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Old 11-04-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
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Cool Swaying and sort of road wild

Hi everyone, I am very new to having and RV. Have had pop ups, bumper pulls and a fifth wheel, and now a 2002 Fleetwood Southwind V10 RV. We bought it a couple of weeks ago and it was used. It is in great shape we think. When driving from central Texas to Tucson AZ and back, last couple of weeks, we noticed that it was kind of a lot of work to keep it going straight. It seemed to want to drift to the shoulder. It seemed like we were fighting the wind all the time. On top of that, we got real tired of the coach rocking or swaying back and forth. We don't know where to start actually. Have tried to read some of the threads on here but they sort of go over our heads a bit. We think we need to have the alignment checked would that make the coach tend to be sort of road wild? I have read about people discussing sway bars and bushings. I was thinking we needed to replace the shock absorbers. They all look original to us. We don't have a great deal of funds and can do a lot of this ourselves, we think. But where would people suggest we start? Who does front end alignments on coaches? Are prices for shocks too expensive from Camping World compared to other shops that people have found? Had and like the Bilstein shocks that we put on my F250 when pulling our 31' fifthwheel. Are they good on these coaches?

I am sorry if this is all old hat to most, we are just new to RVs and want to make smart decisions step by step to make the ride less work. It was a looooongggg trip seemingly fighting the coach to stay in a straight line.

Thanks everyone.

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Old 11-04-2013, 08:26 PM   #2
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Alignment is probably the first thing to check and it can be done by larger tire shops and truck repair shops. How many miles on your rig and was it quite windy when you were fighting the pull? Was the road bad? I have seen a few things that can be done for this type of problem. There are a few products out there to stiffen your steering suspension. www.steersafe.com There are also products like airtabs to change the flow of air around your RV. www.airtabs.com
I have a similar size rig and I have not had these issues.

Steve and Sheri with Archie (and Hiro, R.I.P.)
2000 Winnebago 35U, Ford F53/6.8l V10
F150 Ford and Vintage Aspencade.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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My 2013 Coachmen Leprechaun 319DSF with about 600 miles was a road wanderer until I got the front end aligned at a truck/RV service today. Alignment was way off. Much easier to drive after the alignment. They did recommend the Bilstein shocks if there was still a lot of road wander. But, I think alignment is a first good step.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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Also do a search for "Cheap handling fix " It goes On & on about reining in Ford chassis.
2000 DSDP, 3894,Freightliner,330 Cat, 07 Jeep Commander 4x4toad.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:59 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on your new rig. You've jumped in with both feet but you landed in a great place to learn what you need to know so don't be shy about posting your questions.

You'll find that motorhome handling is as much art as science. I purchased a brand new 40' diesel pusher and had a hard time keeping it between the lines until I had a good bit of after market work done to it. My rig is very different from yours so I'll let those more knowledgeable offer specific suggestions... but before making any changes to hardware, you want to make sure that you're keeping your focus point fairly far down the road while driving. It's very easy to get these babies wig wagging if you try to overcorrect on a too near focus point.

Originally Posted by ARTWERKE View Post
Also do a search for "Cheap handling fix " It goes On & on about reining in Ford chassis.
Great advice. This has gotten outstanding reviews.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

2007 Itasca Ellipse 40FD
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #6
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, Back2rving
I second, no, third (RickO snuck in there while I was writing this reply) the Cheap Handling Fix thread, just give yourself a week to read it! The Handling improvement plan thread has some good summaries of what several people including myself did to improve their F53 chassis handling.

With that year coach, the alignment should make a difference and is relatively cost effective, any truck tire shop should be able to do it. Make sure they have the equipment/know-how to set caster on a solid axle and have them set it to the top end of the spec, that should help with return-to-center. Attached is a document regarding alignment specs for the 1999, the 2002 is similar.

The CHF is either free or low cost depending on whether you can do it or not. From there you get to start spending money, from track bar to steer safe and shocks. Koni's seem to be the ones most recommend, the Bilsteins seem to ride too rough.

