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Old 07-25-2010, 05:43 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Roadmaster R4R Chassis Ride Enhancement Kit

As promised in a different thread, I am posting about my newly installed Source Engineering Ride Enhancement Kit, installed last week on my '04 HR Neptune 34 PDD.

First, a bit of back story. My trailing arms broke last Labor Day weekend as I was getting ready to take the kids camping. Source Engineering was the only manufacturer of replacement arms, so I had several conversations with Jim and Scott at source. They told me of a new product for my chassis - a ride enhancement kit, consisting of new custom valved Bilstein shocks, new custom airbags and a ping tank for the front bags. At the time I could not afford the REK, but I have kept it in mind.

My coach has always been exciting to drive. Exciting as in the Chinese curse, "May you live in exciting times!". I live in California which I think has some of the more poorly maintained freeways available in the USA, and could look forward to white-knuckle excitement when driving the 680 freeway through the Hayward - Fremont - San Jose corridor. There were several at-grade crossings (level freeway bridges) that literally made me feel as if we were launched into the air. There are similar problems on US 101 in the Gonzales - Soledad area. Even when we were not being launched into the air, every little bump and wiggle in the road would shake the coach - a constant source of noise and vibration. Drawers would slide open going down the road, the dining table lamp shades would work loose and jangle against one another (fluted glass shades on a double lamp) and the front TV would constantly squeak as it vibrated against the cabinet. My passenger front sunshade broke loose - actually broke the plastic mount where the screw held it to the top cabinet over the dash.

Road handling was originally exciting also - a bit of rear end sway in the curves and a propensity to wander a bit in the lane - narrow road construction zones with Jersey barricade on the lane boundary could make me break into a sweat - and I am no speed-crazed maniac - I am happy to go the speed limit - even the insane (IMHO) 55 when towing limit here in California. The trailing arms made a big difference in the tracking - pretty much eliminated the sway issues completely. but the noise and vibration were still there.

After getting the REK installed last week, I drove the rig home about 35 miles over Vasco Road from I-580 on the East end of Livermore to Antioch. The route included some construction zone and sections of road that are quite rough and need to be reworked.

The difference is beyond belief. The ride is now so quiet that one could hold a conversation without raising your voice. I was listening to the Sirius classical channel without having to turn the radio up and blast the sound. No tinkling of lampshades. No drawers sliding open. No TV Squeeks (thats a big one in MY book!) I could see small bumps where they have sealed cracks in the asphalt that I did not even feel. Bigger bumps were perceived but did not try to wrest the wheel from my hands. And when I felt bumps, I felt one modest jolt, and that was it. No bouncing, no lurching, no swaying. Even on the oldest most decrepit section of road on my route, the rig was always easily under control and much more comfortable than it has ever been.

I am planning a trip to Las Vegas later this week, and will get some good highway and long-distance experience on that trip, I will re-post in this thread with an update.

I watched the installation on my rig at R-Mechanic in Livermore. I took pictures, and will be putting a photo-essay up on their website (there is one there already about the trailing arms). From what I saw, I do not consider this a do-it-yourself installation. Having the rig on wheel lifts and the frame on tall jackstands (6 feet tall) allowed the suspension to be raised and lowered by moving the wheels up and down with the lifts after the frame was on the jackstands. This made it easier to R&R the bags and shocks. The tools required would also be a limiting factor for me. Steve used a cool digital torque wrench to ensure no overtorquing the airbag attachments, which are very susceptible to damage from over-torque. No way I would want to try to put this kit on laying on my back under the rig.

Happy Trails!

Jim Morton
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:00 PM   #2
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Jim,

Glad to hear the good report. Isn't driving fun again? I know it is for me post REK.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:14 PM   #3
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Talking Ride enhancement and arm replacement

I just got back from about 3,000 miles after having new trailing arms installed and the ride kit installed at the same time. We drove up to the Redwoods in Northern CA, to Glacier NP, down to West Yellowstone, to Craters of the Moon and then back home to Sacramento. There were many miles of rough construction, winding roads, high gusty winds, road drops, and miles of gravel. The drive was smooth, passing on-coming diesels at 65+ on two lanes had little effect, easier bump follow up, and control was much easier. I cannot separate which has the most effect having both done at the same time. My wife and I share driving and we both felt that the improvement was significant. That aside from the big safety now, I am very happy with the installation.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:48 AM   #4
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I just had my trailing arms and REK installed at Sacramento Truck Center. There did not appear to be any cracks in the old trailing arms but as many have said, it's all about peace of mind. The drive home for me was about 75 miles on I-5 and Hwy 12 both of which would jar the motor home, cause it to bottom out or would track to the left or right due to ruts in the road. In addition, there were some high winds that would normally cause me to wrestle with the steering wheel. I also took a test drive over the Altamont pass which for me has some of the worst road conditions around.

