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Old 03-11-2014, 09:43 AM   #1
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P32 Chassis Coil Springs and Proper Suspension Clearance

Hello All,
I am new to Class A MH ownership and want to thank everyone who runs and participates in this forum. I have spent untold hours researching forums and the amount of information and detail is greatly appreciated. My learning curve has literally been accelerated by years as I am able to understand common problems and weaknesses of the P32 chassis; so thank you very much!

A couple of months ago my wife and I purchased a 27’ 1995 Georgie Boy Pursuit with 37,000 miles. It has 454 TBI engine with front disc brakes and rear drum. The GVWR is 12,300, front GAWR is 4,880, rear GAWR is 10,000. Initial measured weights (me, wife, daughter, but no supplies, minimal fuel, water, etc) with 2,360lb horse trailer (no horse) in tow are: Front = 4,220, RV total = 11,800, RV+ trailer = 14,200. The chassis is 159” wheelbase; P31432.

Last week I completed the installation of Moog lower ball joints, new brake pads, brake bleed and Stengel Bros coil springs (PN 350-6560SD). The springs are rated at 3789 lbs each. I made a Guestimate that the stock springs were rated at 2789 lbs (??) and purchased these springs hoping to get rid of the airbags and gain an inch or two in lift. I ended up with a little over 3” of lift and now concerned that these springs are too much and will have to be replaced with 3289lb springs instead. My current/wishful thinking is to continue with rear end work/inspection/measurements and once complete, load her up for real; right now my wife has gutted the inside for renovation, so it will be a while before I can test drive it. I measured the suspension clearances after the new coils were installed and have RR = 4-1/8” , LR=4-1/2”, RF = 5-1/8”, LF = 5-1/4”. The chassis/frame currently sets about dead level, but there is practically no additional weight, not to mention the horse trailer. Per the “P Chassis for Motorhomes General Information for Alignment, 5” is the max height listed in the table to determine proper caster. Comments, advice and experience welcome…………………

For reference work completed to date includes; new oil, water and trans temp gauges, hitch reinforcement, trailer connector and wiring, front/rear sway bar bushings, Dale deep trans pan with cooling, radiator flush, SS bell crank, steering damper, brake pads, repack wheel bearings, thermostat and hoses. Work still planned includes; oil change, inspect spark plugs/wires, new master cylinder (mine is pile of rust)/fluid flush, rear brakes, brake controller installation, rear-end fluid change, shackle bushings, drum brake job, power steering fluid change and finally front-end alignment.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:41 AM   #2
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WELCOME to irv2.com and the workhorse forum in particular.

You obviously know your way around under these things and have done more than most of us can only wonder about. FWIW, I would leave the new coils in place until all the renovations are done and it is loaded for travel. Hopefully you'll find there is no need to put airbags in the new coils.......IMO, simpler is almost always better.

OBTW, according to the info posted in another thread (hiding above in the stickies),
the 314 in your model # is the code for a 157" wheel base. Ed
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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I might add...drive it a bit.....let those new springs settle and get a feel for them. If you find that you are getting the ride you like....keep them. I hope you can justify not using airbags. They are not an awesome answer to ride adjustment on our rigs....springs in my opinion are the better answer.
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:10 AM   #4
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Just curious about where you are measuring your clearance... proper ride height on the front of a P30/32 chassis is between 1-3/4 and 2-1/2" measured from the lower bump stop to the pad on the crossmember that it hits...it sounds like your suspension is "topped out" ...not a good thing. From the measurements given , I am wondering if the rubber bump stops are even there.. or the uppers must be gone to achieve that much clearance. It's not normally possible.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:09 PM   #5
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I'm replacing my Air Lift 1000 bags now - well, I will when the weather clears up. You have an interesting project here and I'm interested in how it works out as well.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:51 PM   #6
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Ken,
I am making measurements in accordance with the document below, which specifies the bracket the bumper stop is attached to (page 14); not the actual rubber bumper. If you have a P chassis, this is a great document with good information.
http://users.sisna.com/cebula/P-Chas...entProcess.pdf
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969SSCamaro View Post
Ken,
I am making measurements in accordance with the document below, which specifies the bracket the bumper stop is attached to (page 14); not the actual rubber bumper. If you have a P chassis, this is a great document with good information.
http://users.sisna.com/cebula/P-Chas...entProcess.pdf
Ken ....my vin is 5B4KP57G733357978 .

