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Old 09-26-2020, 01:07 PM   #1
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Default Wheel/Tire/Suspension Upgrade for our 2014 Roadtrek 190P

Update on Wheel/Tire/Suspension Upgrade for our 2014 Roadtrek 190P

Posting to www.classbforum.com, CyberRally, and Facebook

Base vehicle: 2014 Chevy Express 3500 LT Extended Cargo Van, 2WD, 26580 miles
- Original Roadtrek/AR wheels: 16x7, offset -6mm, bolt pattern 8x165.10
- Original tires: Bridgestone V-Steel RIB 265, LT245/75R16/E, 120/116S

Why upgrade?
- We wanted to improve the handling and increase the ground clearance.
- The original tires were nearly 7 years old so due to be replaced.
- The original Roadtrek/AR aluminum wheels were discolored and unappealing.
- We had previously upgraded to Bilstein shocks, which helped, but not enough.

After talking with many people and reading through many more threads on Facebook, CyberRally and www.classbforum.com, it becomes clear there are numerous suspension upgrade options to consider, including:
1. Shock replacements (Bilstein)
2. Rear air lift systems (Air Lift 5000)
3. Front coil spring replacements (Moog, TufTruck, SuperCoil, Bill Erb)
4. Bump stop replacements (SumoSprings)
5. Leaf spring upgrades (SuperSprings, Bill Erb)
6. Steering stabilizers (RoadMaster)
7. Lift kits (Weldtec Designs, Boulder Offroad, Supreme Suspensions)

I learned that one way to judge how low your Roadtrek is riding is to measure from the ground to the top of each wheel well at the center of the wheel. Assuming you have stock tires and wheels, 35.5” is near the upper limit of the spec for this vehicle. Going higher may be problematic, although several people have reportedly done so without issues. Ours were measuring 33.5” all around so we were hoping to gain about 2”.

Several people have reported success with above options #1-2-3 (Bilsteins, Air Lift, New Coils). However, we decided to go with options #1-4-7 (Bilsteins, SumoSprings, Lift Kit), in part because I liked the idea of using SumoSprings versus air springs, and in part because I wanted to go with a “supported” solution and could not find a coil vendor who would support bringing up the front of this vehicle by the desired amount (Moog and TufTruck told me they do not have supported replacement coils for this vehicle. SuperSprings has one, but only for the heavier diesel engine version of this van. Bill Erb at Valley Spring Works will reportedly make custom springs, but people have reported mixed results with them).

There seems to be widespread agreement that Bilsteins are a big improvement over the OEM shocks, and I also found many people weighing in with support for SumoSprings. The rear bump stops that come stock on this vehicle are ineffective. Replacing them with SumoSprings brought the rear up to 35.5” as desired, and greatly improved the vehicle handling. SumoSprings in front did not change the vehicle height, but adding the Supreme Suspensions 2” front lift kit (aluminum spacers that go over the coil springs) brought the front measurement up to 35.5” as desired.

I wanted to go with MotoMetal wheels, however they recommend a 17” wheel for this vehicle. I was concerned that going bigger might create clearance issues so talked with my local Chevy dealer who recommended going to a lower profile tire in order to maintain close to the same 30.5” outside diameter as the original tires. This also meant the speedometer and odometer would not require recalibration. I was mildly concerned about the wheel offset changing from -6mm to 0mm, but it ended up not being a problem (note: the steel wheels that come standard on this vehicle are +28mm offset, so the MotoMetal wheels are actually closer to the OEM spec).

As for tires, user recommendations are all over the place. I wanted to go with an All-Terrain tire because we do a lot of boondocking on dirt and gravel roads. My local tire dealer recommended the BF Goodrich KO2, and their reviews are excellent so I decided to give them a try. Changing from LT245/75R16 to LT245/70R17 increased the overall tire diameter by a mere 1mm (0.04”), but it also decreased the upper load index slightly, from 120 (3086 lbs/tire) to 119 (2998 lbs/tire), which should not be a problem given that our fully loaded weights are 4120 lbs. on the front axle and 4780 lbs. on the rear axle.

