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Old 12-15-2014, 02:38 PM   #1
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Freightliner's steerable tag

With Freightliner's steerable tag debuting at Louisville, I'm wondering what units will have it. I'm also curious if Spartan will follow suit. Anybody have any ideas or inside knowledge?
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:56 PM   #2
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I am not sure what coaches would have it. Likely upper end as it will add to the cost of the chassis.

Off of the question asked.

I wonder if there is much benefit from having a steerable tag on any coach? I find that the tag dump works quite well on our MH. It does roll a bit of grass when traveling to the storage shed and does leave a faint mark on asphalt when making tight turns. The dump works well when reversing leaving minor tire marks.

However since the tires will age before wearing out on 90%+ (SWAG estimate on my part) wearing the tires out will not be an issue.

On the down side the tag is likely not steerable in reverse meaning there will be a mechanism in place to lock in the center position at which point the tag dump will be utilized. However this adds another mechanism that must be maintained and repaired. One thread on this forum already dealt with the failure of the mechanism and the issue of backing up with it not working. Probably still under warranty but you have to get it to a warranty center.

IMO a steerable tag has limited practical function in an RV and may not be worth the surcharge.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:12 PM   #3
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It's a whiz-bang more than a need. High mileage, local delivery vehicles scrub tires a lot and can benefit from a steerable tag. Highway use vehicles probably do not, and motorhomes are more highway than local. And turning on grass, sand or gravel roads doesn't bother the tag at all.

I had a gas coach with a tag that wasn't even liftable, let alone steerable, and the wear difference was negligible.
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:13 PM   #4
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Gordon, the website says it's not steerable in reverse.
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:57 PM   #5
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Before you form an opinion go see a 45 foot coach with a steerable tag in action. It is amazing how sharp they turn and how maneuverable the coach becomes. Newell has used the ZF steerable tag for 10 years with no problems. Hopefully Freightliner's application will be as good.

Steve...................
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Old 12-16-2014, 10:56 AM   #6
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Before you form an opinion go see a 45 foot coach with a steerable tag in action. It is amazing how sharp they turn and how maneuverable the coach becomes. Newell has used the ZF steerable tag for 10 years with no problems. Hopefully Freightliner's application will be as good.

Steve...................

Just the fact that Newell has found it to be important enough to use and now Freightliner has added it makes me think that this is not just a passing fad. I'd really like to drive a coach with the steerable tag and see how much different it would feel.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:04 AM   #7
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I wasn't trying to suggest it's not a nice feature to have. Just That it's an extra goodie rather than a basic need.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #8
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Wnytaxman,
Don't do it............................Just seeing one in action will sell you on the product. Driving one will cause you to lose sleep until you own one!

Gary,
I was making no judgement of your post. Until you see one or drive one I can see where it only sounds mildly interesting. But when I heard about AquaHot systems I wondered what all the hoopla was about--now that I have one I wouldn't do without it. Same goes for the steerable tag. My only intent is to remind people to at least go see one in action--then you can form your own intelligent opinion.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:30 AM   #9
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I have watched a video showing the steerable tag in action. It was impressive. They showed it in a slow speed turn in a parking lot and the turn on the tag was noticeable.

BUT . . . They did not show a non steerable tag with the air dumped to compare the difference in turning. A non steerable with the tag dumped will likely turn in a very similar path as the steerable. On auto my tag dumps at parking lot speeds. With the tag dumped the drive axle becomes the pivot point (wheelbase) and along with the steering cut determines the effective turning radius.

It will be important to Newell as a marketing tool. Many will be upgrading their current coach to the "improved" steerable tag. Freightliner has to follow along if they ever hope to sell a high end chassis to Newell or any other manufacturer who is in comptetion for high end coaches.

It would be grand if the steerable would stop the tire aging process so the tires would last long enough for the reduced wear to be a factor.

