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Old 07-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #1
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#3051S Rear Suspension Clearance

I have some concern over the lack of rear tire to body clearance on my RV. Even with the air springs at 65-70psi the clearance is close. The passengers side appears to be approximately 1.5 inches. The drivers side has a little bit more. My RV was at it's maximum GVWR when I left on my four month trip. I inspected the tires and body each time I stopped to see if any rubbing took place. After 700 miles and reaching my final destination everything looked good.

But, I would be interested in having a few more inches of clearance when driving from my rear duals to the wheel wells and fender trim. When the RV was empty (curb weight) it still did not have much clearance in the rear.

My current thought is replacing the Firestone air springs with a heavier system, air compressor and gauges. This would allow me to raise the rear when traveling then lower it at the campsite before lowering the jacks.

Any ideas? Anyone else have this concern?
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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Several companies make a full front, rear or both full air ride suspension that would do more than you're wanting and drastically improve the ride. Kelderman is just one for starters. You can get as fancy as you want depending on how much you want to sink into it. Even give it a set height and it will maintain that regardless of load. i don't think air bag assist is your answer. You're only gonna get so much out of those systems.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:46 PM   #3
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I should do some research on air ride suspensions. Kelderman does not list anything for Ford E series.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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Email kelderman from their contact section. I had contacted them a few months back. They had said they do make them for the e-450.
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
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I just found a link to them.

2011+ Ford E-350/450 2-Stage Rear Air Suspension | Kelderman
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Old 07-24-2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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i would first do some research by calling the factory to find out what the correct height is for wheel well to ground or ground to bumper is. remember the air bags are a helper to your spring suspension you could have a spring problem or other suspension problem. if it is truly to low you are not fixing a problem by putting bigger bags on .and if it is the right height and not rubbing the tires you have no problem
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:15 PM   #7
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I have a 3120 which I know is not as heavy as the 3051 floor plan but my clearance to the wheel well is 5-6 inches. However it looks like the tire side wall would contact the wheel well molding at about 3 inches. Looking at the suspension stops I think the rear suspension would bottom out before that.
If I measure from the top of the tread to the molding I get about 2 inches but at least on mine the tires are inboard enough the the tread which is narrower than further down the sidewall would not hit the molding.

Since I am already slightly higher in the rear than the front it would not be possible to raise the rear without raising the front which would radically change alignment if you even just went up an inch.

What is your stance like? To get the numbers you quoted I would expect your coach is low in the rear compared to the front. My ride height in the front is at the correct spec per my alignment shop and I have about 1 1/2 inches left of front travel as measured at the bump stops.
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Old 07-25-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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Dry Weight 12,522 lbs

The Yellow Factory sticker tells me:

Dry weight: 12,522 lbs

Combined weight of occupants and cargo: 1,551 lbs

Full of fuel: 367 lbs

I know my (GVWR) for a E-450 is 14,500 lbs

Before departing on my trip I had the front alignment checked and everything was within specs. When departing I weighted my RV at the Pilot Truck Stop in Fort Myers and it was at maximum (GVWR). My main concern was the clearance between the rear tires and the outside trim piece. The passengers side looked less then 2 inches but I did not measure it with a tape. But after driving 700 miles on mainly interstates there was no sign of the tire making contact with the trim. Never did I hit a bump or hole that would of rocked the rear suspension.

The Firestone air springs did raise the rear some. Just wonder if anyone else with a heavy Class "C" has the same concerns?
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Your clearance is definitely less than my 3120 fully loaded but I have never weighted mine. Did you check the weight on each axle? You may be overloaded on the rear and need to shift cargo toward the front. also I think you can go to 100 lbs in the air bags which may help a little.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #10
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Mine don't sit near that low either. Still haven't got around to weighing it, but only carry 1/4 tank of water for toilet flushing, gray tank empty, black tank varies by trip. We're more loaded now than we've ever been since we're on a two week venture in east Texas, but if I had to guess I still got room to spare. Bags are at 40 psi port, 60 starboard to help level it out.
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