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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in a process of selecting the right van for my future conversion.

One of the questions is factory windows or not. I like the open feel the all around windows create, and in addition, I understand that the Promaster in an all-windows trim offers a different suspension, which they call "Touring Suspension".

Touring Suspension
The four-wheel independent touring suspension consists of: a front short/long arm with high upper "A" arm, lateral and diagonal lower links, coil spring over gas-charged shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar; a five-link rear with coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, isolated suspension cradle and stabilizer bar. It is touring-tuned for a responsive feel and enhanced control.
HD Suspension
The heavy-duty suspension system consists of independent MacPherson struts, coil over gas-charged shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar with hydroformed steel perimeter cradle in the front and an independent twist-blade with coil springs and twin-tube shock absorbers with integrated rebound springs in the rear.
From reading the window vs. no-window van discussions on this forum, I understand that people prefer the Touring Suspension for its ride quality. I have a couple questions for the educated:

  • Is the ground clearance, or any other aspect of the intended use (campervanning) negatively affected by the Touring Suspension?
  • If I want to do a mild lift (I am thinking 1.5 inch from Van Compass) and install slightly larger A/T tires, will the Touring Suspension prevent me from doing that?

Thank you!
 

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You may want to figure out your campervan floorplan layout before deciding to go with a window van. Most of us who have windows decided to go with aftermarket so that we could get ones that open. I bought my van with no extra windows and installed 4 awning windows, and may add the rear windows some time in the distant future. It came out cheaper than getting the factory windows.

Having more windows means your van will be hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, since those areas usually won't get insulation, or very little in the form of insulated window shades.

The touring suspension looks like it's the same clearance height to me. I doubt they would lower it due to the long wheelbase even in the shortest model, but hopefully someone will confirm they've compared them in person. It comes with softer springs, but don't expect a Cadillac. I would go with aftermarket springs for custom spring rates all day.


The PM is going to always ride rough due to the tire load rating alone. You'll need to confirm whatever lift kit is compatible with the touring suspension, and also be aware lift kits usually cause problems in other areas, like tire wear, steering, and mpg. Be prepared to spend more money on other products to correct any potential issues.
 

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where did you source this info from?
View attachment 88281
I'm curious too. The A-arm description and 5 link rear sounds like it would be from the PMC

EDIT: nope, wrong guess. I thought the PMC might be rear wheel drive but they’re not. The 5 link rear is definitely from the Ram pickup trucks, which also offer a touring suspension. Promasters don’t use coil springs in the rear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You may want to figure out your campervan floorplan layout before deciding to go with a window van. Most of us who have windows decided to go with aftermarket so that we could get ones that open. I bought my van with no extra windows and installed 4 awning windows, and may add the rear windows some time in the distant future. It came out cheaper than getting the factory windows.

Having more windows means your van will be hotter in the summer and colder in the winter, since those areas usually won't get insulation, or very little in the form of insulated window shades.

The touring suspension looks like it's the same clearance height to me. I doubt they would lower it due to the long wheelbase even in the shortest model, but hopefully someone will confirm they've compared them in person. It comes with softer springs, but don't expect a Cadillac. I would go with aftermarket springs for custom spring rates all day.


The PM is going to always ride rough due to the tire load rating alone. You'll need to confirm whatever lift kit is compatible with the touring suspension, and also be aware lift kits usually cause problems in other areas, like tire wear, steering, and mpg. Be prepared to spend more money on other products to correct any potential issues.
Thank you for the insights.

Price-wise, a window van is $300 more than no-windows van. One aftermarket window costs more than all factory windows. I, however, agree that no-windows gives you a lot more flexibility. I am thinking if I find myself wishing there were no windows in the rear I could just tape Hushmat over the glass, cover it with Thinsulate and wall it off. But then I won't have the option of bunk windows. No opening either. Decisions, decisions...

After educating myself on the difference between MacPherson struts and a double wishbone suspensions, I guess that the Van Compass has been designed with the former type in mind. The double-A shock is probably shorter.
 

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Yeah that’s totally wrong.
Thank you for the insights.

Price-wise, a window van is $300 more than no-windows van. One aftermarket window costs more than all factory windows. I, however, agree that no-windows gives you a lot more flexibility. I am thinking if I find myself wishing there were no windows in the rear I could just tape Hushmat over the glass, cover it with Thinsulate and wall it off. But then I won't have the option of bunk windows. No opening either. Decisions, decisions...

After educating myself on the difference between MacPherson struts and a double wishbone suspensions, I guess that the Van Compass has been designed with the former type in mind. The double-A shock is probably shorter.
I think something is wrong with the Ram website.

The suspension description is wrong. 5-link rear suspensions are for rear wheel drive vehicles that have a solid rear axle and coil springs. The Promaster is front wheel drive and uses rear leaf springs instead with coil spring helpers/bump stops instead of traditional coil springs. And the window van is definitely not only $300 more. That’s crazy talk 😂. I think a single rear window is maybe that much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Yeah that’s totally wrong.


