Learning to Drive

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,051
Location
SW Louisiana
Kirk, I am not talking about attention level while driving, but instead the need to be taking corrective actions, and awareness to details. As to the coach, yes I have done 4 wheel weights, balanced the loads, have correct air pressure, Koni FSD shocks, Safe-T Plus, new sway bar bushings, in cab control rear air bags, ...
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
979
Location
Full-time , Escapee
Kirk, I am not talking about attention level while driving, but instead the need to be taking corrective actions, and awareness to details
Say anything that you wish but most people become quite comfortable driving with a little practice if they have average driving abilities and a properly loaded and maintained motorhome. I have no experience driving a Trek, but I do know a member of this forum staff who has been happy with his.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,628
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I don't think Isaac's experience is all that unusual for an older gas-chassis coach, but it is very likely unnecessary. With the proper vehicle set-up and a few driver technique improvements the driving should be much less stressful. Not car-like, but more comfortable. The constant correction he cites is very likely driver instigated, watching the near road and mirrors so closely that the natural parallax vision cannot function to keep the vehicle aimed straight down the road. That leads to constant [over] correction.

I hope Isaac doesn't take this as a slight on his skills - it's certainly not intended that way. This is a very common situation when transitioning to a large vehicle from a car or even a pickup truck. It's merely requires an adjustment in technique.
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
11,167
The issue is the Trek's wheelbase to length ratio, compounded by it's weight distribution. I purchased the same model Trek last year, a few years older than Issac's (1997).

If you look at his profile picture you'll see the Trek has a short wheelbase and a longish rear overhang. JD Gallant and his RV Consumer Group pointed out the handling issues this can cause more than 30 years ago.

Compounding the problem, the short Trek is tail-heavy. You can manage the weights so nothing is overloaded but you can't eliminate the leverage caused by having so much weight at the rear end.

Most long rear overhang motorhomes have a king or queen bed and not much else behind the rear axle. To make room for the drop-down bed, the Trek has most of it's kitchen, the bathroom and a lot of heavy solid wood cabinets and their contents behind the axle. Plus it has the grey and black holding tanks and 90 gallons of fresh water storage in the rear overhang. There's not much to counterbalance this ahead of the axle because there's a lot of open space to accommodate the drop down bed.

I had a 35 ft. 1995 Damon Intruder motorhome on the Ford F53 gas chassis with a 63% wheelbase to length ratio - lots of distance between the axles and relatively little rear overhang. It's kitchen, bathroom and holding tanks were forward of the axle with just a queen bed behind it. The 95 gallon fresh water tank was immediately behind the axle and L-shaped so you could travel with up to 30 gallons of water in the saddlebag part without having it slosh back and forth. It went down the road with little or no steering corrections needed including when hit by crosswinds and when trucks passed at speed. Even with 16" tires it almost felt like it was running on rails.

After the Damon I had a 24 ft. 1993 Hall Chaparral Class A on a Chevy chassis, also with a short rear overhang. It handled much like the Intruder and in some ways it felt like I was driving a sports car. I sold it because I'm 6 ft. tall and the bed and bath were about an inch too small for me in every direction.

I was aware of the wheelbase vs. length issue when I bought the Trek last year but decided to get it anyway.

It's handling is different than the long wheelbase, well balanced motorhomes I had and it does require more attention going down the road. Not enough to be dangerous but I do get more fatigued driving the Trek than I did driving the other motorhomes.
 

Larry N.

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Posts
8,193
Location
Westminster, Colorado
Thanks for the explanation, Lou -- tail heavy can, indeed, cause a reduction in stability and nicely clarifies what Isaac is encountering vs. what many of us have come to expect from a gas class A.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,051
Location
SW Louisiana
Lou thanks for that comment, as I said above after 25,000+ miles in the Trek (279 of them today), it is not white knuckle driving, but it does require a lot of micro adjustments on the steering wheel to keep it in its place going down the road. Today that road was mostly I-10 in west Texas with an 80 mph speed limit, though I never saw speeds over 75, and most of the time I was cruising at 67-69. We are now settled in, hopefully for a few days in the Texas hill country, at a fairly nice, but cheap RV park on the Llano river.

Overall though I feel the short wheel base and rear weight balance issues are worth it for getting nearly 7 feet of real kitchen counter top space (not counting stove top, and sink) and a bathroom where I can't touch opposing walls with my arms outstretched approximately 6x6 ft.
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
979
Location
Full-time , Escapee
as I said above after 25,000+ miles in the Trek (279 of them today), it is not white knuckle driving, but it does require a lot of micro adjustments on the steering wheel to keep it in its place going down the road.
My point isn't that you are wrong but that the implication that all class A rigs are that way. As I mentioned before, they used to be much more problematic and we can thank most the RV Consumer Group and Recreation Vehicle Safety Education Foundation(RFSEF). Those two organizations have done more to improve the safety and handling of RVs that all other organizations combined. Back in the 80's and before, RV manufacturers didn't disclose design weights and there were no highway safety laws that applied to RV. (most still do not) People learning about weight limits, carrying capacities, GVWR and GCWR along with the wheelbase ratio have forced builders to improve.
 

Isaac-1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Posts
5,051
Location
SW Louisiana
Kirk, I agree we have kind of got off track here, and I am not sure exactly how we got here, looking back it seems I made a comment about finding driving my coach far more fatiguing than driving a modern car, and it sort of snow balled
 

Kirk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
Posts
979
Location
Full-time , Escapee
it sort of snow balled
Reminds me of a campfire conversation.
images
 
Top Bottom