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Old 09-30-2020, 05:16 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Vegas 24.1
State: Washington
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THOR #10717
Thor vegas 24.1 suspension modifications- comprehensive comparison

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to share my experience with a staged upgrade approach for my thor vegas 24.1. In short, the sumo springs + hellwig sway bars (front and rear), and billstein steering stabilizers are all a huge safety improvement for driving my Thor. I wish there was an option to have these pre-installed.
I drove about 5000 miles without any of these options.
First upgrade was the front sumo springs and then the rear sumo springs. These helped with preventing the RV from bouncing over bumps and swaying in turns. Used for about 4000 miles like this.
I then added the billstein steering stabilizer- helped with keeping the RV going straight over bumps and prevented the jerking in cross winds. Used about 1000 miles like this.
I then have only replaced the front sway bar so far and its been another huge improvement. It helps prevent the RV from swaying in cross winds and also when 18 wheelers pass. I have not yet installed the rear sway bar. Used about 400 miles like this so far.
Anyways- if someone is contemplating weather or not to make these upgrades i believe its well worth it and is a safety improvement well worth spending.

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Old 10-01-2020, 06:38 PM   #2
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Model: 2017 Axis 25.4
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Thanks for the info.

I did something simular with my Axis (No sumo springs yet). Im very pleased with the results but still thinking about adding Sumo's since they are easy to install and I hope they would offer addtional sway control plus elimate the harshness of the OEM bump stop on large bumps.
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2017 Axis / 25.4: Big Foot Levelers, Aims 1200 Watt inverter, Ceramic Window Tint, Full River AGM 6V batteries, Front Hellwig Sway bar / Rear Track Arm, Safe T Plus Steering Stabilizer, PD 4655 converter, Hard Wired Surge Guard, WEboost + WiFi Ranger, LED Headlights/Driving lights, TPMS, Surge tank, Tornado flush, Viair Compressor
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:25 PM   #3
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THOR #10220
2017 Thor Vegas 25.4 on an E450 chassis

I too am contemplating suspension upgrades on my Rig this coming Spring. I already have a Roadmaster Steering stabilizer which has improved drivability and less “white knuckle” drives. I am looking at Front and rear Roadmaster sway bars and front and rear Sumo Springs. I would love to hear from anyone who has done these upgrades to a similar Thor Vegas on the E450 chassis. Ray
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Old 12-15-2020, 04:39 PM   #4
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THOR #10717
I have the hellwig sway bars so I can only comment on them and not the roadmaster. they are a lot less expensive for sure. They perform great, and were fairly easy to install so I am happy with them. I am not sure the additional cost is warranted for the roadmaster sway bar.
I did recently upgrade the shocks to the bilstein HD front and rear. It was well worth it. I found a great black friday deal on them which helped. So if you want, i would suggest to just get the helwig sway bars and use that extra money on new shocks. The ford shocks were shot after 20k miles. 2 of the 4 never rebounded when compressed, unlike the bilstein shocks. The RV now handles more like a large pickup truck vs. a school bus.
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Old 12-15-2020, 05:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for Your input

I will look at the Hellwig swaybars. The plan for the Sumo Springs is just a plan. I will look at new Bilstein shocks as well. Any other input from other members is also welcome.
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Old 12-15-2020, 05:03 PM   #6
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THOR #13362
I DIY installed the following in this order...
- Helwig sway front & rear
- SUMO front and rear
- Bilstein Steering Damper
- AirLift 1000 air springs front

The AirLift 1000 air springs (placed inside the coil springs) raised the front end about 1” when inflated to 50#. And, in doing so... the front SUMO’s no longer touch the front crossmember, thus not really offering any support while RV is driven straight

Also, I needed to add a spacer between the rear SUMO and frame in order for them to provide support.

My rig has nearly 20,000 miles so my next mod will be the Bilstein shocks.
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post
I DIY installed the following in this order...
- Helwig sway front & rear
- SUMO front and rear
- Bilstein Steering Damper
- AirLift 1000 air springs front

The AirLift 1000 air springs (placed inside the coil springs) raised the front end about 1” when inflated to 50#. And, in doing so... the front SUMO’s no longer touch the front crossmember, thus not really offering any support while RV is driven straight

Also, I needed to add a spacer between the rear SUMO and frame in order for them to provide support.

My rig has nearly 20,000 miles so my next mod will be the Bilstein shocks.
Why did you get the airlift air springs?
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Old 12-17-2020, 04:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gte534j View Post
Why did you get the airlift air springs?
Overall...I wasn't happy with the SUMO's
My intension was to keep the front-end supported (which they do)
But, the SUMO's made the front ride stiffer than when without.
And, since I already had limited side-to-side sway with the Helwig sway bars, the SUMO's didn't perform as I had expected.

