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Old 12-04-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Is there a "Chassis" comparison chart/write up?

Gents,
We've been RVing for a few decades now and still have a great time. We've gone from an old '77 23' Class C "Four Star" Dodge, to an '89 27' Class C Ford "Ultra" , to a '99 Fleetwood Bounder Class A on an F-53 chassis with the V-10 to our present coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and Allison MH3000 Trans and, a Freightliner Evolution Chassis.

Over the years, I read a tiny bit here and there about "Spartan" chassis, Freightliner Chassis, Roadmaster chassis and more. Some guys are adamant about the chassis under their coach and others, take what's given them when purchasing a certain model coach.

The F-53 Chassis we had was "OK" in ride but, many times road like a rock. The Freightliner we have now, rides pretty darn good but, I've heard others are "ultra smooth". So, what I'm asking is, other than "Opinions", is there a "CHASSIS COMPARISON CHART" or an article or, write-up that evaluates or, has evaluated many different diesel chassis someplace? I'm not planning on a change anytime soon but, I'm always interested in learning about these sort of things. I'd sure appreciate whatever info anyone might have.
Scott
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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Hi FIRE UP,
I have not seen what you are asking for. However, if you are asking for an ultra smooth ride, that judgement is pretty subjective. When the time comes, me thinks you'll need to test the coaches you are interested in over a variety of road surfaces. Tire PSI for the weight being carried can make a huge difference in how a coach rides. I'm a bit persnickety about this. When I move to Florida for the winter, I'm letting air out of the tires each morning as the coach looses altitude and gains in temperature.
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:08 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GaryKD View Post
Hi FIRE UP,
I have not seen what you are asking for. However, if you are asking for an ultra smooth ride, that judgement is pretty subjective. When the time comes, me thinks you'll need to test the coaches you are interested in over a variety of road surfaces. Tire PSI for the weight being carried can make a huge difference in how a coach rides. I'm a bit persnickety about this. When I move to Florida for the winter, I'm letting air out of the tires each morning as the coach looses altitude and gains in temperature.

Gary,
Thanks for your opinion and ideas here. As I stated before, we're not on the lookout for new coach. Ours suits us just fine. I'm just trying learn because people are always talking about different chassis. I've just no taken the time to learn about each one and they're benefits and pitfalls.
Scott
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:42 PM   #4
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Angry Chassis Comparison

I'm interested in moving from a Class C to a 30-34 foot Class A gasser.
The problem is the only chassis choice is the F53 with a high rpm engine and only a 5 speed tranny. The chassis is also questionable as most people who have them, spend thousands of $ to make them tolerable to drive.
Quote: "The F-53 Chassis we had was "OK" in ride but, many times road like a rock." Ford doesn't appear to have any plan to improve it because they have a lock on the market.

Spartan announced the "Extol" chassis with air ride last year in Louisville with a 430 hp gas engine and an Allison Trans. Where is it???

Still waiting for a "Better Idea"!!!

Pete
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by purduepete2 View Post
I'm interested in moving from a Class C to a 30-34 foot Class A gasser.
The problem is the only chassis choice is the F53 with a high rpm engine and only a 5 speed tranny. The chassis is also questionable as most people who have them, spend thousands of $ to make them tolerable to drive.
Quote: "The F-53 Chassis we had was "OK" in ride but, many times road like a rock." Ford doesn't appear to have any plan to improve it because they have a lock on the market.

Spartan announced the "Extol" chassis with air ride last year in Louisville with a 430 hp gas engine and an Allison Trans. Where is it???

Still waiting for a "Better Idea"!!!

Pete
Pete,
Not everyone has harsh rides on an F-53. Many do but, not all. The primary reason for the ones that do have the harsh ride, was the fact that, a lot of those front ends had spring sets that were rated at 7,000 lbs. And, many of the coaches were running down the road, fully loaded, people and all, at way below that limit. So, what you had was springs that were too strong for what was loaded on them.

And, people would suggest moving items to the front of the coach to try and remedy that. Well, there's only so much room in any forward compartments so, you load what you can load but, as in our case, a '99 Fleetwood Bounder 34V, loaded with as much as possible in the front compartments etc. we were still 1500 lbs. shy of the limit.

So, that's part of the explanation of why folks put as much into the F-53 as they do. I even ran the tires at about 5 psi. lower than the minimum just as an experiment. It worked and the ride improved really nice but, at a cost of almost dangerously low inflated tires. I've not heard of as many complaints on the Workhorse chassis so, you might check on those older ones. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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I don't know of any information like what you are seeking. Check the high dollar coaches and see what chassis they use.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
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In most cases you can't make a meaningful comparison anyway. Particularly where Freightliner is involved, since they make an extremely broad range of chassis configurations but label them all "Freightliner XC chassis". The coach builder configures the chassis from a long list of options and features, engine, tranny, suspension size and type, axles, radiator type, etc. Heck, you can get a Freightliner chassis with leaf springs instead of air!

Then there are the coach builder customized versions of stock chassis, e.g. the American Coach Liberty, the Winnebago Evolution, etc. They buy front and rear sections from a chassis builder and make their own middle (called the "bridge") so they can tailor it for storage, stiffness, extra features, etc. For awhile American Coach even their Liberty chassis based on either Spartan or Freightlner components - your choice. Then it was just Spartan, and now this year it is just Freightliner. You need a score card to keep up with the changes!.

Here are an article that give a little insight, but I would hardly call it an in-depth comparison:
How To Choose The Best RV Chassis For You - betterRVing! Experience better RVing.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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Gary,
Thanks for a good answer. As I stated way early, I'm not looking to change coaches. I just like learning about these sort of things. This is why I asked the question that I did. Maybe someday we'll change but, that's in the way distant future. I just thought I'd ask it and maybe someone would know of one that existed. I think it would be really informative and interesting to see something like an Excel spread sheet with all the listing of what was available, at any given time, on what coach(s) and how each one would have certain benefits and pit falls.

It's no big deal if one never has been drawn up or never shows up here. I just thought it would be neat. Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts and experience.
Scott
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:02 PM   #9
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It would be neat alright, but the job would be monumental. Imagine if you wanted a chart that compares Ford, GM and Chrysler? Where would you even begin?

Spartan makes 4 distinct chassis models this year, and each has dozens of configuration options. Freightliner Custom Chassis makes 7 distinct chassis types this year, and a lot more configuration choices than Spartan. Roadmaster made 8 different chassis in their last year as a unique chassis builder (they are now a Freightliner custom type), though the differences among most of them were minor.
And then there are all the previous years from each company, plus former RV chassis builders such as Peak (Western RV), Gillig, Dynomax (Country Coach), and specialty chassis builders like Prevost, Newell (exclusive to their custom coaches), Powerglide (for Tiffin), and then there's the Mercedes Sprinter diesel chassis used in some smaller Class A's. And I'm sure I've forgotten a few more!
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:53 AM   #10
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whee base wheel base you need at least 240", this is what makes them drive good
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