We could not be more pleased with the resulting look and, more importantly, performance of the new setup. We just got back from a 7-day road trip in Northern California where we put her to the test. Handling was off the charts better and, surprisingly, the noise level inside the RV is much quieter than before.

The specific parts used in our upgrade:
- Bilstein shocks (24-187435 front, 24-221948 rear)
- SuperSprings SumoSprings (black SSF-204-47 front, yellow SSR-205-54 rear)
- Supreme Suspensions 2” Front Lift Kit (A0731)
- MotoMetal wheels (MO97078080300, 17x8, gloss black machined)
- BF Goodrich tires (All Terrain T/A KO2, LT245/70R17/E, 119/116S)
- Low priced tire for original steel wheel / continental spare tire kit (LT245/75R16/E)

I attempted to get input from all of the above vendors before purchasing their products. Shout out to Bilstein, SuperSprings, Supreme Suspensions and BF Goodrich for their outstanding responsiveness and customer service. MotoMetal on the other hand did not respond to multiple phone calls or online inquiries, but I do like their wheels. Finally, huge thanks to all those who posted helpful information on the above mentioned Roadtrek user forums!
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Old 09-26-2020, 01:50 PM   #2
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Always good the hear success stories and happy campers.


With now seemingly confirmed Moog front spring issues of being much stiffer than they used to be, the Sumo spring gets more interesting to me for the front. I have never been a big fan of them in this application because they put a lot more force onto the rear of lower control arm instead of in the center of it like springs do, but that may or may not be much of an issue over time.



You mention that at initial install the front Sumo springs did not raise the front at all which surprising. Were they in contact with the metal stop at the time. I would expect so as the van was siting low then. Once the van was brought up with spacers, I would also expect them to somewhat touch the metal stop. I mention this because the stock springs are too soft for the full load on the van, IMO, so some springrate increase is desireable and the Sumos would do that if they were engaged. They certainly will do that on bumps if the contact as they tend to be quite progressive in most cases. The softer springs too far off the bump stops or Sumos would be and issue if you get porpoising or pitching on dips in particular.


An interesting thing I found on our van when we went to wider 16" wheels of the same offset as factory wheels (removed the ARs) and went to larger 265-75-16 tires was that the speedo changed from reading 1-2% high to 1-2% low so same error, different direction. I now have the ability to reprogram the speedo through the PCM, so I could change it if I choose to. I probably won't as I don't want to go through the tedious task of redoing the Scanguage to the right allowance. The 265-75-16 tires are about 1" bigger diameter.


Hopefully the Sumos in the front, with the spacers, will work out well over time and lots of miles as currently we really don't have any reliably correct 2" lift methods for the front except trying to find a good shop to make and install custom coils. It is very hard to get them to guaranty what lift you will get so highly risky if they don't. Can get really expensive if it doesn't work out.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:54 PM   #3
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Default sumos

Very interesting thread.

I wonder if adding the Billies and Sumos without the front spring spacers would be a decent setup or produce too much rake.

Like Booster said there doesnt seem to be a good coil spring option. These high tech bump stops sound like a good solution. And since our heavy trucks spend a lot of time on their bump stops I can see an improved design really paying dividends in handling.


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Old 09-26-2020, 09:35 PM   #4
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Hi Booster. The original front bump stops were in contact with the metal, as were the new SumoSprings replacements of course since they are a bit taller than the OEM ones. I was also surprised that this change alone did not raise the front a bit. We had a significant amount of pitching and porpoising before the upgrade, to the extent it got a bit scary at times, but based on the 900-mile post upgrade trip, both issues seem to have been eliminated.
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Old 09-26-2020, 09:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jamesv999 View Post
Hi Booster. The original front bump stops were in contact with the metal, as were the new SumoSprings replacements of course since they are a bit taller than the OEM ones. I was also surprised that this change alone did not raise the front a bit. We had a significant amount of pitching and porpoising before the upgrade, to the extent it got a bit scary at times, but based on the 900-mile post upgrade trip, both issues seem to have been eliminated.

