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Old 09-12-2022, 06:56 AM   #3361
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Got stuck at my sonís NICA mountain bike race parking lot Mud was like grease. Even aired down with good AT tires and limited slip did nothing. Glad I finally reinstalled my front hitch a few weeks ago as it made getting yanked out by a Jeep easier (but no less humiliating). Also happy I had a good pull strap and air compressor to re-air after.
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:12 PM   #3362
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Not today, but over the last few thousand miles: I killed 2 tires on 2 separate occasions and was only able to find 1 exact replacement (my Hankook Dynapro mt's have been replaced with a different tread pattern) 1 was due to a rock ripping a big chunk of tread out, and the other was from tire to fender interference. That got me looking at my notes and seeing that my suspension had sagged A LOT over the years, so I gave my suspension a pretty serious refresh. Took out the sagging Camburg coils and installed Skyjacker coils that have a ~25-30% higher spring rate, besides being stiffer, I gained ~2" of ride height. Rebuilt and revalved the front Fox reservoir shocks and added a ton more low speed compression valving and reduced the high speed compression valving... it is working exactly how I hoped it would.

On the rear, I installed Weldtec's leaf springs (made by Atlas.) I've got to say, I'm kinda disappointed in these for the money as compared to my sagged out mix & matched leaf packs they replaced. I installed them "as delivered" and they must have lifted the back end 7-8" and rode like an empty dump truck. Now, I do have an extended body van, but there's nothing in the back, not even seats. The main leaf is shorter than it should be and the factory shackle will max out it's swing before the rear eye can even be bolted in. After giving things time to settle, I ended up ordering longer "boomerang" style shackles (meant for a Raptor) from DirtKing ( which required a little creativity to ensure there was enough overhead clearance for the rear a/c lines), pulling 1 leaf, and flipping the bottom leaf upside down to lose a little spring rate and some ride height in the process. It's still a tad stiff, but I think adding more rebound valving to the rear shocks should calm it down.

I also put on a Weldtec prerunner style front bumper. This was somewhat of an impulse buy as I intended to get something with a winch mount, but after seeing them in person at Weldtec's shop I didn't like the way it looked like the winch mount gave the van an underbite, so I opted for the more understated one without a winch mount. I may add a winch mount to it in the future, but it'll be tight. Still would have been nice if they had installed some recovery points on the frame horns, and maybe some light tabs (for some Baja Designs Squadrons or the like) behind the holes/mesh in front of the tires. They also missed an opportunity to incorporate a bottle opener cut out in the plate steel end caps. I don't drink, but apparently my front bumper has become a popular bottle opener when we're camping and it's getting chipped from people hooking the square edge of the bumper and popping the top downwards with their palms!

I finally got sick of my 2 bent hoop steps and installed some Nfab nerf bars. They're 1" higher than the old hoop steps, but still do what they need to do, and I think they look nice.

During the same desert tripped that I killed the first tire on, I managed to peel off my rear diff cover... that's a story for another time! I band-aided it to get home, but replaced it with a ribbed nodular iron cover from Spicer.

I had to put in a new radiator after the top tank cracked (going up a grade in 110į weather with the a/c blasting) and was grossed out by how dark the tranny fluid was when I pulled off the cooler lines. That prompted me to do a full tranny flush (using the Mark K method) with Mobil 1 ATF and install a MagHytec deep pan (that thing is DEEP! 2 extra gallons of fluid and hangs at least 3" lower than stock... my radius arms are at roughly the same height, so I'll need to be more conscientious about not driving like a clown when it's rocky!) at the same time. Man, that's a lot of expensive fluid! While the pan was off, I took the opportunity to verify which valve body my 4r100 had as apparently gas engines up to '98 (my van is a '98 w/5.4) could have had either e4OD or 4r100 parts? Mine is definitely a 4r100 and I intend to order a modified valve body from John Wood in the next week to firm up the shifting. I was originally going to order a 5 star SCT tuner just for the tranny's sake, but they will not sell me one without proof of non-emmissions state registration.

I replaced a couple blown (24 year old) rear door speakers and finally got an enclosure to hold 2-12" subwoofers and a 1900w amp behind my 2nd row bucket seats without interferring with the ability to haul motorcycles in the back of the van. Yeah, I'm probably too old for obnoxious stereo equipment, but it's been sitting in my rafters for many many years and it was either time to install it, or get rid of it.

I threw a new serpentine belt on and did an oil change for good measure while I was at it.

After looking into buying a new truck earlier this year, I decided that 1: We really like the van. 2: even though we'd put a more powerful 4x4 truck to use, we couldn't justify the cost considering how few miles we actually drive (5-7000 a year and I almost never drive unless we're offroad, or towing in mountainous areas, my wife drives us around the rest of the time.) So even though I've been putting a fair amount of money in the van, it's still easier to justify than dropping $100k on a new truck, and the van still does a lot of things better!

If you managed to read through all of my rambling, I probably owe you a drink!
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Old 10-13-2022, 05:19 PM   #3363
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Wow, that's quite a list! Out of curiosity, who did the original valving of your Fox shocks?
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Old 10-13-2022, 06:47 PM   #3364
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They were originally "custom valved" by Camburg (waaaaaayy too light in both comp and reb, seriously only 1 step stiffer than an off the shelf class 11 VW shock.)

