Wheelbase length ratio of gas vs diesel motorhomes.

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garyb1st

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I've turned my attention to gassers once more and have a few questions. 

Does the length to wheelbase ratio rule of thumb for diesels also apply to gassers?  A few I've researched have ratios over 55%. 
Is any advantage of a higher ratio offset by the rear overhang? 
Also, are manufacturers using shorter chassis on their new models?  This question applies to gassers and diesels. 
My primary concern is drivability. 
 

SeilerBird

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My last RV was a gasser that was a short wheelbase at around 50%. My current gasser is a long wheelbased one around 65%. There is a huge difference in drivablilty. The with the short one I would scrape the back end going in and out of driveways. The short one was a more susceptible to wind on freeways and passing semi trucks. Both would cause the RV to move around a lot more than the long one. The short one had a tighter turning ratio. Overall I prefer the long wheelbase.
 

ArdraF

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You will be much happier with a longer wheelbase.  They handle much better and provide a nicer drive.

ArdraF
 

garyb1st

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ArdraF said:
You will be much happier with a longer wheelbase.  They handle much better and provide a nicer drive.

ArdraF

True, but a longer wheelbase generally means a longer coach.  If I could get comfortable with the idea of a 40 foot coach, I think we'd have one by now.  But the prospect of maneuvering a long coach in and around the streets of L.A., gives me chills.  As it is, we plan our departures and return trips when traffic is minimal. 
 

gwcowgill

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Gary,  You will really appreciate the ride and handleing of a longer wheelbase. I drive a 36' coach with a toad and have no problems maneuvering in somke of the cities in WV where the streets were built for horse drawn buggies. In traffic take your time and move at your pace, nothing says you have to keep up with the idiots. We time our departure from where we live so that the rush hour traffic is over. There is no difference in a 36' vs 40' coach when driving straight ahead, you just have to watch the turns and if you do them like the truckers you will have no problem.

Find the coach you feel suits you best. :)
 

Jim Godward

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garyb1st said:
True, but a longer wheelbase generally means a longer coach.  If I could get comfortable with the idea of a 40 foot coach, I think we'd have one by now.  But the prospect of maneuvering a long coach in and around the streets of L.A., gives me chills.  As it is, we plan our departures and return trips when traffic is minimal.

We have a 38' Dutch Star on a Freightliner chassis and have had no problems in LA or Orange Co.  We have been on side streets in Sierra Madre and a few other hillside towns - interesting and we did scout ahead in the car.  We have been in Trabuco canyon in OC and again the road was not the problembut the overhanging tree branches.  FWIW, the 38" MH turns inside of our previous Ford chassis 34' MH and it will just about turn inside my son's Ford F250.

The big MHs are suprisingly agile and I think would suprise you if you actually try one out.  Give them a chance.  JMO.
 

SeilerBird

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garyb1st said:
Thanks Tom.  What do you drive and are wheelbase lengths generally longer in those motorhomes?
I drive a 1994 Damon Challenger 32 foot class A. I don't know much about Damons. Once you get used to driving an RV then length really doesn't matter. They are all easy  to drive, even in LA.
 

WILDEBILL308

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garyb1st said:
True, but a longer wheelbase generally means a longer coach.  If I could get comfortable with the idea of a 40 foot coach, I think we'd have one by now.  But the prospect of maneuvering a long coach in and around the streets of L.A., gives me chills.  As it is, we plan our departures and return trips when traffic is minimal.
Once you are setting in the driver?s seat I don?t think you could tell the difference between 35 and 40 feet. What others have posted is correct. All you have to do is take your time and remember you are the big dog LOL. You can find some exhalent tips on driving on you tube. Such as this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGsDl4ougx0
You can search for others.
Bill
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The 50% wheelbase rule of thumb is independent of gas vs diesel or front vs rear engine. However, diesel pushers seldom have a long rear overhang, so ther wheelbase ratio is seldom a concern there.

By the way, that "rule" is a fabrication of the folks at rv.org and not an accepted rule in the industry as a whole. That said, a longer wheelbase in proportion to the length of the RV is a Good Thing, so the higher the percentage, the better.

A long rear overhang can be a problem when making turns because the rear swings out and can strike something unexpectedly. Inexperienced drivers are usually unaware of and too often have accidents because of it.
 

gwcowgill

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WILDEBILL308 said:
Once you are setting in the driver?s seat I don?t think you could tell the difference between 35 and 40 feet. What others have posted is correct. All you have to do is take your time and remember you are the big dog LOL. You can find some exhalent tips on driving on you tube. Such as this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGsDl4ougx0
You can search for others.
Bill
It is interesting that he pulls left to make a right turn. When I took the CDL driving test the examiner was very adamant that that is not the way to do it.
 

Just Lou

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gwcowgill said:
It is interesting that he pulls left to make a right turn. When I took the CDL driving test the examiner was very adamant that that is not the way to do it.

I think that when you are turning right from a four lane road into a two lane road, with a large vehicle like that other motorhome blocking any encroachment into that lane, you don't have much choice.  I am surprised that they used that condition for their demo.
 

ArdraF

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Garyb1st,

I've driven every one of our RVs through L.A., including the current one which you've seen.  I think the two diesel pushers (40' and 34') with the longer wheelbases and less overhang might be easier to drive than the three previous Cs (30', 22', 18') that had shorter wheelbases and longer overhangs.  Those overhangs make the turning radius different so the swingout can sideswipe things.  With the longer ones you have to learn how to move forward of where you're used to turning to make sure you clear at corners.  For example, when I pull into our garage I actually go past the left side of it and then swing hard to the right to line up with the center of the floor.  Most of the time I can get it centered on the first try, but it took a little practice.  With all of them, it's just a matter of retraining yourself.

ArdraF
 

Jim Godward

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gwcowgill said:
It is interesting that he pulls left to make a right turn. When I took the CDL driving test the examiner was very adamant that that is not the way to do it.

When we come home we usually have to make a right turn onto a heavily travelled 2 lane road.  If I keep to the very left of my lane, I can just make the turn although my left front bumper will be on the yellow lane separator and my right rear tires will just miss the big hole left by the trucks where they leave the pavement with their rear wheels.  Not a fun place to turn.  The difference between 38' MH and a truck of with a 53' trailer.
 

WILDEBILL308

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Yes I did think his methods were a little strange but I did say to search for outhers lol. The main thing is to learn your pivot point and how to set up for a turn. Large overhang can cause problems for someone who doesn't know what to do. I heard a  comon insurance claim has to do with problems getting into and out of gas stations.
Bill
 

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