Are the Sumos still in contact with stop?
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:13 PM   #6
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Yes, after installing the front coil spacers, the front SumoSprings are still in contact with the stop when the vehicle is at rest. See image.
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Old 09-26-2020, 10:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jamesv999 View Post
Yes, after installing the front coil spacers, the front SumoSprings are still touching the stop when the vehicle is at rest. See image.

Thanks, I think that is a good thing. The pitching you had before was likely because it was coming up on the much stiffer initially bump stop which would stop the motion very quickly and bounce it back up.


Have you had the wheels aligned yet?
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:17 AM   #8
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Yes I too have successfully lifted my Rig 4 times now, a little higher each time as I have posted ad nauseum.

I am so high up now its highly unlikely I my Sumo Springs in the rear ever made contact..

Supersprings Bump Stops work.

The rear overleaf spring is operating like new.

After 5 years I just replaced them as they looked ratty on one side only to be told, you could have gotten another 10 years out of them.

My Erb Coils are still working great but if I wanted to go 5inches up front by adding 2 inch spacers (already have the 3 inch lift), Jeremy at Weldtec said he will save me a set of coils that come off a stock van as the Erb Springs were too big for the spacers.

The Bilsteins all around worked well however on the rear passenger the shock broke through the suffrage & we had to fabricate a beefier contact point.

The 5th photo doesn't do justice to the lift provided next to another 2004 rig
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:31 AM   #9
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There is just a light rub on the rear axle from the rear bump stop ...
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Old 09-27-2020, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesv999 View Post
Yes, after installing the front coil spacers, the front SumoSprings are still in contact with the stop when the vehicle is at rest. See image.
Nice solution and probably the least invasive approach to achieve a 2" lift.

Great pic of the front Sumo spring bump stop, but looks like it was taken before the spring lift? I don't see any spacers.

And pic of rear Sumo stops please.
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Old 09-27-2020, 03:14 PM   #11
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Nice solution and probably the least invasive approach to achieve a 2" lift.

Great pic of the front Sumo spring bump stop, but looks like it was taken before the spring lift? I don't see any spacers.

And pic of rear Sumo stops please.

He would have used one of the spacers that is donut on top of the spring and is hard to see because it is deep inside the top spring cup. You are probably thinking of the pound or twist in ones that go between the coils.


The top spacers are the same amount of work as changing the spring,
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:30 PM   #12
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I did Bilstein Shocks, Sumos and Moog 81004 Coils in Front. Bilsteins and Sumos in the rear. The Moogs raised the Nose 4”. The Sumos raised the rear 1 1/2”. KO2s added an additional 1/2” all around. Like Booster, I went with 265/75R16E. Able to run lower pressures, while safely supporting the weight. Running 40/70 PSI. HUGE improvement over stock. Very pleased with results .
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:49 PM   #13
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I did Bilstein Shocks, Sumos and Moog 81004 Coils in Front. Bilsteins and Sumos in the rear. The Moogs raised the Nose 4”. The Sumos raised the rear 1 1/2”. KO2s added an additional 1/2” all around. Like Booster, I went with 265/75R16E. Able to run lower pressures, while safely supporting the weight. Running 40/70 PSI. HUGE improvement over stock. Very pleased with results .

Thanks for the update. Did it ever settle off of the 4" increase, as that is huge and double what they used to give for lift. What did you wind up with at the front wheelwells? The tires give you 1/2" so you will be higher by that much than the stock tire units from that alone.


I am surprised by the 40# being good for you, but you do have what are probably a lot stiffer tires than we do. I find if we down to 60 psi or lower it starts to feel unresponsive in the front. Our norm would 63/76 psi.
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:06 PM   #14
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Hey Booster.

