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Want A Better Ride For Your Adventure Van? How King Shocks & Deaver Springs Are Changing The Game

Want A Better Ride For Your Adventure Van? How King Shocks & Deaver Springs Are Changing The Game

Photos: Brian Lau

The world of ‘adventure vans’ has drastically changed since the release of 4×4 vans. Nearly a decade ago, niche companies converted 2-wheel-drive vans into 4x4s by swapping parts and adding extensive modifications to accomplish great builds. In 2016, Mercedes-Benz released their version of the 4×4 van with the Sprinter 2500 & 3500 models. These were released as workhorses designed for industry use but quickly grabbed the attention of outdoor enthusiasts. Companies like Agile Offroad and Vancompass, with roots in the off-road space, began to develop off-road suspension designed for comfort and capability.

Fast forward through the years to today’s market, and Sprinter vans have dominated the market in what most would recognize as the “van life.” A massive influx of van builders, also known as “upfitters,” rose to fill the demand. The innovation didn’t stop there either. Well-known offroad-proven companies, such as Deaver Spring Inc. and King Shocks, have also made a presence in the Sprinter community with the help of Shadowmarq Industries, a distribution company specializing in high-performance adventure van products.

As a 2018 Sprinter 3500 4×4 owner, Shadowmarq co-founder Brian Lau explains why the brands he represents will impact the marketplace.  

What’s the history of suspension components for Adventure Vans like Sprinters:

Brian: When it comes to suspension, names like King Shock and Deaver Springs have been proven to perform in the off-road world for decades. These products can be seen everywhere from enthusiasts to professional race and competition events, and in the same capacity internationally. These are brands that are highly specialized in their niche markets. With that, their reputation for quality products and performance precedes them.

Until recently, Sprinter van owners had just a handful of options for suspension. Big names like Agile Offroad and Vancompass dominate the market with their history in the van space. They innovated the way for adventure vans across the country. In a growing market, few manufacturers were willing to risk their production numbers for this small segment. As a result, Agile Offroad developed their coil-over sleeve contraption over an OEM strut and combined it with a Fox auxiliary shock and proprietary leaf springs to complete their “Ride Improvement Package” better known as the “RIP Kit.”

 Vancompass was better known for its body lift kit, which included various stages of leaf springs and an auxiliary shock from Falcon. However, they left the OEM strut alone until recently. They now have their performance strut made by Falcon. Another notable suspension package, although significantly more specialized and expensive, is Evictus, which spearheaded a Baja prerunner-like performance for the Sprinter van.

With the growing number of suspension options available to Sprinter van owners, what is the best out there? 

Brian: That’s a difficult question to answer. Brand likeness, loyalty and awareness plus other factors, such as price point, maintenance, and performance – all affect a purchase decision.

While all these companies have great products to offer, perhaps King Shocks could be the best all-around suspension for many reasons. As advertised, these are high-performance shocks built in and assembled in the USA and are the highest-performance line King offers. The 2.5” Performance Series kit includes a coil-over strut with a reservoir and adjustable compression. A 2.5” rear shock with matching reservoir and compression adjustment is in the rear. The shocks are tunable, repairable, and direct replacement to factory parts. Unlike other suspension packages, there is no need for additional brackets or cutting to the body. King believes under regular use, drivers can get close to 40k miles before a maintenance service. That makes it attractive to both buyers and installers.

Deaver Springs is also made in the USA and assembled with the experience of three generations. What distinguishes Deaver leaf springs from other brands is the steel quality that retains the arch’s memory. You won’t see blocks or other products designed to add preload to a sagging rear end. These springs use the highest quality 5160 USA spring steel and hardware available. Their product is designed with multiple layers of thinner leaves to ensure a smooth and controlled ride experience.