Vanagon Suspension Upgrade Tips and Review
Suspension is going to be an important part of your Vanagon. It controls how your vehicle handles, how comfortable your ride is and how well your offroading ability is going to be. We strongly recommend considering a Vanagon suspension upgrade for your next project. I decided on adjustable suspension because different terrain calls for different dampening and there is going to be a lot of different terrain We’re going to be driving through. If your plan is to only drive on pavement at worst a smooth gravel road then nonadjustable may suite you but if your going offroad at all I would greatly advise getting adjustable. You can purchase decent adjustable shocks for a pretty decent price, actually not much more then some decent quality nonadjustable ones so I would advise getting adjustable either way. Having adjustable shocks on your Vanagon suspension will help adjust for your light, or ridiculously heavy load in our case, so that your vanagon rides properly in proportion with your load weight. For example we have a very heavy winch and winch plate along with our plate steel bumper hanging past our front axle along with both our body weight which makes for a very heavy load on the front end of the vehicle so we have the shocks set at an 8 out of our 9 settings 9 being the stiffest. We regularly offroad and hit topas or speed bumps in Mexico all day long so we need to be able to take the hits without bottoming out from our heavy load. This was one of the main reasons for our Vanagon suspension upgrade! The rear we have on a 5 which feels pretty good so without adjustability you would just be stuck with whatever stiffness your shocks are and your load will greatly affect how your van handles and drives and there won’t be anything you can do about it without adjustable ones so again I’d greatly advise getting them either way.
Vanagon Suspension Sway Bar Upgrade
Another important part that affects how your vanagon handles is your sway bar. The Vanagon comes with a front sway bar only and it gets the job done but with our heavy load we decided on a thicker one that will stiffen things up a bit more for us around the corners. We try to keep most of the heavy weight low but we do have a roof rack with a bunch of bulky items and spare tire that still adds up and the higher the weight the more it affects things when turning and cornering so a thicker swaybar for us was a necessity. A rear sway bar does not come stock on the vanagon but you can definitely add one without too much trouble. We chose not to because we offroad into some pretty bad areas with uneven ground and with a rear sway bar it can affect how the body of the vanagon flexes and instead of possibly keeping both rear wheels on the ground in some very uneven terrain it can lift one off the ground because it is stiffer and can possibly stop your progression forward because of it. Again it’s a matter of what type of terrain your going to be mostly driving through but we always plan for the worst conditions and unless your going to be hotroding around corners I don’t feel a rear sway bar is needed.
Springs For Your Vanagon Suspension Upgrade
Coil springs are the last part of your suspension, they control your ride height also helps with impact and load weight capability. We went with a progressive 1.5″ lift springs that are thicker and taller then stock so our vanagon will be capable of carrying a heavier load and fitting larger rims & tires that your going to want for rough terrain. We also added rear coil spring pads for a little additional ride height because of the heavier engine and added weight of the two swingaways with the additional gas cans and large tool/parts box. We may look into adding a pad up front also if possible because of some slight clearance issues when we take some big hits off offroading randomly but usually when it’s in a turn so it may or may not help. We’ll keep you updated.