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Old 04-18-2015, 03:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Koni shocks and struts are, hands down, the best suspension mod you can make. Set adjustment to max damping. I've tested other shocks, none come close to Koni performance.

If you're close to max weight then consider adding Sumo springs.

After evaluating your rig with those mods, and you still don't like the side push from passing trucks, then install a bigger sway bar. Hellwig is popular.

I have no experience with steer safe. I have no issues with steering/control.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

I bought my Westy in January. Although it had Koni shocks and the fatter anti roll bar of the later Westies, the highway ride was downright scary at 60MPH and above, especially when winds were over 10MPH (only!) and being passed by trucks. New Michelin tires didn't help. So I researched extensively. One recommendation was to add Roadmaster Active Suspension. So while in Florida I ordered it ($450) right from the company and had it shipped to a local mechanic. He installed it in about an hour and a half.

Day and night difference!! The Westy handles amazing now and I can easily drive 75+ (although I won't because it kills mileage, but it's great for passing moments). For about $600 bucks installed, I still cannot believe the difference. Low speed handling was also greatly improved. No more clashing over bumps and potholes, or severe rocking on angled driveways and such.

There is still a very slight shudder when passed by huge trucks, but it feels totally manageable and safe. Again, it's made the vehicle super fun to drive and I actually enjoy the handling now. If you have jack stands you can install these yourself and save more $. I worked with Nolan at Roadmaster and he was really helpful with tech info that I gave to my mechanic.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:13 AM   #13
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Default Best suspension upgrades for westie

Try increasing front tire inflation in 5lb increments. A lot of the high speed handling issues are caused by sidewall flex on the front. 70lbs reduces quite a bit of sway. At 80 ride is harsh but steering control is much better.

Im running Michelin LTX AT2. Next size larger.


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Old 04-22-2015, 02:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

I'm also running LTX AT2 one size larger. Higher PSI in front is an interesting idea I will experiment with to further improve high speed stability. Is there any downside other than a harsher ride? I imagine MPG goes up a bit too. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Next time try the 245 Michelin steel belted rib tires.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Sorry, I forgot exactly what I got so I checked. It's the LTX MS/2 245/75/16 120/116R which is the 3000 lb load rated variety. Initially there was some rubbing so I trimmed the front flaps with the Dremel and it's now 95% fine with the rare occasional rub.

My rig came with the Koni reds from previous owner, but is there no way to verify that they are set to max without taking them off?
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:43 PM   #17
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Default

For the back, you can remove one bolt and retract the shock to enable adjustment. Dont have to remove completely.

For the fronts, just the nut inside the van will do then you lower the shaft completely until you engage the adjuster.


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Old 04-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradobjj View Post
van feels great at 50-60, stats getting sketch at 65-75, crosswinds, blow by from trucks, ruts or uneven road etc.
feel like i should be more comfortable a little faster speeds. the speed limit for example.
I have (again) a sense of deja' vu as the handling issues of Sprinter based RVs has been discussed to a fare-the-well during the time I've been hanging around the Forum. Everyone has an opinion on how to 'cure' the 'handling' problems usually by adding larger, stronger, beefier components all over the place to 'stiffen' the suspension. It's the 'school solution." It may not be the best solution.

Having had a 2500 based (Fourwinds Ventura) and now a 3500 based Winne View Profile, I'll again add my to the discussion

I looked up "Westies" and I see they are similar to my Ventura and built on the 2500 chassis. Might be some built on a 3500 but didn't find a photo of one. Colorado, you didn't say what chassis you have.... so I'll assume a 2500. Regardless, what I have to say will apply to either chassis.

First, if a 2500, you are pushing the max GVWR just sitting in the driveway. That's not such a big deal if you know your weight. So, it would be good to get the thing weighed (forget the four wheel weigh business) you want to know your ready to roll out weight. You want to know your Gross Weight .... all up for camping as if you ready to pull out of the drive and head off on a trip. Never exceed and featherweight where ever you can to reduce the weight.

Second, you can reduce the effect of crosswinds, gusts and truck buffeting, uneven road surfaces and such .... but you can never totally remove them. Faster speeds enhance these unsettling effects. Slower speeds help reduce the effects and make the ride and drive more enjoyable and less tiring. We all have that 'set and forget' cruise control. To get the best ride and drive with an RV you need to be situationally aware and adjust your speed accordingly. Hammering down a beat up road in a 25 mph crosswind gusting to 40 with passing semis and oil/gas rig equipment zipping by might not be the best thing.

There are two other major contributors here: aerodynamic loading and higher center of gravity vs. a conventional Sprinter van like a 170XL/XT. Due to the 'house' built on the chassis, the CG is higher and maybe a bit farther back than with a conventional van. Not much to do here except make sure you are as light as possible and weight distributed forward as possible. That will help with stability.

