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Old 11-30-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
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Transit's Advanced B / B+ RV Chassis - Mike Mas



Hello IRV2 Users - I have another article for your guys which I’ve been working on for a few years now. In this report, we’ll compare the two leading RV van chassis' designs and suspension systems to disclose how they stack up when used for Class B conversions and Class B+ low and high profile RVs. We’ll compare, load height, rear track, tires, wheel base and a number of other factors that determine how well these chassis can support the weight of conversions and B+ RVs.

In this article we'll also discuss a new generation suspension system called "LiquidSpring" soon to be available for Sprinter chassis. This adaptive suspension system prevents roll moment, levels, kneels and more importantly, improves handling as well as offer a ride as smooth as an air bag suspension.

Enjoy - Mike Mas

Click on the link below for the article:

http://rotory.com/transit/handling/
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:12 AM   #2
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Interesting article. There are, however, a few corrections you may want consider:

1. When you compare the Transit and a Sprinter's HP and torque ratings, You state: "For 2020, Ford will move a step ahead of its competition and equip the Transit with a new "Quiet" I-4 turbo Diesel engine, developing 210 hp and 369 lbs of torque. When compared to Sprinters now dated 188hp and 258 lb torque, the Transit offer[sic] an additional 111 lb which is important to RVs."

According to the Mercedes-Benz website, the Sprinter 3.0 Diesel develops: 188 hp at 3,800 rpm and Rated Torque is 325 lb-ft at 1,400-2,400 rpm. This is a difference of 44 lb-feet, NOT 111 lb-feet as your article claims. A significant error.

However: the Transit's twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is an eyebrow raiser with 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. THAT would be a difference in torque of 75 lb-feet, though I don't know of any class C's that are currently using that motor yet. There are some class B's which list the ecoboost as an option (but the GVWR and GCWR don't change in the specs....)

2. Noting that, you did miss a significant benefit of the Sprinter vs the Transit:

Sprinter: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) 11,030 lb
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) 15,250 lb (a difference of 4,220 lbs)

Transit (Diesel): Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) 10,360 lb
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) 13,500 lb (a difference of 3140 lbs).

This is very significant for folks who DO want to tow, and perhaps a reason for the difference in the feel of the suspension between the two platforms - that's 1080 lbs of extra towing capacity for the Sprinter! My buddy has towed his 4000 lb jeep across the country and back 6 times so far with no issues, as have many others - admittedly only anecdotal, but the Sprinter's towing chops are really good compared to the Transit.

3. With regard to suspension you state: "While there are hundreds of Internet fixes available for the Sprinter, none of these improvements will control roll moment [sic], for the simple fact there is no upgrade that can prevent body roll. I would content that while NO system prevents body roll, there are a number of improvements that do reduce it, which you seem to claim are unavailable. Two of these improvements which are commonly cited are the Hellwig rear sway bar and Sumo Springs.- either singly, or both, not to mention shocks. I would think the amount improvement would be related to many issues, including the design of the coach area, loading, tire pressure and weight balance. These items don't cost anywhere near what the liquid springs cost, but even the liquid springs would have some compliance and therefore some body roll in their operation so as to avoid a rock-hard ride. No?

4. And a final note: In "The Transit Cab" section, you discuss ergonomics and address the shifter: "The shifter is located only 5" from the wheel, allowing for quicker and more comfortable manual shifting than the Sprinter." If you discount the Sprinter's paddle shifters, which are right on the steering wheel, or the fact that the new transmission control stalk is on the steering column just opposite the turn signal stalk, your statement is absolutely inaccurate.

Your comparison based on driving of the two similar Thor platforms was a fair comparison, though.

Thanx for the effort.

best,

Dave
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:05 PM   #3
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Dave thanks for the tip, not sure what happened, the Sprinter’s torque was incorrect as well, anyhow, I made the needed corrections.

Regarding towing, while there are differences, towing is based more on the weight of RV body. Theoretically, either chassis could pull the same full size vehicle. I read earlier that Transit’s 2020 GVWR was going up 1400 lbs, however so far, I only seen a GVWR published at 11,000 pounds. Perhaps the 1400 lb might be for the all wheel drive version.

Regarding Sprinter suspension fixes, while there are certainly some “Fixes” to help dampen body roll, none (to my knowledge) have the ability to prevent roll as Liquid Spring offers. The only exception would be the Active Suspension used on Prevost, however they also require the use of airbags where Liquid Spring uses compressed liquid for a smooth ride.

Regards - Mike
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idleup View Post
Dave thanks for the tip, not sure what happened, the Sprinter’s torque was incorrect as well, anyhow, I made the needed corrections.

