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
- 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!