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Old 11-24-2013, 01:52 AM   #1
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Independent Front Suspension

We are shopping for a used Class A DP... 40 footer..and am wondering how important it is to have Independant Front Suspension..how much difference is there in ride comfort in a DP In a rig without it and one with it? Does it really make a noticeable difference in how smooth the ride is and how well it handles the road? Should it be super high on the priority wish list?
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:22 AM   #2
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I am no expert in this area, just dove a lot of different kinds of coaches in testings and from what I have learned here. The biggest difference will be if you had a tire blow out; I did and because of the independent front suspension the coach was a piece of cake to handle (even one handed) at 65 mph to a slow but full stop. There will be many factors that will make a good handling coach with or without IFS and a bad handling one as well. I would have to take the way the coach drives, the quality of the craftsmanship, the selling price and all other personal amenities into consideration and if a straight axle coach fit those requirements I can always install a safety system to help with a tire blowout issue. Good luck and enjoy the hunt!
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusherdiva View Post
We are shopping for a used Class A DP... 40 footer..and am wondering how important it is to have Independant Front Suspension..how much difference is there in ride comfort in a DP In a rig without it and one with it? Does it really make a noticeable difference in how smooth the ride is and how well it handles the road? Should it be super high on the priority wish list?
Short answer... Yes! It does makes a big difference.

While different variants of stick axles can be setup to ride pretty good, every IFS coach I've driven has been better.

Years ago when Newmar offered the DutchStar on either the standard Freightliner with stick axle, or the upgraded Spartan with IFS, I had the opportunity to drive both back-to-back for comparison. The difference was significant.

Not only did the IFS Spartan ride better, it was almost immune to cross winds and truck bow wakes. The Freightliner tended to require constant correction.

The only downside of IFS that I know of is they do require periodic bushing replacement that can be pricey.

My current coach does have a stick axle, but my next coach will have IFS.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:02 AM   #4
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The IFS would be nice, all else being equal, but the lack of IFS would not keep me from buying a rig that otherwise met all of our criteria. For 98% of our driving there is no discernible difference. We are not affected much by strong crosswinds or big truck bow waves. There are, of course, other factors that contribute to handling under these conditions such as weight, length, suspension, proper steering alignment and the number of axles.

Bottom line, don't loose any sleep over it if you find your "dream" rig, and it has a beam axle.
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Old 11-24-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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Biggest difference is when semi's and OTR buses pass you.

With IFS you really have no impact from their "bow wake".

Cross wind impact is also reduced.
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Old 11-24-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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I really don't believe there are many people
that andq answer this question properly. The poster that drove two identical coaches back-to-back would be an exception. Tire pressure and the loading of the coach make a big difference in the handling of a coach. I have an independent front suspension by Spartan. The biggest problem I see with almost all of the Spartans is they have ball joint boots that deteriorate. Very bad quality of rubber used. Seems the boots are not replaceable unless you replace the whole ball joint. They charge about $2000 to do this. If you're buying used coach with IFS have them checked.
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Old 11-24-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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We went from a solid front axle to independent front suspension. The first thing I noticed was how much easier IFS was to handle on rough road. And when you hit a pothole, with IFS the whole front end doesn't shake. On smooth road, it's the same, I think. IMO, IFS just makes it easier to steer when dealing with those less-than-favorable road conditions. \ken
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
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ifs

you will be able to turn in a shorter turn radius which has got me out of some tight situations,i wouldn,t be without it.
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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when i was shopping mine, i tested with and without IFS of Country Coach's. Differences? Big.

1) With IFS, i was able to maneuver in a very tight space. Without it, I had to back and forth couple times to get out a cul de sac.
2) Noticable smooth driving and quietness
3) As above said, IFS has no CV boots. While I was under it to lube the chassis, I was amazed to see how it was designed. Virtually it should be trouble free in its life time.

in Country Coach line ups, IFS started on 2000 onward. I tested those made in 1999, everything was the same except IFS. After driving, my mind was set - IFS was a must. Now you know why I own a 2000 (since it has been 13+ years old, primary depreciation has already been done; the price for 2000 is not necessarily higher than 1999's). Whatever make you choose, go with one with IFS.
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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I have owned both and I would not own anything that was not IFS now.
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:30 PM   #11
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Consider the IFS versus the straight axle (SA). Back in the early 50's pick-up trucks used the SA. If you hit a bump with the left front wheel it would move the front of the truck to the right. As you traveled down the road that would happen back and forth. In late 1954 and on into 1955 they switched to IFS. That allowed them to drop the engine down (because there's no axle going across the front area) and lower the front profile of the truck. That's when the fenders and hood were tied together. The ride was also significantly improved.

Since on the IFS each wheel is separate from the other what happens on the left does not effect the right and vise-versa. That has to translate into an improved ride.

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Old 11-24-2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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Been following this thread because I'm shopping for my first DP. I would love to have IFS on it when we finally buy. Which 2000-2006 year coaches have the IFS front suspension. Thanks for any info ahead of time.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pusherdiva View Post
We are shopping for a used Class A DP... 40 footer..and am wondering how important it is to have Independant Front Suspension..how much difference is there in ride comfort in a DP In a rig without it and one with it? Does it really make a noticeable difference in how smooth the ride is and how well it handles the road? Should it be super high on the priority wish list?
IFS doesn't make nearly as much difference in ride/handling characteristics in a vehicle as heavy as a typical DP as in a 4-6000 pound car or pick up. I took IFS off my list of requirements when I picked my full timing coach. In my opinion, any improvement in ride is more than off set in the complexity of the system. There are benefits to a simple, rugged design.

Many coach builders use IFS as a marketing tool. If the coach you love has IFS fine. If not don't sweat it.
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
Consider the IFS versus the straight axle (SA). Back in the early 50's pick-up trucks used the SA. If you hit a bump with the left front wheel it would move the front of the truck to the right. As you traveled down the road that would happen back and forth. In late 1954 and on into 1955 they switched to IFS. That allowed them to drop the engine down (because there's no axle going across the front area) and lower the front profile of the truck. That's when the fenders and hood were tied together. The ride was also significantly improved.

Since on the IFS each wheel is separate from the other what happens on the left does not effect the right and vise-versa. That has to translate into an improved ride.

TeJay
Bingo, right on the point
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