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Old 09-20-2013, 04:33 AM   #29
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I have to echo what others have said, IMO a DP is easier to drive because you just get a smoother ride. Plus it's not nearly as affected by hills and wind. The extra weight makes it much more stable in wind.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:45 AM   #30
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The dilemma I have found is mostly from the other thread in here about Air Brakes.
See, my main concern is that there are times I may need someone with me to drive the motorhome. Perhaps I have one too many at the game, perhaps I sprain an ankle while four-wheeling. This is not a common occurrence or even anything I am counting on. But I do need to prepare for the possibility.
It sounds as if there is a bit of a learning curve with a diesel pusher and it's braking system that might make it difficult for the average Joe to drive it at a moments notice.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:10 PM   #31
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Gas vs diesel

Just remember most gas coaches do not require any special drivers license endorsement where as a diesel will most likely (legally) require air brake and transport truck driver type of license(A) in Ontario.
If your wife desires to drive she will need licensing as well.
Thats what stopped me from going the pusher route as well as approx $100,000 more for new coach and more complicated maintenance.

PS I have no complaints as to comfort of driving our new 2013 gas coach
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:03 PM   #32
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I see a lot of people on here that are adamant that you have to knjow about air brakes and air brake maintenance before driving them. I understand that some states and countries make you take an air brake test. I really do not understand why. Unless it is a requirement of to get a license to drive your MH I think the only thing you really need to know about Air brake maintenance is where is a good garage to get that work done and do you need a small bank loan to pay for it. I cannot imagine many people that do their own air brake maintenance. I never intend to and do not really see a reason to know how to.
You don't need to know how it works, or how to do your own maintenance in order to get your rig to stop with air brakes. You have a somewhat valid point there. BUT, you SHOULD know the basics of how it works.

It's important to know that air brakes are different from hydraulic brakes in some key areas. Hydraulic brakes are a sealed system with a fixed amount of fluid, where your braking technique doesn't have much impact. For example, you can pump your brakes all you want and it doesn't make any difference, in fact it can help to build pressure if you have certain failures. But if you pump air brakes you will quickly run out of air. ALL air brake drivers should know the basics of needing air pressure, know that there is a compressor that builds pressure, know how to read the air gauge, and how to run basic tests to check for leaks and proper compressor operation. You don't need to know how to repair them, but you should know the basics so you know what to do and not to do to keep you out of trouble, and how to get out of it if there is trouble.

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It sounds as if there is a bit of a learning curve with a diesel pusher and it's braking system that might make it difficult for the average Joe to drive it at a moments notice.
It sounds worse than it is. It's not a difficult learning curve, it's just a bit different. It will take a couple stops to get comfortable with the feel of the brakes, and a few turns to figure out the way it tracks. Your stand in driver won't have a difficult time as long as you are still in a good enough shape to determine that things are working correctly, and can give some quick pointers (don't pump brakes, here's how to control the engine/exhaust brake, swing wide and turn later since you're on top of and not behind the front wheels.) If your stand-in isn't familiar with driving a motorhome, the learning curve dealing with the gas/diesel differences will pale compared to dealing with properly maneuvering a large box down the road for the first time (which is an issue regardless of gas or diesel.)
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:24 PM   #33
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The dilemma I have found is mostly from the other thread in here about Air Brakes.
See, my main concern is that there are times I may need someone with me to drive the motorhome. Perhaps I have one too many at the game, perhaps I sprain an ankle while four-wheeling. This is not a common occurrence or even anything I am counting on. But I do need to prepare for the possibility.
It sounds as if there is a bit of a learning curve with a diesel pusher and it's braking system that might make it difficult for the average Joe to drive it at a moments notice.
I live in Houston TX and bought my 2005 Airstream Diesel Pusher 39' long Freightliner chassis with air brakes in March of this year. I had pulled RV trailers but had never driven a class A motor home diesel pusher. The motor home was located in Lakeview NJ. After the deal was made I flew to Lakeview NJ and spent a day with the dealer going over the coach and how things worked. I had a 30 minute training section on actually driving the motor home and could have stayed a couple more days and gotten in some more hands driving experience. But its was cold and snow was in the forecast so I pulled out for home the next morning. It drove like a dream and after 3 days on the road with a stop off at Gaffney SC to have it checked over by the Freightliner factory shop made it home with out a problem. Before picking up the coach I did spend a lot of time online reading up on the Freightliner chassis including the airbrakes so I did have some understanding of what to expect. I did have a friend come along with me but he never got behind the wheel. Since I had pulled a long RV trailer for years I knew what to expect with the big trucks on the road and how to handle the longer length of the motor home. But in the end I was amazed at how well the motor home drove on the highway, in the hills, in traffic it was smooth and responsive. I have put a few miles on since then as well as I have taken the test for the class C exemption to my TX drivers license.

