Agile or ujoint

explore_ak

New member
All things being equal, would you rather have the independent I beam 4x4 of the agile? Or the solid axle of the ujoint conversions..
 

Luinil

Adventurer
It really depends on how you are going to use the rig and the road surface you will be on and the lift requirements. I went with Agile. I wanted the smoother better handling ride on pavement. Most of our trips involve many hours of pavement to get to the dirt. The solid axel rigs I have been in have a harsher ride. On dirt and gravel Agile is wonderful as well. I never purposely go rock crawling. We also needed to keep the lift to a minimum so that my better half did not need a step stool to get in the van.
 
Having a TTB 4WD van, albeit in stockish Ford geometry, and if I wasn't going to DIY, and had the time, I'd get in line for the Agile "tuned" TTB system setup for faster speeds. I'm debating some tuning to mine at home, namely longer radius arms and a steering linkage matched more closely to the TTB.

I believe they can also provide a lower overall lift height, which is a nice consideration over the solid axle versions. My van is about 2.5" over stock with the Clydesdale TTB - doesn't attract as much attention, and returns a bit better aerodynamics than taller vans (pot to kettle lol).

For a DIY, then I'd lean to the 05+ super duty setups MG or Timberline, big brakes and tighter steering, believe minimum lift is +4" over stock. But I'm also not really considering hardcore offroad in my van use, where the U Joint leaf spring kits would have an articulation advantage I expect.
 
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ujoint

Supporting Sponsor
Having a TTB 4WD van, albeit in stockish Ford geometry, and if I wasn't going to DIY, and had the time, I'd get in line for the Agile "tuned" TTB system setup for faster speeds. I'm debating some tuning to mine at home, namely longer radius arms and a steering linkage matched more closely to the TTB.

I believe they can also provide a lower overall lift height, which is a nice consideration over the solid axle versions. My van is about 2.5" over stock with the Clydesdale TTB - doesn't attract as much attention, and returns a bit better aerodynamics than taller vans (pot to kettle lol).

For a DIY, then I'd lean to the 05+ super duty setups MG or Timberline, big brakes and tighter steering, believe minimum lift is +4" over stock. But I'm also not really considering hardcore offroad in my van use, where the U Joint leaf spring kits would have an articulation advantage I expect.
The MG kit is prone to death wobble just like all of the solid axle coil setups available, we installed/sold over 30 of them and are dealing with upgrades to remedy DW issues via crossover steering and a relocated trac bar. Our RSC upgraded Dana 60 still has the biggest brakes, 14.5" diameter. On road handling is better with leaf springs anyway and yes, it twists better but TTB will out do them all in high speed bump situations. Timerline is a direct copy of a Quigley conversion, plenty of info about their pro's and cons on the web.

We're in development of a radius arm coil over sold axle suspension right now that will shake things up a bit.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Best handling is so subjective, how can anyone determine which kit is the best?

I haven't driven an Agile TTB van, but having had a UJOR 6" leaf, and driven other UJOR 6"ers, turning radius on them was a bit wider than the MG coil kits I've driven. Buyer of VANdiana Jones(UJOR 6") commented the same the first time he drove it, compared to his old Clydesdale setup.

Ramsey's(Agile) old videos of the underside of his van thru the SoCal doo-wops were fun to see. Quite impressive.

At this point it's widely known about the possibility of DW with any solid axle coil spring setup, even low mileage factory Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks. Does that mean that Ford has a poor design? Don't think so. Add heavy and/or wide wheels/tires, run too much tire pressure, don't torque fasteners properly, then get some miles on the rig, bushings wear, vibrations/oscillations occur thru the entire system, steering box play, forget to have yearly alignments performed...DW creeps in even on bone stock rigs. There are SO many ancillary variables with a radius arm suspension that can contribute to DW. Chris, how can you be so sure that your UJOR upgrade accounts for all of these? And if such an upgrade is needed on a coil spring front end in order to cure DW, why don't we see more F-Series Super Duty trucks with high steer knuckles and relocated trac bars?

Numerous vans with the MG kit which have no DW, including Hyperdriv with lots of miles through horrible roads in Mexico; "I have over 20,000 miles on my MG/Expo Coil Conversion. 8,000 this winter on a trip through Mexico on some awful roads and wonderful dirt where to be honest we beat on our Van pretty good. No DW or any issue on my van."

UJOR's RSC upgrade does offer the largest brakes by 0.2", but don't forget that they come at an add'l cost of $2395 over/above the price of the axle($3995+)--otherwise you're getting the '99-04 13" factory brakes. Compare this to MG's coil spring setup; engineered for ’05-16 front axles where the '13-'16 axles come standard from Ford with 14.3” brakes. So, on the MG kit the key is to find a good low mileage axle and you get the 14.3" front brakes for no extra cost.

