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Old 06-02-2008, 10:34 PM   #1
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Deaver Springs

I put together the before and after photos. Deaver Spring Before/After

I gained nearly 2" in the front (the bumpstops bottoming out being the main issue before) and learned that my shocks are probably shot. There has been lots of conversation recently about the SMB shocks being good for all of 25K, and I'm twice that plus some.

The rear springs were bottomed out on the overload spring according to the spring shop, and the front were beyond flat at 56K.

The Deavers are way better- I wouldn't hesitate to buy them again, however I've had some install problems as follow:
1. on pickup the van was sitting 1" up on the passenger side. This was most obvious on the back, and despite my hopping on the passenger side bumper (adding 315lbs) nothing changed.

The spring shop wanted to add a 1" block and Jeff@ Deaver wanted to wait for the springs to settle. Good thing I listened to Jeff as by the time I got to the front of the shop to hook up my Jeep for flat towing home, it was largely corrected.

Apparently they'd dropped the jacks and called me without moving it.

2. The front U bolts on the passenger side look messed up to me. They're closer at the bottom instead of parallel. I'm sending photos to Jeff and having another shop look at it on Thursday.

3. The front track bar didn't want to go back in. I don't know what this is related too, the lean, the front being hard to get in etc. The spring shop said they had to get a press involved and sharpened a bolt to shove through the eye etc. Thursday I'll talk to the 4x4 shop and have them take it out when they do:

4. Shocks: as mentioned it's pretty likely they're shot.

5. The rear axle looks misaligned. The driverside tire is aligned with the middle of the steprail and the passenger is at the outer edge. The fender flares are the same place on the steprails, as seems to be the rest of the van body. The frame however, to the outside of the tires is off by only a 1/4" from side to side, so who knows where the ~2" of body is off. (I thought they'd left off a wheel spacer originally)

6. Handling: over bumps it's awesome, cornering is great, cornering with bumps, no problem. Cornering at speed hitting bumps all across the road- the wheels skip but handling is not affected.

However- if anything pushes the back of the van; wind, a flat towed Jeep, the front wants to jump into another lane. This was much worse with the Jeep attached and the springs fresh than now, but it's still evident. It's not the springs as it handles like a top in every situation that the road and my driving can throw at it. Add a bit of push however and it's all over the place.

The only way I can reproduce is to sway the steering and get the van rear rocking. When I stop and the weight shifts the van wants to go into another lane. The rocking is also evident in the backing off the driveway curb trick where the van oscillates more than it did before the springs.

Hopefully between the shocks and the track bar both these issues will be corrected. The main purpose of the Thursday trip to the offroad shop is to order Fox shocks.

Jeff has urged me to spend 1000 miles breaking in the springs and I've heard going offroad does wonders for this. I'm getting the U bolts re-torqued at 500 miles, but until the shocks go on I'm thinking it will remain parked.

I'm unhappy about the install and the extra money the shocks will cost, but the van looks and rides like it should have from the beginning. I know that once I get the install issues resolved and shocks on I won't be able to say enough good things... even with the sway and the front being pushed the ride is soooo much better than it was. The springs are amazing, I only wish I could have made it to Deaver to get them installed.
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:00 PM   #2
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Here's the word from Mile High Motorsports:

1. Swaybar - the van has no swaybar and the guy was kind of incredulous that SMB wouldn't put one on
2. Shocks - Recommended Rancho 9000. Firmly believes that remote resevior shocks (a la Foxes) are for show only on any vehicle that sees the street.
3. Tires - load range D currently at 58 psi in the rear. Pointed out they were very soft and I should go to an E.

The swaybar he's looking at is stock for E350 with possible extended connections... I'd like to know what other people have used.

The shocks I'm not sure about. I am unclear on whether he understands the type of use this van will see. I'm fine with the adjustibility of the Ranchos if they'll take the weight. He also mentioned the OME shocks are fine they're just really really soft and were never meant for a vehicle this heavy.

Tires- well my funds for Toyos have been diverted elsewhere so I'm going to try higher PSI in the rear for the time being.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated, the swaybar at least needs to be ordered soon if I am to have it done next week.
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
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Shocks

I don't know a lot...but shocks depend on the valving. Getting custom valved one's, like I think you can with Fox is better than off the shelf as most off the shelf are for vehicle types, 1/4 ton truck, 4 Runner, Expedition, etc.

9,000 lb SMB's don't really fit in a category for off the shelf stuff IMHO. I think that is why the stock shocks die so quickly. They are asked to do too much, and the valving is too light to handle 9,000 lbs. of SMB's. You can crank the valving of the RS9000's higher...but I think that would make them die faster and it would probably be harsh.