37” at the Wheel Wells. Initially, had 55 PSI in front. Gradually lowered PSI for max comfort. 40 PSI is working nicely for now. May bump it up a bit in future. Total lift of 4 1/2” at Nose and holding. May add Blocks to rear to lift a bit. Once Canada opens up again, plan is to drive to Arctic Ocean, take a dip (A bit cold at 28* ), then head to Alaska. I’ve been wanting to make this Trip for two Summers now. Hopefully the third time is the Charm
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:10 PM   #15
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Hey Booster.

37” at the Wheel Wells. Initially, had 55 PSI in front. Gradually lowered PSI for max comfort. 40 PSI is working nicely for now. May bump it up a bit in future. Total lift of 4 1/2” at Nose and holding. May add Blocks to rear to lift a bit. Once Canada opens up again, plan is to drive to Arctic Ocean, take a dip (A bit cold at 28*), then head to Alaska. I’ve been wanting to make this Trip for two Summers now. Hopefully the third time is the Charm

I was expecting it to settle a little. You would be at 37" without the tires so you are in the area where you do have to make certain your shocks limit the downtravel enough to not contact the frame. Are they the stock Bilsteins or did you get longer ones. I would guess that with stock length you have nearly zero downtravel.
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:25 PM   #16
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“ MotoMetal on the other hand did not respond to multiple phone calls or online inquiries, but I do like their wheels.”...jamesv999

Hey jamesv999.

I did get an online response from Moto Metal. You’ll be pleased to know that the Wheels are rated at 3640 lbs .
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Old 09-27-2020, 05:39 PM   #17
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Hey Booster

Stock Bilsteins. While the ride did improve, I felt more could be done. The Sumos were in contact with lower control arm (see pic). I read the Moogs would provide at least a 2” lift. Actually got 4”. 8,000 miles since install. It all appears to be working well.
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Old 09-27-2020, 07:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Hey Booster.

37” at the Wheel Wells. Initially, had 55 PSI in front. Gradually lowered PSI for max comfort. 40 PSI is working nicely for now. May bump it up a bit in future. Total lift of 4 1/2” at Nose and holding. May add Blocks to rear to lift a bit. Once Canada opens up again, plan is to drive to Arctic Ocean, take a dip (A bit cold at 28* ), then head to Alaska. I’ve been wanting to make this Trip for two Summers now. Hopefully the third time is the Charm
Wow, that means you were at 32-1/2" before your 4-1/2" total lift which is really low. My stock 2012 sits at 34" in front & 34-1/4" in the rear. My front is off the stock bump stops a bit, but the rear sits on the overload leaf-spring (or almost on it).
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:42 PM   #19
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Thanks, I think that is a good thing. The pitching you had before was likely because it was coming up on the much stiffer initially bump stop which would stop the motion very quickly and bounce it back up.


Have you had the wheels aligned yet?
Hi Booster, yes, I had it aligned after the Sumos, tires and wheels were first installed, and then again (for free) after the front coil spacers were installed by the tire dealer.
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Old 10-01-2020, 06:56 PM   #20
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What a great discussion item. I think many want to improve the look and ride or their RV.

I have a 2016 Sprinter 3500 Roadtrek CS Adventurous. I wanted to improve the ride a little and installed SumoSprings. It really helped. In fact I couldn't understand why they weren't installed by the dealer as they are so inexpensive. I'm checking on the Bilsteine's.

On your Aluminum wheels, I had a similar issue. They became discolored over time. Aluminum wheel cleaner didn't work. Then I went on Amazon and bought an aluminum wheel cleaning kit with the drill bit cloth adapting pads and paste. Wow, It worked. The trick is you need to install the paste with an electric drill (and cloth bit pads). That works the paste into the metal and removes the grime. Not hard at all. Good Luck.
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