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Old 06-29-2017, 07:04 AM   #1
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First Motorhome Suspension/Chassis Upgrade Questions

Hello All. I've been lurking on the forums for countless hours now reading reviews and debates on everything from Diesel vs Gas to Ford vs Workhorse. Well I finally took the plunge and pulled the trigger on a 2010 Fleetwood Fiesta 34b with an 8.1 gm workhorse chassis. We were wanting a diesel but this unit hit every checkbox except for washer/dryer unit and from what I've been reading on here the Diesel Pusher is more of a want than a need.

My question is this. I haven't driven a workhorse gasser (I pick it up a week from today) but I drove a 35 foot Coachman gasser on a ford chassis and it seemed to have a bit of body roll, etc... Plus I did not care for the high revving v10, hence why I searched until I found a 8.1 gm. I'm thinking of immediately doing the following Mods to the chassis before I take the wife on her first trip. First impressions are kind of a big deal to her. Weird right. LOL

1) Track bars for the front and rear.

2) Sumo SuperSprings for the front and rear.

3) Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer.

4) Not on my immediate list but it's a 2010 with 17,000 miles. Should I look at upgrading the shocks?

Is this overkill or am i on the right track? My thinking is I can do all this and still be well under half of what I would of spent on a comparable diesel. I'm trying to create the best riding/handling gasser possible.

Appreciate your feedback and I can't wait to pick up our MH and hit the road with the kiddos!
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:13 AM   #2
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I would drive it for a few hundred miles. You don't read as much about handling issues, other then on Ford F53 chassis.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:20 AM   #3
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Drive it first, after that you can do a valid evaluation as to what you achieved by modifying the chassis.

i.e. On the Ford F53, before spending any money on aftermarket components, I strongly recommend people perform the Cheap Handling Fix (CHF) This makes an adjustment to the sway bar (its factory adjustable) that will vastly improve the roll and sway. Normally, once people have done this, they are satisfied with the handling and decide not to buy the aftermarket stuff..

In my informal "looking in the wheel well" at RV parks, I doubt 10% of the F53 have made this simple (and free) adjustment.

I don't know if such an adjustment exists on the Workhorse chassis.

Shocks - Again, I'm speaking from F53, but this should apply to the Workhorse. I replaced my original shocks, They were completely worn out (15 year sold) there wasn't any "shock absorbing" to them just a rod that moved up and down. I replaced them with standard Monroe shocks. Once again, this was a significant improvement in ride and handling.

I'd consider replacing the shocks, your decision on expensive or Monroe's
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I would drive it for a few hundred miles. You don't read as much about handling issues, other then on Ford F53 chassis.
X1 ^^^^
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:22 AM   #5
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I have the W24 chassis and the prior owner installed the front track bar and steering stabilizer. I found the coach handles well. I added Koni shocks last year and found a huge difference over the original Bilsteins.

I agree with twinboat, drive it for a while then decide what improvements you feel it needs if any. Mine is a 2005 so your chassis may handle better/different than mine. I think you got a good chassis and would love to hear your impressions once you have some time behind the wheel. Good luck with it.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
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I would drive it for a few hundred miles. You don't read as much about handling issues, other then on Ford F53 chassis.
Good advice. I'm pretty bad about diving in head first and sinking to the bottom.

I'll definitely know by the time I get it home. I'm in Kansas City and I'm picking it up in Louisiana. 756 mile test drive.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:10 AM   #7
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After you drive it for a while, more like 5,000 miles, ask yourself that if you hadn't read all the posts on forums like this, would you even realize that your RV has "supposed" handling issues? And think about this, the prior owner(s) didn't deem it necessary to enjoy thier RV without these changes.........

Here is a great example for you....... On a Tiffin forum, one owner of a 32SA which is exactly like my 31SA on a 24k chassis with Sumo springs, other than it is exactly one foot longer behind the rear axle. Yes, that additional overhang may have some effect on handling, but I can't imagine that it is really that significant.

