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Old 06-24-2010, 09:08 PM   #1
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Rear axle overloads on long Class Cs

DW and I are looking for a rig to get back into the lifestyle after a 6-year absence. One that takes our fancy is an '05 Forest River Forester. It's a Class C but has an entertainment center over the cab instead of a bed, which suits us fine because we aren't agile enough to get up there and too claustrophobic to sleep there.

My main concern is the rear overhang and the risk of overloading the rear axle. I'd like some feedback.

It's an E450, 31' nominal length with a single large slide-out in the living/dining area. There's no bedroom slide. The fuel tank, potable water tank, grey and black waste tanks are all behind the rear axle.

Before we make an offer, we'll be taking it to a weigh station to see how the weight and balance is in its present status. If that looks OK, I'll do an airplane-style loading chart to see what gotchas may lurk.

Anyone with a similar rig care to comment?



Frank Damp,
Anacortes, WA
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankdamp View Post
Anyone with a similar rig care to comment?
Frank, The one BIG number you want to remember is that the E450 has a GVW of 14.050 pounds.

When you weigh the rig, make sure the gas tank is full and 2 passengers are sitting in the coach. Take the actual weight from the CAT scale ticket and subtract that from 14,050. That will be the remaining weight you can carry in the RV.

I wouldn't worry so much about the rear axle unless you have no CCC left over.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:12 PM   #3
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We had a Minnie Winnie 31', no slide, HWH levelers. Full fuel, 1/4 tank of fresh water, empty waste tanks, we weighed 13,950#. We had less than 50# to spare on the front axle and a bit over 50 on the rear axle when we were loaded for a week trip.

The larger C's tend to exhibit something known as bump or roll steer. This results in a side to side rolling and you steer in a see-saw motion following it. It is easy to fix with HD shocks such as Bilsteins and a larger anti-roll bar (front and rear) with urethane bushings. The Ford standard socks and anti-roll bars are just to whimpy when you hang a big box on the back of the E450 SD chassis.

Next problem is heat in the cab. Ford nor the manufacturers did not put any insulation under the front carpet and properly insulate the engine cover. This can be easily fixed with a heat barrier from J.C. Whitney. It is a bit of work to pull the front seats and pull the carpet, but it is well worth the effort. Glue the heat barrier to the engine side of the cover.

These mods make it a very enjoyable rig to drive.

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Old 06-26-2010, 12:05 AM   #4
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Ken:

Thanks for that insight. In the NW, heat from the engine room might be less of an issue. Wednesday was the first day the daytime high temperature in Seattle reached 75F since last September!

If we buy that Forester, our first couple of season's travels will be the western states.. and probably< than 3 weeks at a time.

Also, the "personnel" payload will be two humans and two Labradors. Medical condition of one dog is why the limited time away from home.


Frank Damp
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Old 06-27-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Frank - DriVer gave you one important number to pay attention to - GVWR (14,050lb).

Being the owner of a Forest River Class-C with the water and fuel tanks behind the rear axle, I believe the rear axle weight rating of 9450LB is every bit as important as the GVWR. There is not many places to store stuff in teh front of our rig. We are very careful about loading and the last time I weighed the rig in travel form with car in tow, we were at 9300 LB and that was with only 1/4 tank of water. It would be very easy to overload the rear axle which overloads the suspension and makes the ride even harsher than usual.

Also, I will suggest that you get the thing aligned with a full fuel and water tank. Our water tank is 2 ft from the rear of the rig - well behind the axle- and filling it unloads the front axle which really changes the front end geometry which in a Ford E450 will really affect the steering.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback, folks. We've answered the problem another way - we're getting an 02 Georgetown 32 Class A instead! We found a beauty - one owner from new having to sell because of medical issues (a real shame). It has all the good stuff, including an Arctic Pack and it's in superb condition.

Finance arrangements should be finalized in a couple of days then we can get started again!


Frank Damp
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:41 PM   #7
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Frank, Glad you were able to find a rig to your liking.

Something I did not see anyone mention was overloading the tires. Many times the 4 rear tires are rated for less than the Max rating of the rear axle.

