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Old 12-25-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
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Driving your Axis/Vegas

I've seen a few posts talking about how the Thor's are a bit squirrelly going down the road. Having just put 1400 miles on our Axis (yesterday) I thought I'd add a thread here talking about my experiences with it (much of this topic will likely also apply to any E-Series based class C). Having said that....
On the E-Series chassis there is a "dead zone" in the steering: When going straight down the road the steering wheel has a good 1" (or more) of play before actually turning the front wheels (most likely from the couple of u-joints in the steering shaft). Thus you may find yourself turning the wheel back and forth attempting to keep the vehicle going straight down the road which may result in swaying back and forth. I try to minimize this by turning the wheel slowly and feeling for the resistance when it does start turning the front wheels easing into that--I've found that by using slow determined motions I can usually make the Axis track straight down the road and not bounce back and forth between the two lane markers...at least when it isn't windy.

The Axis sits up very high, especially the driver. When looking out the drivers side window you're looking above just about everything on the road. Thor must have raised up the seating position to be similar to a "normal" Class A (you are even higher than other E-Series based Class C RVs, when going next to Semi's we almost see eye to eye with those drivers). This enhances the rocking and the feeling of being pushed around a bit by the winds; something to get used to. This does mean that you can look far ahead and be able to see traffic situations forming well in advance (and thus not have to violently react). The raised seating also affects the drivers sightlines to the gauges in the dash--at least for me it seems I have to slouch about 6" to be able to fully read the fuel level and other items at the top of the dash (like they raised the seating position more than the dash).

Some drivers can tolerate this behavior better than others: I'm pretty relaxed driving the Axis, and in most instances can do so with a single light hand on the wheel. Others, on the other hand, may find driving it to be a bit stressful and only be able to go so far before having to stop.

Well that is about all I have for the moment, stay safe out there this holiday season if you're driving anywhere...
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:01 PM   #2
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THOR #1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I've seen a few posts talking about how the Thor's are a bit squirrelly going down the road. Having just put 1400 miles on our Axis (yesterday) I thought I'd add a thread here talking about my experiences with it (much of this topic will likely also apply to any E-Series based class C). Having said that....
On the E-Series chassis there is a "dead zone" in the steering: When going straight down the road the steering wheel has a good 1" (or more) of play before actually turning the front wheels (most likely from the couple of u-joints in the steering shaft). Thus you may find yourself turning the wheel back and forth attempting to keep the vehicle going straight down the road which may result in swaying back and forth. I try to minimize this by turning the wheel slowly and feeling for the resistance when it does start turning the front wheels easing into that--I've found that by using slow determined motions I can usually make the Axis track straight down the road and not bounce back and forth between the two lane markers...at least when it isn't windy.

The Axis sits up very high, especially the driver. When looking out the drivers side window you're looking above just about everything on the road. Thor must have raised up the seating position to be similar to a "normal" Class A (you are even higher than other E-Series based Class C RVs, when going next to Semi's we almost see eye to eye with those drivers). This enhances the rocking and the feeling of being pushed around a bit by the winds; something to get used to. This does mean that you can look far ahead and be able to see traffic situations forming well in advance (and thus not have to violently react). The raised seating also affects the drivers sightlines to the gauges in the dash--at least for me it seems I have to slouch about 6" to be able to fully read the fuel level and other items at the top of the dash (like they raised the seating position more than the dash).

Some drivers can tolerate this behavior better than others: I'm pretty relaxed driving the Axis, and in most instances can do so with a single light hand on the wheel. Others, on the other hand, may find driving it to be a bit stressful and only be able to go so far before having to stop.

Well that is about all I have for the moment, stay safe out there this holiday season if you're driving anywhere...

I have to say, when i read this posting on the dead zone steering problem, I thought to myself, "Really"? I just spent almost $70,000 for an RV that sways in the wind from center marker to side marker unless i can learn how to keep it steady? I'm quite sure Ford didn't engineer it that way. Something must be out of order here, no? I'm calling Ford to find out before i buy one, THAT's for sure.
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:34 PM   #3
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Every Econoline van vehicle (e.g. E-Series) I've ever driven from Ford has had this play in it. It's just the nature of the beast.

Even the few Chevy's and lone Dodge vans I've driven have exhibited similar behavior. Must be something in a full sized van's steering geometry.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the writeup Jamie. You pretty much nailed it. I'm going to the RV show in Denver in two weeks. I hope to pick up a saf-T- plus for a decent price. With any luck that, and proper alignment, will correct many of the handling issues.

Randy
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Old 12-27-2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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I still maintain they have to much unit on that light weight suspension.
If you want something that drives down the road the way it should, you are going have to get one with heavier suspension.
Other wise it's like trying to herd a bucket of jello down the road.
There just isn't a fix for it.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:36 AM   #6
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Do we know if a saf-T-plus after market really makes a difference? Anyone tried it yet?
After traveling along I-80 the past two days, I can tell you the Axis really needs something to keep steady with semis passing and 20-30 mile an hours winds!
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Old 12-28-2014, 05:17 AM   #7
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Ralph,

I've heard good things about it, but no experience. Lots of good reviews on other coaches.

