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Old 10-19-2015, 10:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevedfelker View Post
I'm not an engineer but o stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once..
I am an engineer, (but usually stay at the Marriot or Hilton, ....Embassy Suites if the customer is cheap)!

If you own an F53 chassis, you don't need to know anything, especially engineering to completely mod your suspension! All you need to do is visit the Blue Ox website. Simply purchase one of everything for the F53 chassis suspension, (from them, or an equivalent product from a competitor), and you're good to go!


link:
http://blueox.com/chassis-performance/


Or, in summary:


1. CHF, (cheap handling fix if you already have stock sway bars).
2. Track Bar, (if your chassis didn't come with one).
3. Tire Blow Out Self Centering system, (not the same as a stabilizer which is just a shock absorber).
4. And a nice set of shocks, (if your chassis didn't come with them), and regular wheel alignment will keep it true.
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:40 AM   #22
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Beacher I would add the adjustable Helwig front links because when you are on non level ground and the front end is jacked up the sway bar will rub the springs. I had my alignment shop install them for about $60 labor. ( after I bought them for $100)


Note about alignments... I owned a tire and front end shop back in the day, and found many cars that were new had alignment problems. The deal with Thor, or maybe all motorhomes, I am not sure. Thor, they get the bare chassis from Ford and install the box. I do not think THOR does an alignment before sending the finished RV to the dealer. This leaves a lot of room for error, and for sure many are out of alignment. That little tag about aligning it once you loaded is a bit of a way for them not to do it, your 200 pounds of stuff is not going to change the alignment...it is a rip off totally.
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petef View Post
Beacher I would add the adjustable Helwig front links because when you are on non level ground and the front end is jacked up the sway bar will rub the springs. I had my alignment shop install them for about $60 labor. ( after I bought them for $100)


Note about alignments... I owned a tire and front end shop back in the day, and found many cars that were new had alignment problems. The deal with Thor, or maybe all motorhomes, I am not sure. Thor, they get the bare chassis from Ford and install the box. I do not think THOR does an alignment before sending the finished RV to the dealer. This leaves a lot of room for error, and for sure many are out of alignment. That little tag about aligning it once you loaded is a bit of a way for them not to do it, your 200 pounds of stuff is not going to change the alignment...it is a rip off totally.
Ford will do the alignment under warranty for the first 12 months or 12K miles. After that it is on the owner.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:12 PM   #24
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I took it the Ford recommended by Thor dealer because of the handling problems the 3rd week I owned it. They kept it 3 weeks, took it for a test drive and told me it handled fine, then charged me $168 labor because they found nothing wrong so the test drive was not under warranty!
I got Thor to reimburse for that bill, an alignment and spin balance of all the tires. 2 were out round and a local dealer warrantied them and the alignment was 5/8 in out.. You better have this document in hand, ie, Ford warranty free alignment, and not go to the dealer I did!
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:19 AM   #25
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Anyone recently installed the Safe-T-Plus system on an Axis/Vegas? Trying to get an idea of the cost.

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Old 10-24-2015, 02:18 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bevedfelker View Post
I'm not an engineer but o stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once. My take on what I've read in these forums is that I need a degree in mechanical engineering so I can determine what modifications I need on my front and rear end to improve handling. And of course to keep from killing myself in the event of s blowout. I also need an electrical engineering degree because based on what I've read there doesn't seem to be many RV service centers able to determine why batteries won't charge, won't hold a charge, have no power on shore power, etc. One of the reasons this forum is so important is because it winfs up being the source of last resort to fixing and keeping your RV out of the dealership for weeks on end.

Just saying...
A mechanical engineering degree with years of experience, including electrical design work, could certainly help in troubleshooting. But in my opinion it would be of greatest value if applied during the design of the chassis and the coach, not afterwards to fix deficient design work.

If these motorhomes are being built so that they need upgrading in order to be placed in service, then someone is dropping the ball big time. I get Beacher's point above but disagree for the most part. A new owner shouldn't have to take a brand new motorhome and apply the shotgun approach by buying all available aftermarket chassis upgrades. If that is indeed the case I think Ford and or Thor needs to upgrade their engineering departments.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:18 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
If these motorhomes are being built so that they need upgrading in order to be placed in service, then someone is dropping the ball big time. I get Beacher's point above but disagree for the most part. A new owner shouldn't have to take a brand new motorhome and apply the shotgun approach by buying all available aftermarket chassis upgrades. If that is indeed the case I think Ford and or Thor needs to upgrade their engineering departments.
Other than the initial alignment I haven't done anything to our suspension and I find the coach quite drive able in just about all conditions (even hit some snow on our way back from FL last year).
I don't find it squirrely at all--even when passing or being passed by trucks and other heavy traffic.
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Old 10-25-2015, 02:21 AM   #28
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Other than the initial alignment I haven't done anything to our suspension and I find the coach quite drive able in just about all conditions (even hit some snow on our way back from FL last year).
I don't find it squirrely at all--even when passing or being passed by trucks and other heavy traffic.
It's understandable that an alignment should be a first step, and that it may very well fix many handling, stability, and tracking issues. But what about when an alignment isn't a good-enough fix? No doubt your Axis drives great, but if all motorhomes only needed an alignment then all kinds of chassis upgrades would not be so common.

