You’re here because you want to know if upgrading your camper van’s suspension with SumoSprings is worth the investment.
After a year of traveling in our camper van, we realized that driving on bumpy, backcountry roads wasn’t comfortable. In fact, it was flat out dreadful. Because our high-roof van is top heavy, we were rocking precariously back and forth as we navigated rough terrain.
Our camper wasn’t that heavy, but our van’s suspension just couldn’t keep up with our adventurous spirit.
One year later, we want to give you a full review of our experience with SumoSprings installed in our camper van. We will discuss everything from:
- What SumoSprings are are;
- What Sumosprings do;
- Whether or not they’re worth it; and,
- How to get a pair of SumoSprings for your own camper van
So whether you have a Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, of Ram Promaster, if you’re looking to upgrade your camper van’s suspension, keep reading below!
What Are SumoSprings?
Simply put, SumoSprings are oversized bump stops that replace your vehicle’s factory-supplied bump stops.
In fact, our SumoSprings are over TWICE as large as the wimpy bump stops that originally came with our Ford Transit van.
Compared to factory bump stops, SumoSprings are:
Vehicle Suspension For Dummies (Very Quickly)
When talking about suspension, a vehicle is separated into two halves.
1. Main Body | This is the upper half of your van. This includes the front cab and the rear cargo area.
2. Chassis | This is the lower half of your vehicle and includes the metal framework and wheels below the main body.
If the main body and chassis were integrated in a single solid metal frame, we’d all be having a very rough and bouncy ride.
So in order to smooth out the ride, a suspension is build between the two halves. Suspension acts as a soft buffer to absorb the bumps and shocks taken by the chassis before that energy is directed to the main body. This gives you, the driver, a smoother overall ride.
Primary suspension parts typically include:
For the rest of our post, you do not need to know more than this.
But for more in-depth info about a van’s basic suspension system, check out this informative post from Sprinter Upgrades
The Problem With Factory Suspension Systems
Unfortunately, the factory suspension system that comes supplied with a van is inadequate for traveling in a camper van.
This is understandable because a van’s factory suspension is intended for commercial driving on nicely paved roads. Not for heavy camper vans wandering through the backcountry.
It would be like trying to jog on a sandy beach with flip flops.
Could you do it? Sure
It is a good experience? No
Running is much better with the right shoes.
“Ok, so now what?”
How Do SumoSprings Improve A Van's Suspension?
Factory bump stops only really exist for one purpose; to prevent your camper van’s body from dangerously smashing into it’s chassis when you hit a serious bump in the road.
Unlike the other parts of your vehicle’s suspension, these bump stops do nothing to improve your ride.
But by replacing them with SumoSprings (aka: super-sized bump stops), you are now adding an additional product that contributes to your van’s suspension system.
Absorbs Bumps & Shocks Earlier
When you replace a factory bump stop with a SumoSpring, you’ll immediately notice that there’s much less air space between the vehicle’s body frame (top) and it’s chassis (bottom).
You can see this example in the above picture.
Less airspace is a good thing.
It means your camper van’s body will travel less vertical distance before the SumoSpring picks up the weight and begins to absorb the impact from the chassis.
Lastly, the more a SumoSpring compresses, the firmer the push back. This means you get a strong, progressive absorptive cushion under your van’s body.
A More Stable Ride With SumoSprings
Because SumoSprings pick up your van’s weight earlier in the movement process, your van’s body ends up traveling less vertical distance than with a traditional factory bump stop.
This means your camper van:
Oh, Don't Forget About The Front SumoSprings
Up until now, we’ve only talked about the rear SumoSprings that replace your factory bump stops.
But unknown to many people interested in upgrading their camper’s suspension system is that there are also SumoSprings for the front of your vehicle as well: Coil SumoSprings
Unlike the rears, these Coil SumoSprings do not look like bump stops. Instead, this product conveniently squeezes inside a layer of the springs that surround your vehicle’s front struts.
In essence, these Coil SumoSprings support the front strut coil by preventing the spring from over compressing.
If you could only pick one, go with the rear SumoSprings.
But adding the front coil supports is recommended.
Are SumoSprings Worth It For Camper Vans?
Life Before SumoSprings
We drove our first 30,000 miles without SumoSprings and still vividly remember the very real hesitations we had when on uneven ground.
The list of “bad terrain” included:
Of all the things related to a bumpy ride, the absolute worst are the side-to-side sways.
