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Old 03-17-2020, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default Chevy Suspension Upgrade Problem

2014 Roadtrek 210
2013 Chevy 3500 Extended Van chassis

My plans were to use the same formula as others with the Chevy chassis. The closest match would be Ron J. Moore's 2015 Roadtrek 210. I ordered Moog 81004 springs and they installed without a problem. The plan was to install Air Lift 5000 Kit 88205 on the rear however they won't fit.

- The lower shock mounts gets in the way of the lower bag attachment strap and

- (on the right side) the exhaust prevents getting the bag in place.


I talked to Air Lift and they said Chevy used a box frame (that's what I have) and C frame and they don't have a bag that will work. They did toss out the idea of a 57245 kit which is for a 1998/2012 3500/4500 but weren't sure if that would work. I'm hoping someone can help me out. I'll attach a couple photos.

Jim
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Old 03-17-2020, 04:57 PM   #2
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Not sure why the Air lift didn't work as many others use them. I have the Firestone 2337 airbag system and am very happy with it with 9 years on them. They mount differently than the Airlifts. I have a 2006 RT 210P. I got them at sdtucksprings.com
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:19 PM   #3
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Here's an image of how they're offset:


offset.JPG
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:24 PM   #4
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I also don't understand the issue, as we have Airlift bags in ours. You do have to get the PN for the box frame, but that is the upper mount area of the van.


I have had two sets of Airlift bags, actually, as I changed to the ones with the internal bumper a few years ago and had no issues on the lower mountings. We have a 190 which doesn't have the 2" lift blocks the 210s do, but I don't think that should change anything.


I will try to scoot under ours later today and take a look and see how much room to the shock mount we actually have.
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:25 PM   #5
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peteco - I was thinking the same thing...others had used the Air Lift so it should work on my Chevy too.

Maropolo - That image is in the installation manual but your post made me take a second look. I thought the bracket might have been installed backwards but it turns out Roadtrek added a 1 1/2" block under the spring that was causing problems. I know some RT's had that block and others didn't but I just got off the phone with the tech and it sounds like things are going as they are supposed to go. At least I think that's right. I'll keep everyone posted as this project continues.
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Old 03-25-2020, 03:44 PM   #6
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UPDATE: My suspension update is complete. The issue I had with fitting the AirLift bags was the 1 1/2" lift block that (I think) was added by Roadtrek. Tough to describe but it has an additional piece welded on the side that prevented the bags from going into place. Fortunately, my shop had a set of blocks without that additional piece so everything fell into place with those new blocks.

Without playing with airbag pressure, the lift increased about 3 1/4" which is more than I planned. I think someone mentioned this is more lift than some of the early upgrades with the Moog 81004 springs. I can say it feels like a lot. The step up to enter the cab is very noticeable and the additional height from the drivers seat view is also noticeable but that's easy enough to get used to.

We are on a statewide lockdown so I've only been able to drive it from the shop to home (four miles) so I haven't had a chance for a good road test. First impressions are stiffer ride but handling hasn't changed much. I didn't have a handling problem prior to these changes so that's a good thing. I think the alignment will need a bit more tweaking but we will see how it feels after it's had a chance to sit on the new springs for a couple weeks and I've had a chance to get it on the road. I will take it back to the shop after I get some miles and everything has a chance to settle in place. They want to recheck torques and alignment before I go on any major trips. I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieps View Post
UPDATE: My suspension update is complete. The issue I had with fitting the AirLift bags was the 1 1/2" lift block that (I think) was added by Roadtrek. Tough to describe but it has an additional piece welded on the side that prevented the bags from going into place. Fortunately, my shop had a set of blocks without that additional piece so everything fell into place with those new blocks.

Without playing with airbag pressure, the lift increased about 3 1/4" which is more than I planned. I think someone mentioned this is more lift than some of the early upgrades with the Moog 81004 springs. I can say it feels like a lot. The step up to enter the cab is very noticeable and the additional height from the drivers seat view is also noticeable but that's easy enough to get used to.