If you're a DIYer, research which kits can be installed in your driveway using basic tools, and which kits require specialized tools, welding and such.

One other important detail to note about these 3 kits (Agile, MG, UJOR) has to do with RSC warning lights for vans with the factory RSC system. Agile and MG have solved it, doesn't seem that UJOR has yet; https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/ujor-build-thread.55074/page-459#post-2450510

No one kit will fit everyone's needs. Like with everything, some pros/cons to them all. If you can, best to drive all 3 to determine for yourself. As crazy as it may sound, even flying somewhere in order to have driven/experienced all 3 can be money ahead in the long run.

Hope that helps.
 

ujoint

Supporting Sponsor
At this point it's widely known about the possibility of DW with any solid axle coil spring setup, even low mileage factory Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks. Does that mean that Ford has a poor design? Don't think so. Add heavy and/or wide wheels/tires, run too much tire pressure, don't torque fasteners properly, then get some miles on the rig, bushings wear, vibrations/oscillations occur thru the entire system, steering box play, forget to have yearly alignments performed...DW creeps in even on bone stock rigs. There are SO many ancillary variables with a radius arm suspension that can contribute to DW. Chris, how can you be so sure that your UJOR upgrade accounts for all of these? And if such an upgrade is needed on a coil spring front end in order to cure DW, why don't we see more F-Series Super Duty trucks with high steer knuckles and relocated trac bars?

Numerous vans with the MG kit which have no DW, including Hyperdriv with lots of miles through horrible roads in Mexico; "I have over 20,000 miles on my MG/Expo Coil Conversion. 8,000 this winter on a trip through Mexico on some awful roads and wonderful dirt where to be honest we beat on our Van pretty good. No DW or any issue on my van."

UJOR's RSC upgrade does offer the largest brakes by 0.2", but don't forget that they come at an add'l cost of $2395 over/above the price of the axle($3995+)--otherwise you're getting the '99-04 13" factory brakes. Compare this to MG's coil spring setup; engineered for ’05-16 front axles where the '13-'16 axles come standard from Ford with 14.3” brakes. So, on the MG kit the key is to find a good low mileage axle and you get the 14.3" front brakes for no extra cost.


One other important detail to note about these 3 kits (Agile, MG, UJOR) has to do with RSC warning lights for vans with the factory RSC system. Agile and MG have solved it, doesn't seem that UJOR has yet; https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/ujor-build-thread.55074/page-459#post-2450510

Hope that helps.
The Ford 05 trac bar design has been a problem since day 1. Yes, there are many many ways to develop DW and some rigs get it, some don't. The bottom line is that I had a customer with DW so I created a solution instead of throwing parts at it. That particular van just did a 4k mile trip all over the east coast and even got a ticket for 85mph along the way. He's happy, no steering stabilizers, much more confident with the way it drives and thats all I care about! Since then we've shipped ~10 fix it kits for MG conversions sold and/or installed by UJ or MG. We sold 30 of the kits and have had DW concerns with 6 or 7 so far so I understand how some vans are cruising along with no issues.

I don't know why others haven't done the same. Too much work? Lazy? Don't care enough? Doesn't concern me, I put less stress and angle on the trac bar/drag link and the problem went away.

If you read the following post on the RSC issue I gave a solution. Stock pitman arm.

Apologies to the OP for the quick derailment :)
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
The Ford 05 trac bar design has been a problem since day 1. Yes, there are many many ways to develop DW and some rigs get it, some don't. The bottom line is that I had a customer with DW so I created a solution instead of throwing parts at it.

If you read the following post on the RSC issue I gave a solution. Stock pitman arm.
..."there are many many ways to develop DW and some rigs get it, some don't. The bottom line is that I had a customer with DW so I created a solution instead of throwing parts at it."

That's like saying "There are many ways for a set of new leaf springs on a UJOR conversion to sag prematurely, and some rigs get it, some don't."
Different ways to skin a cat, but your "solution" may involve "throwing parts"(custom and more expensive ones) at a customer van when/if a van has non-4x4-kit parts needing to be maintained; worn out steering box, blown bushings, sticking calipers, etc. So that everyone here understands and is clear, without investigating potential problems like those, your "solution" can possibly mask mechanical issues and impending factory Ford part failures. Anyone with DW needs to stop driving the vehicle, have a professional shop investigate all the possible culprits, and not drive the vehicle until those culprits are dealt with. Driving the vehicle further, and inducing more and more DW is just going to obliterate more parts, means more money to fix properly.

