Let me start by saying I know most in this group are the proud owners of Newmar "Diesel" Coaches! Yet, some of choose not to go that route, I being one of them.
So, being a proud owner of a Newmar Canyon Star "gas" coach; like everyone else; I have the desire for the best ride & drive comfort which I can attain.
I ordered my 2020 Canyon Star in July of 2019, & did "FPU" in October 2019.
Having owned a 2004 Mountain Aire "gas" coach for a short while, and through a lot of research, made decisions about improving the new coach, upon delivery.
So, I ordered 4 new Koni shocks, an Ultra-Trac rear track bar, a Saf-T-Plus front steering stabilizer, and brought them with me to Napanee. After the intial test drive, I was sure I had made the correct decision to acquire & have installed, the aforementioned products. This was happily done by Bremmen Ford, the Dealer which services all of Newmar's gas chassis'. At their recommendation, I also had them install Sumo front springs. Wow, what a difference & improvement! At that point, I was quite HAPPY!
However, these changes did not totally eliminate the "bang" of uneven bridge transitions, nor the bumpity bump of concrete expansion joints! Though better, this was not the solution I was seeking. Oh, I addressed the engine noise folks spoke of, by adding significant insulation & sound deadening material from "Dyna Mat" to the engine box & surrounding areas! Quite an improvement!
So, while attending the 2020 Tampa Super RV Show/Newmar Rally (what a show), I come upon a display from a company called "Liquid Spring", & met Wayne Wells the Vice-President. He educated me about Liquid Spring suspension & even had me drive his Tiffin "Demo"! Very impressive. But at the time they offered Liquid Spring suspension only for the rear of coach. Wayne told me the front suspension was in development and was to be released late 2020, early 2021. We also spoke of the expense, and at that time, I would not pull the trigger to have just the rear suspension installed. Later that year, the front suspension was released and available. Due to the expense, I still was reluctant.
Fast forward to September 2021. We had spent June, July, August, traveling. Visited family in Virginia, did a Virginia Wheels Rally, a Newmar Caravan, the Newmar International, then back to Florida. In October, back to Virginia for a 55th Class Reunion, & Newmar Virginia State Rally at Ameri-Camp RV Park. This constituted over 6,000 miles of travel. Much of it up & down I-95! Well, if any of you have traveled I-95, there is a portion in South Carolina that is miserable! Horrible bridge transitions, terrible expansion joints, & even some wonderful "potholes" thrown in for added driving experience. We were headed back South to Florida, my wife & I both complaining about this horrible road! I said, "You know Liquid Spring would probably eliminate about 80-90% of this"! Her reply; "I'm tired of it! If it will work, then do it"! WOW!
Upon return to Florida, I call Wayne at Liquid Spring, we discuss installation, price, etc, then the reality of 1,200+ miles each way, hotels, meals & of course the wonderful increased price of gas was going to be significant added expense! BUT, I find out a company in Orlando, JOSAM Equipment Co, located in Orlando is a Liquid Spring installer!
Only 91miles away! I contact JOSAM, we discuss price, installation etc, and I decide to pull the trigger, & spend the money! We set an appointment for installation, and I drop off the coach on Monday, November 29th. On the drive home, I'm talking about it so much, the wife tells me to calm down; boy was I anticipating this installation.
I get a call on Monday, Dec. 6th, the coach is ready. So, Tuesday, Dec. 7th (Pearl Harbor Day, a Day that will live in Infamy), we drive to Orlando to pick it up. Upon arrival, we discuss the installation, and I go for a test drive. WOW! WOW! WOW! Was it ever impressive! So, very happily, I write the check, hook up the toad, & away we go!
I will digress for a moment. All Ford F-53 chassis' have a solid axle front suspension, just as does the Kountry Star, Ventana LE, & Ventana! Since they do not have independent front suspension, none of them will ride like A Dutch Star, Mountain Aire, etc, in the Luxury Line up of Newmar! The diesel coaches do have an air-ride suspension in front, where an F-53 ford chassis has leaf springs & shocks. With Liquid Spring, this is all gone! Liquid Spring uses a silicone based fluid & cylinders (shocks) to provide the suspension movement, damping, and control!
Impressive to say the least! This system has 3 "ride" positions; SPORT, NORMAL, & COMFORT.
SPORT, will all all but eliminate any lean/roll from driveways, entrances, etc, and the cloverleaf entry/exit to Interstates. It does provide more of a sports car feel of the road, & yes a bit more of a feel to expansion joints, and bridge transitions.
NORMAL, provides a great ride, and almost totally reduces any bump from transitions, expansion joints, or other road imperfections.
COMFORT is the "BOMB"! This ride is so soft & smooth, it is like driving a pick-up truck down the road. One can drive the coach with one hand, if desired; I don't; but what ease of handling, lane changes, and just provides a fantastic ride on the road! Am I ever HAPPY!
Some other benefits. You can raise the coach 3 1/2" for driveway exits, swales, etc,. Then it can be lowered 3 1/2" for ease of entry, setting up in one's RV site. The adjustment is almost instantaneous. Turn on the ignition and 15-20 seconds, it is at ride height (has sensors just as a diesel coach does); no "airing up" time, and these adjustments can be made while moving, but at 15 MPH, automatically goes to ride height.
I have driven a Ventana, which has a nice ride, but must say, the ride of this Liquid Spring suspension is equal to, if not better than the Ventana. Nothing against the Ventana, but this suspension system is just that impressive!
OK, so you say, that's great, How much? I will preface the total amount by saying I had a front end alignment done, the front tires "trued" & rebalanced, and new inside dual valve stems installed as well! The total was right at $25,000. And No, I am not the least bit reluctant to have paid that to get the ride & handling that it has achieved! Liquid Spring factory installation may be a bit less, due to shipping expenses, but taxes must still be added. And I did not have all the travel expenses to bear. I could not make the "numbers" work, going to Indiana, nor did I have to worry about the weather.
The price differential in what I have invested in total, in this endeavor, still puts me at a price which is $56,000 less than I was quoted on a diesel Ventana, when I ordered my Canyon Star! And we know the annual maintenance cost of the gas coach is less than the diesel. And No, this is not for everyone, but for me, it was the right decision, and the wife & I are just tickled to death with this coach!
This decision/direction is not for most folks, but for us, has worked out as we wanted!
And that is why Newmar makes many different model coaches with varying drive train! As well as different levels of luxury! But, Newmar does build a fantastic coach, in my opinion!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this little "epistle", and maybe it brought some laughs as well!