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Old 06-02-2017, 08:39 PM   #1
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Passive Steer Freightliner vs. Spartan

i have just put an order in for a 2018 Dutch Star....a 4326....

my initial thought was to order the Spartan Chassis....for extra carrying capacity....i figured it was the same in other abilities to the Freightliner....

but i have been told that the passive steer tag only cuts 10 degrees with the Spartan Chassis vs. 12 degrees with Freightliner...

in my test drive, i could not find a 43' Spartan Chassis to drive; i drove the Freightliner, and i loved it....i am wondering how much, if any, real world difference there would be between the two....

maneuverability is very important on my list of needs....more important than the few extra pounds of carrying capacity....and as far as the brakes are concerned, i do not worry that the Freightliner chassis will have any stopping issues....so i went with the Freightliner, but......

thoughts / experiences, anyone ? anyone driven both ?

thanks in advance....
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:53 PM   #2
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I'm not convinced it makes much difference. FL says that the comparison is against a competitors chassis with a non lifting tag. I have a lifting tag and find that with the 58° wheel cut and the tag lifted I get into the same spots as my 40' non tag DSDP did. In fact I think the Magna does a better job of it.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:01 PM   #3
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We have almost 4000 miles on our spartan K2, and I love it - quite agile for a large DP. However our choice was really driven by the numerous issues shared by freightliner owners on this forum. Tag axle alignment issues are one of the more recent vexing issues with FL. Also if you look at the posts surrounding the passive steering mechanisms, spartan is substantially a better design IMHO. Also I did a test call to both customer telephone service centers, and there was no contest - spartan all the way. If you look for posts under my name, you'll find additional details on this topic.
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Old 06-03-2017, 04:31 AM   #4
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x2

I'm with Dr Phil....Spartan has fewer chassis problems. We don't have a 43' coach, but when we did our factory pick up I watched a 43' Spartan framed coach do his "turn and reverse maneuver" is almost the same circle as I had done mine in the smaller coach. You could see the tracks in the dirt....
Honestly I think all the chatter about "wheel cut" is just chatter. Go for the higher NCC, more robust frame, and most important better differential ratio....seems like everyone fails to mention that one, but you'll notice it going up mountain passes.

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Old 06-03-2017, 06:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willipaul View Post

but i have been told that the passive steer tag only cuts 10 degrees with the Spartan Chassis vs. 12 degrees with Freightliner...

thoughts / experiences, anyone ? anyone driven both ?

thanks in advance....
The 2 degree is just marketing. It has no impact on turning. It is a passive steer. your turning radius is the function of the front steer.

freightliner has a production problem with mounting their tag axle. they are mounted off center and various alignment issues. they were first discovered by an FCCC engeineer (Eric Panceroff, 4/2015). this document was released by Newmar as PIB. however, freightliner has since removed the document. They are a bit gun shy in advertising their production problem.


I have the complete original document uploaded to IRV2 file uploads (link below), for the benefit of other members. feel free to review and decide for yourself.



I TRUST NO ONE(FCCC) WILL ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THIS DOCUMENT.


http://www.irv2.com/forums/downloads.php?do=file&id=212
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:04 AM   #6
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Well I am still undecided. I see in the 2018 changes to the freightliner chassis, they are moving to a 12k rating on the tag.....

That should bring NCC's into line, at least....

But now I'm a first year test case with that, have the dust kick up issue , and the brake and frame robustness issue still as reasons to move.....
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:59 AM   #7
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Skipping the better disc brakes on the Spartan chassis there are numerous other advantages. The thicker frame and and cross members, knowledgeable factory assistance and support, less issues with chassis problems and 30 plus years of building RV chassis's to mention a few. Newmar and Spartan equals a great RV.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by slsbl77 View Post
...Go for the higher NCC, more robust frame, and most important better differential ratio....seems like everyone fails to mention that one, but you'll notice it going up mountain passes.



Bob


Differential ratio? Didn't know about this. Tell me more.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:33 AM   #9
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Differential Ratio

On the DSDP FCC chassis with tag axel the rear end ratio is 4.63. On the Spartan chassis it is 4.78. Small difference but when headed "up the hill" everything matters. All together these many differences between Freightliner and Spartan made the choice for me.
The most obvious was FCC continuing to manufacture defective product when they knew it was wrong (out of alignment frames). Next was 2 years to fix the flickering dash lights. 2 years......
In my small view of the world I believe if a company thinks it is acceptable to knowingly manufacture defective product the company cannot be depended upon to be truthful in dealing with customers. The phrase "never heard of that before" comes to mind.

