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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone-

I'd like to get a little input regarding the highway driving manners of the Transit vs Sprinter.

A little background- It's been 2 years since I sold my 2015 MB 170"WB 2500 Sprinter high roof. I've started to look at late model 2018/2019 Transits (something like a long wheelbase, medium roof passenger van).

I've driven 2 Transits (long wheelbase and medium roof, 350), and both exhibited very similar behavior at highway speeds. In town, they drove phenomenally, but at highway speeds, the rear end felt pretty loose. As an example, if you were doing a lane change, the rear end would kick out (and then attempt to self correct) in the opposite direction.

It was a bit unnerving in the first van I drove. Checked the tire pressure in it,and the dealer had them all set at 80psi. I lowered them to a little under spec (I think 56ish front/68ish rear), and that seemed to help, but by then, I had already written the van off.

The second van drove in much the same way (also LWB, med roof, 350), but its highway manners were much more refined at the start of the test drive. After 10 or so minutes, the loose rear end seemed to make another appearance. It's been pretty hot here (100+ deg), so I don't know if it's simply over inflated tires coupled with high heat or something else.

Can anyone comment on the driving characteristics of the Transit? Is what I am describing simply how they handle?

After the initial drive, I chalked it up to a bad van. After the second test drive, I'm really questioning my tolerance for such driving dynamics (after being in a car as a daily driver for a few years), but I don't recall the Sprinter having the same sensations.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well shoot... I'm either too vague on my description, or I may just be overtly critical of the Transit after my first encounter. Driving around town, both were really fantastic.
 

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Tire pressure is a factor. Dealership fools always air them to max pressure allowed on side of tire, 80psi. My cargo specs 71psi rear, but, with about 1200 lbs permanent load, I run 64 or so, just high enough to keep the TPMS from squawking. Runs good, to my mind.

OEM tires can be different. They come with either Hancooks, or Continental. On replacement, I went from Hancooks, to Continental. I like the Continentals, best. The Hancooks never felt quite as settled as the Contis.
 

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Like avenge stated, I haven't experienced quirky handling like you're describing with my 2019 Transit 148" MR. It's tight in the city, and on the highway.
 

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I had the Hankooks for about 5000 miles I now have the Michelin Agilis Cross Climate in 225/75 I run both at about 56 psi front and 76 psi rear. In comparison the Hankooks felt a bit squirmy/softer.
 

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I owned a 2008 144" WB Sprinter for 5 years and have now owned a 2015 Transit for the past 5 years. Transit handles far better than a Sprinter.

High tire pressure and no cargo load will cause odd handling.

Interesting there was a big improvement in handling when I replaced the OEM 236/65/16 Hankooks with 245/70/16 Cooper tires. Major difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just returned from another test drive.

We've driven a Transit LWB MR x2 and a Sprinter 144WB HR. They all behaved the same way on the highway...which is to say the rear end felt a little 'floaty' to me. I'm pretty sure my 170wb Sprinter felt the same way, but I was simply used to it.

With that said, I think my first test drive of the Transit came at a bad time. We had just driven 5.5 hours to look at it. We were tired, and I'm sure very used to the handling of the car which we drove. I feel pretty comfortable in that I was extremely sensitive to the road behavior of the Transit, and judged it pretty harshly. After driving 2 other vans, I'm seeing that they all drive the same way...like a van.

Thanks for the input everyone. I'll double-check tire pressures on tomorrow's test drive!
 

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I am not sure where you are but we in northern az are having 100 plus temps as well. I run the agilis cross climate on a 148 high roof wagon. There is always some weight in the back (minimal camper) so most of the time things are fine. Recently i have noticed with the high temps the asphalt freeways and two lane roads seem to move or get road grooves especially where trucks run. This and a little bit of wind in an empty van can make a huge difference. As an old person i tend to drive at what is feel most comfortable for the moment.
 

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I have a 2019 250 HR EL. Empty and on the thruway the rear was loose, esp in cross winds or passing semis. Lowering tire pressure a bit helped. Adding the rear anti sway bar which is stock on the 350 really helped. On my 250, all the threaded inserts, holes, etc., were already there, just needed to add <300$ worth of ford parts and an hour or so of messing about. There are thread on here about that.

With my build mostly done, the added weight (est 2k lb) has helped even more. Mo real complaints at this point.
 

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I have a 130WB. When I drive I'm only carrying a 400lb. scoot and I don't notice or know anything about the handling you describe. Isn't comparing a 148WB to a 170WB apples to oranges? It is in the motorbike world.
 

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I tend to drive fast and find my stock T250 MR 148WB to have decent handling at highway speeds for a van. I have not noticed any instability in the rear end with quick lane changes at highway speeds. I sometimes will cruise at 95mph when safe to do so and fast lane changes are just fine. Usually have around 1000 lbs payload including passengers on highway trips. The tires I have are Cooper 235/65/R16. They were fairly new and came on the van when I purchased it with 34K miles.

The main handling issue I would like to improve on would be to reduce the body lean on high speed turns so I plan to investigate adding a rear sway bar. And the stock shocks on the rear of my van are either crap or worn out and ready to replace.
 

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2018 350 SRW Ext HR with the Ecoboost. I had issues with excessive sway in the rear end mid build, before I installed the air lifter bags. With a side wind, it was not a ton of fun.

Now, with the bags and onboard compressor, I just bump them up to 40psi, and it rides like a dream! Seriously has handling completely uncharacteristic of an 8000lb 20' vehicle, almost sporty. Add in the crazy power of the Ecoboost, and it's actually fun to drive. I've done 20k miles in roadtrips in the last two years, including several 15+ hour days, and I LOVE driving this van.

In short, the airlifter airbags are 100% worth it.
 

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I know what youre talking about but in my experience its about tires. the tires that came with the van would wander a bit at speed especially in warm weather. I then replaced them with a different tire that did not last very long but that slight wiggle was never there. now im with agelis crossclimate and the wiggle has returned. its a bit unnerving when you first feel it and makes me check the tire pressure and torque the lug nuts again {literally just did this routine three days ago} but it never really goes away. lowering the pressure might help but im hesitant to start messing with that. its not unsafe feeling just different. I once test drove a sprinter including at speed but to be honest all I could think about was this thing costs this much money and it rattles like a can of pennies maybe it was more stable....who knows?
 
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