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Author Topic: Just got RV and dropping cash....  (Read 529 times)

ArmorWrapGuy

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Just got RV and dropping cash....
« on: December 05, 2018, 06:17:02 PM »
So I started out looking for a small class C for around $25k. Then the wife said "we need more room" so I started looking at class As. Found a 30ft and made an offer. Too many issues came up with that one so we backed out and ended up in a 2008 pace arrow 35' with 3 slideouts for $50k. (35k miles) So much for my small little class C idea.

Anyway, after driving it 60 miles home (and never driving a class A before) I quickly realized it sucks driving. I couldn't imagine myself driving across the country in this thing. Going barely 60mph was slightly scary. I was gripping the wheel and each time a semitruck flew by my coach felt like a 100mph gust of wind hit it. (ok, that may be an exaggeration) I would turn corners and the whole thing would lean like crazy and I was constantly moving the steering wheel back and forth like in those old movies where they film a fake driving scene.

So after doing a LOT of reading, youtube, google searches, etc I realized this is common with the F53 chassis. I had to take the RV to the shop anyway just to do the normal stuff (fuel filter, oil change, brake check, etc ) and I hope they don't find any surprises. But since it's there I bought the roadmaster steering stabilizer and just ordered sumo springs.

The shop told me to get a "track bar" for the front but then they said it already had one from the factory for that year. He told me to hold off on the steering stabilizer but I insisted. He doesn't know I just ordered sumo springs either but hey, they were having a sale for 25% off right now.

I thought about better sway bars but I'm not going that route. I'm gonna leave it at the roadmaster and sumosprings for now.

What do you guys think? I've done hours of reading and came up with this combo as the best solution to handle the chassis issue and hoping when I pick the RV up it drives somewhat better on the highway.

Old_Crow

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 06:29:31 PM »
Google "cheap handling fix". 
This is something you can do yourself.  I did just the rear of my coach(really easy, front is more problematic depending on your coach)and I've driven it around 5k miles since I did it.  Trucks coming up in the mirror don't scare me any more and I'm not white knuckled in the lightest breeze.  My coach has a 14' rear overhang so the truck passing thing was really bad.  I hated the thing after the first trip.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

"Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle."

ArmorWrapGuy

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2018, 07:19:01 PM »
Thanks for the tip. I saw this "fix" before when searching but didn't look too much into it. But I will do this, at a minimum, on my rear after this other work gets done. I may not need to change anything after the sumosprings are put in. I don't know. But this is something I can do at my home so I will put it on the list.

garyb1st

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2018, 07:24:12 PM »
Our 2005 Pace Arrow, 35G drives extremely well.  Bought it used 1 1/2 yrs ago, put on new tires and 8,000 miles so far.  It drives relatively straight, is not pushed much by passing vehicles and has plenty of power.  Previous owner put on a front steering stabilizer and Koni shocks.  Other than that and a performance package from Ultra Power, it's pretty much stock.  I've heard good things about the Cheap Handling Fix and was considering it for our old 1999 F53 Rexhall.  However after new Koni shocks, proper loading and tire pressure, it road pretty good.  I suggest you read the handling primer in the library before spending a bunch of money on FIXES.  It's written by Gary Brink and is an excellent starting point.  Have the motorhome weight, 4 wheel if you can, and then distribute the weight evenly from side to side and front to back.  Of course be cognizant of the 4 corner weights.  For example, if your right front weighs more than the left, place more weight in the left bays.  You want to equalize things as much as possible.  Our old 1999 also had Ride Right Air Bags.  If your Pace has air bags, experiment a bit with varying pressures.  Lot's of things contribute to driving stability.  Do the cheap ones first.  Good luck. 

Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

ArmorWrapGuy

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2018, 08:02:58 PM »
Thanks for the advice Gary. From all of the reading I've done these are the things that come up when it comes to the F53 chassis
1)steering stabilzer
2)sumosprings
3)koni shocks
4)sway bars
5)this cheap DIY fix

The biggest online reactions came from 1 and 2.
After 10 minutes of driving my coach I could tell it needed something. It has brand new tires and the coach is empty so the weight isn't an issue. Tire pressure is good. The only other things I considered were bushings or the powersteering gear was going bad (hence the play back and forth on the highway) but at 35k miles I doubt that is the issue. But then I quickly realized it's just the way this chassis is so I'm willing to spend some $ correcting it. I'm not doing sway bars or koni shocks. I'll do 1, 2 and 3 and leave it a that. I'll survive with however it handles.