To answer your concerns if for some reason you can not drive for what ever reason, you are in a motor home. Turn on the generator, AC and TV's, wait until you are able to proceed. Also in most cases you will have a toad with you. Unhook and off you go in a normal car.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #34
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I have only had my first RV, 32 foot, for 14 months. It is a diesel pusher so... I cannot make a comparison to a gasser but my pusher is easy to drive and we love it.
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:31 AM   #35
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You don't need to know how it works, or how to do your own maintenance in order to get your rig to stop with air brakes. You have a somewhat valid point there. BUT, you SHOULD know the basics of how it works.

It's important to know that air brakes are different from hydraulic brakes in some key areas. Hydraulic brakes are a sealed system with a fixed amount of fluid, where your braking technique doesn't have much impact. For example, you can pump your brakes all you want and it doesn't make any difference, in fact it can help to build pressure if you have certain failures. But if you pump air brakes you will quickly run out of air. ALL air brake drivers should know the basics of needing air pressure, know that there is a compressor that builds pressure, know how to read the air gauge, and how to run basic tests to check for leaks and proper compressor operation. You don't need to know how to repair them, but you should know the basics so you know what to do and not to do to keep you out of trouble, and how to get out of it if there is trouble.


It sounds worse than it is. It's not a difficult learning curve, it's just a bit different. It will take a couple stops to get comfortable with the feel of the brakes, and a few turns to figure out the way it tracks. Your stand in driver won't have a difficult time as long as you are still in a good enough shape to determine that things are working correctly, and can give some quick pointers (don't pump brakes, here's how to control the engine/exhaust brake, swing wide and turn later since you're on top of and not behind the front wheels.) If your stand-in isn't familiar with driving a motorhome, the learning curve dealing with the gas/diesel differences will pale compared to dealing with properly maneuvering a large box down the road for the first time (which is an issue regardless of gas or diesel.)
The point I am trying to make is that someone does not know anything at all about an RV they are looking at spending a lot of money on a class a and they come to this forum and try to get information so they can make an informed decision. The first thing they see is several people telling them they have to know how air brakes work, how to maintain them etc. etc. If they are not mechanically inclined the odds are they are going to think OMG I better not get one of these. That is not a true representation. Very few people really know how their air brakes work. Even fewer know how to do maintenance on them and even fewer have the tools to do so I know I have a really nice shop but I do not have 12 ton jack stands or a 1 inch impact wrench to get the tires off etc. How do air brakes work. There are several article on the internet that explain it, Be careful because they explain it differently depending on what kind of air brakes you have, How many people know what kind they have. How do you tell if you have an air leak. the compressors pump up to about 125 pounds you can hear that leaking. My MH has an alarm when the air pressure gets below 60 psi I believe it is. What happens if you have a leak or you pump your brakes and you lose air pressure. Your emergency brake activates and you come to a stop. That is important to know but not a big thing to find out. The most important thing to know about air brakes in my opinion is whether or not you live in a state that requires you to take a test over them before you can drive your RV. Read some articles about air brakes. Read the owners manual about Jake or engine brakes. But keep in mind that there are thousand of owners driving a lot of miles who do not have a clue how to even do the maintenance that the owners manual tells you to do.

I do agree that learning how to keep something that big between the white lines is going to be one of the harder things for an emergency driver to learn.

