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Old 10-06-2015, 08:37 AM   #1
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short wheelbase class A handling?

We're looking to buy a small used class A, something in the 26'-27' range. For this size range, everything seems to be on the 158" chassis, giving it a 50% ratio of wheelbase to overall length. I've read that this can sometimes cause handling issues, and thus was wondering:

I) Is this an issue with the smaller units like this or more so with something larger?

II) If it's an issue, what suspension upgrades if any can be done to help improve the situation?

III) Is it more of an issue with Ford or Workhorse, or are both similar in this regard?

Thanks for any help you can provide!
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Old 10-06-2015, 09:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divein View Post
We're looking to buy a small used class A, something in the 26'-27' range. For this size range, everything seems to be on the 158" chassis, giving it a 50% ratio of wheelbase to overall length. I've read that this can sometimes cause handling issues, and thus was wondering:



I) Is this an issue with the smaller units like this or more so with something larger?



II) If it's an issue, what suspension upgrades if any can be done to help improve the situation?



III) Is it more of an issue with Ford or Workhorse, or are both similar in this regard?



Thanks for any help you can provide!

You've been reading RV.org. The wheelbase/length is a concern but a unit should be driven.

There are a couple of short units which seem to do a good job.

1. Winnebago Via and its Itasca twin.
2. Winnebago Vista 27N & twin.

In the interest of full disclosure, I down own a Winnebago. I am pretty well acquainted with both above coaches through friends.


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Old 10-06-2015, 09:50 AM   #3
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Go drive them.

I have a 2014 Itasca 26he that I drive across the top of Nevada from one side to the other every two weeks on I-80 for work. That means big trucks, and heavy cross winds for hours on end.

The Itasca is completely stock, and an absolute joy to drive. I get pushed now and then, but no matter what you drive in those conditions you're gonna get pushed. And, if it's blowing too hard it's time to be parked with the nose into the wind anyway.

The short w/b RVs are amazingly nimble, and perfect for boondocking and getting into fairly tight spaces with ease.

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Old 10-06-2015, 12:34 PM   #4
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Go drive them.
The short w/b RVs are amazingly nimble, and perfect for boondocking and getting into fairly tight spaces with ease.Gump
My old Bounder 28T ratio is 51% and is totally stock. In my opinion it drove perfectly fine, on a few occasions drove over 700 miles in a day and did not find it anymore fatiguing than driving my pickup.
We boondock pretty much exclusively and travel well off the paved roads. The shorter wheelbase is a must, considering where our adventures take us. Most people drive the interstates, we almost never do. I consider the interstate commuting not traveling. Opposing trucks on the two lane pose no problems at all. You will come to really appreciate the nimbleness in many situations. Our new mh has a 52% ratio and considered this a plus when purchasing. Another mh we liked very much (31sa) was very close in length to our 3103 Bay Star but the wheelbase is 28" longer. This extra long wheelbase was the main reason it did not make the cut.
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:24 PM   #5
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Our AXIS 24.1 has a wheel base of 188" (15Ft 8In). It has IFS and is easy to manuever and a pleasure to drive. Overall length of the RV is 25'6".
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Old 10-06-2015, 03:29 PM   #6
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GO DRIVE THEM and see for your self. Asking this kind of question on this forum will only elicit subjective answers. Evidently someone liked this size wheel base or they would not have sold.

Is there a noticeable difference in the handling and ride of different size motorhomes? Yes, just as there is with automobiles. Go test drive a 28 foot rig and then go drive a 42 ft tag axel diesel pusher and see the difference. But from 28 ft to 32 ft I doubt you will notice much.

Don't nit pick the adventure!
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:05 PM   #7
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Ditto - Go Drive them.

In April we bought a Thor ACE 27.1. The handling was horrible at first. But after adding a steering stabilizer and adjusting the sway bars (CHF) the handling was greatly improved. I had plans to also add a rear track bar and then....
In September we bought an Allegro 36LA. I was amazed at how much better this coach drove (w/Sumo springs installed) compared to the 27.1. The longer wheel base and bigger tires seem to really make a difference.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:37 PM   #8
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My 27.1 needed an alignment badly when I purchased it. Once the alignment was done it drove much better. Still got blown around, but it was manageable. No other fixes besides that.

Traded it off last week for a Newmar DP.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:52 PM   #9
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If you look/drive a the Ford F53 chassis, Look underneath at the front suspension and see if the Cheap Handling Fix (CHF) has been performed.

If it hasn't been done, I can pretty much guarantee it will handle a lot better after its been modified.

There is an extensive thread on the F53 forum. I also took a lot of photos when I did mine, so you may know what specifically to look for.

Cheap Handling Fix – and then some | 2001 Coachmen Mirada 300QB

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Old 10-07-2015, 04:11 PM   #10
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Handling is an issue. Some people are better at dealing with it than others which is why you get a lot of differing opinions. IMO it's not just the wheel base, it's also the fact that it's very large and boxy, but at the same time super light in comparison to the longer versions of them. Wind will have more of an effect, passing trucks, etc..

There are solutions though. Better shocks, steering stabilizers, cheap handling fix, rear trac bar, properly inflated tires.

Do all those things and you'll be fine.
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:38 AM   #11
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A shorter wheel base will be less stable in a cross wind. That does not mean you should not purchase it. You need to decide how you will use the coach and what you are comfortable with. I owned a shorter wheel base vehicle and decided that I wanted something more stable in a cross wind or when a truck passes so I purchased one with a longer wheel base. It made a big difference for me.
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