There are some MG coil spring vans who've added dual stabilizers($500 or less, no extra work of welding on a new trac bar mount and adding other custom parts) before even having any signs of DW, which have reportedly resulted in being rock solid over bumps, under braking, drivers say they can even let go of the steering wheel and drive over parking lot speed bumps hard without oscillations thru the steering wheel.

Important to note on the RSC issue; your stock pitman arm solution for an RSC-equipped van will negatively affect turning radius however, which is already poor on the UJOR leaf spring kit(firsthand experience) vs a coil kit. So it's either live with the blinking RSC lights, or make the turning radius even worse; neither seems to be a favorable solution. What's the ultimate solution there?

This info is no derailment as it's very relevant to explore_ak's original question.
Back to the 4x4 kit discussion...
 

ujoint

Supporting Sponsor
..."there are many many ways to develop DW and some rigs get it, some don't. The bottom line is that I had a customer with DW so I created a solution instead of throwing parts at it."

That's like saying "There are many ways for a set of new leaf springs on a UJOR conversion to sag prematurely, and some rigs get it, some don't."
Different ways to skin a cat, but your "solution" may involve "throwing parts"(custom and more expensive ones) at a customer van when/if a van has non-4x4-kit parts needing to be maintained; worn out steering box, blown bushings, sticking calipers, etc. So that everyone here understands and is clear, without investigating potential problems like those, your "solution" can possibly mask mechanical issues and impending factory Ford part failures. Anyone with DW needs to stop driving the vehicle, have a professional shop investigate all the possible culprits, and not drive the vehicle until those culprits are dealt with. Driving the vehicle further, and inducing more and more DW is just going to obliterate more parts, means more money to fix properly.

There are some MG coil spring vans who've added dual stabilizers($500 or less, no extra work of welding on a new trac bar mount and adding other custom parts) before even having any signs of DW, which have reportedly resulted in being rock solid over bumps, under braking, drivers say they can even let go of the steering wheel and drive over parking lot speed bumps hard without oscillations thru the steering wheel.

Important to note on the RSC issue; your stock pitman arm solution for an RSC-equipped van will negatively affect turning radius however, which is already poor on the UJOR leaf spring kit(firsthand experience) vs a coil kit. So it's either live with the blinking RSC lights, or make the turning radius even worse; neither seems to be a favorable solution. What's the ultimate solution there?

This info is no derailment as it's very relevant to explore_ak's original question.
Back to the 4x4 kit discussion...
Plenty of info on all of the E series converters is available, we're all busy so everyone wins. Glad you enjoyed your UJ equipped van while you had it, best of luck to whatever you buy next.
 

mk216v

Der Chef der Fahrzeuge
Plenty of info on all of the E series converters is available, we're all busy so everyone wins. Glad you enjoyed your UJ equipped van while you had it, best of luck to whatever you buy next.
Most all the van converters are bonkers busy, probably even Javier. :rolleyes::sick:
VANdiana was an awesome van indeed, very well loved. He might be for sale again soon if you/anyone is interested (Randy got his stolen van back and would resurrect it).
 

torqluvas

Observer
Many good kits here. mg kit allowing the big brakes from factory newer axle is dfeinitely a bonus. Get a ride in each of these vans to give your buttometer a good feel for handling and ride quality, steering, tracking down road etc.
 

dtruzinski

Explorer
I have recently moved from a Fuso FG 140 to a 2003 Ford E350 with a U-Joint conversion (see 7.3 Steel Blue on their site). This has a solid front axle and coil springs. First impressions after ~1000 miles: excellent on road manners, outstanding off road (ok, mostly forest service roads with some big woop-T-do's and rocks) and an incredible turning radius. While we lost a lot of room, we gained better highway speeds and better off-road capabilities. The U-Joint conversion is first rate. I have built many rigs and never bought a pre-built, until now. I am exceptionally pleased with the work product from U-Joint, Advantura, and Sportsmobile...this is a magical combo!
 

torqluvas

Observer
I have recently moved from a Fuso FG 140 to a 2003 Ford E350 with a U-Joint conversion (see 7.3 Steel Blue on their site). This has a solid front axle and coil springs. First impressions after ~1000 miles: excellent on road manners, outstanding off road (ok, mostly forest service roads with some big woop-T-do's and rocks) and an incredible turning radius. While we lost a lot of room, we gained better highway speeds and better off-road capabilities. The U-Joint conversion is first rate. I have built many rigs and never bought a pre-built, until now. I am exceptionally pleased with the work product from U-Joint, Advantura, and Sportsmobile...this is a magical combo!
You mean to say the MG coil kit as thats what Ujoints been using. Lots of love for it on the forums as been desinged well, MaGical coil kit haha. I think i saw a pic of your Blue van somewhere here, liked that color.
 
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