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Old 06-05-2014, 08:41 AM   #1
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Newbie question about ride vs. chassis brand

We have just passed the one-month period of MH ownership, so it's that "dangerous" time of having a little bit of knowledge

Two trips and 1700 miles later, the only wishes I have are about lane wandering and a feeling of vagueness when going over bumps (like a larger boat in high seas). I don't know if both feelings are the nature of moving 30,000 pounds, or if different chassis designs reduce or control them.

Ours is a Freightliner chassis with air suspension. In the grand scheme of things, is FL good, bad or ugly? Are there chassis that are better or worse than FL?
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:01 AM   #2
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Have you checked the 4 corner weight and adjusted the tire pressure to meet the tire manufacturers recommended pressures?

Have you had the wheel alignment checked after loading the coach with all of your goods, fuel and about the amount of water you will normally carry? I filled about 3/4+ fuel and half a tank of water, holding tanks were empty as I empty the tanks prior to starting a trip.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Have you checked the 4 corner weight and adjusted the tire pressure to meet the tire manufacturers recommended pressures?

Have you had the wheel alignment checked after loading the coach with all of your goods, fuel and about the amount of water you will normally carry? I filled about 3/4+ fuel and half a tank of water, holding tanks were empty as I empty the tanks prior to starting a trip.
Thanks for responding, Gordon. Prior to taking it on the road, I had it lubed and checked underneath, including tire pressure (95 lbs on 22.5 tires rated to 120).

First trip on the way to NC, it wandered alot, so on the way back from NC, we had the MH aligned at Freightliner in GA. About half of the wandering got cured, but left more than I'd like to have. With less than 10K miles on her, it won't be front end wear, and that's proved by both the original wrenching and the alignment guys.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:11 PM   #4
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Are you light on the front end? What's your front end weight vs GAWR? Compared to the rear axle? A single rear axle will never feel as stable as a tag unit, but being light in front will make it worse.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:20 PM   #5
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What Flyingdiver says is critical, when you had the alignment done did they adjust ride height? This can also affect on front/back weight distribution
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:09 PM   #6
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The basic question was "Is FL chassis better or worse than others", but that's far too vague a question to answer. Would you ask if Ford is better or worse? Or GM? Fl Custom Chassis makes several different models of chassis, and each one of those models has dozens of configuration options, selected by the motorhome builder rather than FL. And then the motorhome builder decides how to load the chassis (builds the coach body) and what pressure to put in the tires and even does the front end alignment. All of these things have major effect on how the chassis handles once the motorhome is built and delivered to the customer.
The net is that you can't make any meaningful generalization about Freightliner chassis.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Great info that begs more questions, such as,

Where can I find a shop that will measure these things? I can take the rig to our local landfill and maybe get front/mid/rear weights, but what to do with that info?

I can get it aligned once again, but hate to spend another $250 if the second shop does the same as the first one did. Not saying the first was bad, but what's considered to be right?

Given that this is the only MH I've driven, is there a frame of reference I can use? If not, is there a right way to figure this out?
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:11 PM   #8
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Don't focus on alignment, it's probably something else at this point. You need to go to a shop that's experienced in air suspension RV chassis units. You need the ride height and wheel weights checked. Call Freightliner and ask them where there's an RV qualified shop nearby.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:43 PM   #9
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Any suggestions about where one might be located within the Mobile/Pensacola area? Seems that there are only two places that align, and don't know whether they do the other tricks, too.

Anybody?
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:06 PM   #10
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Any suggestions about where one might be located within the Mobile/Pensacola area? Seems that there are only two places that align, and don't know whether they do the other tricks, too.

Anybody?
You checked Service Locator

If so, you might want to consider a trip to the factory center in Gafney, SC.

FCCC Service & Training Center
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:24 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new rig.

All great advice above. When I got my new 40DP on a FL Evolution chassis in 2007 I had no experience driving anything like it so didn't know what to expect. After making a 6000 mile loop around the country and reading a LOT of material here on the forum, I came to the conclusion that the white knuckle experience I was having just wasn't right.

I took it back to the dealer... to a Freightliner Oasis shop (twice)... then to an alignment specialty shop recommended by FL. Still the same wandering back and forth.

I then took it to Henderson's Line Up in Grant's Pass, Oregon. They did a Road Test Assessment and gave me suggestions as to what would address my concerns.

My coach now drives more like my old 500SL than a large boat in rolling seas.

I think the biggest improvement came from installing a Safe T Plus steering stabilizer, but I also had them install Motion Control Units to reduce the side to side roll and replaced the OEM steering bellcrank with a Super Steer model.

It's important to make sure you're not just putting a band aid over a real problem, but I think many of us have found that a steering stabilizer dramatically improves our driving experience and adds a degree of safety in the event of a blow out.

I know Grant's Pass, Oregon probably isn't in your immediate travel plans but you might want to give Henderson's a call and tell them your story. They may have authorized dealers or other recommendations for shops in your area.

Best of Luck

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Old 06-06-2014, 07:26 AM   #12
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The Steering Control Specialists | Safe-T-Plus Blog | Helping motorists' vehicles steer safer, less, and with peace of mind.

Thanks for the tip about SafeTPlus. I viewed the link above, and it looks like a straight-up DIY install...almost too easy. Am I missing something, or is it like changing a car tire easy?
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:55 AM   #13
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bamaboy...We have the '07 Mandalay Valencia 38C. DH wasn't happy with some of the same issues you're talking about, so he had a steering stabilizer installed. It made a big difference in steering/wandering/control and is worth the money.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:07 AM   #14
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From AL you would only have a shot trip over to Gaffney SC. Call Freightliner and make an appt with the Mother Ship, you won't be disappointed.
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