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.