Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-20-2010, 06:48 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Default Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

Hey All, I'm new to the site and have just been lurking for a while. My wife and I are excited to start our Class B experience. We are looking at some of the older model "Camper Vans" i.e. Airstream, Horizon, or Falcon. We've test drove a few, and after driving them I'm interested to see what you all think about their handling/suspension capabilities.

I've followed a few threads here on the site but wanted to ask a few specific questions. Here we go:

Although a late '80 or early '90's vehicle may only have 30,000 miles, does the suspension wear simply because of it's age?
Are after market springs and shocks a valuable investment for handling?
Some posters have mentioned tire and tire pressure as being really important for handling, what should I look for?
Any other upgrades you can suggest to help make these campers handle as well as possible and therefore become a bit safer?

Thanks for any help you can provide. Cheers!!
__________________

tredogandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2010, 12:25 AM   #2
Bronze Member
 
obiewan kanobe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: plano, tx
Posts: 21
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

if you get a dodge chassis van camper it is important to be sure it has the right tires and correct inflation. mine has 50 lbs front and 75 lbs rear. be sure tires are rated heavy duty. if the rear tires are not inflated high enough, the van will sway a little. this is often misunderstood as a suspension problem. remember it is the same as a fully loaded truck.

my old 1986 dodge van has all original suspension except shocks. the shocks are just regular heavy duty type. everything work fine, drives great.
__________________

obiewan kanobe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2010, 06:09 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

Thanks for the ideas. It's a bit difficult to tell when you just are out for a test drive. The last vehicle we checked out was an '89 Airstream Camper Van. It had been sitting a while and I'm sure the tires were not properly inflated. It just felt as if the suspension was weak, and that turns/curves in the road presented handling problems. Thanks again, keep any info coming.
tredogandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2010, 11:09 PM   #4
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,215
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

I don't think suspension wears because of age, except possibly non-metal parts like rubber bushings
or boots. Tire pressure is important, to handling and gas mileage too, and there shoud be a plate
somewhere in or on the door frame or in the owner's manual that gives you the proper values for all
4 tires. My Roadtrek is supposed to be inflated to 50 psi front, 80 psi rear, but I run my fronts at
around 65 psi each. You can run a bit higher (usually) safely, but under inflated is more problematic.

IMO, you won't win any rallies with a class B camper van. They're not really designed for cornering and
since most are heavier with the extra equipment, will always seem more sluggish to handle and drive.
There are some after market "handling" add ons you can buy, but I think most are just stiffer/firmer
shocks, like what obiewan mentioned. There are also steering controls add ons that will always try to
"centre" your front wheels, again, if you need some help, or aren't paying attention.
I suppose some sort of air adjustable shocks might allow some additional stability to the cornering, but
you might be sacrificing some comfort if the roads are bumpier. Recently, I've thought about adding some
sort of adjustable ride system, but haven't seen anything that looks justifiable, price considered.
Just my 2 cents.
__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2010, 01:40 AM   #5
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 29
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

I don't think I would be putting 50 and 80 lbs in a 15" tire. That might be okay for 16" but I think the older Dodge's have LT225/75R15" tires.
dutchduo1990 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2010, 03:32 AM   #6
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,215
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

Do you mean LT225/75R15 load range C or D? Then yes, you're right. Less air, but less load capacity, too.
You're right about tire pressures. If the older (80s and 90s) vans suggest less than 50/80 psi
in the tires, then always try to follow the manufacturers suggested inflation pressures, and consider
the maximum/minimum pressure as stated by the tire manufacturer, too. Always read the labels.

My 2002 RT has 50/80 as the suggested safe tire pressures, front and rear. Michelin says it's ok, too,
but they're load range E tires, and can handle just over 3,000 lbs. at 80 psi.

According to a table I found online, the LT225/75R15 can do
"AN LT225/75R15 Load Range C has a max load carrying capacity of 1875# at 50 psi."
"AN LT225/75R15 Load Range D has a max load carrying capacity of 2205# at 65 psi."

Link to specs
http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cac ... nRyOUS2iqA

Again, I would always read the labels. On the vehicle and the tires.
__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2010, 03:46 AM   #7
Bronze Member
 
obiewan kanobe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: plano, tx
Posts: 21
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

your information is misleading...

1985 dodge 350 maxi van had 16.5 inch rims. later versions had 16 inch rims. some smaller b150 vans may have had 15 inch rims, but , not motorhomes.

the tires on mine use 16.5 inch rims and requires 8 ply radials. this is a heavy duty tire and such a tire is required.

the 16.5 inch rims were only used a few years. many will have to convert to 16 in rims, which are available from chrysler, or, newer lightweight aluminum rims. the tire outside diameter must be same as original, but, those are available many places. if your tires wont take 50 lbs of pressure, you may have the wrong tires!
obiewan kanobe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2010, 03:54 AM   #8
Platinum Member
 
Mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sarnialabad, The Newly Elected People's Republic of Canuckistan
Posts: 3,215
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

My information or dutchduo1990?

I was concerned that if they wouldn't put 50+ psi in their tires, they
might be running them too low, and it could be dangerous, which is why I
posted the max pressure chart.
__________________
It's not a sprint(er) (unless you make it one), it's (hopefully) a marathon.
RV - 2018 Navion 24V + 2016 Wrangler JKU
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 02:50 PM   #9
Gold Member
 
Hallibagger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Picton, Ontario
Posts: 77
Default Re: Camper Van Suspension Upgrades??

My '89 RT Dodge 2500 was originally equipped with 15" wheels and "P" tires with a recommended pressure of 27psi.

I have since upgraded to LT235/75R15, the highest load range I could find in the 15" size was "C". I guess the 2500 is much lighter than the 3500.

I run 45psi in the front and 55psi in the rear.
__________________

Hallibagger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 09:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×