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Old 10-26-2012, 06:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
Before you get behind the wheel , find out if your state laws require an air brake endorcement. Driving with out one could void your insurance

Again, we are buying a 2006 41 foot Monaco DP with a tow car.

The original build sheet is saying it came equipped with a 'PAC Exhaust Brake',
whatever that is. It was standard equipment.

We live in California. Does it sound like we would need this
air brake endorcement?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #16
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Don't do it. There is so much to learn and it sounds as if you would be learning on the Interstate. Is it really worth it to pile up your new rig? You may be able to keep it between the lines going straight but how often is traffic just great and polite? You hit some construction, concrete barriers on each side, a car cuts in front of you, you blow a tire, hit a deer, have someone come across the median at you........... na, it ain't worth the extra time saved by you driving. It's an RV. Camp out on the way back, take it easy. Enjoy your new rig. You can learn how to drive that rig a bit at a time.
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:42 PM   #17
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This is excerpted from the CA motor vehicle licensing website. Your "regular" license is a Class C with it you are legal to drive:

With a Basic Class C license:
A 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
A 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. gross or less.
A motorized scooter.
Any housecar 40’or less


If your motorhome is 41 feet long you are right on the line with respect to needing a Class B non-commercial license in order to be legal in your home state (the legality of your licenses is based on your home state requirements) If neither one of you has a Class B license and you plan to drive it across country I think you both should consider getting some kind of training before doing so.

IMHO if you do not even know what a Pac Brake is (it's not part of the regular braking system) you have no business driving this vehicle (particularly over the mountains). To answer your question--yes, your vehicle has air brakes and learning to use them safely is something your life will depend on.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:06 PM   #18
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My sister in law actually went to a school for truckers and learned to drive their RV and she is very good, comfortable and in control.

I would recommend some formal training if NEITHER have experience that is for sure. Many people are not "naturals" and many are more nervous in a car during LA rush hours than other people.

I can tell you for me, I have been the "driver" of conversion vans using only side mirrors for a couple of decades. My business had me moving many times long distances, and so I'd rent the largest moving truck, trailer and pack so tight you couldn't find room for a dime to fit in. I'd load up my full size van and cruise down the freeway without blinking an eye as it felt natural to me for whatever the reason. I had a "boyfriend" for about ten years who drove a little car, when we took my van I drove. When we took vacations he would drive before we got to the big city or after we left it. I called him CHICKEN.

I was nervous when I bought our 40 footer but the nervousness was do to the fact I spent a lot of cash on the rig, and I never know how the other person is going to handle me coming up beside them, behind them or in front of them. You have to be able to watch EVERYTHING at the same time.

If you don't feel 100% comfortable, park it and let some one who does drive. You are not only putting your life at risk, but also the lives of everyone who is on the road PLUS your rig.

Seriously, contact a driving school and seek the training it will be helpful to you.

Growing up with 7 brothers and on a farm, I learned to drive in the wheat and flax fields, my brothers were not the best teachers as they put me in the drivers seat, put the truck in gear and told me to step on it if I really wanted to go to dad. I was 7 years old. Dad did not appreciate their methoud and neither did I, and as result I learned to drive and they sat in the corner for what seemed to be a long time!
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:29 PM   #19
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I think docj and Kay have given you the best advice yet. If neither one of you have experience with a large vehicle like that, that weighs in at around 30,000 lbs, and is equipped with air brakes, you should have some sort of training. Lots of folks just jump in and go and get away with it, but others don't. Knowing your air brake system is crucial to operating safely. There are many things that can cause problems with air brakes and knowing the signs can save you from problems. I have driven and repaired large trucks for years so I talk from experience. A little training and you can enjoy your new coach without worry. Congrats on your new coach.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #20
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I would sign up for a driving school before you get too many bad habits. We took the RV Driving School which was 2 days for the both of us in our motorhome, one on one. I think both of you should take this or a similar training and it would be preferred if all class A owners took such a class.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:59 PM   #21
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Watch the video, stay at lazy days and take the course. If you don't have the time or inclination, go slow, stay back further than usual. turns are tougher, but the easiest thing to remember is to watch the right rear tire or left rear tire on every respective turn. If your respective tire clears the obstacles on the turns, you will be all right.

