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drplarose

Class C E-450 Towing Ford F-150 - Sway Issues

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Hello everyone - new to the FMCA forums (new member).  I am towing a 2017 4X4 EcoBoost F-150 behind my 2018 E-450 Class C ... well - let's say I want to tow it, but the sway on the back end is pretty significant when I get up to highway speeds. My question to the group - is there a rear suspension sway bar or system I should consider installing to tow this truck or am I asking to much of the RV.  The weight on the F-150 is just at 5,000 which is what the RV is rated to tow.  I have a blue ox tow bar rated at 10,000.  Any suggestions on how to proceed would be good.  Just so you know - I have considered trading to truck for a car, but I really hate to give up my truck.   Thank you.  Patrick

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Patrick.  Welcome to the FMCA & the Forum! :)

Your tail (Truck), is wagging the dog (RV)!  20 years ago, I was into Blue Water racing (American Power Boat Assoc.), I had a one ton Ford Explorer and had no problem hauling a 32' Scarab.  Then I got a 43 foot Skater, 1/2 the weight, but the length made it impossible to tow, at speed.  Got a Cummings RAM, one ton, crew cab...no problem!  Hated to sell the 1996 Explorer...one of a kind. :(

Your caught between also.  Keep your truck & get a used Jeep Wrangler or Colorado 4x4 or Ford ranger 4x4...that's my recommendation! :D

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Thank you for your reply.  Definitely sound advice.  I agree the length of the truck is most likely the issue - more than anything else.  I have considered trading for a jeep.  So from your perspective, beefing up the rear suspension is not going to make a difference?  Thanks again!

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Before trading, take into consideration about how your coach is loaded. Towing a vehicle 4 down is not adding a lot of weight to the rear of the coach unless the tow bar is positioned incorrectly. The tow bar should be as nearly parallel with level ground as possible, measure the bar both front (at the ball), and rear (where it hooks to the truck).  If it is higher at the truck end the truck will push downward on the ball each time you apply brakes, adding more weight to the rear of the coach which will cause a lighter front end making for more sway. If the rear of the bar is lower than the ball, then pulling the truck up any hill will cause the same effect as described above. So check this out and let us know if parallel with the ground or not. Now another thing to consider is how is the coach loaded? Any extra weight behind the rear wheels will also cause light steering which in turn makes for swaying problems. To answer your question about anti sway for the rear, yes there are several after market anti sway devices for the rear of almost any style coach, but before jumping into that, check out other sources that will cause sway. Another thought is that you may want to look into an all wheel alignment, be sure to load the coach the way you will normally drive it, water and fuel tanks full, black and gray about half full, many times I have seen proper alignment help tremendously, the manufacturer aligns a new vehicle as an empty shell, add 5000# to that and alignment changes drastically. Just some thoughts that I would try before changing the toad if I did not want to change the toad. Good luck with your quest!

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Thank you.  This is great information.  I have thought about several of these items.  The tow bar is mostly level and I rarely travel full tanks.  In most cases I travel with 3/4 full fresh water, but empty black and gray tank. When I purchased the RV .... I did get a full front end alignment.  This made a huge difference in steering and managing the RV on the road. It actually made driving the RV rather enjoyable except when I was flat towing the truck.  When I have the truck hooked up to the RV ... I can generally get to about 50 mph without too much trouble.  Any higher than this and I begin to feel a sway in the back.  The sway is limited, but it makes me nervous and I am thinking this should not be happening.  I cannot imagine towing the truck for 300-400 miles or more with that sway.  This is the reason why I posted here thinking maybe there are other options. I have seen plenty of class C RVs towing a lot more weight than I am flat towing. Anyway - I appreciate all the advice and help so far.  

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One thing you might look at is adding a heavier duty sway bar in the back and a track bar. You might look at heavier shocks. I would also weigh the truck and see what the front to back ratio is. Like Kay was saying.