Which raises the question of why the difference between those that "reportedly" drive OK and those that don't. I can think of a few possibilities although I'm certain there are many more.

1) Some drivers are more skilled, less sensitive to poor handling, or are less picky on what is acceptable.

2) Driving conditions are different. Could be different terrain, wind conditions, driving speeds, etc.

3) Motorhome handling problems are somewhat random. Good driving dynamics may be hit-or-miss by nature because designers don't inherently build-in stability, tracking, etc. into all motorhomes.


The problem I see is that just because some can be fixed with a simple alignment it doesn't mean that all can. And I f we jump to that conclusion we may ignore other possible issues. I happen to believe that many motorhomes are inherently designed and built with poor handling. It may be a combination of weight distribution, high center of gravity, location of center of pressure, low roll stiffness, etc...
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Old 10-25-2015, 03:20 AM   #29
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I'm sure its a mix of all three: hopefully your #3 doesn't contribute much. There shouldn't be much variance from unit to unit especially with the chassis. The house portion is largely hand built and thus would have the most changes.

I'm guessing that the manufacturers (Thor, Winnebago, etc.) select a chassis based on a weight range and vehicle size. The drivability or not simply comes along with the chassis--its not like they design or account for how it handles.
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Old 10-25-2015, 12:51 PM   #30
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I'd bet that manufacturers select the chassis primarily based on its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating so that it can just provide adequate cargo carrying capacity. And also that they select the wheelbase, whether available from stock or having it stretched, to a length that will more-fully utilize axle capacities. Much beyond that I doubt American motorhome manufacturers know much about incorporating handling in their design.

Jamie, to your point, I would also expect all Axis/Vegas to handle similarly because their sizes are very similar, although there are likely some minor differences due to the way mass is distributed within the motorhome. Based on floorplans, some models appear to have greater polar moment of inertia than others. That's not a deal breaker but may influence handling enough to notice between models.

The bigger difference in my opinion is when motorhomes of similar lengths are built on vastly different wheelbases. They can't possibly handle the same.

Height is also a factor affected by the motorhome designer that is beyond the chassis' control. I can't think of a single case where added motorhome height is good for handling. The higher center of gravity, higher center of pressure in crosswinds, etc. are all negatives.

In summary, I think motorhomes are designed more like if done by architects than engineers (not that that is all bad ). I believe design of the living space takes priority over how the motorhome drives under less-than-ideal conditions.
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Old 10-25-2015, 05:03 PM   #31
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Chance, I think you hit most of the points! The good thing is handling can be corrected and make the rig easier to drive to that next point on your map.
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Old 10-26-2015, 01:46 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
...Which raises the question of why the difference between those that "reportedly" drive OK and those that don't. I can think of a few possibilities although I'm certain there are many more.

1) Some drivers are more skilled, less sensitive to poor handling, or are less picky on what is acceptable.

2) Driving conditions are different. Could be different terrain, wind conditions, driving speeds, etc....
I agree with Chance and I wonder if the OP's maiden voyage was on varied roads (interstates, back roads, poorly surfaced roads, etc.)? I also wonder how many miles the OP drove his new RV on the maiden voyage?

Our 2015 27K feels a lot different on a smooth interstates than on a back roads with dips, off camber curves, and steep crowns. However, after driving it for about 6,000 miles, any handling quirks have become almost unnoticeable, including the blow over by rearward approaching semis. Of course most of our travels include pulling a twelve foot dual axel trailer that might act a bit like the tail of a dog.

