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Old 02-02-2014, 12:47 PM   #15
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I have not seen this in the replies but may be in the video's and that is exhaust brake or jake brake. I keep mine engages when driving in town as it reduces your stopping distance when you are in traffic. Also always use it on hills, helps keep you from applying brakes too much.

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Old 02-02-2014, 05:34 PM   #16
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air brakes are a concern.


Originally Posted by waroland View Post
I have not seen this in the replies but may be in the video's and that is exhaust brake or jake brake. I keep mine engages when driving in town as it reduces your stopping distance when you are in traffic. Also always use it on hills, helps keep you from applying brakes too much.

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Old 02-02-2014, 05:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by campbell36 View Post
or for that matter any RV

So I am getting ready to purchase the new RV. Maybe from a local dealer, but probably from somewhere that will require driving 400 or more miles back to a home base.

How do you learn to actually drive at least to get it home. Yes, a dealer may take you out to an open parking lot for a hour or so, but some of the dealers like RV Direct and MHSRV are more likely to hand you the keys after a short into and you are on the way.

Yes, there are courses, but you have to get the motor home there to take them, kind of "like the chicken and the egg".

Any insight would be appreciated, like how to align it on the road or use the air brakes correctly so the DP doesn't end up as a front engine model to first time I stop.

Really would like to actually get some behind the wheel lessons in a vehicle similar to the one I'm buying i.e. DP, 40 feet and so forth.

I live in Central New Jersey if that helps. The wife and I would certainly pay for lessons, but even the lessons I see advertised where they will send someone to you require that you have the RV.

This is the one of the last obstacles (besides how to pay for it) that I need to feel comfortable about so any input from the forum will be appreciated.


What brand and year did you (are you) buying?

Every chassis handles differently. This coach I now have is my third DP. The handling characteristics is different for each.

For starters, being in NJ many of your roads are narrow. Remember to hug the center line when turning right and pull deep into the intersection. When turning left you MUST know where things are on the curb side. In a tight, jersey barrier lined intersection you could drag the back on the obstetrical when turning left. Hug the right and pull deep into the intersection before turning. I hate driving in NJ because of the tight roads.

Make certain EVERYTHING is secure and stowed properly before you even move the coach. We were forced over a curb with the rear wheel and the frig door flung opened. What a mess. We budgie the handles together now.

Now for the good news. On the interstates driving a DP is much more pleasant than driving a car. I love it! You just have to plan your ramps more closely and watch for the nuts that like to drive in your blind spots.

When you get all of your camping stuff in the coach go to a good alignment shop. Freightliner has Oasis service centers for coaches. Go to one that can weigh all 4 corners and do an alignment. Have the ride height adjusted and the alignment done. It is well worth the bucks. Getting a full chassis service in not a bad idea either while you are there.

We drove 1200 miles from TX to FL to get this coach we now have.

I wish you many Happy Trails and years of traveling.

Rick & Melissa Young & Dawson, 2011 Itasca Meridian 40U, Freightliner XCL, Cummins ISL 380HP/DEF, Allison 3000 MH, 2014 Honda CR-V, SMI AF1, Blue Ox tow equip., TST 507 TPMS, TruCenter steering control, Hughes auto transformer.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:48 PM   #18
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I replied early and followed along with all the advice. What a great forum. We should all be proud to be members of this forum. The members here are just amazing in respect to their knowledge and willingness to share. A wonderful community I am proud to play a tiny part of.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:51 PM   #19
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And make sure you have the appropriate license to operate it.
Bill Mahan
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:41 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Oldrtrcr View Post
And make sure you have the appropriate license to operate it.
That is a bit of a catch 22. If the state has a requirement for an upgraded DL, you have to have a MH of the same class to take the driving test. You generally need to take a written test to get a learner's permit. If one has a friend willing to teach you then let you use their MH to get it all done...great.

To be honest we had to do it the backwards way. We got the MH, had a friend who runs a truck driver school teach us the finer points, the we got our DL.
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Gardian Wings earned are GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:52 PM   #21
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Also remember, the rear of these rigs swing like a logging truck due to their overhang. Please don't ask me how I know that.
Les (RVM12), Bonnie, Morgan and 4 leggers Bella & Bruce
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:24 PM   #22
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Jim there are a few sites where folks will help you drive your MH. Good Sam's has a Standby Sam's section where people offer their services. They can at least help you get your rig home where you can get professional driving training if you want.
Tony & Ruth........... FMCA#F416727
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:51 PM   #23
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One small thing I have learnt for UPS with all vehicles. Aim high in steering like a throwing a baseball or dart board. In other works drive your body not the coach and this will help you center the coach in the lane of traffic. It might be hard to understand at first but it becomes very easy even when the lanes your are driving in are really narrow. I drive and pull three trailers and have 27 years safe driving so I know it works.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:31 PM   #24
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"Here's the keys...have fun." was my training course.

40 miles of single lane road with heavy truck traffic after dark. Great fun. NOT.

Use your mirrors to stay in the center is about all I can tell you.

Your wife is going to be the real nervous one because she is sitting on the edge of the road and it looks worse over there.
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Old 02-03-2014, 12:14 AM   #25
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Dear Jim,
By reading your OP, you have a real concern for driving a MH. This is a legitimate worry for anyone with little experience. I strongly suggest paying for training. It will be the best money and time you ever spend. Instruction will increase your skill level and give you peace of mind. In addition, it will be much more affordable than having a mishap. RV Driving Schools have trainers located across the country.
George R. - Fulltiming since January '03
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:25 AM   #26
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jim if you have any concerns you may im me. I have forty years experience at driving big rigs, more than glad to give you pointers. if I lived closer to you would give you free lessons. yay
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:45 AM   #27
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Have to agree with SO47 - WOW

This is a great forum, posts are on point and each one has a gem of advice. Like SO's comment once you start a turn you "own the intersection" And the other one to center the road on your right foot. Tried that last night with the SUV and it was surprising how right on it was.

I know I am not alone and there are many that have gone before me on this first time journey. Just want to do all that is possible to not be spending all my time looking for the best coach we can afford, floor plans, horsepower, features etc. and not any time considering how we are going to drive it safely.

Thanks to all for the words of wisdom and advise.


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