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Old 11-08-2013, 10:51 AM   #15
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My 2 cents is to get the front end check, just for safety. After that, check the bushings in the sway bars. My bushings were worn out. Changed then. Did the cheap handling fix , and it made a lot of difference.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #16
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Too often the poor handling and constant battle to keep it between the lines is due to wheelbase length. RV Consumer Group addresses this criteria with each rating

You take the overall coach length in relation to wheelbase length. The smaller the % the more difficult to drive. Some gas coaches approach 50% wheelbase length to overall coach length.

Many of the suggestions prior can help. Sometimes unfortunately it is the nature of the beast. RV manufacturers should be ashamed of producing/selling some white knuckle driving units.
George R. - Fulltiming since January '03
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Old 11-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #17
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Another thing to consider is the overhang from the rear axle. You didn't say how long your coach is. Mine is 35 ft., the rear overhang is 13.5 ft from the drive axle, and 10 ft from the tag axle. That really effects the stability of the coach. When we first bought the coach it was a two handed battle, almost impossible with any wind. As you can see from my signature I have done a lot to my coach, did all the work myself, still cost a lot of money. My most recent improvement was to install a Roadmaster 1-3/4" auxiliary sway bar. That sway bar really stopped the rear sway, wish I had done it first. To start with have your alignment done, make sure they set the caster 4.5-6 degrees positive, check the sway bar bushings, front and rear. The rear bushings are probably over due. Weight each axle of the coach, each end of the axles if you can. Adjust the tire air pressure based on the tire manufacturer's load range chart. If you want to add to the coach to improve the handling I would start with the Roadmaster 1-3/4" auxiliary sway bar. The best price I could find it for was at with free shipping. The rear track bar also helps with the sway. So depending on how much you can afford to spend will dictate what you do first.

1999 35 ft. Dolphin 5350, F53, Banks System, 5 Stars Tune, Air Lift Air Bags, Koni Shocks, Blue OX TruCenter, TigerTrak track bars F&R, Roadmaster 1-3/4" rear auxiliary sway bar, 2004 F450 Lariat Pickup 6.0 Diesel Crew Cab DRW, 4X4, GVWR 15,000, Front GAWR 6,000, Rear GAWR 11,000, GCWR 26,000,1994 36ft Avion 5er, GVWR 13,700, 2,740 Pin Weight.
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Old 11-09-2013, 04:20 PM   #18
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A Huge Thank You to everyone! What an amazing supportive informative group.

Thanks to everyone who responded! We dropped the coach off at a shop this morning and will have them review the suspension, front end alignment, shocks, etc. They will call me with findings. They are well regarded locally. They were quite busy and there was another Ford chassis motorhome in the lot too.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:16 PM   #19
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OK!!!! You have gotten a lot of good responses and as I read what was suggested I was overwhelmed. PLEASE remember this. What works for one coach may not work for another coach. While many have experience getting things fixed for them not that many have experience doing the work for themselves. Many folks here want to help but to diagnose a concern requires that a set routine of diagnosis be used.

Here are some things that do make sense and should be items to do.

1. Having your unit weighed and the tires set to the correct pressure for the weight is not difficult and is very important. Even if it does not help your wandering situation it is still very important. Also many techs in the shops won't know how much pressure to put in your tires. Many of them just inflate to the pressure listed on the sidewall and that is only the max they should hold if they are weighed down to the max weight. I have 19.5" tires. My max pressure is 110 LBS on sidewall. I run 85-LBS based on the weight.

2. An alignment is very important but only after all components are checked for wear. You can not correctly align any front-end unless all worn parts are replaced. When they check the front-end and if they find a worn part have them show you how & why it is worn. As the owner don't just take their word for a defective part.

3. The front and rear anti-sway bar bushings are also important for proper handling. If you can remove & replace a nut and bolt you can very easily change the rubber bushings. Here's part of the problem. If the shop identifies that your sway bar bushing need replaced they will put rubber ones back in and that's not good. You can get poly bushing (the best) on e-bay and they are much, much better than the stock rubber ones. Even if you have new rubber bushings changing to poly bushings will show some improvement.

4. The cheap handling fix CHF is the next thing that you (not them) should do. It has been mentioned and it will make a world of difference in the sway control. Again it is only a matter of reading the 133 pages of the posts on the CHF then doing it yourself. It is not hard to do.

5. Now on to shocks. You may need new shocks. If they are stock then they are probably worn out. Now there is always an on-going rant concerning Koni VS Bilstein. Many like the Koni's (about $700 for -4) and many like the Bilsteins about 1/2 of the cost. Many like both. If yours are bad either one will help with ride and sway control. Your budget will dictate the direction. Remember the phrase, " Champagne taste with a beer budget???" Sometimes the $$$ is just not there. Either shock has a lifetime warranty as long as you have the receipt.

