Tailpipe too low to clear

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50kw

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Hi to all,

I am new to owning a class A RV. I have had it about a month. I never thought to look at the clearance between the tailpipe and the roadway.

Yesterday I lost the last 3 feet of the tailpipe when the rear wheel dropped 3" off the side of  a driveway. The pipe dug into the pavement and the rear wheels ran over it before I could stop. The pipe only was clearing the pavement just over 2" when new.

I could just have it repaired but it is going happen again. I think it is mounted much too low. It could not be raised in its current (before removal) position as it was less than an inch below the bottom of the RV bin door.

I would like to have the pipe moved to the rear or rear-side exit where there is additional road clearance.

I need some advice. Is it safe to do this as long as pipe size & clearance/heat shields are maintained?
Any other advice welcome.

Thanks in advance,

Duncan
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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It could not be raised in its current (before removal) position as it was less than an inch below the bottom of the RV bin door.

Are you saying the pipe is only 2 inches off the ground and 1 inch below the bottom edge of the rig?  Assuming a 4 inch pipe, that's only 7 inches total ground clerance, which seems awfully low.  What make and model motorhome is this? 

But I see no reason for concern about moving it, a slong as clearances are maintained.
 

Karl

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Duncan,

Can you take some photos so we can see where it used to be? Do one close up, and another maybe with you standing next to it and pointing to the spot where it came out. As Gary said, that seems awfully low for any RV. Click on the "Additional Options" on the bottom of the screen to attach them to your reply.
 

John From Detroit

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You know... I'm wondering if you need some additional ground clearance

http://www.truckspring.com/

(Which I just looked up for another reason) can help you there... Air-Lift spring kits are sold by several retailers
 

50kw

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North Georgia
Thanks for your interest. I will get back with pictures soon. It is raining here today so I will have to wait until the rain passes.

rvroamer, I have a 2006 Gulf stream sun voyager model 8351.

So far, I like the RV. It is well equipped and the size my spouse and wanted. There some just items that I am having to deal with like front end alignment & tail pipe issue.

Duncan
 

50kw

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North Georgia
I now have pictures. I am going to try to post three pictures. I am sorry the quality is not better.

The first is the factory installed location. The yard stick is in the position where the tail pipe was located.

The second is it is located now. Note there is a heat shield (white) that was mounted between the body and the tail pipe. The total height is close to 4.5 inches.

The third is a picture of the body from the pavement just behind the front wheel. It is about 7.5 inches.

As I see it I have a ground clearance of 8.5" (body to pavement) - 4.5" (for pipe and heat shield) - 1" for the spacing between the top of the heat shield and the body = gives me 3" ground clearance between the bottom of the pipe and the pavement with the pipe installed in the correct position. I think I said 2" in my first post. That was an eyeball measurement. I stand corrected. I did measure the drop off tonight and is was about 4.5" with the grass pressed down it would be more I am sure with more weight on it.

I also dumped about 50 Gals. of water last night. So Maybe riding a little higher tonight.

Any input will be welcomed.

Thanks,

Duncan
 

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John From Detroit

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How big are those tires?  As I said, if you feel the ground clearance is too low use air-lift kits to bring your rig up a couple of inches... Air-Lift (An actual company located in Lansing, MI) makes decent ones at decent prices.  Most manafacturers offer more expensive ones. I'm not sure they are better.  I have stories if you wish (Other parts) which suggest mark ups at manafacturer stores
 

50kw

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John In Detroit said:
How big are those tires? As I said, if you feel the ground clearance is too low use air-lift kits to bring your rig up a couple of inches... Air-Lift (An actual company located in Lansing, MI) makes decent ones at decent prices. Most manufacturers offer more expensive ones. I'm not sure they are better. I have stories if you wish (Other parts) which suggest mark ups at manufacturer stores


John in Detroit, the tires are 22". I will look into the Air-Lift.

Thanks,

Duncan
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Interesting photos.  I'm amazed that the pipe got run over somehow, but seeing is believing!

I have a 35 foot Dolphin LX on a Workhorse W22 chassis with 22" tires - probably very similar to your Gulfstream. I have about 9" under the side walls and a 3" exhaust piupe just in front of the rear wheels.  Haven't had the pipe hit anything yet and I've been in some pretty rough  places, boondocking along Alaskan rivers or in isolated Forest Service campgrounds. Maybe I've been lucky!  My generator exhaust pipe, a short way behind the rear wheels has hit 3-4 times, though.

Have you brought this problem to Gulfstream's attention?  I wonder what their opinion is?

As I said previously, I see no reason you cannot re-route the exhaust if yo so chose.
 

