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Old 03-15-2016, 01:38 AM   #1
OldWest
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Default Westfalia Lifted

See thread and photos of a Westfalia lifted a couple of inched in the T1N forum. The photos show a Westy with European taillights, original steel wheels with wheel covers, and Roadmaster Active Suspension on rear springs. Hopefully, owner will post more info here. http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45774
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

Correction: may not be the original steel wheels with wheel covers. Tires look a bit bigger in the photos.

The lift allows bigger tires--up to 33" but some fender work might be needed.

Wonder if the lift and bigger tires would be better or worse for handling, especially in winds.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldWest View Post
Correction: may not be the original steel wheels with wheel covers. Tires look a bit bigger in the photos.

The lift allows bigger tires--up to 33" but some fender work might be needed.

Wonder if the lift and bigger tires would be better or worse for handling, especially in winds.
The most pointless "mod" ever. To lift the already top-heavy JC just to get a few inches of additional clearance? I can see if they owner going whole hog with a real all-wheel/4x4 conversion. He can improved the clearance more by removing the underbelly propane tank and replace it with a tail mount LP bottle, or put it where the MB factory spare tire carrier is.

Those are not bigger rims. They are evidently "upfit" done by Colonial Airstream. Those are keep-on-truckin hub caps.
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Last edited by autocamp; 03-15-2016 at 09:33 PM. Reason: add clarity and fix typo
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

But wait, you also get.....

The Sprinter was already lifted an inch or so for the American market to fit the 16" wheels versus the European 15" wheels. The lift consisted of the square tubing spacer on the front wheels and different rear leaf springs.

According to VanCompass in the thread above, the lift also provides better approach and rear angles.

Early on, the Westies had the trailer wiring socket mounted on the underside of the trailer hitch. Mine got partially dislodged (screw sheared off) in a steep driveway. Later Westies had the trailer socket relocated to the side of the receiver tube.

So a better angle might be useful in the rear, especially for the longer Sprinters.

Larger wheels and tires also look good with the lift. It would be even nicer if one could get more stability with wider wheels--but that is not clear as would also offset with the increased height.

Anecdotal evidence by various posters that 17" and 18" wheels provided much better handling (but the tires were not proper load rated for Sprinters in order to fit the space). A lift would alllow larger wheels and proper larger load rated tires.

On the other hand, Vince's point about the higher center of gravity is a major concern--as also recognized by VanCompass in their instructions.

If the higher center of gravity were offset by larger wheels and tires, that'd be a selling point. Hard to quantify.

Another issue with wider wheels/tires to give a wider track is whether the Sprinter wheel bearings would be adversely affected.

Wheel alignment may also need to be adjusted and VanCompass does have some parts to adjust the alignment.

If the combination of a lift plus larger wheels and tires would improve handling (especially in crosswinds), it might be worthwhile (assuming higher center of gravity is offset by the larger wheels and tires).

Otherwise, apparently would be more for (a) rougher roads (clearance and angles) and (b) aesthetics.

Maybe if somebody could develop different fenders so could get a wider track with bigger wheels and tires, that'd be attractive.

Hopefully, the owner of the lifted Westy will chime in.
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Old 03-17-2016, 04:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

Comments by owner on vancompass.com website, photos section, linked to instagram, confirm wheels are original steel wheels (with wheel covers) and regular sized tires. No plus size tires yet.

Comment by owner:

"Drives just as well as before!"

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC8oNTLl1q4/
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

I'm the owner of the Westy.

The lift was installed by Van Compass in SLO on a trip from Seattle to San Diego.

Wheels are the stock 16" steels, those were hub caps that are no longer on the vehicle as they started making some sketchy noises.

I upgraded to goodyear duratrac 215/85's prior to the lift, and will likely go to a 265/75 now that it is installed.

I can say from driving 2000 miles immediately after installing the lift, on dirt, snow, sand, and way too much freeway that the 2" did not affect the center of gravity in a way that produced any negative handling side effects. It handles exactly the same as before.

The amount of additional clearance that was achieved, especially around the propane tank, is drastic in person. New tires will help even more.

I use this vehicle in deep snow and some fairly remote off road situations. This is the most valuable mod I have made.


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Old 03-25-2016, 06:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

Thanks for the info on your lift.

In choosing your next tires, it'd be interesting to see if you choose to go with larger (and wider) wheels as well to get larger and wider tires and to increase wheel track for better stability.

Later Westies came with running boards so the propane tank black cover was removed. It'd be interesting to see if the black cover could be removed and replaced with some other cover which does not decrease clearance.

The black cover extends a bit below the propane tank and only offers crunching noise as a warning. It does give some protection to the valves.

(Note the tiny slip on rubber strips on the edges of the black cover which touch the propane tank.)

Aside: Early Westies came with a lock on the black propane cover which were later removed and replaced with a latch--guess locking covers are a no-no for American RVs (as well as internal propane tanks).
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

If you like your propane and haven't seen the posts on relocating to a more protected location and higher up, check the posts on the 4x4 retrofit.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

I thought I would post pictures after installing 32"x 9.5" tires (235/85r16). The stability of the vehicle is greatly improved. I'm guessing it has less to do with the minimal additional width and more to do with a more substantial tire to distribute so much weight. The generator, propane, black water hose, etc are now 3.66" higher and the axels are 1.66".

The tires are Kevlar lined Goodyear adventures. They have the severe weather rating which gets me out of required chains in BC.


Last edited by Pnwsquid; 03-30-2016 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Westfalia Lifted

If you post pics, please use the board to store them. It is disconcerting to have the OTHER site go down and all we get in the post as a blue ??

Posting is easy after you scale the dimensions to most 900 pixels.

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