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Old 04-11-2011, 06:08 PM   #1
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Solera Suspension Upgrades

I originally posted this in Mods and Upgrades but thought it might also be useful here.

We recently purchased a 2011 Solera in Austin TX. On each of our first three outings, we drove in head/cross winds of 20-30 mph with bigger gusts. Also, Texas has a habit of underfunding road repairs on the smaller roads we like to travel. Under these conditions, I found driving the Solera to be an exhausting exercise in concentration and continuous steering correction. I found a reference to the Sprinter Store on another forum and contacted Mark to discuss options to improve the performance of our RV. We are planning a 2 year full timing adventure to Europe and wanted to have the MH in the best possible shape before leaving in August. Mark gave me a menu of options including sway bar, leaf assist springs, heavy duty shocks and airbags. After discussing these and researching them online, I elected to order the sway bar, assist springs and shocks. Last Friday I took the rig down to Houston and had Keith at Smitty's Welding and RV Repair do the installation. Once again, we drove home in 20-30 mph head/cross winds on a mixture of interstate and rural roads. What a HUGE improvement! Our rig now drives more like the '64 Vette I had to sell when we got married than the '11 Solera I drove to Houston. I'm certain that it is possible to find dealers closer to home that can do these mods but I wanted to share these with this community as it has made an incredible difference in the drivability of our new rig. We leave for Tewksbury Mass on Wednesday for the first extended test of living on the road. I am now actually looking forward to 4,000 miles behind the wheel instead of dreading it. Have fun and drive safe! See you on the roads!

Charles Collins
Austin, TX

Mark Oland, Service and Sales
Upscale Automotive, Inc.
DBA sprinterstore.com
19460 SW 89th Ave.
Tualatin, OR 97062
503-692-0846
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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Suspension upgrades

Yes, I know quite well driving my Solera in windy conditions and also on interstates battling wind turmoil created by big rigs and etc. It is nerve wracking at times. I bought my Solera in Ohio and drove it here to Georgia and at times I thought I was going to get blown away.

My wife and I have discussed the pros and cons of having additional "helper" devices installed but up till now I haven't seen anything about Solera. Can you put a link(s) to your findings? Would appreciate it.

Am I understanding you correctly in that you are taking your mh to Europe for 2 years? Wow....Sounds like a good trip..
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Old 04-11-2011, 09:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow_movin View Post
Yes, I know quite well driving my Solera in windy conditions and also on interstates battling wind turmoil created by big rigs and etc. It is nerve wracking at times. I bought my Solera in Ohio and drove it here to Georgia and at times I thought I was going to get blown away.

My wife and I have discussed the pros and cons of having additional "helper" devices installed but up till now I haven't seen anything about Solera. Can you put a link(s) to your findings? Would appreciate it.

Am I understanding you correctly in that you are taking your mh to Europe for 2 years? Wow....Sounds like a good trip..
Yes, we are sending the RV on a roll on roll off ship to Southampton England while we sail on the QMII in August. Check out Our Travels with Rover for a bit of inspiration on that subject!

The Sprinter Store is: Sprinter Store

If we had had the time, I would have done each of the upgrades individually and may not have done all of the upgrades we elected to do. Without question, the auxiliary sway bar was a "required" upgrade IMO. We are not planning to tow anything so the leaf assist spring may have been unnecessary. However, the leaf assist spring came with the 3" spacer that we needed for the heavy duty shocks and ended up costing less than $100 I think. The shocks are probably overkill but since we will be traveling abroad for 2 years I feel confident that I will not have to replace them during that time. I will update this forum when we get to Massachusetts to report on the performance.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:37 AM   #4
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New England Trip Part I

Austin Texas to Tewksbury Massachusetts and back is our first extended trip in the Solera. We are currently enjoying our last day in Tewksbury before heading home. The drive here was full of firsts, some good some not so good. The biggest not so good was not allowing enough time meaning we had to drive harder and longer than we wanted. We are allowing an additional day for the return trip. The next not so good was the weather. The final day was spent driving with the leading edge of the storm system that sparked all of the tornados 2 weeks ago. We drove the Pocono mountains in driving rain and winds with gusts of 30-50 mph. I think that was the acid test for the suspension upgrades and we passed with flying colors.