Maybe some point down the road when shocks are due I will switch those out for Koni.
So my fingers are crossed...I have to budget the stuff I'm doing because the wife is buying pillows, rugs, and whatever else she sees fit for the interior.

Gizmo100

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2018, 08:51:09 PM »
Thanks for the advice Gary. From all of the reading I've done these are the things that come up when it comes to the F53 chassis
1)steering stabilzer
2)sumosprings
3)koni shocks
4)sway bars
5)this cheap DIY fix

The biggest online reactions came from 1 and 2.
After 10 minutes of driving my coach I could tell it needed something. It has brand new tires and the coach is empty so the weight isn't an issue. Tire pressure is good. The only other things I considered were bushings or the powersteering gear was going bad (hence the play back and forth on the highway) but at 35k miles I doubt that is the issue. But then I quickly realized it's just the way this chassis is so I'm willing to spend some $ correcting it. I'm not doing sway bars or koni shocks. I'll do 1, 2 and 3 and leave it a that. I'll survive with however it handles.

Maybe some point down the road when shocks are due I will switch those out for Koni.
So my fingers are crossed...I have to budget the stuff I'm doing because the wife is buying pillows, rugs, and whatever else she sees fit for the interior.

I know nothing about the problems you are addressing........HOWEVER....I feel your pain.....pillows, rugs, and whatever else she sees fit for the interior.....Been there...Done that. I was able to pay cash for the TT. But I was thinking of getting a loan for all decorating.
2017 Heartland Trail runner 24 SLE
2017 Ford F150 3.5 Eco boost

ArmorWrapGuy

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2018, 09:10:40 PM »
I know nothing about the problems you are addressing........HOWEVER....I feel your pain.....pillows, rugs, and whatever else she sees fit for the interior.....Been there...Done that. I was able to pay cash for the TT. But I was thinking of getting a loan for all decorating.

Haha, glad someone can relate. We paid cash for this RV also because I know how things add up. (storage, insurance, maintenance, wife) and I went with goodsam extended warranty which runs me about $83 per month. So it's like I have a payment anyway.

Do you guys feel like the goodsam warranty is worth it?
I just don't want to get stuck with an engine rebuild or trans problems but also don't know if they'd fight it since preexisting stuff isn't covered. This is another reason I have the rv in the shop, they are doing a XX point inspection so if something goes wrong later I can say "Look, it was fine back then" but not sure if that really cuts it.


Gizmo100

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2018, 09:26:38 PM »
Our TT came with a "Lifetime warranty" However in order to keep the warranty active I'm required to get an yearly 24 point inspection. for $295.00. I must also agree to any repairs that they stipulate after the inspection. These repairs may or may not be covered under the warranty....Then the contract starts to get even more vague about what it may covered.

Excluded from the warranty are any items in TT that carry their own warranty. IE appliances TV Heater Water heater...ect.

I think you get the idea....I told the wife that we will not be letting them inspect the TT.

Not to mention I was a little less than impressed with the way they "repaired" the items we found during the walk though.
2017 Heartland Trail runner 24 SLE
2017 Ford F150 3.5 Eco boost

Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2018, 09:44:46 PM »
Quote
Going barely 60mph was slightly scary.
Too much pressure in the front tires can cause that. You need to get the coach weighed, at least each axle, but all four corners would be better. Then you need to go to the tire manufacturer's web site and find the tire inflation tables, and adjust your pressure accordingly.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Isaac-1

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2018, 10:17:55 PM »
I think you need to start with the simple stuff, get 4 corner weights, see if you need to add some ballast (cargo) to get the corner weights equalized, empty coaches are not always that well balanced from the factory.  It is better to do this before you load all your gear onboard, so you can know where you may need to stow heavy stuff and where to put light stuff.  Once you have it loaded correctly, get it weighed again and make sure you have the right amount of air in the tires based on the tire makers load inflation tables, like this one www.michelinrvtires.com/reference-materials/load-and-inflation-tables/#/ 

Getting the steering box checked for play and adjusted if needed is probably another good idea, assuming the F53 has an adjustable steering box.  This was the number one thing that improved my issue with passing trucks on my Workhorse P32 chassis coach, one small turn of an adjustment screw made a night and day difference in driving.

