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Old 03-27-2018, 12:44 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Windsport 29M, 50Amp
State: Texas
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THOR #10418
Sway and stability problem

We took our Windsport 29M out for our first camping trip this past weekend and had issues with difficult steering, and the RV swaying, when tractor trailer trucks passed on each side of the RV.

I read that their have been others that have installed mods to improve steering and stability in their RV's, so the first thing I did was have a SafeTPlus installed. This did not seem to help at all.

Has anyone else had this problem and can anyone recommend what else I might need to install to resolve this?

Thanks
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:02 PM   #2
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Did you have an alignment done with the stabilizer? An alignment should be the first mod for any Thor owner...
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
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As you probably know this is a popular topic on the forum and lots of advice on how to improve your handling. Since you installed a SafeTPlus, you can start with the least expensive which is the CHF...do a search on forum for how to. Then you can add on from there until you are satisfied with the way your coach handles. For rock & roll, not to be confused with the other one, you can add HD torsion bars front and rear. For sway, you can add a track bar. Limited only by your pocket book.
Happy trails
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:06 PM   #4
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THOR #10418
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Did you have an alignment done with the stabilizer? An alignment should be the first mod for any Thor owner...
Yes, I had alignment done before installing the SafeTPlus.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:53 PM   #5
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Sometimes you just have to sort out the fact that these things will never be all that "light on their feet..."
In the meantime: it never hurts to slow down a little bit, and learn your rig's dance moves at a more comfortable pace...
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:03 PM   #6
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THOR #10418
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Sometimes you just have to sort out the fact that these things will never be all that "light on their feet..."
In the meantime: it never hurts to slow down a little bit, and learn your rig's dance moves at a more comfortable pace...
Bob, this is the first RV I've ever driven. Due to my inexperience, I did not drive over 55 mph during our entire 400 mile trip and still had steering and stability problems.

And "sorting out" is exactly why am asking questions in order to make the experience better.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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I meant no disrespect...
I just figured that it might be worth mentioning: just in case!
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
I meant no disrespect...
I just figured that it might be worth mentioning: just in case!
No problem Bob and I agree with you that everything should be mentioned, just in case there is something that could help.
Thank you
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:41 PM   #9
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I have a Class C 24 ft. E350. Added Safe T Plus and had alignment. Did help a little but still "floats" feeling steering. In next 2 weeks having a Trac Bar installed and will see if that helps. Played with tire pressures and makes not much difference but rears running 65 and fronts. Lots of tweaking with pressures feel it's best at that for me. I had it weighed at CAT scales and of course 57% weight is on rear axle which I feel makes front light and float. If Trac Bar doesn't make a noticeable difference, next mod for me will be set of air springs in the rear. As far as sway, I don't think a rear sway bar will make much difference on mine as I feel that the float problem is not sway as much as more a "shift" from side to side in rear with the chassis being leaf spring relation to axle which Trac bar should hold more solid to each other. Will keep posted for results once job is done. 57% total weight on rear is a lot but that's how they build them. Thor buys the stripped chassis and does no modifications when they put all that weight on them which in my opinion they should do as I would pay for the correct mods to handle the load when purchased. They say boats are a hole in the water you through money into, WELL, then R.V.'s seem to be a hole in the highway you through money into. Trying to get it right is a mystery and frustrating not to mention expensive but safe handling is imperative to driving and as far as driving experience, I'm retired fire captain but spent years as an engineer in big CA. bay area city driving engines and trucks and attended big rig driving courses and schools through lot's of situations, speeds and congested traffic and have never driven something as squirrely as my little Class C. As far as speed on highway 62-65 is about as fast as I feel somewhat capable to handle in emergency situation with my rig. I would like to see someone drive one of Thor's rigs through a high speed lane change serpentine course. Bet they don't when they build them and most likely would roll over.
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:07 PM   #10
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I guess I should feel lucky with my Miramar. I did alignment, Safe-T-Plus and large rear stabalizer. I followed a young couple on I-80 in Iowa. He was driving 55 and swaying in the 25 mph cross winds...unable to even keep in his lane. I followed him into the rest area to tell him what I had done to mine. I could feel the gusts but had no problem staying in my lane at 65.

