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Old 02-06-2019, 09:03 PM   #1
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Gassers on Ford F53 Chassis?

We are looking to upgrade from our current Class C to an A. For a multitude of reasons we are going to stay around the 32' range and have been looking at the models that are are on the Ford F53 Chassis with the 3 valve V-10 gas engine, for example the Forest River FR3 - 30DS. Brings up a couple questions for those of you that have experience with these rigs.

1. Does the V-10 have enough power to manage the heavier class A, especially when pulling a trailer? Our current V-10 Class C handles our Jeep on a trailer just fine - Curious how the A with 4K pounds of extra weight gets along?

2. Is the gas mileage any worse than what I get now?

3. Any other issues to consider with rig?

Any info/advice appreciated!
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:16 PM   #2
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The 3 valve, V10 has enough power. The final drive, gear ratio, may be higher to compensate for the added weight.
A bit higher RPMS for the same speed as the E450.

Your mileage may be less, just because its bigger and heavier.

Its going to ride rougher the a class C.

Test drive, test drive, test drive.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:20 PM   #3
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The V-10 is not a diesel but it has pretty good power. You just gotta let it wind up to over 4000 rpm on the mountain grades and let er run.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:55 PM   #4
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"going to ride rougher than the Class C"

Really? Wasn't expecting that cause the C is pretty rough. Why is that?

Thanks for the response.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:10 PM   #5
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I pulled a open trailer with a Grand National on it that weighed almost 4000 lbs. not including the trailer through the Rockies with no problems. It slowed down pretty good on some of the grades but still made it up and never got hot. Mine has the V10 but not the 3 valve so a little less power and is 35' long. The noise is annoying when revving 4,000 rpm but thats my only complaint.
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Old 02-07-2019, 12:30 AM   #6
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Most F53 class A tow limits may likely be exceeded with a jeep and trailer.
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Old 02-07-2019, 01:55 AM   #7
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7 mpg +/- depending on where and how you drive. Chassis is a little light - 18,000 GVWR, 23,000 GCWR You will be right at the edge load wise.
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Old 02-07-2019, 04:42 AM   #8
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The V10 will get you and the coach anywhere in North America on improved roads. Four wheeling on logging trails in the North West or on a soft sand beach in the Gulf Coast area may not end well. If you do go with a FR3-30DS on the 18,000 lbs chassis you shouldn't have any problems with a tow at 4000 lbs but run the numbers if something different catches your eye.

As others have posted you might see a higher fuel usage if the class A is a heavier coach then the class C. Aerodynamics of the class A will also have an effect (brick on wheels). Towing 4K will naturally drop the number and the weight of your right foot will also play a major role in the final number.

Stay on top of recommended scheduled maintenance and the house side of the coach will probably fall apart before the chassis.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:01 AM   #9
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Based on my experience, the weak link with the F-53 is not the V10. This is especially true with the newer 6-speed tranny configurations. The weak link is the suspension. You should plan on adding suspension mods to eliminate a white knuckle experience from wind and passing trucks. Like all trucks, F-53s ride better loaded than unloaded.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVJeeper18 View Post
We are looking to upgrade from our current Class C to an A. For a multitude of reasons we are going to stay around the 32' range and have been looking at the models that are are on the Ford F53 Chassis with the 3 valve V-10 gas engine, for example the Forest River FR3 - 30DS. Brings up a couple questions for those of you that have experience with these rigs.

1. Does the V-10 have enough power to manage the heavier class A, especially when pulling a trailer? Our current V-10 Class C handles our Jeep on a trailer just fine - Curious how the A with 4K pounds of extra weight gets along?

It will do just fine. It has a 5K towing capacity. Just wondering why you do not flat tow the jeep? Get rid of the trailer weight.

2. Is the gas mileage any worse than what I get now?

I get between 6.5 and 7.5mpg. A lot depends on terrain I am driving on, winds, how loaded the motor is, and if towing or not. Never rally goes below 6mpg in the worst conditions.

3. Any other issues to consider with rig?

It will not drive like your old Crown Vic. It is larger than a Class C but no9t difficult to drive.

Any info/advice appreciated!

