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Old 07-08-2020, 05:33 PM   #1
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Improving ride quality & comfort

Due to a medical condition my spouse is quite frail and the bumps and jolts in our van are almost to point its agonizing for her to endure long trips.

She is a lady in her 30's trapped in the body of a senior citizen plagued with joint and muscle issues.

I have a stock Quigley 4x4 and the ride is tolerable for me at best but for my SO, she is getting less enthused using our van for trips and her condition will only get worse over time. I figure we have about 2-3 years left before I get a truck and trailer or a Class B RV.

So I'm at a cross-roads, do I dump more money into my current platform to make it more comfortable for her, or do I just look at a completely different platform altogether? If so what would you suggest?

We don't rock crawl, we stick to rutted dirt roads, logging roads and sand. Something a bit more than what our Subaru can do.

Will the Agile RIP Kit be enough? I'm not sure as I've never driven another 4x4 van before. I just read on Agile that they are no longer offering 4x4 Conversion for E350's as of July 2020 so I think this means a TTB is no longer on the table. That was the route I was hoping to go, but now I would need someone else to do the work, or find a used van with it that is 15 years old (Importing into Canada).

I would like to ask the community what are my options to improve comfort and ride quality, this does not have to be limited to suspension. I'm looking at a seat upgrade too with more support for her (hopefully me too!)

I am open to any platforms, I selected the van because its easy for her to get in/out of and I like being able to access my vehicle and living space at the same time.

If anyone else has similar mobility/health issues I would love to hear your experiences as well, what did and what didn't work for you.

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:10 PM   #2
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I’m in close to being in the same boat as you. Sorry to hear the situation as well. My wife has crps. We are very limited to how long she spends in the van too. Typically we don’t get more than 2-3 hours before her pain sets in. All I gotta do is look over and it’s pretty easy to see when it’s time to stop for the day.

I bought the rip kit from agile years ago but not for the reasons you would be, it just turns out that years after some asshat would cut corners and ruin my otherwise able bodied wife. Luckily, the improved ride allows us to continue being able to keep the van. That said our quigley was super squirrelly at highway speeds and was just outright scary to drive. If you don’t have those kind of issues you likely don’t need a full rip kit. You might think about buying some moog springs (folks here would need to know specs of your rig to help determine which ones might best suit you. Which motor, weight of van, etc) and talk with agile about which shocks would be the best fit for what you’re trying accomplish.

The springs will lift the van up a bit so you aren’t hitting the bump stops as much and the shocks will just smooth the ride. John at agile worked at fox shocks for a while, so he is really good at custom valving the fox shocks for these heavy vans. I can’t think of much if any negative feedback regarding agiles products and services. Well other than getting a hold of them.

Crazy to hear they are done with the ttb conversions. That’s the setup I’d ultimately like to have someday.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:26 PM   #3
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My wife and I don’t have the issues you describe but we are both in our 60’s with our various collection of aches and pains earned through the years.... Our Sprinter delivers the most comfortable ride of any of the four wheel drive vehicles we have had over the years. I suggest you find an accommodating member and go for a ride.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by shenrie View Post
I’m in close to being in the same boat as you. Sorry to hear the situation as well. My wife has crps. We are very limited to how long she spends in the van too. Typically we don’t get more than 2-3 hours before her pain sets in. All I gotta do is look over and it’s pretty easy to see when it’s time to stop for the day.

I bought the rip kit from agile years ago but not for the reasons you would be, it just turns out that years after some asshat would cut corners and ruin my otherwise able bodied wife. Luckily, the improved ride allows us to continue being able to keep the van. That said our quigley was super squirrelly at highway speeds and was just outright scary to drive. If you don’t have those kind of issues you likely don’t need a full rip kit. You might think about buying some moog springs (folks here would need to know specs of your rig to help determine which ones might best suit you. Which motor, weight of van, etc) and talk with agile about which shocks would be the best fit for what you’re trying accomplish.

The springs will lift the van up a bit so you aren’t hitting the bump stops as much and the shocks will just smooth the ride. John at agile worked at fox shocks for a while, so he is really good at custom valving the fox shocks for these heavy vans. I can’t think of much if any negative feedback regarding agiles products and services. Well other than getting a hold of them.