One more thing. If you are going to own an RV you should make it your task to become as competent as you can at fixing these rolling homes. They require maintenance and unless you are filthy rich you will be at the mercy of the repair places. Also if you take it to a shop and have some questions please don't waste your $$$$ because you don't know what to do. There are many her that will help you any time you need it. If you have a problem and want to call me I will give you my number. Just send me a PM (private message) and I'll send it to you. If you get into a bind and don't know what to do I'll talk to the tech or you and try and advise you on a direction. There is a wealth of knowledge on these forums. I'm not the only one who will help.

I paid $150 for a quality alignment. My coach was brand new (700 miles) and had been aligned at the factory. When I had it checked at the local place all alignment angles were off. That should raise some questions for you.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:33 AM   #20
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The following things affect handling
Alignment, this includes a tire inspection and check
Sway Bars, Control side to side "Rocking" like fans swaying in time with the music at a rock concert
Trac Bars, Large (long) Vehicles sometimes wag, kind of like a dog'stail,with the front heading right as the rear heads left or the other way around, These stop that dead.
Steering stablizers. Try to keep you on the straight and narrow.

I put a Davis Trac bar and Blue Ox Tru Center stablizer on my rig and it made a BIG!!!! differencew.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Back2rving View Post
Hi everyone, I am very new to having and RV. Have had pop ups, bumper pulls and a fifth wheel, and now a 2002 Fleetwood Southwind V10 RV. We bought it a couple of weeks ago and it was used. It is in great shape we think. When driving from central Texas to Tucson AZ and back, last couple of weeks, we noticed that it was kind of a lot of work to keep it going straight. It seemed to want to drift to the shoulder. It seemed like we were fighting the wind all the time. On top of that, we got real tired of the coach rocking or swaying back and forth. We don't know where to start actually. Have tried to read some of the threads on here but they sort of go over our heads a bit. We think we need to have the alignment checked would that make the coach tend to be sort of road wild? I have read about people discussing sway bars and bushings. I was thinking we needed to replace the shock absorbers. They all look original to us. We don't have a great deal of funds and can do a lot of this ourselves, we think. But where would people suggest we start? Who does front end alignments on coaches? Are prices for shocks too expensive from Camping World compared to other shops that people have found? Had and like the Bilstein shocks that we put on my F250 when pulling our 31' fifthwheel. Are they good on these coaches?

I am sorry if this is all old hat to most, we are just new to RVs and want to make smart decisions step by step to make the ride less work. It was a looooongggg trip seemingly fighting the coach to stay in a straight line.

Thanks everyone.
I have a 2003 FW Storm, same issues. I did the CHF (Cheap Handling Fix), replaced the 10 year old tires (the old rear duallys even though they looked great were worn down enough that they contributed tremendously to the squirming or squiggling of the coach)

KC runs so much better down the highway now, winds, trucks going by, etc are no where near the issue they used to be....

Good luck and keep us posted....
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:16 PM   #22
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We bought a 2005 f53 with a 228 inc h wheel base. It to wandered all over the road and swayed and leaned badly in the turns.
First thing was to get the alignment done. I did the cheap handling fix and it did help the lean I just moved the bolts from the front hole to the back and used the same rods. I then made my own rear track bar. This helped a lot with the wandering.
After getting the RV weighed I found I was very light on the front end. After getting more weight in the front I was able to drive with one hand and no white knuckles.
2008 Thor, Four Winds Mandalay 40G. Cummins 400 isl. Freightliner chassis
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:47 AM   #23
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One thing left unmentioned is a common problem with F-53 chassis of this vintage. The mfg had a tendency to put weak springs on the front right side. Try parking on a flat surface and measure body to ground on each side at the front. Mine had a difference of over 3 inches. I took it in to a Spring shop in San Antonio. They put a scale mounted jack under the low corner and jacked it up till it was level. They then built a leaf to match the jack weight. With the new leaf installed it drove like a dream.
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Old 11-13-2013, 09:00 AM   #24
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How much did the spring work cost?
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:29 PM   #25
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The spring work was just over $400
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:48 PM   #26
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I have a 2014 Fleetwood Southwind 36L and have some sway issues but I can tell that it is the road imperfections and wind. Being 36 ft and and a long overhang in the rear, it will move the front end around no matter what. Total driver comfort in these entry level coaches is nearly impossible to achieve. But on good roads at 63 mph I'm driving with one hand comfortably if this helps.
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