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Old 03-27-2013, 10:54 AM   #1
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Let's talk wheelbase ratio related to handling/ride quality

Our situation: Currently have a 32ft class C, looking to move into a class A in the 32-36 ft. range; Bunkhouse model preferred; Ride quality and handling rate high in our decision as well.

There is plenty of discussoin on ride quality of a DP vs. gasser, and I readily acknowledge if the budget allows, a DP delivers better ride quality. But for now, and our budget, we are focusing on gas units. And to that end, I want to maximize the odds that we end up with a coach that handles and rides as well as possible for a gasser.

We had narrowed our search to a handful of units when I came across a thread cautioning about coaches with relatively short wheelbases - specificallly with a ratio in the low 50's or less.

So my question is this: All other things being equal, will a 35 ft. coach on a 242" wheelbase (58% ratio) ride and handle considerably better than a 35 ft. coach on a 208" wheelbase (49.5% ratio)?

I hesitate to list the brands because this isn't a debate on brand quality. Also, I understand that there are various other factors that contribute to ride quality such as balancing, tires/pressure, weight distribution, etc, etc.
Many of the coaches we are looking at have wheelbase ratios in the low 50's.

I welcome comments regarding how much emphasis we should be putting on wheelbase in our selection process.

Thanks much,

Mike
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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Mike,


It sounds like you have a very good handle on this issue. All other things being equal, and they never are, you will get better handling with a larger ratio. It sounds like you have some specific needs coach wise. I would look for floor plans first and if something really catches your interest then calculate the ratio. As with any other vehicle purchase, the test drive will tell the tale. If a coach is low in ratio, then try to do a test drive on a windy day & over various road surfaces. If a coach is a little squirrelly you can set the positive toe in to the max spec and also the castor setting. This will help both directional stability and wheel centering.

Good luck and safe travels,

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Old 03-27-2013, 12:17 PM   #3
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I have an F53 35ft long with the 242" wheelbase and I think it rides great. Its my first class A though so I don't have anything to compare it to. I test drove others including dps but a test drive isn't the same as settling in on a long trip and really getting use to its specific handling characteristics.

P.S. You're gonna love having bunks!
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
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I think you are absolutely correct. Longer wheelbase and less rear overhang will net you better handling.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:13 PM   #5
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I would not even consider a coach with less than a 50% ratio. There are very nice, affordable gas coaches on the 24k and 26k chassis with high ratios - stick with those.

Don't listen to the folks saying go with the floorplan you like, and then drive it to see if you can live with it. That's nutty advice - why waste your time? Look for acceptable driving dynamics first - and that includes weight distribution (front to back and side to side), and then choose from there. Don't fall in love with something (or let the missus) and then try to justify that it's poor handling is really not so bad.

You see alot of posts on here with people either settling for compromised handling or rationalizing it anyways. I wish people would just stop buying these short wheelbase, overloaded deathtraps and quit trying to modify them. Think about all the money and time expended trying to make these things overcome the built in design defects!

Good luck!
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:52 PM   #6
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I think if I were looking for a MH I would be looking for good advise from someone who owns and drives a MH. I would also look at the floor plan. I doubt if there is a gas MH out there that doesn't need SteerSafe and anti-sway addition to make it ride better.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:20 PM   #7
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We have a Winnebago 35J with bunks and a wheelbase of 228". Handling is fine and if I remember correctly the wheelbase is longer than the 35 QBA from Fleetwood (bunk model).

As others have state longer is better however the question is how long too long? Making short turns and U-turns can be impacted.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:22 PM   #8
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Sorry, forgot the ratio is 54% for our 35J.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyorancher View Post
I think if I were looking for a MH I would be looking for good advise from someone who owns and drives a MH. I would also look at the floor plan. I doubt if there is a gas MH out there that doesn't need SteerSafe and anti-sway addition to make it ride better.
On my 84 C, something like SteerSafe would have helped. Rigs 2 and 3 (puller A's) needed nothing, one hand on the wheel. Not all of them need help.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:05 PM   #10
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On my 84 C, something like SteerSafe would have helped. Rigs 2 and 3 (puller A's) needed nothing, one hand on the wheel. Not all of them need help.
BTW, #2 had about a 53% ratio, #3 is 55%.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:14 PM   #11
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Longer wheel base is generally better handling but the longer wheel base chassis are usally heavier and have larger wheels. So theres more to that better ride than just wheel base
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:32 PM   #12
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The 20,000 chassis has 19.5 wheels. The 22,000 chassis has 22.5 wheels. Not sure the wheel base determines wheel size. Not sure about the 24,000 chassis.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:51 PM   #13
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If the overhang past the rear axle is longer doesn't that wear on the tow vehicles front end too? The side to side (tail swing) and the up and down motion on the rear hitch increases a lot doesn't it?
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:06 PM   #14
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If the overhang past the rear axle is longer doesn't that wear on the tow vehicles front end too? The side to side (tail swing) and the up and down motion on the rear hitch increases a lot doesn't it?
Naw. Hasnt been an issue for me over the last 12 years. No alignment or hitch issues.
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