I wonder how far off the alignment can be if the front tires are wearing evenly across the tread?
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Old 10-26-2015, 03:11 AM   #33
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Metelman- you are right on the fact the longer you drive it the more accustomed you become. My fist trip was picking it up in Texas, driving to Arkansas, back to Texas for dealer fix up and then to Vegas. It handled poorly and we hit the side of a big storm with heavy winds, could not drive over 50 mph. The whole trip had to keep both hands on the wheel. After the alignment, which was way off it was better, but after the CHF and track bar it was great. I can cruise any speed, big gusts are barley noticeable. I am probably more picky for handling and vibration then others as it was a job I had at one time fixing cars with these problems. But my wife drove it and she was in terror. I drive it now, sometimes stop at a gas station and it is very windy outside, I think hmm, did not realize that.. and the speed you travel vs the speed of the semi whizzing by has an influence on the push... so being able to drive 65 and they pass you at 70-75 is much better then driving 50 and they pass 75. On crappy road I ride slower, but they semi no problems. I do think the CHF gives a little stiffer ride, and I pumped my tires to 95psi from the recommended 82psi. I did gain 1 MPG and I think more stability. Part of the thought is the extreme heat I drive in, tires don't do well so more air =cooler running tires.
I do think your trailer acts as a trac bar to a degree, and the wagging is part of the issue of these big boxes. If your tires look good and the rig handles well your alignment probably ok, my Rf tire was visibly worn on the inside edge after 3000 miles, along with awful handling, could not let go of the wheel.
happy trails!
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:28 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Metalman View Post
.....
I wonder how far off the alignment can be if the front tires are wearing evenly across the tread?
It's probably not that far off.

I own a 2014 Hurricane 34e. When I took delivery in Melbourne, FL. I drove it to Disneyworld's Fort Wilderness in Orlando and thought the ride was very squishy and wandering.

On the trek home to CA, I stopped at a gas station in Tallahassee that had an easy-access air hose. I discovered that I had been driving with severely underinflated tires, (about 45 psi each), for over 300 miles!

After I properly inflated the tires it felt like "it was on rails" in comparison. I have never complained about the handling since.

About two months after getting the coach home, (and loading it up with all of my stuff), I took it in for it's "free" alignment at a Ford truck dealer. They checked it out and said it didn't need any adjustment.

I have about 8000 miles on it now, and the front tires have worn perfectly evenly. So, I guess the Ford truck service guys were right.
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:40 PM   #35
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Beacher,
Under inflated tires can cause more problems than just poor handling. The excessive flex can over heat the tires and damage the side walls. I had a zipper tear in a Michelin with about 17,000 miles and was told that perhaps the previous owner drove it with low air pressure.

I put about 100 pounds in the tires on my 27K to decrease the rolling resistance and reduce sidewall flex. I suppose it abuses the shocks and causes more rattles. I put on about 6,000 miles with the higher pressure and all seems fine. The RV has 12,000 miles.
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:56 PM   #36
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Tire pressure, front alignment.
Then
Add front and rear sway bars, steering stabilizer.. world of difference over factory
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Old 11-02-2015, 03:01 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by nmrver View Post
Tire pressure, front alignment.
Then
Add front and rear sway bars, steering stabilizer.. world of difference over factory
I imagine the sway bars and steering stabilizer will help during a blow out too.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:15 AM   #38
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Wow,

Visited the Safe-T-Plus Plant in Austell, Ga 30168 (1230 Six Flags Road, Building C) this past Friday to purchase the Safe-T-Plus Steering Control and have it installed. They are a great group of people, from Sarah on the phone (800-872-7233) to Samantha (who came and rescued us when we got lost) to technicians who installed the unit...even the manager Bryan who came over and talked with us during the installation.

Once the unit was installed two of the techs took me on a shake-down adjustment ride, we made two stops for "tweaking" the steering; now it tracks straight, true and effortless...even over one tire potholes, irregular asphalt and those "bumps" from height differences between bridge edges to asphalt (the ones in construcion zones).

I learned alot about the product, different sizes for different RV's and heavy trucks. The Vegas required the Model No. 31-140, the 140 references the 140 lbs of pressure the internal spring dampner is set at.

On the way home from Ga, HWY 129/441 and US-I85 I had to be sure to use Cruise Control because the steering was so smooth I got a little bit lead footed just "going with the flow" and looked down and I was doing 80mph!!!

By going to the factory the installation is at NO CHARGE! Best $500.00 I have spent so far on upgrades.


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Old 11-02-2015, 12:32 PM   #39
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Doc Mike,
You wrote a very nice testimonial for the steering control. They ought to hang that one on their wall. We looked at the 24.1 Vegas, but chose the 27K Windsport because of the larger wheels and bathroom design. I wonder if the 16" wheels on the Vegas have something to do with the instability before you upgraded the steering? These new short RVs are very tall and boxy.

Do you have the sleep sofa in the dining area on your coach? It looks so much more comfortable than the funky L shaped dinette on our Windsport. I just looked at a review of the 2015 24.1 Vegas and there was no mention of automatic levelers. Do you have automatic levelers?

Mike
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:44 PM   #40
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Mike,

Thanks, hey when you come across something that works as advertized you need to get the word out.

We have the sofa/sleeper but plan on replacing with a couple of recliners. You are correct, no automatic levelers as standard on the Vegas.

Doc
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