Sprinter-Forum    
 

Go Back   Sprinter-Forum > Sprinter-Based RV's & Conversions > Sprinter-Based RV Brands > Airstream > Sprinter Westfalia


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-13-2015, 10:06 PM   #1
coloradobjj
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 45
Thanks: 55
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Best suspension upgrades for westie

I"m looking for any info on what I need to do to make my westie handle better. I"m thinking about the Roadmaster active suspension but not sure if I will need shocks as well. I currently have stock suspension and shocks on a van with under 30k. Any good info or experiences out there?
Below is what I have seen, looking for anything to help narrow it down, whats the most bang for my buck?
7. Suspension Mods
a. Koni Shocks
b. Heavier Rear Anti-Sway Bar (UpscaleAuto.com)
c. SteerSafe (front steering dampener)
d. Rear Airbags (Sports-Rite?)
e. Supplemental Rear Leaf Springs

thanks
coloradobjj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2015, 11:42 PM   #2
calbiker
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Santa Barbara
Posts: 1,807
Thanks: 244
Thanked 801 Times in 534 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Exactly what handling problem are you trying to solve?
calbiker is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to calbiker For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-14-2015), Old Crows (04-23-2015)
Old 04-14-2015, 09:22 PM   #3
coloradobjj
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 45
Thanks: 55
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

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.
coloradobjj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2015, 01:47 PM   #4
512Westy
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 181
Thanks: 60
Thanked 32 Times in 26 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Lot's of discussion throughout this forum concerning the handling of our van.
My experience seems to match other anecdotal tales.
I've had lots of driving at 70mph+ with rock steady comfort. This has coincided w/ no wind, or with a tailwind. Any gusting side or headwind will turn the driving into a white knuckle experience.
cheapest solution is to slow down which circumstances may or maynot allow.
One modification you did not mention is to remove the rooftop AC which apparently improves the handling greatly. Those who've replaced w/ an domesitc model (much lighter) have experience improved handling. (I have not changed mine)
I've performed the following mods over time and each seems to provide an incremental improvement, but very hard to tell, since difficult to do a side by side test under same wind conditions.
My feeling is these are all modest improvements, and when it blows, it's going to get uncomfortable. But w/ these improvements it seems doable.
Was my earlier sense of doom affected by the fact i had just laid out serious cash for this rig and was now driving the heaviest vehicle i'd ever owned (expectations & inexperience),
My camper had brand new firestone tires when i purchased it used w/ 40k miles, and i verified appropriate tire pressure. Some recommend a particular stiffwalled tire as a primary improvement, not sure where my firestones fall in the stiffness category
first mod = heavier antisway bar $250 parts, $250 labor
2nd = koni rear shocks $285 parts, self installed
3rd = Airtabs (54 ea. for $148) + bottle spray paint, self installed

antisway bar and rear shocks seemed to help considerably with the "wallow" effect noticed at slow speed exiting driveway and crossing gutter depression.
airtabs seemed to help noticeably with the high speed instability experienced as trucks blow by at speed. The van still is unsteady and moves around an uncomfortable amount when in the slipstream behind a semi at highway speeds +65.
I've heard recently that the active suspension was the best improvement someone had and they recommend it as the first and best option
I've seen enough improvement and/or become accustomed enough, or spent enough time and money on the issue that i no longer dream or focus on ways to improve it
but if i did, i'd fit the active suspension system on it. I dream more about being on the road w/ it
512Westy is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to 512Westy For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-16-2015)
Old 04-16-2015, 06:12 AM   #5
coloradobjj
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 45
Thanks: 55
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Great advise. Thank you.
coloradobjj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 10:26 AM   #6
jujupang
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 155
Thanks: 3
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Roadmaster Active Suspension and red konis set to max all the way around is my recommendation.
Juju
jujupang is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jujupang For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-16-2015)
Old 04-16-2015, 10:28 AM   #7
jujupang
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 155
Thanks: 3
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Our Westies already have the big sway barVedder maybe the early ones didn't.
jujupang is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jujupang For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-16-2015)
Old 04-16-2015, 10:30 AM   #8
jujupang
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 155
Thanks: 3
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

Sorry , my auto type makes errors, we have the big sway bar except the early ones may not.
jujupang is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jujupang For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-16-2015)
Old 04-16-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
512Westy
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 181
Thanks: 60
Thanked 32 Times in 26 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

I believe my original bar was 7/8" dia. while the standard bar was 3/4" dia. The upsized bar was 1.125" dia.
I remember hearing rumors that early versions had standard bar, but my van is # 17 and it had the larger bar.
I still think the Westfalia/Benz engineers had it prob right with the 7/8" bar since they didn't have the enormous weight of the A/C unit in their calcs.
512Westy is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to 512Westy For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-16-2015)
Old 04-17-2015, 12:28 AM   #10
JoeHike
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: El Cerrito, CA
Posts: 41
Thanks: 166
Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts
Default Re: Best suspension upgrades for westie

I find that my Westy handles well at high speeds. On the freeways out here in the west, I maintain a steady 75-80 MPH, and it's a relaxed drive, even passing semi's, etc. Stiff sidewinds [50 mph] might get me to pay more attention and drive with two hands.

This contrasts sharply with my previous camper-van, which was built on a 1986 Econoline 250. At around 60, it would want to wander all over the highway, and high speed driving was a white-knuckle experience.

I'm the 2nd owner of my Westy, but I'm pretty sure that the only suspension/steering mod on it is the addition of "Steer Safe". Compared to some of the other choices, this is relatively inexpensive, so you might want to consider it first.

Joe B.
Westy 56
JoeHike is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to JoeHike For This Useful Post:
coloradobjj (04-20-2015)
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 05:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.