I think something is wrong with the Ram website.

The suspension description is wrong. 5-link rear suspensions are for rear wheel drive vehicles that have a solid rear axle and coil springs. The Promaster is front wheel drive and uses rear leaf springs instead with coil spring helpers/bump stops instead of traditional coil springs. And the window van is definitely not only $300 more. That’s crazy talk 😂. I think a single rear window is maybe that much.
You may be right. I looked at the OEM parts catalogs and only find parts for MacPherson suspension, and every PM I've seen had leaf springs in the back. I thought that maybe people are just not familiar with the Touring suspension because few choose the windows van.

Pricing -- the PM configurator shows $100 difference for the '22 models. On Costco Auto's page (they list the '23) the difference between window and non-window van is
$300. Again, I won't be surprised if dealer tells me differently.

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BTW, is there a Ordering Guide or something similar? Something that explains the options in some detail.
 

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I see what you mean though. The starting price appears to be a $100 difference.

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Really weird about the touring suspension. There’s no actual picture of it, but right next to it it shows a pic of the standard suspension. You can see the rear axle has leaf springs. A 5-link rear would have 4 control arms and a track bar attached to the axle.
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Here’s what a 5-link suspension looks like. This pic and article is for the Ram Trucks.
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Heck even the article isn’t accurate lol. 5 link and 4 link isn’t the same thing. It’s crazy talk everywhere!
 

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‘20 159 HT window van NH Seacoast
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I have a ‘20 window 159 van with the touring suspension. I really don’t see any mechanical difference between it and the ‘14 I had with HD suspension. It barely rides or handles any different, for that matter. I always figured it was different rear springs and shocks but I’m not even sure of that. My so called touring suspension is still way to stiff for my liking although part of that is most likely the Nexans they put on it which are identical to the ones on the regular HD suspension.
I love my factory window van and would buy one again in a second but they most definitely should come standard with opening windows! I did consider replacing the side rear side windows with awning windows but never did get around to it. I would definitely suggest replacing the two rear door windows with opening ones for better air flow ventilation and may do it some day. I don’t remember any extra cost for the touring suspension it was standard on the window van whereas the HD suspension was a bit more as I recall.
 

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The rear is the last place I would put opening windows because it gets so dirty back there. The smooth sheet of glass is easily cleaned with the windshield wand at the gas pump. IMHO, the first place for opening windows is rear sides for ventilation over the bed. Second is behind the driver over the bed—we use that slider as a pass-through. We rarely open the window in the slider.
 

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‘20 159 HT window van NH Seacoast
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Yes but if you want to get the hot air out fast the rear doors are the way to go but I’m talking these rear windows mainly (on the 159)
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Yeah, I suspect that description of touring suspension was a cut-n-paste mistake. I can't see them making that may major mods to the chassis for the handful of window PMs they sell.

On the subject of windows, they are great, but most need to open. Our old Ford E350 window-van came with four awning windows, including the back doors and slider, the rest were fixed. However, we found opening the backdoor windows while driving sucked in exhaust and dust. We got a PM without windows and installed opening windows ourselves, as did @MsNomer and many others. Sounds scary, but it's really not that bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have you guys seen the Van Windows Direct awning style windows? I think they are a new offering. Look like OEM replacement but with a cutout. Even include screen (not shade though)

 

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Wondering why there is so little info (but plenty of mis-info) on the various PM suspensions. The Monroney sticker on my 118 states "Light Duty Suspension" yet has slightly greater weight capacity than the 136 or 159 because being shorter - the GVW starts lower. Can't find any description of what Light Duty actually means. Checking online I've seen mention of Light, Medium and Heavy Duty, plus Touring suspensions, but little actual specifics other than a torsion bar being standard on the HD, which might be the only real difference?

It's all looking like marketing hype around nearly identical setups that reminds me of this old Wendy's commercial.

 

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Yes but if you want to get the hot air out fast the rear doors are the way to go but I’m talking these rear windows mainly (on the 159)
View attachment 88291
Hey KOV, I was half way expecting to see the resident bear standing on your deck railing in the window reflection 😜
 

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Have you guys seen the Van Windows Direct awning style windows? I think they are a new offering. Look like OEM replacement but with a cutout. Even include screen (not shade though)

At first glance those look good to me as they seem to have multi-point locking hardware (red knobs). If so this will help with ensuring "no highway whistle" & also a tight weather seal.
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I have only used CRL "non-vent" sliding door windows, as the auto dealer I purchase them from told me about the "highway whistle" issue with their awnings type (per photo below). I have since studied CRL vented windows when I see them on a road trip & I do not like the awning on the CRL (as always YMMV). I really like the non-opener (single piece of glass) CRL pax slider door window.

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