The ride improvement was significant for all of these road conditions and the motor home was much more stable and easier to control. I was far more relaxed knowing I wasn't tearing up the rig!
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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What's the cost of this kit? Thanks
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:49 PM   #6
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Thanks for the trailing arm info. We're looking at a 38' 2004 Knight for sale. What's the cost to convert the trailing arms
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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Mike........ Both Redlands Truck and Colton Truck are dealers for Source Engineering the manufacture of the new enhanced ride/trailing arm kit. I have had great service from Keith at Redlands Truck 909-792-0314..... I am sure he can give you a price over the phone.


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Old 09-30-2010, 01:36 AM   #8
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Smile Las Vegas Trip Evaluation

Sorry for the delay, but I am finally posting some impressions from my trip to DefCon in Las Vegas this summer. My trip was a little delayed getting started, the roof had pulled away from the sidewall along the living room slideout - the tension of the slide-topper had pulled the rivets out. I will have to post another thread on this fix. The upshot was that I left at about 16:00 a day later than I had planned on - I was going to leave in the morning and have a nice leisurely drive south on I-395, maybe camp at Mono lake over night etc. Because I left so much later than I had planned, (and after two days of fixing the rig in the hot sun) I changed the route to a quick zip down I-5, out through Barstow etc.

Considering how tired I was when I left on this trip, I really noticed how much better the rig rode - I had a lot more endurance because the rig was much quieter and more comfortable to ride in. Also, I did not feel that I was fighting the rig to stay where I wanted on the road.

Not being completely foolish, I only drove about 3 hours - just barely out of the neighborhood in my book - to a rest stop, parked and took a good four hour nap, had something to eat then hit the road again.

I really noticed some improvements in the rig due to the Ride Enhancement Kit. 1) The drawers under the dinette and oven did not slide open once on this trip. 2) The TV over the dash no longer squeaked continuously. 3) the rig was much quieter - I was listening to the radio at a lower volume setting than I am used to using. These are just the "livability" improvements while on the road. The drive-ability is also much better. My driving fatigue rate seems to be lower -I can drive for a longer period of time before getting tired ( or be less tired at the end of the same driving shift! ). Control-ability of the rig is much improved, especially over big potholes or transitions such as when crossing a bridge at freeway speeds when the bridge does not exactly match the road grade and there is a two or three foot ramp rising a few inches to the level of the bridge. Those kinds of things used to positively launch the rig causing me to grab the wheel with white-knuckled hands for dear life.

The only time I noticed more bumpityness than I would have liked was when driving over a "popcorn" road surface near a truck stop. By popcorn, I mean the surface had been repaved about 2" thick and much of the repaving was worn away so that the surface was continuously bumpy with 2" deep bumps with maybe 6"-18" size of blobs and gaps. Since I was driving like 5 mph, this was not a problem, but this surface did vibrate the rig. Personally, I prefer the excellent handling at real road speed, so I don't consider this any kind of problem, just something I noticed. Also, I expect the old suspension would have been the same or worse on this surface.

All in all, I am completely pleased with how this upgrade has improved my rig. I have never spent money on anything else that made such a remarkable difference on my rig. I reccommend this Ride Enhancement Kit to anyone with an applicable rig.

Jim Morton
2004 HR Neptune 34 PDD
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:31 AM   #9
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Monaco Cayman

Chaps,

I am in the UK but decided to bite the bullet & upgrade the trailing arms on our new purchase (A 2004 36 PDQ) it has only 9000miles on the clock but it is the peace of mind thing.
Having only had a limited experience of the vehicle and its characteristics I did note that after collecting and driving on our motorways it did have a tendency to 'sway' whilst driving.
I eventually opted for the Monaco trailing arm kit and their REK. After the fitting -arms & REK- I have noticed that I can now rest my arm on the seat rest and not be constantly correcting whilst on long straight runs. In round figures including importation charges it has cost approx £3000.

