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Old 08-14-2007, 04:58 AM   #1
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I see HWH has an ad for Active Air is this what
Newmar has called Comfort Drive, or is it a system very close to it.
Go to HWH.com
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:58 AM   #2
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I see HWH has an ad for Active Air is this what
Newmar has called Comfort Drive, or is it a system very close to it.
Go to HWH.com
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:20 AM   #3
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HWH's Active Air is an air suspension control system to help keep the coach level while driving.

Comfort Drive was invented and developed by TRW, licensed to Spartan Chassis, and used exclusively on Newmar diesel pushers.

Comfort Drive is a computerized power assisted steering system contained in the steering column.

Two entirely different systems.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:54 AM   #4
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Thank You Route 66 for clearing this up in my mind.
Now that I know that they are two complete different systems my next question is
How do they compare to each other for improving driving. Are they apples/oranges or both about the same.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:04 AM   #5
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Just as a "quick" reply, as I have no knowledge of the HWH "Active Air" system.

Based on what Dirk says, the HWH system levels the coach as you drive.

Based on some 20,000 miles of driving, I can tell you the Comfort Drive works continuously to improve the ride of your coach against road crowns and even the consistent buffeting of cross winds.
There's the "auto centering" feature whereby you can turn a corner and physically let the wheel slip through your fingers and it will track back straight.
You can back into your site and as you're backing up and "find" that line, let the wheel go....it'll track straight into the space.

Comfort Drive has allowed me to more comfortably operate my coach going down the road, as I NEVER was able to drive more than two or three hours at a time without getting up.
I recently drove from Virginia Beach, VA to Nappanee,IN and only stopped twice....

There's SO much more, I just wanted to offer my brief thoughts.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:16 AM   #6
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I haven't read any reports by Active Air owners, but I have read about and talked to many Comfort Drive owners.

No one who has Comfort Drive is disappointed, and there have been zero problems.

Looking at HWH's site, the Active Air is designed to stabilize and level the coach under a variety of road conditions.

Comfort Drive reduces steering input, and greatly improves directional stability.

If I had to choose between the two, I would take Comfort Drive without hesitation.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:34 AM   #7
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I am hoping that someone in the Newmar group has owned and has driving both systems. When I went on WWW.HWH, Fred Grunder Dir. of Parts & Servive/Product Training Manager states in one of his e-mails "that the buffeting of the wind and passing vehicles is greatly reduced." as per owners of the system.
Grunder isn't claiming that , but what his customers are telling him. Just trying to get as much info as I can.
As Comfort Drive is not available for retrofit and if it becomes available to take the front cap off and have the coach repainted, it would be cheaper to buy a new Newmar.
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:55 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">As Comfort Drive is not available for retrofit and if it becomes available </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've talked to Newmar, Spartan, and TRW folks, and there are no plans for retrofits.

Not to say something won't change in the future, but I'm not holding my breath.

It looks like very long odds on a retrofit.
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:00 AM   #9
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A few years ago, Spartan offered an active ride option. American Coach was the only builder to
use it. It went through a couple of generations, but was problematic.

I believe that a well implemented active ride suspension makes a lot of sense on a big coach,
more so than on a luxury car. To be able to control roll and pitch on a coach beyond what current air suspension offer mechanically would
be a big step forward.

I would love to hear from somebody who has had
experience with the HWH system. If done effectively, there is no reason why active suspension would not be as big or even a bigger
step than Comfort Drive. Used together, it could be the hot setup.

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Old 08-14-2007, 11:45 AM   #10
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Big Mike w/Spartan who gives talks at Newmar International Rallies told us in Gillette that it can't be retro-fitted. However, Barney has it on his '06 EXDP.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:50 AM   #11
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Barney was one of the folks that were used as testers...There was no retrofit, his coach was used as a test coach.
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:01 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Big Mike w/Spartan who gives talks at Newmar International Rallies told us in Gillette that it can't be retro-fitted. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not can't, won't.

On my last visit to Newmar, I had the pleasure of meeting Ken Sherwin of TRW, the inventor and developer of Comfort Drive.

Newmar had Bob's steering column apart for an unrelated matter, and Ken explained the workings to me.

Spartan ships the Comfort Drive steering column separately, and the chassis is built with a standard column. Newmar swaps the columns.

The Comfort Drive column is wider than the standard column.

The 2008 DSDP has much wider "notch" in the dash for the Comfort Drive column to fit.

In my case the entire upper and lower dash would have to be replaced.

There is also a speed sensor that is cabled from the rear to the column. The entire system is self contained in the column, with only the speed sensor, and power as the outside connections.

None of these are insurmountable obstacles, but Newmar, as the holder of the two year exclusive "rights" to sell this product has decided not to do retrofits.
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:30 PM   #13
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The Essex, at least the '07, has Hadley active ride which is constantly adjusting the ride height, noticably at a stop as the air exhausts on and off. This works to constantly level all corners in relation to ride heigth. The HWH Active drive, however is a different animal I believe. I believe it actually levels the coach relatively to gravity. This would lift the right side of a coach when it was operating on a road that was crowned to the right to make it level. I wonder however how stable that system would be. Using the same senario, the coach running down a road crowned heavily to the right and the coach body at near gravity level. What happens if you pull into the passing lane which slopes in the opposite direction. The coach body would be leaning heavily to the left at twice the normal slope until the air could be redistributed. Being that it is air pressure, there is no way this is near instant. The vehicle would be very unstable for several to many seconds.
Hopefully someone will post that has it and comment.

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Old 08-15-2007, 04:23 AM   #14
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First let me say I am very pleased with the responses to this point,but was hoping to get input from Active Air owners.

Knowing I can't get Comfort Drive without buying a new coach and being very happy with my current coach, I was looking for a system that would do for me what Comfort Drive does for Newmar owners, making driving a whole lot more enjoyable.

Bob has a seperate thread "Tests for Comfort Drive Owners or Test Drivers" gave some good info on the Comfort Drive workings.

Jeff Regan stated it had past problems, but could be a great system if improvements have been made and put together with Comfort Drive would be an out of this world driving system.

Route 66 stated the the system is tied up by Newmar for at least 2 more years, but that the system could be retrofitted.

Lug-Nut had a very good question on how the system would handle road crowns and what would happen if you changed lanes to pass.

These are the questions and answers I am looking for, but maybe I should be in a different area of Irv2.com. If that's the case help to put this thread there.
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