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Old 10-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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How to Own a Usable E450, suspension, 5Star, Etc

First, I am new to the forum and I would like to thank all of you for expertise in making my 2012 E450 Greyhawk 31FS usable. Of course everyone has their own opinion and here is mine in my quest to make my motorhome drivable and safer.

Suspension Modifications:
In order to minimize excessive sway and road wandering I installed a Blue Ox rear trac bar, larger front and rear Hellwig sway bars, and a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. I may replace the stock shock absorbers at some time but it is not necessary at this point.

Drive Train Modifications:
The stock ECU programming caused early downshifting and it held gears too long in upshifting. Mike at 5 Star Tuning had the cure for this with his programming. This guy is like having a best buddy next door that knows what he is doing and will go the extra mile to give you what you want. The out of the box program made a tremendous improvement with these problems. Everybody has their own preference and/or load requirements and his 87 RV tune will completely satisfy 99.9% of the typical end user. In my case I wanted even a slightly more aggressive throttle position before the transmission downshift from 5th occurred. Within 24hrs he emailed me a customized tune that met my requirements exactly.

Misc Modifications:
Jayco does not provide adequate cooling for my 31 footer for temperatures above 90 degrees. Fortunately I was able to add a second ac where the back bedroom vent was located. In addition stay away from the Girard hot water system as it only performs adequately at optimized water pressure and outdoor temperature. Girard did provide an "Extreme Weather" modification that improved usability but does not eliminate the problems. Mine is their first generation model, perhaps their subsequent models have corrected their problems.

It is unfortunate that the manufactures do not address these issues before putting a particular model on the market, but at least now with everybody's help I am finally a "happy camper".
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:14 PM   #2
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Did you have a 15K btu front A/C? What size A/C did you add to the rear?
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:27 PM   #4
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Great Info Sherrill.

I have been considering the 5 Star tune myself.

As for the suspension work, did you do an alignment before you did any of the upgrades? Do you feel that all of the suspension upgrades were necessary or was one a better bang for the buck.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherrill View Post
Suspension Modifications:
In order to minimize excessive sway and road wandering I installed a Blue Ox rear trac bar, larger front and rear Hellwig sway bars, and a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer. I may replace the stock shock absorbers at some time but it is not necessary at this point.

I would not bother with the Safe-T-Plus. We went the round of making a 31' Minnie Winnie drivable.

First load up as you will normally travel and get it weighed to make sure you are not over weight on either axle. Adjust tire pressures according to axle load per tire manufacturers recommendation. Now go to an independent (not Ford) truck truck alignment shop.

I put on Air Lift air springs front a rear...they helped --20%.

Next I added Bilstein HD shocks....40%

Then I added the HD antiroll bars front and rear with urethane bushings--40%

The coach was now easily driven, no road wander, no body roll and tracked straight.

The Safe-T-Plus is a crutch and it will cover up a problem and never solve the real problems. Spend the money on shocks and antiroll bars.

Ken
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tgdameron View Post
Did you have a 15K btu front A/C? What size A/C did you add to the rear?
Yes I have the 15K with the heat pump. I added a 15K without the heat pump to the rear. Since the rear was not a ducted installation I was afraid something smaller would not be adequate. In retrospect a 13K would probably work.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by reitrof View Post
Great Info Sherrill.

I have been considering the 5 Star tune myself.

As for the suspension work, did you do an alignment before you did any of the upgrades? Do you feel that all of the suspension upgrades were necessary or was one a better bang for the buck.
Yes I first had a good truck shop do the alignment, both to insure everything was up to spec and to correct an initial slight left pull.

I saw the most improvement in this order:
1. Rear trac bar
2. Stabilizer bars
3. Safe-T-Plus

The trac bar made the best improvement for my biggest problem which was having a semi push the rear of the rv over as it began to pass me.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
I would not bother with the Safe-T-Plus. We went the round of making a 31' Minnie Winnie drivable.

First load up as you will normally travel and get it weighed to make sure you are not over weight on either axle. Adjust tire pressures according to axle load per tire manufacturers recommendation. Now go to an independent (not Ford) truck truck alignment shop.

I put on Air Lift air springs front a rear...they helped --20%.

Next I added Bilstein HD shocks....40%

Then I added the HD antiroll bars front and rear with urethane bushings--40%

The coach was now easily driven, no road wander, no body roll and tracked straight.

The Safe-T-Plus is a crutch and it will cover up a problem and never solve the real problems. Spend the money on shocks and antiroll bars.

Ken
Ken, excellent points and you are correct about the Safe-T-Plus in that one could use it incorrectly to for instance correct an alignment pull to one direction or the other. What I experienced was that it minimized things like the tendency of road ruts or uneveness pulling the rv to one side or the other.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:51 PM   #9
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The rear track bar keeps the leaf springs from moving side to side. The track bar locks them into place and keeps the motorhome going straight down the road.
I used Henderson Track bar which really works.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:04 AM   #10
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Interesting thread. I just purchased a 2013 Greyhawk 31FS. It's in winter storage at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to drive it long enough to get an appreciation for the handling. I know my unit has hellwig helper springs. I saw them when I had a look underneath, and I have the papers to go with them, but the list of options on the unit doesn't indicate that it has the JRide option. I'm guessing JRide as an option is new for 2014, I don't know. When spring comes I'll crawl underneath and see exactly what is installed, then take it for a road trip and see how it handles before deciding if I need anything. I must say, I find it amazing that for vehicles that cost as much as they do, that people find it necessary to do these types of upgrades. If I bought a new car and the first thing I had to do was replace or add suspension components to make it handle properly, I'd be annoyed. Of course I wouldn't buy a car that handled like a shopping cart, but in Class C motorhomes there doesn't seem to be a lot of options in terms of chassis.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherrill View Post
Yes I have the 15K with the heat pump. I added a 15K without the heat pump to the rear. Since the rear was not a ducted installation I was afraid something smaller would not be adequate. In retrospect a 13K would probably work.
Did you have to upgrade your electrical to 50a or is 30a enough to handle both AC units?
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:39 PM   #12
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I am also interested in upgrading my E450 rear suspension on my Jayco Melbourne 29D which is 31 feet. I have severe tail wag sometimes with semis doing 15-20 miles per hour more than me, blow by. It is extreme when towing my HHR toad. I have done the weight front and rear axels and adjusted the tire pressure. I have had it alighned at truck center and camber increased. So next step I am considering for improvement is rear trac bar addition. I can't seem to find much information other than irv2 forum on which brand is best. I have asked at rv service center close by, and they are clueless. They have done 1 or 2 roadmaster sway bars, but no trac bars. They said roadmaster doesn't make a trac bar for 2008 E450.
so they suggested steering stabilizer. Nope, not doing that. Another place suggested air bags. So, I will continue my quest for trac bar info and I am open to suggestions on brands and reasons for them. Any help?
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:42 PM   #13
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Also interested in how to add 2nd air conditioner to bedroom. 31 feet is too much for 1 air in 95+temperatures. We had several 85 inside temp afternoons with 2 small pets. We use the reflectafoil window shades and that helps, but it is still a big metal oven.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #14
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Caster Casetr Caster

I can hardly believe, in all the posts in this thread, not once is there any reference to having/needing more +caster.
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