With all the comments I hear on the forum, is mine just better due to the 22.5 inch tires and whatever else comes with a Miramar? It made a big difference after I did the upgrades, but it doesn't seem to help many others. Any thoughts?
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by steve76 View Post
I have a Class C 24 ft. E350. Added Safe T Plus and had alignment. Did help a little but still "floats" feeling steering. In next 2 weeks having a Trac Bar installed and will see if that helps. Played with tire pressures and makes not much difference but rears running 65 and fronts. Lots of tweaking with pressures feel it's best at that for me. I had it weighed at CAT scales and of course 57% weight is on rear axle which I feel makes front light and float. If Trac Bar doesn't make a noticeable difference, next mod for me will be set of air springs in the rear. As far as sway, I don't think a rear sway bar will make much difference on mine as I feel that the float problem is not sway as much as more a "shift" from side to side in rear with the chassis being leaf spring relation to axle which Trac bar should hold more solid to each other. Will keep posted for results once job is done. 57% total weight on rear is a lot but that's how they build them. Thor buys the stripped chassis and does no modifications when they put all that weight on them which in my opinion they should do as I would pay for the correct mods to handle the load when purchased. They say boats are a hole in the water you through money into, WELL, then R.V.'s seem to be a hole in the highway you through money into. Trying to get it right is a mystery and frustrating not to mention expensive but safe handling is imperative to driving and as far as driving experience, I'm retired fire captain but spent years as an engineer in big CA. bay area city driving engines and trucks and attended big rig driving courses and schools through lot's of situations, speeds and congested traffic and have never driven something as squirrely as my little Class C. As far as speed on highway 62-65 is about as fast as I feel somewhat capable to handle in emergency situation with my rig. I would like to see someone drive one of Thor's rigs through a high speed lane change serpentine course. Bet they don't when they build them and most likely would roll over.
I want to thank everyone that has responded with comments, suggestions and hints on this thread that I posted.

I really appreciate the quick responses from everyone, and it's help and information like I received, that makes this such a great forum.

Thank You again to All!
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jdharrington View Post
Bob, this is the first RV I've ever driven. Due to my inexperience, I did not drive over 55 mph during our entire 400 mile trip and still had steering and stability problems.

And "sorting out" is exactly why am asking questions in order to make the experience better.

Thanks for your help.
I have a much different opinion than most, and it is not based around equipment upgrades. I believe that like in sports, it takes lots of practice to get good at anything.

There is a huge difference between driving a car/SUV and a large truck/RV. If I were new to motorhomes, I’d only do the basic steps like an alignment and proper tire pressure, then drive it to first gain a lot of experience. It will get easier as you adapt to the differences.

Learning to drive a large truck when I was a teenager was similar to learning to ride a bike. In time you go from struggling to stay upright to being able to do tricks or handle emergencies. Same goes for driving — we shouldn’t expect too much on day one.

And following on this analogy, even after we have gained bike riding experience, trying to captain a tandem requires some of the learning process to repeat. Obviously not from very beginning because we can still keep it upright, but it takes time and many miles of additional practice to feel as comfortable.

Just saying a 3,000-pound car and 20,000-pound motorhome require different skills.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:47 PM   #13
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steve76, if your 24' motorhome has 57% of the weight on the rear axle, then I would assume that a 32' motorhome is a lot worse since they have a much heavier coach and a lot of overhang after the rear axle. I went from a 24' to a 32' Chateau, and didn't notice a big difference in the handling, except that the 32' has a huge turning radius which makes maneuvering around town a lot trickier. On the freeway it's about the same, except the extra weight is noticeable in the hills.

I do see a lot of people just do the bolt-on fixes without first having a good alignment done. I've heard that increasing caster can significantly reduce the floaty steering, so that's the first thing I plan to do. This seems like the logical sequence to improve steering feel and stability:
1. Custom alignment with +5 degrees of caster, zero camber, and 1/16" toe-in.
2. Steering stabilizer (like Saf-T-Plus or similar).
3. Bigger rear swaybar.
4. Bigger front swaybar.
5. Rear trac bar.
6. Other: Bilstein shocks, Sumo springs, etc.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:41 PM   #14
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jabrabu: Thanks for the alignment numbers, where did you get them for reference or did you have those done on your rig? As far as your mods, I think you're on the right track for pretty much thorough suspension improvements. My E350 Chassis is 158" wheel base and I'm assuming your rig is the E450 Chassis which is beefier than mine. Is yours longer wheel base than 158"? I know per internet Ford does make E450 Chassis with hundred and seventy "something" inch wheel base. Have you had your axles weighed separately on CAT scale? I'd be interested to know what your front to rear ratio is. Speaking from what I've learned in my driving fire trucks and engines career, closer to 50% front to rear, "usually" better handling as more balanced weights which would improve steering. I've read and watched couple videos from Henderson's in Oregon who specializes in M.H. suspension mods, that they've actually had to "add" hundreds pounds of steel weights to front of some M.H.'s to improve steering. Don't know how they do that but guess would be possible on some maybe some diesel pushers due to the very heavy engine in rear plus larger holding tanks etc. If you have weighed or plan to weigh yours, I'd appreciate to see what the axle weight ratios turn out to be. I didn't weigh mine with "full" tanks but figure for my rig with full potable water/40 gals. and maybe 10 gals. combined in my grey and black tank will increase the ratio even higher. Should have weighed mine with full potable water tank as it's just to rear of center of rig, effect some added weight front and rear. Best wishes. Stay safe.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:51 PM   #15
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We have a 30' ACE (F-53 chassis) that had all the handling issues endemic to this type MH. Installed Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer primarily for safety (e.g., tire blow out) reasons and then had a comprehensive alignment by a truck (vs. RV) shop. Handling was still an issue; therefore, I installed Roadmaster Front & Rear anti-sway bars (front replaces OEM with slightly larger -- rear supplements OEM), which resulted in considerable improvement as evidenced on 4400 mile round trip to CA during which I had no problems with side wind gusts nor passing semis (have to admit I was gaining additional experience with the MH along the way). Being anal, I next installed SumoSprings on the front (primarily to dampen rough ride) and SuperSprings on the rear. Handling is still not car-like but quite good now considering a 12' high, 30' long box doing 65 +/- MPH on poorly maintained interstates.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:56 PM   #16
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Steve, I got those alignment numbers from someone else who had this alignment done, and he said it made a great improvement. I have the camber/caster bushings, but I haven't had my alignment done yet. Mine drives okay, but I'm sure it could be better.

