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Old 07-15-2016, 11:30 PM   #21
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Model: Axis 24.1
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
I'm not judging anyone here -- what's important is that we are happy with our motorhomes.

I'm not a big believer in following others' "upgrades" because we have such different needs and preferences. One person's upgrade can be another's mistake.

As a simple example, think of one driver who likes a soft cushy suspension like old Cadillacs, and another that prefers a stiff sports-car-like suspension. If you started out in the middle with a suspension that is "average" in stiffness so it appeals to more people (let's call it factory tune) then "upgrading" in either direction will make one driver happy and the other less so.

In my opinion suspension tuning is all about compromise, and when you "upgrade" one area I'm pretty sure you will take a step backwards in another. Unfortunately many owners address only one issue and disregard the negative impact fixing that one issue has on other characteristics, yet they claim success. Yeah, it's success to them but it may not be to others.

No doubt stiffer springs and or sway bars will reduce body roll, but what else are you sacrificing for that upgrade? And is it worth it to you rather than going by what others like?

Just saying nothing is that black and white when making modifications.
Thanks Chance. I'm looking for experienced feedback on the air bags. I appreciate your opinion tho. I don't see it the same as you :-) I do value input from other senior experiences and they have helped me make a decision on the mods I'm personally interested in. At least it's my money I'm spending lol!

Happy trails!
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:40 PM   #22
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Back to the original post - my modifications to my 2015 Vegas - after about 5000 miles I am still very happy with it - goes down the road much straighter than it did, and is not deflected by crosswinds and passing trucks. I would certainly spend the $1K or so again. Only thing I would change from my original assessment is : as the Bilstein shocks break in the ride is greatly improving. Some shocks have a lot of friction when they are new - not usually a problem with a Bilsteins - but apparently is with these. Judging by the shocks today, I would not use the " comfort " shocks.

My wife is much more comfortable driving it, and I get more nap time

Coupled with all the noise reduction work I have done, I'm really starting to like this Vegas ! If only Thor had done more development work on it... But I do think they have been making improvements on the newer ones....
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Old 12-11-2016, 12:58 PM   #23
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Stan,

I went back and re-read your initial entry and I have a couple of questions.
Is there a down side to having 8 degrees of Caster?
You listed the results, biggest to least, as: alignment, front bar, rear bar then shocks. Is that still your rating?

Doc
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Old 12-11-2016, 02:45 PM   #24
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Hi,Doc. Only down side is steering effort goes up - not a problem when you have power steering, and in fact helps steering feel on our chassis.

If you study suspension geometry, the caster angle causes the wheel to push up the vehicle as the wheel turns - therefore increasing caster increases the force ( gravity ) trying to keep the wheel straight. ( hope that makes sense - a rather complicated subject ) . Early cars, before power steering but with light front ends, used a lot of caster - old solid axle Fords used about 7 degrees. As cars got heavier, caster angles got smaller to keep steering effort manageable. But power steering allows higher angles with acceptable effort.
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Old 12-11-2016, 11:18 PM   #25
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Stan,

Thanks. Looks like a project at the next oil change. My mechanic has just finished transfering to a new shop as supervisor, it is a shop that handles Big Rigs and RV's as well as cars.

Doc
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:39 AM   #26
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You won't regret it, Doc. Let me know if you need any other info. Stan
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:33 PM   #27
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How do you change rear passenger shock, new to forum ,any secrets to get to top of rear shock on axis. Any help greatly appreciated
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:08 PM   #28
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How do you change rear passenger shock, new to forum ,any secrets to get to top of rear shock on axis. Any help greatly appreciated
Might want to start a separate thread.
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Old 12-18-2019, 01:16 PM   #29
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what would you recommend me telling alignment guy at truck alignment shop
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:25 AM   #30
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Decided to really get into improving my Vegas - getting much better down-the-road stability and less deflection due to passing vehicles and wind. I regularly haul a car trailer and hot rod/race car - near 5000 lbs load - which doesn't help the stability.

First, of course, was a good alignment at a real truck alignment shop - not the local tire shop. I installed adjustable alignment bushings in the front end set for maximum caster - we were able to get about 8 degrees - which really helped steering centering and " valley feel" . Steering effort is also increased a little- a good thing to me.

Next - larger Hellwig bars front and rear . Front #7008 ( 1 3/8 inch replacing about 7/8 ), 7182 rear ( 1 1/2 repel about 1 1/8).

Next - front( 33-187570) and rear ( 33-176857 ) Bilstein shocks. From much experience developing GM cars and personal race cars, I swear by Bilsteins - for performance and durability. They offer two grades of shocks for E350/450 chassis - "comfort" ( they say you can use for motorhomes under 30 ft ) , and " heavy duty" . Of course - I used the heavy duty on my Vegas - believing in overkill. Comfort may have been a better choice, as you can feel an increase in harshness on our great Michigan roads....

Overall, the Vegas is now a great handling vehicle ! Winds deflect it very little, and even big trucks barely deflect it. I am very happy with the improvement, and the wife is now much more comfortable driving it ( which means more nap time ..... )

Some may ask why I did not add an aftermarket steering stabilizer ( Vegas has one from the factory). I tend to look at steering stabilizers as " band aids" to cover poor stability in the suspension by introducing artificial friction and centering - generally numbing steering feel. I prefer to solve the issues by improving the suspension.

I did each change sequentially. I would rate the changes biggest to least: alignment, front bar, rear bar, shocks. But as a package the results are spectacular. And "only" about $1000....
Should not the alignment be done last, after completing the suspension upgrades?
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:28 AM   #31
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Should not the alignment be done last, after completing the suspension upgrades?
Good question. This is the order of my Vegas handling mods...
1) front & rear Helwig anti sways bars (also added the more robust Moog end-links on the fronts)
2) front & rear SUMO Springs
3) Bilstein steering damper
4) alignment
5) Airlift 1000 front air springs

1, 2, and 5 only limit rocking and sway. So not sure if that effects alignment
3 might have effected alignment, but itís essentially a more sturdy ďplug Ďn playĒ unit that replaces the whimpy Ford stock OEM steering damper

So, in conclusion, Iím not sure that alignment always must be performed last.

But, Iím willing to hear other opinions.
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:56 PM   #32
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You might find that you donít need to do anything else at all after the alignment.
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Old 01-01-2020, 09:22 PM   #33
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You might find that you donít need to do anything else at all after the alignment.
I have driven a Vegas and Axis a total of over 50,000 miles in the last six years, including to Alaska and back, and have never felt the need to do anything more than an alignment.
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