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Old 07-15-2017, 10:54 PM   #1
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THOR #8318
Steering stabilizers, sway bars, etc

I'm seeing some threads on here, and on the Thor owners Facebook page about upgrading the sway bars, adding a steering stabilizer, and/or installing some kind of airbag/leaf spring helper etc. Question is: How important would you more experienced MH drivers consider these upgrades? For the near future, we won't be taking any extremely long trips, 400-500 miles tops, and I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle the MH. I don't want the DW to get skittish while driving though. Part of the reason we are upgrading to a MH is her refusal to pull our 5er. Thoughts?
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Old 07-15-2017, 11:19 PM   #2
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Doing the chf makes a big difference, no need to change sway bars. If you are thinking about making changes I would do it in this order:

1. CHF
2. Safe T Plus steering stabilizer
3. Rear Track Bar
4. Front Sumo Springs

That's pretty much all the mods you can or need to make. Again, the chf should be done first, simple, easy to do, and free! Makes a big difference in handling.

Congratulations on your new coach and welcome to the forum!!!
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:27 AM   #3
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Don't forget the alignment.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:45 AM   #4
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Last month I had front end alignment and Safe T Plus steering stabilizer installed before our first trip out West logged 5050 miles. I am leaving for Florida in a few days. A few days ago I had installed Front & Rear SUMOS, A Hellwig Front Sway Bar, (rear has not been shipped yet) Mobil 1 Oil Change and Chassis Grease. I will be curious if I get a better Driving Experience. Love driving the Axis but trying to settle it down a little bit.
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Old 07-16-2017, 01:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Stephens View Post
I'm seeing some threads on here, and on the Thor owners Facebook page about upgrading the sway bars, adding a steering stabilizer, and/or installing some kind of airbag/leaf spring helper etc. Question is: How important would you more experienced MH drivers consider these upgrades? For the near future, we won't be taking any extremely long trips, 400-500 miles tops, and I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle the MH. I don't want the DW to get skittish while driving though. Part of the reason we are upgrading to a MH is her refusal to pull our 5er. Thoughts?
Honestly we moved up last year from a 5th wheel to a motorhome(f53 chassis). 5th wheel and truck are 10 times easier to drive than the motorhome unless it's a dp with a freightliner chassis. We did the chf which makes a huge difference but don't be surprised when the wife is yelling while driving about how hard it can be. Especially in the wind. Just my opinion though. Have fun.
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:40 AM   #6
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Our previous coach was a 41' DP on a Freightliner chassis, on a windy day it was a handful. Airbag suspension gave a good ride.
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Red_Stephens View Post
....cut..... I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle the MH. I don't want the DW to get skittish while driving though. Part of the reason we are upgrading to a MH is her refusal to pull our 5er. Thoughts?

Only that you have the perfect excuse to enjoy all the driving.
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Stephens View Post
I'm seeing some threads on here, and on the Thor owners Facebook page about upgrading the sway bars, adding a steering stabilizer, and/or installing some kind of airbag/leaf spring helper etc. Question is: How important would you more experienced MH drivers consider these upgrades? For the near future, we won't be taking any extremely long trips, 400-500 miles tops, and I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle the MH. I don't want the DW to get skittish while driving though. Part of the reason we are upgrading to a MH is her refusal to pull our 5er. Thoughts?
My background was also a fiver. After the first 1300 mile run in my Challenger I knew something had to be corrected no matter who was behind the wheel.

I ended up going the whole route with suspension maintenance and upgrades (alignment, CHF, Safe T Plus, Sumos all around). To me spending $2,400 to $2,500 was worth it because my coach was horrible to drive in any wind plus when a truck passed me it was almost impossible to hold it in my lane.

Our friends have a different 2016 model Challenger (35' long) and after CHF he claims it handles good. Yesterday I talked to a fellow camper here that has a 2013 Challenger (37' long) and his handles good without all the suspension upgrades.

Different models handle differently especially after you are loaded down for traveling. I think you have to decide for yourself how your coach handles in different conditions and then start picking what upgrades could improve your handling. I got about half way to where I wanted to be until I had the Sumos put on. After the Sumos it really started to handle very well.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
Doing the chf makes a big difference, no need to change sway bars. If you are thinking about making changes I would do it in this order:

1. CHF
2. Safe T Plus steering stabilizer
3. Rear Track Bar
4. Front Sumo Springs

That's pretty much all the mods you can or need to make. Again, the chf should be done first, simple, easy to do, and free! Makes a big difference in handling.

Congratulations on your new coach and welcome to the forum!!!
Thanks for the info, I researched the CHF and it looks fairly easy. It seems many MH owners are doing this first thing, makes me wonder why the manufacturer even puts the sway bar in that original position. About the steering stabilizer; is that pretty much plug and play, or is there adjustments etc., that need to be done?
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:53 PM   #10
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The manufacturer, Ford, has no idea what the final intended use is for the chassis or how much weight it will be carrying which is why the stabilizer bars are adjustable.

Rather than try to give a long explanation about how to install and adjust a Safe T Plus I suggest you go to YouTube and search for the videos, they show and give good instructions on what to do.

You are very welcome, hope I was helpful!
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
The manufacturer, Ford, has no idea what the final intended use is for the chassis or how much weight it will be carrying which is why the stabilizer bars are adjustable.

Rather than try to give a long explanation about how to install and adjust a Safe T Plus I suggest you go to YouTube and search for the videos, they show and give good instructions on what to do.