One of the threads here had an issue with the steerable. The center locking for reverse had failed. No matter which way the poster tried to back up the steerable would castor in the opposite direction which resulted in having to drag the tag tires. Only way to fix that is a trip to a repair center.
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:49 AM   #10
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Gordon,
Have you ever wondered how Michelin or who ever makes your drive tires feels about you lifting your tag axle and therefore overloading the drive tires, Alcoa rims and axle above their rating? Also when you raise the tag you lose the stabilizing effect of having a tag axle. Go see a steerable tag. It is a better system than a raisable tag.

Bluebird used a steerable tag that locked in reverse, but the system failed and it was ditched.

Newell uses an active steerable tag that is active at any speed--forward or backwards. Freightliner's application sounds slightly different although manufactured by the same company.

Have a great day............................
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Old 12-16-2014, 11:59 AM   #11
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Gordon,
Have you ever wondered how Michelin or who ever makes your drive tires feels about you lifting your tag axle and therefore overloading the drive tires and axle above their rating?

Bluebird used a steerable tag that locked in reverse, but the system failed and it was ditched.

Newell uses an active steerable tag that is active at any speed--forward or backwards.

Have a great day............................
I am only using the information as posted on the thread in IRV2. That poster claimed the tag locked in the straight position during reverse. If an active tag failed it would be very difficult to reverse once the tag castored away from the turn, especially since they would be unlikely to have a tag dump. It would cause some serious tire skidding if on asphalt.

Checking the Newmar site the 2015 brochures say the King Aire and Essex come with a Spartan K3 passive steerable tag as standard equipment.

For my situation I hope I am OK. Freightliner would have speced the tires from Michelin. Both would be aware the tags would dump. In addition Winnebago has specified an upgraded front axle so weight wise I should be under GAWR for the front. (I dont have the exact numbers with me as the coach is about 1800 miles away on our RV lot. We are home for Christmas.)

At slow speeds the tires should be fine for the distance I normally travel with the tag dumped. It is automatic in reverse and reinflated in forward at 8 mph.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:37 PM   #12
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I am only using the information as posted on the thread in IRV2. That poster claimed the tag locked in the straight position during reverse. If an active tag failed it would be very difficult to reverse once the tag castored away from the turn, especially since they would be unlikely to have a tag dump. It would cause some serious tire skidding if on asphalt.

Checking the Newmar site the 2015 brochures say the King Aire and Essex come with a Spartan K3 passive steerable tag as standard equipment.

For my situation I hope I am OK. Freightliner would have speced the tires from Michelin. Both would be aware the tags would dump. In addition Winnebago has specified an upgraded front axle so weight wise I should be under GAWR for the front. (I dont have the exact numbers with me as the coach is about 1800 miles away on our RV lot. We are home for Christmas.)

At slow speeds the tires should be fine for the distance I normally travel with the tag dumped. It is automatic in reverse and reinflated in forward at 8 mph.

Gordon, do you have any information on what a "passive" steerable tag is as opposed to what Freightliner is marketing? I'm curious as to what Spartan has as opposed to what Freightliner is offering.

My main concern is not necessarily tire wear, but handling on a normal driving basis. I have seen some tour buses that have the steerable tag and I watched them maneuver into spaces that most of us would find difficult at best.
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Old 12-16-2014, 01:00 PM   #13
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Many, many posters here will strongly disagree with my purely personal opinion about this. I believe that a steerable tag is driven more by the marketing department than by the desire to meet a legitimate need. Having the ability to lift a tag or release the pressure on the tag has a certain amount of utility and can be accomplished fairly inexpensively and without introducing fragile complicated components. As tag axles have become the norm on more and more coaches the high end builders have marketing departments that demand to be set apart. Their stock in trade is smoke & mirrors and depend on many buyers succumbing to the newest buzz words.

For those of you who are sure I'm wrong, I'll give you more ammo. I feel much the same about IFS. IFS has more owner/driver benefit but at the expense of ruggedness and complexity.


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Old 12-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #14
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With Freightliner's steerable tag debuting at Louisville, I'm wondering what units will have it. I'm also curious if Spartan will follow suit. Anybody have any ideas or inside knowledge?
Hi wnytaxman,

Is the Freightliner Steerable tag being debuted in Louisville different front the Freightliner Steerable tag that's already available as an option on the 2015 Newmar Essex?
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