Class A Diesel Pusher Clearance & Access

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PeterH

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Joined
Jan 17, 2016
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32
Location
Sandpoint, Idaho
Hi there,

Can anyone tell me what is considered the normal road clearance of a Class A diesel pusher?

Access to my property, where I'd park such a rig is roughly 4 feet lower than the street and I an concerned about the slope of my driveway entrance. I've actually drug through the stones, one of the stabilizers on my camper due to the slope which makes me wonder if I'd have a problem with a larger rig.

Last year I added a second entrance to my property with the intent of making access for my camper and eventually a larger Class A rig practical. So if I need to, I can fairly easily decrease the slope of that second entrance if needed. Obviously, I'd prefer to do that BEFORE I cause any damage to a rig testing my entrance. :)

Thanks,
Pete
 

Back2PA

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Jul 26, 2015
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5,766
I would suggest going to a few dealers and taking measurements - height of the rear skirt or possibly tailpipe (whichever is lower) and distance from rear wheels, and then calculate the most abrupt angle you can manage. Bottom line, it won't be much. Pushers are surprisingly low, and on numerous occasions with my previous rig (a pusher) I had to slowly cross concrete driveway entrances at a diagonal to avoid dragging, when most any other vehicle would have no trouble.
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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9,137
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Westminster, Colorado
When I bought my Beaver, I wasn't sure that a 45 foot rig could turn sharply enough to get into and out of my driveway, not worried about steep, just about enough room. I mentioned that to the salesman and he said, "Let's go try." That was a 30 mile trip one way. I was able to get it in, though not much room to spare, so I had a Beaver for 4 years. The Ventana is a few feet shorter, so less problem.

So if you find something you would otherwise buy you might be able to test it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
A DP will generally have better attack & departure angles than a front engine coach, simply because both the front and rear overhangs are shorter. Whether than is enough for your lot is anybody's guess. However, any quick rise or descent is likley to drag something - I've seen coaches stranded "high center" when descending  a sharp decline, e.g. crossing a RR track embanlment.

For normal operation, my DP (a 2004 American Tradition) had a couple inches more road clearance than its gas-chassis predecessors. I chalk that up mostly to being a more robust chassis rather than any inherent difference.
 

Kevin Means

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Lakeside, California
I don't know what model of Class A you might be considering, but if its got a tag axle, you do have to pay attention to conditions that might cause the drive wheels to become high-centered. A few days ago, we had to climb/cross a raised dirt berm to get into a boondocking site. As I was doing so, the tag wheels caused the drive wheels to lose contact with the ground, and stop we did. We all laughed about it later, because it was the first time we'd ever seen a 43 foot RV do a burnout.  :D

Kev
 

WILDEBILL308

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May 6, 2012
Posts
3,126
Location
FORT WORTH TEXAS
PeterH said:
Hi there,

Can anyone tell me what is considered the normal road clearance of a Class A diesel pusher?

Access to my property, where I'd park such a rig is roughly 4 feet lower than the street and I an concerned about the slope of my driveway entrance. I've actually drug through the stones, one of the stabilizers on my camper due to the slope which makes me wonder if I'd have a problem with a larger rig.

Last year I added a second entrance to my property with the intent of making access for my camper and eventually a larger Class A rig practical. So if I need to, I can fairly easily decrease the slope of that second entrance if needed. Obviously, I'd prefer to do that BEFORE I cause any damage to a rig testing my entrance. :)

Thanks,
Pete
It realey doesn't matter what rig you are talking about. The less the angle and the more gradual the transition the better.
Bill
 

SargeW

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Dec 12, 2008
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Where ever we park it!
There really isn't a "normal" as it really depends on the length of the coach in back of the rear wheels. The longer the over hang, the greater the chance of dragging the rear when descending the grade. 

I have an advantage with my rig as it has an air bag system (Valid) that allows me to raise or lower the air bags 4-5" while moving at a speed less than 5 mph.  I have used it to crest a steep driveway with a peak at the top that would have normally high sided the coach.  There are options out there.
 