Regarding towing, while there are differences, towing is based more on the weight of RV body. Theoretically, either chassis could pull the same full size vehicle. I read earlier that Transit’s 2020 GVWR was going up 1400 lbs, however so far, I only seen a GVWR published at 11,000 pounds. Perhaps the 1400 lb might be for the all wheel drive version.

Regarding Sprinter suspension fixes, while there are certainly some “Fixes” to help dampen body roll, none (to my knowledge) have the ability to prevent roll as Liquid Spring offers. The only exception would be the Active Suspension used on Prevost, however they also require the use of airbags where Liquid Spring uses compressed liquid for a smooth ride.

Regards - Mike
Mike,

no problem: I think you quoted the HP/Torque numbers for the Sprinter's 4 cyl gasoline turbo engine.

Towing capacity as I've understood is (CVWR - GVWR) and, of course, if you don't load your vehicle to the max GVWR, you can add that to the towing weight.

Active suspensions, such as the Liquid Spring certainly add significant cost as well as complexity. The passive solutions, such as Sumo Springs or the Hellwig bar, are cheaper and far less likely to fail. My thought would be that you should drive it first before dumping tons of money into it.

I have driven the Sprinter-based View I'm purchasing and once loaded, if it drives as well as the test drive - I doubt I'll need to do anything.

Several final issues with the Transit: Drivers' seat didn't swivel (I THINK they've fixed that for 2020), and the egress to the rear from the front seats is difficult, you've already mentioned the rear overhang, and the gray/blackwater dumping systems I've seen on the few I've looked at are a bit hard to access.

I'd love a gasoline motor with the towing capacity and fuel mileage of the Sprinter. Not available yet in the form factor that I favor, so Sprinter it is.

Bottom line: Competition is good, but the Sprinter is still a major player for me.

best,

Dave
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Old 01-16-2020, 01:58 AM   #5
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I’m at the Florida RV show , and hope to look at Class Bs tomorrow. Is it easier and less expensive to service the Transit, than the Sprinter? I live near several Ford dealers, but no MB dealers.

I appreciate threads like this, where the discussion stays civil. Thank you.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:56 AM   #6
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s it easier and less expensive to service the Transit, than the Sprinter? I live near several Ford dealers, but no MB dealers.
For warranty work it is probably easier to have the Transit serviced. I have any warranty/recall work done at an MB dealer close to where we go in Florida in the winter. I had brake sensors done under warranty 2 years ago and next month do in for a driver side airbag recall.

That said, I have found two private mechanics here on Nantucket that have no problem servicing my Sprinter so for me it has not been an issue.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:05 AM   #7
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For warranty work it is probably easier to have the Transit serviced.
Being that not all MB locations are actually qualified and capable of working on Sprinters, I would have to think that's probably quite true. Seems like any Ford dealer can work on the Transit.

It was something I was very concerned about when shopping for a Class B, but in the end I went with the Sprinter for the size and the extra roominess in the front seating area due to the almost-nonexistent doghouse. Let's hope that choice doesn't bite me on the keester.
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Old 02-01-2020, 08:54 AM   #8
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More Corrections

First, thank you for taking the time to write your article. I do not make any money from any of this. Just like to get info out there for others. Here are some additions you may want to consider for your article under after-market modifications for the sprinter that DO CONTROL roll and ride.

VB Air Suspension
The VB Air Suspension has been available for Sprinters from the factory in Europe and as an dealer installed option in the U.S. It is used for applications where a smooth controlled ride is desired. Think ambulances, high-end limo's and RV's! (we have one on our 2017 View and it controls roll and sway, as well as gives a great ride. About $7,500 installed.) Advanced RV and Airstream installs them as standard equipment

Agile Off-Road Shocks
These shocks were developed by Agile Off-Road with CALBIKER, a sprinter-source forum member to control body roll. I had them installed and can attest to the fact that they do work. My tests as well as others find that it is best NOT to add the Hellwig sway bar as it is not needed and actually contributes to body roll.

SUMO Springs
A popular option. These are not needed on the back with the Agile Off-Road shocks. They are not needed with the VB Air Suspension and indeed there is no place for them as there are no leaf springs. They do help with roll on the front, and I have kept them on my VB equipped Sprinter.

Koni FSD (rear)
These do not control roll as well as the Agile Off-Road shocks. I had them installed with and without the Hellwig, so I know.

Kelderman 2-stage Air
Since Kelderman is only 2 hours away, I took my Sprinter for them to look at. Unfortunately, my generator configuration and spare was going to interfere with the system driving the cost close to the VB system. Since VB is a Mercedes approved option I went with VB. I have talked to someone who did install Kelderman and it gave a smooth ride and controlled roll.

If anyone has any questions about Sprinter based let me know.
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