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Old 10-22-2018, 04:36 AM   #1
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The Active Air installation starts today....

After a year of thinking about it and talking with other owners I booked this past spring an appointment at HWH. Now, summer has come and gone and after 3 days of driving (wind pushing us the entire way) we are in Moscow Iowa to drop off our coach for the week long conversion. Lets see how this plays out
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Old 10-22-2018, 04:43 PM   #2
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Interesting morning with the team from HWH. We started at 7:00 AM heading off to weigh the coach up the road. The reported weights were under on the tag and front end but over by 1500lbs on the drive. This was comparing the DOT decal with the scale. This then caused the HWH team to begin a balancing game to see if they could move the overage to the tag which had enough capacity. At the same time on the HWH scales they found the DS to PS was rather different and that caused some concern. As they cut air lines and worked to understand the possibilities within tolerances they researched the drive axle further and found the actual axle is rated for 25000 lbs and that they could with air do a better job of balancing the weights. This all took until 10:30 when they confirmed they would proceed with the Active Air installation.

Although my initial thought was I drove a long way to just turn around these folks did do their due diligence on what I had and what could be done ahead of proceeding. I do have to respect for this approach.

Now it sits with them until I pick it up on Friday, I chose not to stay and watch and will roam around Chicago for the week. Should be fun!
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:57 PM   #3
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Following with keen interest.

I was in StoneRidge Resort in Idaho earlier this year. A conversation started because a gent said hew as planning to had East later in the year, and have the Active Suspension installed in his 2005 Dynasty. Now this is a park, that had from Bounder's to Prevost amongst them. But I'd say the bulk of the coaches are in the newer years and upper end of the food chain. About 7 us were sitting by the fire, with some adult conversation lubrication, and most of the gang challenged this gent on why he'd invest this much money on an older Dynasty. He took it all in for awhile. And then finally looked one gent in the eye and calmly explained: It's my coach. I've got her where I want her. I know her mechanical and understand them. I like the coach. And, it's my money to spend where I want to spend it.' ---- Well, a pregnant pause followed - and finally the gent beside's me told him he was being foolish. He should sell the coach as is, and buy a newer coach, specially an Entegra! The Owner of this apparently derelict Dynasty (Now, that was a smile as I was typing it comment - as his coach was one year newer then my 'Rustic' 04 Allure!). Very calmly, and much more politely then I could have, explained to this gent 'Well, come talk to me when your coach is over 10 years old, and we'll compare how well it's held up to my era Monaco Dynasty. No, my coach was never the top of the Monaco pecking order - but it was nonetheless, a coach I feel had good materials, chassis, woodworking, engine and components. I like it just fine.'

The conversation shifted, rather rapidly - to something else. I caught the Dynasty owner the next day. And asked him if he had a handling problem with his Dynasty, as I had understood his Roadmaster Chassis was a good one? He said he felt it performed very well, and was above many coaches in the handling department. But, that he'd had a close call trying to maneuver around a hunk of metal that fell from the back of a trailer on the way to the dump. And almost lost control. He said I have the money. I don't want a new coach to learn - and, if the Active Air will give me an edge in an emergency maneuver - well, it's my money.

I've read many posts and threads on Active Air. Have it on my wish list, but being as expensive as it is, always a little future down the list then what I'm budgeting for in a years modifications! But, his comment about safety - hit home with me. As I've always spent more then many (Wife:!) feels is reasonable to provide better handling in these large vehicles of the roadway...

======

So please. From a CC perspective (And yes, the Affinity is a different animal then my older Allure!), please keep us informed as you go thru the process. I look forward to a few thousand miles down the road, your perceptions.

As while I do often give my DW anguish about a Foretravel Realm, or Prevost Liberty or Marathon - very high probability that my micro checked 04 Allure, which we truly respect and enjoy, will be with us for a long time!

Best of luck, and enjoy Chicago!!!
Smitty
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:06 PM   #4
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Well, mine us scheduled for late April so I await your comments!
My drive axle us also a 25,000# unit even though CC derated it to 20,000# like yours.
I'll be staying with mine since I have to bring my 6 cats.
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:58 PM   #5
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I picked up my coach today either the Active Air system completed. I got out of there about 3:30 which left me with a 3 hour drive to our planned destination.

The pick up day had us arriving about 9:30 to find the work mostly done cut not complete. We ran into Paul (HWHs founder) and were invited for lunch. This was a very enjoyable time as Bill (one of his Sr fellows) and Pauls son Dennis joined us. Great conversation, what a living legend of the RV industry. All 3 are down to earth fellas working every day on something at HWH.

