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Old 03-11-2019, 09:09 PM   #1
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Steering Control Upgrade

Well, I finally did it I had the Safe T Plus steering control system installed . This came just in time for our mid March trip to Vogel State Park in Georgia near the Appalachian Trail . We used the Diesel pusher heavy duty Blue Unit kit (part number F10 5K 2.5). It's the sturdier & larger of the kits recommended on the F66 chassis which much to my and Bills surprise we ended up having our my Miramar 34.2. I had it installed at Fort Lauderdale RV in South Florida with Bill who has owned the place for the better part of 37 years. Gr8 service, no nonsense & very affordable
(+- $1000) parts & labor. I'll post again sometime after the trip and let you know how the handling went and the difference between prior and after install.

Blanco05
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Old 03-12-2019, 12:33 AM   #2
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Re Safe-T-Plus.
So, here is my question for general comment, as a Miramar owner for 2 years and many miles:

It seem that everyone sort of "knows" that you need steering and suspension upgrades after you buy your vehicle. Mine is a Ford F-53 chassis, very common, right?

In driving across the country I struggled with cross winds and passing trucks head on. Very scary in many instances, and it required 110% attention and effort. I am an experienced driver and have driven almost everything in my lifetime, but I struggled with this new rig.

My question is this: In today's world there is an extreme emphasis on "safety". Just look at the number of safety recalls issued by GM or Ford. It is mind boggling . And yet, we have major manufacturers, Ford, Thor, Winnebago, who seem to be saying: I am going to sell you a vehicle that doesn't handle well and if you would like a really safe vehicle you have to figure it out for yourself.

I guess, I go back to FORD: why would they not provide a chassis with all the needed safety/handling devices?? Why would Thor not insist on selling the best handling vehicle possible??

In my case, I drove 14,000 miles and struggled. Then I put on Bilstein shocks on the front. Things were much better. Now I am told I need the Safe-T-Plus or Roadmaster steering stabilizer if I want all problems to go away. I don't mind doing it, but why didn't the dealer tell me: You really need these devices. Very frustrating to me, and again it points out the value of this Forum.

A little bit pissed, Jim
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:45 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by analoguy View Post
Re Safe-T-Plus.
So, here is my question for general comment, as a Miramar owner for 2 years and many miles:

It seem that everyone sort of "knows" that you need steering and suspension upgrades after you buy your vehicle. Mine is a Ford F-53 chassis, very common, right?

In driving across the country I struggled with cross winds and passing trucks head on. Very scary in many instances, and it required 110% attention and effort. I am an experienced driver and have driven almost everything in my lifetime, but I struggled with this new rig.

My question is this: In today's world there is an extreme emphasis on "safety". Just look at the number of safety recalls issued by GM or Ford. It is mind boggling . And yet, we have major manufacturers, Ford, Thor, Winnebago, who seem to be saying: I am going to sell you a vehicle that doesn't handle well and if you would like a really safe vehicle you have to figure it out for yourself.

I guess, I go back to FORD: why would they not provide a chassis with all the needed safety/handling devices?? Why would Thor not insist on selling the best handling vehicle possible??

In my case, I drove 14,000 miles and struggled. Then I put on Bilstein shocks on the front. Things were much better. Now I am told I need the Safe-T-Plus or Roadmaster steering stabilizer if I want all problems to go away. I don't mind doing it, but why didn't the dealer tell me: You really need these devices. Very frustrating to me, and again it points out the value of this Forum.

A little bit pissed, Jim
I'm 100% with you I understand how frustrating it is but after owning this coach for 2 years I realize that it was imperative that I had to improve the suspension I just drove it 7 miles from RV of Fort Lauderdale whete Bill did the work for me and I noticed the difference immediately it's stiffer and stays on track it's absolutely worth the difference in price. I don't understand as you don't why the manufacturer doesn't either included or recommended as an upgrade immediately after you buy the coach it would absolutely enhance the experience of owning an RV such as the Miramar 34-2.
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:53 PM   #4
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I can't say really if this is true across the board...probably not... but at least in the case of rigs like mine it's not really on Ford I think. They can't control the frame lengthening and chassis overloading done by others.

