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Old 03-22-2011, 09:03 AM   #1
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Stability Advice

We just took our first substantial trip while towing 4 Down and overall I was very pleased how the E450 chassis handled the 32' of coach & 4500 lbs of toad. The Ready Brute/Break tow bar and aux breaking system worked as advertised.

On thing I would like to improve is the straight line stability on the interstate and faster secondary roads. I noticed that cross winds, passing 18 wheelers, and uneven roads caused me to have to put more focus on correcting and re-centering while driving. I believe my alignment is good since on a smooth flat highway with no traffic or cross winds everything tracks perfectly wheel centered.

I have a 2010 E450 with the tires inflated to the recommended pressure and 50 psi in the air bags. I noticed that pulling the toad really did not make the problem worse if anything it might be a bit more stable if that is possible.....

So I am looking at Hellwig stabilizer bars, Steer-Safe, Safe-T steering stabilizers, shocks, and track bars. My question is where do I get the biggest bang for my buck. My coach is a new 2010 E450, I assume Ford has made some sort of upgrades to address stability over the years. I am leaning toward the Steer-Safe due to several very positive reviews followed by the Hellwig anti roll bars. But would like to tap the knowledge on this forum....

I really enjoy the RV but would arrive less fatigued if it handled better under adverse circumstances...

Appreciate the advise in advance......
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:11 AM   #2
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BTW I have a 223" Wheel Base
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:26 AM   #3
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What I would do is weigh the RV (each corner) and get a tire pressure chart and determine if you have adequate tire/pressure for your load. IMHO a lot (maybe most) RVs have barely enouh tire to carry the GVW at max tire pressure. This can affect handling. I found this out when going from a 3/4T PU to a dully. They had the same size tires but the dully had 6. The 3/4 was pushed around by trucks ect. but the 1T isn't, pulling the same TT.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:13 AM   #4
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What I would do is weigh the RV (each corner) and get a tire pressure chart and determine if you have adequate tire/pressure for your load. IMHO a lot (maybe most) RVs have barely enouh tire to carry the GVW at max tire pressure. This can affect handling. I found this out when going from a 3/4T PU to a dully. They had the same size tires but the dully had 6. The 3/4 was pushed around by trucks ect. but the 1T isn't, pulling the same TT.
So if I think this through:

Since I have a 32' dual slide coach and I am pulling nearly 4500 lb I can assume that I will be close to the GAWR/GCWR most of the time when loaded with family, supplies & fuel etc. I am running 80 psi which is the max recommended pressure from Michelin. So I am stuck with the tire pressure anyway... The only way I can go is down which should cause less stability not more unless I am confused.....

The only other option I can think of is to go to a load range above an E which I am not sure is even available in a 16" tire. I will have to research.

Am I missing something?
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:36 AM   #5
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So if I think this through:

Since I have a 32' dual slide coach and I am pulling nearly 4500 lb I can assume that I will be close to the GAWR/GCWR most of the time when loaded with family, supplies & fuel etc. I am running 80 psi which is the max recommended pressure from Michelin. So I am stuck with the tire pressure anyway... The only way I can go is down which should cause less stability not more unless I am confused.....

The only other option I can think of is to go to a load range above an E which I am not sure is even available in a 16" tire. I will have to research.

Am I missing something?
Yes , I think you missed my point that the manufactures arenít putting enough tire on to get good handling. This is not your fault. The worst case of that, that I know of is a TT I bought many years ago. It had 14Ē tires on an 18í single axle trailer. I could only go about 40mph. It had a dry weight of 2300 and max tire cap of 2600. I put 15Ē LT 6 ply tires on it and have towed it at 70 and it didnít even wiggle. 16Ē tires just donít seem like enough tire for a E450. Even if it has enough load cap it may lack enough foot print (friction on the road). A tag axle may be an option and may be less money than bigger tires & wheels.
We as consumers need to put pressure on the manufactures to treat us better (safer).
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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csdavis62
I have another question. What size tire does a F450 working truck use? I don't think your RV should have any less and they don't drive a BIG sail down the road. I don't know the answer to that.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Before ya do anything radical, try a set of Steer-Safe's and maybe add a tad more pressure in the airbags. Have found toting around my Lance Camper for 7 years before I went back to Class A MH that the "down the road" stability was dramatically affected by:
Proper tire pressure
Elevated Airbag pressures
Steer-Safe keeping it all stable

If ya wanna correct that awful tip and sway once off the highway then Hellwig makes the best swaybars and or leaf spring supplementals ya can get, but do the steer-safe and pressures first and see if that gives ya some confidence.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:49 AM   #8
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I've noticed many cutaway units, although initially aligned at the Ford factory, have not been properly aligned after the 'House' has been added. I'd check that before I did anything else.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:02 AM   #9
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I've noticed many cutaway units, although initially aligned at the Ford factory, have not been properly aligned after the 'House' has been added. I'd check that before I did anything else.
I made an appointment with a reputable alignment shop next week. good advise to knock out the obvious before diving into anything more extensive....

Appreciate the advice
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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We don't toad yet but added Safe T steer and helped 95% on the road. We did also add rear trac bar or 2007 chassie has front bar built in) and Koni shocks. Ford F53 22,000 lbs. weighed coach at aCAT scale, came in at 20680 and adjusted the air for or 235/80 22.5 Michelin tires. For a gasser handles and rides just fine for us.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:13 PM   #11
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Alignment Done

I was able to get the front end aligned this AM at Pete's Alignment in downtown Knoxville TN. Pete's came highly recommended and has been in business since 1959. The toe was out by close to 1/4" which was affecting my straight line stability. The technician found the tow 1/8" out which he adjusted to 1/8" in which is what they recommended for the E450 with my wheelbase. I also found out it already has a factory steering damper (never thought to look) which granted is probably not as good as an after market damper but better than no damper at all.

The shop was about a 45 min drive which gave me an opportunity to experience the before and after affects of the alignment. What a difference.... Before the unit wandered and was affected by just about any cross wind or road irregularity. Now I can take my hands off the wheel and the truck goes straight down the road. Sure if there is a serious crown or tilt to the road it requires some correction but not nearly as much as before. At this point I don't believe I will make any additional changes based on the results.

Thanks for the advise it was spot on
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:20 PM   #12
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Happy an alignment worked for you.
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