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Old 10-17-2014, 11:39 AM   #1
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2015 Interstate suspension upgrade

I wish to decrease sway and also to improve rear passenger ride experience.
Which one would you recommend?
Pros and cons ?
Thanks a lot Fellow AirstreamersClick image for larger version

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Old 10-17-2014, 06:53 PM   #2
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The Sprinter Store has Koni shocks and struts will do wonders for improving handling and resistance to crosswinds but not so much on rear seat ride. They used to offer an air suspension kit but apparently it is discontinued. They currently offer a set of rear springs that supposedly make the 3500 ride like a 2500 passenger van but I haven't tried it — yet.
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Old 10-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #3
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There are limits to how far you can tweak the suspension. The Koni shocks/struts referred to by joemikeb are adjustable, which helps. But you're still dealing with four tons or so of fine German steel and Airstream coachwork, so you shouldn't ever expect it to ride like a passenger car. You'll have to settle for making it ride more like a van and less like a school bus. I've got my Konis adjusted to dampen the road force more quickly, cutting down on sway and bounce, but the trade-off is that each bump or pothole is felt more harshly.
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Old 10-17-2014, 09:44 PM   #4
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I was at Upscale Automotive near Portland this summer for routine service and new Koni shocks all around. The new shocks have reduced the bounce in my Sprinter and made the ride more stable. But the ride is still rough, that's why I'm now thinking tire pressure as an inexpensive option.

There are new multi-leaf rear springs that Upscale (Sprinter Store) first mentioned on the Sprinter Forum back in August in this thread.
http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...d.php?p=320915

I was ready to also have these new springs when I was at Upscale in September, but hey were out of stock. For now I'm glad I saved the $1,700 plus installation for these springs.

From what I've read the only proven way to really smooth out the ride on 3500 Sprinters is to upgrade to a full air-ride rear suspension. There are two versions on the market approved by Mercedes. One is the VB Air Suspension now being installed by Advanced RV. The other is the Glide Rite Air Bag Suspension sold and installed by The Sprinter Store.

Both these air suspensions are pricey, at least $10,000 installed. Several Sprinter owners on this and other forums have reviewed these air suspensions and rave about the smooth ride. So if you want to spend that much they are the best option. Here are a couple of recent discussions on both suspensions.
http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...d.php?p=326236

http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...ad.php?t=31472

http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...d.php?p=297422

Hope this is useful.
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Old 10-17-2014, 10:03 PM   #5
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Old 10-18-2014, 03:09 AM   #6
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Hard to make a fully loaded truck ride like a car. But those upgrades do help. Be careful with tire pressures, you may be close yo max weight. Jim
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Old 10-19-2014, 01:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
There are new multi-leaf rear springs that Upscale (Sprinter Store) first mentioned on the Sprinter Forum back in August in this thread.
http://www.sprinter-source.com/forum...d.php?p=320915

I was ready to also have these new springs when I was at Upscale in September, but hey were out of stock. For now I'm glad I saved the $1,700 plus installation for these springs.
When you were at Upscale Automotive, did they offer to install the springs on your AI and did they quote an installation price? Their website says the springs are specifically designed only for the Navion and goes to lengths to extoll the potential difficulties of installation on other RVs.

By-the-way on that same site the full Air Spring suspension is listed as discontinued. It was too pricey for my wallet, but I was holding out hope that I would strike a bonanza.
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Old 10-19-2014, 05:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by joemikeb View Post
When you were at Upscale Automotive, did they offer to install the springs on your AI and did they quote an installation price? Their website says the springs are specifically designed only for the Navion and goes to lengths to extoll the potential difficulties of installation on other RVs.



By-the-way on that same site the full Air Spring suspension is listed as discontinued. It was too pricey for my wallet, but I was holding out hope that I would strike a bonanza.

