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Old 04-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #1
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Saf-t-plus

Real close to having SAF-T-PLUS installed. What's the opinions on this addition?

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Old 04-13-2015, 03:02 PM   #2
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I think one of the best investments you will make on your coach! If you ever have a blowout you will REALLY be glad you installed it!
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:36 PM   #3
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I agree with thor.....installed it on mine and it made a HUGE difference in the handling. I would recommend it.
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:53 PM   #4
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There are a couple of different strategies you can take. Safe-T-Plus is one strategy, but have you also considered upgraded sway bars?

I am not sure if the so called CHF (Cheap Handling Fix) can be done on an E series chassis or not. When I looked under my chassis, I did not see any adjustments on the front, but on the rear, it looks like there are a couple of different holes, but not sure how much they would adjust it.

The CHF entails using a different set of mounting holes to stiffen the sway bar on F-53 chassis. The only option for E series chassis owners might be heavier duty sway bars.

You will likely want to consider a plan which entails a couple of fixes.

I just had Hellwig heavy duty sway bars installed today, and what a difference. The first turn out of the garage and I felt the extra support - i.e. the sway from just turning at low speed was noticeably much less.

Today, it was pretty gusty, and with my test drive, I could get the coach up to 70mph without having any steering issues (60mph was my comfort level prior), and I can pretty much let go of the steering wheel for about 15 seconds.

Before, I had to continuously saw the wheel to keep it straight.

Even then, being a windy day, the wind gusts did blow me around a little bit, but not like the white-knuckle experience before installing the sway bars.

It went from driving like a dump truck to now it drives like a pickup.

The sway bars cost me around $190~220 for the front, and $200~240 for the rear.

But you may have to do several improvements before getting it to drive perfectly. So I can't tell you where to start, but I am starting off with the least expensive, and go incrementally to the more expensive. A Safe-T-Plus dampener will certainly improve things if you go with that first.

I went with sway bars first as this is a well known fix for the E series chassis, and a bit less expensive.

Fortunately, the Ford garage in town deals with heavy vehicles so they have some experience. They also noticed that the Camber angle on the front I-Beams suggested the vehicle might be a bit light in the front end, which I thought ever since the first time I drove it, as it seems a bit "light" on the steering.

So my next upgrade, if needed - is air shocks for the rear. I'm gonna drive the RV for a month I think before deciding if anything else is needed.

The air shocks can change the weight balance forward, putting more weight on the front tires, which is maybe the next best improvement. And at $350 or so, they are not the most expensive fix.

After that, I am considering Bilstein or Koni shocks. But they are quite expensive; especially the Koni shocks (Bilstein RV shocks are about $100 ea. and the Koni shocks are $250 ea).

I have not yet decided on the Safe-T-Plus damper, as there is already a factory damper in there; albeit likely a less capable one. And it is one of the more expensive fixes, so it was not my first choice. But if they help, then it's worth it.

One comment I have seen about steering dampers vs. sway bars - especially for the E series chassis; dampers fix the symptom, but sway bars fix the problem.

Air Tabs are also supposedly helpful in windy conditions as well as passing semis. They are supposed to also improve gas mileage as they reduce drag.

So again, there are several strategies that you can take, and each one will likely improve the handling; and perhaps it will take more than one step to do so.

Class A owners with a F-53 chassis might take a different approach than those with an E series chassis, or at least the order of improvements.

Six of the common "fixes" for RV suspensions seems to be:

- Upgraded Sway Bars.
- Upgraded Shocks.
- Air Bags (which act like upgraded rear shocks, plus bias adjust).
- Steering Stabilizer on the front.
- Track Bar on the rear.
- Air Tabs.

In no particular order.

Maybe someone who has installed several suspension upgrades, especially on an E series chassis can provide more info as which one to do first.
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:47 AM   #5
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I installed the Safe-t- plus bar in my Axis today and it did make a big difference with wind and passing trucks. However after spending $700, the front end specialists told me I could use sway bars and better springs if I want to really improve the ride. He said the weight of the Axis is just too much for a "van-like" chassis. Of course only one man's opinion ....
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:09 AM   #6
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Don't know why the Axis is not on an E-450 chassis, which would probably give you more heavy duty springs, etc. Perhaps the E-450 is not available in a stripped chassis?
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:18 AM   #7
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Thanks for everyone's input. I am taking the plunge. Thanks
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:42 AM   #8
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As soon as possible before installing your Saf-T-Plus have the alignment checked. That's what I did. Handling was significantly better.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by FW28z View Post
Don't know why the Axis is not on an E-450 chassis, which would probably give you more heavy duty springs, etc. Perhaps the E-450 is not available in a stripped chassis?
Ford does make a E450 cutaway for the RV industry. My prior Class C by Forest River was on a E450. I will tell you that it was still a white knuckle drive in wind and with trucks passing.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:20 AM   #10
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The concord I just traded 2012 by Forrest river was on a 450 chassis, I didn't think it handles too bad. We took it to Alaska.
It was a little squirrelly pulling a toad on twisty roads though
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:27 AM   #11
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Ford does make a E450 cutaway for the RV industry. My prior Class C by Forest River was on a E450. I will tell you that it was still a white knuckle drive in wind and with trucks passing.
Not cut-away... stripped; i.e. no cab.

