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Old 03-11-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
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Wheelbase / Length Ratio

Hello, The ratio between wheelbase and overall length, and I could have this wrong, need to be over 50% to be consider a good handling coach. The higher the percentage the better the handling. On a gas coach the driver sit over the front wheels, on a diesel the driver sits in front of the wheels. 4 or 5 feet of the coach length is in front of the wheels as opposed to 2 to 3 foot for a gas coach.

So my question is does the 50% rule apply to a diesel coach since the wheels are behind the driver?



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Old 03-11-2015, 11:18 AM   #2
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
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Yes....it doesn't matter where the person sits....it's the actual measurement of the distance between the front and rear wheels. I wouldn't necessarily not buy an RV because it doesn't meet the 50% quotient. Many short DP's are less than 50% because the generator up front pushes the front axle back and the rear engine pushes the rear axle forward to make everything fit. I had a 36' DP that actually had the same wheelbase as my previous 32' gasser. I added shocks and sway bars and the coach handled very well.

Don & Mary
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Old 03-12-2015, 08:56 AM   #3
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The 50% ratio is just a short hand way to evaluate how much the body overhangs the chassis. A longer rear overhang increases the tendency for the tail to wag the dog, as it were. While a rear engine model will rarely have an issue with excessive rear overhang, it is conceivable and the general principle that a longer wheel base handles better still applies.
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:08 AM   #4
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Like most rules of thumbs, its an oversimplification of a complex issue. Sure, for two other identical RVs, the longer wheelbase will be more stable. However, its not just the wheelbase-to-length that matters, but where the wheelbase is in that length, but that's not a listed stat on any RV brochure. Where the center-of-gravity is also matters, as does the total weight, as a heavier coach (of the same size) will be affected by wind less. And I haven't even gotten to suspension design yet...
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:15 AM   #5
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Wheelbase / Length Ratio

Lynn, it's good that you're even asking the question! Yes, the principle applies to any coach. My own reading leads me to a higher number-- 53% or 54%__ as the satisfactory threshold. It is often coaches in the 32-36 ft range where these problems arise. This is the break-over area, where size dictates that a manufacturer ought to go to a larger chassis, but the cost accountants convince him to stay with the smaller one.

Armed with knowledge, you will watch for these factors as you shop. The forum is full of posts from people who have had to spend hundreds of $$ on chassis mods- sometimes on new motorhomes- just to make the handling tolerable. And they seem ok with this. ?????

Good Luck!!
John & Diane, Fulltimers. RVM103 NHSO
On the road since June '12 with Lincoln, the guard cat.
2002 Dutch Star 40, Freightliner, Cat 3126, 2004 Element
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