Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
 

Go Back   Thor Forums > Thor Tech Forums > Modifications and Updates
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-01-2022, 12:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
Magnitude SV34 Suspension Upgrade

With a planned trip to Alaska next year and reading about how bad the roads can be in places and roads just getting worse in general, I decided to upgrade the suspension on my '20 Magnitude SV34 for a better ride and handling.

The stock F-550 Super C ride and handling is far superior to the E-450 Class C but there is certainly room for improvement.

I did install front and rear Sumo Springs two years ago because they are a relatively easy way to improve the ride and handling.... and they did help. But now at 20,000 miles I decided to upgrade the shocks and rear sway bar.

My shock choice was between Bilstein B6 4600 shocks or Rancho RS9000XL. After doing some research and reading several reviews I opted for the Rancho RS9000XL shocks. The main reason is they are easily adjustable with 9 different changes in ride performance. The next reason was the much larger size of the shock body.... 2.75" for the Ranchos vs 2.25" for the stock shocks.... resulting in increased fluid capacity and a larger piston.

After measuring the stock sway bars I was very surprised to see the front sway bay was larger than the rear sway bar. I felt this was a problem because most of the weight and the height was on the rear suspension. The front sway bar was 1.5" but the rear sway bar was only 1.25".

I decided that the stock front sway bar was good enough and not worth changing out but I felt that changing the rear sway bar would make a difference.

My sway bar choices were a Hellwig sway bar that was 1.375" or two different Roadmaster sway bars that were 1.5". I ruled the Hellwig out right away because it was smaller and they only make them to order now for the F-550 and the lead times were 8 - 12 weeks.

Roadmaster makes two different 1.5" sway bars for the F-550. They offer one that specifically says it is specially heat treated and specifically designed for bed campers or heavy hauling... but it is more than $300 more than the other F-550 sway bar they offer. I opted for the less expensive option (which was still $570 after a discount at eTrailer) because I felt like just increasing the bar size by 1/4" would be a substantial improvement over the stock bar.

Here are some pics of the shocks and sway bars so you can see the differences in size as well as the results after a couple test drives.

__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2022, 12:08 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
You can easily see the difference in size of the shocks laying side-by-side. You can also see the 9-position adjustment knob on the Rancho’s as well as the protective boot.

It took about 2-hours to change out all four shocks and after the installation I could see it would be easy to access the adjustment knob to make an adjustment. Not that I would be constantly changing the adjustment but it would make it easy to dial in the ride I wanted by just pulling into a rest stop and making a quick change.

I started off at a setting of 6 per the chart below and after taking it out for a test ride, I felt there was a noticeable improvement to the ride quality. Driving over bridge transitions and rougher rides was smoother with fewer rattles.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2022-07-01 at 7.01.12 AM.jpg
Views:	19
Size:	98.5 KB
ID:	38435   Click image for larger version

Name:	Screen Shot 2022-07-01 at 7.13.18 AM.jpg
Views:	17
Size:	41.7 KB
ID:	38436  

__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2022, 12:09 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
You can also see the difference in the size of the sway bars laying side-by-side. The Roadmaster sway bar is heavier and beefier compared to the stock bar. I didn’t take a picture of the Roadmaster links but they were also much larger in diameter. It was easy to see how the Roadmaster sway bar would help with the torsional forces the back of the coach places on the rear suspension.

It took about an hour to swap out the rear sway bar. The hardest part was removing the driver’s side link where it mounted to the frame rail. The rear fuel tank and top of the rear shock was blocking some of the access to the nut. On top of that there was quite a bit of wiring running around the nut through the frame rail. I had to remove the rear driver’s side shock again and then cut some zip ties to move the wiring around. The it took a couple tries with different socket and wrench combinations to find the right one to loosen the nut.

Ford didn’t make it easy removing the two bolts going through the bushings on each link. One side was threaded with a nut and the other side was just flat round metal. I had to use vise grips clamped to the round metal at the end of the stud to keep it from spinning while I removed the nuts. The Roadmaster links comes with heavy duty bolt so they were much easier to install.

After taking a test drive with the new rear sway bar installed, I could immediately tell the difference when I made my first 90-degree turn. When I would make a left (or right) with the stock sway bar, the coach would sway right… then left…. then right… and back to center. With the Roadmaster sway bar there was very little left and right movement making the 90-degree turns. My wife even commented before I said anything that the coach was not rocking back and forth after making a couple 90-degree turns.

On the interstate, I would get some movement when passed by large 18-wheelers but I felt almost no movement when being passed. I was hoping it would be a little windy out during the test drive but the winds were relatively light. Given the changes I noticed I am sure it will do well in high winds.

