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Old 11-01-2015, 09:45 PM   #1
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Suspension changes

Just info sharing on my opinions of some mods to our ride.

I'm a firm believer in a good handling coach, as even these big rigs can get you out of trouble - if they can maneuver as nimbly as possible!

When we first bought out coach, we installed Road King's on all 6 positions. Added stiffer walled Michelin XZE*'s. And added Super Steer Motion Control Units (MCU's) front and back.

I've mentioned here and on other boards, that I felt the Koni SP3's would have been a good shock to add to the four rear positions - timing wise, these came out about 4 months after my decision. (And many thanks, and a salute, to Justin at Koni for very straightforward advice for our IFS coach!) And probably would have been a good shock for the front too. I like the Road Kings, and these were 2 1/2" generation before the 3" came out. Valving can be tuned, if needed, with the help of Road King. Sure not saying Road Kings are not a good shock, but, they are for sure more expensive!

OK - So now as of the last 2 months, we've made two changes that impact both handling and road ride comfort:

1) We replaced two pot hole damaged Michelin XZE* tires. (Reminder, the "*" adds more meat to an already robust XXZE tires, to handle fleet delivery 'curb scrubbing +'. So on a front end, these really added to a bit stiffness to the ride. Especially on expansion joints and rough roads. And yes, a bit more sure footed for those emergency turns, if ever needed, that I add value to.) We replaced them with two BF Goodrich ST230, a Tier 2 tire, as that was the only tire in the 12R size I could find during the overall shortage sparked by the Michelin supply problem. (Yeah, another opinion, Michelin sure blew the forecast on demand. Missed several sales in what I'm sure is a slower market of RV's, vs trucking. But dang it, a lost sale is not just a loss of sale this time around. But also possibly future sales, as buyers form new tire loyalties.)

The BF Goodrich is a well known tire, Michelin built, and provides a great bang for the buck - especially with FMCA group purchase prices!

2) Source Engineering has a 'better design, and more sophisticated' 'air check valve' - with their Comfort Control Valves. The Super Steer MCU's were the only game in town at the time I was researching. And, they do a good job of improving handling, and the Walmart Wobble. I liked them, because the 'set' the coach faster in left to right body shifts, lie on mountain S curves, and emergency lane changes. But, they also paid the price by adding to a stiffer ride. The MCU's restrict rapid air flow in both directions.

Enter the Source Engineering Comfort Control Valves. And well, you get the same good control, but also get improved comfort. The CCV's only restrict, control, air in one direction. So, if you hit an expansion joint, a pot hole, bump - they do not impact what the normal air bag suspension bring to the ride - comfort. They restrict air flow in one direction, which still helps in handling and 'setting' the suspension faster.

OK, so along post, again!

I give it these mod's the Goldilocks ratings:

1) BF Goodrich ST230's (Or other higher Tier 2 and Tier 1 tires without supper stiff sidewalls.)

2) Source Engineering Comfort Control Valves.

They provide a 'just right' balance firmness and support, while not being too jarring of a sleep, I meant ride!

And again another yeah, I do like the Road Kings, but suspect with the current front end valving - this too adds to a bit stiffer ride. But, with the payoff in superior handling and coach control. Kong SP3's? Especially on the front end of a larger IFS coach - probably better then most, and a bit softer ride, but without as much control as the Road Kings.

Opinions will vary, those are mine!

Best to all. Be safe, have fun,
Smitty
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:00 PM   #2
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Smitty, I have been pleased with the SP3's on the front of my coach. At least I have had no bottoming out of the suspension like I did with the FSD's.

The Super Steer MCU's seem to work fine but I did not see as much difference with them on the tag axle Allure as I did on my previous coach on a FL chassis. On the FL they really transformed the coach in terms of better handling.

I guess I will eventually replace the rear FSD's with SP3's but the coach drives and rides so well now that I may wait.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:11 AM   #3
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Smitty,

Did you end up putting on the larger (305) tires upfront (instead of 295 or 12R's) at Les Schwab/ Dickman Tires?

How many Comfort Air Ride valves did you have Source Engineering install (6)?

Also did you end up having Source Engineering install the wax Valve? Are you pleased? As I recall the Sauer Danfoss fan had 3 control variables. Do they just plug the others? If so do you know what they do to plug them.