While here, we have driven the narrow roads of several New England towns and ventured into the New Hampshire mountains. Traffic, potholes and rain were no problem. We are now certain we purchased the right RV for us and the upgrades have made a huge difference.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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updated suspension

Well, after having been 4k miles on your newly installed suspension devices my question is: Which (if any) would you say attributed more to your mh ride and handling. Also, did you notice any better fuel mileage? I have 3k plus miles and getting around 14mpg.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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We drove our Solera from Orlando to Oklahoma City when we bought it last month, and since then just local trips to the lake (200 mile round trip) and we've experienced all kinds of wind also. Would the sway bar be the first improvement in your opinion?
Kirby & Paula
OKC, OK.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mckirby50 View Post
We drove our Solera from Orlando to Oklahoma City when we bought it last month, and since then just local trips to the lake (200 mile round trip) and we've experienced all kinds of wind also. Would the sway bar be the first improvement in your opinion?
Kirby & Paula
OKC, OK.
Kirby and Paula: I am very happy with how the suspension performs now and yes, I think the sway bar is the biggest improvement with assist springs second.

Slow Moving: We had so much wind and rain on both our trip up and back that I'm not ready to say I really know what my mileage will be. We averaged 12.75mpg for the entire trip with a range of 11.4 - 13.6 on individual tanks. We averaged 14.5 tooling around North Mass and Southern NH.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:45 PM   #8
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Just bought our first MH, a Solera. Only a short test drive at the dealer, pick it up in a week. I too live in Austin (Buda) and we like to drive the bad backroads. Anyone just put the anti-sway bar on? Does it use existing holes in frame? I'll call Mark and see what he says, I'm thinking I'll just do the sway bar first but I think it will be difficult to get an objective test of the benefit. We will see.
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Old 10-03-2011, 05:17 AM   #9
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May ended up doing the sway bar upgrade also.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danperryy
Just bought our first MH, a Solera. Only a short test drive at the dealer, pick it up in a week. I too live in Austin (Buda) and we like to drive the bad backroads. Anyone just put the anti-sway bar on? Does it use existing holes in frame? I'll call Mark and see what he says, I'm thinking I'll just do the sway bar first but I think it will be difficult to get an objective test of the benefit. We will see.
Before you invest, take a look under. Mine came with a rear sway bar. The factory bar
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:03 PM   #11
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Let me try this again, got bumped off the internet.
Before you invest, look under your Solera. Mine came with a rear sway bar (approx. 1"). I opted for a Hellwig 1 1/2" and replaced the original. It makes a difference as I experienced the west Texas winds in June. I will probably add helper springs as I am usually pulling a small trailer & would like to go up to a covered car trailer for the Hot Rod. I only paid $149.00 for the bar, see this link.
1983-1997 Nissan Pickup & Hardbody 1.5-2 Suspension Kit - 800H / 805H / 810H | $339.95
Peter
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:06 PM   #12
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Man, the internet is giving me fits. This is the link.
2008-2011 Dodge Sprinter 3500 Van - REAR Sway Bar (1 1/2 diameter) - 7254 | $149.95
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:43 PM   #13
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Looing at pulling the trigger on Suspension Upgrades from Sprinter Store for '14 Coachmen Prism (Sprinter 3500). We live in Houston so we were planning on using Smitty's RV and Welding for the Install.

Since it has been several years since your upgrades any update in regards to long term performance and satisfaction?
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:14 PM   #14
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Here is all you ever wanted to know on that very subject. http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...bar-42197.html
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:28 PM   #15
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CUME91: Drove the Solera down to NC from New Hampshire a few weeks ago. Towing our Honda Fit. Just squeezed between two of the big storms so mostly clear weather for the drive. I am still very happy with the sway bar and would recommend it to anyone.
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