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Old 03-09-2023, 09:43 PM   #1
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Default Change out single rear axle to duel wheels

I have a 2002 Ford 350 Pleasureway Excel wondering if anyone has changed out the single tire axle to a dually axle? if so what axle did you use and did it make a difference in its stability?
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Old 03-10-2023, 01:38 PM   #2
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Having both in Mercedes Benz Sprinters now and can definitely say dualllies are more stable while parked in campgrounds. I haven't seen any advantage on highways to make a difference. Slow maneuverability such as parking is easier with the single tires. Off road, 4 wheel drive is more important. But why invest in a 21 year old vehicle? I think the two extra tires are a debit in regard to maintenance. Weight issues are mostly the criteria to have duallies of 2500 vs. 3500 in Sprinters. I have no idea whether it could be done and there are vans, I think, with single wheels that are 3500s.

I was just the opposite. I went from duallies to single wheels on purpose but had to get creative to keep the weight down. It seems you don't have that issue.
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Old 03-10-2023, 04:37 PM   #3
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Weight issues are mostly the criteria to have duallies of 2500 vs. 3500 in Sprinters. I have no idea whether it could be done and there are vans, I think, with single wheels that are 3500s.
Yes. Our 1997 PleasureWay is a 3500 and it has single rear wheels. I'm not sure what you mean about stability. I had the rear springs rearched and new Bilstein shocks put on and it changed the feel dramatically both on the highway and turning (feels more like a car now). Your RV isn't that much newer than ours. I believe others have added helper springs in the rear. I'll probably add a decent sway bar in the rear soon.
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Old 03-10-2023, 05:07 PM   #4
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Yes. Our 1997 PleasureWay is a 3500 and it has single rear wheels. I'm not sure what you mean about stability. I had the rear springs rearched and new Bilstein shocks put on and it changed the feel dramatically both on the highway and turning (feels more like a car now). Your RV isn't that much newer than ours. I believe others have added helper springs in the rear. I'll probably add a decent sway bar in the rear soon.
My comment about stability is parked in a campground single wheels rock the van more than duallies. I have all the upgraded springs and shocks too I believe.
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Old 03-10-2023, 07:37 PM   #5
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My comment about stability is parked in a campground single wheels rock the van more than duallies. I have all the upgraded springs and shocks too I believe.
Ah. You were very clear. I wasn't sure what the OP meant.
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Old 03-16-2023, 05:23 PM   #6
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Was wondering if the duals would help the wondering going down the highway.
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Old 03-18-2023, 03:05 AM   #7
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Was wondering if the duals would help the wondering going down the highway.
I think that before going down that road with all of it's pitfalls a thorough inspection of the front and rear suspension is warranted, especially with an older vehicle. And check the pressures as compared to the data sticker.
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Old 03-18-2023, 02:05 PM   #8
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I have done just about all that I can do to it to make it better from new rear torsion bar, new front tortion bar bushing on the front and coil over shocks on front along with new front end aliginment and tires. Which all has helped some but still wants to wonder some.
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Old 03-18-2023, 02:25 PM   #9
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I have done just about all that I can do to it to make it better from new rear torsion bar, new front tortion bar bushing on the front and coil over shocks on front along with new front end aliginment and tires. Which all has helped some but still wants to wonder some.

You stiffen the front with the coilovers it will move the handling to worse direction for handling and wander as it will make the front tires lose traction compared to the rears and what you want is more front traction to improve steering response less correction movement of the steering wheel to stay on track.


Stiffening the rear instead may help some though especially if it is getting soft with age. I like airbags myself if it doesn't have them already.


Was the alignment done to updated recommended settings as that is known improvement for the Ford Excels, from what I have read and heard? You also need to get a print out of what settings they actually had when done aligning. Getting an alignment that is to specific settings is very hard to do today and all the new tech seem to do is get "in the green" on the automated alignment rack and those machines use OEM factory settings which are, IMO, way to wide and can give some very bad handling results.



Of course the front end parts need to be tight, as well as the front wheel bearings. Steering gears if loose and vague in center area should be rebuilt by a reputable rebuilder like Redhead. Parts store rebuilds are often not very good and may make worse sometimes even.
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Old 03-18-2023, 02:36 PM   #10
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Thanks, Booster, I do have airbags in the rear. Is there a specific setting for the alignment of the Excel? I do have I believe a copy of the printout. The mileage on it is 45000.
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Old 03-18-2023, 04:55 PM   #11
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Thanks, Booster, I do have airbags in the rear. Is there a specific setting for the alignment of the Excel? I do have I believe a copy of the printout. The mileage on it is 45000.

I don't have the alignment specs that Pleasure-way came up with as a fix for the handling, but I am sure a search online would have a good chance of finding it, or Pleasure-way will give it to you. IIRC it was really just what many of us that like to mess with vehicles to improve handling in old school rear drive vehicles. That, to me, means caster as much positive as you can get with .5 degree more on the right side, camber at zero to 1/4 degree plus with both sides within each other within that range, and tow set in 1/16" to 1/8" total toe IN only and never, ever toed out as it will get really squirelly.


