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Old 09-19-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

We have just taken delivery of a 2013 RB 3500. It was converted into an RV use by Sportsmobile. There is a couch in the rear that converts into a bed. The ride (suspension) in the rear is very stiff. One gets bounced all over when sitting on the couch. (1) Has anyone else experienced this problem? (2) Any recommendations as to what can be done (different shocks?) to tone down the stiffness and soften the ride? The ride in the front is great, just the ride in the rear is an issue. Input would be most appreciated. Thank you.

We did see the following recommendations:
1) Check rear tire pressure. Too high a tire pressure contributes to a harsh ride. Inflate tires to MBZ recommended psi, found on driver's side B-pillar. In our case, 55 psi front and rear.

2) Install Glide Rite air suspension, heavy duty sway bars and Konis shocks (all available through Upscale Automotive/Sprinter Store). Does this recommended solution have any impact on the MBZ new Sprinter van warranty?

Thanks in advance for input and suggestions.

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Old 09-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

I have no Sprinter experience, but I can tell you that riding behind the rear axle is always the worst ride. Frequently the bumps are amplified back there.


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Old 09-19-2013, 08:56 PM   #3
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

I dont have the rough ride problem with my 2012 2500 RB+PH SMB. Ride is not bad for passengers in the back.I would say we have a fairly heavy build for the chassis class, it has a lot of equipment weight on the axle (inverter, hydronic heater & tank, + domestic water tank) and a lot of camping stuff and extra water in the back supported from the less robust stock 2500 cargo van suspension system. But we do not bottom out or lurch around on rougher back roads. Our rear seating is basically in front of the rear axel so that might influence the ride feel too.
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

Mike and Spenard:

Thanks for your reply and input. We will check the tire pressure(s). Also, off to the MBZ stealer tomorrow for their input. Hope it turns out to be a simple fix. Thanks again for the help!

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Old 09-23-2013, 06:56 AM   #5
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile


There are several other dually sprinters in the forums. Give it a few days for others to weight in.

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Old 09-23-2013, 09:30 PM   #6
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile


We have the 3500 EB with the 11,030 lb weight rating. See my signature web site for details of Vanessa. Our rear seating is over the rear axle. I find the rear seating very comfortable and in fact sleep there without a seat belt while my wife is driving. We rented a Great West Van 2500 EB with a seat in the back like yours. I did not ride there, but my wife did with grandkids and she said it was a horrible ride like your experience. She also sleeps in the back of ours without complaint.

Sorry I don't have a solution for you except to sell it and get one like ours! Just kidding, I hope you get help from others. Send Chumley a PM. He has one like yours and will have lots to say about the suspension. If you read all his posts you will lose a day of your life!

Vanessa: Sprinter 3500 170 EB with RV interior and lots of unique features including water below 0 degrees, screen door, diesel generator, huge rear storage compartment for 2-person kayak and much more. See my web site for all the details.
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:51 AM   #7
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

TV: Thanks. We have enjoyed your build experience and photos - nice job. We have the "wet cement" color, also.

David: We previously had a 2012 3500 EB with rear couch/bed and had no problem traveling back there. However that SMB was "totaled" 1 month after we picked it up from SMB West. It was hit while parked in front of our house.Consequently, we decided on the short chassis RB, so that it would fit in our driveway. By the way, we followed your build closely - nice job - quite an engineering feat. Yes, we have read all of Chumley's posts as they occurred. Will need to refresh ourselves. Thanks again for your input.

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Old 10-01-2013, 09:12 AM   #8
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile


How are the two of you doing? It's been a long time.

I have the same issue with my Charlie. We went to "Upscale Auto/Sprinter Store" and got the spring assist kit and the Koni shocks front and rear. I was told to set the adjustable shocks at a harder setting by them but don't know if it was the best thing to do. My ride is just as harsh now in the rear as you describe but Charlie handles much better to me so I try to ignore it. It is pretty funny watching people, or dogs, levitate from time to time. Probably not so for them.

I would talk to the guys at Upscale Auto a bit, they are very helpful.

I would go to the back and measure the ground clearance now while the springs are relatively fresh and see how much they sag in the next several months. My build was very tail heavy and the springs really sagged. Has nothing to do with the ride except that maybe over time the suspension may relax and soften up in general, something that Peter at SMB West said. I believe pretty much anything Peter says, unless he is reading this and then I think he is a rapscallion (I still laugh to myself when I hear rapscallion and think of Woody on Cheers not understanding what he heard and said "and I'll have some of those rapscallions on my pizza too..."). A much simpler time...

Good luck with the quest and please keep us posted on what you find out.


Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

My 2008 Sprinter rides the same - bad. It is on the rack and we are working on it, but nothing soon. I'm convinced these need a real solution.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:45 PM   #10
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Re: Rough Rear Suspension - 3500 RB Sprinter, Sportsmobile

Chumley: Nice to hear from you. We are well & excited about our new SMB, except for the ride in the rear. Through the rear-view mirror I watched my wife & the dog periodically get airborne on our trip to & from Alabama Hills this week. Rough ride! We will contact Upscale Auto. Good thought to measure the current rear ground clearance. Thanks for the input. See update below.
BajaSportsmobile: Thanks for the response. Please keep us posted when (not if) you find the suspension solution. We are located close to you on the west side of LA. See update below.

We did get a response from Peter at SMB West that the suspension might loosen over time. We will be visiting SMB in the next week or so for a couple of punch list items and to discuss the rear suspension. We had the van's rear suspension inspected by MBZ Long Beach. Their input was that there is no problem with the suspension. Their conclusion was that the 3500 was designed for a heavy load & that the Sportsmobile build-out was not heavy enough, thus the stiff/rough ride.
They suggested replacing the 3500 leaf springs with the 2500 leaf springs. This would change the GVWR of the vehicle to that of a 2500 but would result in a softer ride. The change, according to MBZ, would not invalidate any MBZ warranty, excluding the leaf spring swap.

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