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Old 03-21-2019, 05:56 PM   #1
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Performance Upgrade Suggestions?

Just switched from a Class B Airstream Interstate to a 2019 Newmar Bay Star on a Ford F53 chassis. Fine machine but, it needs more power. We tow a Kia Soul that is less than 3,000 lbs but, the slightest incline requires the transmission to hunt all over the place seeking the right gear.
Without resorting to a major refit such as a supercharger (not even sure if one is available for this engine anyway), exhaust system - headers etc. (I have a limited budget) any suggestions?
The only upgrade, so far, that I am about to add is a steering stabilizer in response to the 'wandering' that takes place on the highway.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:14 PM   #2
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First I would make sure all maintenance items are as they should be and that the engine is performing as designed. Since it's a 2019 they probably are.

Then I would drive it the best you can and enjoy the scenery. If that means keeping it light and slowing down going up hill then so be it. It's not a drag race. Sounds like you may have bought the wrong coach. A high HP diesel pusher would have been better. And yes, a lot more money. Mine's a low HP DP and I also have to take my time.

IF you want to squeeze more power out of it you will shorten its life.

Que the many who will tell you different.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:22 PM   #3
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Should have the latest 6 speed trans and tuned for it
You might contact Brazels in WA for a tuner. Beyond that you'are looking at big $$.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:26 PM   #4
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You may need to re-visit rear end gear ratio, your Kia should not be a problem to tow. IMHO
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:31 PM   #5
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You may need to re-visit rear end gear ratio, your Kia should not be a problem to tow. IMHO
Yes that would help towing performance. It would also reduce fuel economy.
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:38 PM   #6
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Check with a Ford dealer to see what they suggest. Some power train modifications may void your warranty and can also shorten the life of the power train. A hunting transmission is not a good thing and your dealer may be able to reprogram your transmission module for heavy towing.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:02 PM   #7
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I don't know what you consider a lot of dollars but check out 5 Star Tuning. I have read good reviews on their product and their tuning system will add about 42 HP to the F53 but more importantly changes the shift points so there is less "seeking". I have been doing a lot of add on's to my coach and this is on the list but not near the top. I just slow down a bit and it works out. I am also towing a smaller Toyota RAV4 and don't even know it is there. The 5 Star unit is $550 and you can do the install yourself.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:09 PM   #8
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By "Wandering"...do you mean the RV moves back and forth with undulations in the road? Or by side wind gusts? Or when a truck passes you (or you pass it)?
Steering stabilizer doesn't do much for any of these issues.

Check if there is a Trac bar on the front AND on the rear axle. That will help with the wind and the truck passing scenarios which are the most discussed F53 challenges.

Sway (the top of the RV moves sidewards relative to the bottom of the chassis in turns) is addressed with the CHF mod (use search...tons posted on this).

On the power issue, I would wait till you are out of warranty to do anything and just accept that you are pulling around a fair amount of weight and it's likely running just like it should.
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:12 PM   #9
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Are you using cruise control? That will cause the trans to hunt for the correct gear. I suggest you keep your foot in it and that will keep the trans shifted down and eliminate the hunting.


Getting more power, changing rear end gears is going to cost a lot of money.


Learn how to drive the coach and its limitations and you will be ok
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Old 03-21-2019, 08:42 PM   #10
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Let it shift. That's why the put 6 foward gears in it.

Its only a 6.8 L, 10 cylinder engine, far from the bigger, air polluting, V8s of yesteryear.

With 10 little cylinders, it need to run higher RPMs.

In a few years Ford will be offering a big V8 again.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:26 PM   #11
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"mwd1508".....Not to ask a silly question, but are you turning on the Tow/Haul mode? That coach should have plenty of power to pull the Kia and not search for gears.

Second question.....have you ever driven a large Class A before. If you haven't, make sure the front tire pressure is correct for the weight. Overinflated front tires can cause wandering. If you're new to a large Class A, many start out by trying to constantly steer to a point directly in front of the coach. This will cause you to wander. Try looking at and aiming the coach at a spot farther down the road. This will keep the coach going straighter and cut down on the oversteering.
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Old 03-21-2019, 10:32 PM   #12
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"mwd1508".....Not to ask a silly question, but are you turning on the Tow/Haul mode? That coach should have plenty of power to pull the Kia and not search for gears.

Second question.....have you ever driven a large Class A before. If you haven't, make sure the front tire pressure is correct for the weight. Overinflated front tires can cause wandering. If you're new to a large Class A, many start out by trying to constantly steer to a point directly in front of the coach. This will cause you to wander. Try looking at and aiming the coach at a spot farther down the road. This will keep the coach going straighter and cut down on the oversteering.
Also take your coach to a good alignment shop if you havenít done so already.
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Old 03-22-2019, 04:14 PM   #13
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Performance Upgrade Suggestions

Thanks everybody for all the responses - definitely food for thought. Due to the potential warranty issue, perhaps I'll delay doing anything re engine performance until such time that the Ford warranty has expired. From my experience there are enough 'gotcha' clauses in these warranty agreements without adding to them.

I assume that any steering/suspension upgrades should not constitute a violation of said warranty - hard to tell I suppose until a claim is registered. No doubt if I ask Ford they will tell me that adding anything, anything that is not factory standard, to the coach will void the warranty. Oh well.

Again, thank you for your responses.
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Old 03-22-2019, 05:24 PM   #14
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No doubt if I ask Ford they will tell me that adding anything, anything that is not factory standard, to the coach will void the warranty.
Nope. They know the law. Only if they can demonstrate that what you added CAUSED the warrantee claim can they refuse it.
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