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Old 11-14-2014, 06:42 PM   #1
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Comments on the Workhorse chassis

We currently have a 1996 36' Damon Ultrasport that has been a great rv for us, but now that the family/grandchildren no longer go with us, we are looking at slightly newer (2001-2005, 30'-34' rvs with a slideout. There are many of these with fairly low miles priced in the low 20's. I am curious about general feeling about the Workhorse chassis and the GM engine. Have always had Fords and was looking forward to having the V-10, but don't want to pass up a nice rv over this if it's not significant. We put about 5k miles a year on the rv, so it's not really heavily used. I do most of my own repairs, when I can. Any concerns I should keep in mind? For that size, should i be looking at a unit with 2 ac's living in the south or will one be sufficient. Actually, rarely use the rig in the middle of the summer anyway. Thanks for any input
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:00 PM   #2
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Many RVer's who have the WH love them, Those with issues hate them. YOu can search on this forum and get many Opinions. I have three friends who have them. Brake problems, Caliper issues, Parking brake issues.... 1 - will not work, coach has No park so can start to drift when it is not working, 2 - Parking Brake will not release, cannot move coach, 3 - Parking Brake comes on while driving. Then they have have had ignition problems and rear axle bearing leaking. WH also had several recalls, check and see if the unit has had the recalls complete. These are some of the issues that I know of 1st. hand. Up side - Great Engine and Transmission.

Here are some threads......
https://www.google.com/search?q=work...com&gws_rd=ssl
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:11 PM   #3
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I just upgraded from the 90's to the 2000's and chose to look at only Ford chassis' units. I was concerned about all the different owners of the WH chassis and the fact it is now discontinued. Ford doesn't seem to make many big changes and will be around for the long run since they seem to own the gas business. Two air conditioners are a must for the size you are looking at. Try to get a 50 amp unit or a manufacturer that has a power management system that will run both airs at the same time, many 30 amp units won't do that.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:13 PM   #4
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All chassis, and engines can have issues. More so in certain years.

My research came back with positives on the 8.1, and yes with a few issues, but most were minor and correctable. The Workhorse, is generally a good chassis - with the same comments about certain years had some problems. (Check the Workhorse Chassis forum if researching a specific year and size chassis.)

I personally, lost any interest in dealing with Workhorse after they did not take care of a very serious and dangerous problems with Brakes. They built the chassis, and they were responsible for getting things fixed. They stood behind lawyers and pointed their finger at Bosch. In the meantime, for way too many years, owners were being told they caused the problems with their brakes due to poor driving habits. Even made them pay the costs to repair, when they knew it was a defect. As mentioned, finally recalls were done. But in the meantime, we had owners driving RV's with brakes that could go out or have low stopping power due to brake fade and or worse brake fluid boiling.

I had looked at a UFO Rexhall with the 8.1 as a possible 'until we retire' coach. Stopped thinking about it once I saw how Workhorse did business...

None the less, most owners are happy with their Workhorse chassis RV's.

Best of luck,
Smitty
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:25 PM   #5
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I drove coaches built by the same motor home manufacturer. One was on the Ford chassis and one on the Workhorse chassis. I bought the one on the Workhorse.

It handled better and the motor was quieter under load.

Workhorse did have a problem with the brakes but they had a recall and repaired them so be sure the recall has been taken care of.