I do see though that the E450 is available on a stripped chassis in the latest Ford webpage. At one time I think only the E350 was available as a stripped chassis, but I may be mistaken. So why the Vegas is not on an E450 is puzzling to me. Oh, I remember, the RV industry is cheap.

My moho is on an E450 cut-away chassis, being a Class C.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:59 PM   #12
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So why the Vegas is not on an E450 is puzzling to me. Oh, I remember, the RV industry is cheap.
Hey, they did spring for the optional 6.8L V10 and 55 gallon fuel tank rather than the standard 5.4L with 40 gallon tank. Can't be too cheap
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:49 PM   #13
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If you go purely by the weights the Axis/Vegas seems sufficient for the E-350 chassis. When I weighed my Axis fully loaded with fuel & water & our stuff & us I was still 1000 lbs below GVWR. I'm sure that is why they didn't go with the 450 (its not like its a huge cost save anyway: a F-350 is only a few hundred $$ more than an equivalently configured F-250).

Granted they do everything they can to even save off $0.01...

Now if you are questioning the GVWR value given from Ford for the E-350 that is an entirely different discussion (and perhaps part of the reason the vans finally dropped the Econoline chassis altogether).
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dstankov View Post
Hey, they did spring for the optional 6.8L V10 and 55 gallon fuel tank rather than the standard 5.4L with 40 gallon tank. Can't be too cheap
Yea, that is true.

But there are some strange things here. The 6.8L and 55 gallon tank is standard on the E450 as far as I know. The starting MSRP for the stripped E350 is $25,370 while the stripped E450 is $27,370. And I bet if you add the cost of a V10 to the E350, you are not going to be far from the E450 MSRP.

And what is stranger still, the F-53 (16,000 GVWR) chassis MSRP starts out at $26,290 - cheaper than the E450, which probably comes with the 362HP V10, Bilstein shocks, etc. So in all likelyhood, the F-53 might even have been less expensive than the E350 with V10 option.

But if the F-53 were used, the coach would be at least 1 ft taller, so I suppose that would ruin the RUV aspect of the Vegas.

But of course the coach would be a bit heavier with the F-53 chassis. But with a F-53 and 362HP engine, I bet the towing capacity would go through he roof.

Why are we not designing these things ourselves?
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:21 PM   #15
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When I weighed my Axis fully loaded with fuel & water & our stuff & us I was still 1000 lbs below GVWR.
For comparison sake, I am about 2,800lbs below GVWR on my E450. Of course, that means my spousal unit can load 'er up... which might not be the best solution.
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:23 PM   #16
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The E-450 chassis have a wider track (by 2 inches LOL): 77 vs 75 (Rear track): (F-53 is much wider at 95 inches)

2015 Ford Stripped Chassis Work Trucks | View All Ford Stripped Chassis Specifications | Ford.com

Oooh and the F-53 gets the 3V V-10 that is available in the F-Series pickups (not the 2V one in the vans). This is an extra 60 HP or so available and ~40 ft-lbs of torque.
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:23 PM   #17
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I also noticed when looking at the specs that the speed limiters (either 65 or 75 MPH) are an option on the cutaway and stripped 350 and 450 chassis for fleet purchases. Since a few folks have been discussing speed limiters on other threads I wonder if Thor considers themselves a fleet purchaser or if that is what Ford had in stock when Thor placed an order. The latter would explain why some folks experience the speed limiter while others do not on the same model coach or coach chassis.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:01 PM   #18
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Ok Saf-t-Plus is going on the 27th we will see if it helps heading to NC the 30th.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:03 PM   #19
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Ok Saf-t-Plus is going on the 27th we will see if it helps heading to NC the 30th.
Keep us posted.....
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:40 PM   #20
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Ironically I just posted a note about installing the Safe T Pluse "230" on my 37 Kt. I honestly can't tell it helped a bit w/ push from rigs or cross wind.
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