I did back the rear shocks down one setting from 6 to 5 since the sway bar would likely stiffen the ride a little bit. I may make a few changes in the shock adjustments just to see the differences but at the moment i think I am going to stick with a setting of 6 on the front shocks and 5 on the rear shocks based on my test drives.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5725.jpg
Views:	20
Size:	162.7 KB
ID:	38437   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5727.jpg
Views:	18
Size:	146.0 KB
ID:	38438  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5726.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	138.0 KB
ID:	38439  
__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2022, 12:31 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Pillbox's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: California
Posts: 309
THOR #24260
Chris,
Great choice on the shocks. I did the bilsteins, I like them BUT just a little stiff.
I will wait for more updates, but, I’m pretty sure I will do the rear sway bar as you.
Thanks,
Terry
Ps. Cali is on your way to Alaska. Got plenty of room and power.
__________________
Terry and Geri
2017 Four Winds 35SD
2020 Grand Cherokee Toad
Semper Fi
Pillbox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2022, 12:44 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
ducksface's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2018 24.1 AXISSIXxSIX
State: Arizona
Posts: 5,218
THOR #13932
Finally,
A post with shock specifics instead of the
Buy the name
Type posts.


Thank you.
This is the only worthwhile shock absorber post in three years.

Based on your review and their adjustability, I'll buy similar when it's time.
__________________
Below is a link to most of my modifications either accomplished or pending.
https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...n-18996-3.html

Click on my pictures then click the pop-up for a full screen zoomable picture.
ducksface is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2022, 11:10 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
Finally,
A post with shock specifics instead of the
Buy the name
Type posts.


Thank you.
This is the only worthwhile shock absorber post in three years.

Based on your review and their adjustability, I'll buy similar when it's time.
Thanks Duck!

So far.... I think they have been worth the money. They look and feel beefier and the adjustability is a great feature. They also have a lifetime warranty.
__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2022, 11:16 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pillbox View Post
Chris,
Great choice on the shocks. I did the bilsteins, I like them BUT just a little stiff.
I will wait for more updates, but, I’m pretty sure I will do the rear sway bar as you.
Thanks,
Terry
Ps. Cali is on your way to Alaska. Got plenty of room and power.



We have Cali and the west coast on our list of trips. We have two plans for it...

- We head there in early May in 2024 before fire season starts

Or

- We head there in early May in 2023 on our way to Alaska. We have to be in Washington State by June 17th.

Given diesel prices, it may not be a bad idea to tie it into next year's trip. Plus it would lessen the wear and tear on another drive across the country.

I'll keep you posted!


I do think the sway bar is a worthy upgrade. The Hellwig bar is only about $350 but I think the extra 1/8" in size of the Roadmaster is worth it. I have been relatively happy with the F-550.... especially after owning a Class C on the E-450..... but the stock bar is just undersized for the weight and height of a Super C box. There is a noticeable reduction in the back and forth sway making hard turns and very little movement now at highway speeds in windy conditions and when the big rigs go blowing by.

I think the front sway bar is large enough at 1 1/2" and its not worth the money to change it out. Although Roadmaster does offer a front sway bar that is 1 3/4". I could see needing that if you had something like a snowplow hanging off the front of the coach.
__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2022, 06:02 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Magnitude SV34
State: New York
Posts: 125
THOR #20809
Judge, was wondering if you looked at the Road Master front axel stabilizer?

https://www.etrailer.com/Anti-Sway-B...-TRACW-22.html

not sure if they have one specific to our vehicle but they seem to get decent reviews on eliminating front end wander and the coaches tendency to catch ruts (mine at least). I dislike how easily my coach gets pulled into every seam and rut on the 95. Its a constant and fatiguing battle.
__________________
LarryD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2022, 06:42 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Judge's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2020 Magnitude SV34
State: Florida
Posts: 3,341
THOR #12751
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryD View Post
Judge, was wondering if you looked at the Road Master front axel stabilizer?

https://www.etrailer.com/Anti-Sway-B...-TRACW-22.html

not sure if they have one specific to our vehicle but they seem to get decent reviews on eliminating front end wander and the coaches tendency to catch ruts (mine at least). I dislike how easily my coach gets pulled into every seam and rut on the 95. Its a constant and fatiguing battle.

Based on the Roadmaster Fitment information that I looked at the TruTrac Front-Axle Trac Rod was not available for the F-550.

I did install a Bilstein Steering Stabilizer to replace the stock one last year before I had the alignment checked. It was plug and play fairly inexpensive.

With the adjustable shocks and upgraded rear sway bar, I'm pretty happy with the handling the couple times I have been out with it.
__________________
Judge is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Thor Industries or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.




All times are GMT. The time now is 09:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2