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Old 03-22-2019, 07:43 AM   #1
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1999 P30 chassis suspension upgrades??

Hi, All RVers!

Been searching the web for suspension and steering improvement equipment we may like to add to the "new to us" 1996 RV. Sooo many ways, sooooo many items; gets confusing which is best improvement route to take.

Here's the story!

Tomorrow we pick up our P30 chassis, 1996 Tiffin Allegro 25', 454 engine RV w/ 36K orig miles. She purrs and is in really good overall condition. Everything works. Drives/stops well on test run. Looks nice from any angle; interior and exterior. Orig owner has an affection for her and has surely taken care!

Before we bring her home: Owner wanted to complete a couple of new product interior improvements he's been meaning to install... i.e. new window shades, new shower faucet and [professionally-done at RV shop] improved dashboard vent AC air flow conditions... He called last eve to say all is ready... come drive her home! This first drive of any distance will be 90 miles; 90% on hwy.

Within last several years he's put in new suspension air bags, brand new ceiling AC/heater, recent tires and brakes as well as $3K new exterior roof and $1,300 gen set refurbishment.

My Question: Although during trial run I was pleased in the handling of this rather small RV... what are the best suspension/steering improvements you experienced RV enthusiasts would recommend for 1996 25' P30 chassis? Hope I have the chassis "P30" acronym correct... I think so!

Like our other "vintage" age toys [boat, muscle car etc (ourselves included - lol)] we plan keeping this little baby in top condition for the long term.

Appreciate any suggestion/guidance for product availability to best improve suspension/steering on this pretty ol' RV gal!

We always like to upgrade our vintage aged toys... that's half the fun!

Thanks!

Art n' Linda
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM Art View Post
Hi, All RVers!

Been searching the web for suspension and steering improvement equipment we may like to add to the "new to us" 1996 RV. Sooo many ways, sooooo many items; gets confusing which is best improvement route to take.

Here's the story!

Tomorrow we pick up our P30 chassis, 1996 Tiffin Allegro 25', 454 engine RV w/ 36K orig miles. She purrs and is in really good overall condition. Everything works. Drives/stops well on test run. Looks nice from any angle; interior and exterior. Orig owner has an affection for her and has surely taken care!

Before we bring her home: Owner wanted to complete a couple of new product interior improvements he's been meaning to install... i.e. new window shades, new shower faucet and [professionally-done at RV shop] improved dashboard vent AC air flow conditions... He called last eve to say all is ready... come drive her home! This first drive of any distance will be 90 miles; 90% on hwy.

Within last several years he's put in new suspension air bags, brand new ceiling AC/heater, recent tires and brakes as well as $3K new exterior roof and $1,300 gen set refurbishment.

My Question: Although during trial run I was pleased in the handling of this rather small RV... what are the best suspension/steering improvements you experienced RV enthusiasts would recommend for 1996 25' P30 chassis? Hope I have the chassis "P30" acronym correct... I think so!

Like our other "vintage" age toys [boat, muscle car etc (ourselves included - lol)] we plan keeping this little baby in top condition for the long term.

Appreciate any suggestion/guidance for product availability to best improve suspension/steering on this pretty ol' RV gal!

We always like to upgrade our vintage aged toys... that's half the fun!

Thanks!

Art n' Linda
First thing to realize is that you are driving essentially an near-overloaded bread truck. It will never handle like the newer generation of RV's. Before you start tweaking the suspension ,first thing to do is weigh it at a truck stop so you can get the proper inflation pressures (front axle,rear axle and combined). When I did it I packed it like we normally do for an average 3 day weekend trip, full of fuel and 3/4 tank of water and empty waste tank(s). On my 23' for example I get a front weight of ~4200 and a rear weight of ~5700. I then use the Michelin LT tire pressure chart for my tires (235/85/16 & 215/85/16) to determine the proper PSI. ( most manufactures have a load and inflation chart on their website) For my tires that is 55 front and 45 rear.( I actually use 60/50).

Have the front end aligned before you start buying things. The tech will(should) find any flaws in the steering and suspension and advise you. A common problem with front end alignments on Motorhomes is the alignment caster is often set to the wrong value. it should be in the 4-5 deg range You can find specfic data here and other P-30 info here: https://www.gmcmi.com/wp-content/upl...sis-Manual.pdf.


Since you have airbags you probably will benefit mostly from new springs(I did). Here is some information that will help you determine proper spring height http://supersteer.wpengine.com/wp-co...ions-10-06.pdf
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Old 03-23-2019, 01:10 PM   #3
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The correct air pressures will work wonders. When we drove ours home the tires were filled to max pressure for the tires. If we ran over a leaf it felt like it was a black angus... We loaded it, had it weighed and lowered the air pressure 25-30 lbs. Huge improvement in the ride and handling. The front airbags were filled to max as well too. That pressure was dropped as well.