Aerodynamically, you have a barn on wheels. Lots of surface area: big slab sides; bluff rear end; and that 'snout, beezer, honker, Snuffy Smith nose,' that extends over the windshield. The nose and rear end gives gusts and cross winds a great place to get a grip on the body work and move it around. It is what it is...... a big fat box with a bunch of knobs, warts and bumps that contribute to the aero forces on the van. So it IS going to be affected by all the things you describe. Basically, the body is steering the van because the suspension isn't compliant enough.

School solutions almost always say... you need a bigger roll bar from an earth mover; more, bigger, springs & shocks from a locomotive; and a bunch of other add-ons to 'beef up' the suspension. I take a different view... but I'm a Crow.

When you stiffen the suspension in one or more ways what you get is a Conestoga Wagon suspension. It is overly stiff, non-compliant, and it transfers the vertical forces to the chassis; the coach; and the steering. Hit a bump and the rear suspension is so stiff that it translates to a big lift in the rear of the coach. That lift upsets the handling. Forces can work in two directions here. If the suspension is too hard wind gusts and buffets and cause the body to force the suspension to compress and the spring back on the off side. With no compliance and no place to go, the rear suspension begins to 'drive the van' producing that over-steer/under-steer effect. You end up chasing the vehicle down the road sawing the wheel back and forth. The same thing can happen if the suspension is too loose and lanky as the forces load up; hit their limit or the bump stops and push the chassis in different directions and again conspiring to cause understeer/oversteer, body sway and lean.

You need a solution that progressively dampens these very large compression forces without allowing that energy to be imparted to the body OR allowing those now stored forces (like in a compressed spring or a twisted anti-roll bar) to feed back that energy to the suspension AND the coach on the opposite side. (Think teeter-totter.... push up one side other side goes down.... that down side now wants to go back up and the whole thing works like a teter-totter pushing and pulling the bodywork up and down as it tries to equalize the forces. You want to kill that teter-totter effect.)

It would be my suggestion that you look into the Sumo Springs "Solo" model SSR-325-47 (2500) or SSR-335-47 (3500) from Super Springs International. The replace the factory bump stops (which do nothing except stop the loud clang of the axle hitting the frame). They will provide progressive control of the upward movement of the axle without imparting the now stored energy to the frame or back to the axle (pushing the chassis upward) when it unloads. Also, since they are not tied together like a roll or torsion bar it does not load up the Sumo on the opposite side as it compresses.

How do they work on the road?

I have SUMOs front and rear on our 3500 View which suffered from really nasty rocking over mis-aligned road surfaces, large pot holes struck with one side of the van; cross winds, and 'semi-push.' With the SUMOs, it is stable all the time. Yes, there is the occasional twitch from a passing semi if the cross winds are just right or under some really bizarre road surfaces. I'd say about > 97% of the time you don't know they are there and you have a smooth pleasant drive. Steering is near neutral with neither a great amount of understeer or oversteer under all conditions. On those rare occasions that you get a bit of 'chop' or buffeting it is quickly dampened and you just drive on. They have turned a 'white knuckle' experience into a routine drive in all but the very, very worst of conditions.

Just a suggestion..... get Sumos!
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Last edited by Old Crows; 04-23-2015 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 04-23-2015, 05:23 PM   #19
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

The reply from OldCrows got me curious so I went to http://http://supersprings.com and also called them. They actually gave me a different part number for a Sprinter 2500 RV.

Instead of the Rear Solos they told me to use SSA-11 ($439.20) and MTKT ($62.10) http://supersprings.com/Application_Flyers/SSA11_Dodge_Sprinter_2500_03'_07'.jpg.

For the fronts, they recommend the SSF-106 40 ($177.30)http://supersprings.com/Application_...printer~MB.jpg

I can see how the front will help as the urethane bump stops are more than 2x higher and are always compressed while the vehicle is on the ground. They say you expect front of the vehicle to go up about 1/4" to 1/2".

The rear helper springs probably work the same as the Roadmaster Active Suspension and are priced similarly. I just wonder which one will perform better.
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Old 04-23-2015, 05:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Discus, Applications may vary...depending on model & year. In the rear it may depend on whether or not your axle has the "saddle" below the OEM bump stop. The ones I referenced are what I have on my 3500 chassis. SS have rejiggered their website and now refer to mine as Solos.

The rears look ones pictured in my reference..... a truncated triangle of high density material. The fronts look like big fat blue "Kong" toys you give to your dogs. They also replace the OEM bump stops.

Were you interested in increasing the weight capacity or just killing the sway and rocking? I'd trust their advice.
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