rhodesia

Upgrading Suspensions F53 Chassis

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rhodesia   
  1. Hello, I have had my 2007 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager 8368 37 foot. She weights about 22,000 lbs.For about 6 months now and it only had 44,000 miles on it, I had the brakes serviced Right after I bought it and found out that all 4 rotors were cracked and two brake shoes were missing or just too worn down. Was informed that the last owner was what they call a BRAKE RIDER-- never learned to use his gears and his engine to do the braking for him and I have a gas coach, so a complete brake job cost me around $3,750.
  2. Well the RV place that only does suspensions upgrade recommended to me that I install a Safe-T-Plus Motion Control Unit for the front steering, also replace the shocks. They recommended Koni's for a total of 8 shocks 2 per wheel. Also a Trac Bar Rear End for side play (Dog Wag) they call it. Also Sumo Springs front and rear to help out the leaf springs. Before I do all this, they and I will go on a drive test to see what I really need for the suspension.
  3. I have driven one RV that had about $5,000 dollars worth of suspension upgrades and that gas coach drove like a Cadillac no making turns and your front end dips down like you are going to touch the pavement and no rocking while driving if you are driving on a roads that has ruts and I really noticed a big difference from they way mine drives and the one I just drove with all the upgrades, so by that said has anyone else recommend anything to help out or to add to what I would like to do to the suspension upgrade? My goal is to travel cross country in it and just want to have a more comfortable drive. The Banks systems they installed sure makes a difference when driving on the hwy.

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wolfe10   

Only question at this point is "8 shocks, 2 per wheel".   OE was only 4 per chassis/one per wheel position.

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rhodesia   
On 1/8/2018 at 8:12 PM, wolfe10 said:

Only question at this point is "8 shocks, 2 per wheel".  OE was only 4 per chassis/one per wheel position.

Yea I said the same thing but that was only a recommendation for a better ride and to help with the weight on the F53 suspension, I have seen motorhomes like mine that have two sets of shocks Koni's per wheel that's why I brought up the subject. Henderson's looked at the undercarriage and they can install two shocks per wheel, now that was just a recommendation but that was up to me. I will know more tomorrow after the test drive and when I go to the pit so they can show me what is recommended. 

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I have seen vehicles with the standard single shock per side that had the configuration changed to a two shock ride. However that was when a tall Lift Kit was installed. I think the person that gave the advice to add a second shock may have a good point for a heavy vehicle. 

Herman 

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manholt   

37 foot is a lot of coach for a gasser and Herman does have a good point in regards to 2 shocks for the weight.  I only wonder if that would have any adverse effect on the chassis as a whole?

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wolfe10   

If Robert Henderson is involved, he likely has a good solution-- he knows his business.

But there are two ways to achieve more shock dampening-- more shocks OR larger shocks.  Koni, for example has 88, 90 and 99 series shocks.  The piston dimension on the 99 is almost TWICE the size of the piston on the 88 series.  So, the larger shock can reliably generate quite a lot more dampening without sacrificing shock life.

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Moonwink   
17 hours ago, rhodesia said:

Well the RV place that only does suspensions upgrade recommended to me that I install a Safe-T-Plus Motion Control Unit for the front steering, also replace the shocks. They recommended Koni's for a total of 8 shocks 2 per wheel. Also a Trac Bar Rear End for side play (Dog Wag) they call it. Also Sumo Springs front and rear to help out the leaf springs. Before I do all this, they and I will go on a drive test to see what I really need for the suspension.

Nowhere did you say you were having a handling problem yet several thousand dollars of upgrades were recommended so I'm having a hard time understanding why all this premium equipment is necessary.  Did you tell Henderson you have an unlimited budget and to go crazy with every modification they could think of?  What about an alignment if you're having handling problems?

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rhodesia   
8 hours ago, Moonwink said:

Nowhere did you say you were having a handling problem yet several thousand dollars of upgrades were recommended so I'm having a hard time understanding why all this premium equipment is necessary.  Did you tell Henderson you have an unlimited budget and to go crazy with every modification they could think of?  What about an alignment if you're having handling problems?

No I knew going into this what I needed plus after what I had seen under the undercarriage the past owner had already installed the Safe _t_plus up front, but it needed some major  adjustments because the motorhome pulled to the right bushing were gone and somehow someone installed a sway bar for the front upside down and missing bushings or were just gone the rear stabilizer bar was the wrong kit installed for the rear it needed a bigger bar and the shocks were bad they had to be replaced even after 44,000 miles they were from the factory yellow in color but no name on them. I have no record what the past owner did not even a car fax history on this motorhome but they told me who ever installed a few things they did a half *** job of it. I'm going to pass on the Sumo Springs for the front and rear because the Koni Quad shocks front and back will do the same job and I do need the suspension stabilizer trac bar for the rear there is nothing back there to keep the motorhome from dog wagging and it does rock back and forth when you drive it down the hwy and it did need an alignment real bad and mostly they are fixing what was not installed right in the first place, and yes I had a budget for all this My Gulf Stream Sun Voyager just looks so heavy and was riding low in the back to. during the test drive they found allot of things that could be upgraded because of the F53 frame by Ford has some issues but for now just need to fix and make it road worthy They did find out that my front end is 500 pounds heavier than the back end and the front tires were cupping so sometime down the road I will need tires at least for the front I could have them rotate them. In another words there were some major issues under the undercarriage what you get for buying something from the auction. The only thing the past owner did right was installed the Banks Power Pack. 

