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Old 02-24-2016, 03:04 PM   #41
vkb
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We recently bought an 2016 Axis 24.1 ....having had a 27' Dorado Class B+ and a Cruiser RV ToyHauler previously....In addition, close friends are dedicated RoadTrek owners for many years. RoadTrek is compact and, yes, can go about anywhere...well made...limited interior space with no slide...one must definately, not mind being in a close area. Not much room to hang out in inclement weather.
Our previous Dorado, B+. was labeled a 25' .. bumper to bumper 27' ... had 2 opposing slides in living area...nice...we could park that unit in any parking lot we chose. It was on the Ford 350 Chassis with the V-10.
Our Axis 24.1 ... is 25.6 (approx) bumper to bumper...we wlll get accustomed to the Class A front end...we have twin/king beds in real bedroom...compact bathroom, and a usable kitchen area. Extra bed over cockpit hideabed/couch.
To be brief, if the RoadTrek lifestyle suits you...great !
This is why there are sooooo many units out there...enjoy camping whatever you choose.
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Old 02-24-2016, 03:57 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by gbrown
I am considering buying an electric car for towing. If I do that I will run the Genny to charge up the towed vehicle while driving.
You'll find this to be very impractical. The standard RV Genny outputs only 120V (at least on Axis/Vegas units and Class-Cs). To effectively charge an EV you need 240V at 30A or more.

120V charging of EVs is called "Level 1" charging and only charges about 3-4 miles per hour (my old Focus Electric would take 20+ hours to fully charge at Level 1; newer vehicles like the 30kWh Leaf or the 60kWh Bolt will take significantly more time). A 240V genny providing 30A reduces that time by about a factor of 4 (4-5 hours charge time for my old Focus).

In addition, most EV's don't like charging with the key on (flat towing, or dolly towing). Towing on a trailer would be the only way to charge an EV while on the road.

In addition x2: Most EV's can't be towed (do your research before purchasing). In the case of my old Focus Electric: I suppose you could tow it 4 down leaving it "on" with the transmission in "D". In that case the car would push the camper at slow speeds while it attempts to creep, but at higher speeds it would switch over to regen and charge up the battery. (There is a company that makes a pusher trailer for EV's with a gas engine on it for just this purpose: extending the range.) Letting the car regen would be a far more effective way to let it charge while towing, but it would probably be a bit more dangerous too! LOL

This is why I now have a C-Max Energi: It can be towed and I still can drive it 20+ miles on electricity alone.

Not saying EV's aren't a good idea for camping, though as many campgrounds will happily let you plug in and charge off of the 50A circuit (I have a special cable just for such a purpose).

I did see on a show a specifically built Diesel Pusher toy hauler that had a spot to park a BMW i3 within it. It even included a charger for the car to plug in while on the road.
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Old 02-24-2016, 04:54 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post

....cut....

Thus my observational data would suggest that, at some point, aerodynamics affects mpg more than weight (I'd guess that weight matters more during acceleration and deceleration events and wind resistance is a greater affect during steady state highway driving).

.....cut.....

Another thing to consider as well: The F-53 chassis is sold with the 3-valve V-10 and the E-Series chassis (Axis/Vegas) is sold with the 2-valve V-10 (362 vs 305 hp: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_M...gine#2-valve_3).

(Not really trying to argue any point, just adding more information to the discussion.)
Yes, I'm also not trying to argue either way -- from my perspective it is very objective. It is what it is, based entirely on physics and not what we write about it.

You are correct that at highway speed it's more about aerodynamics than weight. No doubt about that. But there is a secondary effect that can play a major role. The engine size and gearing is often sized in proportion to weight to provide acceptable acceleration and hill-climbing ability. And if the (gasoline) engine ends up too large for the requirement, it will be inefficient when operating at lower power loads.

So what happens when similar-size engines are used in a 11,500-pound motorhome like yours compared to a 23,000-pound larger Class A (6.8-liter V10s with 2 vs 3 valves vary by about 10% in power but even less in brake specific fuel consumption)?

It's a safe bet that your Axis accelerates and climbs much faster than large F53 Class As, but at slower cruise speeds the engine isn't working as hard, likely making it less efficient than it could be.

If an Axis (particularly cruising at lower speeds) had a 5.0-liter V8 from the F-150, which also has more power, it would likely get higher MPGs. It's just a matter of time for an engine downsize. After 20 years the V10 is getting old.

