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Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag?
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YosemiteBound
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 10:59 am    Post subject: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

Troops,

Thanks again for all of the help here. With the forum's help I just replaced my sink pump (so nice to actually have something be relatively simple with this van).

Next up I think I'm going to try and fix the dreaded 1985 sag. Now, I have to be clear - this is not a job that I can do on my own. Nor do I have the tools or buddy help to get into the suspension during the age of coronavirus. But I've been laid off and I'm trying to tackle and van jobs that I can - until work picks back up.

I've recently done the full aux battery setup - with inverter and charger - grounded the rear speakers - and installed a new stereo with rear and front speakers. That was kind of pricey. As a result - my wife is trying to curb the spending. So I can't pull the trigger on the full XHD Bilstein setup and new springs and bushings etc etc. Which I am firmly aware the we need.

Stock setup: 1985 1.9 full westy.

I'd love to cheaply fix the sag. As when we load up all of our stuff and my wife and kid hop in back - the rig just looks like it's doing a wheelie down the road.
I love how high the front end is with stock springs. I just want to level out the back to be just as high. I did a bunch of shim research here. The problem is I am just getting into doing my own repairs. I don't have a ton of tools nor the way to fabricate anything (from cutting boards or rubber or such). And I haven't found anywhere online that sells shims to fit my vanagon.

Luckily, there's a great local shop a block away from me that does a ton of work on Vanagons. They constantly have them in there. The guys are real nice too. I talked to him and he said he'd install anything from Go Westy (and does it all of the time), or, if I can find a shim he'll put that in for me.

So my real question is: What's a good temporary, inexpensive, way to level out the vanagon right now? Keep hunting for a shim? Can I just buy new springs and put those in for now? Then just do bushings and shocks later? Or does that not make sense... once you're in there one should replace shocks and front springs as well etc. Is there a cheaper/better way to fix all of this than spending $1200 at GW? Has anyone tackled replacing their vanagon suspension piecemeal? Cost effectively at a shop?

Thx so much everyone. While I'm at it - I'm also gonna put these truck mirrors in myself. GW is sold out - anyone know if the van cafe ones are exactly the same? I see install videos everywhere for the GW mirrors but not the VC ones.

Hah, okay that's it. Phew.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

There was a similar recent thread with a link to a company making rear spacers. Canít find it at the moment.

Edit: cip1.com had the truck or LT mirrors.
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YosemiteBound
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:14 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
There was a similar recent thread with a link to a company making rear spacers. Canít find it at the moment.

Edit: cip1.com had the truck or LT mirrors.


Thanks for the reply. I can't seem to find that thread either.... I always bungle search terms. But if it's recent I feel like I would have seen it...

And my God those mirrors are expensive... $50 more each per mirror than VC or GW and they don't include the hardware. Are they different somehow?
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

YosemiteBound wrote:
[And my God those mirrors are expensive... $50 more each per mirror than VC or GW and they don't include the hardware. Are they different somehow?


for a simple no-drill install - Here is an alternate that is available with a nice field of view and a simple install using the factory mounting holes and screws. (I make the brackets and send them to the mirror seller and he sends them out as a package so feel free to ask any questions. http://supervanagon.com/)
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

vanis13 wrote:
YosemiteBound wrote:
[And my God those mirrors are expensive... $50 more each per mirror than VC or GW and they don't include the hardware. Are they different somehow?


for a simple no-drill install - Here is an alternate that is available with a nice field of view and a simple install using the factory mounting holes and screws. (I make the brackets and send them to the mirror seller and he sends them out as a package so feel free to ask any questions. http://supervanagon.com/)

^^^^
Highly recommended! Very Happy
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YosemiteBound
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

vanis13 wrote:
YosemiteBound wrote:
[And my God those mirrors are expensive... $50 more each per mirror than VC or GW and they don't include the hardware. Are they different somehow?


for a simple no-drill install - Here is an alternate that is available with a nice field of view and a simple install using the factory mounting holes and screws. (I make the brackets and send them to the mirror seller and he sends them out as a package so feel free to ask any questions. http://supervanagon.com/)


Thanks vanis13 - I think I'm committed to the truck mirrors. I've memorized the install - and am pretty comfortable doing it.
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:53 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

My mirrors came Direct from Germany. Back then it was the only option. Cip1 is a bargain. Sometimes they go on sale. Mine didnít come with hardware either. Just gaskets. Local marine supply for countersunk stainless. Not a deal breaker.
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YosemiteBound
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 12:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
My mirrors came Direct from Germany. Back then it was the only option. Cip1 is a bargain. Sometimes they go on sale. Mine didnít come with hardware either. Just gaskets. Local marine supply for countersunk stainless. Not a deal breaker.


Thanks Mark. I appreciate it. I'm just saying that the Van Cafe and Go Westy versions - which look identical - are about $50 less each. And GW comes with the hardware....