If the OP is worried about an emergency they have ambulances for that. For getting your rig to safety or home. Good sams among others has insurance for that. For a very small sum per year good sams will send a driver to collect your rig and drive it home if you become incapacitated and can not drive the MH home.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:34 AM   #36
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We rented a 35 foot class c that was brand new. My son drove some of the time and I drove the rest and all he could do is gripe gripe. This things is all over the road, it leans to far over the wind is blowing me all over the road. Well the MH I bought was a 2002 Fleetwood Revolution 40c. He did not want to drive it but after many words he tried it and LOVE it. SO easy to drive and wind or on coming truck don't bother you. The last Class C is built on a BUS chassis and are heavy DUTY!
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Old 09-21-2013, 04:06 AM   #37
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gemini5362, it sounds like we are essentially on the same page, but are approaching it from different directions. You complain that the way many people phrase it, makes it sound like everyone needs to know how to do the heavy repairs to their brake systems. But the way you originally phrased it makes it sound that you feel people need to know absolutely nothing about air brakes. In reality, it's somewhere in-between the extremes. Rather than sweep it under the carpet as it appears you would do, or go to the extremes others would do, I prefer to lay it out on the table and explain that some basic knowledge is a good thing.

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How do you tell if you have an air leak. the compressors pump up to about 125 pounds you can hear that leaking.
You can't count on hearing a leak over the engine, especially if the leak is after the brake treadle valve and would only be making noise while you are in the cab with your foot on the pedal. That's why the proper test is to apply and hold the brake pedal for two minutes and watch the gauge for a pressure drop (and to tap the gauge to make sure the needle isn't sticking.)

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My MH has an alarm when the air pressure gets below 60 psi I believe it is.
You believe? You should know, because a routine test should be to bleed the pressure down until it the alarm sounds, then time how long it takes to rebuild pressure. This verifies that the alarm works, and that the compressor works. My alarm starts at 70 PSI and turns off once it gets back above 90 PSI, then my compressor stops at a bit over 120 PSI.

Sounds like it may be time for you to read through that air brake manual again? (I think I will do the same, it's been a while and a refresher is always good. Thanks for the reminder.)

While everybody doesn't necessarily need to know how to fix the problems, all air brake drivers should know how to do these basic tests (and actually do them routinely) so that they know when to get service and not drive the rig.

Quote:
I do agree that learning how to keep something that big between the white lines is going to be one of the harder things for an emergency driver to learn.
It's scary that some people can't even keep their little cars between the lines, and downright terrifying that some of them are piloting big RVs!
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:41 AM   #38
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Here is a link to a You Tube video Drivers Confidence video # 1 Adjusting your mirrors prepared by Lazydays RV. Driver's Confidence Video 1: Adjusting Your Mirrors - YouTube

I think there are 7 videos in this series and you can goggle "Drivers Confidence video you tube" for the others. I found these to be very helpful in driving a class A motor home.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:28 PM   #39
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Here is the complete Driver Confidence video series: Drivers Confidence - betterRVing! Experience better RVing.

Not a bad idea to go back and watch them every few years as a refresher. Lots of other good info at that site, as well.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:33 PM   #40
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Thanks ShapeShifter!
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:56 PM   #41
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gemini5362, it sounds like we are essentially on the same page, but are approaching it from different directions. You complain that the way many people phrase it, makes it sound like everyone needs to know how to do the heavy repairs to their brake systems. But the way you originally phrased it makes it sound that you feel people need to know absolutely nothing about air brakes. In reality, it's somewhere in-between the extremes. Rather than sweep it under the carpet as it appears you would do, or go to the extremes others would do, I prefer to lay it out on the table and explain that some basic knowledge is a good thing.


You can't count on hearing a leak over the engine, especially if the leak is after the brake treadle valve and would only be making noise while you are in the cab with your foot on the pedal. That's why the proper test is to apply and hold the brake pedal for two minutes and watch the gauge for a pressure drop (and to tap the gauge to make sure the needle isn't sticking.)


