Monthly Archives: June 2012

Some info about shocks

Upscale Automotive / The Sprinter Store is known as being one of the most knowledgeable shops when it comes to Sprinters. Here are the owner’s thoughts on shocks for our vans, originally posted to the sprintervan Yahoo! group:

We sell 5 lines of shocks and 4 lines of struts for the T1N and the NCV3 Sprinters. My take on them is as follows:

Koni shocks and struts; whether you own an RV or a passenger van, Koni is one of your best choices. The adjustability allows you/us to tune the suspension to your needs. In the stock setting you get a firm and controlled ride that is far better than factory. Adjusting them up allows you to compensate for weight or other factors depending you your situation. It is our policy to discuss your needs and set the Konis for you before we send them out. Konis in their stock setting is a definite step above the factory equivalent. Koni carries a lifetime warranty and we have only ever seen 2 or 3 fail. Back in 03, I helped Koni and IPD sort out what product to begin selling in the States. Those original Koni shocks and struts are still on my 03 140″ 2500SHC cargo van and are still performing like new. FWIW, the Koni people are fantastic to work with.

Bilstein shocks and struts; again whether you own an RV or a passenger van, these are one of your best choices. The Bilstein product is not adjustable. They offer a firm ride and excellent performance. I would compare the Bilstein valving to the Konis set at about ¼ to 1/3 and the ride/performance would be a step above the Koni set in the stock position. Bilstein is an excellent product and they have their place in the market. FWIW, the Bilstein people are butt heads to work with (I’m being kind). But, they do have an excellent product and I really like it.

KYB shocks and struts; their products would be considered a factory equivalent. They offer factory type ride and performance. The pricing and quality are very good and they would be a good choice if performance were not a consideration.

Monroe shocks and struts; again their products would be considered a factory equivalent. They are close to factory ride and performance. The pricing is good and they would be a good choice if cost were the consideration.

Meyle shocks; they are considered a factory equivalent and offer the equivalent ride. The pricing is good and they would be a good choice if cost were the consideration.

Needless to say we don’t sell many of the KYB, Monroe or Meyle products, usually only to fleet customers. BTW, 3 of my 4 Sprinters have Konis on them. The 4th, our 4wd Sprinter conversion, is a completely different story!

As far as sway bars go, they do make a definite improvement and are worth the investment. We sell both Roadmaster and Hellwig depending on the application. Both companies worked with us on design and trouble shooting aspects of their products. Many of the Roadmaster bars were designed off my Sprinters or models we provided. Our 4wd Sprinter uses a Roadmaster bar that we designed specifically for it. Both are excellent companies and fantastic to work with. BTW, if I owned a 3500 Sprinter based RV (Class C or B), I would install the auxiliary sway bar kit. The difference is significant, more so than just up-grading the factory bar. If you really wanted to go up town, you’d install the Glide Rite rear quad air bag system…it’s just plain awesome!!

Some one made a comment in a prior post about a conversation with Koni management and something happening this fall. If I were a bettin’ man (and I am in this case), I would be looking forward to football season! I’m not sure this is the info you are looking for but I hope it helps.

Thank you, John
Sprinter Store
A division of Upscale Automotive, Inc.
19460 SW 89th Ave.
Tualatin, OR 97062

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Black water update; new shocks

Our first camping trip of the year came before the black water system was complete. My wife was positive we’d be just fine using the campground toilets; I waited until she’d stood in line for the pit toilet to bring out the Luggable Loo I’d bought instead 🙂 I’ve never been such a champion thanks to a 5 gallon pail and a garbage bag!!

The reason the toilet wasn’t put back together was that the holding tank manufacturer had sent me a tank with the fittings in the wrong place. I’d specified that the bottom outlet be about 2.5″ from the edge; apparently 3″ is as close as they can make it, but they didn’t give me a chance to move the top outlet to compensate. I bought the tank through Marine Sanitation in Seattle – Marine Sanitation took the tank back with no hassle, and ordered me another one right away. That one arrived yesterday, with fittings in the right position, but with the bottom of the tank so bowed that the fitting was on a 30 degree angle. Marine Sanitation took that one back too, and hopefully the next one will get it right. I’ll put up an updated fitting drawing soon for anyone who’s interested. Full credit to marinesan for taking care of their customers.

The electric slide valves didn’t work out either. It turns out that they need to be installed vertically, and they’re HUGE! So there’s no way they’ll fit under the van without dropping the plumbing ridiculously low. They went back as well, replaced with good ol’ Valterra slide valves with a cable pull. Amazing that there’s not a better product out there by now.

Finally for today, I have a new set of Koni Reds to install. The rears have arrived, while the fronts are backordered until the end of June. has the best price I could find; use code ‘5offFive’ to get 5% off, for a total price of $533.52 shipped.

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