You should be able to post your printout by scanning it to a jpg file so the forum will accept it, or take a pic of it with your camera or phone as a jpg file.
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Old 03-18-2023, 11:45 PM   #12
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I have it. Will get it out tomorrow and see if I can get it posted.
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Old 03-22-2023, 06:47 PM   #13
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Default Ford E 350 Alignment

Hey Booster, Got busy here is the readout of my van.


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/a...1&d=1679510571 readout of my van.
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Old 03-22-2023, 09:52 PM   #14
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Hey Booster, Got busy here is the readout of my van.


https://www.classbforum.com/forums/a...1&d=1679510571 readout of my van.

I am not certain which is before and after as one is unlabeled and one just says current.


I think current would have been what you had after the alignment based on the readings.


The front caster has good side to side cross caster and with right amount more on the right, which is good. If did not change before to after and it would nice to see it up to 5* but very possible it could not be adjusted that far. Caster is big factor in going straight.


The camber also didn't get changed and IMO too high in side to side difference cross camber. Having both sides at +.2 to+.4 positive help to reduce pulling to one side. I would expect the cross caster offset to the sides it is would make the van track down a right crown of the road rather noticeably and a left crown not as much which is kind of backwards to what is liked because you are rarely on a left crown.


It is common for them not to change the camber and caster if it is "in the green" on the computerized machine. At every change in settings they have to do a completely new mutiminute rescan so can eat a lot of time is they aren't good at guessing how much to change things like old pros were these vans. This can allow some very poor settings and yours are notgreat, IMO, but not horrible. Camber and caster can be very hard to set on twin A arm front suspension so many techs don't have clue how to do it efficiently. If the old Ford is one the twin I beam suspensions it is even worse because they could only be adjusted by bending the beams which takes a frame shop to do it and back when they were used they commonly would break. I was in a frame and alignment shop in about 1987 when one cracked and it sounded like a gunshot. They welded it back together. If it is a 4wd with a solid front axle only the toe is settable.


In regards to the toe I think it is way too low at .02* total which is under 1/32" in the settings units they were called out in not too far distant past. IMO a van with brand new, super nice and tight, front steering parts should have at least 1/16" positive and when it has some miles built up and is getting a bit loose I would like 1/8" to 1/4" positive depending on how loose it is. Your toe in is nearly non existent so it will feel vague and wandery on center. The before had a lot of toe out, which would have made it feel like it was impossible to stay in straight line and kind of like herding cats.


The rear is very typical of the rear drive solid axlel setup. It is good that the toe is positive as that helps straight tracking, but not as much as the front.


To address the wandering, I would get more toe in in the front as it can make a big difference. It probably won't be enough, though, unless you are pretty tolerant of constant steering inputs. Old steering gears a famous for being loose in center and often have loose bottom bearings that move around. I would check it carefully and possible adjust the sector adjuster to snug it a bit if you find play to see it helps without getting too tight. All the steering components and suspension rubber bushing should be checked for looseness. Old rubber bushings a commonly found to cracked and broken. Wheel bearings should also be adjusted to be as tight as you can while still having a tiny amount being able to rock the wheel when it has no weight on it. Adjustable wheel bearings are supposed to have a small mount of looseness and if you have the snugged down they will fail quickly.



The alignment didn't measure the wheelbase side to side, but even if off bit side to side it usually isn't a huge contributor to wandering. Our Chevy if off quite a bit and handles very well.


They probably didn't measure front and rear track width which is a common problem with some models, especially the old Dodges, but I have heard of some Fords also. Easy to measure with a tape measure from tire center to tire center on the front and rears. If you get more than an inch or so difference with back not as wide you can get the the van tracking different places front to rear when you are on road with grooves from tires and weight. That can cause a bunch of wander. Some vehicles can take as much as 2" spacers per side to get them even front to rear.


Stiffer rear springs and a big rear swaybar can make big improvements in wander and going straight easily. Stiffer shocks can also help especially in wind. Putting a bigger front sway bar in can and often does make the wander and straight stability worse.


From what we have heard on the forum, some but not all of the pre Transit Fords can have some major wandering issues. Most have been able to be improved quite a bit, the Fords are limited by the short wheel base, especially in the extended ones.



Good luck on your quest to get yours improved and let us know how it a shakes out.
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Old 03-22-2023, 10:57 PM   #15
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Thanks Booster, I have air bags on rear also put large sway bar on it also. This has all helped along with a new set of tires. Thanks again for all the info.
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Old 03-22-2023, 11:48 PM   #16
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Thanks Booster, I have air bags on rear also put large sway bar on it also. This has all helped along with a new set of tires. Thanks again for all the info.

That would eliminate those items. I would start with loose parts and slop, get the toe moved to near 1/4" in, and measure the track width front and rear and add spacers if needed. At that age you might need a lot of front end parts to be replaced if they haven't been already.
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Old 03-23-2023, 02:25 PM   #17
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If you haven't already or I''ve missed it in the above discussions, email PW tech support. My 97PW is on a Dodge 3500 chassis. PW's alignment specs deliberately differ from the specs for the original Dodge vanwagon. At least on the Dodge chassis they did. PW tech was very good at getting back to be on several issues that one included. When I had the above work done I printed out and gave them the PW specs.

BTW: The motivation for me to have the rear suspension checked as that one side had become an inch lower (in the back) than the other.
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