Karl

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Judging from the second picture, it looks like this may not be a factory installation. Can you see any aftermarket parts like headers or mufflers installed? The outlet is awfully close to the tire and even with the heatshield, that can't be good.  Re-routing it might be a good idea.
 

John From Detroit

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The reason I ask about tire size is this... My Intruder is also built on a Workhorse chassis, and has 22.5" tires

I can crawl under the exhaust pipes with no problem

I'm 6'3" by 324 lbs.. 50 inch wasit and I can crawl under those pipes w/o problem

I forgot to ask how old your rig is.

For many years I have driven older cars and vans. My current car is a teenager in fact (just turned 13 this year, it's a 1992) and springs, are not unlike people.. As they get older they sometimes get a bit tired.

Now on my teenager of a mini-van, I have AIR-LIFT brand air bags (springs) which assist the tired old spring steel and work rather well...  You rig may be way too low....

There is an easy way to test.  Park straddeling a ditch so you can crawl under it easily and inspect the clearance between the frame and axel, you should see some rubber like bumpers which prevent the frame and axel ever making actuall contact (Snubbing blocks the are called) what is the clearance there,  I have quite a bit.  I'm guessing you don't have any
 

50kw

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John In Detroit said:
The reason I ask about tire size is this... My Intruder is also built on a Workhorse chassis, and has 22.5" tires

I can crawl under the exhaust pipes with no problem

I'm 6'3" by 324 lbs.. 50 inch waist and I can crawl under those pipes w/o problem

I forgot to ask how old your rig is.

<snip>


There is an easy way to test. Park straddling a ditch so you can crawl under it easily and inspect the clearance between the frame and axle, you should see some rubber like bumpers which prevent the frame and axle ever making actual contact (Snubbing blocks the are called) what is the clearance there, I have quite a bit. I'm guessing you don't have any


Mine is build on a 2006 Ford F-550 chassis. I am about your size just a little shorter. I cannot get my head or shoulder under the tail pipe or the body for that matter. My Gulfstream is one month old. I have good clearance between the frame and axle. About what I would expect. Late this evening I was able to fish a wire around the pipe and up around a support member to pull the heat shield off the inside tire. Then I was able to move the RV to an area so tomorrow evening I will be able to get a better look under there to see what is going on. I like the idea about parking over a ditch.

Karl said:
Judging from the second picture, it looks like this may not be a factory installation. Can you see any aftermarket parts like headers or mufflers installed? <snip>

KARL,  this evening I was able  to see that the last section of the pipe appears to have been added at a later date. It has a newer look than the rest of the pipe going toward the engine. The heat shield that is attached to it has some of the undercoat and white body paint on it. I think it was added by Gulfstream.

RV Roamer said:
Interesting photos. I'm amazed that the pipe got run over somehow, but seeing is believing!

I have a 35 foot Dolphin LX on a Workhorse W22 chassis with 22" tires - probably very similar to your Gulfstream. I have about 9" under the side walls and a 3" exhaust pipe just in front of the rear wheels. Haven't had the pipe hit anything yet and I've been in some pretty rough places, boondocking along Alaskan rivers or in isolated Forest Service campgrounds. Maybe I've been lucky!
<snip>

Have you brought this problem to Gulfstream's attention? I wonder what their opinion is?

As I said previously, I see no reason you cannot re-route the exhaust if yo so chose.

RV ROAMER, I ran over it when I allowed the rear wheel to drop off the pavement in my driveway. It was about a 4.5" drop off. The bolt on the pipe clamp dug into the pavement and pulled the pipe under the wheel before I could react. I have not spoken to the dealer or Gulfstream because I should have stayed on the driveway.  I am still very new at this. I have owned this, my first RV, for a month and it has not been out of the driveway since I drove it in from the dealers.

I have had a number of minor issues that I have taken care of one at a time. I still have to get the steering wheel lined up. Currently when the steering wheel is pointing to ten o'clock the tires are straight. I am not sure about the alignment so I am going to have that checked. Gulfstream is NOT responsible for wheel alignment & the dealer sells new RVs AS IS. This is something I did not know until I read packet of information that was delivered to me at the end of PDI. I had ask about the warranty during the RV show and was quoted the Gulf Stream & Ford warranty. Of course my current problem is not a warranty issue.  I got a good deal and my wife and I like it a lot. So I can put up with some problems. I would like to get on the road soon however.