After lots of e mails to the two companies they both maintained the up grade was their idea & were in due course to be the subject of court action against each other.
What I would say is that on reciept of the arms I queried the lack of nuts and washers to which Monaco told me that the kit had now been upgraded and that nuts and washers were no longer supplied, that appeared to be a bit strange to me but then I am British.
The Monaco upgrade was overall cheaper than the Source upgrade and to be fair to them were very helpful with tec info and general advice.

Kind regards

Arthur.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:42 PM   #10
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I am happy that you are satisfied.

I am happy for you. I know that I feel much safer with the new trailing arms and ride enhancement kit and I can imagine that you will enjoy your rig more with peace of mind.

What kind of shock absorbers are used in the Monaco kit? I am very impressed with the Bilstein mono-tube shocks used in the Source kit.

As far as which products came first, I think you can look at the dates on the posts about trailing arms and it is very clear that Source had the first heavy-duty trailing arm by months. It is also interesting to see the similarities in the airbag mounting plate between the Source part and the later to market Monaco part.

As for the ride-enhancement kit, I don't know what is included on the Monaco kit. An important part of the Source kit is the 4 new airbags and the ping-tank and oversize tubing for the front airbags. Does the Monaco ride enhancement kit include airbags and/or a ping tank?

Happy Camping!

Jim
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:38 PM   #11
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ID:	5926Jim

The Monaco REK has KONI shocks 2 red and 2 yellows but they only supply 2 Firestone Airbags - did not realise that until they arrived - there is however larger diameter tubing and the ping tank, they do at least supply the various brass fittings to put it together.

I sent some photos of the Monaco Trailing arms to a company who fit the Source ones and they replied that they were identical to the Source ones.

If I have done it correctly pictures of the Monaco arms are attached to this post.

Regards

Arthur.
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Old 10-05-2010, 09:10 PM   #12
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Thanks for the pictures!

Thanks for the pictures - very interesting.

I believe there are differences in the trailing arms as compared to Source Engineering arms. The Source arms have side-plates welded on to the main box structure, the Monaco arms do not have those gussets. If you look at the finite element analysis images on the source website Finite Element you will see some difference in the stress distribution on the arms. Also, on the Monaco arms, the axle plates are wedges, on the Source arms, the plates are flat with a wedge piece between the plate and the arm. Since the wedge is in compression - a very strong mode for a chunk of steel, the difference is fairly moot.

All of this technical stuff is fun to debate, but the bottom line is that your rig handles better and is safer now than it had been - those were your goals and you reached them.

Happy Trails!

Jim
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:12 AM   #13
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Growing tired of ride

We have a 2008 Caymen 35' and have put more than 35K miles on it already.

Very interested in what I am hearing about the trailing arms and REK.

Anybody with an '08 had it done yet? Where and $?

We are in Southern Cal but travel through SAC routinely.

Thanks, John
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:11 PM   #14
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Hi John (Dancing Bear)

We have a 07 HR Neptune. I do believe that it is similar to your Caymen. Between the 07 and 08 there was not much difference.

We have had the trailing arms replaced earlier this year. I have not had the REK installed yet but I do intend to do that at a later date.

We live in Santa Ynez near Santa Barbara CA. We had the PASO ROBLES TRUCK CENTER in PASO ROBLES install the SOURCE Trailing Arms. They are an authorized installation center for the SOURCE products. I am sure they would be able to install the REK and the trailing arms. They did an excellent job for our unit. Call Ryan at 805-238-1466 to make appointments and scheduling. You probably will have to leave the MH for a couple of days.

Another nice thing is that there is a great RV Resort nearby. It's the WINE COUNTRY RV RESORT in PASO ROBLES. They are just up the road from the truck center. This might help you if you want to come up there the night before and then take the MH in for the work the next morning.

You might also check out the SOURCE ENGINNEERING Web site for other authorized installers. Some of these installers may be closer to your home in southern CA.

I hope this helps. Just one possible installer that may be closer than SAC.

Good Luck

BILL
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