We are on a statewide lockdown so I've only been able to drive it from the shop to home (four miles) so I haven't had a chance for a good road test. First impressions are stiffer ride but handling hasn't changed much. I didn't have a handling problem prior to these changes so that's a good thing. I think the alignment will need a bit more tweaking but we will see how it feels after it's had a chance to sit on the new springs for a couple weeks and I've had a chance to get it on the road. I will take it back to the shop after I get some miles and everything has a chance to settle in place. They want to recheck torques and alignment before I go on any major trips. I'll keep everyone posted.

Unfortunately, the too high lift in the front from the 81004 springs has gotten to be the norm with recent installs. My bet is that they are also much stiffer and rough riding.



If you get a chance, would you be able to measure the front height of the wheel opening lift. Measure straight up from the ground though the center point of the wheel hub to the point on the outside of the wheel lip. The old springs would give about 35.5" there, but many now are seeing closer to 38". 210s will almost always be a bit higher than 190s because the big heavy rear overhange reduces front weight a bit in most cases.


If you are getting up near 38" you should take a look at possible upper control arm to frame hitting on extension of the suspension. We can walk you through that if you need to later.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:42 PM   #8
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Left front

Before 33 7/8"
After 37 1/8"

Diff 3 1/4"

Right front
Before 33 3/4"
After 37 1/4"

Diff 3 1/2"

The RF gives me 3/4" from the 38" you mentioned. I'm hoping that's enough - what do you think?

Jim
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieps View Post
Left front

Before 33 7/8"
After 37 1/8"

Diff 3 1/4"

Right front
Before 33 3/4"
After 37 1/4"

Diff 3 1/2"

The RF gives me 3/4" from the 38" you mentioned. I'm hoping that's enough - what do you think?

Jim

It will be close, I think, but probably manageable even in the worst case. When I tested the Erb springs a couple of years ago, we wound up with a bit over 38" on stock slightly larger tires and it was an issue. The tires would predict about .5" added height, but they actually give a bit less than that. We had almost no downtravel in the suspension before the frame hit, if I allowed it to drop without the shock connected. Odd as it may seem, the Chevies stop the downtravel with the shock and there is no bump stop for extension only for compression.


You may need your shop to help out if you don't have the tools, jacks, and stands to do this, but what you need to do is peek in behind the front wheels to where the upper control arm passes over the van frame (which there is a sheet metal piece pointed up to hold the control arm shaft and bushings. With the weight on the vehicle this should be at least 3/8" or so. Then jack up the front of the van from the frame so the wheels hang off the ground and check again at the same points. The amount that gap changes times a bit more than 2.5 is the amount of downtravel you have. Depending on the shocks you have it could stay the same or go to zero and be laying on the frame. Depending on what you see, the shocks can usually be shimmed to get you to the the 3/8" or maybe even stretched to 1/4" if the upper bushings are pulled up tight as possible. If you wind up with essentially no down travel in you measurements, you can often shim the shocks that way also, but if not you would need longer shocks. No downtravel will top out the shocks repeatedly and eventually bust them up, and it can cause some handling issues with pitching and such.


You may also want to give Moog a call and see what they say, if they even answer. I have tried a number of times to get an answer to the added height issue and never got them to even reply to the question. Perhaps you shop could also be more likely to get an answer.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:42 AM   #10
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Here is the block installed by Roadtrek on the 210s. It provides a surface to contact the bump stop and limit the suspension compression, accounting for the added space. If not modified, it prevents the Air Lift from being installed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0133.jpg (159.3 KB, 15 views)
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:53 PM   #11
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Thatís right. Mine looked like that. My shop had replacements without the extension so just traded them out.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:59 PM   #12
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Thatís right. Mine looked like that. My shop had replacements without the extension so just traded them out.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:03 PM   #13
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Thanks for the input booster. I’ll see if I can check it out. We already installed new front shocks with an extended through because the standard shocks were close to maximum.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieps View Post
Thanks for the input booster. Iíll see if I can check it out. We already installed new front shocks with an extended through because the standard shocks were close to maximum.