(Old bus driving trick). We bought our 40 ft DP in Tucson, last year. Never drove one before, and we drove it home to Cleveland. Just use your head.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:21 AM   #22
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Since Lazy Days is in our way, we are definitely going to stop there and take the course.
Thanks to everyone for their input
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:08 AM   #23
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Since Lazy Days is in our way, we are definitely going to stop there and take the course.
Thanks to everyone for their input
I think you are making a wise decision. Have a great trip with your new RV. Be sure to follow up with us.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #24
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Since Lazy Days is in our way, we are definitely going to stop there and take the course.
Thanks to everyone for their input
Not only is this the smart move, you will enjoy your cross-country trip a lot more. Enjoy your new coach!
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:52 PM   #25
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The 40 acre parking lot suggestion is a good one (A Mall parking lot after hours is often good)

Since you are heading west answer this. I-10? If so you can pull off at the Quartsite exit (Just not in January) and go to SR-95, Go south a few miles and check into one of the brueau of land mangement hunks of the desert.. That's like several hundreds of acres of empty parking lot most of the time (Wall to wall RV's in January).

The RV driving course is also a good suggestion.

Fact.. There are two kinds of RV drivers. FOD's and Operators.

Becoming an FOD (Foreward Only Driver) is fairly easy, Other than they are 8'6" wide (most cars are closer to six or 7) there is not a lot of difference between a Motor home and your father's Buick.

Just take corners a bit wide for a while, and park in the truck spaces at the rest area.

Backing and tight manuvering is where the operator skills are needed.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:42 PM   #26
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Just want to add something that helped me a LOT: I stopped using the rear view mirror in my car altogether for a couple of months before I got the RV. I used only the two side mirrors whenever I drove anywhere, including parking and especially backing up. By the time I was driving the RV I was used to watching the tires and side panels to see where I was going and using them on the RV wasn't so hard or disorienting.

Another thing that helped my confidence a lot was driving and backing in and out of all kinds of imaginary situations in a big empty parking lot with a lot of tree islands with curbs. Sunday afternoons are good for that...

Susan
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
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Find a 40 acre parking lot and Practice. Or go on line and read and watch the vidios @
RV Driver Confidence Course: Part 1 - Better RVing
Ditto this. I watched their instruction videos many times before picking ours up. I also bought the RV Education video Driving Your Motorhome Like A Pro and watched it several times. Glad I did.

A large parking lot is also a good idea. Just watch out for the light poles.

Don
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:08 PM   #28
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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on your 'new' Monaco DB

Following up on a lot of the suggestions provided here with the videos and Lazy Days instruction I am sure this tip will be covered, but to give you an early mental note to think about, when you make the transition from driving a car to driving a motor home, two things to be aware of, one, your physical driving position in the MH relative to the center of the lane of travel, and two where the right side of the MH is in relation to the lane of travel.

To have the MH centered in the lane your physical driving position in the coach in relation to the center of the lane is farther to the left than you have been used to when driving a car. And related to that is to learn where the right side of the coach is in relation to the lane your traveling in. To put it in simple terms, if you drive the MH down the road like you do a car you will naturally crowd the right side. You have to make a mental adjustment to position yourself, and thus the coach farther to the left of lane center than you are used to. It may 'feel' like you are too far left, and it will for awhile, just check yourself in the mirror to see where the right side really is until you get used to the 'new feel' of your lane centering. If you find the MH is crowding or over the right lane line you are still driving like you are driving a car and just need to work on this adjustment until you are comfortable positioning yourself a little bit farther to the left of lane center than you have been used to.

I run into this frequently when training new semi drivers right out of school making the transition from driving a car to driving a semi. With regard to lane positioning a common mistake is crowding the right side lane line. They are still driving like they are driving a car and have not made the transition and learned yet where their right side is and that they need to move farther left in order to be centered in the lane.

Look forward to reports on your travels.
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