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Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:09 pm    Post subject: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Hello, Fellow Bussers.

So here's the thing... we put the GoWesty lift springs and their re-valved Bilsteins on our '84 Westy, and the front springs sagged about 2" in a month.

Even entering a nominal driveway has us beating up the front wheelwells, and this is our home so I am exceedingly gentle on it. Nothing is broken.

Our van is about 200 lbs. over GVWR of 5,160. It is clear as a rusty bell that this suspension combination is only stiff enough if well under GVWR.

Regardless, the installing shop mounted it all up without enough concern of our limited funds -- nor any regards to weight and distribution -- but in their defense this strikes me as yet another example of GW making a bundle from equipment that was not tested enough.

No budget for such a limited market, you say? A few hours of testing on our van would have revealed that the setup is not enough for off-roading in a van at GVWR -- and I find that to be absolutely inexcusable for a company we've given thousands of dollars to in support.

Another issue is the 16" Euro wheels we added are also wrong in offset, the front track is too wide to clear the front wheelwell lip. The rears seem fine.

So I desperately need input from people here who have found a stiffer suspension setup that will carry GVWR or a little more without collapsing like a worn Pinto.

This entire mess, on top of far too many more instances of vendors in my pants at unprecedented levels after 40 years of vehicle ownership, have us seriously considering selling the van and doing something completely different. And that will break both our hearts and our bank -- and the fact is our presence is good for the bus community.

Thanks in Advance.
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Last edited by E1 on Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

for reference, we put on my son's 2WD tintop Schwenk springs and Koni Red shocks all around.... we are very happy with it... not sure it's the stiffest or not...
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

Thank You... I actually wanted Konis but was told they wouldn't work with lifter springs.
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Gruppe B
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

I bought Moog 5660 springs but haven't put in yet. They may not be the plug and play solution you are hoping for as they may need additional set up to work (balljoint spacers, rear spring perch adjustment, etc).

If your van is bottoming out there must be something really wrong with your setup. My 1985 Westy with 33 year old stock springs and normal Bilstein HDs have never "bottomed out" anywhere. Not even on the famous Chaco Canyon access road

I'm not bragging but I've also well exceeded any weight that your van is running with Embarassed
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

Thanks, do you have 16" Euro wheels?

(Sorry, just added that to my OP)

We did add the spacers, and to clarify, the van's not "bottoming out" but rather the front tires are hitting the wheelwell lip. We did the Chaco road with our 14s and original springs without problem, but its only challenges are washboards, not dips.

Ours is a simple failure of the suspension not holding weight enough. The wheelwell-clipping issue would not exist except for extreme dips if the suspension were stiff enough.
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levi
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

Yes.

I hear the bell you're hitting loud and clear.

3 sets of those damn gowesty springs, the last one sagging more than 2 inches, paired with the pogo bilsteins at every stop was more than I could bear.

5660 moog springs at 50 bucks for the pair at any flaps is what I have now on my van that weighs in at exactly 5000 pounds.

They are quite a bit stiffer than the gowesty fare.
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Thank You very much Brudda, your post gives potential resolution -- but also supports my "vendors in my pants" anger.

-- Do you have 16s, and if so, with what tire size?

-- Are the 5660s lifted?

-- What shocks/struts are you using?

-- What's on the rear?

Voicemail left if you're Super Bored Man... Cool

THANKS!!!!!!
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1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden


Last edited by E1 on Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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hans j
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Stiffer springs won't do you any good for ride quality though. I'm running softer than stock springs on my syncro westy that weighs 5500 pounds and it handles and rides amazing. They are however paired with matched shocks that can handle it.

In my opinion, the off the shelf Bilsteins are terrible. I'd much rather use a stock emulsion Boge or Sachs shock due to their control of the vehicle. It's a delicate balance, and my preference for off the shelf springs are Schwenk and stock. Shocks I'd do Boge (stock), custom off road Bilsteins, and then maybe OME or Koni. I haven't measured the Koni's to see how long they are.
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Thank You very much, Hans.

Your great post leaves me with questions, so I sent you a PM.

We have the "re-valved" Bilsteins, just clarifying if that wasn't clear.

Thanks!!!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffest 2WD Suspension and Springs Needed Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
Thanks, do you have 16" Euro wheels?

(Sorry, just added that to my OP)



That might be where the difference is. My 85 is still running 14 alloys.

Levi,
What shocks are you running with the 5660's? Are you running balljoint spacers as well?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

5660s up front are the best low cost solution for a heavy sagging front. Once you get them in, you can match the rear height in a few different ways if the GW rear springs don't make it level. The rear has a lot more room for spacers which are cheap and easy so just swap in 5660s int he front and see what it needs.

Lots more info in the prerunner thread.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

so you have 16in rims...

WHAT SIZE ARE THE TIRES YOU HAVE?

XXX/XX/16
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Thanks Dan, sorry for leaving that off -- 215/65 BFG KO2, 27.01" diameter.