Thanks
John Thomas
2004 Allure Newport
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Old 11-05-2015, 02:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVJOHNTX View Post
Smitty,

Did you end up putting on the larger (305) tires upfront (instead of 295 or 12R's) at Les Schwab/ Dickman Tires?

How many Comfort Air Ride valves did you have Source Engineering install (6)?

Also did you end up having Source Engineering install the wax Valve? Are you pleased? As I recall the Sauer Danfoss fan had 3 control variables. Do they just plug the others? If so do you know what they do to plug them.

Thanks
John Thomas
2004 Allure Newport

No I did not get tires installed. Had a scheduling problem and had to head out, and as it was, the date codes on the tires that came in were older then 6 months, and age of tires is important to me.

(On a side note. Just after my discussion about not agreeing with the gent helping me that tires don't age while in the warehouse, that it was the date of install that matters. (Of which I politely agreed to disagree, repeating my request to have them ask the warehouse to pull tires younger the 6 months.) I watched on the evening news about how the word is getting out to the risk of older tires on passenger cars. Classic timing! Action News Jax Investigates: Old tires being sold as new | www.actionnewsjax.com

I won't be able to get back up to Oregon until early next year, so they're going to try to sell the tires to someone else. I'll contact them again in January, when I know our schedule better. And our existing tires were inspected my Michelin in Colorado, and are in good shape being younger then 6 years old. It was the no sales tax reason why I wanted to primarily purchase these while in Oregon.

And to you specific question, I decided to remain with the 12R's. The 315/80's would have been in a higher Load Range, and though they would have fit on our 8.25" rims, derated some, I was concerned about going back to a stiffer front end ride.

----

I had the Comfort Control Valves installed on the steers and drives only. And notice a difference on expansion joints and minor cracks and pot holes not being as jarring of a ride. Don't believe I gave up much, if any, on handling and quick 'setting' of the coach.

---

Yes, they installed the Wax Valve. Clean install, of a KISS approach. I really liked the infinite variability of from off to full, only increasing fan speed as needed. Over the mentioned multi staged jumps of the old fan controller. I had them replace the OEM thermostat at the same time. My average running temps used to be in the 180-185 range, now average (only 400 miles) is around 190.

The same day I had the Wax Valve installed, I also had the ECM reprogrammed back to ISL400 level, with a Australian configuration (long story on that one, just know it was the only choice the Cummins Northwest tech could choose from). On my 400 miles of driving since these two changes, I feel a bit more throttle response and livelier acceleration in around town driving. Assume it is a combo of the Wax Valve using less engine HP to spin up the fan, as well as different HP/Torque curves of the Australian ISL400 configuration.

I admit, that I've been very attentive on the early phases of driving after all of these changes:

> Lift Pump bypassed, with FASS fuel pump
> New water routing houses with the Wax Valve
> ECM program being lost. Then restored to a ISL370 config. Then paying to again have the ISL400 reprogram.
> Air hoses worked on to remove the Super Steer Motion Control Units, and add the Source Engineering Comfort Control Valves
> Full LOF

All the changes, four to five shops involved, in a two week period... So, keeping a close eye on things for the early miles!

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 11-05-2015, 03:04 PM   #5
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Smitty, like you I used to want to add/upgrade all the time. My DW would just shake her head when I told her about the next 'thingy' I wanted to add to improve ride, handling, performance, etc. My 2002 Journey was pretty tricked out when we traded it.

I have always wondered if the fan was doing the right thing on my Allure. On my model (I guess because of the more electronically robust 'clean diesel'), there is no Sauer-Danfoss fan controller mounted on or near the radiator, at least none that I could fine. My fan comes on with gusto as soon as I start the coach but I do seem to see only a slight change in fan speed from fast and loud to really fast and louder. When I was at CC last summer, I asked them to check it for proper function and they said it check out OK. I run about 185 -190. I just thought the fan should idle until the engine needed cooling.

Bottom line, the guys at Cummins told me that it was their understanding that on my set up, the Cummins ECU sent all the proper info to the fan controller which, in my case, is simply a solenoid valve mounted to the fan motor.
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