I have read the entire doc but I am still not sure if this P30 doc applies to my 2003 WorkHorse 15,ooo lb (19.5 tires) chassis.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:00 AM   #8
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Adam,
It is quite confusing and there seems to be a lot of conflicting information; I cannot pretend to answer your question and will probably just add to the confusion. Workhorse purchased GM MH chassis business (Jan 99 I believe) and took over production. Initially WH continued to MFG the exact same chassis; I have seen information claiming WH continued to MFG the GM chassis until around 2005?? WH also started developing their own chassis design and at some point started MFG "widetrac" chassis (~82" wide?), which is the "W" series chassis; W20, W22, etc. Your VIN is definitely not GM, but I think it is possible your chassis could still be a P32 (I doubt it though??). I have never researched the WH chassis, so hopefully someone has accurate information regarding your VIN. You could also try to register on WH website below, and hopefully get clear information/asnwers from the MFG.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1969SSCamaro View Post
Adam,
It is quite confusing and there seems to be a lot of conflicting information; I cannot pretend to answer your question and will probably just add to the confusion. Workhorse purchased GM MH chassis business (Jan 99 I believe) and took over production. Initially WH continued to MFG the exact same chassis; I have seen information claiming WH continued to MFG the GM chassis until around 2005?? WH also started developing their own chassis design and at some point started MFG "widetrac" chassis (~82" wide?), which is the "W" series chassis; W20, W22, etc. Your VIN is definitely not GM, but I think it is possible your chassis could still be a P32 (I doubt it though??). I have never researched the WH chassis, so hopefully someone has accurate information regarding your VIN. You could also try to register on WH website below, and hopefully get clear information/asnwers from the MFG.
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GREG: THANK YOU for providing the link to all that info, especially valuable for the older models of the GM chassis. Much of that I had never seen, since all my involvement has been with the Workhorse "era".

The "wide track" was one of the first "improvements" that Workhorse made to the original GM P32 chassis, but that is not the same as the W series that Workhorse introduced shortly thereafter. You are correct about them discontinuing the P32 after the 2005 model year.

"adamfolger" posted his vin #, which is for a 2003 Workhorse made P32 "wide track" MH chassis having a 15,000 GVWR. The MODEL # is P31932 which means it has a 190" wheel base. It also has the 8.1L motor and GM's 4L85-E 4 speed tranny. It was built 8-16-2002, and shipped to Thor.

GARY: if you want the complete build sheet for your chassis, send me a PM with your email address-it won't display correctly here in the forum. Ed
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:01 AM   #10
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Yesterday was good and bad day as I had to remove/install one of the ball joints I had just replaced 3 weeks ago. I noticed that the left spring was not properly seated on the cross-member and removed the lower A arm to reposition the spring. That is when I noticed a gouge in the ball joint stud and realized it was probably a P30 van ball joint (Ugh). But, I was very very lucky the spring was not positioned properly as I never would have known until I destroyed the spindle. Anyway, another lesson learned; I should have inspected both new ball joints prior to installation. I would have noticed the difference in the taper. The parts store sold me two MOOG-K6129T, so I thought, but one was MOOG-K6129 (no "T" at the end). The spindle had a gouge as well, so I smoothed it out prior to installation. Today I will replace the master cylinder and hopefully have time for an initial test drive today or tomorrow.
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Old 03-15-2014, 08:54 PM   #11
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Good news! Got everything back together and replaced the master brake cylinder. The height between the rubber bumper and cross member is now 2" on both sides (or 4-7/8" when measuring from the bumper mount). I assume the spring not being seated correctly on the left side brought both sides within spec. Hope to do a test drive tomorrow to see how it feels. Thanks for all the input/help. I will send another update after we take it for a spin. Still have a lot of work to do, but happy the springs seem like they will work out okay.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:46 AM   #12
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Enjoy you posts - thank-you for the 4 7/8" clearance measurement. I like the idea of knowing/comparing the measurement to the frame as well as bumper clearance.
Thanks, Tom
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Old 03-17-2014, 10:07 AM   #13
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Took her for a short spin yesterday evening and the MH handled really well in city traffic with the new springs, but I had planned to do a much longer test drive on the interstate. It looks like the new springs will work out well; not as spongy/bouncy on the front end. Had planned on doing a much longer test drive but had a breakdown that was strange/intermittent (kept dying, no power). After about 45 minutes of this, finally realized I was done in by man's best friend, the mut. The dogs were in the MH "helping" my wife install carpet and the engine cover was off. One of the dogs slipped into the engine compartment and evidently stepped on one of the connectors next to the distributer. Not sure if it was part of the electronic ignition module or what, but as soon as my wife told me about the dogs, I started looking and found a loose connector.

I did notice was the calipers and/or wheel bearings seemed pretty warm and brake fluid leaking around the edges of my master cylinder. I will create a new post since this is really a new topic. I will also update this one after I get to do a real test drive.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:10 AM   #14
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Hey Greg, we have a 27' 1995 Europa, on a P32 chassis... The big difference I figure is ours is a small block,,, 350... I also replaced the ball joints when we bought it a few years ago, upper I think... I'd have to look at my records... Last year I replaced the coil springs with Super Steer ones, along with Koni FSD front shocks. Then an alignment. The difference was AMAZING !!! I drive a truck, but this thing wollered like a drunk pig. Now it sits about 3" higher in front, and handles Great,,, compared to what it was. We've been through bad storms out west, 50+ mph winds, and sure with anything we slowed down, but it was night and day difference. Our weights are similar I figure, except ours says 4000 max on the front when it weighs 4200+ .11,400 max. (listed) When I had the front apart doing the springs, I repacked the bearings. Ours has 95K +miles now,, doing well. I have done a lot of smaller things, tune up, belts, hoses, bunches of stuff. So far so good... I'd like a big block so we could pull her little car, but you can't beat 13+ mpg on long trips... Guess it's a trade off... Oh ya, ours came with air bags in the rear to help the leaf springs, which I really like. Not totally needed, but nice to have. I run about 50psi in the right, and 35psi in the left, it levels it out as all of our appliances, water tank, etc are on the right.
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