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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey All,

I recently did a complete suspension upgrade Using the new Koni-VB Air suspension upgrade kit designed for the Ducato/Promaster. In addition to the Koni/VB system I also installed Boss air bags with compressor.

https://www.vbairsuspension.com/en/news/2485/no-need-to-choose-between-comfort-and-stability.html
http://www.koni.com/en-US/News-Events/News-Releases/New-product-release-FSD-for-Fiat-Ducato-camper/

I've been following the threads covering: shocks/struts, front lift kits, front end rattle, upsizing tires, tire pressure, etc. and I could not decide where to post this as it covers all of the above issues, so I thought I'd start a new one looking at it as a complete system.

This is a bit lame, but I've run out of time after messing around with these pictures, so I will follow up shortly with a description and the reasons I scrapped most (still have both leaf spring) of my PM suspension.











http://tinypic.com/m/k2mryv/2




 

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Thanks for sharing!

I'm interested you chose a Boss air system rather than the full VB - cost difference?

Also, unrelated, I'm interested in the front cowl you have over the roof ahead of the solar panels - what's the architecture for that?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for sharing!

I'm interested you chose a Boss air system rather than the full VB - cost difference?

Also, unrelated, I'm interested in the front cowl you have over the roof ahead of the solar panels - what's the architecture for that?
Wow Ok, there it is the first pull on the thread); If you are like me you can’t resist pulling on it, but I know I should just cut and move on.

This van build has just been one massive spool of thread that never finishes the spindle. You pull and pull and it never ends. Have you ever thrown a spool of thread out a car window? My siblings and I used to ferret spools from my Moms sewing kit chuck them out the window of our 57 cheve, hold onto the end and watch it bounce down the road catching in other cars!! Ah oh please make sure not to wrap that thread around your finger);

So where to start, Ok maybe answer the questions, chose the Boss air bags over the VB 2C full air suspension because:

1) Total lack of support on the west coast and I mean less than zero! VB is very focused on building their dealer network and working with the manufactures to supply full air on factory orders etc. (same as in Europe) So retail support is slow to materialize. The exception would be close to their head office with Advanced RV leading the charge with a super responsive team with a lot of installation completed on the Sprinter.

2) Big risk for me as the 2C Full Air scraps the leaf springs for a trailing arm and an air bag, mind you its a very sturdy commercial bag but, I just could not justify the risk of blowing a bag on a remote road and be left with know suspension and no support.

3) The set up/height adjustment on the ride height on the rear bags is fixed. VB sets the sensors and that’s it. No messing around with, ride height or air pressure.

4) And yes cost is at the upper end, if it does not meet your needs it’s a lot to spend

5) Boss air bags and or any brand of air bags are super simple devices and they are all very cost effective for what they do, supplement your existing suspension with adjustability. Just don’t expect a nirvana in soft ride. They really are like having an adjustable leaf spring. I chose Boss over others as I thought they were at the top of the range in durability (think off road tested) simplicity and best value for my deflated Canuck buck.

Front cowl, cool, now I have a name for it); I never knew what to call it, I’d say things like air deflector thingy or………….. No seriously the ram air inducer foil thingy is a total DIY monster, but it works super well to fix a problem I created by putting all that crap on the roof. Hmmmm…. wonder why my PM is so heavy....... The “Front Cowl” is made of glass, carbon, and Nomex. I made a mold and had my buddy Robert at Robert’s Composites do the final fairing on my mold. Robert did the composite layup and the paint. The Cowling thingy is attached to a DIY roof rack that all the stuff on the roof is attached to. It’s a thread in of itself, not sure if its worth pulling on.







 

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2018 159 High Roof gas, BC, Canada
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Nice work, Dave.

Is your cowl to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel economy? If so, how well has it worked?

If I was going to do solar, I was contemplating some kind of fairing too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nice work, Dave.

Is your cowl to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel economy? If so, how well has it worked?

If I was going to do solar, I was contemplating some kind of fairing too.
It was all about noise caused by wind resistants and in this regard the cowling was completely successful. Before cowling the roof noise was really bad, now dead silent. sorry, I have not been tracking fuel economy so I can't comment.
 

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Thanks for the additional details on the Boss airbags, that's helpful. I didn't realize the VB bags were fixed height - with the weight of my build I think something like you've done makes more sense for me.

For your cowl / wind fairing, I found your tinypic album. The pictures are very helpful understanding what you did, thanks! http://tinypic.com/useralbum.php?ua=QnrDhDRffRK78xWcHmcG0oh4l5k2TGxc
 

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Really awesome looking set up, thanks for posting. Can we get a review, how has the ride changed? Konis literature says a decrease in cabin noise at the front, what do you think? And who did you use to order the koni stuff? Last Q did the front ride height change? It looks a little taller.
 

