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The Dodge Ram ProMaster is a front wheel drive vehicle. As such, there is no drive shaft running from the engine to the rear wheels. This makes the floor of the ProMaster closer to the ground – and that makes for some terrific handling in every situation I’ve driven ours in. Crosswinds, passing semi-trucks, you name it; our Travato remains firmly planted on the road.
But while that low floor height makes for great handling on the road, it also means that everything underneath the RV is closer to the ground. One area where I’ve heard concerns has to do with the generator. Most of these concerns come not from owners, but from potential owners. The “look” of the generator underneath concerns people. And even though I hadn’t had any problems with it myself, I thought I’d see if there was an easy and effective way to raise the generator a bit.
I found a product called “Sumo Springs”, which is made for the ProMaster. I could describe in detail the closed cell polyurethane, blah, blah, blah; but basically, they’re upgraded bump stops that are screw-in replacements for the factory ones in the rear of the Travato. I had used a similar product on our last RV, and I like the idea of a non-permanent, easily reversible solution that I could try out. If I didn’t like them, removing them is just as easy as installing them.
I discussed adding the Sumo Springs with Winnebago. They told me they are working with Chrysler to devise a way to increase the ride height of a fully loaded Travato. But as far as the Sumo Springs, they cannot install them at Winnebago or recommend that end users install them. So, if you plan on trying out the Sumo Springs, know that you’re doing so at your own risk.
I ordered the “heavy duty” set, and made arrangements to have them installed at a local garage. I recommend you have someone install them unless you’re a qualified mechanic. The Travato is a heavy vehicle, and to complete this safely, you’d need a heavy duty jack, chocks, and jack stands. Don’t undertake this yourself unless you know what you’re doing.
The install procedure was simple. Before we did anything, we measured the height of the generator. In this picture, you can see that the generator sits 6 3/8 inches off the ground.
In that same picture, the rear axle is 192mm off the ground. We’ll come back to that in the “after” picture. Once the vehicle was raised, it was simple to locate the factory bump stop (the orange thing) and simply unscrew it (though they did use an oil filter wrench for leverage).
The difference in uncompressed height between the factory bump stop and the Sumo Spring stop was rather obvious. There’s a 2 inch urethane spacer that comes with the Sumo Springs which practically guarantees that we’ll pick up some height in the back.
The Sumo Spring stop simply screws in place, in two pieces, in place of the factory one. Here it is installed, but the vehicle is still raised, leaving the spring uncompressed.
And that’s it. It was then just a matter of repeating the process on the other side of the Travato. Total time elapsed: about 30 minutes.
But did it work?
Absolutely! Here we are measuring to the bottom of the generator after the Sumo Springs are installed. The new height? 7 and 7/16 inches. That’s an increase of over one inch.
And remember the 192mm to the bottom of the axle? That axle sits further forward. You can see in this second photo that it shows 193mm. I tried to keep the camera angle the same between the before and after shots. Though I was squatting down and leaning under the Travato, I kept parallax to within a millimeter. So no trick photography here.
And how does it drive?
I’m happy to report that the experience from the driver’s seat is as excellent as it always was. While I’ve not driven through any hurricanes, I don’t notice any additional sway or push-pull with passing rigs. And when I took the Travato down a steep twisty mountain canyon road, control over the rear end seemed sure and unaffected. Stef has even driven the Travato post Sumo-Springs – extensively, as she supported me on a 300 mile bicycle race over mountains and through terrible crosswinds. She doesn’t mind driving the Travato at all! (She would never have driven our old Sprinter.)
I’ve saved the factory bump stops, but I don’t think I’ll be reinstalling them. The Sumo Springs have increased the ground clearance on our Travato by just over an inch with no adverse consequences. If you’re concerned about the height of the generator on your Travato, adding the Sumo Springs might be something to consider.