As far as the airbags in the front end, we eventually got the correct springs for the axle weight upper limit. No more airbags. The ride didn't seem to change as far as comfort and handling. Most importantly it removed two things that would break...

Like has been mentioned you are driving a bread truck chassis that has been stretched into an RV. The platform has been solid for us. Where you have to be careful is when you buy parts you may get the bread truck parts. Some of them fidn't dit when an install attempts are made. I had a lesson in that when I replaced the rear main seal in the tranny.

Here is a link to many of the correct parts and how to things. Oemy's Web Site - It has saved me a great deal of playing guess which part number time. Scroll the left side to the Chassis Parts P Series tab. And if you have the autopark it steers you through those issues.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:07 PM   #4
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Thank you all for great input. Copied onto a page whatever is important.

Got her home today. She received the name "Sweety"... because of how nice an old gal she is!

Plan to tidy her up, stock her up and make her a bit better in next few days.
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Old 03-23-2019, 11:26 PM   #5
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Upgrades

RM Art; sounds like the original owner took good care of the coach. We have done numerous improvement to or 30' 1996 Flair (P30).

Every thing we have changed improved the ride and handling. Checked the alignment, replaced 20 year old tires, suspension lubrication, shocks, front springs, front sway bar bushings, and the alike.

With that said, the biggest improvement to ride quality was replacing the sagging front Springs, replacing the stock GM shocks with Bilstein gas shocks, and replacing the front sway bar bushings. Each of these, (done one at a time) dramatically altered the handling.

Honestly, I actually love the handling of the P30 series chassis due to the independent front suspension. When my step dad purchased her new in 1996 I was surprised at how well she handled. We drive her on mountain roads frequently, (CA Hwy 17) and I'm always amazed how well a 14,000 pound truck handles those tight corners.
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:12 AM   #6
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RM Art; sounds like the original owner took good care of the coach. We have done numerous improvement to or 30' 1996 Flair (P30).

Every thing we have changed improved the ride and handling. Checked the alignment, replaced 20 year old tires, suspension lubrication, shocks, front springs, front sway bar bushings, and the alike.

With that said, the biggest improvement to ride quality was replacing the sagging front Springs, replacing the stock GM shocks with Bilstein gas shocks, and replacing the front sway bar bushings. Each of these, (done one at a time) dramatically altered the handling.

Honestly, I actually love the handling of the P30 series chassis due to the independent front suspension. When my step dad purchased her new in 1996 I was surprised at how well she handled. We drive her on mountain roads frequently, (CA Hwy 17) and I'm always amazed how well a 14,000 pound truck handles those tight corners.
D G thanks for input on a similar chassis. Hwy 17 has some ups, downs and twists. We pulled twisty, pretty steep "Whites Hill" today on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.; no problem at all... even when traffic slowed and then sped up.

Yup "Sweetie" was taken excellent care of. She purrs and shifts well. Planning to take all chassis features into account, one by one. Easy to handle now... but a bit too much like a marshmallow in hwy surface abrupt dips and hollows.

First I will take her to my decades in business independently owned transmission shop to get rear end fluid checked; likely completely flushed/changed. Probably trany fluid and filter too... although it looks really pink/red and has no order. Just for good measure may have synthetic oil and filter changed, although it is good looking too. Likely will have engine coolant flushed/changed. While doing all that - might as well have gen set oil changed. This will give me base-date/base-mileage for ongoing services.

How many lbs. pressure do you run in front/rear tires? Original chassis manual and Allegro owners manual both mention to keep tires inflated to max pressure stated on tire side wall. In this case that's 80 lbs. Currently fronts [DOT 3812] are running only 50 lbs. and on rears [Dot 2417] I could not locate a stem for checking when first home... plan to tomorrow. I figure running 75 in rear and 70 in front should work well. Although front DOT date is getting to the point of tire-change I know they were always in shade and can not see any cracks at all. Tomorrow will inspect with magnifying glass and flash light. Recently purchased a VIAIR 400P automatic portable compressor... will soon use it

Her steering is real tight, no play at all. Was told that suspension air bags have 80 psi... we'll see.

There is a 4" deep stack of owners manuals and receipts I will review tomorrow to get better handle on prev owner's schedules.

Cheers!

Art
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:59 AM   #7
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As far as air pressures you need to load the rig the way you would for your trips (full fuel, clothing, food, people, water, tools, etc. Have the rig weighed. Front axle, entire rig and rear axle. The entire weight will give you the GVW. Make sure you are under that weight. There is also a front axle limit and a rear axle limit. You could be under the GVW but the front axle over loaded. Or some combination thereof. Then creative rearrangement skills come into play.