If I had known then what I know now.....

Adding the Air Lift 1000 bags really made the difference for me.
The air bags raised the front end about an inch without adding an expensive lift package.
Plus, the air bags cost was under $100 (vs I spent $156 for the front SUMO's + $209 for the rears, and that was a great Amazon price at the time)

The one challenging DIY issue with the air bags is you need to employ a spring compressor as the Air Lift 1000's fit inside the front coil springs. So it's a bit of a job if you want to do it yourself

I opted out of the $150-300 Air Lift auto on-board air compressor. I run the air-fill lines to the front grill, check pressure from time to time, and easily fill with the small 120v air compressor I carry with me. I can plug the compressor into inverter outlets if on the road and not connected to shore-power to fill tires or the air bags.
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Old 12-17-2020, 04:27 PM   #9
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The airbags would be my very first suspension mod if I had coil springs.
The kit Bob didn't buy allows you to do side to side weight transfers from your seat, while underway.
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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.
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Old 12-17-2020, 04:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
The airbags would be my very first suspension mod if I had coil springs.
The kit Bob didn't buy allows you to do side to side weight transfers from your seat, while underway.
you are correct!
the SUMOs rest (and are compressed) on the rail cross-member when normally installed.
so they do add support, but also do not allow downward play as the compression increases. thus, less cushion.

if the only mod you make on your E350 or E450 is add front SUMO's, you'll probably be happy that the rig rocks side-to-side much less.
but, you'll also feel more bumps over bad roads.

the Air Lift 1000's provide lift and cushion (BTW...Firestone makes a similar product that has been favorably reviewed on this Forum)
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Old 12-20-2020, 11:00 PM   #11
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sumo's up front is a day and night change. you go from landing on the frame to landing on pillows.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by VegasBaby!!! View Post
sumo's up front is a day and night change. you go from landing on the frame to landing on pillows.
After reading a lot about suspension upgrades and several camping trips, I finally decided to do that on my 2015 Axis 24.1 as well. I started with wheel alignment and then Sumo's front and rear first. That was nice improvement with no side to side rocking. Next project involved replacing Ford's stock "jokes" ( I meant shocks). I could not believe how bad they were until I was able to remove them. One up front and one in the back were completely shot. The other two were hardly retracting. Basically, I had no shocks on 12,500 lb vehicle and the factory stop bumps were non existent as well. With Sumo's and new Billstein HD in place I finally started enjoying the ride but the sway was still there. I guess I was not paying attention to that before since the spring helpers and shocks were so bad but now I could clearly experience the sway and MH body movements. So, I just received the Safe-T-Plus stabilizer (31-140) with mounting kit (E-353K14) and front Hellwig sway bar (7718). That is my tomorrow's project.
Now, I have a question here. Should I consider getting the Hellwig sway bar for the rear as well? Will that upgrade inprove the ride and handling even more?
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rysiek View Post
After reading a lot about suspension upgrades and several camping trips, I finally decided to do that on my 2015 Axis 24.1 as well. I started with wheel alignment and then Sumo's front and rear first. That was nice improvement with no side to side rocking. Next project involved replacing Ford's stock "jokes" ( I meant shocks). I could not believe how bad they were until I was able to remove them. One up front and one in the back were completely shot. The other two were hardly retracting. Basically, I had no shocks on 12,500 lb vehicle and the factory stop bumps were non existent as well. With Sumo's and new Billstein HD in place I finally started enjoying the ride but the sway was still there. I guess I was not paying attention to that before since the spring helpers and shocks were so bad but now I could clearly experience the sway and MH body movements. So, I just received the Safe-T-Plus stabilizer (31-140) with mounting kit (E-353K14) and front Hellwig sway bar (7718). That is my tomorrow's project.
Now, I have a question here. Should I consider getting the Hellwig sway bar for the rear as well? Will that upgrade inprove the ride and handling even more?
get the rear hellwig sway bar, especially since 60% of your body weight is in the rear.
The stock ford shocks were junk. I just threw them in the trash, not even worth trying to recycle or resell. Same with the ford OEM stabilizer bars.
I just used the hellwig steering stabilizer since it was cheaper and I was getting tired of putting money into the RV at that point. It works well for me but others seem to like the safe-t-plus version.
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Old 02-24-2021, 04:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by gte534j View Post
get the rear hellwig sway bar, especially since 60% of your body weight is in the rear.
The stock ford shocks were junk. I just threw them in the trash, not even worth trying to recycle or resell. Same with the ford OEM stabilizer bars.
I just used the hellwig steering stabilizer since it was cheaper and I was getting tired of putting money into the RV at that point. It works well for me but others seem to like the safe-t-plus version.
I think you meant Bilstein steering damper