It wasn't that long ago that vans and motorhomes had 7.5-liter gasoline or 7.3-liter diesel engines, and now some the size of the Axis are powered by 3-liter diesels, and other motorhomes slightly smaller are getting by with 3.6 to 3.7 liter gasoline engines. Personally, I want to see the lines between Class As and Bs blurred to a greater degree. The Axis is a great first step.
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:10 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Chance
If an Axis (particularly cruising at lower speeds) had a 5.0-liter V8 from the F-150, which also has more power, it would likely get higher MPGs. It's just a matter of time for an engine downsize. After 20 years the V10 is getting old.

It wasn't that long ago that vans and motorhomes had 7.5-liter gasoline or 7.3-liter diesel engines, and now some the size of the Axis are powered by 3-liter diesels, and other motorhomes slightly smaller are getting by with 3.6 to 3.7 liter gasoline engines. Personally, I want to see the lines between Class As and Bs blurred to a greater degree. The Axis is a great first step.
I agree completely. Even better if we could get by with the 3.5L Ecoboost in the F-150 (which is also available in the Transit)
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:22 PM   #45
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P.S. -- Part of my disappointment with lack of progress is that my first motorhome, a small Class C, almost 20 years ago got 8 MPG. Today a similar size motorhome isn't much different.

In the mean time Class Bs of 20 years ago got 10 to 12 MPG, and today much larger Class Bs get up to 17 MPG on gasoline, and over 20 MPG on diesel. Class B improvement has been considerable while Class As and Cs have improved much less.
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Old 02-24-2016, 05:43 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Chance
In the mean time Class Bs of 20 years ago got 10 to 12 MPG, and today much larger Class Bs get up to 17 MPG on gasoline, and over 20 MPG on diesel. Class B improvement has been considerable while Class As and Cs have improved much less.
As you said earlier: There really is no incentive for them to improve things. People keep buying the current models and there are few regulations to push them into a different direction (although I suspect that is changing since I think that is what pushed Thor into putting the E450 into the Vegas--a heavier chassis can get lower mpg).
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Old 02-24-2016, 06:49 PM   #47
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As you said earlier: There really is no incentive for them to improve things. People keep buying the current models and there are few regulations to push them into a different direction (although I suspect that is changing since I think that is what pushed Thor into putting the E450 into the Vegas--a heavier chassis can get lower mpg).
There is always the incentive that if they make a better mouse trap, some people "may" buy more of them. Would an extra 2 MPG sell more Axis/Vegas? I don't know, particularly today with cheap gasoline.

In time we may see positive change. A simpler and lighter Axis could be made with little effort. I can see reducing weight by 1,000 pounds easily. But for now there is no competition except for the more expensive Winnebago Via/Reyo. Perhaps if Hymer enters this market, fuel economy may improve faster.
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Old 02-24-2016, 09:34 PM   #48
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Hopefully, eventually Ford will start building their chassis using aluminum. They can save 700 lbs on an F150 pickup, so there would be substantial weight savings for larger truck bodies.
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:34 PM   #49
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The chassis itself of the F-150, or that of the upcoming 2017 Super Duty, is made of high strength steel which saves a little weight. Mostly what Ford accomplished with high strength steel is a much stiffer chassis by being able to change the design. I believe it's fully boxed now which should be a lot stiffer and lead to better ride and handling.

Most large trucks on which motorhomes are based still use chassis rails made of open "C" channels which aren't particularly stiff (especially in torsion). That combined with extreme lengths reduces chassis stiffness. By modern automotive standards it's hard to expect these motorhomes to ride or handle well compared to automobiles. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement, although it would add cost. Maybe Ford will eventually use the upcoming Super Duty chassis for smaller stripped chassis to replace the E-Series.
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Old 02-25-2016, 02:47 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Chance
Maybe Ford will eventually use the upcoming Super Duty chassis for smaller stripped chassis to replace the E-Series.
Well Ford already sells the Super Duty chassis in a chassis cab configuration (Take a look at the Chateau Super-C's: https://thormotorcoach.com/chateau-super-c/ They are all on pickup chassis). Its how they can sell a Class C diesel.

Even though in the past you could get an E-Series with a Diesel (my brother had an E-450 conversion van with the 7.3 Powerstroke in it--it was a beast!).
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Old 02-25-2016, 04:05 PM   #51
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Well Ford already sells the Super Duty chassis in a chassis cab configuration (Take a look at the Chateau Super-C's: https://thormotorcoach.com/chateau-super-c/ They are all on pickup chassis). Its how they can sell a Class C diesel.

Even though in the past you could get an E-Series with a Diesel (my brother had an E-450 conversion van with the 7.3 Powerstroke in it--it was a beast!).
You are correct of course. And information I've read on the upcoming Super Duty is that it will have high-strength steel chassis and aluminum body like Ford used on the F-150. On cab or cutaway applications that should save weight due to the much lighter aluminum body. What appears a little different with new Super Duty is that Ford will also include the V10 (in lieu of just 6.2-liter V8 or diesel) as a third engine choice, and that chassis will not be fully boxed like on pickup trucks.