The Euro wheel offset is wrong, front track too wide. Despite the springs being soft, I would not hit the lip if the suspension held the weight as it should.

Just measured:
-- 15" from fender lip to wheel center on front (over 17" when new)
-- Jack point bottom to ground: 11.25"
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

davevickery wrote:
5660s up front are the best low cost solution for a heavy sagging front. Once you get them in, you can match the rear height in a few different ways if the GW rear springs don't make it level. The rear has a lot more room for spacers which are cheap and easy so just swap in 5660s int he front and see what it needs.

Lots more info in the prerunner thread.
Appreciate that, Dave!

Finding a workable solution here is a one-time deal, as I'm sure not paying for it. So whatever we put up front will have to match what's in the back, experimentation phase at my expense is over.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
Appreciate that, Dave!

Finding a workable solution here is a one-time deal, as I'm sure not paying for it. So whatever we put up front will have to match what's in the back, experimentation phase at my expense is over.


If you have a shop that is going to take care of it, sounds like you are at the mercy of what they want to do. I think the Moog 5660s would be better than the Schwenk springs, but true there is no guarantees that it is a once and done type thing. But making adjustments at the rear is easy, literally 1 bolt to get the spring out or add spacers. Most people are happy with the Schwenk springs sold by all the vendors but the Moog 5660 would put your front right about 17" and give a nice firm ride. Hope it works out with minimal drama.
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Dave, thanks for what is sounding like a consensus, ears wide open for what everyone here has done that works.

I'm more concerned with good backroad capability than highway.

Drama should be avoidable, but we do want a working version of what we already paid for. Nobody's had to pay me twice in 43 years' business, so we'll hope for the best.

GW really should specify a maximum weight their springs will handle, this pairing of their lifters and revalved Bilsteins is a common combo from the very same vendor. If we were 500 over I could accept what we have, but when we're out of the car it's below or right at GVWR and still sagged two inches. That kind of collapse within a month speaks to "insufficient load testing and manufacture" and little else.

Thanks again.
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

E1 wrote:


GW really should specify a maximum weight their springs will handle, this pairing of their lifters and revalved Bilsteins is a common combo from the very same vendor. If we were 500 over I could accept what we have, but when we're out of the car it's below or right at GVWR and still sagged two inches. That kind of collapse within a month speaks to "insufficient load testing and manufacture" and little else.



It has almost nothing to do with the weight of the vehicle. It has to do with poor quality materials and processes in creating the spring.

In my opinion, the Schwenk springs are a much, much better choice for springs if ride quality is even close to a concern. Combined with Boge shocks and you have a really nice riding, handling rig. If body lean is still a problem/concern, add a larger anti-roll bar.

The spring rate of the Moog 5660 spring is almost 150 lb greater than the stock Vanagon springs which creates a very stiff ride quality in a stock van. Given the weight of your van, the ride quality would be slightly better, but still too stiff to offer a nice, smooth ride quality in my opinion. But of course, what one person considers a "good" ride quality can be way to harsh for another. I have personally never driven/ridden in a Vanagon with 5660 springs that I felt had an acceptable ride quality. I always find them too stiff/harsh.
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Double post
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Last edited by Christopher Schimke on Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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E1
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Thank You, Christopher.

Definitely appreciate all the input, and Yes, I was already thinking this may be the time for a stiffer front bar as well (Hint, hint).

In most of my cars I like a harsher ride for the handling benefits, and to really feel the road, but appreciate the nuance here.

Keeping the van off the ground on dirt is my first preference, sans Pogo action so aptly termed by Levi -- but rattling it apart is a concern, too (D tires add to this). I'm no suspension expert, but watching serious off-road cars it at least appears they're using very stiff springs with pretty soft shocks and struts. Such a setup may not apply here, though.

If my current combination could simply hold the weight up and hadn't sagged, I'd be happy enough, the pavement handling is fine in thanks partly to running higher tire pressures -- but clearly this setup isn't designed for anywhere near GVWR.

Transitions from flat to uphill is where it fails miserably, and I have suspected shortcuts were made to have these go from pretty damned good to sponge-like in a few short weeks. Very Disappointing.

Run for the hills, I will be calling soon. Cool

Thanks Again.
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1984 Westy-Ferrari firing at 33% capacity
I drive by the seat of my pants but then get behind on my steering
Thank You Bob Lazier, Forever Golden


Last edited by E1 on Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Stiffer 2WD Suspension Needed, Please Help Reply with quote

Good to hear your input Christopher.
Never have tried the schwenk springs, don't even know who sells them.
I have the moog 5660, and even with that stiff spring rate I'm barely at 16".

I kinda assumed that I needed these because my front axle is at 2600 and I don't want to be sitting down at 15.
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One of these days I'm gonna settle down,
but till I do I won't be hangin round.
Going down that long lonesome highway,
gonna see life my way

https://youtu.be/cSrL0BXsO40
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