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I put the Boss bags on 3 years ago. They really only act like adjustable springs. I regret spending the money on them actually and if I had to do it again I wouldn’t bother.. the air lines are also very difficult to seal. Mine are fine in warm weather but as soon as the ambient temps go below 34° - 40° f I have to pump them up every morning - a real PITA! I’ve replace all the fittings with compression ones, etc, etc but still nothing but trouble as far as I’m concerned. I may even remove them and put the helper springs back in.



Sorry I don’t have better photos.
 

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I can't believe more people aren't interested in this stuff. Especially the konis up front, I think that's where these vans need some help. How do you feel about that strut setup? Does it do as claimed and improve the ride and feel? And is there a difference in the ride height with those springs? Really cool set up, all it needs is trailing arms in the rear and air bag springs on the front struts so you could air it down close to the ground when parked, like a coach bus.
 

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I can't believe more people aren't interested in this stuff.
We're still wondering what's supposed to be wrong with the stock PM's ride and handling.
You think these vans ride good? They are way to stiff unless maybe you have a huge load. Especially over rough surfaces. Putting the tires down to 55 psi does make a huge difference. I bet the people that have owned sprinters and pms can tell us if an improvement is possible.
 

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Yea, these vans out of the box ride like ****. There's a number of possible improvements:

1) For the 2500/3500 put on the 1500 main spring in the back. It'll really help with the jarring ride

2) Get real tires vs the garbage that comes with them, and put them at a normal PSI. I've got some Cooper AT/X at 45psi

3) Real shocks. I just put on the same Konis that the OP has and they are beyond awesome. I've raised the front and rear 1" via spacers which works well with the bigger tires from step 2. The ride is much much more controlled. The wheels no longer bounce undampened on washboard roads, and the van is a lot more controlled in corners. Big improvement.
 

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Yea, these vans out of the box ride like ****. There's a number of possible improvements:

1) For the 2500/3500 put on the 1500 main spring in the back. It'll really help with the jarring ride

2) Get real tires vs the garbage that comes with them, and put them at a normal PSI. I've got some Cooper AT/X at 45psi

3) Real shocks. I just put on the same Konis that the OP has and they are beyond awesome. I've raised the front and rear 1" via spacers which works well with the bigger tires from step 2. The ride is much much more controlled. The wheels no longer bounce undampened on washboard roads, and the van is a lot more controlled in corners. Big improvement.
Thanks for that post, answers some questions. Can you tell me what spring you used in the front? Stock still?
 

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Yup, stock. The OEM front springs seem to be ok. The issue is the damping, as when you hit a bump, the whole thing oscillates and just sucks.
 

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The front struts are fine as far as I’m concerned but the rear springs are just too stiff on the 159! The airbags do nothing at all to improve the ride they just enable you to vary the rear height.
 

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Yea, these vans out of the box ride like ****. There's a number of possible improvements:

1) For the 2500/3500 put on the 1500 main spring in the back. It'll really help with the jarring ride

2) Get real tires vs the garbage that comes with them, and put them at a normal PSI. I've got some Cooper AT/X at 45psi

3) Real shocks. I just put on the same Konis that the OP has and they are beyond awesome. I've raised the front and rear 1" via spacers which works well with the bigger tires from step 2. The ride is much much more controlled. The wheels no longer bounce undampened on washboard roads, and the van is a lot more controlled in corners. Big improvement.
Thanks for the info

Where did you get the Koni shocks? I don't see them available in the US

Also, how to tell whether to get the 8205-1006 vs 8205-1008 for the rear shocks? I have a PM 3500
 

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I put the Boss bags on 3 years ago. They really only act like adjustable springs. I regret spending the money on them actually and if I had to do it again I wouldn’t bother.. the air lines are also very difficult to seal. Mine are fine in warm weather but as soon as the ambient temps go below 34° - 40° f I have to pump them up every morning - a real PITA! I’ve replace all the fittings with compression ones, etc, etc but still nothing but trouble as far as I’m concerned. I may even remove them and put the helper springs back in.



Sorry I don’t have better photos.
Very likely the coldest air (first thing in the morning) is condensing/losing volume - Just like an inflatable boat. When the temp goes up, so should the air pressure.
I wouldn't go without air helper springs.
 

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Thank you all for your inputs!

Removed a few psi from tires already. 60+psi for an empty tin can seems excessive.. Will probably get kuni's and sumos also.

I've purchased my PM during snow season in Quebec and didn't notice these "driving characteristics" until recently driving on logging roads and country roads after the snow went away in late spring.

Previously had a NV200. It had small shopping cart wheels but still I could comfortably drive 80kph on whashboard logging roads.. Now even with such bigger wheels, doing 40kph feels scary and mostly like shooting with a rifle instead of gently holding on to the wheel. Totally going off track during turns, like front wheels not in contact with ground anymore. :rolleyes:
 
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