Remember the weakest link is where you will have the problems.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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Rear axle

We have a 2003 Gulf Stream on the E-450 chasis, all tanks are in front of the rear axle, except the gas tank. You know I better check that, I say its behind the axle now i'm not sure. Well on one trip to the son's house up in N Il we had 5 adults, 1 kid, really 2 more because my youngest daughter was carrying twins, we had a full water tank, full gas tank, full propane tank, and all the stuff you need to take to support 6 people for 5 days tons of food and even a 24# ham and the Nesco cooker too. Well the oldest daughter works in the scale house at the big quarry up in STL, and son-in-law drives one of those really big quarry trucks, on the way out we went across the scales, and we only weighed 13,780# not to bad with all the stuff that came onboard,we didn't take time to weigh the front and the rear, but I don't think that we were over. With just the DW and I we won't have any problems with weight. I sure do like the tanks in front of the rear axle. It sure helps.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:15 AM   #9
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We have the 08 Forest River Sunseeker. It's a Class C but has an entertainment center over the cab instead of a bed, It's an E450, 32' with a single large slide-out in the living/dining area. There's no bedroom slide. The fuel tank full and this is the real numbers.

Manuel Spec GAWRRear 9500#..... ACCUAL WGT 9100#
Manuel Spec GAWRFront 5000# ....ACCUAL WGT 4360#
Manuel Spec GVWRating 14500#... ACCUAL WGT 13460#
Manuel Spec GCWRating 20000#... ACCUAL WGT 17766# with TOAD that wieghs 4306#

Not a problem.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:48 AM   #10
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Looks good. As long as your Side to side variation is less than 4% in the front or 7% in the back.

I have seen greater than 4% side to side posted on a tire load related thread in the past.

It might be worth the $11 to get the RV weighed on a CAT scale
1st weight will confirm F & R axle
2nd weight with one side off the scale (assuming you can fit that scale) will give you that side's F & R.

You can then do the math.


BTW what size & LR are your tires?
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:13 PM   #11
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I went out and looked at my tanks, the gray and black tanks are just behind the rear axle, and the gas tank a little futher back, I always run with the holding tanks empty if possible, the fresh water is about in the middle between the front and rear axle, we have not had any problems with the handling of the C, with this set up.
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:40 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DriVer View Post
Frank, The one BIG number you want to remember is that the E450 has a GVW of 14.050 pounds.

When you weigh the rig, make sure the gas tank is full and 2 passengers are sitting in the coach. Take the actual weight from the CAT scale ticket and subtract that from 14,050. That will be the remaining weight you can carry in the RV.

I wouldn't worry so much about the rear axle unless you have no CCC left over.
Driver, as you asserting that the wheelbase/length ratio is not important and has no meaning?

I hope not. The smaller that number the lousier the handling.

I was looking at a the specs for the Winnie Vista 26P yesterday as it is pretty short and DW would like us to downsize again. I was stunned to see the wb/length ratio is only 0.489. I think that is terrible and wouldn't even consider buying it. Winnie is not the only one that has surprised me on this measurement recently. Fleetwood has a 32BH and it too has a low number (.51) but at least it is over .50.

Frankly, I doubt that I'd consider anything under .54 - having said that, the lowest of our four MH's to date was .56. It would have to be a model that I wanted very badly and I'd be sure to put a Safe-T-Plus on it and a few other options if it had a wb/length ratio near .50.

Don
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:47 PM   #13
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FYI, our Georgetown is on the 22,000 lb rated F53 chassis. Haven't actually measured w/b to body length ratio, but the duallies aren't too far from the back end.

With two people, two Labradors and even with a full tank of our wonderful Anacortes potable water, I bet we're quite a bit under max gross. I'll be weighing the rig as we head out on the next trip, after we've gassed up at the local tribal gas station, so I can adjust the tire pressures to a bit lower than their max rating and get an even better ride.

The new Toyos are a lot better riding tires that the elderly GYs we took off and with an adjustment for actual running weights, might be even better.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #14
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not to hijack too far, but... I also run toyos on an f53, I initially tried running them where the load scale said to plus 5 (95 pounds) Steering was beyond awful, fighting the wheel every step of the way.
Then I brought them up to 115 (max is 120) and, it's a miracle, rig goes in a straitline, all the time!
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