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Thanks Wilde .... I did weight the RV .... Steer Axle 4020 lbs, Drive Axle 8880 lbs, Gross Weight 12,900 lbs.  I guess I should weight the truck as well.  I was thinking a beefier rear stabilizer, sway, and shocks might help.  Thanks for the guidance.   

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When I was building my coach, bus conversion, when I got through adding everything except flooring I took it out for a test drive. When the bus was empty, it was top heavy causing more sway than I like, and with this in mind, I placed as many heavy items as close to the floor as possible, then the test drive, I still felt some wandering that I didn't like, so I went and purchased granite flooring, about 140 square feet, I placed the boxes of flooring on the floor where I thought would do the most good. A couple more drives rearranging the flooring each time until I got a near perfect steer. Then I installed that granite exactly in the same area that it had been located in the boxes. I'm now in the sixth year of driving the coach both with and without a toad, and I still enjoy driving anywhere. My wife prefers not to travel more than about 200 to 250 miles a day so we stop and go again in the next morning. I have on occasion 600 miles and am not tired of driving then. I can't imagine driving with your conditions. As WildeBill told you, there are remedies for you. I had no way of knowing to what extent you had already looked for solutions, so I and others can only suggest. I always look for the simple things first. How does the coach handle without the truck behind? If this is ok, then of course look at other toads or adding beefier suspension. It is very likely that you can meet up with a friend with a much lighter vehicle that will allow you to tow that to see if this will work better, if no friend, rent something that you can tow for a trial. As for weighing, any items that are placed behind the drive axel will take away from the front axel, so rearranging from rear to forward of the rear axel will add weight to the front axel and reduce the rear axel. For test purposes you can actually add weight nearer the front axel, you might find that adding 300# up there will greatly improve handling, and of course be sure to stay within the max gross weight on any axel. 

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1 hour ago, drplarose said:

Steer Axle 4020 lbs, Drive Axle 8880 lbs

Look on your placards and see what the max weight is for the front. You may be able to move some weight further to the front.

Do a search on the web about the " Cheap Handling Fix" I almost forgot about this because I don't have a Ford anymore. I think it may extend to your chassis but I know it is on the F 53 chassis  you should look

Look at replacing your current sway bar bushings with  polyurethane sway bar bushings. They are stiffer and reduced movement. 

http://energysuspension.com/products/Sway-Bar-End-Link-Bushings.html

Bill

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Great suggestions - and thank you all for replying.  The curb weight of the F-150 is right about 4800 lbs and the length of the RV is 25 feet. Wilde - I will definitely do that search. 

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We had a similar situation towing our 4 door Jeep with our 26’ E450 Born Free Class C. 

We eventually ended up with bigger anti-sway bars front and rear, A rear track bar, and a big steering stabilizer. I don’t regret the money spent because I’m kind of a handling snob coming from sports cars...BUT...

Before you do all that, get your rig and your truck to a reputable suspension alignment facility. I had our rig aligned but I didn’t know the alignment was not correct. That’s when I started throwing parts at the problem. When I still wasn’t comfortable we got the rig to another shop and we discovered the alignment was way off. Unfortunate because the first shop had been highly recommended. 

When we got the alignment corrected it was so much better. They then checked the alignment on the Jeep. While the alignment was technically within the spec it was on the borderline. They were able to adjust the tow and caster to make the Jeep track straight versus hunting back and forth.  We went from thinking we were going to die towing the Jeep on our first trip to a 5,000 mile trip this summer with no stress. Bonus, the Jeep drove and handled way better in just normal driving.  The “bad” alignment was like that from new.

Spend the money on alignments and then decide from there what you need next. Make sure the shop can provide before and after alignment printouts and that they can explain how those numbers are affecting your handling  

Hope this helps.  Sorry for the long post  

 

 

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Since we don't know where your at.  I use Precision Alignment in Austin, TX for Jeep and Freightliner, San Antonio, TX. for coach.  I have a Spartan K2 chassis!

4850 pounds, per Spec.  Does not leave any room for storage in truck or bed.

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