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Old 08-09-2011, 08:40 PM   #1
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Seeking advice on handling

Hi, I'm new to the site and RV'ing. I just purchased a new 2011 Southwind with the Ford Chassis. I drove it from Ontario to Nova Scotia which turned out to be a very unpleasant experience. It wanders all over the road and I'm continously fighting to keep it on the road. I contacted the dealer with my concerns however they seem to have little sympathy and suggest I may have to upgrade the shocks or purchase a Safe-T-Plus.
After my last conversation with the service advisor. I'm totally perplexed that a manufacturer sells an RV knowing these issues which affect my safety exist.
Our conversation led me to believe this occurs on a regular basis and the consumer is on the hook to rectify the problem.
Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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I would talk to Fleetwood and or Ford. Check the tire pressure 1st of all. Have you ever driven anything this big, there will be a learning curve. Take your time and it will work out. You are at the best place to get advice. Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
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Chances are good the tire pressure is too high, at least in the fronts Get the rig weighed front and rear (or better, wheel by wheel) and adjust pressure per the tire manuacturer's load inflation table. Then get a front wheel alignment, just to be sure. Once you have loaded your gear into the RV, the proper alignment may well have changed.

Please don't be offended when I say that you, the driver, are very likely part of the problem. The driving position and size of the vehicle is very different than what your brain is accustomed too. And you are struggling to keepit between the white lines, which means you are focusing very close in front of you and frequently checking the mirrors. You can't drive straight that way - you have to get your focus much further down the road, at least a couple hundred feet. Make a not of where the center white line appears to intersect the dashboard when you are properly centered. Use that as your guide so that you don't have to shift your eyes to the road itself or the mirrors top check position. You will be amazed at how much easier the driving gets.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:27 PM   #4
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Welcome cwfr_1 to irv2.
Congrats on your new coach.
Being new you may not have it loaded with what you will be carrying when you go camping and traveling on trips.
Once you have it loaded with all your personal stuff you take it to a scale and have it weight. Than you check the tire MFG's pressure tables and put in the correct tire pressure for your full load.
A new coach comes from the factory with to much air in tires they will ride hard and track with very little foot print on road surface.
Once you have this done you may find that you need a track toque bar on rear end to keep passing trucks from tossing your rear end around.
I would drive it for a while and see if you notice this condition and get yourself accustom to its handling.
Above it all enjoy and safe miles ahead for you.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #5
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Had the same problem when I picked up my Winnie... Had the front end aligned, Huge difference!!!!!
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:12 AM   #6
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Our 36' coach was toed out 11/32" and was a nightmare to drive. We had it aligned at the Foretravel Plant in Texas. It was supposed to be toed in 1/16". It now handles like my old Cadillac Eldorado. Absolutely fantastic!! Get the alignment checked by someone that does Motorhomes, not just cars and small trucks. You are dealing with a different "animal" here.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #7
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If you have not driven anything like your unit before. It is a big sail that is top heavy, likes to roll in the corners, wants to run away then kiss tractor trailers. It took me about 600 miles before I adjusted to my new 5er, and I still find myself sitting rigid sometimes. As mentioned above, if it is just that it is new (not mechanical) you will adjust.
Good luck with it.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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I would almost bet its the alignment. We have an 03 on the Ford Chassis and it handles very well and have driven the route from Ontario to Nova Scotia many times. We were near you in Windsor about a year ago this time. We tow a Pontiac G 6 behind our MH.
We have a very active Camping group in your area and you can find out more about us at www.fcrv.org
The Nova Scotia reps live in Kentville.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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forget all of this mechanical fix stuff you are seeing. as a long time touring motorcycle rider it is as simple as this to parrot an earlier post. LOOK where you're going...not where you are. your fixation on the lines will make you crazy. look way down the road. a motorhome is really very simple..wherever you point the front end, the back-end will follow. with a new coach the last thing you need to do is spend several thousand dollars trying to fix something that is ALL your fault. take a deep breath. aim it. drive it. over a very short time it will become very easy.
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #10
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one more thing alignment has NOTHING to do with tracking unless you have run thru a five foot deep pothole at 70 mph. alignment has to do with tire wear and nothing else.[moderator edit]
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:26 PM   #11
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and one more thing...this whole weight thing is a myth. if you're not packing a 54 mgtd, a herd of angus bulls and a 450 lb mother in law, your clothes and a little food wont affect your rig at all. it is already designed to carry a full tanks of water, propane and anything other little things you put in the compartments. relax. mellow out. have fun. this deal is a whole lot easier than these forums will make you think.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:19 PM   #12
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As others have stated after alignments their units have handeled much better. Its not that expensive to get a good alignment job, but make sure you do it at a good commercial shop, not Canadian Tire. LOL
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:25 PM   #13
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Most of these boxes on wheels wander. One of the issues is that in a class a you sit in front of the steer tires and your actions at the wheel are magnified. Small steer corrections are best. On my last motor home I found that making sure your ride height is correct, alignment is right, and wieght balanced helped a great deal. When you have your alignment checked make sure the caster is set positive so you get some self centering.
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buki View Post
one more thing alignment has NOTHING to do with tracking unless you have run thru a five foot deep pothole at 70 mph. alignment has to do with tire wear and nothing else. [moderator edit].
I don't know where you got that piece of misinformation! If the alignment is off it won't steer correctly nor will the tires wear correctly.
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