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Old 05-13-2014, 01:19 PM   #1
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1998 Fleetwood Southwind ride height

Hello ...I am seaching for a resolve to a problem I have with the front suspension. I have owned the MH for 18 months and it has a lower clearance from ground level at the front than the rear by about 3 1/2 inches. I measured the distance from the rubber bumper to the cross memeber where it bottoms out at 3/4" which leaves almost no clearance before bottoming out. I called a local truck spring repair shop and was told they can replace the springs and air lift bags but would not guarantee whether it would change the ride height or make any difference for that matter. The MH chassis is a Chevy P series with air bag lift coil springs. The air bags are inflated and maintain 90 psi and no leaks. The MH has 51000 miles on it and it is a 32 foot gasser.There is no added weight to the MH and these conditions exist with a full tank of gas and quarter tank if fresh water. Thanks...Your comments or advise or experience are welcome ..TIA Oran
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:25 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by oran42348 View Post
Hello ...I am seaching for a resolve to a problem I have with the front suspension. I have owned the MH for 18 months and it has a lower clearance from ground level at the front than the rear by about 3 1/2 inches. I measured the distance from the rubber bumper to the cross memeber where it bottoms out at 3/4" which leaves almost no clearance before bottoming out. I called a local truck spring repair shop and was told they can replace the spring and air lift bag but would not guarantee whether it would change the ride height or make any difference for that matter. The MH chassis is a Chevy P series with air bag lift coil springs. The air bags are inflated and maintain 90 psi and no leaks. There is no added weight to the MH and these conditions exist with a full tank of gas and quarter tank if fresh water. Thanks...Your comments or advise or experience are welcome ..TIA Oran
There is a cheap fix for this. You can spend a fortune for bigger springs or you can buy spacers that go between the springs and cause the springs to ride higher. We did this for many customers and all were happy with the results. Some folks have said it will cause the springs to bottom out, but my customers said they had no problems.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:42 PM   #3
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We have the same motorhome, a 1998 Southwind 32V, on the Chevy P32 chassis. When we got ours, one of the front airbags leaked, so we had both of them replaced. The shop installed extender hoses on them, which are both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I can check and adjust the air from under the front cover. The curse is that we had quite a time getting the hose connections tight enough that they would not leak down. However, the pressure stayed at 110 psi through last winter's storage, so I guess we got that problem licked.

With the new airbags, and with them blown up to 110 psi, she still sits lower in the front than I would prefer. Ours has rear air bags as well, and I'm only running about 35 psi in them.

In another forum somewhere, I read of someone putting heavier, stiffer front springs in theirs. A truck suspension shop could probably do that. If I were going to keep ours long-term, I might consider that modification. However, we're getting the itch to shop for a good used diesel pusher.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the information..I am wondering now if the fleetwood SW 32 V was lower riding in the front from the factory ? Or do springs get weaker with age ?
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:39 PM   #5
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I've only seen that condition on a GM chassis, never have I seen it on a F-53( Ford ) chassis. JMHO, mine does not have that problem.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #6
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Thanks , When i called Fleetwood they couldnt really say if the MH was lower riding in the front but agreed that i had issues. They said the company that mfg. my MH was fleetwood motorhome and sold out to fleetwood RV in 2009. So i am guessing the money spent to replace the front springs and air bags may or maynot improve the ride height.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by oran42348 View Post
Hello ...I am seaching for a resolve to a problem I have with the front suspension. I have owned the MH for 18 months and it has a lower clearance from ground level at the front than the rear by about 3 1/2 inches. I measured the distance from the rubber bumper to the cross memeber where it bottoms out at 3/4" which leaves almost no clearance before bottoming out. I called a local truck spring repair shop and was told they can replace the springs and air lift bags but would not guarantee whether it would change the ride height or make any difference for that matter. The MH chassis is a Chevy P series with air bag lift coil springs. The air bags are inflated and maintain 90 psi and no leaks. The MH has 51000 miles on it and it is a 32 foot gasser.There is no added weight to the MH and these conditions exist with a full tank of gas and quarter tank if fresh water. Thanks...Your comments or advise or experience are welcome ..TIA Oran
The only real fix is to weigh the front end loaded and then have these installed at Camping World or other.... Suspension Control €“ Suspension Kits
Now, you're done with the air bags forever and in my case, the Helwig cross leaf buggy spring, as well that National installed at the factory. When it's all said and done, the ride height should be between 1 3/4 and 2 1/2" between the stops and the alignment specs will be included with the coils. In fact I would just leave them for awhile and see how the tires wear before re-aligning.
You can install them yourself, but it's more of a job than I'm willing to do at this age and especially since it was going to cost me $50 more for having them shipped to me than for what they cost at Camping World. Of course there was labor involved, but worth it, to me and I'm not one to hire out for just any little thing.
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:13 PM   #8
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The only real fix is to weigh the front end loaded and then have these installed at Camping World or other.... Suspension Control – Suspension Kits
Now, you're done with the air bags forever and in my case, the Helwig cross leaf buggy spring, as well that National installed at the factory. When it's all said and done, the ride height should be between 1 3/4 and 2 1/2" between the stops and the alignment specs will be included with the coils. In fact I would just leave them for awhile and see how the tires wear before re-aligning.
You can install them yourself, but it's more of a job than I'm willing to do at this age and especially since it was going to cost me $50 more for having them shipped to me than for what they cost at Camping World. Of course there was labor involved, but worth it, to me and I'm not one to hire out for just any little thing.

Thanks for the info...I am hoping for 2 1/2 inches between the stops and the suspension kit is less costly than what i had priced at a local truck spring shop... However:Original GM parts springs and airbag online is a little over 600.00 plus labor. The truck garage recommended original parts due to problems with heavier spring coils causing damage ie... hitting a chuck hole the springs could go metal to metal possible damage to other componenets.
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