After lunch I was part of the buttoning up of matters beneath the coach and then the test drive and weighing. All went well but the drive axle was still over certified weight but not axle tag weight. I chose to leave it alone as it was just slightly lighter than when I drove it in and I was pleased with the handling. Adding more to the tag would have played havoc with the front end which was unnecessary. One item I was asked if I wanted removed was the front end sway bar. Mark the engineer explained with the active air you are really working against the sway bar so I decided to have them removed it as I can always add it back (I chose to keep all the old parts).

I will say the first 3 hours of driving were enjoyable but I have 25 hours ahead of me in the next 5 days. I will provide a proper update at the end of our trip.
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:04 PM   #6
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Awaiting a FULL report!!!
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Old 10-27-2018, 09:05 AM   #7
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I keep looking for the Thumbs Up Like Button!

Surprised the rear is still a bit heavy, would have assumed the emptying out of your safe to pay for the active air - would have brought the weights down!

Smooth, and controlled, travels!

Smitty

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Old 10-27-2018, 09:20 AM   #8
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I think this is definitely in my future!

I've raced motorcycles for many years and I always tell new racers to forget about the engine and exhaust upgrades... put your money into suspension first!
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Old 10-29-2018, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTD View Post
I think this is definitely in my future!

I've raced motorcycles for many years and I always tell new racers to forget about the engine and exhaust upgrades... put your money into suspension first!
I raced motorcycles too, but it was flat track, dirt, and suspension wasn't very critical.
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Old 10-30-2018, 06:30 AM   #10
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HWH Active Air review a couple of days early......

I will start by saying I still laugh when I think of Smitty's comment regarding the coach should have been lighter once we left HWH based on the money we left them. Yes this upgrade does not come cheap but once you become part of how they go about engineering the installation it starts to make some sense. Four people within an hour of my arrival began working together to explore how to install, what to install and what the benefit would be. One fellow (the engineer) looked at the weight of each wheel looking to get the balancing right for each air bag, while another (the fabricator) looked where to physically mount each new valve assembly, another looked at the electronics location and how to run the new wires and locate the brains and the forth discussed with me how this system functions, what coach weight loading is and how each manufacture looks at delivering a coach ("most don't really care about DS/PS weight loading" he shared, if they were off a couple thousand pounds they are happy to say all is well).

When we picked the coach up two fellows went with me to do both a final weigh at the local (Certified) scales and then an up the highway road test. This took about 1/2 an hour and went well, traffic was very busy on the Friday afternoon so I was not able to do any silly driving but on and off the highway off ramps it was easy to feel the difference in coach tipping stability and I knew the system was working properly.

We have now just completed day 3 of driving with the Active Air system and I can share it makes an enormous difference. I have commented on how the system wakes up the handling making the coach drive more stable. I found myself creeping up in drive speed where I used to drive at 62-64 MPH and feel great I am now finding 66-70 and the coach feels solid and safe. Gaining comfort with the system over the first two days we yesterday (day 3) pulled out of Amarillo for Albuquerque. The driving conditions where a 30-40 MPH off center head wind coming from the Southwest. Our driving at times met the wind head on and then we got it from each side. I set the cruise at 67MPH and the coach for 5 hours just pulled up the road, never at any time feeling unstable. I would on occasion look at the Active Air display and see the system screen active from passive (it changes automatically while driving as required) as a gust would hit us but absolutely no change to the stability or driving feeling.

I would like to share if you are thinking about upgrading to the Active Air system because you love to drive and want to improve the handling and stability of your coach do it. If you want to get rid of road noise and bounce it most likely won't change until the States improve the highways.

One small benefit I was not thinking about when I chose to install the Active Air system was how new valves and air plumbing would reduce air leakage when parked. I find the coach in the mornings airing up quicker (from where it was when leveled) meaning my idle time to full tanks and air discharge allows us to get going sooner.

With the benefit I am experiencing now with Active Air I am very disappointing that new coach builders are not making this standard for all air ride chassis. When chatting with Paul (HWH founder) about why they are not putting this system into all new Spartan and Frieghtliner chassis he felt the chassis builders and coach constructors were all pinching pennies. I find this odd as coaches today cost hundreds of thousands and as a percentage this would cost very little. I got the impression from Paul if the chassis folks and RV builders would get together the cost to offer this would only add a few thousand (less than 5K) over the HWH air leveling the put in today. it's awful to think a group of accountants and purchasing people are deciding what quality products go into a new coach rather than engineers and safety folks!

Safe travels to all,

2-Nickels
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Old 10-30-2018, 06:55 AM   #11
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Nice review. This system costs more than my coach is worth lol
Beautiful picture of you two on their web site.
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:27 AM   #12
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Mike - Thanks for pointing out we can actually see 2-Nickles (May need to change that handle to 1-Penny!) on the HWH site.

