Aftermarket Suspension Options - whats your experience?

Boathik

Future van builder
How thick is the wood on the floor? Roof? Cabinets made from 3/4" plywood? 1.5" solid wood countertop.

Batteries?

I would agree at first glance I don't see quite enough gear for that weight.
Made a list of the build, estimating weights on everything then ROUNDING UP and came to 1950lbs added to the stock crew van. That included water, us and the dogs, but not gear or food. The door jam sticker listed capacity at 24xx lbs. So with gear and food I imagine we were near the 8550 GVW. So about 1400lbs is still unaccounted for.

Midwestdrifter, to answer your questions:

Stock 9mm(ish) plywood floor. We filled the corrugations under the floor with mini-cell then a full 1/2” layer. Marmoleum on top replaced the heavier stock rubber flooring.

Ceiling is 1/4” cedar glued to 6mm(1/4”) Baltic birch ply.

Cabinets are 12mm Baltic birch. Butcher block counter is 1.5” thick but it is not a large area. I worked in a cabinet shop for years so I know the cabinet is built as light as possible

Batteries are 2x 200ah LiFeBlue.

Van is a crew van. We replaced the stock 3-seat bench with a folding 2-person which is around half the weight.
 

gltrimble

Well-known member
Assuming you are mostly done with your build and the van still handles fine, I would not panic about the weight. You are only 5% over the rated axle capacities of 9460lb. The 2019+ vans are rated for 9050 GVW with the same axle ratings as your 2018. I would recommend full rear spring packs. The 8 leaf spring packs are available from Agile or Van Compass with a 5400 lb target weight. You will probably only net 1-1.5” in added rear height since you have likely sagged about 3/4” with the added weight. The van will actually look more “level” with the added rear height. If you are making suspension changes I recommend the full RIP suspension package which would add coil-overs to the front suspension along with auxiliary shocks. This will provide a much improved ride over the under performing OEM suspension. I think your current tires will look fine once the van is lifted. But 33” tires will look even better.
 
Last edited:

RVBarry

Well-known member
Hi, I'm planning to order a 2021 170 2500 Cargo van, probably a gasser (2WD), but possibly a 4x4...
I will be building it out as a campervan with strong intention to stay under max GVWR.
Tires will eventually be upgraded to 275/70/r16 (~31").

I plan to travel on at least some forest roads, and definitely on washboard (lots of that in the West) to visit ghost towns, etc.

I plan to at least add better shocks in the future, but am also worried about decreased rear height after the conversion. So...

Questions about springs and shocks:
1. If I get the CB1 comfort suspension & CT1 vibration absorbers, would it still be possible to add a mini-pack to the rear springs? (to make up any lost rear ride height)
Otherwise, I suppose I could still add Sumos?

2. Am I correct in understanding that the rear Fox IFP shocks without external reservoirs are NOT end-user adjustable, but the Falcons are?
Is it still the case that the suspension must be extended to access the adjusters (was mentioned for the old Fox with reservoirs) on a stock-height 2WD?

I see the VC 2WD Stage 4 does NOT have adjustable shocks (Stage 3 does)... are the adjustables overkill if never towing?

3. Which front-end shocks/struts are user-adjustable? (without a jack?)

4. Am I correct that the weight adjustments are not user-adjustable on any of the shocks?
e.g. If I got shocks before build-out, would they need to be professionally re-tuned after build-out and re-weighing the van?

5. I see the VC Stage 4 for the 2500 2WD includes Sumo springs (front & rear) to help recover ride height... How much would they help height on a loaded 170 2500 with comfort springs?

Any downsides to the Sumos? e.g. do they harshen the ride when lightly loaded?
When to go with a mini-pack and when to go with Sumos?

6. Is there a consensus on the Bilstein B4 vs B6? I saw the earlier discussion but no conclusion.
I assume the Bilstein struts are non-adjustable (professionally), correct?
Is the B4 a significant improvement over stock? (stability and longevity/durability)
Will they fit with 275/70/r16 tires on stock wheels and no spacers?

Advantages/disadvantages of Bilstein vs Koni struts?

7. Can both the Fox IFPs and the Falcons be rebuilt when they wear out?

8. Does VC still not install kits?
How much would a 2WD Stage 4 install normally run?


Other questions:
a. Has anyone been able to order the CE8 35mm rear body lift on a non-fleet order?

b. Is there any point in getting the A50 option on a gasser? (which is hundreds of pounds lighter in front than a V6 diesel, not to mention a 4x4)
Does it increase the size of the brakes or strut mounts or anything else useful? Not really clear what it includes.


Thanks & sorry for so many questions!


DOG:
1603595872218.png

EQB:
1603596231296.png
 
Last edited:

gltrimble

Well-known member
Even a mid-level buildout on a 170 van is going to put you near the GVWR. A full build will possibly exceed the GVWR. The OEM springs try to address a very large load range. They probably work best when at their midpoint. At or near GVWR the factory suspension does not perform well.

