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Old 05-12-2011, 11:43 AM   #1
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Hello All,
I am new to this forum and to converting a van and I need some help.
I have a 2009 Chevy Express 3500 passenger series van and it rides really rough (truckie). Its as though the suspension is to hard.
Is there anything I can do about this? I had a 1999 Chevy Gladiator (conversion) 1500 series van and it was by far a much smoother ride.

Thank-You for your help!

Morey!
P.S. I love this forum allot of really great info here!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: DIY Question

The suspension is strong to haul a lot of weight and you will need that strength when you add everything you need to convert to a camper. Without any weight it is very rough but when you add a full load it should smooth out a lot.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: DIY Question

X2

The Chevy 1500 is a 1/2 ton suspension. Very little load carrying ability, lighter axle and brakes. 6 bolt wheels.

The 3500 is a 1 ton suspension. High load carrying capacity, heavy duty axle and brakes. 8 bolt wheels.

If you are planning to build an RV, you will be adding a lot of weight to the vehicle. The 3500 is exactly what you need for this application.
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Old 05-13-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: DIY Question

If you are driving it unloaded then check your tire pressure. 80psi in the rear is probably way too much for an empty van.

I just upped the psi to 80 in the rear on my empty 3500 Dodge Maxi Van in anticipation of going to pick up 1500lbs of stepping stones. Wow - it rides rough empty. I've been running them at 50 psi and the tire shop guy set my winter tires at 35psi after asking me if I carried much. 35psi worried me.

Basically, you have to know the load weight on the tires and then you can set the correct psi.

http://www.goodyear.com/rv/tirecare/loa ... ables.html

http://www.michelinrvtires.com/michelin ... tables.jsp

The above links are for the load inflation tables for Goodyear and Michelin.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:17 PM   #5
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Good stuff guys thanks! I am going to start with the tires first.

I plan on converting it over to a halfback with a bench/sofa bed behind the front seats and a wall with a window (that you can open) with dog crates in the rear.

I probably will never use the max weight this van has to offer but I got it at a great deal!

I really need a smoother ride so I don't get knocked around so much aggravating my neck and shoulder injuries that I have.

I will keep you posted on how the tire/inflation works out!

Thanks again all!

Morey
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:56 AM   #6
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Hello All,

Had a chance to take the van out yesterday front and rear tires at 50 psi wow!!! what a difference. They had 80 psi in them and that was a hard ride although it still is not as smooth as my 1500 series van at least I understand why. What would be next if I wanted to improve the ride on this empty van?
Shocks, springs ???? a Cadillac chassis?
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:49 AM   #7
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I will try to give some help; sorry for the delayed response.

Use springs that have a lower spring rate. I don't know if the 1500 springs will fit, as there are some differences between the 1500 & 3500. I'm sure the 2500 springs will fit.

There is a rear shackle that is designed to absorb a lot of the rough vibrations. http://www.norcaltruck.com/shop/product ... cts_id=993
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:46 AM   #8
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Brian thanks for the info this is exactly what I was looking for!
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:35 PM   #9
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Here is another company that sells them. More pictures and part numbers.

http://www.mrtrailer.com/sulastic.htm

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Old 03-16-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morey
Shocks, springs ???? a Cadillac chassis?
Funnily enough, the Cadillac commercials, like stretch limos and hearses use truck rear ends and suspension

Personally, I'd do suspension modification refinement and tire selection last... after you've added all the weight you're going to and filled up the tanks.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:14 AM   #11
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I am converting a Dodge B-250. Has extra blades for pulling a trailer. Last week I carried a good load of wood and that makes an incredibly good ride. But you already found that out.

Good luck with your mod.

Van
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