You believe? You should know, because a routine test should be to bleed the pressure down until it the alarm sounds, then time how long it takes to rebuild pressure. This verifies that the alarm works, and that the compressor works. My alarm starts at 70 PSI and turns off once it gets back above 90 PSI, then my compressor stops at a bit over 120 PSI.

Sounds like it may be time for you to read through that air brake manual again? (I think I will do the same, it's been a while and a refresher is always good. Thanks for the reminder.)

While everybody doesn't necessarily need to know how to fix the problems, all air brake drivers should know how to do these basic tests (and actually do them routinely) so that they know when to get service and not drive the rig.


It's scary that some people can't even keep their little cars between the lines, and downright terrifying that some of them are piloting big RVs!
Actually we are not on that much of a different page I am being somewhat obstreperous.

When I say I believe what the pressure is that is because I just don't remember what the actual number is and have not paid that much attention to it. I know for sure that my alarm works because I hear it every time I power up the engine to move out of a campsite. On my Allegro Bus when I level the coach the first thing that happens is the dump valve on my air bags opens and dumps the air out of the air bags then the hydraulic jacks do their thing and the coach levels. When I get ready to leave camp I take the bus off the jacks and start the engine. The air brake warning buzzer drives me crazy waiting for air pressure to come up to the value that it is set for so I know that works. I also know the pressure gauges are working because I see them move when the pressure is coming up. I also have an engine management system that monitors several things including air pressure it displays low air pressure warning and the pressure as a digital readout so I actually have two systems to monitor my air pressure. I am going to defer to your knowledge of how to test the air brakes. I never actually saw a test but I think I do more of an indirect common knowledge test which probably follows your actual test. When I am leaving a campground they are never just a straight get in and start up and leave situation. There are usually several curves to negotiate and several times of barely moving and hitting the brakes while I am watching the mirrors to make sure the toad does not hit a sign or a gate or another rv etc. By the time I am on the open road I have hit my brakes probably at least a dozen times. If there is a leak that is going to affect my ability to stop that should show it up. At campground speeds low air is going to set the parking brake and while it will be annoying it will not be life threatening.

You are correct about taking the time to learn the basics. There are some practical differences and everyone should know the basics of how to operate their machinery whether it is a car, motor home, tractor or a space shuttle.

We are both in agreement I believe as are other posters when giving us a glimpse of their experiences. Driving a motor home is not as scary an experience as it would lead you to believe by the size. I had a 5th wheel before buying my motorhome and never got comfortable towing it or backing it into a space etc. I test drove a few class A units and did not like the wind or diesel truck issues before deciding I could not take my money with me when I died and decided to look at Class A DP. I felt like I had come home when I got behind the wheel of a diesel pusher. Driving was a lot easier than I expected. It was a lot easier to maneuver around than I expected and it was so comfortable to drive. I had it three months when I had to make a trip to LA. My wife was still working so I drove out by myself and attended a convention then she flew out after the convention and we spent a week in LA and northern California. I did not have any problems with the traffic when I got to LA on sunday afternoon. I will confess that when we left the campground on Monday morning I got up at 4am so I would not have to drive the camper with the toad through Monday morning rush hour traffic but other than that I have not felt the need to try to minimize driving in traffic or pulling into large parking lots etc. I hope the OP is reading this and has a bit of confidence about driving and having someone drive for him if an emergency happens. My wife refuses to learn how to drive it. If something happens where I could not drive we have a tow vehicle she knows how to unhook that. She could drive somewhere to an RV sales or service establishment and hire someone like a salesman or mechanic to come get the vehicle after hours if the need arose or go to an RV campground and see if she could find someone that would help her out. Do not let the worry of something possibly happening influence your decision. One of the biggest joys I have of my DP is driving with that huge front window. I never really appreciated the purple mountain majesties until I was driving to California and the view out the front was awe inspiring.
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:59 PM   #42
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This is probably a stupid question, and will surely get answered if I take a course, but how do the air brakes work if stuck in stop and go traffic? How do you keep the pressure from bleeding out? A lot of my RV'ing involves stop and go traffic.
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