I had the rear comfort springs on my van and they are now sitting in the landfill. The comfort springs address the noise and vibration but do little for the increased load or ride height. I think both Sumos and mini-packs/add-a-leafs are band aids. The mini-packs will add some ride height. Both the Sumos and mini-packs may reduce side to side sway. You are better off spending a little more money and getting a complete fix. Both Agile and VC sell full leaf spring packs custom sized for the rear. Even if your van is not fully built out the van will ride better with the full leaf packs compared to the factory one or two leaf suspension.

I would not bother with adjustable shocks or struts. Those that buy them rarely ever adjust them once installed. Better to buy the best shocks and struts and forget about them. Bilstein B4s and Konis are only marginally better than the factory equipment. Most owners purchasing the adjustable Konis set them for maximum damping to get any benefit. Bilstein B6 struts are an improvement over the factory struts but are only available for 2wd vans. For 4wd you would need to add auxiliary shocks to improve front damping.

It has never been clear what the A50 option adds to the front suspension. In past years it was a $50 option which implies only minor improvements. The A50 was not available for my 2016/2017 4x4. Was it already built in to the 4x4 price? I would probably opt for the A50 option just for the added load capacity.

6E217E74-CA25-4020-BE69-5A54D2E37074.jpeg
 
Last edited:
As a counter point I adjust my rear shocks regularly. My van weight swings from 7600lbs to 8700lbs, from me driving alone to driving with wife and kids, from 1000mi pavement slogs to hundreds of miles offroad.

Alone, heavy and highway, I crank them up. The dividends paid in cornering speed on windy mountain roads are enormous. Offroad, light and with my family, I turn them down, from mid to full soft. The remote reservoirs have excellent bottom out resistance, combined with dropping the tire pressure to about 20psi I can hit washboard rutted road at a comfortable 45mph and not worry about upsetting the van on the occasional big whoop or dip.

If anyone decides to make adjustable remote resi fronts, I will replace my front auxiliaries. TOTALLY worth it IMHO
 

MTBiker787

New member
As a counter point I adjust my rear shocks regularly. My van weight swings from 7600lbs to 8700lbs, from me driving alone to driving with wife and kids, from 1000mi pavement slogs to hundreds of miles offroad.

Alone, heavy and highway, I crank them up. The dividends paid in cornering speed on windy mountain roads are enormous. Offroad, light and with my family, I turn them down, from mid to full soft. The remote reservoirs have excellent bottom out resistance, combined with dropping the tire pressure to about 20psi I can hit washboard rutted road at a comfortable 45mph and not worry about upsetting the van on the occasional big whoop or dip.

If anyone decides to make adjustable remote resi fronts, I will replace my front auxiliaries. TOTALLY worth it IMHO
What about the VC adjustable Falcons? Have you considered those? I got them but haven't have time to install them...
 

mk216v

Member
As a counter point I adjust my rear shocks regularly. My van weight swings from 7600lbs to 8700lbs, from me driving alone to driving with wife and kids, from 1000mi pavement slogs to hundreds of miles offroad.

Alone, heavy and highway, I crank them up. The dividends paid in cornering speed on windy mountain roads are enormous. Offroad, light and with my family, I turn them down, from mid to full soft. The remote reservoirs have excellent bottom out resistance, combined with dropping the tire pressure to about 20psi I can hit washboard rutted road at a comfortable 45mph and not worry about upsetting the van on the occasional big whoop or dip.

If anyone decides to make adjustable remote resi fronts, I will replace my front auxiliaries. TOTALLY worth it IMHO

As MTBiker787 suggested, since you already have the VC front aux shock mounts and front Sumo's, maybe VC will allow you to purchase the Falcon 3.3 front and rear 3way-LSC & remote reservoir dampers outside of the full stg2.3 kit? I like that the rears have the 2way SP2 rebound adjustability as well.
Having ridden in some 2.3 kits with full leaf springs, the ride is comfortable, planted, confidence inspiring. Night and day compared to stock Sprinter suspension.
 
Last edited:

Wrinkledpants

2017 144WB 4x4
Falcons with reservoirs front and rear is what we'll do in a month or two for the situation ranges Hamster pointed out.
 

Desertbound

Active member
With our new Falcon shock set-ups, adjustment is super easy to do. In a few weeks you won't even have to get out of the van to adjust them with the electronic packages we have in the works. The electronic packages actually adjust themselves based on the cornering, braking and acceleration G-threshold you set on their app.

But even the manual adjustment Falcons are a breeze and make a MASSIVE difference in handling feel and ride quality. We put up a blog post explaining the differences between the Falcon shocks and comparable Fox offerings as well as a short teaser video explaining some of the key features of the Falcon adjustable shocks.


 

Desertbound

Active member
I don't think you can just casually drop that you have remote programmable shocks in the works without more details, lol.
Haha, yeah..... Waiting till we have the kits on hand and ready to ship before we really start spreading the word. We'll release more information on them soon. Should only be another couple of weeks and they'll be ready to ship.

We've been running them on our red low roof 4x4 for about 5 months now and it is AWESOME!
 

Top Bottom