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Old 10-22-2015, 09:45 PM   #1
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Uneven Lane Transition Tips?

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..........
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Old 10-22-2015, 10:08 PM   #2
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A lot depends on your tires, tire pressure, coach handling, etc.
When we went to Florida in Feb 2015 big trucks passing on the left would push me on the shoulder of the road. In Florida the shoulder drops off about 1-2 inches from the main road. This caused me to ride the shoulder while gradually turning into the drop off.
It was scary but slow constant pressure on the wheel brought me back into the road.

A tire that is low on air or not to recommend max cold PSI can be slow to climb the grooved part. I aired my tires up to max cold PSI and it handled the groove drop off a lot better.
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Old 10-22-2015, 11:39 PM   #3
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Thanks Oki. I plan on trying to stay away from these situations as best I can, but ol' Murphy goes everywhere I go!!!
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Old 10-23-2015, 07:52 AM   #4
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Like OKIE said "slow constant pressure on the wheel" is the trick and give it time to climb the edge. You will run into this problem often as roads are resurfaced. I run tire pressures as calculated by the axle weights and tire brand/size. It is supposed to be the perfect pressure for the coach.

From Michelin Tire:
Quote:
Michelin displays tire loads per axle end in the load and inflation tables. We recommend weighing each axle end separately and using the heaviest end weight to determine the axle's cold inflation tire pressure. For control of your RV, make sure tire pressures are the same across an axle, while NEVER exceeding the maximum air pressure limit stamped on the wheels.
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Old 10-23-2015, 12:57 PM   #5
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I think yours is a gasser, if so a track bar should stop the effect. The rear mounted on leaf springs can have a lot of side play. When going up next to the height difference it side loads then as you get on top that load releases and makes the sway/jump sideways. Blue OX make one and the cost is around $500. Have several freinds with it installed and that made the entire drive much better.

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Old 10-23-2015, 04:48 PM   #6
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My suggestion for Medic57 and okie143 is to get a proper alignment on your units. It will take care of 95% of your problems. I've had 3 F53's and they all needed alignments. First one would get blown over the white line by trucks. Second one wasn't real bad, but just didn't drive real good. Took it first to Freightliner, and after some discussion the next morning, they handed my check back to me. They also used 4-wheel laser, just didn't know what to do with it. Second place used two wheel laser, they helped it some with a caster adj. and poor toe-in setting. I finally got it properly adjusted and it was a pleasure to drive and didn't get blown around by anything. I just got my 3rd unit done this week by someone that has a great reputation and doesn't use laser, it feels like it's going to be just fine.

The very hardest part is to find someone that can/will do a good alignment for a motor coach and knowing what settings to use. I have my own specs I want and don't need any track bars or steering stabilizers to have a coach that is a pleasure to drive.
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alank View Post
My suggestion for Medic57 and okie143 is to get a proper alignment on your units. It will take care of 95% of your problems. I've had 3 F53's and they all needed alignments. First one would get blown over the white line by trucks. Second one wasn't real bad, but just didn't drive real good. Took it first to Freightliner, and after some discussion the next morning, they handed my check back to me. They also used 4-wheel laser, just didn't know what to do with it. Second place used two wheel laser, they helped it some with a caster adj. and poor toe-in setting. I finally got it properly adjusted and it was a pleasure to drive and didn't get blown around by anything. I just got my 3rd unit done this week by someone that has a great reputation and doesn't use laser, it feels like it's going to be just fine.

The very hardest part is to find someone that can/will do a good alignment for a motor coach and knowing what settings to use. I have my own specs I want and don't need any track bars or steering stabilizers to have a coach that is a pleasure to drive.
Ok well how about sharing your specs so others like me might try them, whatcha think?
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Old 10-24-2015, 12:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Medic57 View Post
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!
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Old 10-24-2015, 02:59 PM   #9
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OK Old Crows you wanted to "pee off some old hands" and I defiantly qualify. Both of my hands are old as is the rest of me! You wanted to hear a rebuttal? Well ..... even though I am a old hand, I can't accommodate you because I agree with what you said! Well written and maybe I will even adopt some of what you said.

BTW, we stopped at your Kerrville-Schreiner Park earlier this year and got there right after a major thunderstorm had just passed through the area. Had a good time and I can say you live is a pretty part of Texas.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:05 PM   #10
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I still remember my first time into Florida with our coach. When you see new pavement right along old pavement you can kinda mentally prepare for what comes next. BUT - as noted - in Florida some fool decided that a drop off from the main pavement to the shoulder was a good idea. Problem is you don't see it until you wander just a bit wide. As noted the toad kinda has a mind of its own - coupled with the drop off - WOW. Had to stop at the next rest area and clean up.

Anyways, still don't see all the pavement changes but after 26000 miles in 20 months - well it just doesn't have the same affect on me. Plus, I've got a coach with a 56 wheelbase ratio, a Roadmaster Reflex Steering stabilizer and lots of clean laundry just in case.

Final advise - speed reduction is the largest friend you will have - always.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:43 PM   #11
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jergeod, you sure can have the specs I use. When we started on my current coach, it had about 6 1/2* of caster and toed in over 1/4". There's not a lot you can do about the camber unless you want to hook up the big hooks and bend the axle, and unless the axle has bee damaged in some way, it probably won't need a camber adjustment.
when you adjust caster, you are actually adjusting the trail length of each front wheel. The more trail you have, the easier it is for wind, wind gusts, or headwind from trucks to push on the side of the coach and get slight steering movements in the direction of the coach. I set my caster at 3* to 3 1/2*. It makes it much more stable on the road and steers easier. When I left the shop I felt like I had a whole new power steering unit. If you go less than 3* you start approaching the area when steering wobble starts to develop, and you don't want that.
Poor toe-in keeps one tire working against the other for priority on which tire is going to control direction of the coach. A little more weight or traction of one tire over the other and the vehicle will wonder around on the road. I set the 22.5 tires to 1/16 total toe or error to the slightly less side if you can't get 1/16". On 19.5 tires, since they are a smaller dia. definitely slightly less than 1/16, but in both cases never less than 0".
I haven't had this coach out on the interstate yet, but with these settings on the previous coach, I could hold one finger on the steering wheel and let the semi's roll by with no need to adjust the steering. If you have a real good feel of the coach, you could feel the headwind of a truck push on the rear of the coach as it approached, but it needed no steering adjustment. After a while, you quit paying much attention to what is coming up in the left lane.
Like I said above, finding someone who knows enough about what he is doing may be the biggest challenge and I'm not a real big fan of laser or those that think they give a perfect alignment.
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Old 10-24-2015, 04:53 PM   #12
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Bigd9,

Thank you!

Yes, Kerrville-Shreiner Park is pretty nice. We recommend it to friends passing through. They do have "attack squirrels" who viciously chew up white water hoses!

Stand by! There's a new park a building across from the airport on route 27 just on the edge of town. It will access the Guadalupe. 270ish spots. It should be smashing!

Being "old" gives us great advantage.... We' e done dumb things, dangerous things, risky things..... and we have survived despite our best efforts. If we learned from the experience we need share. New guys can benefit from our experience. I like to see folks be successful, be safe, and have fun.
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