The other thing you need to do is practice driving the coach, I have been where you are, I bought my current coach (my first class A) 1,100 miles from home, that first 50 miles on day one was the worst with the white knuckle driving on an interstate, in a continuous construction zone, to make it worse I had been up since 2 am and flown from Louisiana to Florida that day.  Day 2 I drove 150 miles (had to stop and buy provisions, etc. during the day), it was better, but still very stressful, Day 3 was 290 miles, a really long day, still stressful, but at least blood was flowing to my fingers.  Day 4 was another long day, too long, but I had a free place to stay at the end of the day, 420 miles, somewhere mid day on day 4 I started to have moments of comfort driving the coach, though still stressful.  Finally on day 5, with the easy final 150 mile leg, I started to get comfortable with driving the coach, it was only after this point that I could truly begin to consider what suspension upgrades it needed, ... 
2002 Safari Trek 2830

ArmorWrapGuy

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2018, 11:48:47 PM »
ok I'll get tires checked and front weighed. There's a scale not far from me actually.

Regardless, I'm getting the sumosprings and steering stabilizer done. If anything, the stabilizer keeps the coach on the road in case of a flat tire so the safety alone is worth the $400. The sumosprings is a bit of a gamble combined with a hunch. The idea behind them makes a lot of sense to me and I'm sure it will help with body roll and make the bumps in the road less jarring. So the expense of these 2 items I'm ok with, even if they don't fix the main issue.

Sway bar expense adds up so I won't be doing that but the simple DIY sway bar mod I will be doing if needed.

I had an old 68 camaro with a lot of play in the wheel and I switched out the steering box to a new one with tighter ratio and it made the car feel totally different. So I know about the adjustments and slight turn of the screw to make it tighter. I don't think that is it though. The issue is only at higher speeds and I can feel the coach respond when I slightly turn the wheel. To me it seems obvious it's more a chassis/suspension issue. The axles and chassis doesn't seem tied together quite good enough causing this roll and wander which i think is common on the F53.

I'll post back in a few days with the result of the install. If the issue remains I will start working down the list of things you guys all suggested.

Weight, tire pressure, cheap handling fix, steering box adjustment

(I'll most likely do all of the above anyway but if the issue seems resolved then I won't feel as anxious to get it done)

I do know it is a big heavy class A and I don't expect it to drive like a car or a diesel pusher so I don't have these unreal expectations. But I do have some expectations on how it should feel overall just from being in other RVs and being a "car guy" my whole life. thanks for all of the valuable info so far!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 11:51:37 PM by ArmorWrapGuy »

DearMissMermaid

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    • DearMissMermaid.Com
Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2018, 04:42:13 AM »
On another note...

While I was getting my handling issues sorted out on my Class C, I ended up rerouting my trips to enjoy the scenic highways and byways and avoiding the interstates.

Holy cow!

The rig handled the back roads much better and I wasn't under the gun to keep up with 70mph traffic. I could putter along at 45 and have a blast sight seeing.

Turned out my problem was front end and tires. Once those were fixed, my baby handled flawlessly and the driving fatigue was severely reduced.

However I fell in love with the back roads, so many of my trips I set aside the extra time to enjoy the less traveled routes.  8)
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a 1992 Holiday Rambler Imperial 36' 5th Estate, formerly 8 years 24/7 in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

Laura & Charles

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2018, 06:04:59 AM »
When we first got our Pace, she handled exactly as you describe. The dealer had put 100 lbs in tires all around. Got weighed and reduced front tires to the 90 lbs (tire manufacturer’s chart specification for our weight), and the difference was nigh and day. She handles like a dream, goes where I point her, and passing trucksare a very slight and easily to anticipate nudge. Was pretty amazing how much too much air pressure can screw things up. Best part of that fix:  By far the cheapest I’ve had to make.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 06:07:32 AM by Laura & Charles »
Living and working full-time out of a:
2011 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 38P; W24 chassis; 8.1 Vortec
and dinghy towing a 2014 Honda CR V.

Old_Crow

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2018, 06:36:17 AM »
On another note...

While I was getting my handling issues sorted out on my Class C, I ended up rerouting my trips to enjoy the scenic highways and byways and avoiding the interstates.

Holy cow!

The rig handled the back roads much better and I wasn't under the gun to keep up with 70mph traffic. I could putter along at 45 and have a blast sight seeing.

Turned out my problem was front end and tires. Once those were fixed, my baby handled flawlessly and the driving fatigue was severely reduced.

However I fell in love with the back roads, so many of my trips I set aside the extra time to enjoy the less traveled routes.  8)


I'm with you here.  I don't go out of my way to avoid freeways, but if I've got a choice I'll take the secondary roads almost every time.