After that, I had John at Agile revalve them with their stiffest production setup (I think they call it V5) and they were astronomically better, nothing but good things to say! I'm not certain if this is the valving that Ramsey had originally come up with, or if it had John's secret sauce added to it.

I needed to replace the heims and change the fluid, and I had the time available anyway, so I decided to sprinkle my own shimstacks in there to further fine tune to my specific needs. I probably fall pretty far outside of the typical use of these vans and can't imagine that many people would want/need more valving than Agile's V5 (guys like Ridge and RedOval come to mind as exceptions.) I honestly would not recommend running as stiff of a stack as I put in there on only a 2" diameter shock for sustained high speed (offroad) use, but I'm familiar with the pros/cons and decided it was worth it for me to give it a try. Keep in mind, my van is 2wd (I-beams) so has quite a bit more leverage against the shock than a solid axle setup would, so valving is quite a bit heavier in comparison. My new setup seems to handle a more "spirited" pace offroad without beating the crap out of you on square edges/potholes, but the increase in spring rate/ride height/available bump travel all play a factor there too. It's just stiff enough to want to get on the throttle through typical whoops, instead of needing to immediately scrub off speed. Still far from what I'd run if the goal was to actually attempt to keep up with the motorcycles for longer distances, but it's about right for the occassional "oh $4!+!" whoop section or catching MINOR air at speed. I believe mine weighs ~7200lbs with 4 people, tools/spares, and a full tank.

I recall at least the first 4 shims all being .015", and I'm pretty sure I doubled up face shims too. I run a kinda unconventional 2 stage stack too that is firmer initially, but more digressive (hence the "more low speed, less high speed")... just something that has worked well for me on my motorcycles over the years.
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Old 10-18-2022, 01:48 PM   #3365
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I road-tested all the repairs and minor upgrades to my Ď96 EB (which were made over the past year and a half or so and which i hope to detail in a series of short posts here). So basically, I used it as intended! 3 day/2 night trip to the San Juan Islands with 2 dogs, wife, and teenager. Came up with a few more items for the ďvan to-doĒ list, of course. Stay tuned for those tooÖ
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Old 10-18-2022, 03:05 PM   #3366
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I replaced the screen assembly plate and the garnish trim on my Fantastic Vent Fan that had warped (https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...his-30724.html). Originally, Dometic refused to replace it under warranty (the fans have a 7 year warranty). But with pictures and persistence they finally consented to replacing the parts. A nice person in customer service who is a specialist with Fantastic Vents (she used to work for Attwood, the former manufacturer) went to bat for me. The garnish trim was sent immediately; the screen assembly took 8 weeks, but thatís another story. Super easy install from inside the van. Hereís what the old plate looked like after I removed itÖ. and the finished product.
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Old 10-19-2022, 06:05 AM   #3367
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
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Got stuck at my sonís NICA mountain bike race parking lot Mud was like grease. Even aired down with good AT tires and limited slip did nothing. Glad I finally reinstalled my front hitch a few weeks ago as it made getting yanked out by a Jeep easier (but no less humiliating). Also happy I had a good pull strap and air compressor to re-air after.
Some day we'll talk Brian in to a 4wd SMB. Just kidding, it might not have helped at all but it was low hanging fruit!

At least you were at a MTB race where everyone and everything is mud covered, and you likely had tons of help.

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Old 10-19-2022, 10:37 AM   #3368
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Some day we'll talk Brian in to a 4wd SMB. Just kidding, it might not have helped at all but it was low hanging fruit!

At least you were at a MTB race where everyone and everything is mud covered, and you likely had tons of help.


Hah! Yeah the thought crossed my mind. I think the issue actually was that I should have pressed the TCS disable button on the dash to turn off all the traction control and ABS stuff. I really couldnít figure out why I couldnít get unstuck and Iím pretty sure thatís why: the vanís systems weíre working against me. My 98 van didnít have that button so it didnít even occur to me at the time. But Iím pretty sure thatís it.

Note to everyone with RSC: learn from my mistake; if you get stuck in sand, snow, mud, etc., hold the TSC button down for 5 seconds to disable all the ďfeaturesĒ that make it hard to get yourself unstuck
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Old 10-25-2022, 12:11 PM   #3369
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I installed a new valve body from John Wood in my 4r100. Now the van shifts like it should have all along, quick and firm, but not harsh or neck snapping like some "shift kits" I've dealt with. So long as your trans pan has a drain plug, install takes less than an hour.

Next up on the list is swapping out my 4.56 gears and going to 5.13! That's a lot of gearing for 35" tires, but I need all the pulling power I can get being that I only have a 5.4. We've been driving around (empty) with overdrive off to see if the proposed cruising rpm's will be tolerable, and my wife and I agreed we can live with the trade offs. Now I just need to decide what brand of ring and pinion to order. I'm having a hard time finding genuine Spicer gears as my search keeps turning up their low priced (and seemingly lower quality based on their own description) SVL line of gears.
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Old 10-29-2022, 09:59 AM   #3370
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Found a set of junkyard seats with armrests for 45.00 each, and dropped them off at the upholstery shop for rebuilding.
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