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Old 06-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
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Question Independent Front Suspension ... what's the buzz?

As I have researched all these (dozens!) motorhomes to determine which one is best for me, I have discovered how tough it is to find models with IFS! I have only found three that MSRP for LESS than $400k - Tiffin offers it on the Allegro Bus; Entegra does NOT offer it on the Aspire , but does offer it on the Anthem; and Itasca/Winnebago offers it on the Ellipse/Tour.

Monaco/Holiday Rambler are pretty vague on their Roadmaster chassis - does their airbag system fulfill the same function as IFS? Newmar doesn't list IFS on their Dutch Star info, which is on a Freightliner chassis - anyone know the scoop on that one?

Have I missed any others? That seems like it should be a must-have for high-mileage RVers!



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Old 06-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #2
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It helps to stop some inside roll when going over an uneven surface like turning into a parking lot with a rise or dip. On the open road no difference. I had 2 of each.

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Old 06-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #3
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Not sure about all the new class A's but the IFS chassis as I understand is a Spartan design. Up until 2010 Newmar offered the IFS Spartan as standard. Since then, I see they only offer the Freightliner chassis as standard.
In my research, the IFS is a much better handling and riding chassis but since I have not driven both, I should bow out on this point.

One thing is for sure, the Spartan chassis is a more expensive chassis than the Freightliner and I suppose that is the main reason Newmar has made a change.
If you are looking at a New rig, I think you will be limited to a solid axle chassis IE Freightliner. Always comes down to the bucks

FYI, there is a database program at www.rv.org that will give you some real good information to help with your search. I purchased it for about $140 during our search for a used rig and it proved to be the best money I've spent in a while. These people have been in the bussines of rating RV's for a long time and they are an independant group not funded by the RV industry.
Dennis & Carol
Said so long to our DSDP. Coming Soon, 2019 Unity LTV CB - 2013 Honda CRV, BlueOx Baseplate, Aventa Bar & Patriot Brake. And the 04 Bird
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
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My 2012 Newmar Dutch Star has IFS and it's great I've had it on both my Newmars
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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An IFS is expensive, so most low end and mid range coaches don't have it. And in todays RV market, $250k is not considered high end. American Coach (Tradition, Eagle & Heritage) have an IFS, but they are over $400k.

Monaco's Roadmaster chassis is not an IFS. The I-beam axle on the front subframe does not allow the wheels to act independently, i.e. when one one side goes down, the other goes up.

That said, a modern Solid (I-beam) axle with air suspension handles quite well. I really don't think you are suffering much to be without an IFS. While the IFS is technically superior when encountering major potholes, there is no material difference on most halfway decent road surfaces. By the way, I'm not rationalizing. I own a coach with the ZF IFS.

Freightliner will configure their chassis with either I-beam axle or IFS. I think they even even have a choice of two different IFS. The motorhome builder orders whatever he wants.
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Old 06-18-2012, 08:02 PM   #6
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Have had two Dutch Stars, 2000 had beam axle, 2002 has IFS. Will stick with the IFS till I drive something better!
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:58 PM   #7
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We have IFS. It is the only way to go. Ride is better. Turning radius is far better, and that is significant unless your day job is piloting the Queen Mary. Think about it. When is the last time Chevy, Ford, GMC, or Dodge put solid axle front ends in their trucks. Decades ago. There is a reason. I don't know about new, but I think all Country Coach from about 2000 on had IFS.

I test drove a 42' coach with solid front end when we were looking three years ago. Forget about it. Turning circle way too big. Another thing that helps with turning circle is a tag. Get one of those too.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
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Built On Freightliner Here is Freightliner's rv chassis site.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:41 PM   #9
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Check here: www.americancoach.com Might have to buy used to get under $400k.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:40 PM   #10
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My Rev has a front axle, so does my Jeep. They both drive just fine. I can't see spending one more Dollar than I did just to get IFS. If other "stuff" I wanted came in the same package I might spend the money, but not just for IFS. Realistically, these Coaches just don't get in that many situations, at speed, or driven slowly, where IFS will truly make a difference. This could be part of the reason why its offering is so limited? "Perception is reality" so I can see Manufacturers making this available as a perceived benefit in upper end coaches. Just my $489,924.63 (MSRP) worth!
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:05 PM   #11
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Coached - I certainly hope your Rev has a front axle as you need one to go down the road. But to use a Jeff as an example of good handling or smooth ride is not a good one. Jeeps are very good off road and built tough, but the ones I have been in do not ride well. Here is a quote from Consumer Reports about the 2012 Jeep Wrangler "Although the Jeep is better than it has ever been, it's seriously outdated. The ride rocks and jiggles constantly, "

That Jeep comes with solid front Axle. As I said in my previous post, solid front axle is a step backwards in ride, turning circle, and stability.
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Old 06-21-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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IFS doesn't automatically mean tighter turning radius. My Spartan with the Granning IFS only has a 45 degree front wheel cut as compared to the 50 degrees of many beam axle setups of the same era.

Since I've not owned a beam axle diesel, I can't comment on the ride/handling differences of IFS.

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...and F-Troop: Fearghus, Fiona, and Frankie (Cairn Terriers)
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:51 AM   #13
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We've owned 3 class A's, 2 solid axle and our last one a IFS. Hands down the IFS is the best handling/driving unit and the turning radius is MUCH sharper.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:52 AM   #14
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I am not a chassis engineer or engineer of any kind. But if you just take a quiet minute and visualize in your mind what happens when you travel over uneven surfaces with independent wheel suspension as opposed to beam solid front suspension you will realize the advantage of independent. For example, when you go up a driveway and one wheel goes up the other wheel hooked to it does too. With IFS, one wheel goes up the other resists that. The result is a better ride. Less swaying.

My last coach had independent suspension on both front and rear. It was a GMC. In my experience a really smooth riding motor home. In the case of the GMC though you had six wheel independent suspension. And that brings up the disadvantage of independent. More complication and moving parts. Generally beam suspension has less maintenance.

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