Regarding your Koni dilemma-
Your Early 2500 ’02(140″/ 158″) was
originally equipped with 15″ wheel. In mid/later ’02, marketing/sales
pressure forced MBenz to fit 16″ wheels and tires to 140″/158″ 2500 US
Tire availability as well as aesthetics likely forced the
issue. In Europe low center of gravity and low loading height is
paramount-also 15″ load rated tires are everywhere.
When MBenz converted the 2500 mid/long Sprinter to 16″ wheels MBenz
didn’t “just” mount larger wheels. They raised the vehicle about 30mm.
In the rear this was achieved by more extreme “manufactured curvature”
of the rear leaf.
They also reshaped the wheel well opening and added
the plastic wheel well trim. In the front they added channeling to the
front suspension subframe to raise the front roughly the same 30mm.
The steering column was lengthened an equal amount and the steering
rack was modified(but not dimensionally).
The now raised(in relation
to wheel center) upper strut mounting location required longer strut
housings and center shafts. This is where your dilemma comes into the
picture. The Koni (3500) F. strut has an almost 11″ long strut
housing(measured from top of outer housing to center line of upper
mounting bolt(chosen as index line).
The OEM 3500 strut is about 3/4″
shorter(than the Koni) and your original 15″ 2500 mid/long strut was
about 9 1/4″ in length-almost 3″ shorter. Your Koni struts are indeed
“bottoming out” but not internally. The top of your Koni strut
housing(cylinder) in hitting the upper strut mount steel “washer”.
This washer is cone shaped and is well below the shaft’s threaded
This bottoming occurs before the internal shaft can damage
the adj. mechanism inside the shock housing. You can check these
dimensions by crawling underneath and pulling down the dust cover on
the strut. Measure clearance between strut top and that cone shaped
seat for upper mount.
Compare this dimension to clearance at your
suspension arm bump stop. Hopefully when your spring was replaced they
used all the correct spring seat part#’s and didn’t complicated that
issue as well. Doktor A