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Old 03-09-2021, 11:09 AM   #1
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Class C newbie steering stabilizers/sway bars?

Hi, I literally just bought a Jayco Melbourne class c motorhome.

Am wondering about the steering. It drives fine now, but I have not had it in inclement weather. I have been advised (over the phone) to consider sway bars and steering stabilizers (probably around $2k when all said and done).

Does anyone have or not have this add on recommend or refute?
Have been given estimate of 16-1800


Thanks, I am frustrated by cost, but dont want to compromise steering as I will be doing a lot of driving....
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Old 03-09-2021, 02:12 PM   #2
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Had factory install sway bars and steering stabilizer when I bought my HR 29' B+ six years ago. Had a lot of wind push when being pass by 18 wheelers and steering wheel shimmy when just driving down the highway.
Install Hellwig sway bars both front and rear and a Bilstein front wheel stabilizer. These I installed in my driveway for a cost around $800.Then had the front end alignment done to get the 5 degree plus caster, cost around $350. With all completed, I feel I have gotten a 80 percent improvement in driving stability for this coach with these upgrades, well worth my money.
Good luck with yours.
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Old 03-09-2021, 03:54 PM   #3
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Hi Mary,

Congratulations on your purchase. You did not say which chassis, I assume a NEW 2020 OR 2021 Melborne on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. I don't know what suspension upgrades are available, nor do I know if any are necessary, but there are two general schools of thought.

1) Get by with as little as possible, upgrade as needed as determined by every trip.

2) Pay the money and get everything taken care of right away and enjoy the benefits from the beginning.

We bought our current rig new back in 2007, built on a 2007 E350 chassis. Based on our experience with our previous motor home, I wasn't going to fool around. We paid $3900 back then to have a truck suspension shop get the rig as best as possible. Today I am much wiser and would install most of those things myself at a fraction of the cost. One thing certain, our 2007 E350 benefited greatly from the upgrades.
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Old 03-09-2021, 06:25 PM   #4
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Congrats!! The best options for a Sprinter are the Hellwig sway bar, sumo springs (front and rear), and rear shocks. Popular choices for shocks are usually Fox or Bilstein.

I also agree with Ron D and start slow. I would do the sway bar first, then try it out. Then go for the shocks and finally springs if you feel it's necessary.
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Old 03-09-2021, 09:01 PM   #5
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I recommend Hellwigs, Bilsteind, and a steering stabilizer. That's what I installed on mine and help a great deal.
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:44 AM   #6
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I had a problem with the front end driving, I call it floating, I was always over steering to keep it going straight. I only installed a steering stabilizer, I have a Chevy 4500 chassis. Chevy is famous for this problem. The frame was predrilled already for it. Took about an hour to install it, I never needed anything else. No sway bar, no new shocks, no changing the alignment or anything. Itís drives now with 1 hand even in heavy wind or 18 wheelers passing. My point is to start with the Stabilizer then move on if needed you might save yourself some money. Some Ford 450 chassis come with one installed already some donít. So that where I would start. I have a lot of rear overhang because itís 32í I also tow a Spark. So that worked for me and I saved a lot plus itís a joy to drive now. A lot of different opinions here but each unit drives different for sure.
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:52 AM   #7
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How you load can have a big difference and it's free. Many Cs have a large rear storage area and all the fluid tanks aft of the rear axles. Having a bunch of weight that far aft lightens up the front and can accentuate the floating feel. That doesn't minimize the need for some suspension improvements but can be a factor in driving comfort.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunker View Post
How you load can have a big difference and it's free. Many Cs have a large rear storage area and all the fluid tanks aft of the rear axles. Having a bunch of weight that far aft lightens up the front and can accentuate the floating feel. That doesn't minimize the need for some suspension improvements but can be a factor in driving comfort.
Totally agree. The Sumo springs in general can turn a comfortable ride into one of a stagecoach.
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:15 AM   #9
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I agree with chunker and RonandDeb.