Did the dealer do an alignment for you? If not, that's a must-do.

Randy
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Old 12-28-2014, 05:57 PM   #8
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Mine doesn't handle bad at all. Sure, there's a little push when a semi passes or in some head wind but not much more than I've felt driving my wife's Escape. I've not had the alignment checked on mine after 3000 miles and notice no tire wear at all. It does drive some better though after adjusting tire pressure though. (75 Psi front - 65 rear - recommended). All tires had 75 psi when I checked. It made a difference being loaded also. On straightaways interstate driving, I can drive comfortably one hand on the wheel and very little movement with no wind or vehicle passing at 70 mph.
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Old 12-29-2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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Interesting Larry, as I had them set the tires as you recommended 75 front 65 rear. During the inspection, the mechanic said "if it were me, I would go with the Factory recommendation of 75 all around? So, he infllated them all to 75. And of course, had some challenges traveling 1200 miles home this weekend. Of well..
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Old 12-29-2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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Yes, alignment was warranted and completed prior to pick up. Asking the dealer for the specifics so I can check.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:30 PM   #11
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Ralph,
I just went by tire pressures as noted on the decal to the left of the driver's seat and I think what was suggested in the Ford owner's manual. I noticed improved handling the next time I drove it. You might want to give it a try and see if it helps on yours too.
Glad you made the 1200 mile trip home safely. Everything else check out ok and did T. Value meet your expectations?
We are in the gulf coast now and heading back to GA today. Been away from home since Friday and enjoying ourselves.
Regards,
Larry
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:34 PM   #12
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On...not "in" the Gulf Coast. Hope we don't wind up "in" the Gulf coast. 😃😜
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:42 PM   #13
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I just tried to pump ours up to recommended. Got the fronts up to 70, but couldn't change the rears as I couldn't get a reading on the inner tires--can't even get any air to escape pressing the schrader valve. It would appear either Camping World or our dealer set the fronts to ~60 psi and the rears to ~55 psi (which would more or less match the Michelin chart for weights on the tires).
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:12 PM   #14
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I had the no air in or our on the curb-side inner dual. Turned out to be a bad extension. Kind of puts the whole "quality check" program of the dealer in question!

Randy
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I just tried to pump ours up to recommended. Got the fronts up to 70, but couldn't change the rears as I couldn't get a reading on the inner tires--can't even get any air to escape pressing the schrader valve. It would appear either Camping World or our dealer set the fronts to ~60 psi and the rears to ~55 psi (which would more or less match the Michelin chart for weights on the tires).
Mine were all at 75 psi from the factory (I'm guessing).
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Old 01-19-2015, 12:23 AM   #16
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THOR #1075
Posted in the wrong thread earlier.

I put almost 500 miles on my ‘15 Axis this weekend. It has been winterized so no water or extra dump weight, no loaded stuff, just a short sleeve T-shirt and no underwear. Wait, TMI—point being nothing but the unit; no extra weight. I found the steering to be excellent. I drove 60 to 65 on a state highway to my destination and up to 70 on I-70 back home and had no drifting issues at all. Trucks were passing at the speed of light and not blowing me all over the road. It was a good feeling. Maybe everyone talking about the front end alignment after loading for travel is a very good idea. Tires are recommended levels.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:15 PM   #17
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Tire valve extensions

Jamie, I had the same problem as you; not getting any air into or out of the valves on most of the tires. It is the valve extensions that are the problem. I changed them out for some good quality ones. They are easy to change by removing the hub caps. Below are a couple of pics of the old ones and you can see that the flex rod inside the flex hoses is not so flexible. They bind at the slightest twist.
MR 2015 Vegas
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:29 PM   #18
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I only had the problem on the inner two tires. Its at the dealer for the last warranty fixes (including this one). We'll see what the dealer does.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:34 PM   #19
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Well said Jamie. I just finished a 7,100 mile coast to coast trip and noticed the same steering actions. The wind and passing trucks are not so much a problem as the constant attention to staying between the lines. The alignment was done a few days before my trip in Dec. and I was thinking about taking it back to the local shop and ask them if something could be done to minimize the lack of tracking. Maybe a little more caster would help. I will check with them after finishing unpacking and cleaning and see if they can recommend of do something. It is kind of tiring to have to be on the guard every second.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:02 AM   #20
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As a reference for ease of getting the Vegas/Axis into a gas station:

Note how far forward I had to park it so the filler is right at the pump (took this today as I was returning it to storage after its short dealer visit).

You do get funny looks from people when you take photos of your vehicle getting gas at the pump LOL!
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