Nothing gets me to nervously grip my steering wheel harder than 5-6 deep, back-and-forth rocks before our camper van settles back down.
Now, Driving Is Much More Enjoyable
With added suspension support from our SumoSprings, we are much more confident when driving on unmaintained roads.
Our rides are considerably smoother with less side-to-side way.
And for roughly $450 (prices vary depending on the vehicle model), SumoSprings are some of the cheapest camper van suspension upgrades you can make that have an immediate and noticeable impact on your driving experience.
Best of all, SumoSprings are easy to install yourself. So you don’t need to pay an additional $500-$1,000 at an auto shop to get them installed.
10/10 I would purchase SumoSprings again for a second camper van build.
What Others Are Saying About The SumoSprings Suspension Upgrade
With over 80% of reviewers giving SumoSprings a solid 5-star rating, it’s no wonder that SumoSprings are one of the best suspension you can make for your camper van.
Below are two of the many, many positive reviews.
How To Purchase SumoSprings For Camper Vans
Before picking up your pair of SumoSprings, there are TWO VERY IMPORTANT things you need to know.
1. Three Different Colors (And Densities)
Rear SumoSprings come in 3 different densities and each density is identified by a different color. The heavier your vehicle, the better off you are going with a denser SumoSpring material.
- Blue (model #s ending in -40) are for lightweight vehicles and are not intended for camper vans.
- Black (model #s ending in -47) are for medium and heavy vehicles
- Yellow (model #s ending in -54) are for heavy vehicles
In our Ford Transit: Our camper van weighs ~8,000lbs and we were recommended to go with the medium density (Black color) springs. Though the Yellow color SumoSprings are most commonly purchased, they should really only be used for extremely heavy camper vans.
If you have a camper van, we suggest you to NOT choose the Blue (least dense) SumoSprings.
Finally, these different density choices are only for the rear SumoSprings, NOT for the fronts.
The front SumoSprings only have one density.
2. SumoSprings Are Vehicle Specific
SumoSpring products are generally NOT interchangeable between vehicle types. This is because each vehicle’s size and specs are a little different.
Therefore, let us help you select the proper SumoSprings for your camper van.
Select Sumo Supring For Your Vehicle
SumoSprings For Ford Transits
Front SumoSprings (aka "Coil SumoSprings")
SumoSprings For Ram Promaster
Front SumoSprings (aka "Coil SumoSprings")
SumoSprings For Mercedes Sprinter (2x4)
Rear SumoSprings (2500 Series)
Medium Density Only
Rear SumoSprings (3500 Series)
Front SumoSprings (2500 & 3500 Series)
FAQ Regarding SumoSprings For Camper Vans
Are SumoSprings vehicle/model specific?
Yes. Whether you are driving a Mercedes Springer, Ford Transit, Dodge Promaster, or any other vehicle you will need to find the specific SumoSprings model for your vehicle. We make several recommendations below based on which vehicle you are driving.
Do I have to purchase BOTH front and rear SumoSprings?
No, it is not required to purchase both front and rears. If you can only get one, get the rears. But the sales representative that we spoke with highly recommended us to purchase both the fronts and the rears for the best suspension results.
Will SumoSprings Increase My Ground Clearance?
Yes & no. SumoSprings may help you regain any ground clearance you may have lost due to having a heavy camper van. But they will not help you achieve any higher clearance then when your vehicle first came off the factory line.
In our case, our Ford Transit regained roughly 3/4″ of clearance after installing our SumoSprings.
But this was due to our front Coil SumoSprings helping to relieve weight pressure off our front strut springs and had nothing to do with our rear SumoSprings.
How To Install SumoSprings On Your Camper Van
We had no previous SumoSprings experience and it took us about 2 hours to install both the rear and front SumoSprings.
And we went pretty slow.
This video from Carey On Vagabond does an awesome job at explaining the installation process for both the rear and front SumoSprings on their Promaster camper van.
SumoSprings: The Best Camper Van Suspension Upgrade
For the most cost-effective camper van suspension upgrade, we think purchasing a pair of front and rear SumoSprings are the best way to go. They’re not expensive, easy to self-install, and dramatically change the feel of your ride.
Installing our SumoSprings took about 2 hours. The supplied installation instructions were clear and there are plenty of installation videos on YouTube.
If you have any specific questions about our experience with SumoSprings, please let us know in the comments below or by sending us an email on our Contact page.