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Old 11-08-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
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Safari "Velvet Ride" vs. air ride suspension?

As we are looking at coaches we're seeing both 8 bag Magnums and the non-air "Velvet Ride" Safari's in our price ranges... with pros and cons to both (for example, single slide outs in a Serengeti with 8 bags, dual slides in a Zanzibar with "Velvet Ride").

Blindly, my head says "stick with air suspension, period" but I see Safari continued without air ride on some models until 2003 (or so it seems). Is it a big deal?

Thanks for your patience!


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Old 11-08-2010, 04:32 PM   #2
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Test drive them both down some rough roads and across bridge expansion joints and the truth will come out. Is a Velvet Ride another name for leaf springs? If so go with the air bags. Believe I have done springs and now love my air bags. It is a big deal. There are lots of motorhomes out there for sale at or below wholesale right now especially with winter coming on. My advice is to take your time and get what you really want now or you will be buying another motorhome again later to get what you really wanted.

Mike Canter
"Gunner" USN Retired, Airdale
2004 Monaco Signature 44' Conquest. Detroit 60
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:31 PM   #3
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We owned a 96 Safari with the Velvet Ride, & it was a bone jaring ride -- Had the coach for 7 years, & we really it, but it was a relief to get a coach with air ride -- Bill Willard
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:43 PM   #4
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We have a 97 Safari Serengeti M-4040 that has the BF Goodrich developed Velvet Ride suspension and really like it. I believe the trick with a Torsion type suspension is to have the correct shocks with correct settings and good tires that are properly inflated. Tiger Track bars also help.
1997 Safari Serengeti M-4040
& 2007 Ford Sports Trac
& 2004 Ford Exploder TOAD's
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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The Velvet ride, a torsion bar suspension, was developed for use in emergency vehicles and adopted by Safari to get a ride similar to air ride without having the air system. The coaches do not have air brakes in the traditional sense, they used air over hydraulics with disc brakes all around. They got around the added expense of having an air compressor on the engine to run the air sispension. The velver ride coaches we saw had an small compressor in the "basement' that provided air for the air over brakes. We had a 2000 Zanzibar with air ride that was OK but not match for the 8 bag Monaco chassis IMO.
Having driven a Velvet ride Zanzi and owning an air ride model of the same coach I can say go for the air. The disc brakes on some of the older Safaris were problematic because the calipers didn't retract properly and caused overheating in the wheel affected and in some case fires. We never had that problem but people at the Safari rallys were vocal about it.
2004 HR Imperial
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:53 PM   #6
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Air bags are the BESTEST!!!!! Plus, so much easier to park and level too!!!!!

Bernie & Karen https://www.RV-Insight.com
Full Timers - SD Tags - USA
2000 Monaco Windsor 38' Diesel Pusher w/Toyo 4WD
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