Regardless. I don't personally think that these things are always necessary. Mine drives ok with proper alignment and proper tire pressures....and what bit of the "issue" that remains isn't really what is directly addressed by these steering centering devices....it's just a side benefit of them. That said, I'd like to have one of those things put on some day... mainly for the potential safety benefit in case of blow-out, etc.... which is what I believe they were primarily intended to address anyway.
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Old 03-14-2019, 03:23 AM   #5
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blw2,
Thanks for the reply. Well, there will always be different opinions, especially when it comes to something like "handling", which nobody can define anyway. But, in general, when I talk to RVer's who really drive their rigs hard, they will always tell me that you need a steering upgrade for the Ford gas chassis.

My first trip as a new RVer was to drive to Alaska. That was 14,000 miles roundtrip. I saw every kind of driving condition and I experienced almost everything you could imagine. Well, I did not hit a moose!!

But, generally speaking, with a brand new rig, 36 foot, I struggled. In particular, with any sort of cross wind, it became very difficult. With a sever cross wind, say 30 mph +, it became extremely dangerous at times, especially on 2 lane roads.

So, my point is simply this: when I buy a new vehicle, any brand, I should expect to get the best handling/safety equipment at the time, built into my new vehicle. I should not have to figure out what to do.

In my particular case, upon return, I installed HD shocks in the front (Bilstein), and did my 2nd trip to Canada (6,000 miles). This was much improved, but problems continued. I am now getting ready for my 3rd summer on the road, and am now installing the Safe-t-plus steering stabilizer. I am told this will solve all my problems. Well, we will find out.

My point, I guess, is since I am willing to buy a brand new vehicle, it should come with any equipment needed for stability or steering safety. I should not have to figure this out for myself. Imagine if Chevy sold their cars this way: they would be in deep doo doo immediately.

Happy Trails, Jim
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by analoguy View Post
blw2,
Thanks for the reply. Well, there will always be different opinions, especially when it comes to something like "handling", which nobody can define anyway. But, in general, when I talk to RVer's who really drive their rigs hard, they will always tell me that you need a steering upgrade for the Ford gas chassis.

My first trip as a new RVer was to drive to Alaska. That was 14,000 miles roundtrip. I saw every kind of driving condition and I experienced almost everything you could imagine. Well, I did not hit a moose!!

But, generally speaking, with a brand new rig, 36 foot, I struggled. In particular, with any sort of cross wind, it became very difficult. With a sever cross wind, say 30 mph +, it became extremely dangerous at times, especially on 2 lane roads.

So, my point is simply this: when I buy a new vehicle, any brand, I should expect to get the best handling/safety equipment at the time, built into my new vehicle. I should not have to figure out what to do.

In my particular case, upon return, I installed HD shocks in the front (Bilstein), and did my 2nd trip to Canada (6,000 miles). This was much improved, but problems continued. I am now getting ready for my 3rd summer on the road, and am now installing the Safe-t-plus steering stabilizer. I am told this will solve all my problems. Well, we will find out.

My point, I guess, is since I am willing to buy a brand new vehicle, it should come with any equipment needed for stability or steering safety. I should not have to figure this out for myself. Imagine if Chevy sold their cars this way: they would be in deep doo doo immediately.

Happy Trails, Jim
Good morning Jim, I could not agree more on both points that handling is subjective/objective as much as that a new vehicle should come with all the safety and handling necessities included. Im very much looking forward to my driving experience this spring break to better evaluate my Blue Unit Safe T Plus enhancement. I wanted all the improvements avail such as front & rear Roadmaster sway bars & rear Sumo Supersprings etc but Bill at Ft Lauderdale RV in Ft Lauderdale, Fl. advised that I take it a step at a time and evaluate the Safe T Plus on its own merits b4 considering the aforementioned which may or may not b necessary. I'll keep all updated.

