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Old 04-12-2016, 12:07 PM   #1
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2015 Thor Challenger 35HT Handling/Cheap Handling Fix Review

Hey Everyone, I have a 2015 Challenger 35HT with about 5,000 miles and wanted to share my handling experience with this coach.



I flat tow a Jeep Wrangler or tow a 16 foot enclosed trailer.
My Experiences:
1. Wind shear when driving on the highway that rocks the coach side to side and major steering wheel correction are needed to keep it straight
2. When a Big Rig passes or when I pass a big rig major corrections to the steering wheel are needed to continue straight
3. Driving in general is a workout to keep the RV Straight
4. When turning on highways or just making a turn on the street the sway is so apparent you have to go at a snail’s pace to make the turn.
5. Highway curves and off camber presents a serious unsafe feeling and major sway.
Did a lot of reading on forums and of course the dealer wanted to sell me everything but this is what I did to start to deal with the issues above.

Purchased

Front
Amazon Prime free 2 day shipping
1. Roadmaster 1139140 1-3/4" Front Sway Bar $526.47
2. Roadmaster RSSA Reflex Stabilizer Unit $241.97
3. Roadmaster RBK9 Bracket Kit $79.10

Installation Free- 1 hour install time

Rear
Cheap Handling Fix
Installation Free-1hour

When I got under my RV I saw that the OEM sway bar was not secure. 3 of the 4 bolts that hold the saddle brackets were missing, and the fourth about to go as well. Before doing the CHF I inspected the poly bushing and found no grease in the bushing. I greased the bushing added Loctite to the bolts then torqued to 65ft/lbs the 4 bolts (I used 3 from the front) through the saddle brackets, and then did the CHF.

Check Your Sway Bars Mounts

1 1/2 Hour Road test

First thing that was apparent was when leaving my driveway the coach did not rock from side to side emptying cabinets and throwing my Wife into my lap.

Second thing I noticed was that when making a turn on residential streets, the coach stayed upright with no sway…All I could say is Wow and that was 500 ft away from my house.

I proceeded to get on the Fwy and immediately noticed the ease and stability of the coach and the ability to almost drive with 1 finger.
The true test was driving at speed with cross winds of about 20 miles an hour(android app for area), uneven road, passing big rigs or being passed. All of these conditions were present during the test.

First thing I wanted to test on the Highway was a Big Rig passing ….Wow it was like night and day, I did not have to over steer to compensate for the turbulence caused by the Big Rig. During the test, I noticed there was heavy cross winds as well. I really could not tell that there were crosswinds; because there was very limited sway….I just could tell from the sound of the wind hitting my Rig. At this point I was excited that my RV was stable and fun to drive with little effort.
Downhill gradual turns on the highway presented challenges previous, now with the changes I could confidently go into the turn and give the minimal response to the wheel to get the turning results to make the turn. Unlike previously where you had to turn and hope the coach followed.

Conclusion:

Cost total with Tax and free shipping (Amazon Prime) $915.35

The absolute best upgrade you could do for handling windsear, Big Rig Turbulence, cross winds, Turn sway, driveway sway, straight line tracking. The outcome from the changes made is not subtle, but are huge and make all the difference. The result of the changes eliminates driver stress and fatigue and gives you confidence your rig will track down the road with ease.
With the confidence I have I will not need to add the rear sway bar.

OEM rating- 3 out of 10 stars Thor Shame on You!
Rating after mods- 9 out of 10 stars
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:36 AM   #2
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Thank you for this post!

I have a '16 Miramar on a 22k platform and thinking thru the handling changes I want, including the same changes you made. Haven't made up my mind yet on Sumo Springs however.

I had an interesting talk with Ford. They had two key points: the CHF is easy because they set up the chassis with the pre-drilled holes to enable exactly what you did: have the owner adjust the sway bars based on the ride characteristics they want.

Ford also strongly recommended weighing the vehicle because they can't control what gets built and how the weight is distributed on the chassis. They also recommended that 35-40% of the total vehicle weight be on the front axle. Once I get that done, I'm going to follow Michelin's recommendations on tire pressure, not Thor's.

Again - can't thank you enough for a very helpful post. All the best!
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:50 AM   #3
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You are very welcome, glad that my experiences can help.
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:52 AM   #4
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Why did you add the front sway bar? Wasn't there one on it already?
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ga80486 View Post
Why did you add the front sway bar? Wasn't there one on it already?
Yes, there is a sway bar that is installed from the factory. The OEM Sway bar is 1 1/2 inches wide. I purchased the roadmaster bar which is 1 3/4 wide. This made a huge difference in the stability.

It is really up to you, try the CHF in the front first, (its free) if you need more stability do the Roadmaster upgrade, but definitely do the Stabilizer installation.

