1/2 ton and '49 1-ton, I noticed after a few years that the replacement shocks (1-3/16" bore) were all leaking as I was really loading up the suspension but not moving in a hurry on any trip nor traveling tens of thousands of miles annually.

 

B-1-B, -C, -D

B-2-B, -C, -D

B-3-B, -C, -D

B-4-B, -C, -D

The Monroe and Gabriel shocks are not exactly the same in extended and collapsed dimensions, but they are generally within 1/4" of each other.  The best way I can explain this is that the Pilot-House trucks have a certain suspension travel, as do other makes & models that have similar geometry, and the manufacturers make shocks that fall within a certain range within that travel, so several different shocks could possibly fit a certain suspension geometry and still work.  I would favor a shock that allows the spring to hit its bumpstop so that the shock is not bearing a severe load...conversely, a shock should still have some stroke left when the springs have reached max vertical travel so that the tires are not being lifted off of the ground prematurely, enabling more control of the vehicle in extreme situations.

 

Obviously, the B-3 and B-4 shocks that are available now are more limited...just looking at the applications online, that 11/16" mounting diameter does not appear to be an industry standard as the 5/8" and 3/4" mounting diameters have been used on many shock configurations over the years.  I would list the different colors that these shocks are coated, but some of the factory descriptions do not match the pictures on their websites...also, some vendors had different colors listed from the factory website, so I reckon ya get what you get in the box :cool:

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