BTW...
I’ve got all of same mods on my E450 (except new shocks)
(Front&Rear Helwig, SUMOs, Airlift 1000 front air bags, Bilstein steer damper)

I’ve got the Bilstein shocks my Amazon cart, but looks like a challenging install.
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Old 02-24-2021, 05:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by taylorbob1 View Post
I think you meant Bilstein steering damper

BTW...
I’ve got all of same mods on my E450 (except new shocks)
(Front&Rear Helwig, SUMOs, Airlift 1000 front air bags, Bilstein steer damper)

Ive got the Bilstein shocks my Amazon cart, but looks like a challenging install.
Yes- Billstein steering damper.
The shocks were not too bad to install. I had trouble w/ the rear right one, had to cut down the bumper a bit. The other issue was the mix/match of metric and SI bolts. I got this toolset to help:

Yashong 12-Piece SAE Flex-Head Ratcheting Wrench Set, Professional Chrome Vanadium Steel Ratchet Wrenches, Combination Ended Standard Kit with Portable Suspended Canvas Bag

Yashong 12-Piece 8-19mm Metric Flex-Head Ratcheting Wrench Set, Professional Chrome Vanadium Steel Ratchet Wrenches, Combination Ended Spanner Kit with Portable Suspended Canvas Bag

Removing the bolts took some effort as they were on there really tight. Also, you have to compress the shock and kinda shoot it into place, which was quite hard to do on the rear shocks.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gte534j View Post
Yes- Billstein steering damper.
The shocks were not too bad to install. I had trouble w/ the rear right one, had to cut down the bumper a bit. The other issue was the mix/match of metric and SI bolts. I got this toolset to help:

Yashong 12-Piece SAE Flex-Head Ratcheting Wrench Set, Professional Chrome Vanadium Steel Ratchet Wrenches, Combination Ended Standard Kit with Portable Suspended Canvas Bag

Yashong 12-Piece 8-19mm Metric Flex-Head Ratcheting Wrench Set, Professional Chrome Vanadium Steel Ratchet Wrenches, Combination Ended Spanner Kit with Portable Suspended Canvas Bag

Removing the bolts took some effort as they were on there really tight. Also, you have to compress the shock and kinda shoot it into place, which was quite hard to do on the rear shocks.
Thank you for your advice.. I was ready to order Hellwig rear sway bar from Amazon but have noticed two of them and they both look little different ( or that is just me) than what I have on Axis. One is #7085 (for model without existing sway bar) and the other #7182 (for model with existing factory sway bar). Mine Axis has factory installed bar so I assume 7182 is the one. To make sure, I just called Hellwig and they confirmed that 7182 model is the right one. I guess the picture does not show all the curves/bends the way they are. What part number rear sway bar had for your Vegas?
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:56 PM   #17
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For my 2018 Thor Vegas 24.1 i got the Hellwig 7718 Sway Bar and Hellwig 7180 Sway Bar
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Old 02-24-2021, 08:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by gte534j View Post
For my 2018 Thor Vegas 24.1 i got the Hellwig 7718 Sway Bar and Hellwig 7180 Sway Bar
Thank you so much. That is interesting. I guess 2015 Axis's rear suspension design is little different then yours.
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
The airbags would be my very first suspension mod if I had coil springs.
The kit Bob didn't buy allows you to do side to side weight transfers from your seat, while underway.

I see the Airlift 1000 front airbags p/n 80531 for $90 or so that fits E450 chassis. I do not see a front airbag kit with adjustment from the seat.
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Old 02-26-2021, 05:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by sportcoupe View Post
I see the Airlift 1000 front airbags p/n 80531 for $90 or so that fits E450 chassis. I do not see a front airbag kit with adjustment from the seat.
Airlift 1000 or Firestone air springs are placed inside the Ford E 350 or 450 front coil springs.
If you want to control from the cockpit, you need to add the electric pump.
The pump system can be ordered in Single (both together equally) or Dual path (Side to side inflation)

For my application...both bags can be manually inflated or deflated on their own separate lines from an access point thru the front end using a small 120v pump I carry with me.
I keep mine inflated to 45-50 pounds, so there's no adjustment.

AIR LIFT 25592 Load Controller II On Board Air Compressor System
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