However, he just spent money on a track bar because he is supposedly getting pushed around by passing trucks. Of all the supposed handling issues of gas Motorhomes, the one thing I can certainly say in our 31SA with a very short rear overhang (and a 57% wheelbase to length ratio, which is about as good as you'll get in any gasser) is that we don't get pushed around by trucks. Plain and simple, it's irrelevant. The only time I even feel a truck pass is when I did not see them coming and I'm too close the the left side of my lane, but even then it's nowhere near a "push". Not saying that a long overhang rear end won't result in a push / pull (which would be exaggerated by heavy loading behind the rear axle) but don't assume you have a problem until you really do.

But the owner of the 32SA swears now he never gets pushed around since he spent that money. Hum, can you say possibly "placebo effect"?

I wont go into an article by a vendor in the current Tiffin magazine about gasser handling modifications.

I've spent plenty of money modifying sports cars, and many miles of high performance drivng on race tracks, so I have a fairly good understanding of suspension modifications...........

Just drive it, and forget about everything you read on forums for a while.........

The only thing we added to our coach (now with over 18,000 miles) is that we put a Safe T Plus steering stablizer on after the first 5,000 miles. Yes, we added Sumo springs as a factory option, so I can't say that I'm immune from adding things before we drove it..... but it was easier and actually more cost effective to do it when the coach was being built. As far as the CHF or stiffer sway bars or track bars, I have seen no reason to even consider doing those changes to our coach, while not to say that for others they may indeed improve drivng characteristics.
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:36 AM   #8
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Hi, Gem1n1, and welcome. From our signature you'll see we have a 32' Itasca gasser on a 2000 Workhorse chassis. We have a steering stabilizer, air bags and springs, and anti-sway bar on the front end, and anti-sway bar on the rear with Timbren rear suspension enhancement. My next purchase will be new shocks front and rear.

One thing that has improved things for us is sound-proofing the doghouse (this also insulates). It's cheap, and when the high revs happen, it really is a blessing. Under cruising conditions the engine is actually fairly quiet to the point we don't really notice - until we drop a gear on an incline.

Have fun. Butch and Peggy
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Old 06-29-2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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I would not spend until I know there is a need. In order I would do a four corner weigh and set correct air presure in tires for travel weight. Next HAVE an alignment done. For me a front stabilizer is always a plus. Now the RV should handle well for an experienced driver, over correction being an experience issue so drive for a while for most driving conditions. Now if you feel the need start the aftermarket additions.

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Old 06-29-2017, 11:02 AM   #10
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I had a 2003 36' Commander on a Workhorse chassis fo 10 years and after about 1 year made the following enhancements to the chassis. Rear trac bar, Bilstein shocks (today I would probably do Koni's) and the front Safe T Plus steering stabilizer. It rode not bad prior to the changes but I was very satisfied with the improvements. Much less body roll coming out of gas station driveways, less push from passing semi's etc.

Drive it for a bit prior to making any changes and see what you think and feel, that will be the true test. Make any changes one at a time and see how it affects the ride and handling.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:18 AM   #11
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My 2004 30' Itasca on the Workhorse W20 chassis was a bit squirrely at freeway speeds when I first got it last year. Did a 4 corner weigh and adjusted the tire pressures accordingly (10lbs lower) and it made a noticeable improvement. I may still look into shocks (26,000mi) and a rear track bar, but it's certainly not critical. I agree with the others here; drive it first.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:34 AM   #12
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I have a 2005 W22, only mod, and it was on there when I bought it was the Blue Ox true steer.

I am at around 21000 LBS, 37ft, no suspension mods, drive awesome, I have minimal body roll coming out of drive ways, not enough to justify mods, and cannot feel anything when a 18 wheeler passes head on or coming up beside me.

Drive it first, get it weighed, adjust tire pressure to weight, and enjoy.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:38 AM   #13
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Instead of rewriting everything I have written on my experience, please read my postings. They are my opinions for my MH. David
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:42 AM   #14
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Drive it first before doing anything! You many find it's OK as is.
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