Thanks for your interest,

Duncan
 

Karl

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Duncan,

Centering the steering wheel is a relatively simple process, but it may indicate some damage to the tie rods. Was it like that when you got it? I can't imagine a NEW coach would come AS IS. That's simply not heard of. At least the Ford chassis should have a manufacturers warranty for years and mileage, and those 'little things' should be taken care of by the dealer or GulfStream. Who is the dealer you bought it from? 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Duncan,
A new coach will have a manufacturer's warranty.  The dealer - if it is a franchised dealer - is obligated to perform warranty work but they bill the price of the repairs to the factory under the manufacturer's warranty.  Tires, engine, transmission, and all major appliances have separate warranties from their respective manufacturer.  About the only thing the dealer provides out of his own pocket is the PDI itself.  Many will do more than that in the interests of customer satisfaction, though.

If the steering was not centered upon delivery, that is a warranty repairable item. If it became off-center afterwards, it is not.

I asked about Gulfstream becasue the coach should not ride so low that the pipe can be damaged under typical operating conditions.  I'm not sure that a 4 1/2 inch drop would be considered normal, but 2-3 inches certainly would be a common occurrence.
 

50kw

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RV Roamer said:
Duncan,
A new coach will have a manufacturer's warranty. The dealer - if it is a franchised dealer - is obligated to perform warranty work but they bill the price of the repairs to the factory under the manufacturer's warranty. Tires, engine, transmission, and all major appliances have separate warranties from their respective manufacturer. About the only thing the dealer provides out of his own pocket is the PDI itself. Many will do more than that in the interests of customer satisfaction, though.

If the steering was not centered upon delivery, that is a warranty repairable item. If it became off-center afterwards, it is not.

I asked about Gulfstream because the coach should not ride so low that the pipe can be damaged under typical operating conditions. I'm not sure that a 4 1/2 inch drop would be considered normal, but 2-3 inches certainly would be a common occurrence.


RV ROAMER,

True about the warranty. I think I was surprised by the AS IS statement and the GS letter (see below). Here in Georgia cars and light trucks have to have a sign in the window about warranty-AS IS or not. Must not apply to RVs or maybe larger trucks. I don't know.

The steering was not centered when delivered. It is not a warranty item on a Gulf Stream RV. I have a letter from GS stating that it is the responsiblety of the owner to have steering and alignment done. The reason given was there is no load (dry) on the chassis when it leaves Gulfstream. The alignment will change when loaded. I called the service department of a Ford Truck dealer to ask about that. He told me it would be best to have some load but does not to be full load. I feel sure a 4.5" drop would not be common (hopefully) but the bottom of the pipe does not leave much clearance. I think if the U-clamp had been installed with the nuts up and not down it may not hung on the pavement and caused the damage.


Karl said:
Duncan,

Centering the steering wheel is a relatively simple process, but it may indicate some damage to the tie rods. Was it like that when you got it? I can't imagine a NEW coach would come AS IS. That's simply not heard of. At least the Ford chassis should have a manufacturers warranty for years and mileage, and those 'little things' should be taken care of by the dealer or GulfStream. Who is the dealer you bought it from?

The Ford Truck dealer said it is not a Ford warranty item. Gulfstream says its not their problem. The RV dealer sold it AS IS. Looks like it is my cost on a RV that I have only driven home from the dealer.

Dealer name later.

Thanks guys,

Duncan
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Loading won't change the centering of the steering wheel, but it may change other aspects of alignment.  It's pretty common for the manufacturer to disavow any responsiblility for follow-up alignment because once it leaves the factory , too many things can happen.  I suspect you got a form letter concerning alignment and possiblya thoughtful conversation explaining the delivery flaw might get you an exception to policy. However, it may be more bother than its worth, since an alignment isn't terribly expensive (assumng nothing is bent and it merely needs adjustment).  You should not have accepted delivery with the steering wheel off-center, though.  That's an obvious alignment problem that should have been corrected on the spot.

I really don't know what it means when your dealer says the rig is new but he is selling it "As Is". Something is fishy there. Do you have a manufacturer's warranty or not? I wonder if he is a franchised dealer for the brand - I am suspecting he may not be and therefore is not authorized to perform warranty work on it.  Will GS confirm that you have a manufacturer's warranty?


 

John From Detroit

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Small comment about alingment.

Perfect alingment can, usually, be obtained using modern laser guided alingment jigs.

However it can be maintained only while the vehicle is PARKED ON THE ALINGMENT RACK.

The simple act of backing it off the rack will often make a very minute, unnoticable, change in the alingment

Hitting a bump in the road (Such as you often find at the end of the ship driverway) will cause a somewhat larger (But very likely still unnoticable) change.

this is why alingment can not be guarenteed.... It's subject to change every time you stand on the brakes, hit a pott hole, enter or exit a driveway or cross a rail road track
 

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