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Old 11-24-2020, 03:41 PM   #1
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Thor 28A E-450 Suspension Upgrades?

I purchased a new 2020 Thor 28A Class C Motorhome about 5 months ago. It sets on a E-450 chasis. My wife & I love it. We had a pull behind camper for 20 years so not new to the camping world. We have gone on a few small trips so far. Longest trip being about 4 hours & mostly driving on the interstate with semis trying to blow me off the road & me white knuckleing it & almost pooping myself a time or two. I have driven big box trucks before on long trips for my work & I have my chaffuers license. So been driving big trucks for a long time. My question is, what kind of upgrades can be made on the E-450 to make this thing easier to drive?
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:09 PM   #2
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Your handling problems are caused by having too little positive caster.
Here is a link to our experience, Circa 2010:

E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER

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 11-24-2020, 04:11 PM   #3
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Use the "search" tab & you'll a whole laundry list of suspension upgrades to help the Fords handling.
I'll say this I drove Ford trucks daily from 1978 to 2012 - 1/2 tons to 1 tons at work & can honestly say the company was NOT using those trucks because of their superior ride, handling, fuel mileage or comfortable seating.
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:14 PM   #4
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Some E350/E450 have handling issues, some do not, the following may explain the difference:


Ford ships all E350/E450 cut aways with identical fixed, non adjustable
caster/camber sleeves, "one size fits all". You can recognize these sleeves because they are keyed and cannot be rotated. They are marked "F8UA-AA 0+.25" on the passenger side and "E97A-CA +0-0" on the drivers side.

The RV builder almost never changes the Ford sleeves, as a result:


If the final RV build is nose down one degree then the runtime caster will be about +3.5 degrees. These units can have a real wandering problem.


If the final RV build is nose level then the runtime caster will be about +4.5 degrees. These units are probably indifferent.


If the final RV build is nose up one degree then the runtime caster will be about +5.5 degrees. These units are probably just fine.


So, some RVs have a problem with wandering at highway speeds and some do not have a problem.


Note that all three zones mentioned above are within the broad Ford caster specification.
As a result it is easy to get short changed by the "tweak the toe and we are good to go" alignment.
Discuss your symptoms up front, do not expect a normal alignment will address your handling problem.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:14 PM   #5
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Thinking about putting on a Saf-t Plus Steering Stabilizer (31-140 Silver)
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Old 11-24-2020, 06:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick h View Post
Thinking about putting on a Saf-t Plus Steering Stabilizer (31-140 Silver)
Our 30FE is a little bit longer and heavier than your 28A, so when I decided to do something about handling, I started with the Saf-T-Plus steering stabilizer.
That alone didn’t do much. I learned later that a steering stabilizer is most effective in maintaining control if you have a front tire blow out.
So from there I went with heavy duty sway bars from Roadmaster, front and rear and added Sumo helper springs on the front.
However, the improvement that had the largest effect was to get a front end alignment done at a shop that specializes in trucks.
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Old 11-24-2020, 06:23 PM   #7
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A relatively easy worthwhile addition would be SumoSprings at all four corners...
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:12 PM   #8
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Harvard:

So can a truck shop replace the keyed sleeves with adjustable ones to get the caster right?

David
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:39 PM   #9
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Any motorhome over 25' is too long, too high and too heavy for the stock E-450 suspension and will cause the handling issues you describe.

When Ford makes these E-450 cutaway chassis they don't know if it will be a shuttle bus, ambulance, delivery van, motorhome, etc. The suspension setup (springs, shocks, sway bars, etc.) is very basic and not designed for a motorhome over 25 feet.

I had an Outlaw 29H and I installed the following and it changed it from a white knuckle driving experience that wore you out after four hours of driving with two hands to driving 8 hours with one hand on the wheel and not being work out afterwards:

- Roadmaster Steering Stabilizer
- Hellwig Front and Rear Heavy Duty Sway Bars
- Front and Rear Sumo Springs

It cost me about $1500 in parts a couple years ago and I did the work myself over the course of three days. The ride quality, comfort and handling improved dramatically and it was much easier to drive.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:23 PM   #10
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I agree with Judge...

Typical "parts only" costs on Amazon:
- Steering Stabilizer $600+ (or Bilstein Steering Damper $100)
- Hellwig Front and Rear Heavy Duty Sway Bars ($600+ for both)
- Front and Rear Sumo Springs (Fronts are $200, Rears are $300+)

All mods can be done via DIY if you have tools and are handy.

Finally...You must get a professional alignment once your rig is fully loaded. That is, an alignment makes a huuuge difference on how it handles.


BTW...I love the 28A floorplan. A 30' Class C with no slide!
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Harvard:

So can a truck shop replace the keyed sleeves with adjustable ones to get the caster right?

David
Yes: Moog-K8986, NAPA 158986 or SPC 794 Concentric Sleeves

As a DIY project: Install adjustable sleeves set to 0.0 Camber and +2.0 Caster, then align the TOE. That's all you need to do, just like the Ford production line.
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:14 PM   #12
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Do you have a toad behind that class c?
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Old 11-24-2020, 11:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Harvard View Post
Yes: Moog-K8986, NAPA 158986 or SPC 794 Concentric Sleeves

As a DIY project: Install adjustable sleeves set to 0.0 Camber and +2.0 Caster, then align the TOE. That's all you need to do, just like the Ford production line.
Thanks. I am expecting a new Axis 24.1 to be delivered in Feb/Mar. An alignment by a good truck shop to maximize caster is one of the first things I will do. Good to know about the bushings so they don't flim flam me with just a toein/out adjustment.

David
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:21 AM   #14
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I took my 2018 26B to the Ford Fleet Services shop and had them do a big truck alignment for highway use. Drives like a big truck now down the highway...
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Old 11-25-2020, 05:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Thanks. I am expecting a new Axis 24.1 to be delivered in Feb/Mar. An alignment by a good truck shop to maximize caster is one of the first things I will do. Good to know about the bushings so they don't flim flam me with just a toein/out adjustment.



David


You might not need the adjustable mounts. Some do and some donít. If yours does your alignment shop can install them during the alignment.
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Old 11-25-2020, 05:26 PM   #16
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Do they carry them
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Old 11-25-2020, 06:06 PM   #17
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Do they carry them
Typically yes, unless you have a new dog not familiar with old tricks.
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Old 11-25-2020, 09:31 PM   #18
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Thinking about starting with Saf-t Plus Steering Stabilizer, Hellwig Sway Bars, Frt. & Rear & Super Steer SS 450 Rear Trac Bar. Then get Frt. end aligned & hopefully good. Really appreciate all the help.
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Old 11-25-2020, 10:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick h View Post
Thinking about starting with Saf-t Plus Steering Stabilizer, Hellwig Sway Bars, Frt. & Rear & Super Steer SS 450 Rear Trac Bar. Then get Frt. end aligned & hopefully good. Really appreciate all the help.


Thatís a lot. Respectfully Iíd suggest you start with the alignment (none of the other elements will affect it) and then do the others things one at a time. You might find that you are happy before doing all of it. For one thing the steering stabilizer likely would need to be readjusted after the alignment if there were any toe changes.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:06 PM   #20
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I'd probably drive it a bit first.
My bet is 1:10,000 rv's have mods like you mention.
99+% find their rig to be OK to drive.

I doubt big box trucks have the mods and there's a bazillion of them on the road, overloaded as a regular day thing. Many, maybe most, are minimum wage totally unskilled folk. They're doing fine with the stock suspension on the same roads we drive.

Get an alignment, get 5,000 miles on it.
Then decide.
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