-Carlos
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Old 03-14-2019, 12:40 PM   #7
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Playing Devil's Advocate

Where should manufacturers draw the line on safety and handling upgrades?

Acceptable safety is relative, and if it compromises comfort, convenience, or cost too much, buyers may not choose that product. There is always more that can be done, but at what cost? As an example, if auto manufacturers built cars with NASCAR type roll cages, 5-point seatbelts, etc., buyers wouldnít touch them. And if better handling made ride rough, buyers would also pass on them.

Likewise, motorhome handling could be affected immensely by lowering center of gravity and using different suspension that doesnít date back almost 100 years. But buyers want plenty of basement storage, and lots of interior headroom so motorhome feels like a house. And large slides add weight up high too. Whoís going to give those up?

I agree with whatís being said, but also think there are limitations on what manufacturers can do in a free market before they put themselves out of business.

For what itís worth, Ford has stated that new motorhome chassis will have steering and handling improvements.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:09 PM   #8
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I guess Iím in the minority here but the only suspension modification Iíve done on my last three motorhomes (one C and two As) is to add a steering stabilizer and check the alignment. Iíve driven in all sorts of conditions and Iím happy. I can tell the difference when I put on the the steering stabilizer but Iím not sure itís ďbetterĒ, just different. I became committed to using them once when an oncoming inattentive driver veered across the centerline on a two lane road. In avoiding a collision I had to drop one side off the pavement and there was a moment of sheer terror that Iíd go to great lengths to avoid experiencing again. Similar to a blowout, I suppose, but more likely. If I was going to ask manufacturers to improve our vehicles Iíd ask them for collision air bags and other safety features instead of suspension stuff. At least a steering wheel air bag doesnít seem like too much to ask for!
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
I guess Iím in the minority here but the only suspension modification Iíve done on my last three motorhomes (one C and two As) is to add a steering stabilizer and check the alignment. Iíve driven in all sorts of conditions and Iím happy. I can tell the difference when I put on the the steering stabilizer but Iím not sure itís ďbetterĒ, just different. I became committed to using them once when an oncoming inattentive driver veered across the centerline on a two lane road. In avoiding a collision I had to drop one side off the pavement and there was a moment of sheer terror that Iíd go to great lengths to avoid experiencing again. Similar to a blowout, I suppose, but more likely. If I was going to ask manufacturers to improve our vehicles Iíd ask them for collision air bags and other safety features instead of suspension stuff. At least a steering wheel air bag doesnít seem like too much to ask for!
I don't mean to beat a dead hours here, but I think, the single most important thing, and least expensive, is to have an Alignment done by a Heavy Truck Shop that works on RV's as well. Our 17 Challenger 37 TB went from White Knuckle constant steering inputs driving, to Tracking Straight down the Lane Hands Off !
I was amazed at how much better it drives !
I had it done in preparation for adding a Steering Stabiliser, and have yet to add it.
I could literally feel the difference pulling out of the shop lot onto the street !
I've seen others post about having to replace bushings, King Pins, Front Tires, etc. from misaligned front end.
The tech that Alligned our coach says truck Manufacturers "Ballpark" allign the Chassis front ends.
I think you can't go wrong by having it Alligned, if it's good you have the piece of mind knowing your coach is as it should be.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:15 PM   #10
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I think youíre right. Iíve always checked alignment and always been happy thereafter. Iíve thought about trying the CHF since itís cheap and folks rave about it. But never have been motivated to do something even that simple.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:12 PM   #11
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E450 SD Stabilizer

I'm finding these for less than a $100 bucks at Advanced Auto Parts. What am I missing? Does the suspension already have the mount points?