Then go to the tire manufacturers recommended air pressure for that axle weight. The tires may be rated for a 20,000 rig. The max air pressure is for that weight. Go with the pressures for each axle weight. The front airbags have a pressure requirement for the actual weight.

Ideally, you get all four corners weighed. But a place that can do this is hard to come by. The from axle may be within the limits but the right front weighs way more than the left front. Again, creative rearrangement of stuff comes into play.

It is highly suggested that you go with the age of the tire not always appearance. You can't see the inside of the tire...

Does your rig have an autopark parking brake. If it does by all means read about it on the link I provided earlier. Have a spare RGS. It is the weak link in that system. It isn't if you will need one but when. Some people have done a retrofit on these systems. The link will tell the story. Don't ask me how I know you need to carry an extra RGS.

Sounds like you stumbled onto a winning lottery ticket.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:00 AM   #8
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As far as air pressures you need to load the rig the way you would for your trips (full fuel, clothing, food, people, water, tools, etc. Have the rig weighed. Front axle, entire rig and rear axle. The entire weight will give you the GVW. Make sure you are under that weight. There is also a front axle limit and a rear axle limit. You could be under the GVW but the front axle over loaded. Or some combination thereof. Then creative rearrangement skills come into play.

Then go to the tire manufacturers recommended air pressure for that axle weight. The tires may be rated for a 20,000 rig. The max air pressure is for that weight. Go with the pressures for each axle weight. The front airbags have a pressure requirement for the actual weight.

Ideally, you get all four corners weighed. But a place that can do this is hard to come by. The from axle may be within the limits but the right front weighs way more than the left front. Again, creative rearrangement of stuff comes into play.

It is highly suggested that you go with the age of the tire not always appearance. You can't see the inside of the tire...

Does your rig have an autopark parking brake. If it does by all means read about it on the link I provided earlier. Have a spare RGS. It is the weak link in that system. It isn't if you will need one but when. Some people have done a retrofit on these systems. The link will tell the story. Don't ask me how I know you need to carry an extra RGS.

Sounds like you stumbled onto a winning lottery ticket.
TY b2t

In my masonry, concrete and tile construction company... I sometimes drive loaded and unloaded dump trucks. Their suspension is stiff to say the least. And, the dumps don't have a flimsy material storage compartment "skirt" such as RV's do that come close to road surface. In effect - RV's are a low slung fragile marshmallow on the road compared to tall freeboard stiff-ridding rugged built dump trucks!! - LOL I'll teach our "new" RV "Sweetie" how to perform = LOL x 2!!

As I do in most of my vehicles I'll probably keep RV tires pumped up on the stiff side. Suspension spring air bags too!! We like stiff drinks and stiff suspension!!

Plan to drive our RV onto masonry material supplier's weight platform. first front, then rear, then all at once.

Will most likely soon replace the front 2012 tires due to age... even though they look like new. Rear tires are 2017. Today will have high power magnifying glass and bright flashlight checking all tire side walls.

Luckily... this RV "Sweetie" has foot peddle emergency brake!

Yup - Lotto winner in this case! After a whole bunch [nearly 7 full-on months] of seeking and reviewing different RV's. I looked at many, many thousand ads on the web during early morning and evenings hours of each day. Called and/or emailed to a lot. Visited a whole bunch. Drove some on a test. And... we decided thumbs up on "Sweetie"!!
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:25 AM   #9
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Your description of the motorhome "RV's are a low slung fragile marshmallow" was almost spot on. You forgot "traveling earthquake."
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:04 PM   #10
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Your description of the motorhome "RV's are a low slung fragile marshmallow" was almost spot on. You forgot "traveling earthquake."
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:58 AM   #11
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Consider getting a Scan Gauge https://www.scangauge.com/



Quote:
Originally Posted by RM Art View Post
...We always like to upgrade our vintage aged toys... that's half the fun!

Thanks!

Art n' Linda
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:40 PM   #12
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Consider getting a Scan Gauge https://www.scangauge.com/
TY, George

I opened Scan Gauge link and placed it onto our RV wish list page!
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Old 03-25-2019, 04:21 PM   #13
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TY, George

I opened Scan Gauge link and placed it onto our RV wish list page!
Is your 1996 a Vortex or TBI? If a Vortex engine, it is a OBD2 and is compatible with Scangauge. If TBI it is OBD1 and will not work on Scangauge.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:10 PM   #14
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Is your 1996 a Vortex or TBI? If a Vortex engine, it is a OBD2 and is compatible with Scangauge. If TBI it is OBD1 and will not work on Scangauge.
Our 1996 RV has old school 454 TBI.

You saying Scan Gauge won't work with ours? I thought I'd noticed on quick scan of their website that may be the case.
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