Crazy to hear they are done with the ttb conversions. That’s the setup I’d ultimately like to have someday.
Thanks for the input Shernie. Sorry to hear about your wife, mine also has chronic pain, pretty much all the time. I try not to drive more than 4 hours, that is a good leisurely pace for us. If its offroad, bumpy, we cut it down to maybe 1.5-2 hours for breaks. She is a photographer so it isn't hard to have ALOT of breaks.

My van isn't squirrelly at all, unless I'm driving on ice or hard packed snow. I've never had an issue with it driving, steering wheel has a bit more play in it than I like bit its just a harsh ride, all the time.

Unless I'm reading the website wrong, they are done with 4x4 Conversion completely for the Econoline Platform.

I will update some specs of my vehicle.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:41 PM   #5
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My wife and I don’t have the issues you describe but we are both in our 60’s with our various collection of aches and pains earned through the years.... Our Sprinter delivers the most comfortable ride of any of the four wheel drive vehicles we have had over the years. I suggest you find an accommodating member and go for a ride.
Thanks Fitz, we looked at a new 2018 4x4 Sprinter at the time and it came in just under 80k (CAD) for just the bare cargo van. I don't think pricing will change much even for used models. I don't think we would want to spent that much since more that our total van budget (50-60k USD).

A AWD Transit is much more in our budget. I might give that a test drive as well if I can find one at a dealer.
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cyrull View Post
Thanks for the input Shernie. Sorry to hear about your wife, mine also has chronic pain, pretty much all the time. I try not to drive more than 4 hours, that is a good leisurely pace for us. If its offroad, bumpy, we cut it down to maybe 1.5-2 hours for breaks. She is a photographer so it isn't hard to have ALOT of breaks.
Appreciate it. Sounds like we are in very similar situations. Watching people you love suffer sucks. My wife was getting heavy into photography until she got crps. These days my main objective is to get her out of the house since she canít work and is stuck at home 24/7. Her words ďIíd rather be stuck in bed in the mountains than at home looking at the same walls all day.Ē So luckily our van allows me to get her into the sticks at the drop of a hat.

I agree with fitz that another platform will definitely ride better hands down if you donít need a more capable van anymore. However if money is currently the issue, adding good shocks and some springs is a pretty cheap temporary alternative that will likely add a little to the resale when the time comes.

Also as he suggested, maybe you can find another member in your area with a similar rig that has the rip kit that would be willing to give you and the wife a ride in it to see if itís enough improvement t warrant the money spent?
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Old 07-08-2020, 07:29 PM   #7
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While there's certainly some improvements you can make, the best 4x4 Econoline will still ride worse in those conditions than a stock Transit (The Sprinter is in between IMO). The good news is, you can rent them just about anywhere if you want to try one. Plus, the tall vans are easier to move between the front seats and the back of the van.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:14 PM   #8
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While there's certainly some improvements you can make, the best 4x4 Econoline will still ride worse in those conditions than a stock Transit (The Sprinter is in between IMO). The good news is, you can rent them just about anywhere if you want to try one. Plus, the tall vans are easier to move between the front seats and the back of the van.
Thanks carringb, I suspected that would be the case.

It will be sad to let go of this one but at this point I will happily trade capability for comfort.
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Old 07-08-2020, 08:15 PM   #9
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Grandma wants to Offroad - Improving ride quality

Maybe figure out how to retrofit an air-ride seat for her? Making an e-van a plush ride will be a lot harder than fitting an air-ride seat I imagine. Something like this: https://www.seat-specialists.com/pro...-lowrider.html
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Old 07-09-2020, 12:23 PM   #10
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Cyrull, after about a week of trying, I was finally able to speak with the folks at Agile Off Road. Their going rate for a RIP (E350 4x4) is $1854 plus shipping of $174 and expected delivery in early September. They ended up talking me out of a new progressive rear spring set-up. They say that the kit will include three add-a-leafs to take care of the rear end. Their quote for the total kit installed was $2930 at their facility. Hopefully you'll be able to figure out a solution to your own predicament.
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