Good Luck!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 1999-F53AlignmentSpecs-Q59.pdf (93.2 KB, 19 views)
Stewart, Brenda and kids
2008 Newmar Canyon Star 3410
2006 Roadtrek Versatile 210
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:35 PM   #7
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I did pretty much everything with a Ford F53 chassis before I recently switched to a DP.
First thing I would do is a laser alignment, at a shop that specializes in truck frame alignment. Weigh your rig, and make sure you're tires are inflated properly for you're axle weights.
Finally, a rear trac bar. If that does'nt fix it, get used to it, or trade it for a coach with a longer wheelbase !!
Ben & Sharon
2008 43' Holiday Rambler Scepter PDQ
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:07 AM   #8
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After the alignment, have the coach weighted - 4 corners - then adjust the tire pressure accordingly. Change one thing at a time, then test the effect of that change. While doing all this work, try to maintain the coach configuration (water, fuel, loading, etc.) so that those variables will not interfer with this project. Chaning weight in the rear of the coach can affect the handling. Once you have the coach working the way you like it, then mess with the variables. Alignment and tire pressures are the biggest contributors to handling. Next is suspension - sway bars & shocks. Take your time. Of coarse fix what is broken. Stop when you like the improved drive. You can throw a lot of money at this project and get nowhere fast. JM2...
Ted Fulltiming in the DreamCatcher a
2008 Challenger 371PE on F53 w/ 2010 Cobalt
R'V there yet?
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
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I think the first thing you should do is weigh it and set the tire pressure accordingly. If too high a pressure it handles like you describe. I would put on Monroe RV shocks, they are moderately priced and work well on my 1999 F-53. Check the rear sway bar bushings, they don't last long and are available on eBay. They are no longer available from Ford.

eBay F-53 Sway Bar Bushings

Monroe RV Shock Absorbers
2003 Winnebago Adventurer 38G F53/ V10 605 watts of Solar
1999 Winnebago Brave 35C Handicap Equipped
1999 Jeep Cherokee & 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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We have a 2005 Fleetwood Bounder 33R. The thing drove like crap early on. Lurched around and was very sensitive to cross winds. We replaced the shocks with original equipment Bilsteins from the Shock Warehouse - Bilstein - KYB - Rancho - Monroe - Edelbrock Automotive Truck Shocks and Struts - Shockwarehouse.com which took out the swaying and lurching. Adjusted the tire pressures - the tire shop recommended 100 pounds when we replaced the front tires, and the manufacturers' recommendation is 85 pounds, so we settled on 90. That made a world of difference and we have since gone to 85 - even better. We tend to be fairly lightly loaded. I have now installed a rear track bar from Oemy's. Oemy's Web Site - In the little driving that we have done since the install, it seems to make a big improvement to the coach driving straight. I'll let you know after we get to Florida in December.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:38 PM   #11
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Sounds very similar to a post I submitted about 1 year ago! We traded our Class C for a 2003 32ft Class A and I thought I was on a boat our first time out with all of the rocking and rolling that we experienced. I received the same feedback and I am happy to say that new shocks (Bilstein) and new bushings solved the problem. We put 11,000 miles on our coach before trading it in for a FRED last month. Good Luck....
Brian and Kim VanBuskirk
2008 Damon Tuscany 40 DP
Tow: 20" Trailer with Classic C3 Corvettes
Car Dolly: Mini Cooper Clubman
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:44 PM   #12
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We had a `97, F-53 with all the same symptoms and problems. I spent a lot of money trying to correct the problems. Nothing seemed to make much difference, so we bought our present DP. All the problems were solved instantly. It's such a pleasure driving with no white knuckle experiences. One hand driving is the norm now, not the exception. It's quiet up in the cockpit and we can actually carry on a conversation and hear what is being said.
Rocky, Anniey, and Joy (Our Toy Poodle)
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
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Do the cheap handling fix (details found in this forum) both front and rear. Our 2002 had same rocking issue first time out. Chf fixed that and alot of the wander as well.
2002 Four Winds Infinity 37', 2 slides, F53 with V10, 22,500# chassis, CHF. 4 of us and a German sheperd.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:29 PM   #14
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When you have the alignment make sure they set the caster positive 4.5-6 degrees. Will help it go down the road with less wondering.


1999 35 ft. Dolphin 5350, F53, Banks System, 5 Stars Tune, Air Lift Air Bags, Koni Shocks, Blue OX TruCenter, TigerTrak track bars F&R, Roadmaster 1-3/4" rear auxiliary sway bar, 2004 F450 Lariat 6.0 Diesel Crew Cab DRW, 4X4, B&W Custom Truck Bed, GVWR 15,000, Front GAWR 6,000, Rear GAWR 11,000, GCWR 26,000, 1994 36ft Avion 5er, GVWR 13,700
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