ArdraF

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Feb 12, 2006
Posts
10,693
It's the little things that can "get" you.  It you have air leveling, that's a distinctly favorable item because you can raise the entire coach when having a doubtful approach to a slope.  We have what is called a "rolled" driveway with a low gutter before the upward slope.  We always raise the coach so the tow bar attached at the rear of the motorhome won't dig into the street asphalt.  But that led to another unforeseen problem.

For some reason there is a fuel filter positioned in a low enough place that the tip can break off if it's hit going over a dip.  Let me tell you, there's nothing that can get the adrenaline flowing faster than having diesel flowing onto the garage floor and down the driveway into the street!  As I was pulling into the driveway I mistakenly lowered the coach - instead of raising it as intended - and ended up breaking off the diesel fuel filter.  What a mad scramble!  Jerry called our lube place for help.  It was a Friday afternoon about 4:30 and he offered a $100 tip to anyone who would come out and get us out of the predicament.  Our guy arrived within a 1/2 inch of our big fuel catching tub overflowing.  He "vacuumed" it all into his truck reservoir and installed a new filter.  The cleanup was messy and time-consuming; Jerry threw out the clothes he was wearing that were covered with diesel fuel.  We later laughed and said that had we been in a campground they probably would have had a hazmat team do the clean up.

After that little disaster Jerry started looking around for a shorter filter and finally found one that would fit.  It was installed last week and we hope that problem is solved permanently, but that's what I mean when I say it's the little things that can get you.  It's a good idea to know where the lowest (and highest) points are on your RV, regardless of the type of RV!

ArdraF
 

PeterH

Active member
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Posts
32
Location
Sandpoint, Idaho
Thank you everyone for your help with this question. There is a lot of information here!

1. I need to look for a rig with adjustable air ride so I can increase my clearance briefly.
2. I need another couple of truck loads of stone to decrease the slope of that new entrance to my pasture where I'd park the rig.
3. I really need to know what is hanging low under the rig just in case I run into a road clearance situation.
4. I should figure out how to calculate the max slope a rig can handle based on the distance between the axles and the ends... need to dig out that old high school geometry book!

Thanks,
Peter
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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West Palm Beach, FL
1. I need to look for a rig with adjustable air ride so I can increase my clearance briefly.
Few have that capability. They can lower (adjust down) but rarely can they be raised. Besides, moving the body up/down on the chassis doesn't effect the things most likely to drag, e.g. axles & suspension parts. It does alter the attack & departure angles, though.
 

WILDEBILL308

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May 6, 2012
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Location
FORT WORTH TEXAS
Like Gary said I wouldn't waste my time making that a criteria. You will learn what transitions are doable and be able to avoid places that will give you problems.
Bill
 

House Husband

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Jan 26, 2019
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325
Location
K.C.MO.
Most DPs have between 12' & 13' of rear over hang, due to the engine and transmission being behind the rear drive axle and at least 1' of drive shaft. Gas rigs rarely have over 13' of rear over hang. The over hang on gas rigs looks more excessive do to being shorter coaches.
 

WILDEBILL308

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May 6, 2012
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Location
FORT WORTH TEXAS
"Gas rigs rarely have over 13' of rear over hang. The over hang on gas rigs looks more excessive do to being shorter coaches."

That is an amazing statement. Did you know that all current production gas coaches outher than "B" type are mostly based on Ford cutaway chassis. ALL of these have a fixed wheel base. The F350 has a max of 158" and the 450 is 176". The way they fit under a class C or A is pretty much the same. The only way you can make a 36' or 40' body fit is to weld onto the frame and make it longer. This increases the tail overhang.
Diesel pushers can have a much longer wheelbase because they don't have that long driveshaft. I am more concerned with hi centering in the middle when going over RR tracks and stuff like that. 
Bill
 
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