Dual shocks...like on many of the poser trucks out there really have a purpose. Each is valved lighter so it takes 2 or more to do the same job as one heavily valved shock. Heat is the by product of damping all that movement, so by spreading the damping duty over multiple shocks, there is less heat build up in each shock. A dual shock setup would be kinda cool for SMB's. Not a race truck...but heavy...and damping all that weight probably produces a lot of heat in the shocks. I've blown out 5 shocks as they overheated and blew seals on my old Toyota 4 x 4, 3 KYB's and 2 Rancho's.

Remote resevoirs...allow for more oil capacity so heat build up is lessened, also allows a moveable piston with nitrogen bladder to eliminate air bubbles and frothing of the oil, and to compensate for oil displaced by the shock shaft as you get into the shock travel. Some shocks are dual walled with a nitrogen bag in the outer wall instead of the remote reservoir.

I'm not sure...but I think if you don't like the characteristics of the Fox you can re-valve it. You should be able to service it and change the oil after awhile too.

Just rambling with info learned about truck and motorcycle suspension.

I don't even have an SMB yet (put finger prints and drool all over Canyonclan's tough)...but plan on Deaver Springs and probably Fox shocks or something similar.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:34 AM   #4
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Sway bar

Jage ,
I would do some serious research with regard to the addition of Rear Sway Bars on your Sportsmobile . They are an aid to ones vehicle for cornering and can reduce some pitching ,but are not that useful in the off road applications that we frequently encounter . This is probably the reason why they are not included on a SportsMobile and the very reason that great lengths were taken to provide an articulated front anti sway device that is readily able to be disconnected . AND YES ONI KNOWS SHOCKS !
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:16 AM   #5
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Darn you Oni, you beat me to it. If on a budget and don't want the hassles of a custom install, the Ranchos will obivoulsy work. Jage, I've looked at your trip pics. Its my opinion that 9000s aren't up to snuff for your use, but that's just an opinion. They sure are cheap in comparision to Bilsteins (the best option if going with a custom as they have a 10" short body shock, whereas Fox has nothing close to fitting without major mods).

Back to your springs. Any reason a person with space, tools, time and reasonable wrenching skills couldn't have installed them him/herself? As much as I don't want to drop $2500 on springs, my fronts are starting to curve upwards and my rears aren't much better. Don't think its avoidable for much longer for me.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:21 AM   #6
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First off the Hellwig sway bar order has been cancelled. I don't like to change several things at once anyway, as it's hard to tell what fixed or caused the problem. Plus I respect Greggde's opinion a lot, so I'm going with the Rancho's. I expect they'll be better than the Old Man Emu's but yeah, not up to snuff in the end. I'm resigned to replacement as necessary.

Deaver sent all the necessary hardware, and no if you have jackstands that are beefie enough to support the van safely, I don't see why you couldn't do this, normal issues not withstanding. The rears when in like butter, and are soft enough to bend by hand. The problems with the front aren't necessarily going to be the case with your van, so I say go for it... probably nothing some creative jacking and positioning couldn't overcome.

Take lots of photos!
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:04 AM   #7
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I suck at taking photos when working (I manage to get more grease on me than should be possible and anything I touch like a camera), but for you Jage, anything. Guess I'm gonna do my part as a good American and stimulate the economy with springs once my check gets here later this month. Was going to do shocks first, then springs, but since you guys have reported the increased ride height, then I'd better do shocks last (1" can make a whole lot of difference when sizing shocks). This is still a bitter pill to swallow (spring replacement on such an expensive rig), but guess I can't put off taking my medicine any longer. The van is downright unsafe at times.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:46 AM   #8
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You can always buy a disposable camera, then the grease won't matter. And I understand, believe it or not I actually don't photograph everything.

But don't feel obligated, I just like to remind people (I hate getting to the end of a project and realizing I forgot to take a single before or during photo).
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:09 AM   #9
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Nope, its the good SMB citizenzy thing to do, so happy to do it (we need a good Nikon, so might be a good time to turn this Sony we have into a "shop camera"). Damn, I didn't know Greggde got Foxes that fit!! No serious mods to boot!? And part numbers too!! That changes everything for me and my big time-suck shock issue. He didn't even have to change the mounts, but for drilling bigger holes, it seems. Deavers, then Foxes are now my plan.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:24 PM   #10
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Since so many of us are buying/considering buying Deavers, anyone want to check on a group buy? I know it is not a stock purchase but if we buy a certain amount we should be able to get a dealer/discount price. Just a thought. what do you guys think?

steve
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