My E450 chassis is on the long 223" wheelbase, which probably helps the weight distribution, but there is still quite a bit of rear overhang. It also gives it a huge turning radius, which makes it tricky to maneuver around towns. My 24' E450 was on the short 158" wheelbase, and I could make U-turns on most city streets.

I have not had mine weighed. I will probably have that done when I get the alignment done. I saw weights from another 32' Chateau, and it was definitely very heavy at the rear and light at the front. I am currently running tire pressures at 75 psi front & 80 psi rear, per the door sticker, but based on the weights I saw I could probably go a lot lower at the front.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:27 PM   #17
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I put Roadmaster anti-sway bars and it helped but did not solve the problem. I have learned not to let it bother me but I can't accept the harsh ride caused by Kalifornia's poor concrete roadways. Socialism is wonderful, not....

Some say that Sumo Springs help but be careful as the one that replaces the bump stop won't do much. I have heard that the other style (more expensive) will raise the coach an inch or so, creating a softer ride. If I were doing it again, I would probably start with Sumo springs , but there are mixed reviews depending on who you listen to and what product they bought. I am just tired of throwing money at and getting minor improvements. Good luck and if you find a solution, please pass it on.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:03 PM   #18
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Some say that Sumo Springs help but be careful as the one that replaces the bump stop won't do much. I have heard that the other style (more expensive) will raise the coach an inch or so, creating a softer ride. If I were doing it again, I would probably start with Sumo springs , but there are mixed reviews depending on who you listen to and what product they bought. I am just tired of throwing money at and getting minor improvements. Good luck and if you find a solution, please pass it on.
I put Sumo Maxims front and rear some 12,000 miles ago. Good improvement overall but not perfect. The coach is always fully loaded - 11,420 rear and 6,400 front. With the big bumps from broken pavement, there was a hard landing hitting the stock bump stops. Here the Sumos made the ride much better. The Sumos also help with sway. You got to be careful in the installation so that the are always under quite a bit of static compression. The installation instructions tell you how. This does increase the total spring rate but does away with harsh bump stops and reduces sway quite a bit. Personally I don't notice the coach wandering or moving around in heavy traffic, but again the only weight the coach has behind the rear axle is the outside kitchen and the fuel tank.

It is true that Thor Motorcoach does not modify the Ford chassis (actually the chassis is built by Detroit Chassis under contract and not at the Ford heavy truck plant in Louisville, KY). Thor contracts with Lippert Components to modify the chassis for a house of Thor's design. For the 31S chassis, Lippert expends 11 man hours welding on the chassis rails. The modified chassis are delivered to plant 750 on 45 ft goose-neck, low-boy trailer (12 a day). A trip through the plants will cure a great many misconceptions.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:09 PM   #19
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Yep, a hole in the highway to throw money into. I will in future needed or not probably have installed Airlift Air Bags with on board compressor. I feel that way, can adjust as needed for load or highway conditions. Don't know anyone who has had that make installed but the heavy duty set they make seems to be built very well and would last a long time. Especially important to try and find a "good" mechanic to install all the suspension mods. I know I had C.W. install my Safe T Plus and said they road tested it and when I left their shop I didn't get a couple miles until I turned around and had them adjust properly. It pulled so hard to left, if you let the wheel go where it wanted, it pulled over the center lane of frontage road of freeway. I specifically asked if they road tested, LIARS. The shop foreman with me in the passenger seat drove 4 times before they got the adjustment where steering wheel would keep tracked straight. Wish I had the tools and the lift or pit to do all this crap myself, but like most of us, have to rely on an "expert" at a cost of hundreds $$ shop time.
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