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Old 06-07-2022, 08:58 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 6
4x4 advice: Mgmetalworks vs Timberlie vs ujoint?

Hey guys. Starting my next build soon (van is officially purchased!) and I知 insanely exited. I知 trying to pick out my 4wd kit and am mostly narrowed down to 3 suppliers:

Mgmetalworks
Timberline vans
Ujoint off-road


Van:
2010 e-350 diesel, 6.0L 137k miles. (New to me!) full bulletproofing & trans work is being done.

Van use:
Daily driving too and from work, Towing 10,000lbs through Rockies couple times a year, along with normal 4x4 van things (ski trips, dirt/mud/medium trails, maybe some sand). I致e put around 25k miles/year on my current van and expect to do the same with this one, 80%-90% pavement.

I fully understand no lifted van is gonna drive like a Lexus, but pavement drivability is more important to me than building a rock crawler here.



MG/expo:

Def a no bs kit from a knowledgeable dude. I like that the kit is simple and the remainder of the parts are sourced from over the counter, and can be had over the country, as opposed to a lot of specialty parts. Ford also appears to use radius arms stock in 250/350. Does anyone have real world experience with how much lift/travel there is with his kits? I知 still working through the 57 page info thread, so any helpful posts/sections in it are appreciated.



Timberline:

Not a whole lot of info out there for timberline. Seems like a good kit and they offer a coil over option, which I知 considering but wondering if there痴 benefits in coil overs and 4links for vans? I知 rather interested in Timberline vs Mg in terms of drivability on and off road, durability/serviceability, etc, so if anyone can comment on this, I壇 appreciate it!



Ujoint :

Great info on website and good put together kit. I love that they sell built axles and is essentially a 1 stop shop... however,I like the idea of maintaining a good sterling radius, as well a ride thats more focused on pavement rather than off-road. I値l be DDing the van and driving a lot of miles before I even get to the dirt, and ujoint builds seem more focused on off-road and rock crawling than I plan to do. Please correct me if I知 wrong or share your experience with them.


I値l be buying all parts/axles and my mechanic cousin will be doing the swap.

Thanks for any advice and info you guys can provide.
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Old 06-07-2022, 09:48 PM   #2
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I installed Timberline on mine. I cant give you opinions on how it compares to the others you mentioned simply because i have never used their products.

I like the 4 link design and the 4 link arms are available with adjustable end links. The adjustable end links make adjusting caster a breeze and the alignment bushings in the knuckles can be used solely for adjusting camber.

The only part i didnt care for was having to weld the track bar bracket to the axle housing. I think the MG kit is 100% bolt on but then again it isnt a 4 link setup.

I also installed the Spyntec free spin kit to eliminate the unit bearings. Alot of people disagree with installing the free spin kit, however i like being able to service the wheel bearings annually. Believe it or not it did contribute to a much improved steering feel.
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Old 06-07-2022, 11:09 PM   #3
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Posts: 1,208
I have two vans with the Timberline 5" kit. One installed by them and one that I did myself. My first van was a very early Timberline kit and it has since been improved/updated with adjustable lower arms and an different track bar setup.
I have been very happy with the systems and I have put my first gen Timberline system through its paces, sometimes to the extreme.

I had an 04' SMB with SMB's system on it and the Timberlines ride is far superior, additionally, the turning radius is tighter.

The newer Timberline kit that I installed I opted for full 7" rear springs since the van was going to be a full heavy build. It has settled nicely and the rear sits about 1 1/2" higher than the rear.
Both vans sit on 35" tires with trimming the front fenders.
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Old 06-08-2022, 10:06 AM   #4
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I haven't driven an MG or Timberline van, but we just got our van converted with a 6" UJOR kit. I will say it drives/handles awesome on the road. Not as good as a car or our 2020 AWD transit, but pretty damn close. The reduced turning radius is noticeable but not a deal breaker. I also notice that it takes more revolutions of the steering wheel to turn the same amount. Must be something to do with changing the arm length ratio between pitman arm and steering arm (whatever the part is that is connected to the hub).

