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What's the best suspension upgrade for your 4x4 Sprinter van and why? We think the answer lies with Van Compass

What's the best suspension upgrade for your 4x4 Sprinter van and why? We think the answer lies with Van Compass

Posted by Santiago Fileta (lots of Van Compass content as well) on Dec 28th 2022

Are you looking to get the most out of your 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter van? Whether you’re an adventure-seeker, weekend warrior, or just need a van that can keep up with your daily tasks, upgrading the suspension is one of the best investments you can make. Van Compass offers some of the best suspension upgrades available for your van, and we’ll break down which kit fits your needs and what kind of performance gains you can expect from them.

Breakdown overview

The Van Compass kits are based on their amazingly designed shocks/front shock mounting system. The way we have broken down their uses is by giving a larger explanation of the lower kit levels, which give us a basic understanding of components themselves and then work our way up into the larger kits which are essentially comprised of different base level kits being combined, so don’t skip ahead or this list won’t make much sense.  This list of kits are all based on the 4x4 platform for the 2019 plus Mercedes sprinter 2500 platform, for more detailed information on other types of vans and their Van Compass suspension upgrades see VanCompass for more details.

Striker 2" Lift Kit

The Van Compass Striker lift kit creates the clearance needed to fit larger tires. This is a true subframe spacer kit with all the proper linkages to maintain factory geometry and best of all, with proper wheel offset and fender trimming, fitment of a 35 x 12.50 tire is possible, for a huge increase in traction and ground clearance. We have actually managed to fit 37” tires with A LOT of trimming and some extra welding/cutting of support members, but that level of modification is not for the faint of heart. So who should buy the 2” lift? People wanting more ground clearance and more traction ie, wanting to place bigger rubber under their van. Further on in the list we will see this lift incorporated with the Van Compass stages 5 and up kits.

Stage 1

The Stage 1 system features the VC developed front and rear Falcon 2.1 Mono tube shocks and a front Sumo Spring bump stop upgrade; a pairing that forms the basis of all the VC systems. The great thing about this kit is that it maintains factory geometry and can even restore factory ride height. This is a must for any sprinter van, whether completely built out, loaded with cargo or just empty, you will feel a genuine difference with just these components alone, transforming these lumbering cargo vans into more responsive and stable vehicles for mild off road and day to day use. This is the minimum we would recommend for anyone looking to improve the ride of their van.

Stage 2.3

The Stage 2.3 system is the same as the stage 1 but instead of the Falcon 2.1 mono tubes it utilizes Falcon 3.3 Adjustable reservoir shocks in the front and rear, paired with a front Sumo Spring bump stop upgrade. This kit provides all the benefits of the Stage 1 with the added benefit of a large range of compression adjustment at any time with a quick twist of the adjustment knob located at each shock. This offers the same ride improvement as the stage 1 with the added benefit of being able to completely dial in your set-up through all its variances, whether you're loaded down or totally empty, in whatever weather and road conditions you find yourself in, this kit gives complete control at the most entry level price.

Stage 2.5

So, take everything stage 2.3 has and replace the hand turned shock adjusters of the Falcon 3.3 and replace it with precision the state of the art electronic control of the Falcon 3.5 E-adapt shock that can adjust the compression damping in real time while the vehicle is being driven, based on user set parameters for G-force and duration. Its multi-axis accelerometer monitors cornering, acceleration and braking forces to react and adapt to changing conditions. Each shock uses an electronic solenoid to control compression flow, and has an external fine-setting adjustment to control the range of firmness. The control unit, mounted under the driver's seat, uses a 3-position in-dash control switch as well as pairs with your phone to set user presets for the Auto mode parameters. The 3 position dash switch offers quick access to Soft, Firm and Auto mode for the shocks. As an added benefit, when the vehicle is turned off, the system even defaults the shocks to their firmest setting so that the van has maximum stability when parked,

Stage 3

The Stage 3 system offers the same upgrades as the Stage 1, with the addition of an upgraded leaf spring pack add-on. The Mini Leaf Spring pack offers a cost effective way to increase spring rate in the rear of your Sprinter, add approximately 1.25" of rear lift and restore lost ride height. The spring pack maintains factory geometry while restoring suspension up-travel on a heavy van. This is a great budget conscious solution for people not needing the adjustability of the reservoir shocks who have weight concerns that don’t justify having a whole new leaf pack installed.

Stage 4.3

This is by far our most commonly installed and ordered kit, it’s the same kit as the Stage 3, but with the Falcon 3.3 adjustable reservoir shocks. We have found this kit to be the ideal solution for 90% of vans that we see roll through our shop. It provides excellent improvements in handling, great versatility and adjustment to user needs and addresses weight concerns and ride height for heavier rigs, in terms of cost to performance ratio we think this is the best you can do for your van.

Stage 4.5

Take the 4.3 and make it adaptive! Identical to the 4.3 kit but with all the benefits of the Falcon 3.5 E-adapt shock system. If you have the extra funds this kit is truly a winner.

Stage 5

Stage 5 takes the components from stage 3 and combines it with the Striker 2” lift kit, both kits come with extra leaf helper springs, the Striker’s are used here to accommodate the other lift components. This is typically the kit we install for people looking to get that massive stance look without needing the extra (AWESOME!) features of the higher kits that feature reservoir shocks and E tune options. If you're going for that massive 35” look and feel without wanting to spend extra on premium features this is your kit.

Stage 6.3

Like Stage 5 only combining Stage 4.3 (Falcon 3.3 adjustable reservoir shocks instead of Falcon 2.1 shocks) and the Striker 2” lift.

Stage 6.5

Like Stages 5 and 6.3 however, using the Stage 4.5 (Falcon 3.5 Adaptive shocks instead of Falcon 3.3 adjustable reservoir shocks or Falcon 2.1 shocks) kit and the striker 2” lift. This kit is essentially the end all be all of the Van Compass suspension upgrades for the Sprinter, if you want the top of the line, this is it.

We hope this guide has been helpful, to follow up here are some great reference tables we pulled from Van Compass’ website that really help with fitment as well as performance for their products.

Van Compass Tire Fitment Guide Sprinter Vans 2019+ (VS30)

Van Compass Tire Fitment Guide Sprinter Vans 2007-2018 (NCV3)

Van Compass stage guide 2500 4x4 2019+ (VS30)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 3500 4x4 2019+ (VS30)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 2500 2WD 2019+ (VS30)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 3500 2WD 2019+ (VS30)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 2500 4x4 2015-2018 (NCV3)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 3500 4x4 2015-2018 (NCV3)

Van Compass stage guide Mercedes Sprinter 2007-2018 2WD (NCV3)