Originally Posted by Medic57
I'm new to MH travel (2014 Bounder 35K) and had a scary moment on my first trip. While changing lanes from grooved pavement to newly paved asphalt lane, passenger side was on the new pavement and when driver side hit the new pavement it pushed me back into the lower grooved lane. Second attempt with same results. On the third attempt I decided to give a little more pull on the steering wheel and got whipped into the new lane causing the coach the rock back and forth pretty hard. I thought I was gonna flip! Any tips on safely making the transition without messing in my britches?
Thanks in advance..........
Nice MH, Medic! Welcome to the wild world of RVing!!!
First... its all about having a safe & fun trip. Each trip should be a fun memory that puts a smile on your face and photos on your Facebook page.
(WARNING: I'm going to write a couple things that's going to pee off some old hands..... but, I am a Crow and reserve the right to challenge the old school thinking and solutions...)
First you have a 'newish' model MH. The problems others may have experienced may have been fixed on your 2014. And you are, by your own words, a 'noobie' ... there's a lot to learn... take your time.
Your MH can max out at 11 tons and has more frontal and side area than the Alamo. It also has a high center of gravity compared to other vehicles. It's more like a Greyhound bus than a truck. They can hit the sinful side of 70 and stay there till the fuel runs out. They float like a butterfly and roll over like a pup. Each MH has its quirks.... You have to learn your quirks before you start making changes.
My suggestions are these:
DO NOT MAKE CHANGES to the suspension, shocks, roll bars, etc., until you have driven it maybe 10 or 15 THOUSAND miles. You need to learn how your MH handles without jacking around with the engineering and cobbling up the handling. They are not Ferraris, Formula One racers, or off road 4 by 4s. They are elephants in tu-tus with ballet slippers. They are not perfect... they are quirky.... but generally competent.
DON'T SCREW WITH THE ALIGNMENT. Unless you find abnormal tire wear very early on .... don't screw with the alignment until you get more familiar with the MH. Tires wear. They may wear funny just because.... They may not. If it is driving fine; keeps a straight-ish line; isn't pulling to one side.... leave it alone until you get more experience. Do know that these rolling apartment buildings have a high center of gravity... are higher off the pavement... and are subject to turning toward the curb side of the highway due to the road being crowned. They will also 'weather vane' and try to turn away from a heading side wind. That is normal. And that 'normal' contributes to weird tire wear.
DO set your tire pressures to the Tire Pressure Placard in the MH. That is for MAX GROSS WEIGHT. You don't need more. You might get by with a couple PSI less, but only experience will tell you. And, an all up weighing will help determine how far under the GVWR you are. Lets hope you are not over. (Yes, old hands will start screaming about front/rear weights and individual axle weights, side to side axle weights F & R, tire pressure charts, etc., ad. nauseum. Who's got time for that???? I'm saying keep it simple on your learning curve.... just set the pressures by the placard.
You don't have time for all that hassle. When you get more experience you can start investigating all that fancy stuff.
Looks like you are towing a pickup. Make sure its tires are also set to its placard. Do not forget that TOAD has a mind of its own and it's going to try to tease the back end of your coach into doing some things you may not like when the going gets a little weird... like fast lane changes, heavy braking, jumping asphalt levels.
Technique is important. It's something you learn as you go along.
Some Crow rules (learned the hard way):
SLOW DOWN. When you have pavement joints, construction sites, rough roads, etc.. SLOW DOWN. If it looks sketchy... it probably is. Slow down. Remember you are driving the equivalent of Dumbo the elephant. Its big, wide, heavy, with high center of gravity.... and if you are towing a pickup you have a 3+ ton pendulum hanging on the back bumper. (GO figure how that changes the stability equation when you cross over a construction joint!)
Even more important in adverse weather conditions, e.g., fog, rain, winds, dust, smoke, freezing conditions......
Slower also gives you more decision/reaction time.
Slower is also easier on the coach..... you don't pound the thing apart by jamming it over rough surfaces.
Yeh.... folks are gonna blow their minds here and freek out about holding up traffic or tell tales about how their 50' land yacht blows over canyons with no issues at Mach 1.25 with the $10grand of suspension upgrades..... Your safety depends on keeping your MH under positive control. Going slowly helps keep you in control. If someone is held up a bit... so be it.
BRAKE IN A STRAIGHT LINE. When ever possible!! You want to get this big honker slowed down quickly before you have to turn the wheel. Which implies that you have to learn to read the road and traffic much farther ahead than in your car. When you get slowed down you can maneuver. This keeps "Dumbo" balanced as much as possible. (Braking and turning will cause the weight to shift opposite to the direction you are turning.... then you straighten and turn the other way and it begins to do the 'elephant walk' back the other directions. It gets ugly. And the TOAD doesn't help a bit here.....)
CORNERING.... when approaching curves even on the interstate.... start bleeding speed early on.... just a few mph makes a difference. Depends on how sharp the curve..... enter at your slowest speed. Start your turn in and balance the MH using a little throttle. At the apex, ease on the throttle and gently power out. The idea is to get the beast balanced on it's suspension so it's not rocking and rolling through the corner. With practice you can be surprisingly smooth and your passenger will not be screaming!!!
Getting over uneven linear pavement joints is a practiced art. Slow speed is your friend. Do remember that the inner dual will probably try to climb the ridge first and then the front. (Who knows what the TOAD is doing... as it dances behind you...) Just keep a steady hand and point it where you want it and let it climb up the ridge. She may wallow and pitch but it will get on top of the new pavement. Don't jerk it!! Just steer over the edge.
Good luck.... safe travels!