I never discussed installation because they were out of stock. You are looking at the wrong items on the Sprinter Store web site. The Navion item is a Spring assist kit at $700. The springs I'm referring to are specifically for Sprinter 3500 van and cost $1700. Here is the text from Sprinter Store:

"Rear Spring Pack for the 3500 Vans:
We now have a new rear spring pack designed specifically for the NCV3 3500 vans. Many airport transporter, hotel transporter and Class B RV owners have complained about the stiff ride and people literally being launched when riding in the rear of the vans. Our new design is a multi leaf spring pack that creates a passenger van ride. In fact, reports are that it is even better than the 2500 passenger van! Just like our other spring kits, this one is designed specifically for the NCV3 3500 vans and fits no other vehicle. The steel quality, arching and spring temper of this pack emulates what MB would produce. The overall ride and handling remains the same until you hit bumps, potholes, etc. Then the multi leaf design kicks in and the harshness from bumps and potholes is significantly reduced. One of our test mule customers says more than significantly reduced but we will leave it at significantly reduced. The new pack will raise the rear of the van about .50” to 1.0” depending the weight you are carrying.

Installation on a normal van is simple, remove the factory spring pack and install our new pack using the longer u-bolts that are provided. If you have a Class B RV, then installation can be anywhere from a challenge to a very big challenge but the up-grade is worth it. The challenge is access to the shackle bushing bolts. If you have clear access to them, then you are good to go. If not, then you are introduced to the challenge! Cut bolts to remove and install from the opposite direction, begin removing tanks or whatever other means is needed for the install.

07 and Newer 3500 Cargo and Passenger Van: $1699.95 plus shipping"

The More expensive Glide Rite Air Bag Suspension System is still listed as available. Only the air bag kits have been discontinued. I've found that the Sprinter Store web site is sometimes out of date so it is always best to call them and get the facts on what is available.


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Old 10-25-2014, 06:30 PM   #9
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I ordered & installed the springs, shocks & sway bars from The Sprinter Store. HUGE difference on rock & roll, and all the buffeting when following the big rigs. Rear seat still rides like a truck. Just adjusted the koni shocks to softest setting (as suggested on another forum) and have a trip from IL to CALIF in two weeks; we'll see if wife chooses to sleep in back or her front seat on the way out.

$10,000 for airbag suspension sounds crazy expensive - but if I do more than 3 cross country trips per year I may have to go with it to get the most use out of the rear seating.
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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So the ride doesn't emulate a 2500 or better?
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:22 PM   #11
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Not sure how a 2500 rides, but the back is really unbearable at 55mph on the IL State roads. Interstate is better but I still feel every seam in the concrete as I go down the road. In town isn't such a big deal because I'm not hitting bumps every 15 seconds like I do at highway speeds.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:42 PM   #12
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I use a 2011 2500 Sprinter as my service van. Just turned 100,000 miles and recently got the Sprinter Store Koni and new spring pack upgrades done while I was in OR for the summer.

My van is almost always at max GVW, and I also have a set of air begs on the rear to eliminate rear end sag. The new springs and Konis have done wonders for the handling of the van at max. weight. i also replaced the anemic rear sway bar last year with a much heavier model. That helped quite a bit too.

I would definitely say that my ride now is anything BUT soft, with all of the enhancements and the Konis set to maximum. But then, I'm not smoothing the ride for any passengers....just the tools and equipment that I carry....and they all told me that they don't really care about the ride.
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MILATV View Post
I ordered & installed the springs, shocks & sway bars from The Sprinter Store. HUGE difference on rock & roll, and all the buffeting when following the big rigs. Rear seat still rides like a truck. Just adjusted the koni shocks to softest setting (as suggested on another forum) and have a trip from IL to CALIF in two weeks; we'll see if wife chooses to sleep in back or her front seat on the way out.

