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Old 08-03-2008, 06:44 AM   #1
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Hi, we just bought our first RV and after reading many posts on this board have some concerns. We bought a 96 Pace Arrow Vison 35 foot with a ford 460 engine that has 39000 miles on it. The seller stated that he got nine mpg which I now think may be wishful thinking. We are also concerned about swaying and overloading the MH. We live in central texas and bought the MH primarly to visit the grandkids in east texas. Also we intend to camp around the lakes in east texas on the weekends during the summer. (Just so we can see what water and green grass looks like. Most of our trips will be on secondary roads with fairly level terrain. Can anyone tell me what mileage to expect at 55 mph and how bad the swaying issue is on these types of MHs? Any other advice to a newbie would be appreciated.

Scott
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:44 AM   #2
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Hi, we just bought our first RV and after reading many posts on this board have some concerns. We bought a 96 Pace Arrow Vison 35 foot with a ford 460 engine that has 39000 miles on it. The seller stated that he got nine mpg which I now think may be wishful thinking. We are also concerned about swaying and overloading the MH. We live in central texas and bought the MH primarly to visit the grandkids in east texas. Also we intend to camp around the lakes in east texas on the weekends during the summer. (Just so we can see what water and green grass looks like. Most of our trips will be on secondary roads with fairly level terrain. Can anyone tell me what mileage to expect at 55 mph and how bad the swaying issue is on these types of MHs? Any other advice to a newbie would be appreciated.

Scott
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:23 AM   #3
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Scott, welcome to iRV2.

Overloading can be a problem.

The only way to truly know the answer is to have the rig weighed.

Once you know the load on each axle, you can check the axle capacity of you rig to see if you are overloaded or how much more you can carry.

Individual wheel weights are ideal as the axle weight is rarely equally divided side to side.

It is possible to overweight on one wheel but underweight on the axle.

Also, once the weights are known, the tire pressures can be set for the load carried.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:44 PM   #4
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Hi Scott,
Welcome to iRV2. Once you complete Dirk's suggestion, for weighing, let us know. The repairs/improvements to your coach are the same as with any automobile. Shocks, springs, track bar, anti-sway bar(s) etc. Go slow and one step at a time. Many of us have been down this road and can provide some interesting view points.

As to fuel mileage, every coach is different. Wind direction, speed and terrain (assuming a good running vehicle) will affect fuel mileage the most.
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:47 AM   #5
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Scott, welcome to iRV2.com. COngratulations on your first rig. I am sure you will enjoy this website and forum. You can do a search for a topic by clicking on th find button, enter a search criteria and unchecking the next box for complete forum search. Good luck and keep us posted.
P.S. I have put in a shortcut to our New Members Check -In section so others can welcome you too.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:37 AM   #6
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Scott - Welcome to the site. You'll get a lot of good info from the folks here. BTW, what part of Central Texas are we talking? By your screen name I'd say Killeen, Ft. Hood. I'm sitting here in balmy Waco. Hope to see you at one of the many nice RV parks in the area some time.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:30 AM   #7
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Welcome, Scott. A couple of years back, we were in the same place as you.

We started by having our RV weighed. Actually, I had it weighed a couple of times, once at the axle level on a CAT scale to establish a baseline for that and again on each corner thanks to the weight enforcement arm of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety. I called Austin, was put in touch with a local officer to kindly directed me to an enforcement time and location in Denton. The two weights were identical, giving me a feeling of confidence about the accuracy. From there, I went to my tire manufacuturer's website and properly set my inflaction, plus a bit of safety margin higher. IMHO, proper tire inflation is the first step in any handling concerns.

We had fairly severe "rebound". This is also often referred to as "porposing" where the RV bounces a couple of times after you go over a bump. A great test road is 360 through Arlington. We replaced the original shocks that were completely shot with the chassis maker recommended ones. I might have opted for Konis but they do not make ones for the rear of our vehicle and I wanted to "match" front and back. Bilsteins are also very good but I was a bit concerned with some of the reports of a harsh ride. The shocks made a terrific difference in handling. We had driven on I-40 in NM and AZ in strong cross winds before that replacement so we had a good sense of what change the shocks made.

By far the biggest change was the addition of anti-sway bars. We chose a factory version of those and drove to Gaffney, SC to have the work done. It was like a new coach afterwards. Stability was significantly improved.

Regarding fuel mileage, the most important factor is speed. It takes a certain amount of torque to shove the big box that is a MH through the air. If you increase the speed, it starts to take significantly more torque to do the same job, resulting in lower fuel economy. I have an engine monitor which shows me rolling mpg. I've discovered through watching it that my best mpg comes around 62mph so that is where we drive as much a possible. We are fortunate to get around 10mpg when we stay there. If I go to 70mph, our mileage falls off to 9mpg quickly. The other factor in mileage is power to weight ratio. If you are overweight, that can significantly influence your results. We used to have a saying on when racing sailboats that twice a year, you remove everything and only put half of it back. It is surprising how much "stuff" can accumulate and how much that stuff weighs. To bring this full circle, I recommend carefully assessing what is onboard your RV but doing your weighing as though you were traveling. For that, I not only had all of our gear on board but I filled our fresh water tank and fuel tank and put water in the black and grey tanks to get them to 2/3 full. While I would never really travel that heavy, there can be times when you may be close to that. For weight purposes, the RV industry generally assumes that fresh water tank "migrates" to the grey and black tanks over the course of use, rather than having them all full at once. When you think about our 60 gallon fresh water tank at 8 pounds per gallon, you can see how much extra weight you have with the tank full. Generally, I run a little over 1/3 full when traveling because we rarely boondock. Weight will also have an influence on how the RV handles. We took a 3,000 mile trip with 5 adults and there was a difference in how our RV felt with the passengers and their luggage. We were still under our weight limits, however.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:44 AM   #8
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Hi Scott, I echo the others welcome to the forum.

On your handling issue, I would suggest installation of the Davis Tru-Trac bar on the front to eliminate lateral movement of your leaf springs. I would then recommend installation of Koni FSD shock absorbers on your front suspension and preferably on the rear as well.

As others mentioned it's important to get your coach weighed then make sure your tires are properly inflated to support the weight using the tire inflation guide for the brand of tires on your coach.

As for mileage, at the speed you indicated, you should get between 6.5 & 8 mpg 8mpg with no headwinds.

The year model coach you have, Ford had problems with in-tank fuel pump failures.

If you received maintenance records on the coach you might check if the pump has been replaced, or check with the prior owner(s) if possible.

If it hasn't been replaced, I would highly recommend you have it done so as not to suffer the inconvenience of having it fail while you're on a trip.

Best of luck with your new coach and wishing you many fun, safe and trouble free journeys.

Jim
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