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Old 06-04-2017, 09:39 AM   #10
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I suggest you get the spec sheets for both chassis, as designed for the coach you want, from the RV manufacturer. There are other differences. For example, the slightly higher cargo capacity on the Spartan is due, at least in part, to the fact that it is all digital. This eliminates a few miles of wire, thus some weight. Before we ordered our coach I spoke to the head chassis tech at Newmar and he said his preference was the Spartan if for no reason other than trouble shooting was so much easier, given the digital system. Plug in and the chassis will tell you what is wrong, where the fault is, no spending hours testing multiple circuits. A bit more height in the "basement" on the Spartan (1.5"), a tighter steer axle cut (should make up for the so slight difference in the tag axle cut).

You need to compare the RV manufactures spec sheets for the chassis, the chassis manufacturers site will not include limitations built in by the RV manufacturer. For example, the wheel cut on both Freightliner and Spartan are a bit less in application due to body design and wheel/tire choice.

Generally I agree with those that suggest the passive steer tag is more marketing than real world useful. But that said, there was a recent thread on the differences between the Freightliner and Spartan and the Spartan system looked a lot more robust to me. Also, while I'd hope they've been taken care of in production by now, the Freightliner chassis issues have been well documented here.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:46 AM   #11
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When we were looking for our new coach I tried multiple units which came with both FL and Spartan chassis. I did the "donut" test on both types of chassis, checking whether I could actually see the tag steering from the driver's mirror. Yes, I could see it on a FL, it's more subtle on a Spartan ... although it does move.

At the end of the day, the decision about which chassis came down to different criteria. First, the coach we found had a Spartan chassis, but it also seemed to rank better in terms of lineage and durability/reliability. As for the passive steer, maybe it stops some of the black tire marks our Tiffin used to make, although there doesn't seem to be any dramatic difference in turning circle. From an operational perspective, I have to remember to move in a straight line for the last 5-6 feet before backing up ... so the tag can "lock" in the center position when I'm in reverse.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JMonroe View Post
a tighter steer axle cut (should make up for the so slight difference in the tag axle cut).
just to add; the passive steer tag only reduces the tire scrub rate of the tag tires while turning.

back in stone ages I had a collection of match box cars. some of those cars had front steerable wheels. you applied pressure to one side of the car and the front wheels turned. this in general, how passive steer tags work. they are independent of the front steer. hence the name passive.

on a flat level surface,you can start driving with idle speed and slowly turn the front wheels without creating a body roll on the coach. the tag wheels will remain straight.

on the other hand, slowing sown on a road with noticeable camber (to promote rain runoff), or a road with sizable crowing, when the plungers release the tag wheels, they will turn left, depending on the angle of road, even if the coach is tracking straight.

From the early on, I had noticed a shuddering sensation on my coach when slowing down. I had raised that issue with fccc repeatedly. we had a meeting at newmar and fccc center in wakarusa last nov, including the chassisguy, who supposedly knows a thing or two about chassis. the shuddering was noticed, however, he dismissed it as engine/trans issue. that was the reason I placed a camera afterwards and video recorded the operation of the steer tags. which clearly indicated the tags were turning left during slowdown for a short period of time. In that meeting, they had promised me a chance to test drive a similar unit to compare the shuddering/vibration issues. however, afterwards they refused that offer. I do not know if this is unique to mine (given all the problems) or a characteristics of this passive steer design.

I test drove a cornerstone on spartan and did not experience the same shuddering and vibrations. however, that was only a 30 min drive. when I get a chance, would like to video record the spartan as well.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:51 AM   #13
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Happy to volunteer mine for a video debut if your near (IN). Haven't felt a flutter with mine yet. I've seen the posted still pictures, but the other day had a chance to view personally from under the coach, and I was shock at the difference K2 to FL.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:57 AM   #14
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I too feel the passive steering tag is just a marketing hype. It is a great solution for a problem that never existed. Motorhomes did fine with air up or unloaded tags. They are not buses that might have to turn in confined hotel parking lots 6 times a day. And it is definitely not about tire wear "Scrub" The standard air up tag tires lasted as long, in fact better, than the rest of the tire positions.

No, this marvelous answer to a non-existing problem is in fact an added mechanical issue.

If it ain't broken, don't fix it!

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