I think it was in one of his YouTube videos, but I believe Chris specifically mentions how these vans spend 90% of the time on the road, so their kits are tuned to perform well on-road. Not sure how much of that is truth vs marketing, but something to consider.

Another factor that really won me over about the UJOR kit was their "crossover" steering geometry. Essentially, they bolt on a new arm (i forget the exact term) on the passenger side knuckle/hub, so the drag link passes ABOVE the leaf spring and sits fairly close to horizontal in its resting state. The track bar sits parallel to the drag link, so it is horizontal as well. This means that, from its resting state, any upward/downward motion of the suspension will result in the least amount of lateral force being applied against the pitman arm by the drag link. In theory this should reduce the effect of bump steer (which is a potential input that could cause death wobble?). Another thing I noticed was that I have never seen a UJOR van with steering stabilizers, whereas many of the other conversions are often seen with one, if not two stabilizers.

UJOR's youtube channel is pretty great. Mostly just short recaps of their builds, but once in a while they post some informative tech videos as well:
https://youtu.be/7tXKQsqt2F0
https://youtu.be/gVpRYran6e0

If you look at most of the other 4x4 conversions, you'll notice that the drag link is at a fairly steep angle and not close to horizontal at all. So any suspension input will cause more of a steering input compared to if the drag link was horizontal.

I believe Timberline offers a similar "crossover" steering kit, but only on their highest end coilover conversions. They call it their "high steering" kit.

And of course, my final disclaimer - I know NOTHING about vehicle steering geometry. I'm just relaying my learnings/observations as I shopped around for our 4x4 conversion.
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Old 06-21-2022, 06:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motovan_mn View Post
I haven't driven an MG or Timberline van, but we just got our van converted with a 6" UJOR kit. I will say it drives/handles awesome on the road. Not as good as a car or our 2020 AWD transit, but pretty damn close. The reduced turning radius is noticeable but not a deal breaker. I also notice that it takes more revolutions of the steering wheel to turn the same amount. Must be something to do with changing the arm length ratio between pitman arm and steering arm (whatever the part is that is connected to the hub).

I think it was in one of his YouTube videos, but I believe Chris specifically mentions how these vans spend 90% of the time on the road, so their kits are tuned to perform well on-road. Not sure how much of that is truth vs marketing, but something to consider.

Another factor that really won me over about the UJOR kit was their "crossover" steering geometry. Essentially, they bolt on a new arm (i forget the exact term) on the passenger side knuckle/hub, so the drag link passes ABOVE the leaf spring and sits fairly close to horizontal in its resting state. The track bar sits parallel to the drag link, so it is horizontal as well. This means that, from its resting state, any upward/downward motion of the suspension will result in the least amount of lateral force being applied against the pitman arm by the drag link. In theory this should reduce the effect of bump steer (which is a potential input that could cause death wobble?). Another thing I noticed was that I have never seen a UJOR van with steering stabilizers, whereas many of the other conversions are often seen with one, if not two stabilizers.

UJOR's youtube channel is pretty great. Mostly just short recaps of their builds, but once in a while they post some informative tech videos as well:
https://youtu.be/7tXKQsqt2F0
https://youtu.be/gVpRYran6e0

If you look at most of the other 4x4 conversions, you'll notice that the drag link is at a fairly steep angle and not close to horizontal at all. So any suspension input will cause more of a steering input compared to if the drag link was horizontal.

I believe Timberline offers a similar "crossover" steering kit, but only on their highest end coilover conversions. They call it their "high steering" kit.

And of course, my final disclaimer - I know NOTHING about vehicle steering geometry. I'm just relaying my learnings/observations as I shopped around for our 4x4 conversion.
All excellent points, thanks! Yes, our vans spend most of their time on road but they are able to out flex everything else when the wheel travel is needed. The Offroad pics we post (not often enough) are fun and show the capabilities of our system but we also have a handling video from a few years ago that show off our system in a 100' slalom.

To the OP---Do your research dn try to get behind the wheel of all 3 to see how they feel to you!
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