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Improve handling without buying new springs and bigger rims.
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Jon_slider
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Posts: 5091
Location: Santa Cruz, Crowdifornia
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:10 pm    Post subject: Improve handling without buying new springs and bigger rims. Reply with quote

People sometimes start a tire and wheel thread, because they want better handling, and they Assume that bigger rims will provide better handling.

Another popular assumption is that to reduce body roll, they should buy new springs.

imo, Stock springs work fine when combined with properly rated tires, that are properly inflated, and with good shocks.

It is possible to get excellent handling from stock 14" rims, when fitted with C rated Light Truck Tires.

Here is one example of a tire that meets Light Truck specs for Vanagon:
http://tinyurl.com/n23tpu6
It is a C rated tire, rated 1874 pounds max load @65psi max inflation

How to determine correct inflation by comparing to stock specs:
One of the OEM tires fitted to Vanagons, listed here:
http://tinyurl.com/cy2zsma
was a 185R14 rated 1710 pounds max load @55psi max inflation.

According to:
http://www.roadhaus.com/tires/OE%20Tire%20Load%20Inflation%20Table.html
The recommended inflation in 1989 and later 2wd Vanagon, with the 185R14 tire was 43 psi front, 53 psi rear. There is a silver sticker on the driver doorjamb that lists the recommended inflations for your van, with OEM tires.

IF you have a tire that matches those [email protected] psi specs, I recommend using the VW recommended inflations.

IF your tire is slightly different, for example the Continental linked above, rated 1874 lbs @ 65 psi, it is possible to extrapolate the corresponding inflation. The result is to inflate that Continental Vanco 8 tire to 46 psi front, 57 psi rear.

If your van does not handle crosswinds well, be sure to follow the inflation recommendations, that call for MORE air in the rear than the front tires. This alone will make a HUUGE positive difference in handling and steering, IF you have been using equal pressure front and rear.

If your van has properly rated and inflated tires, and still seems to have too much body roll in curves, Buy New Shocks! I recommend Bilstein for 2wd, and OME for Syncro.

If your van still does not track true, steer predictably, and handle crosswinds reasonably well, Get An Alignment, and replace any worn steering and suspension parts, including upper and lower Ball Joints, if needed.

If there is slop, or play in the steering wheel, I also highly recommend replacing the steering rack bushings with some of the Polyurethane ones: http://www.t3technique.com/suspension-bushings/pow...g-set.html

If you want me to calculate OEM equivalent inflation for your tires, please provide the following info:
1. Is your van a 2wd or Syncro?
2. What is the brand, model, size, max load, and max psi of your tire?
3. Do you know your front and rear axle weights? This can be used to fine tune inflation recommendations.The VW specs are for GVWR.

Save money, avoid the slippery slope,
1. Do NOT buy above 26.6" diameter tires (5% bigger than stock) if you have a stock motor.
2. Do NOT buy new springs, unless you want more ground clearance. New springs dont automatically level a van, use shims to level a van.
3. Do NOT buy bigger rims, unless you want to fit bigger brakes.
4. Do NOT buy bigger than stock tires, unless you have budgeted to solve the fact that larger than stock diameter tires will not fit in the stock spare tire clamshell.
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ThankYouJerry
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Joined: September 01, 2012
Posts: 2242
Location: Shakedown Street
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Improve handling without buying new springs and bigger r Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:

If there is slop, or play in the steering wheel, I also highly recommend replacing the steering rack bushings with some of the Polyurethane ones: http://www.t3technique.com/suspension-bushings/pow...g-set.html


I did this and it was a very noticeable improvement in handling which also greatly helped with crosswinds. Very much worth the $.


Jon_slider wrote:

4. Do NOT buy bigger than stock tires, unless you have budgeted to solve the fact that larger than stock diameter tires will not fit in the stock spare tire clamshell.


Solved with this:
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_348_129/oversized-spare-tire-carrier.html

Plus this for Syncro:
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_1461_1040/spare-tire-steering-shaft-protector.html

Or this for 2WD:
http://www.van-cafe.com/home/van/page_1870_129/2wd-steering-shaft-protector.html
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