|Just Before Purchase|
|Original Front Suspension|
Anyone who reads this column knows that Murphy is indeed an optimist, at least in respects to my ongoing projects. When ordering the front suspension parts it seemed there were several models of Dodge pickups that use different suspension parts. Okay. . . which one do I have? My Aero Cruiser sources assured me I had one type, although the photos of my rig were different. I went online and ordered both types, figuring that would be safe. I could always send the wrong ones back. By the way, is anyone in the market for a set of front suspension parts for a Dodge pickup, circa 1990? Yup, still have them. It turns out I have the only Aero Cruiser with the 4,000-pound version of the suspension and it uses totally different parts.
|Rear Leaf Spring and Shock|
Once all the parts arrived, dis-assembly began in earnest. Since this job required some heavy duty and specialty tools, I engaged the assistance of my favorite local shop where the guys are familiar with all sorts of heavy duty tools. They're a great great bunch of guys. I highly recommend them if you are in the area! Honest, too!
|Suspension Off, Transverse Helper Sprng On Floor|
|New Leaf Spring On Top|
We used multiple jacks to hold the load, as the springs were removed one side at a time. It turned out the bushing on the shackle mounts was slightly different from the originals. Understandably, the design had changed a little after more than 20 years. We had to drill them out to a larger diameter to fit on the mounts. Not too bad as far as random difficulties go. Rear shocks were replaced too. I was amazed that the shocks were all well under $100 each. Thank goodness for the additional small miracle.
|New Coil Spring On Left.|
Once mounted, the RV was riding two inches higher in the rear. The leaf springs had compressed quite a lot in the intervening years. I was also two inches or so higher in the front, which really helped with wheel well clearance.
The guys rough aligned the RV and I took it home. Now to find an alignment shop that could do a proper alignment. As usual that, sounds easy but isn't. The nearest one was 45 miles away, over the mountain. Thankfully the handling wasn't really all that bad and I could get there without flying off the mountain, down the 1,000 foot drop-offs.
|Riding MUCH Higher!|
The third time was the charm! With everything setup correctly and a new heavier duty suspension, this thing handles well. Like night and day. Better than when I bought it. Maybe even better than from the factory since I used newer technology with improved parts.
For any older coach that is feeling a bit "saggy" or whose handling isn't up to par, I highly recommend this process. It isn't all that expensive, yet pays big dividends in drive-ability. You may even pick up a bit more load carrying capacity in the bargain!
Be Seeing You...Down the Road,
Rich "The Wanderman"