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Old 10-12-2019, 12:31 PM   #1
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Rollover Safety - Steel Reinforced Driver Cage?

After looking at the video on the rv.org website of the Fleetwood Class A involved in a cop chase, which had extensive front end and side damage from sideswiping a palm tree at a very low speed, as well as photos of a nearly completely flattened RVs, I have tried to determine which Class As would better stand up to such damage.

https://rv.org/blogs/news/motorhome-...gh-speed-chase

https://rv.org/blogs/news/short-whee...o-hand-in-hand

The only way it seems that I can even try to discern this is by reading sales brochures. For example, the Safari Trek line has the following blurb for 2005+ coaches: "Steel Cage Cockpit Construction". It is missing from brochures previous to this year.

This very same blurb can be found in many Monaco / Holiday Rambler brochures but not all of them. This is particularly true of the lower cost product lines, so I don't think it is an accidental omission.

Tiffen Class As have the following line in some of their brochures, and perhaps all of them: "Steel / Aluminum Reinforced Structure". Does anybody know if Tiffen coaches do indeed have a similar "steel cage cockpit construction" to protect the driver and passenger seats in the front?

How much does this safety feature really help? If the coach does roll over would this protect the two individuals? Or would the weight of the coach and the forces from many rollovers cause it to likely fail?
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:03 PM   #2
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Your question is a valid one and worth a bit of research. The steel cage, seat and seatbelt mounting are just some of the reasons I have bought Winnebago twice.

Thankfully deaths in RV accidents are very rare. We go slow and are heavy. High speed rollover in a 20,000lb vehicle is a bad thing regardless of manufacture. Your chances of walking away unharmed are not good.

Buy the best engineering you can afford. Which also includes wiring and balanced weight distribution. Also pay very careful attention to tire age, inflation and condition.

We are essentially truck drivers and should act and drive like the best them. A walk around and tire check before EVERY drive are essential to protect life and property. It only takes a couple of minutes to thump all the tires look for leaks etc.

There are many aftermarket suspension improvements that can be made to help with stability and handling. Mostly in gassers but some DPs as well.

Then drive with common sense and fully engaged, relax and enjoy the ride.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:15 PM   #3
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Unless it’s a steel bus...Prevost and Bluebird, it’s hard to tell for sure. You need more than just the driver’s cage to be steel in a rollover. Newell, Foretravel, Country Coach, and the bigger Monaco’s have steel framing...semi monocoque so better chanced of it holding up. The Camelot has aluminum framing so not as strong.
I’d be more concerned ab out a head on than a rollover. Between being higher up and a generator up front should help. The structure beside the generator on a Monaco should help too as it’s higher and stronger than most to support the 2 trailing arms on each side that hold the H frame for the front axle.

As you can see in your first link, many gas MHs are a truck chassis with a top structure that’s more like a travel trailer (wood framing) that’s laid on top of the frame...no real protection.
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Old 10-12-2019, 03:31 PM   #4
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When we took the factory tour the rep said the Forest River Georgetown also has a steel cage for the front. Since the over-the-driver euroloft, the bed that moves up and down on straps, says it can support up to 700 lbs I tend to believe him.

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Old 10-12-2019, 06:17 PM   #5
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I think I'd use a different and more maneuverable getaway vehicle so I could miss the palm trees easily.

I believe all the manufacturers that cite using "steel and aluminum" framing are only trying to look better than wood construction. None of them are bragging about in being a built in roll cage... they simply want to keep the roof up, off the floor...
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Old 10-12-2019, 07:28 PM   #6
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I just checked the Newmar brochures for three different Class As, including their top-of-the line DP, and they only mention aluminum...

I realize this is no substitute for a race car roll cage. BTDT. But I do think it would be nice to have steel beams over my head rather than aluminum. People have also been killed when the shelves or the TV have become detached from a collision.

I sure wish there was a website devoted to photos of RV accidents by vendor so we could at least study how well they held up in various situations. But I imagine that the vast majority of RV vendors wouldn't like that one bit.That you would get serious pressure from the RVIA to cease and desist any such attempt.

And Nickd, the RV.org website used the analogy of driving like you are on a motorcycle instead of a truck.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:01 PM   #7
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I think you need to stand in front of a motorhome and study the structure. Most all of them have steel/aluminum framing which likely would keep its shape in a rollover on flat ground. If the cockpit area was up on an earth bank in a rollover, Im sure it would be mostly crushed. My coach has a fairly large driver window, not much structural support there. I also have a huge front window, as all do, not much structural support there, just glass. The support around the front door area would be better than on the driver side.
The best thing it has going for it (you) is the height where you set and its weight.
It makes me think of a U-tube video of a flat front truck that was hit just behind the cab and the driver was (probably no seat belt) ejected out through the windshield.
We came through Oklahoma City last year just shortly after a semi rear ended a pusher and it pretty much cleaned off the rear floor of any structure before it went off to the side. They are not designed to be crash tested.
Drive carefully and responsibly.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:08 PM   #8
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A promotional video for our 2008 Damon Astoria mentions "steel cage construction" around the cockpit. Not sure it would actually hold up in a high speed roll over though. As the driver, I would just try hard to not let that happen.

I'm actually more concerned about front end collisions. I looked and was shocked to see our coach had no real front bumper. Just fiberglass and a thin steel plate (firewall) between my legs and whatever I hit! I mean I realize crash testing RVs isn't realistic but shouldn't the NTSB (or whatever agency) at least require legitimate front bumpers on these class A coaches?
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:10 PM   #9
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You won't find one that will survive a rollover. Unless they have a titanium superstructure...It just defies physics weight vs extruded steel and or aluminum framing. So slow down and keep it upright!









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Old 10-12-2019, 08:23 PM   #10
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I would venture to guess that class A/C, B and C would do better in a rollover than any class A MH.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:25 PM   #11
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You won't find one that will survive a rollover. Unless they have a titanium superstructure...It just defies physics weight vs extruded steel and or aluminum framing. So slow down and keep it upright!









Yep, a little too much weight once it flips.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:54 PM   #12
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I just checked the Newmar brochures for three different Class As, including their top-of-the line DP, and they only mention aluminum...
You are correct. We took a tour of the Newell plant not too long ago and their wall framing is aluminum but they do have sheet aluminum skins and heavier than normal interior plywood paneling. A very well constructed coach.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:17 PM   #13
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How about air bags?
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:27 PM   #14
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Check out a Country Coach with their in factory built semi-monocoque DynoMax chassis. Fully welded steel including the superstructure. Thought I had a couple pictures of one that looks like a rollover but they must be on my home computer.
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