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Old 04-27-2017, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Need Lift? Awesome Suspension Work

We bought a lightly used 2004 Roadtrek 190. All good except too low for some gravel road camp spots. Empty it was on overload springs. Followed a thread that ended with someone with similar issues going to Valley Spring Works in Dixon, California. 707-678-3944. Bill Erb, Mechanical Engineer, suspension specialist. Builds coil and leaf springs on the spot.
So he and his 2 great mechanics worked from 9am-7pm and put on 4 new shocks, new coil springs up front, added 2 new leaf springs on each side in the back. The back springs with different deflection on left and right side to adjust for leveling. Before starting he estimated just under 4" of lift. It was under factory specifications prior, would be just over but within norms when done.
Well, end result? 3.80" lift. Will settle maybe .5" he says. I'd say awesome job. Just under $1500 for the whole shooting match.
He and his guys are talented and get with the program. We came over 1000 miles and it was worth the trip. Don't mess around. If you need suspension work, call Bill Erb at Valley Spring works.
There's a reason his springs are distributed by over 500 Les Schwab.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:45 PM   #2
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sounds great - anyone know of a similar shop on the east coast?
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:59 PM   #3
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sounds great - anyone know of a similar shop on the east coast?
If you have a shop that can install springs, which is fairly easy to find, they can get the springs from Erb. Folks here have done that. Erb has a superb reputaion.

It sounds like the springs Halibutman got were taller than the ones that others here have used, which give about a 2" lift, and bring you right at what GM says a 3500 Express van should run at. Of course he may have started lower than others, as it a fairly old van and the do sink over time.

Best comparison between vans is to measure at the wheelwells, as it is very hard to measure the GM ride height under the van. Most here are at about 36" on the fronts with the more typical 2" lift.

The other question that always comes up is how stiff it is, as some have found the lifts are too harsh for them. If you have spring specs, height, wire diameter, turns, it would be very useful as we have information on this site about various springs.

Personally, I prefer air bags in the rear (Erb likes bigger springs) because of varying loads and side to side balancing, but that is personal choice.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:25 AM   #4
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Our 2004 Roadtrek 190 had 21,400 miles on it when we purchased it in January of 2017. Drove it cross country and didn't like handling much and noted lack of ground clearance. Month ago hit bottom 3 times in Moab, Utah area. Had researched earlier in winter various solutions and noted the permutations folks have gone through to address the clearance and handling. At end of long thread, one fellow, MexicanDoc I believe is his online ID, said essentially Bill Erb is the answer. I agree. We've now driven about 1000 miles on Bill Erb's springs and loving the whole setup. As I recall he used 1" wire for the coils, up from .90. Not sure of the alloy. He did mention our new springs would have over triple the life as the old ones, 4.7 million cycles as compared to something less than 1.5 million for the old ones. Believe our immediate post job wheelwell height just shy of 38". Gained about 2 inches over stock, but will have to measure again as that was with 0 mileage and have to expect some settling. On washboard or rougher asphalt the ride is harsher, but for us, that's more than made up for by the greatly increased positive handling characteristics...loaded, we don't roll and sway down the road and now enroute to Alaska, heading up curvy BC roads, feels so much more positive than prior. Finally, seems on decent highways the ride is not more harsh. Ultimately I suppose you can't have a perfect ride for all conditions, Olds88 cushion coupled with Porsche handling. To each their own. I do have all the confidence in the world that via sharp mind, observation, and engineering experience, specializing in suspension systems, Mr. Erb, with great can do attitude, for a fair price, can get you what you want. He's a rare bird. Good luck to all.
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:02 PM   #5
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Great information, thanks. If you get a chance to put a tape measure on the wheelwell heights, that would be interesting to know, particularly if he did use the 1" wire. If he got higher than the 2" of lift with the 1" wire, it would be different than the results another member got with 1" wire springs from Tufftruck when he tried to go higher and had them hit the balljoints.

You mentioned 3.8" lift and 2" over stock, so I am a bit confused.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:05 PM   #6
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Default Valley Spring/Bill Erb Roadtrek suspension upgrade

Okay, after 3000+ miles, Dixon, CA-Palmer, Alaska, on Bill Erb's new coil and leaf spring additions, we rate the whole package just what we were looking for. We're now at 36 3/4" at front wheel well, 37 3/8" at the back. And we're quite heavy with 2 bikes on rear rack and loaded up inside. Like to hit scales but after seeing our weight, figure decent odds somebody might come out and make us start jettisoning gear.
Gained right at 3 1/2" of clearance, which was sorely needed as we were obviously too low. Bill Erb commented to that effect the minute we pulled in. No front spring interference with anything.
On decent roads, no increase in noise or harshness. Sharper jolt from the front in crossing pavement breaks. On rougher asphalt composition I'd say a bit noisier from the stiffer coils. No noise increase from the 2 added leaf springs per side in the rear. Definitely handles substantially better. Very well done job for around $1500. We drove 1300 miles to have Bill and his guys do it and glad we did.
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