$10,000 for airbag suspension sounds crazy expensive - but if I do more than 3 cross country trips per year I may have to go with it to get the most use out of the rear seating.
Did you install the spring assist kit (which is basically an overload spring for each side) or did you install the complete new leaf spring Kit?
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Old 10-25-2014, 10:28 PM   #14
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Not sure how a 2500 rides, but the back is really unbearable at 55mph on the IL State roads. Interstate is better but I still feel every seam in the concrete as I go down the road. In town isn't such a big deal because I'm not hitting bumps every 15 seconds like I do at highway speeds.
I was just going by what the Sprinter store said in the part that you quoted in your previous post. But then I don't know if you installed the complete spring package that they were referring to. I am just looking for something that will reduce the rear Lounge from launching people when hitting a bump.
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Old 10-26-2014, 07:47 AM   #15
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I am just looking for something that will reduce the rear Lounge from launching people when hitting a bump.
I only installed the Spring Assist Kit (install was over a year ago); I will say it was WELL worth the money for the upgrade. The drive is much more enjoyable. But it didn't do much for the rear bounce. May even have made it stiffer.

Short of the Airbags I don't know of any satisfactory fix for the rear ride. There is only the wife and I on trips so we ride up front.

I upgraded to reduce the heavy rock & roll out of my (and many fuel station) driveways. When the coffee maker is banging around in the cabinet the rocking was a little crazy.

With the stock kit the van rocked 3-4 times left to right & left when pulling out of a drive over a curb; and when I pulled up a little to close to the back of a semi tractor trailer (or they pulled in my lane a little too soon) the van would wobble from the wind turbulence caused just behind the truck.

With shocks / sway bars & spring assist - all of that is gone; rear end just rides like an empty F350 pickup.

That said; I recently hauled a load of motorcycles (close to the 5,000 lb max trailer) and the back rode better than ever.

So maybe the real secret here is to haul a trailer all the time. (was thinking of getting a toad so the wife will have something to drive while we are parked for longer periods; but since all 4 on the ground (no tongue weight) that probably wouldn't improve the ride.

- Although the motorcycle on the hitch rack should a little (see my Avatar).

Either way - I love the van; some because of the $$ I spent on it; but always because it beats the heck out of the Suburban and Escalades I used to drive cross country on family & work trips.

My wife summed it up on our first trip from IL to NC in the van last year when she realized that she could finally drink as many sodas as she wanted on the trip because she didn't have to wait for me to pull in 4 hrs later for the pit stop!
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Old 10-26-2014, 07:55 AM   #16
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So maybe the real secret here is to haul a trailer all the time. (was thinking of getting a toad so the wife will have something to drive while we are parked for longer periods; but since all 4 on the ground (no tongue weight) that probably wouldn't improve the ride.
You could tow on a dolly to provide some tongue weight. Then you wouldn't even need supplemental brakes or new lighting on your toad because the dolly would cover that. But that presumes you have someplace to store the dolly when you're not using it.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:14 AM   #17
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You could tow on a dolly to provide some tongue weight. Then you wouldn't even need supplemental brakes or new lighting on your toad because the dolly would cover that. But that presumes you have someplace to store the dolly when you're not using it.
Have plenty of storage, may go that route - I didn't realize the dolly had trailer brakes built in; but that makes since.

Now I just need to wait on Polaris to release the Automatic transmission model of the Slingshot so my wife can drive it (we are a dealer). Since it has 2 front wheels & one rear it should make a nice toad!

Wait - it is licensed & titled as a motorcycle - that means my wife will need to get here motorcycle license. . . . . I'll wish her luck doing the cone course in a 77" wide "motorcycle" hahaha.
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Old 10-26-2014, 02:59 PM   #18
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That said; I recently hauled a load of motorcycles (close to the 5,000 lb max trailer) and the back rode better than ever.
The ride in the back of my AI is completely acceptable when pulling our VW GTI on a tow dolly. The drag of the load does a great job of damping the rear end bounce. Unfortunately we use the AI in a lot of situations where it simply is not practical to haul the car along just to improve the ride.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:50 PM   #19
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I would be interested in Protagonist view on the VB Air Suspension System for a MB 3500 Sprinter Van. Thanks,
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #20
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Welcome to the Air Forums.

I looked at the Advanced RV site the other day and they talk about it and it sounds nice but pricey. Last time I checked, it was around $10K plus install.
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