Heavy duty stabilizer bars and steering stabilizer won't make the ride more harsh. Heavy duty shock absorbers can, but Sumo Springs and air bags pumped-up most certainly will, and it will be significant.

Talking E350 here, not Sprinter, I was surprised how little of an increase in harshness of ride was introduced when installing heavy duty Bilstein RV shocks. I noticed it only because I was focused on detecting a difference. But the improvement in the rig's handling was greatly noticeable, the benefit far outweighs any minor loss in ride comfort.

The last thing I did was change my front coil springs to one rating lesser. DETAILS AND PICTURES HERE. The heavy duty Bilstein shocks with softer springs is a fine combination for our rig which has a very light load on the front axle......only 3260 pounds with us sitting in the front seats and the rig loaded up during a trip.
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:52 AM   #10
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Sorry, I didn’t mention, it’s a 2011 jayco on a 2010 Ford e-450. I’m not mechanically capable of doing this myself, but I agree, it would definitely be less expensive to do so! I feel like I’m bleeding money right now after the purchase and licensing, but don’t want to die before getting to use it! Thank you for your insight��
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:43 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Try the easy, simple, {cheap} corrections first...

Do not spend a dime upgrading anything until...

Load the coach as will normally travel and get to a CAT scale and get the rig weighed. Then go to the load inflation tables from the tire manufacturer and air them accordingly - based upon the weight they are carrying. Ignore the door sticker and the max psi from the side of the tires. While they might, maybe, be correct chances are good they will not even be close. That floaty/loosey goosey feeling is usually reflective of badly overinflated front tires as that reducess your contact patch dramatically. Only the tire manufacturer can possible know what psi is appropriate for their tires based upon the load they are carrying.

Once your rig is riding on tires with the proper pressure then have the alignment checked. E-350's and 450's are notorious for having too little caster {they come from Ford that way}. Get the coaches alignment checked with an eye toward increasing the caster to about 5 degrees on the front right and a tad less, around 4.5 on the left.

At this point you will probably have solved all of your ride and handling issues and just saved $2,000 to $3,000 on unnecessary after market "gear",
You're welcome. Keep in mind that as actual weights vary {and they will} as you load differently from trip to trip, your tire pressures will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Too many folks waste a lot of money searching for solution for which there is no known problem... the government does this a lot {but I digress}. You should be able to get the alignment done for about $150 and the CAT Scale will set you back about $10. Most tire shops will air up your tires up to what YOU tell them for free. Good luck!

As always... Opinions and YMMV.

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Old 03-10-2021, 02:57 PM   #12
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I have a E450 chassis under my MH.

When I bought it, it had Sumos in the front. After a trip from NY to FL and back, I took them out.

That let the coil springs do what they are supposed to do and took the belly bouncing rebound out of the ride.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Dittmer View Post
I agree with chunker and RonandDeb.


The last thing I did was change my front coil springs to one rating lesser. DETAILS AND PICTURES HERE. The heavy duty Bilstein shocks with softer springs is a fine combination for our rig which has a very light load on the front axle......only 3260 pounds with us sitting in the front seats and the rig loaded up during a trip.
Ron, this is a outstanding post! The pictures and details spell out everything to a T. By the way, you have a beautiful coach!
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marycontrary View Post
Sorry, I didnít mention, itís a 2011 jayco on a 2010 Ford e-450. Iím not mechanically capable of doing this myself, but I agree, it would definitely be less expensive to do so! I feel like Iím bleeding money right now after the purchase and licensing, but donít want to die before getting to use it! Thank you for your insight��
Please disregard all of my posts as they are for the Mercedes. Personally, I think the Ford chassis is rock solid and you may be better off just saving your money. For the Mercedes, the sway bar and rear shocks are around $600 so it's not really breaking the bank. Plus the ride from the factory is a whole different animal than a Ford.

All the best of luck to you!!
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