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Old 04-05-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
Winnebago Owners Club
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IFS vs. Straight front axle. Tag vs. single axle

I have a Winnebago 2009 Tour WD with the straight front suspension, not having experienced driving a coach with IFS, I would like your input of the advantages of one over the other. Second question has to do with tag axle vs. single. On a recent trip home from Phoenix I experienced very strong side winds and occasional stronger gusts. I was able to maintain control but it was not a very relaxing drive. Many tag axle rigs passed me at spends greater than the 55 mph I was traveling, are tags that much more stable? I have learned so much by reading the many comments posted here and would appreciate your input.

Ranger Rick
2009 Winnebage Tour 40 WD
2010 Chevy Equinox

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Old 04-05-2012, 08:13 PM   #2
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IFS will give you a more confortable feelong when driving. Say you get close to the shoulder and the lip pulls you over to the shoulder. With IFS you get more control and seemingly better ride. I can't say from experience on the straight axle, but the manufacturers told me that once youhad IFS, you won't like the ride and control of I beam. As far as tag or not. The extra weight of the coach makes it stay on the road better. The wind doesn't blow you around as much.

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Old 04-05-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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Single rear axle coaches like to "pivot" around the rear axle in strong crosswinds. An additional axle rear of the drive axle will help to reduce the pivot and provide more stability going down the road in crosswinds.

My MH has an I-beam. Never driven an IFS coach so can't answer your question about that.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:45 PM   #4
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I have a 34 foot Diesel Pusher with a solid front axle and have never had a problem in heavy , heavy cross winds. Of course you have to do some steering but it sure is not like a gas coach with the long overhang.
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:03 AM   #5
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Back when we first looked at ordering our first DSDP I drove the same model on the same day with different frames over the same route. One FL with beam axle and the other a Spartan with IFS. The IFS was slightly smoother is about all I noticed.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:20 AM   #6
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In my experience, maintaining a proper tire pressure has a lot more to do with ride quality than beam axle vs IFS. The tires on our rig were over inflated by the dealer, seemingly very common, and the ride reflected that fact. Once I reduced pressures to something more appropriate for our actual axle weight things smoothed right out.

I think IFS may have an advantage in a couple limited and infrequent circumstances. One, if you're driving on "bomb cratered" roads, or in entering / exiting a driveway or camp site with a steep rise /drop.

I don't know about you, but most of the roads I travel on don't have 4" deep potholes, and if I get on one of those I'm moving at a crawl anyway.

Bottom line, if the coach you fall in love with has everything you want, floorplan, chassis, equipment, don't concern yourself with what style of steer axle it has. While IFS has it's advantages "on paper", they shouldn't be a deal breaker as it's rare that you'll notice a difference.

As for the tag axle question. This is our first DP, and it does have a tag. The only thing we've owned over the years that might have been more stable was a large 5th wheel that we towed with a one ton dually pickup. I suspect that the tag is one factor, as would be center of gravity and weight distribution. Not ever having driven a DP without it I can say that most that have driven both will comment that the tag is more stable.

Be sure to let us know what you end up with.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:06 AM   #7
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I would like to add that our MH has IFS. We had to be towed once. the tow truck driver had a difficult time securing the coach to the wrecker. Maybe it was his first IFS, but in watching him hook up, an I beam axle would have been easier. Not that coaches have to be towed much but it was more difficult with IFS. I do love the handling.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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I have a tag on my Monaco Signature and did not have a tag on my previous MH. The difference is night and day in smoothest, stability and the ability to ignore crosswinds. I will NEVER have a mh with a tag again. Some people say that they don't like the cost of buying two extra tires and my arguement back to them is that they have never driven a MH with a tag because they would care about that extra cost every 7 or so years.
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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I have had two with I beam and single rear axle, I have had two with Independant front and single rear, I own now a ind. front with a tag rear. All of these have been with a Spartan chassis. I liked a beam axle because I drove trucks cross country for a living and the are more responsive than a Ind. front. The Ind. front rides better in my opinion. Now the tag, the tag IS more stable, rides better and in crosswinds is better. This is just my opinion, I like the Ind. front with a tag for the ride and a extra set of brakes. Now for cost, In reality with three axles the brakes should last longer saving $ in the long run, and as far as two more tires, I'll roll two from the other positions and probably not buy new for tag. I see no real extra expense.
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Old 04-08-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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I agree with 336, but the average person can not tell the difference. Side wind is going to blow everything because you are driving a big wind sail. Also, as you get more experience you will get more comfortable correcting for deviations in tracking. In fact, you get so you enjoy the challenge of anticipating the need for corrections. I used to ride a motorcycle and loved working at maintaining the center line in a cross wind as we passed wind changes do to things along the road. It broke the boredom of straight and long stretches.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:40 PM   #11
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I have had a straight front axle with a single rear and two IFS with tag. I will NEVER own a coach without IFS AND TAG again. The ride, ease of handling, stability and safety are WAY better than any other combination. To each his own and this is just my opinion but for me there is no comparison.

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