Good luck,
Jon
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:45 PM   #6
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I have a 2007 on the W24 without any issues with the brakes. We have put almost 17,000 miles in the last 2 years and could not be happier with our coach. The 8.1 and Allison transmission are a superb combination. I would suggest looking for a coach on the W24 chassis.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:37 PM   #7
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workhorse

Just read that Workhorse was closed by it's owner, Navistar back in 2012. That has helped me make up my mind. While I have heard good things about the 8.1 and the Allison, they can't overcome the concerns I have heard from Workhorse owners about a variety of other, fairly serious issues. I'll stick with the Fords. Thanks to all for your input.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jluke View Post
Just read that Workhorse was closed by it's owner, Navistar back in 2012. That has helped me make up my mind. While I have heard good things about the 8.1 and the Allison, they can't overcome the concerns I have heard from Workhorse owners about a variety of other, fairly serious issues. I'll stick with the Fords. Thanks to all for your input.
You certainly have that right-it is your money. But, if you find a nice coach that meets your needs AND it happens to be on a W-20 or W-22 chassis, IMO you are foolish to let internet rumors prevent you from considering it. Those chassis models DO NOT have the problematic J71 AAPB, only the P32 chassis did, and the Bosch brake recall is the only serious problem those chassis ever had. Assuming it was done, you got 4 new calipers. It is true WCC was closed by Navistar, but parts availability is not a problem and the Allison tranny is unmatched for reliability. Back in the 2001-2005 era, Ford had not yet begun to catch up to the new standards being set by WCC, with their W-series chassis.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:27 PM   #9
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I am a ford man too but the triton v 10 had its troubles too. The aluminum head mounted on the cast iron block had quite a few problems with the spark plug hole threads stripping out and blowing spark plugs out of the holes. They created a fix by drilling out the spark plug holes and inserting a type of Heli coil which was more forgiving of higher torque and informed everyone to lube the spark plug holes prior to plug removal and to insure torque requirements were followed. This did resolve the issue. But not all back yard mechanics have this wisdom and sometimes it still becomes a problem.
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Old 11-15-2014, 03:15 AM   #10
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I have owned Fords since the 460, changed manifolds and added springs and air-bags on the V-10 chassis' I owned because they could not support the box on them.
Purchased a 2003 Workhorse with the Chev 8.1 and Allison and it was night and day over all the Fords I ever owned.
Workhorse must have done something right because in 2009 Ford came out with their first RV chassis, other than all the truck chassis they have built previously.
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Old 11-15-2014, 05:36 AM   #11
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workhorse

Based on all this input, I think i'll do a little more research before making the decision. I didn't realize that there were several different chassis' and the major problems were isolated. We still have a couple of trips planned in the Damon, so I'm not pushed to make a decision. The stories of brakes locking up and not being able to find parts or service for some of the units was disconcerting. Again, will glean the wealth of knowledge (and opinions) on here and your input has and will be appreciated as to what to look for.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Workhorse must have done something right because in 2009 Ford came out with their first RV chassis, other than all the truck chassis they have built previously.
Are you referring to the 24/26K Chassis? I'm curious because I am buying a 2008 Bounder with the 24K Ford that was not offered by Fleetwood in their 2008 literature, my unit was built late in the model year, March 2008, Chassis was built 2/2008.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:17 AM   #13
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We have a 2006 Holiday Rambler on a 2005 W-22 chassis. The brakes work fine both service and e-brake. the recall was done when we purchased. Great ride, pass semi's going up Saluda grade on I-26 into NC pulling a Honda CRV, great grade braking with the Allison, no problems so far in 3 years other than routine maint. Have a couple of Ford V-10's in work trucks but no experience with them in motorhome chassis so can't compare apples to apples.
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Old 11-15-2014, 07:58 AM   #14
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I have an older (2000) Workhorse and have been happy with it for over 4 years now - like other say, all chassis have unique issues and it is important to know what those weak areas are and what to watch out for.
My opinion is that the Workhorse with the 8.1 and Allison is a great combo - parts are readily available. There is a Workhorse UFO chassis that uses some unique hard to get parts. The W24 would be my chassis of choice if I ever decide to get a bigger rig.
P.S. Main issues: The Automatic Parking brake are on older workkhorse chassis (hydraulic that the Allison eliminates with a parking prawl - more of a fear than an issue), there is a recall that fixed the chassis brakes, a hard to get fuel filter has an after market fix, and the ignition issues have an after market fix.
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