Can you post a pic of yours? If it isn't too difficult?
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 2:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

I recently installed three 5/16" spacers cut from an inexpensive cutting board (still have two left) and was able to install them by myself. You'll need at least one jackstand and it will be helpful to have a floor jack to support the suspension arm once the shock has been loosened. You'll need to be able to lower and raise the arm with control and you could do one side at a time with those tools.

People have used those spacers on both sides but I did not. It raised the rear about an inch total and actually tipped it down in front by about half that amount. Shims are about 6" diameter with a 2" hole. I can measure my spares more precisely, if you like.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

campism wrote:
I recently installed three 5/16" spacers cut from an inexpensive cutting board (still have two left) and was able to install them by myself. You'll need at least one jackstand and it will be helpful to have a floor jack to support the suspension arm once the shock has been loosened. You'll need to be able to lower and raise the arm with control and you could do one side at a time with those tools.

People have used those spacers on both sides but I did not. It raised the rear about an inch total and actually tipped it down in front by about half that amount. Shims are about 6" diameter with a 2" hole. I can measure my spares more precisely, if you like.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Bingo. I've had spacers in my '86 left rear for at least 10 years to level it. Few bucks for a cutting board, jigsaw, and that's it. No sign of deterioration even today. I have a paper template I can pmail you if you like.
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YosemiteBound
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

campism wrote:
I recently installed three 5/16" spacers cut from an inexpensive cutting board (still have two left) and was able to install them by myself. You'll need at least one jackstand and it will be helpful to have a floor jack to support the suspension arm once the shock has been loosened. You'll need to be able to lower and raise the arm with control and you could do one side at a time with those tools.

People have used those spacers on both sides but I did not. It raised the rear about an inch total and actually tipped it down in front by about half that amount. Shims are about 6" diameter with a 2" hole. I can measure my spares more precisely, if you like.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Thanks for the tip! How is this affecting the ride? Wouldn't it be a bit harsher with a cutting board? More so than if it was your standard spacer - like the one GW sells (but has been out of forever)?
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

re: spacers -

in addition to the spacers which I hve I have been LOVING the Gabriel gas adjustable shock. surprisingly cheap ($60 for a pair) and work very well in general, for leveling, and for hauling HEAVY hitch/back end weight. I hauled a 600lb motorcycle on a hitch tray and leveled it right out for a 3k mile haul. Couldn't even tel it was there.

Search Gabriel shocks for synchro to find them they don't list them for 2wd
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

YosemiteBound wrote:
campism wrote:
I recently installed three 5/16" spacers cut from an inexpensive cutting board (still have two left) and was able to install them by myself. You'll need at least one jackstand and it will be helpful to have a floor jack to support the suspension arm once the shock has been loosened. You'll need to be able to lower and raise the arm with control and you could do one side at a time with those tools.

People have used those spacers on both sides but I did not. It raised the rear about an inch total and actually tipped it down in front by about half that amount. Shims are about 6" diameter with a 2" hole. I can measure my spares more precisely, if you like.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Thanks for the tip! How is this affecting the ride? Wouldn't it be a bit harsher with a cutting board? More so than if it was your standard spacer - like the one GW sells (but has been out of forever)?

No noticeable change in the ride; however, my butt dyno might not be as sensitive as some.
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

Okay here's what I'm thinking now:

Change out the rear springs to GW 1.5" lift. Leave the front springs stock (as they're already lifted). While I'm at it change out the rear shocks.

Leave the front shocks alone.

Later down the road - do the front shocks and front and rear bushings.

Does this make sense? Or is it super weird to do only rear springs and shocks and not change out front or any bushings.... I honestly have no idea.
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

My opinion only is the best thing to do now would be spacers and done. You kind of want to change all four shocks at once and if you do the rear springs, you need to do a rear alignment. Thatís why itís a slippery slope. I also donít think you know if the lift springs will really level you out, you can move spacers around.
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

mikemtnbike wrote:
My opinion only is the best thing to do now would be spacers and done. You kind of want to change all four shocks at once and if you do the rear springs, you need to do a rear alignment. Thatís why itís a slippery slope. I also donít think you know if the lift springs will really level you out, you can move spacers around.


Thanks! That's the kind of advice I was looking for haha. Now to find the rear spacers... Man I wish GW would get them back in stock.
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

YosemiteBound wrote:


Thanks! That's the kind of advice I was looking for haha. Now to find the rear spacers... Man I wish GW would get them back in stock.


What tools do you have at hand?
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

Schwenk spacers...
http://www.syncro.org/schwenksprings/shims.html

Van Cafe has 1" spacers in-stock
https://www.vancafe.com/RMW-6X1-p/rmw-6x1.htm

But if jigsaw and a drill you can make more than you need for less...
https://www.amazon.com/Stanton-Trading-799-30-Cutt...amp;sr=1-8
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

Seriously, you can knock these out in an hour and install them at your leisure.
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 9:19 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a cheap fix for the dreaded 1985 sag? Reply with quote

Stock rear Syncro springs are almost perfect to match the high front. Should be a good supply since so many Syncro owners upgrade to different springs.
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