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Old 08-18-2016, 07:33 PM   #1
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Just bought my first RV!

I just purchased a very nice 1999 Affinity with one slide! I pick it up from Camping World Houston on Saturday and am driving it to Fort Worth so I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I would appreciate any driving tips for a rookie...
Jim in Fort Worth
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Old 08-18-2016, 08:15 PM   #2
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Looks beautiful and congratulations! I'm sure you'll get lots of tips on this forum but the best advice I have to give is take your time, go slow and don't allow other drivers make you feel rushed. Those yellow caution speed signs are for you! Consider those as a golden rule speed limit now that your managing a large heavy vehicle. Establish a safety cushion behind traffic and then double it. There's nothing more terrifying than having to make a panic stop and then realizing you didn't allow enough room. Other vehicles, especially small cars, will violate the cushion you establish but don't let it get to you. Riding up close behind the offender will teach them absolutely nothing and only increase the danger level exponentially to everyone around you. Just re-establish your cushion by backing off a little. Driving at least slightly slower than the traffic around you will go a long way to helping maintain your cushion. Above all, have fun and don't let numerous horrible and clueless drivers get under your skin. You will be amazed how many there are given your new perspective on driving in traffic.


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Old 08-18-2016, 09:41 PM   #3
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Stay between the lines.

Turn wide.

Look UP

Allow space.

Enjoy, Enjoy!

Great looking rig.
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Old 08-18-2016, 10:09 PM   #4
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Drive with your focus farther up the road and you will make less steering adjustments.
Make sure everything is buttoned down inside the coach, drawers cabinets etc. especially if driving alone. If you have bought the coach sight unseen and have not driven it yet...good luck with that....
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Old 08-19-2016, 06:35 AM   #5
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Congratulations on such a nice solid older coach! What a beauty! From someone who had driven tractor trailers for many years getting into a coach that long is totally different.

Some things that can help. Before each trip do a thorough walk around. Checking tires, slides and doors etc. Even just a visual will help you get to know your coach. And again keep things buttoned up inside, this is always something I miss and I hate hearing things slam and crash down when making a turn lol.

When driving: It is hard to explain but get used to your mirrors and keep your eyes on them a lot. Pay attention to people all around you, front and sides. Be careful passing and don't get stuck in left lane as people will keep passing on your right and you may not notice a car riding next to you in blind spot. If you pass someone on left keep your eye on the car. When safely past signal right and slowly ease over. Take your time and don't be afraid to go slow until you get your seat feeling if you will.

Turning: When making a right turn keep your eye on the right rear tire. Go straight and when you are clear of your curb cut it hard. Go slow and pay attention to mirrors and front end. Also they say to aim with your hip.

Keep to the big roads as much as possible and take your time. I still get nervous until I get seated and get my coach feeling down.

Enjoy your new awesome rig and plan many fun trips. Lot's of great people on here and lots of great advice. Love seeing our rigs still being some of the top units on the market.

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Old 08-21-2016, 10:44 AM   #6
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Tire pressure is critical in good handling. I learned the unpleasant way. Like you I was new to the motorized RV experience when I bought my 2000 Affinity. I asked the salesman if there was anything I needed to do or know about any deficiencies or service work before taking my rig for a run. "There is nothing wrong with this coach that will prevent you from using it and having a good time". Well my first trip was from Louisiana to FW TX. I was drifting All over the road. Got home and checked the air pressure on the tires and they were 20# under recommended inflation pressure. I check religiously now. I also added the safety plus steering stabilizer that allows me to run next to the big rigs with confidence. Also stay focused on your side mirrors and rear camera if you can view while driving forward.
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Old 08-22-2016, 07:56 AM   #7
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Well, I picked it up on Saturday and it has exceeded my expectations so far! As everyone said, it took a while to get used to it and at first I had a tendency to hug the right shoulder which almost got me in trouble a few times. I worked on my sighting and by the end of my drive home (260 miles) I was keeping it 1 to 2 feet off the center stripe. Had about 90 miles of driving rain but visibility was good sitting up high and I didn't have any problems.

The only thing I am concerned about is the brakes as it seemed like I had to really stand on them to get it stopped. I'm also thinking the idle is too high because I had to press hard at a stop to keep it from moving forward. When I released the brake pedal, it immediately started moving forward with no gas application. It sat for a year on the dealer lot so maybe that has something to do with it. Is there a way to check the brake shoe thickness without removing the tires? The coach only has 78000 miles on it. Also, when coming to a stop, I hear a clunk on either side in the front. The previous owner said it is just the brake shoes hitting the stop. Does that sound right?

Other than that, I really liked driving it. It has plenty of power, is smooth and rides really well. I'm looking forward to many adventures in it and hopefully meeting some of the great people on this forum.