2-Nickles - Thanks for sharing the process. I kid around a lot, but sincerely appreciated you explaining the process they crew went thru. Very nice description of the actual results, and the steady winds that shift directions is a key reason for Active Air.

Nice looking coach too!

On a personal note. My DW and I keep talking about changing to a different coach. (Some of you may want to not read this next sentences!). I look at, and research the Foretravel Realm. I also look at gently used Prevost based units too. And of course, newer Country Coach Magna's and Affinities... While I have no real problem feeling a 45' would be fine for us. The DW is convinced that a beast that large could never stay on the roadways, and thus said perhaps 42' she would consider. (And no amount of logical discussion can convince her that the difference between say a 40', like we have, and a 45' - is just that, 5' longer!! To her, it's more then just length... And I have not found the magic choice of words to calm her fears.).

But back to looking at other coaches. Three main reasons are: 1) I'd like more power, both pulling and braking HP via Jake of a BIG BLOCK, then I feel I can safely get out of the ISL400 (We will be moving to a larger toad then our CRV.); 2) Three AC units, and with the diffusion and muffling effect of the return, that the higher end coaches have (Vs direct grill's/return coming in from the units.); 3) A bit more storage bay space, and interior space too, would not be a negative.

Our 04 40' Allure High Cascade with Drivers Slides has treated us very well. Due to the low miles when we first bought it, we've just clicked over 70K on this years travels - so lots of life left. We've made relatively extensive modifications to the interior, and electronics and both find it to be like a comfortable set of slippers - where we're reluctant to break in a new one. And, we do still need to replace the carpet. Fix a bit of wood floor damage in the rear bedroom (Still from the first owner. He never new it was leaking around the slide seals and angle piece of metal that some CC's had. We confirmed we stopped the leak within the first few months of ownership, and that the wood damage has not spread. But, we also want it cut out and replaced as needed. I can go on, as some of you may know, but the thing is we do like what we've done to this coach. And yet we know we have probably another $15-20K more of mod's, before even talking about grinding down the bad fiber glass and repainting, tacking on another $25-30K... And even though I've added Road Kings, and then went from Super Steers Motion Control Units to the Source Enigneering's Comfort Valves - the coach handling while good, is not as safe as Active Air would provide for emergency maneuvering. (And yes, also long distance comfortable traveling too!)

The reality is it's an 04 Country Coach, and it is aging. Putting $40-50K into as old a unit as this, on top of the about $35-40K of modifications we've already made - is for sure not a sound financial decision. (But, nothing in regards to RV'ing is financially 'sound'!).

So what? Well as much as I follow these wonderful threads here on CC, and Entegra and Newmar Owner's forums too, about Active Air - I keep coming back to perhaps I should just compromise with the wife, and focus on a 42' coach.

Sure, money always comes into decisions. ($60 bottles of vino, vs 6-Pack buys of Bota Box Wine, is a classic example. Could we spend the money on the $60, yes. But if you look in our wine storage area, you'll find mostly $10-18 bottles of Costco wines, and suspect we've about 8 boxes of Bota in our storage too!) So yes, we could go reasonably get a newer higher end coach then our Allure. And, we have two people that have asked us to let them know if we ever plan on selling out coach... (Of course friend and a family member, so that would be at discount I'm sure!).

So the answer to the 'So what?' - was for posts like this one from 2-Nickles. Good handling to me, is a safety item. I feel our coach handles as well as I can get I to handle now, short of Active Air. It's these kinds of posts that always gets me started again on the pro's/con's of continuing to upgrade this coach, or look for our next coach to take us over the next 10 or so years...

(If any of you hear any yelling from the Pacific Northwest, from what sounds like a beautiful lady - please do not be concerned. I'll be bringing up this topic again, but will strategically wait until she's had a half glass of vino first!!!)

2-Nickles - Thanks again for this neat write up on your experiences with Active Air. Please update it with any more pro's, or con's, that you determine over the next few months.

Best to all of you in the CC family,
Smitty
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Old 10-30-2018, 11:13 PM   #13
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Very interesting article for Active Air - question is approx cost for 40’ single drive Axle. Safety is a marjor concern and yet have to perform an emergency maneuver.

Looking forward to more feedback on 2nickles
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Old 10-31-2018, 05:51 PM   #14
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Curtis, thanks for sharing. I think HWH is a great comapany that engineers great systems. Above all, they still support our legacy systems. Paul personally helped me earlier this year with an issue. I need to add Active Air to my wish list.
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