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Old 09-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #1
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Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 134
Driving late model vs 97 f53

Our bounder is the only rv I've ever driven, so I have nothing to compare it to. We've had the front end checked and all was ok except steering stabilizer which we replaced with a bilstein. Tires are fine, proper inflation. To me it drives ok, but definitely not like a car. It requires significantly more attention. For my dad, he feels driving it more than 200 miles wears him out. Me, I'm fine with that distance but am a bit concerned about being behind the wheel driving 10 hours to Orlando. (I'd have absolutely no problem with that distance or more in the car)


How much better will a newer gasser with 22.5 wheels and the wider track drive down the interstate? (our bounder has 16s and the narrow track )

Would a 30 footer drive any better than our 36?

Finally, since we like the bounder floor plan, would a 2002 bounder 39z diesel drive significantly better than our bounder?

Thanks for the opinions!

1998 Fleetwood Bounder 36s...F53 TAG with 460 v8 55,000 miles. master tow dolly. 2 furkids
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:03 PM   #2
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Fleetwood Owners Club
Holiday Rambler Owners Club
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Posts: 571
The new Ford chassis is a world of difference from the earlier chassis and the 22.5 wheels a part of that but more for weight capacity. I have one and can tell you there is no wondering and driving one handed is no problem. Haven't driven one but the Bounder diesel probably handles pretty nice.

2015, HR Ambassador 38DBT / 2006 Jeep TJ Towd
340 Cummins / Freightliner Chassis
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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I had a 1997 Holiday Rambler 32' on the ford chassis with 16" wheels. I now drive a 1998 GeogieBoy 3590 on the freightliner chassis with 22.5' wheels.

It's like day and night! Took two hands to drive the Ford. We put all new shocks, tires, and bushing on it. Still a two hander! The Freightliner chassis with 22.5 handles great!. One hand on the wheel most the time. Even has a tighter turning radius too!

You might be able to get your Ford to handle better by adding 22.5" wheels. But the tire cost twice as much as the 16 or 19"s
2003 GBM Pursuit 35' F53 Chassis
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #4
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Posts: 134
Thanks the responses. I NOW know dads reason for asking the original questions, specifically the shorter length. He ran up over large rock with the left rear at crackle barrel. Said it almost turned over. Chassis flexed enough that it cracked the right windshield and popped part of the left one out of the frame. Sh$t happens. Now I only hope I don't screw up on my disney trip in Nov!!
Thanks again.
1998 Fleetwood Bounder 36s...F53 TAG with 460 v8 55,000 miles. master tow dolly. 2 furkids
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:17 PM   #5
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Install a henderson trac bar on the rear of that bounder and it will be like night and day. I installed it on my winnie and now it is a one hand driver and no sway from trucks passing at all. I too have the 16 inch wheels.
Roy & Sabine Lyons
98 Itasca 35' Class A Gas with Banks Powerpack
98 Honda CRV Toad
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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I doubt you'll ever get the motorhome to drive like the family sedan. That being said there have been vast improvements on the F53 chassis since 1997. It now comes with a 362 hp V10, a 5 speed trransmission, 22.5" tires, and a host of other handling improvements.

The swaying and otherwise poor handling are as much a function of the ratio of the wheelbase as the overall length of the vehicle. An old rule of thumb is the wheelbase must be at least 52% of the overall length of the motorhome to get reasonable handling.

Our 2001 Winnebago Adventurer was built on a 208" wheelbase with an overall length of 32' 11". The wheelbase was right at 52% of the overall length. It had a 310 hp V10 with a 4 speed transmission, disk brakes all around, and 19.5" tires. At the time I thought it drove and handled pretty well.

Our new 2013 Adventurer is built on the 228" wheelbase with an overall length of 33' 3". The wheelbase is 57% of the overall length. There is a significant improvement in performance and handling. I'm sure the things I mentioned are only a few of the things that have changed over the years. The nice thing is that everything seems to have changed for the better.
2013 Adventurer 32H
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Old 09-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #7
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Our 94 32H Bounder was on the F53 platform and the 460 had plenty of power and not bad driving at all. Then came our 04 Workhorse with the 8.1 attached to the Allison trans but just the suspension difference between the two was like night and day. Absolutely no comparison at all. There are NO mods to our current rig ( shocks, steering stabilizer etc.) and it drives perfect.

Steve & Sally / HiTee & Hudson Our Little Poms / Heidi & Houston Forever in our Hearts
04 NEWMAR MACA 3778 W22 / 05 PT Vert
Michigan (Summer) Florida (Winter)
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