You are very welcome, hope I was helpful!


hitting the nail on the head as usual !

our F53 chassis
before chf, stabilizer, and alignment the Windsport would gently rock us to sleep, while driving, swimmy as heck.

after those, one handed driving, much better..
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:16 AM   #12
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The only change from stock was Sumo Maxiums; mainly because we were hitting the spring bump stops on the Illinois Interstates due to broken and missing pavement. I had the alignment checked last year at it was with-in specifications. Except for gusty 40 mph front cornering headwinds, the coach handles fine. A little sway on emergency maneuvers; but otherwise, I am happy. We try to load the coach so that everything added is between the wheels and toward the front. Our typical weight is 6,700 lbs front and 11,800 with full propane, fresh water and 77 gallons of gasoline. I run 82 psi in the front and 89 psi in the rear. The reason for the extra pressures in the rear was based on psi gain when the tires are hot. With 82 all around (set at 70 ambient), the rears would gain 20 psi in the 100 degree Texas heat at 60 mph while the fronts would only gain 12 psi. With 89 psi in the rear, the psi gain is now only 14 psi. 16,600 miles to date.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:56 AM   #13
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The steering stabilizer is designed return to original length. One end is anchored to the chassis while the other end is fastened to the steering crossbar. When test driving the MH the stabilizer can be loosened and repositioned on the crossbar so that it will be holding the crossbar in the exact spot to steer the MH straight ahead. The stabilizer will resist any sudden movements in either direction (blowout) and will assist you by returning to the center steering position.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:12 PM   #14
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my opinion
setting the tire pressures properly, based on weight is probably the first and best thing to do.
along with the obvious wheel alignment (load affects alignment and they do not align these things after they put the house on)

After doing only these things mine drives fine.

I experienced some severe wind out in AZ recently that made for a tiring drive, but even on a very windy day at home it drives ok.

It's not a luxury car or sports car, drives like a truck, but it aint bad.

I'd love to put on a safe t steer, but that's more for the advertised advantage in blowout situations
And I think a rear panhard rod (track bar) would be the next best thing to do....to stiffen up the leaf suspension.
But since mine handles "ok" it's not a priority for me to put these into the budget

Larger MH's without leaf springs would be different....
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
Doing the chf makes a big difference, no need to change sway bars. If you are thinking about making changes I would do it in this order:

1. CHF
2. Safe T Plus steering stabilizer
3. Rear Track Bar
4. Front Sumo Springs

That's pretty much all the mods you can or need to make. Again, the chf should be done first, simple, easy to do, and free! Makes a big difference in handling.

Congratulations on your new coach and welcome to the forum!!!
What does CHF stand for, ok I forgot.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:48 PM   #16
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CHF - cheap handling fix. You can search YouTube and see videos of what is involved.

I forgot to add front end alignment to the list, it should be done before adding a steering stabilizer.
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Old 07-17-2017, 07:39 PM   #17
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a long time ago I read this.
http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/MH_..._%20Primer.pdf
I'm no suspension system expert, but this was written by a long time RV'er, and to my M.E. mind it mostly seems plausible.

I think you need to look at what your symptoms or problems are, then go for the fix who's primary goal is to resolve that problem that you are having...

I don't really seem to have a huge rolling problem for example with my E-450. Yes it rolls but it's really only an issue when navigating some severe rolly-polly terrain, such as leaving some parking lots..
so
since rolling not really being a problem, adjusting roll bars doesn't see to me to be the primary fix.

Granted, it's cheap...hence the name.... and it apparently has some side benefits that help with other issues that I do see.... such as yawing (tail wagging the dog)...so in a way it might be the thing to do before spending money....
.....but the primary fix for yaw, and probably the best result to fix that problem, because i have leaf springs on the rear, would seem to be the track bar....

Still....I'll probably give that CHF a try some day if I can ever find the time.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:07 PM   #18
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.....cut.....

It's not a luxury car or sports car, drives like a truck, but it aint bad.

....cut......
Your comment reminded me of the Vixen, or the "Porsche" of motorhomes as it was advertised about 30 years ago.

The first one I saw was driving over Independence Pass and was flying through curves -- by motorhome standards. I would love to drive one just to see how it handles. With low profile, wide stance, and wheels near each corner with independent suspension all around, it should beat most of today's truck-based MH offerings.

Granted it was way too small to be successful in the marketplace, but shows what a clean-sheet design can accomplish. I've often wondered how it would have turned out if made larger; like 25~30 feet long.

Notice during road test that it leaned a fair amount when pushed hard through corners, not unlike many cars. Obviously picture can't be compared to modern tall MHs because they'd likely flip over first.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:16 PM   #19
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I wondered what in the heck those were.... there is one parked at a home in our neighborhood.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
a long time ago I read this.
http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/MH_..._%20Primer.pdf
I'm no suspension system expert, but this was written by a long time RV'er, and to my M.E. mind it mostly seems plausible.

I think you need to look at what your symptoms or problems are, then go for the fix who's primary goal is to resolve that problem that you are having...

I don't really seem to have a huge rolling problem for example with my E-450. Yes it rolls but it's really only an issue when navigating some severe rolly-polly terrain, such as leaving some parking lots..
so
since rolling not really being a problem, adjusting roll bars doesn't see to me to be the primary fix.

Granted, it's cheap...hence the name.... and it apparently has some side benefits that help with other issues that I do see.... such as yawing (tail wagging the dog)...so in a way it might be the thing to do before spending money....
.....but the primary fix for yaw, and probably the best result to fix that problem, because i have leaf springs on the rear, would seem to be the track bar....

Still....I'll probably give that CHF a try some day if I can ever find the time.
CHF is only for F-53 chassis and not for E-350/450 as I understand it.
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