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Old 01-05-2015, 05:05 PM   #1
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On the Road in Baja and Need Help

We are driving the Pan Am and have some problems with our Sportsmobile that need fixing. Advice needed please.

Seems the problem is that our Fox 2.0 shocks are too long for our rig therefore the compression length is too short. (see pics - front has 1.5 inch and rear has 2.5) As a result, the shocks are bottoming out. A few weeks ago, the front left lower mounting bracket broke on the unpaved road from Gonzaga Bay through Coco's Corner. And now the track bar broke after the unpaved East Cape Road. Both cases we are getting the parts welded back together. The roads have not really been that bad. Worse is yet to come in Central America so we really need to fix this problem.

We called Peter from SMB West who recommended that we get new leaf springs from Deaver Springs in Santa Ana, CA. But that would require that we drive back from Cabo to LA. Anyone has work done by them?

Any other recommendations? Do you know shock absorbers that have a shorter housing and therefore allow a longer compression length?

Our rig is a 2003 7.3L 4x4 done by Sportsmobile.

By the way, our blog is ourroadlife.com if you want to check us out.

Thank you,
Karie and Simon
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Front.JPG   Rear.JPG  
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:06 PM   #2
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Did you talk to Ramsey (BajaSportsmobile)? Or did you buy them from him? He is they guy for this and he lives in Baja now I think. His shop is still in San Diego. Maybe you could call there if he doesn't respond. I think the guy he works with is Glen? Good luck.

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Old 01-05-2015, 06:12 PM   #3
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

More info needed.. Where did you get the shocks? Who installed them?

As for Deavers, most people tend to like them, but they are many thousands of dollars.
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Many have had work done by Deaver Spring. I can't say about your year van but I had the same issues with the shock mount breaking on my 06 although I figured it was more due to the spring plate/shock mount lacking the necessary gussets that helps to strengthen the mount. Deaver's suggested that I have the mount reinforced after they installed the new spring packs. They did spec out the correct shocks when they did the new spring build. Deaver also added a heavier track bar that caused issues with a power steering hose.

Deaver's does a good job but you might PM Chris (Ujoint) for info or Ramsey (BajaSportsmobile) about a repair or retrofit. Sorry but I don't know much about suspension.
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Deaver (and others) can rebuild a spring pack, including adding one or more leafs to an existing spring pack, for a whole lot less than a new spring pack.


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Old 01-05-2015, 06:31 PM   #6
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Even with other springs which will only add some lift or make suspension harder, you I'll bottom your shocks on big bumps. You always have to have bump stopper that bottom before the shocks. And if you just add taller bump stop, you won't have compression travel anymore.
So IMO, there is no other way than shortening shocks. Of course you can find shorter shocks. But to choose the right ones, you need to know at least
- shorter length between upper and lower shock attachment when axle is completely up (to bump stopper) for front and rear axle.
- longest length between upper and lower shock attachment when axle is completely down (van lifted under the frame, axle suspended by springs only, with actual shocks disconnected) for front and rear axle.
- weight on front axle
- weight on rear axle
Chris at U-Joint Offroad could likely provide shocks adapted to your van and ship it to Cabo or somewhere else... ;-)
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:56 PM   #7
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Karie and Simon,

I feel your pain - or at least I have.

I'm living in Rancho Nuevo, between Cabo and Todos Santos. Tomorrow, Tuesday, were are going to Cabo with guests and Wednesday I am flying back to San Diego, and then driving back down here over the weekend in one of my Sportsmobiles towing my Cherokee. I will, as always, be coming through Coco's Corner. I will be bring down shocks for other people and can probably help you out with fixing what you have or bring new shocks and springs, though I doubt you need springs.

Did you get the shocks from Sportsmobile West or did you source them on your own?

You need to get a hold of me tonight or tomorrow morning.

Ramsey
(619) 204-9772 USA Cell
(624) 165-9230 Telcel MX




Quote:
Originally Posted by karebear
We are driving the Pan Am and have some problems with our Sportsmobile that need fixing. Advice needed please.

Seems the problem is that our Fox 2.0 shocks are too long for our rig therefore the compression length is too short. (see pics - front has 1.5 inch and rear has 2.5) As a result, the shocks are bottoming out. A few weeks ago, the front left lower mounting bracket broke on the unpaved road from Gonzaga Bay through Coco's Corner. And now the track bar broke after the unpaved East Cape Road. Both cases we are getting the parts welded back together. The roads have not really been that bad. Worse is yet to come in Central America so we really need to fix this problem.

We called Peter from SMB West who recommended that we get new leaf springs from Deaver Springs in Santa Ana, CA. But that would require that we drive back from Cabo to LA. Anyone has work done by them?

Any other recommendations? Do you know shock absorbers that have a shorter housing and therefore allow a longer compression length?

Our rig is a 2003 7.3L 4x4 done by Sportsmobile.

By the way, our blog is ourroadlife.com if you want to check us out.

Thank you,
Karie and Simon
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

Thanks very much for the help. We will need to read through your comments and think of next steps. Ramsey thanks for the contact we will try to call you. We have no phone but will find a way. To answer some of your questions the shocks were bought and installed by SMB West just before we left on our trip a couple months ago. But as far as we can tell they don't seem to be the right shocks for this van.

Another option a local welder Rigo told us is to cut where the shock mount is attached to and reweld it so to lengthen the compression area. Seems like a logical idea.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

You could also have Peter at SMB West ship you new u-bolt plates. They are $85 ea. and have an additional gusset that the original SMB plates did not have. There have been numerous reports of the plates breaking including mine on my 2005 conversion.

Or, another solution which might help you out if you can find a fabricator is to weld the front lower shock mounts directly to the front axle. I presume you have a dynatrac 60? This is what I did after my U-bolt plate broke about a year after Deaver installed their spring pack. The Bilsteins that they installed are 10" travel shocks but there is only 7" of travel on my 6" lift at full compression to the bump stop landing. Not an ideal situation. Deaver cuts and re-welds the mount to a lower on the plate but that means two passes on the plate with a torch with two welds at two different times and they break without any kind of additional gusset as the axle may hit the bump stops prior to the shock bottoming out with the longer body length of the Bilstein. Not sure if that is the issue with your Fox shocks but sounds like it is.

So, if you can't source Fox shocks in a shorter body length you could try this solution which has so far worked for me. Simply weld the lower shock bound directly to the axle. This is apparently quite common in the 4x4 world on race trucks.

The new plate with gusset from SMB West


Broken lower mount that was lowered by Deaver compared to the new plate.


Dry fit before welding the lower mount to the axle.
Attached Thumbnails
New SMB plate2.jpg   Plate comparison 1.jpg   dry fit_2.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:56 AM   #10
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Re: On the Road in Baja and Need Help

We decided to move the mounts and work with a local welder to do it and not replace the leafs and shock. Your comments are extremely helpful - thank you!
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