Wes
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:17 AM   #6
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gonna tag this for followup for myself. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:46 PM   #7
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You may not have needed any of the upgrades. I had just one bolt on the rear stabilizer bar come out which caused the bracket to swing down out of the way and the bar to not be mounted at all on the one side. I'm sure I noticed the change immediately when that bolt came out because I pulled out on to the highway after a gas stop and told my wife right away that something was wrong. The difference in handling was immense! I tried going up in pressure on tires and that didn't help. When we stopped for the night, I knew something was drastically wrong so I crawled under and found the problem. The next morning I replaced the bolt and everything was back to normal and handling great! My point is that just replacing those bolts might have solved your problem.

Ive been hesitant to try the CHF as the coach really does handle so well. While reading about the subject, i've heard a lot of talk about guys having to make custom brackets for the sway bar links to mount to in order to correct their angles or something like that. Do you not need them? Can I simply move the bolts to the other holes both front and back?
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:28 AM   #8
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It is funny but my coach has handled the same from day 1 (Crappy)...But this last trip we took to the Grand Canyon, it seemed a bit more out of control. I could not tell you for sure how long the sway bar was not mounted correctly, but I know what I have added has made a huge difference. The coach never handled as well. Crawling under and checking the sway bars will be added to my pre-trip safety checks.

You do not have to make any brackets, Ford purposely made the sway bar adjustable depending on what was to be put on their chassis.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:48 PM   #9
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Wes,
So it would appear from your break down that you did the work installing all the "new stuff"?(Hence "installation free" comments). I really don't want to pay for labor on any of these type upgrades on our coach, but the handling that you described above is EXACTLY what I am experiencing. So much so, it scares me sometimes. I have to do something and soon. I really don't feel safe right now based on its handling.

One point I picked up on was to check for loose/missing hardware. That will be done this week when I get back to the coach.

BTW...the "front sway bar" you reference looks like the REAR bar when you look at the picture on Amazon. Thought it a bit strange, but I could be missing something. (my edit)

If you (or anyone) has any other pointers, I would be more than appreciative for those.

Thanks
Don
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don and Dale View Post
Wes,
So it would appear from your break down that you did the work installing all the "new stuff"?(Hence "installation free" comments). I really don't want to pay for labor on any of these type upgrades on our coach, but the handling that you described above is EXACTLY what I am experiencing. So much so, it scares me sometimes. I have to do something and soon. I really don't feel safe right now based on its handling.

One point I picked up on was to check for loose/missing hardware. That will be done this week when I get back to the coach.

BTW...the "front sway bar" you reference looks like the REAR bar when you look at the picture on Amazon. Thought it a bit strange, but I could be missing something. (my edit)

If you (or anyone) has any other pointers, I would be more than appreciative for those.

Thanks
Don
Yes, Installation was free because I did the install myself. As for the Pic on Amazon...that is just a generic pic...That is not the actual pic, and you are right that is a pic of the rear. Go to roadmaster, plug in the request info and roadmaster will give you a list of all products for your chassis. You also can get instructions (which are not very clear)

Note: Ford Chassis for the 2015 Challenger 35 HT select F53 Class A 22000 LBs, if you own any of the 37's select the same chassis F53 Class A

http://roadmasterinc.com/vehicle_guide/rss.php


The install is very easy, you just need the right tools. This can be done by yourself if you have a couple of jackstands and a floor Jack (to lift the sway bar) I also used the jackstands to lift the stabilized shock to be able to mount the bolts to the brackets.

TIP: Use air driver or an electric angled driver. Weird that some of the screws and bolts were Metric and some were SAE so plan for tools you need before you get under so your not making unnecessary trips. I would loctite all connections, and use a torque wrench and torque as specified.

After you install, spend some time on the streets, roads and Highway, and attempt to recreate scenarios were you felt most uncomfortable, like big rig passing you, uneven roads, wind shear, making turns, straight line stability, coming in and out of a driveway.
Immediately after test drive. Get back under the rig and check that your nuts and bolts are secure.

This upgrade will leave you and
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:03 AM   #11
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Good stuff, Wes. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I will continue to look in to the parts and everything. I just have to do something before our Oregon trip in a couple of months.

And let me say "THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE" (hand shake, hand shake). It is very much appreciated.

Don
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Don and Dale View Post
Good stuff, Wes. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I will continue to look in to the parts and everything. I just have to do something before our Oregon trip in a couple of months.

And let me say "THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE" (hand shake, hand shake). It is very much appreciated.

Don
Thanks very much Don and Dale and have a safe and awesome trip to Oregon...That is some beautiful country.
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:32 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing this info Wes. We have a 2014 HT (same color) and just got back from Oregon and the Wife says "Do something about the swaying"! She was actually getting sick on some turns. We have the same problems you listed, Going to get the front sways for sure and have the back checked. By the way, We live in Homeland, CA just off 74.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:16 AM   #14
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Thanks for sharing this info Wes. We have a 2014 HT (same color) and just got back from Oregon and the Wife says "Do something about the swaying"! She was actually getting sick on some turns. We have the same problems you listed, Going to get the front sways for sure and have the back checked. By the way, We live in Homeland, CA just off 74.
For sure this will make driving a pleasure....Just an update....Still awesome ...Have about 9000 miles on now and it is just fun driving and performance has not changed from my original post. Enjoy.!!! Oh Hello Neighbor
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