If you have installed shocks that are longer, meaning more extension travel, you almost certainly are at risk of the upper A arm hitting the frame and possible being damaged, most likely by getting bent, but could also damage the shaft or bushing. The only thing that prevents the arm from hitting the frame on the Chevies is the shock so they have to be the right length in extension.


Odd, but true, is that if you lift with springs like this, the shock length to contact on the frame point, does not change. Stock length shocks have a bit of safety factor built into them in most cases so you can fudge a little, but most "longer" shocks are at least an inch longer and that will very likely be way too much.


Since you already have the longer shocks in the van, depending on how much longer they are, you may be able to get longer lower shock mount bolts and shim the shock end further down from the lower control arm, at least for immediate damage prevention.


On ours, when doing the Erb spring test, I moved the shock lower mount to the top of the lower control arm instead of the bottom, which made the downtravel about 3/4" more, and that was enough to allow frame contact with the wheel hanging, so too much. These were stock length replacement Bilsteins.


Personally, I find it extremely poor business practice for Moog to ignore requests for information why the springs are giving more lift than they used to, and the lift numbers they give you if you ask up front are what the older springs gave. When we start seeing folks spending $800 or more for a change that is not all that good and doesn't meet the specs, they should be stepping up.
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Old 03-27-2020, 03:49 PM   #15
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Thanks for the update booster. I'll try to digest your comments and see if I can figure out how everything is fitting. I worked my way through college in a repair shop but that was a long time ago. I was dynamite on engines but have little experience on front suspensions. I'll see if I can find but might end up giving your comments to my shop and let them see how things match up. Thanks again.
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Old 06-16-2020, 06:24 PM   #16
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Booster: I have 2007C190P and want to lift 2" for better clearance and ride. I spent 2-days reading much history on this forum in which you engaged with expert knowledge and insight. I learned a lot. I understand that many have successfully implemented the trifecta of Moog 81004 front coils, Airlift air bags with integral bump stop on rear, and Bilstein shock all around (CalDreamin and others have been happy campers since Sep2018 and earlier)... but due to Dieps and others more current repeatability issues with Moog 81004 (and Moog apparently not responding to questions)... I am looking at alternatives for the front end. What say you regarding aluminum coil lift spacer from Supreme Suspensions? I expect it will give me the desired lift, but what about general ride, stability, feel? https://supremesuspensions.com/colle...21394953797712

FYI, WeldTec also has a 2" AL coil lift spacer, as well as a 3" lift spindle that have been used together on a few Roadtreks for a 5" lift.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:28 PM   #17
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The aluminum spacers are available a few places, and probably would give the lift, but I get a bit concerned about the low rate of the stock spring, which will still get compressed like it is now, which is at max compression now and on the bump stop. Without the bump stop to help it out with support and travel limit, it might even be able to go solid on you. Even if travel isn't an issue it will still seem much softer without the bump stop so might effect the handling. Tough decision with the lack of a good consistent spring available. More checking for a custom spring shop may be in order, as with all the offroad stuff being done these days, it is likely that more may be out there now. I think ideal would be if you could find an offroad shop with a source for custom springs, as they would probably be able to install and also guarantee the right lift height. I have submitted inquiries on the the spring to Moog at least half a dozen times and never get an answer, so very discouraging. Moog makes 3 springs in that appear to be very similar in wire size and spring rate but are different free lengths, so it may be possible to use one of the shorter ones, since they seem to be giving more height than they should be. I will have see how much shorter they are as I don't recall exactly.
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Old 06-16-2020, 07:41 PM   #18
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I tried coil spacers in a '66 Cadillac


Not worth the trouble, the only real solution is changing hard parts


Mike
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