Driving a motor home to me is a mind set. When i get in mine, I get relaxed, I know I will not be in the fast lane much,I know I will slow up going up hills and will have to control my speed going down hill. I drive perhaps a little more defensively. Use common sense.
Hope this helps a little - Good luck to you.

g
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:49 AM   #11
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How does the F53 handle the "downhill" with the tow haul engine braking? That is my biggest fear with a gas coach and I have been looking at DP's for this reason. However, if it does well then maybe I can still include gas.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by vettenuts View Post
How does the F53 handle the "downhill" with the tow haul engine braking? That is my biggest fear with a gas coach and I have been looking at DP's for this reason. However, if it does well then maybe I can still include gas.
An excerpt from a previous post of mine......

I enjoy the "challenges" associated with mountain driving.

You have to enjoy being actively engaged and focused, managing your speed, rpm, looking at curve geometry, managing dynamic weight transfer, brakes and braking points; it's much like driving a race car / sports car at speed on a road course race track, but in slow motion.

You just have to take control and “actively” drive the coach yourself, use “tow/haul” mode, and no cruise control. In most cases going up steeper grades it’s easy enough to lock in at the 4250rpm range and then your speed is what it is; ocassionaly you'll end up in the next higher rpm bracket, but you’ll seldom have to run there for any length of time; it’s just up to you to control it with your right foot. You are not going to win any races, but you’ll get there.

At the extreme end of going down steep grades (something like the beginning of going down Wolf Creek Pass southbound) to keep it in 1st gear which will hold until about 35mph, you’ll need to start down at about 15-20mph and you just have to realize it’s ok to be at 5000+ rpm and you are not damaging anything.

Just one other thought on driving downgrades. When having to use the brakes, and to minimize heat build up / maximize brake cooling, brake agressively, on them hard (and I mean HARD, real hard) then get off them immediately once you've reached your target speed. Yes you'll get some noticeable nose dive, and if you don't, you didn't brake hard enough. You do have to be cognizant of anyone closely following, so you might want to give a short tap on the brakes as a warning before jumping on them hard so as not to surprise the following driver.

Brake in a straight line BEFORE the corner, and slow enough for the tightest part the corner before you get to the corner; “trail braking" through a corner in a large RV isn't a good idea........

Some of the roads with significant grades we have taken in our gasser (~22,600#s fully loaded) always pulling the toad (~4,500#s) include:

I40 over the Smokies in both directions
I77 over Fancy Gap in in VA both directions
Both of which are “introduction mountain driving”

And then there are the “real mountains”:
I70 eastbound in eastern UT
Vail Pass eastbound
CO9 southbound from Breckinridge
Up and down to Estes Park
UT12 Bryce to Torrey
Wolf Creek Pass southbound
CO149 / Slumgullion Pass southbound
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slumgullion_Pass‬
Slumgullion Pass, elevation 11,530 ft (3,510 m), is a mountain pass in Colorado traversed by State Highway 149 east of Lake City. The north side has the steepest grade of any continuously paved road in Colorado (9%)

As well as some some fun grades in Quebec along the St. Lawrence, and across New Brunswick.

We’ll be heading back to the Rockies and west coast this coming summer.....
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by vettenuts View Post
How does the F53 handle the "downhill" with the tow haul engine braking? That is my biggest fear with a gas coach and I have been looking at DP's for this reason. However, if it does well then maybe I can still include gas.
I don't have a heavy class A but went from a 4 speed OD OFF transmission to a 6 speed Tow Haul model.

I turn the tow/haul on, set the cruise control to 60 MPH and let it drive. It climbs and desends hill at speed with no input from my foot.
A pleasure compared to the old 4 speed where I would need to mash the gas to get a downshift before it kicked out the cruise or move the shifter to downshift on the way down.

I haven't done any " Rocky Mountain " climbing but the NY mountains are no problem with it and the toad.

Ford got this one right.
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Old 02-07-2019, 10:12 AM   #14
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I went from a 2013 16,000 pound F53 to a 2017 24,000 pound F53 chassis with the new 6-speed transmission. I towed the same CRV with both.

The lighter RV handled steep downgrades better. The engine braking still works OK with the larger RV, but I have to use the brakes more when going downhill.

I agree with the earlier post that you can let it rev to 5,000 when going downhill with no problem. I usually let it slowly build up to 5,000 RPM, and then press the brakes FIRMLY to reduce speed then let it slowly build up again. I have had no issues with overheated brakes at all.

Overall, the ride is better with the larger RV. The longer chassis and bigger wheels really make a difference.
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