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Old 09-20-2015, 12:23 PM   #1
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Rough ride

We have had our 2004 Itasca Suncruiser38R for nearly a year. But, for various reasons we have not made any long trips. or stayed in it very much. This past weekend we drove it 375 miles from Las Cruces to Phoenix. The ride has nearly had us convinced we made a bad purchase. I had lots of problems controlling it and the wife was not happy with the bouncy, squeaky ride and my frustration when trying to control it in wind or traffic. There were very few miles on I-10 where I felt comfortable. We arrived in Phoenix exhausted.
Question is this; could this be bad shocks and/or poor alignment? Or is this just what driving a large, 11 year old gasser MH is going to be like?
I noticed the driver side mirror was difficult to see clearly while the rt side mirror was fine. At a gas stop in Tucson, I noticed the mirror glass was loose in the frame. This is the adjustable part. It looked as if it had shaken loose from its fastening points. I ended up wrapping some duct tape around it so the glass would not fall out for the rest of the trip.
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:34 PM   #2
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Whole lotta missing bits here, though.

Chassis = ?
Weights and pressures ?
Road conditions ? (some roads have developed "terrain" spaced so in a car is unnoticed and in the coach is a lost battle)

Lots of problems controlling it means ?
Was it tramlining? (trying to climb out of the general tire path dips in the pavement)
PIA to keep directional control?
Driver over-correcting by driving it like a car?
Did you find your self busily causing pilot-induced turbulence?
Always felt behind the plane, er, coach?

Wind conditions?

Did you experiment by driving in the left lane at times to gauge the effect the road surface and conditions were having? Try some 2 lane highways for a bit? (most 2 lane roads give us a more pleasant drive than interstates, but YMMV)

Unrealistic expectations - any opportunity to ride with someone else and compare results?
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:40 PM   #3
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Great,
There's several reason that can cause a rough ride. Alignment, tire pressure and weight distribution are things we can control. Adding items like a steering stabilizer and anti-sway bars can help. I-10 is bad, I've taken that route several times and it's hard on you and the RV. Better shocks will/can improve your driving experience.
Best of luck.. As for the mirror, usually if you move it in all the way, there's a screw you can tighten up to stop the rattle.
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:50 PM   #4
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If your coach is on the Ford F53 chassis, you may want to start out by installing Koni FSD shocks on all corners. They're very expensive, but should vastly improve your ride.

Our 38 coach with a tag axle handles well maintaining decent directional stability. Does your 38 Suncruiser have a tag axle? If not, excessive overhang over the drive axle can adversely affect directional stability, i.e., tail wagging the dog.

Also as Civdiv99 suggested more detailed information would be helpful.

Good luck resolving your handling & ride issues
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Old 09-20-2015, 12:53 PM   #5
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Greatscot-

Yup. No fun getting bounced around the road. but don't get discouraged. You can make it better.

I've been reading a lot about chassis ride improvements on the iRV2 Ford Chassis forum. I can't be sure, but I believe your Suncruiser may be built on a Workhorse chassis (please confirm this for yourself). The Workhorse chassis iRV2 forum is here:

Workhorse and Chevrolet Chassis Motorhome Forum - iRV2 Forums

If you search on that forum you'll likely find some threads from other owners with the same handling concerns- and posts from people on how to diagnose and fix them. In fact, you may want to move this thread over to that forum (that is, if you confirm your coach has a Workhorse chassis) to get a better response.

I bet that some careful investigation and perhaps a few new parts can help you feel much better about your Itasca.

One last thought: My wife and I found that we could cover about 225 miles a day comfortably. We did have a few days in the high 300s, but either we were at peak condition or, if not, found ourselves worn out covering that much ground in a day.

Hang in there!

Mark
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:12 PM   #6
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Gassers will never ride as well as a DP.
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:20 PM   #7
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It is a W-22 chassis. I appreciate those of you that truly want to be helpful.
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by allynne View Post
Gassers will never ride as well as a DP.
Unfortunately, I have no comparison
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Old 09-20-2015, 01:49 PM   #9
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Part of the challenge is your coach builder is different than someone else's, your loading is unique, and your roads can have a big effect as well.

To address that hammering effect when you hit an abrupt edge at speed, like a bridge joint or something - pay attention to inflation equating to the weight carried. Also, the Koni shocks seem to do a better job on high speed valving, letting the suspension blow through the stroke with a minimum of hydraulic locking. So subjective......

I put Konis on the front of my W22 about 7 or 8 years ago. My Bilsteins were not worn out or anything, so I saved them just in case. Well, they didn't go back on.....

I personally thought it handled "ok," but I decided to put track bars on front and rear under the theory that, again, if I don't like it, it's not a one way ticket. Caveat: I have the shop and equipment to make my own bars, so while I have maybe $25 invested, it may not be a realistic experiment at retail. Setting that aside, I personally loved the effect of the front track bar. I think the DW got tired of my raving. Peeling off onto a ramp was p'rnt near fun! I felt (feel) it greatly diminished that sense of turning the wheel and then briefly evaluating how the coach is responding. Hilariously, I began rotating my wheels annually because of the shoulder scrubbing on the tires!