After I bought it I found out later after driving up to Virginia City Nevada that all 4 rotors were cracked and the pads were so worn down and some were missing parts of the pads that If something went wrong coming down the Geiger Grade Road which has a 13 mile 6% down hill grade from about 7,000 feet would not have been a good day you need your brakes and learn how to use your 3 2 1 gears and let the engine do your breaking for you I have seen allot of motorhomes driving with their breaks on red lights (Mostly Gassers) all the way down the mountain and just smell them breaks. I'm just trying to make a better ride while driving this monster I really like it everytime I pass a fellow motorhome I get the wave like something to do with a hello wave and I don't know them so I wave back. 

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ISPJS   

I only had my 2014 37' gas coach for about 18 months.  We did go up north twice plus out west for the summer in it.  I can only tell you my short experience with the F53 chassis and how we modified it. 

First of all I did the CHF (cheap handling fix).  I won't go into great detail about it but you can do it your self and videos are on-line to explain it.  I also weighed my coach loaded and adjusted my tires accordingly.  These two things probably improved the handling of the coach 20%.  When semi trucks passed or we were in a 20mph cross winds it was still uncomfortable driving.

Next I had the Safe-T Plus installed.  I had it done at their factory up by Atlanta because we were going to be in that area.  It actually helped a little but the coach was still like driving an overloaded bread truck.  I would estimate the Safe-T Plus improved handling another 10% or more.

I then ordered and found an RV repair place to install the Sumo springs.  Having the Sumos improved the handling by at least 30% or more.  They were by far the best improvement we made, but they were not cheap.

Anyway, after almost $2,000 of modifications the coach handled about 60% better than it did when I first purchased it.  If we wouldn't have decided to go full time and needed the towing capacity I probably would have done a trac bar on the back and stuck with it.

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Joe, glad that it is handling better. The size of the coach and some crosswind can be challenging. Low profile vehicles do handle better for sure. The DW lovers her little sports coup - quick and handles well under most conditions. When I take out the Texas Cadillac( 3/4 ton Suburban) in the same conditions it can also get a little challenging in cross winds.  

  Rich.

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ISPJS   

Carl, there is absolutely no comparison between driving my previous 37' gas MH and this Ventana.  I could have put $20,000 into suspension upgrades on the old coach and there still would have been no contest.   Buddy of mine just went through some part of Texas last week in high cross winds in his Ventana 4369.  He sent me a text message and said it was no problem and it was a relaxed day behind the wheel.  In my last coach driving under those conditions I would have felt like someone beat the crap out of me by 2pm.

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Speaking of cross wind driving, I went from a 38' Expedition to a 43' Holiday Rambler and the Expedition was all over the road in a cross wind. The Scepter is rock steady

and the Expedition was no light weight. Obviously, both diesel pushers.

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manholt   

That tag is what makes for a great ride!  No matter the manufacturer....of course, as Brett would say:  Loaded properly within specs and same with tires.

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To the OP’s point, glad he went to Henderson and got straightened out before having a real problem. I have just ordered and am waiting for delivery of the Safe T Plus steering assist, rear trac bar and a sway bar to add to our coach when we get it out in about 5-6 weeks. We have a used 2013 Tiffin Allegro Open Road and it does ok but has quite a bit of the “dog wag” and I wanted the steering assist for help with a blowout. With that I am hoping my better half will be more comfortable driving.

Hard to believe they could do such a bad job of installation. Glad you are fixed up and safe. Looking forward to finding out first hand how all this helps. Hoping I don’t feel the need for the Koni’s Upgrade.  

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Moonwink   

After I purchased our 2004 Safari Trek 31SBD (32 ft) on a 20,500lb F-53 it felt a little top heavy.  The cheap fix moving the links on the swaybar closer to the axle took care of that problem and created another.  I had to replace the bushings with polyurethane because the OEM failed right away.  I've wanted Koni's for years and years and finally broke down and installed their FSD shocks on all corners.  The last thing I did was install Firestone's air bags on the rear axle - this unit only has a 208" wheelbase which is much too short for a 32ft MH.  The air bags have done a great job of preventing tag drag and the overall ride is much better since I installed them.  The Koni shocks have vastly improved the ride over today's highways where the tar strips and concrete slabs are tilted causing a constant thump-thump as we travel them.  The original Bilstein shocks were much too stiff and resulted in a jarring drive over those rough sections of roads.   Would I recommend these upgrades?  Yes.  Especially moving the swaybar links and replacing the bushings.  That doesn't cost much and if you handy at all, it's something you can handle yourself.  I'd sure try that before investing in a heavier swaybar right away.  Right now I have no plans to make any other chassis upgrades and I'm a happy camper.

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Yes, our Holiday Rambler Scepter is a tag and what a difference. The dealer predicted I would be impressed with the handling characteristics of this Scepter.

The 5' difference in length between the Expedition vs. the Scepter is part of it in addition to the significant weight difference.

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wolfe10   

We seem to be straying a LONG way from the F53 chassis (i.e. gas chassis) comments.

Let's get back to them-- comments on tag axle diesel pushers are not really relevant to the OP.

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