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Old 03-14-2005, 01:15 PM   #1
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I have a problem. My wife is not comfortable driving our camper, and refused to do so.

The camper is a 2002 34' Holiday Rambler Vacationer on a W22 Chassis. When I first purchased it handled very poorly even at 60 on a calm day, or above 50 even with a slight breeze.

I have checked the weight loaded for a trip and we are within our GVWR. After making all of the suspension modifications recommended for the rig (front and rear track bars, shocks, Safe-T-Plus) I can now handle it comfortable at 70 on a calm day, or 60 on a breezy day. Sure, it doesn't drive like a car, but I can easily keep it between the line.

But my wife still freaks out driving 50-55 even on a calm day. She gets panicky at having to make constant small corrections to keep the rig going strait down the road. Complains about loose steering, and swears there is a mechanical problem.

I'm thinking about having it aligned and maybe havening the shop toe in the front wheels a little. That might help, or might not. Is there anything else I can do to help the handling, or get the wife use to handling the rig?

Mark
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:15 PM   #2
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I have a problem. My wife is not comfortable driving our camper, and refused to do so.

The camper is a 2002 34' Holiday Rambler Vacationer on a W22 Chassis. When I first purchased it handled very poorly even at 60 on a calm day, or above 50 even with a slight breeze.

I have checked the weight loaded for a trip and we are within our GVWR. After making all of the suspension modifications recommended for the rig (front and rear track bars, shocks, Safe-T-Plus) I can now handle it comfortable at 70 on a calm day, or 60 on a breezy day. Sure, it doesn't drive like a car, but I can easily keep it between the line.

But my wife still freaks out driving 50-55 even on a calm day. She gets panicky at having to make constant small corrections to keep the rig going strait down the road. Complains about loose steering, and swears there is a mechanical problem.

I'm thinking about having it aligned and maybe havening the shop toe in the front wheels a little. That might help, or might not. Is there anything else I can do to help the handling, or get the wife use to handling the rig?

Mark
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Old 03-14-2005, 02:17 PM   #3
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We have a 36 ft 2004 HR Vacationer on the W-22. It's not that my wife is afraid, it me that is afraid, if she is driving. I agree, it wanders a little. Thinking its the weight distribution. Gonna get it weighed next week at the FMCA Convention in Perry Ga. I added the Streer Safe and it did not do to well. I added it on our 1999 HR Vacationer 35 footer and it made a world of difference. I'm thinking the tires have to much pressure in them. I put 108lbs in the Michelns 22.5 tires as rec by the dealer. But the book does not recommend as much pressure. We love the unit though. I don't have much problems with the steering, but it does wander more than my 99 HR on the Ford V-10 frame. s/Toby
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Old 03-14-2005, 04:04 PM   #4
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My wife is very comfortable driving our rig (see below). We share the driving about 50/50.

However, as the famous Dr. Phil advises all married couples, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

Let me suggest, after 43+ years with this woman, there isn't a way in the world I can convince her to do something that she isn't comfortable doing.

My suggestion, have the vehicle mechanically checked out, repaired or modified as needed to provide the stability both of you should desire. Once that is accomplished, and she has the opportunity to observe how much easier it is for you to handle, she may want to try it, too... but, you'll never be able to force her to do something she is uncomfortable with, so resign yourself to do all the driving, if that is the bottom line.
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Old 03-14-2005, 04:35 PM   #5
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Mark, first of all welcome to iRV2. Check out the National Rally in Lancaster Pa in June. And now about the driving.....I did not get used to driving our MH. When I did drive it I was always way over to the right. I tried to line it up so I was in the center, but every time I looked in the left mirror. It seemed like I was way over in the left lane. I was scared, Larry was scared. It was not a good thing. If your wife is afraid, have her go for some "drives" in a empty parking lot. Let her get the feel for it. I learned on I95 I wish I had some lessons first....then maybe it would have been different Good luck, Sue
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Old 03-14-2005, 06:20 PM   #6
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Welcome to irv2 also Mark, if an when you get your coach weight,check your inflation table for the type tires you have, for tire pressure, your tires may have to much air in them right now. Hard tires will not give you a good foot print on the road surface. As you are driving they will get even harder from heat buildup. Load your front axle to within the axle weight limitations of axle before getting weight. Newmar said I needed 100# in all tires, I weight my coach Micheln says 90# up front 85# in rear for the weight I'm carrying. Micheln or Goodyear Web sites will give you all this information an than some.
You will find with added weight up front an adjusted air pressure in front tires you will have more control in your steering. Slow down you will get better mileage, an be with us on irv2 alot longer. There was a posting about a MH in UTAH that got blown of highway killing four kids an parents an leaving four others parentless.---"007"
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Old 03-16-2005, 05:24 AM   #7
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When we started full-timing, we went to a Life on Wheels conference. Hubby KNEW that if he tried to teach me how to drive the MH, there would be a divorce or a murder! I am serious, when my spouse tries to tell me how to do things I get testy , so for us a third party was needed. We signed up for driving lessons from RV Driving School, who have representatives at the conference. Best thing we did. I feel confident and comfortable behind the wheel. Hubby learned some new things too, although he had taken to the RV driving like a duck to water. And I didn't have to kill Hubby and worry about where to dump the body.

I really don't like to drive, I'd rather be the co-pilot. But I wanted to know for when I needed to do it. So, Paul is right that if she isn't comfortable doing it, don't force her. But my suggestion is get someone else (got a trucker friend, someone who drives a school bus, any other male/female who drive something bigger than a mini-van) to go out with her. The empty parking lot idea is a good one too.
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Old 03-17-2005, 08:34 AM   #8
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With both front and rear trackbars, you should not have to make constant corrections to go straight. If you do, something is probably wrong, maybe sloppy tie rods or bell crank. A good front end shop hould be able to spot it.

On the other hand, since she is now nervous about the handling, ANY steering correction at all may become a noticeable event. Most of us aren't even aware of the frequnet tiny corrections we make while driving the family car, but on a big rig it can be scary if you are already uncomfortable with it.

Before doing anything else, check your weight distribution and also make sure the front tire pressure is correct for the axle weight. Use the tire load inflation table for your brand and model of tire, not what anybody tells you is correct. There is probably an inflation table in the Workhorse Chassis manual but the tire manufacturer's web site will be another source. A tire dealer should have it too.

My wife doesn't drive the MH either - she is convinced she cannot do it. I can get her to drive a little in am empty lot, but that's about it. Professional lessons should help to build confidence and we plan to do that one of these days.
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:37 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the advice. I weigh the coach and adjust tire pressures twice a year. Currently I'm running 95 psi front, and 90 psi rear. This is 10 psi over the minimum for the weight that I am carrying, but like the safety margin running on those XRVs.

I will have the front end checked and aligned, but that is about all I can do for the handling. Other than that, I just have to start the wife out slower roads than the I-70 (55 mph limit).

In answer to "007", I seldom take the coach over 65, and usually run about 60 mph. On a reasonably calm day, it handles well at that speed, without down shifting every little hill (like it does below 60 mph).

Again, thank you for your input.
Mark
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:38 AM   #10
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My wife is also afraid to drive - I'm in terror. The last time she drove, it was our old 18' class C. That didn't last from one rest stop to the next. We were all over the highway. Current rig is '04 Suncruiser 33v. DW states that if I have a heart attack & die, she'll walk.
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