https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/we...ing+Stabilizer


And Autozone:
https://www.autozone.com/suspension-...ng-damper/ford
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:32 PM   #12
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We too had handling issues and wound getting the steering control, rear sway bar and Cheap Handling Fix, but gotta say that while these all helped significantly - still experienced nerve racking times with winds and passing trucks. Wound up trading our gas rig in for DP and love the ride.
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:09 AM   #13
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All: Agree, to some extent, with all comments. In driving my gas rig round trip to Alaska, and then to Canada the following summer there is not much I did not learn. Yes, alignment is critical, and it is amazing how many shops don't know how to do it right. A heavy duty truck shop is a must, I agree. It makes a big difference on "tracking", for sure.

Dealing with crosswinds and passing trucks is another matter. On a 2 lane road and 70 mph traffic (think Kansas), it can be real white knuckle time. I think basic upgrades should be included. It took me 2 years and 20,000 miles to figure this out. Well, maybe I am a slow learner, but if a steering stabilizer is a good thing, it should be included in the basic rig.

Happy travels, Jim
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:37 PM   #14
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Imho it's without question that manufacturers should make a vehicle as safe as (financially) possible, and I believe the onus is on the RV mfr, not Ford. Most new gas motorhomes over 30ft are in excess of $100K. To add as standard an equivalent to Safe-T-Plus and and heavy duty rear stabilizer would probably add around $1500 to the price


Nothing is ever totally safe, but I think most would agree these two items would add to the safety of these rigs. For around a 1% price increase.


It was a real surprise to me to experience the swaying and steering 'sawing' on my 2019 Windsport 33x. Already added the Safe-T-Plus, heavy duty sway bar in two weeks.
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:43 PM   #15
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I will add to my Safe T Plus by adding heavy duty sway bar ans Sumo springs after my sprung break trip to Georgia and will them update all.

-Carlos
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:21 PM   #16
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Something else to think about...

POPULAR MECHANICS MAY 1973:
START QUOTE:
If too little caster exists, the car will wander and weave,
thus necessitating constant corrections in steering.
END QUOTE:
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:36 PM   #17
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Front End Alignment

Further to all the posts on stabilizer bars. Thanks for all the info.
I am looking at putting SafeTPlus on our Vegas 24.1. Is it necessary to get a front end alignment done before or after? I am not aware that one was ever done by the 1st owner. When we bought it only had 5,200 on it.
Thanks for any comments.
Cheers
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:48 PM   #18
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Carlos is it only a different steering stabilizer, Safe T Plus and why did you choose this over the Roadmaster ?
I am asking about stabilizer because if it is I would do install myself. Own a Pallazo 34 and had a gust of wind blow us into other lane, luckily nobody next to us. I'm thinking about doing the same thing with swaybar.
When I asked tech at Trans West he told me he was a truck driver for 25 years and driving a big box in the wind is going to be vulnerable to wind.
Keep everyone posted, would really like to do same , don't want to be thrown into oncoming traffic.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carle View Post
Further to all the posts on stabilizer bars. Thanks for all the info.

I am looking at putting SafeTPlus on our Vegas 24.1. Is it necessary to get a front end alignment done before or after? I am not aware that one was ever done by the 1st owner. When we bought it only had 5,200 on it.

Thanks for any comments.

Cheers


Get the alignment done or checked right before adding the stabilizer. The stabilizer wonít alter the alignment in any way but if you center the stabilizer on a misaligned chassis you likely will have to center it again after the alignment. Itís not difficult to do but itís awkward and not much fun as you have to crawl well under the coach and you might have to make several attempts.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:50 PM   #20
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Get the alignment done or checked right before adding the stabilizer. The stabilizer wonít alter the alignment in any way but if you center the stabilizer on a misaligned chassis you likely will have to center it again after the alignment. Itís not difficult to do but itís awkward and not much fun as you have to crawl well under the coach and you might have to make several attempts.
On second thought, maybe I'll just take it to the shop .
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