What I was thinking before is how cool it would be if Ford just took the new F-350 or F-450 extended chassis from crew cab and long bed pickup and removed the body to make a modern chassis for Axis-size motorhomes. I personally would prefer slightly smaller and lighter based on F-350 long but single-rear-wheel chassis like Hymer is doing on Mercedes Sprinter. It just takes effort to keep weight down. More than a Class B but much smaller than most Class As.
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Old 02-25-2016, 05:09 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Chance
What I was thinking before is how cool it would be if Ford just took the new F-350 or F-450 extended chassis from crew cab and long bed pickup and removed the body to make a modern chassis for Axis-size motorhomes. I personally would prefer slightly smaller and lighter based on F-350 long but single-rear-wheel chassis like Hymer is doing on Mercedes Sprinter. It just takes effort to keep weight down. More than a Class B but much smaller than most Class As.
I wonder if the geometry is all wrong for that: On the pickup chassis the driver sits behind the engine and low, on the van chassis the driver sits above the engine. How much engineering will Ford be willing to undertake to modify that.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:48 PM   #53
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I wonder if the geometry is all wrong for that: On the pickup chassis the driver sits behind the engine and low, on the van chassis the driver sits above the engine. How much engineering will Ford be willing to undertake to modify that.
Great question -- I don't know. Although to me it seems from pictures that none of these chassis (except for the F53) is proportionally all that different. Engines sit fairly close to center of front axle, so locating driver would seem a matter of pedal and steering wheel placement on a stripped chassis (see attached picture). The front cowling would have to be all new regardless (Ford will eventually have to replace E-Series stripped chassis anyway).

What I see as the greatest future opportunity is that RAM single-rear-wheel pickups are already up to 12,000-pound GVWR, with Ford presently at 11,500-pound GVWR -- new 2017 model may go even higher.

By comparison, the Hymer in picture above is rated at 3,500 to 4,200 KG (7,700 to 9,200 pounds) depending on size, which range from 21 to 25.5 feet; longest same as Axis 24.1. This RWD Hymer is under 88-inches wide and well under 10-feet tall. A lot like a super-sized Class B.

If Thor or Winnebago etc. had access to a 12,000-pound GVWR SRW modern chassis, would they build an Axis or Reyo with slightly more European attributes? A little more Class-B like? I hope so. It won't be my next motorhome, but maybe for the one after that.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:01 PM   #54
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I wonder if the geometry is all wrong for that: On the pickup chassis the driver sits behind the engine and low, on the van chassis the driver sits above the engine. How much engineering will Ford be willing to undertake to modify that.
This question intrigued me enough to look a little into it. Obviously it's not possible to know what Ford may do or could do, but I did find that in older E-Series chassis specs it clearly shows that the driving position of the stripped chassis is different than on the vans or cutaways. This confirms they can move the driving position sometimes. Whether safety regulations allows it on lighter-duty chassis at present is a different question.

We already knew that on Axis/Vegas stripped chassis the driver sat higher with steering wheel at higher elevation, but on this sketch it shows the driver on cutaways further back and lower by use of an articulated steering column (similar to pickup trucks). On stripped chassis it shows steering column straight and more upright.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:05 PM   #55
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Note difference in chassis used for Axis. Also of interest is that Ford no longer lists the lighter GVWR single-rear-wheel stripped chassis in specs. This could be due to low demand but could also be due to newer safety regulations.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:10 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Chance
This could be due to low demand but could also be due to newer safety regulations.
Or emission/efficiency regulations (lighter GVWR vehicles now may be required to have a mpg that his higher than the V8 and/or V10 can provide so instead of doing the work to make them better they simply stop offering those combinations).
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:42 AM   #57
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Or emission/efficiency regulations (lighter GVWR vehicles now may be required to have a mpg that his higher than the V8 and/or V10 can provide so instead of doing the work to make them better they simply stop offering those combinations).
I tried to research this topic out of technical curiosity, and found it difficult to even get started. About the only thing that seems a little clear is that different GVWR vehicles have different safety and emmissions requirements.

It's probably no coincidence that Ford E-Series chassis start at just above 10,000 pounds where the classification changes. The next class change appears to occur at 14,000 pounds. Obviously this makes the Axis' E-450 chassis at 14,500 pounds fall in a different class as the E-350 chassis that is rated at 12,500 pounds. That explains why Thor continues to use the E-450 for Axis.

Also of interest is that requirements will get tougher starting in 2017. That supports some early reports speculating that we will see more revisions next year.
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