Adding the rear bar a few weeks later didn't give me a noticeable difference, though.


Additional thought - what kind of speed did you maintain? 2 effects from speed: first is that you are smacking any road lips, joints, or imperfections with greater intensity (re rough ride), and the other factor is directional stability. There is a reason the cigar shape is good for skipping through a medium. With our square back ends, coupled with inevitable overhang, and front engine (vs weight of Diesel engine back there) then even on a calm day the turbulence of the air roiling off the back of the coach will cause directional oscillations. That's why perfectly flat flags still wave and flutter. Our frequency is just so low that we perceive this as an instability or wander influence rather than a real "buffet."

Again, different coach body, likely different feeling on that. Point is, we drive 62~65 on western interstates (even in 80 mph limit Idaho), and on a 2 lane maybe 58~60. If I have a tailwind, I can run 70 easily with solid feeling. That clarifies for me that it's the airspeed that adds to the busy feeling at speed.

Add to that we do try to take 2 lanes over freeway, if available.

Food for thought.
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Old 09-20-2015, 02:34 PM   #10
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Some of our friends have a similar coach. Last year while we were visiting and I rode with the husband to get gas, fairly short distance on decent roads but the way the coach rocked and swayed made me uncomfortable. My wife road with her friend ~+100 miles to the campground we were going to stay at and after the ride she made the same comments. I followed them in our DP and could see the rig sway and rock.

There are enhancements that can be done to improve the ride, shocks for sure but also sway control.

Good Luck, don't get discouraged, forge ahead and see what you can do to make the coach yours.
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Old 09-20-2015, 06:53 PM   #11
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First get the tyre pressure right and then maybe start looking at other things. Cheaper that way.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:14 PM   #12
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With a coach of that age or any age for that matter do not just jump to what others have suggested because it fixed their situation. Every coach is different. Some are longer, some or heavier. Tires are different and on and on and on. The first item to check would be tire pressures. That takes 30 minutes and costs you nothing. Set them at the pressures listed inside your coach somewhere inside a door on a sticker. That's always a good place to start.

Once the pressures are set evaluate the difference. Now your coach needs to be checked for the following: alignment, shocks, sway bar bushings, wheel bearings. If the bearings have not been serviced then it's time just as a precaution. You've only had the coach for a year so you may or may not know the service record.

When the alignment is checked a GOOD shop will ALWAYS check all steering and suspension items for wear. There are only three things that cause alignment angles to change. 1. A poor alignment shop setting the angles incorrectly. 2. Hitting a curb and bending a part. 3. Worn steering and suspension parts. When those items are checked and repaired as needed evaluate the results. Then you can try some steering and handling upgrades.

To attempt any steering or handling upgrades before you know the condition of the chassis is putting the cart before the horse. If you decide to order Koni shocks for say $700 and your stabilizer bushings ($100) are worn out what have you gained??

Some have reported significant improvements with just setting the tires to the correct pressures. Replacing $100 worth of stabilizer bushings. Changing the shocks because the others were all bad. Having the alignment angles set correctly.

Evaluate first then replace/upgrade as needed.

TeJay
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:45 AM   #13
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With a coach of that age or any age for that matter do not just jump to what others have suggested because it fixed their situation. Every coach is different. Some are longer, some or heavier. Tires are different and on and on and on. The first item to check would be tire pressures. That takes 30 minutes and costs you nothing. Set them at the pressures listed inside your coach somewhere inside a door on a sticker. That's always a good place to start.

Once the pressures are set evaluate the difference. Now your coach needs to be checked for the following: alignment, shocks, sway bar bushings, wheel bearings. If the bearings have not been serviced then it's time just as a precaution. You've only had the coach for a year so you may or may not know the service record.

When the alignment is checked a GOOD shop will ALWAYS check all steering and suspension items for wear. There are only three things that cause alignment angles to change. 1. A poor alignment shop setting the angles incorrectly. 2. Hitting a curb and bending a part. 3. Worn steering and suspension parts. When those items are checked and repaired as needed evaluate the results. Then you can try some steering and handling upgrades.

To attempt any steering or handling upgrades before you know the condition of the chassis is putting the cart before the horse. If you decide to order Koni shocks for say $700 and your stabilizer bushings ($100) are worn out what have you gained??

Some have reported significant improvements with just setting the tires to the correct pressures. Replacing $100 worth of stabilizer bushings. Changing the shocks because the others were all bad. Having the alignment angles set correctly.

Evaluate first then replace/upgrade as needed.

TeJay
Wow, thank you. That was the best response I have ever seen to any question. You make a lot of sense.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:48 AM   #14
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Gassers will never ride as well as a DP.
IMO a bit of over-simplification vehicle dynamics. How does the fuel used in an engine change vehicle ride?
A front engine gas engine 34' RV does not have the same weight or distribution of that weight as a rear engine 40' RV that has a tag.

Now if you could demonstrate that say a VW Rabbit with diesel has much better ride than a gas engine VW Rabbit then we may be able to start looking for the reasons for the ride difference.
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