To the OP: glad to see you're moving the CHF up the list.  Took me less than an hour on the rear of my coach, costs exactly nothing, and that, combined with proper air pressure cured 95% of my problems.  I feel like doing the CHF to the front might take care of the other 5%.  I'll let you know at the end of the winter, I plan on doing the front while we're here at Quartzsite.
Wally Crow
Retired 30 year ASE Master Auto Tech
Y2K Bounder 36S F53
'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

"Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle."

Drifterrider

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 06:52:21 AM »
1.  If you've never driven something the size of a bus, it takes a bit of time to get used to it.  As long as the mechanicals are good, the rest is just experience.
2.  Once you get used to the handling characteristics, you will be able to parallel park it.  Really.
3.  A bus is much taller than a car (so more lean in a corner).  Drive slower through corners; and you will get used to it.

garyb1st

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2018, 10:26:59 AM »
ArmorWrapGuy, bushings are the only thing I forgot about.  On my old, 1999 F53 motorhome, they were almost gone.  Replaced with polyester and that made a night and day difference.  If yours are original and rubber, they could be a factor.  Easy fix and the cost is not too bad.  About $50.00 for the bushings on eBay and labor. 

Our 1999 was our first motorhome and the ride home was terrifying.  It was 32 feet long, 15 years old and had 71,000 miles when we bought it and I had buyers remorse almost immediately.   But after a few fixes and learning how to drive it, we enjoyed it for another 30,000 miles.  If you haven't driven a large vehicle before, make sure you,re looking far enough down the road.  If you are trying to keep it between the lines and your only looking out maybe 20 or 30 feet, you'll be all over the place.  Keep your focus out far enough and you won't have a lot of trouble keeping it in the track.  But it's a large sided vehicle and winds and passing trucks will push it a bit.  Not much that can be done about that as far as I know. 

Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

beaverfever

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2018, 06:44:17 PM »
start digging a deep hole as your rv is an endless money pit but they sure are fun.                                                                                                                       when driving the beast try to look farther down the rode and try to relax the arms. it is very easy when you first start sitting up high to look down at the road , that will cause a lot of what you are describing.
good luck and enjoy

catblaster

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2018, 07:18:18 PM »
   Sounds familiar, I went the route with the steering stabilizer, tire pressures, adjust air bags for ride height, adjusting free play in steering box, checking trac bar bushings and sway bar links, keeping tanks filled, keeping tanks empty...on and on. Everything helped a little bit but the final fix was a few more degrees castor in the front end alignment. It checked out to spec but when I asked about the possibility the techs at Josam told me it was a common fix and they do it regularly. 
   Now the old girl goes down the road in her own lane with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a coffee cup....couldn't do any of that before.. Lots of luck with your fixes, you are about to become an expert.
Will and Jane
95 Winnebago Luxor

ArmorWrapGuy

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Re: Just got RV and dropping cash....
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2018, 04:00:02 PM »
   Sounds familiar, I went the route with the steering stabilizer, tire pressures, adjust air bags for ride height, adjusting free play in steering box, checking trac bar bushings and sway bar links, keeping tanks filled, keeping tanks empty...on and on. Everything helped a little bit but the final fix was a few more degrees castor in the front end alignment. It checked out to spec but when I asked about the possibility the techs at Josam told me it was a common fix and they do it regularly. 
   Now the old girl goes down the road in her own lane with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a coffee cup....couldn't do any of that before.. Lots of luck with your fixes, you are about to become an expert.


Interesting! I have a mental list of things to do until I'm satisfied or until I throw in the towel and just live with what I have. I'm adding this alignment trick to the list. I'm completely ok with the money I spent so far on the stabilizer and sumo springs because I know it adds a safety aspect at minimum.

I pick it up Monday and I'm excited to drive it. They did some other work also but just some basic stuff.

So here's a video I watched the day I bought my sumosprings. I've already decided on them but this reassured me.
https://youtu.be/WbdKJZCGAuw

To my advantage, I've worked on cars all my life as a hobby. I've rebuilt the entire front end on a 1968 camaro last year and learned a lot of suspension and steering. With this RV, since its new to me, I didn't have the time to get used to the way it drives. If I waited to do any of this for a year or so then I may just get used to it and say "that's the way this coach drives". But since I do have some experience mechanically I could tell right away that this can be improved....how, not sure. I'm hoping with what I did. The cheap handling fix will help for sure but after these sumosprings installed it may just be redundant. I don't think the coach will sway near as much so the CHF may be something I skip.

Anyway, I'll post back next week and let everyone know the results. Big waste of money or wow, what a difference...or somewhere in between.