Jim
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:30 AM   #8
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Beautiful coach! Welcome to the forum and the Country Coach family! I'm a noobie too, and I've found there are a lot of great people and information here.
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Old 08-22-2016, 10:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aroadracer View Post

The only thing I am concerned about is the brakes as it seemed like I had to really stand on them to get it stopped. I'm also thinking the idle is too high because I had to press hard at a stop to keep it from moving forward. When I released the brake pedal, it immediately started moving forward with no gas application. It sat for a year on the dealer lot so maybe that has something to do with it. Is there a way to check the brake shoe thickness without removing the tires? The coach only has 78000 miles on it. Also, when coming to a stop, I hear a clunk on either side in the front. The previous owner said it is just the brake shoes hitting the stop. Does that sound right?



Jim
On all our rigs, we should be performing the DOT air brake pre-trip test prior to departure. It takes about 5 minutes but probably not advisable to be done in an RV park as it will annoy the neighbors.

Pre-Trip Inspection | Brake Check | Commercial Driver's License

Part of the test is pumping down the air pressure until the park brake engages. I am told that the pumping down action also performs the automatic slack adjuster correction.

I too have a clunk sometimes when hard braking. It is usually when I have not done hard braking to adjust the slack adjusters for a long time?

BTW, I had my 99,000 mile rig's wheel bearings repacked last year. The tech mentioned that the front brakes were nearly virgin at that time.

Happy travels
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Old 08-22-2016, 06:45 PM   #10
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Lots of good advice here. I could only add that it will take a few road trips to get a good seat of the pants feel of your new coach - steering, corning, stopping, etc. As others have said, don't be in a rush and keep hours behind the wheel short. Nice coach by-the-way
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:37 AM   #11
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Check on YouTube for a "RV Driver Confidence Course" that was produced by Lazy Days. There are a number of videos, each covering different aspects of handling your RV, that collectively will provide a great many tips, ideal for a new RV driver.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:36 AM   #12
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That is one nice coach! Sounds like you had a good safe drive home.

Idle issue. Our coach had the same issue with idling too high. On the console to your left is is a switch that says idle. Ours is blue. I think you want to toggle it down to around 700-750. If you go too low the exhaust brake wont come on, found that out the hard way. I can check where ours is set and will post. With coach idling toggle the switch down till you have your desired idle. This is a regular setting and will always keep. Conversely if it is cold and you want to idle the motor up to warm it up use the cruise control. On our coach, turn on the cruise and bump the accelerate button up twice. This temporarily bumps the idle up to 1,000 rpm to warm engine. When you tap brake it will go back to blue switch setting.

Brakes. It is hard to tell about how hard you are pushing. Air brakes have slack adjusters that adjust automatically. You should take coach to a truck shop and have them do a state inspection or federal dot inspection.

Keep up posted.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:42 AM   #13
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Congrats on the new-to-you coach.

Unless you are a skilled and experienced mechanic, I would highly recommend that you find a reliable shop (Cummins Coach Care, or other shop that has experience with heavy trucks, buses, coaches) and have the chassis and running gear checked and serviced. Sitting for a year is not good and I would not trust any Camping World to have done anything but let it sit until it sold. Be prepared to spend some bucks for all fluids, chassis lube, check belts/hoses, service the air dryer, transmission service, all filters, axle lube, coolant check and possible flush and refill if not up to par.

If the prior owner used the engine brake (compression brake) all the time and never challenged the service brakes, they may be glazed and not as effective as they need to be. Do the air brake test as noted and drive it some with some firm application of the service brakes and see if it gets better.

Check the DOT dates on the tires. If they are more than 7 -8 years old, be prepared to open the wallet and get some new shoes.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:20 AM   #14
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Congrats on the new-to-you coach.

Unless you are a skilled and experienced mechanic, I would highly recommend that you find a reliable shop (Cummins Coach Care, or other shop that has experience with heavy trucks, buses, coaches) and have the chassis and running gear checked and serviced. Sitting for a year is not good and I would not trust any Camping World to have done anything but let it sit until it sold. Be prepared to spend some bucks for all fluids, chassis lube, check belts/hoses, service the air dryer, transmission service, all filters, axle lube, coolant check and possible flush and refill if not up to par.

If the prior owner used the engine brake (compression brake) all the time and never challenged the service brakes, they may be glazed and not as effective as they need to be. Do the air brake test as noted and drive it some with some firm application of the service brakes and see if it gets better.

Check the DOT dates on the tires. If they are more than 7 -8 years old, be prepared to open the wallet and get some new shoes.
X's 2! A sitting coach, and generator not running, is an opportunity for maintenance!

Suggest you have the shop pull an oil sample too, for analysis. Maybe even the trans fluid too. Coming from CW, suspect you have no maintenance history on the coach(?). If that is so, assume you are establishing a total catch up on maintenance. This does two things, well three, for you: 1) You now have a solid baseline to perform future maintenance off of; 2) Peace of mind while using; 3) You get to help the economy!

It is a good looking rig, enjoy,
Smitty
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