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Old 07-06-2012, 12:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vortecmax 8311ss
an easy tip to drive any vehical big or small is to look down the road further instead of 30 feet out look where you want to go aviod fixating on obsticals because people tend to steer where the are looking hope that helps
I know this from riding motorcycles! Great advice, thanks!

Thanks to all for the replies!
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #12
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I'll add my experiences, too. I'm a highly skilled driver - but not of trucks or RVs. We just purchased a Forester 3011DS and the first place I ended up with it was a Safeway parking lot. As others have suggested, the Class C actually handles rather well for a large-ish rig. Semi-wide turns for sure.

Someone mentioned blind spots. We have a set of split mirrors and the only problem I've had was on the first drive home with a merge on my right. My bottom right mirror was not "out" enough to see all of the merging vehicles. A small adjustment and I now have no blind spots at all. Check all your mirrors regularly. Use your rear camera to watch your tow or hitch-mounted equipment (bikes in our case). Backing up is a breeze with careful use of mirrors and camera - even without assistance. I've now been in and out of quite a few tight spots.

Wind and rain: I spent three days driving in wind, and one in huge rain, all over mountain passes - steep ones - in southern British Columbia. Side wind, as someone mentioned is a "pay attention" time - - hard on the shoulders and work to hold it on the road well. You have a big profile and not much weight. Slowing down helps - a lot.

Hills at 6% or less are not an issue -- the rig stays pretty even at around 50 mph (80 kph) without use of brakes. A 7% grade starts to pick up speed. We did an 8km 8% grade that scared the crap out of me at least part of the time - in the wind and rain. Someone today (an ex-truck driver) suggested to me that I simply gear down for that kind of grade. Will try that next go-round.

Ditto for climbing hills: drop down to 3rd and stay there. Way easier than bumping up and down over your gears, and much easier to save gas. Drivers of standard transmission vehicles will understand.

The ride is surprisingly good, and in light wind conditions it's very comfortable. Easy to park in most places.

One warning: because of the long back overhang...watch out when going up short steep ramps (like at gas stations). It's relatively easy to scrape the back bottom of the coach (or mostly the bottom of the hitch). I've done that once. I'll be watching next time.

And mostly:

Our rig is a ton of fun to camp in!
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:40 PM   #13
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Most people covered everything all ready, I will add that towing our 16 foot enclosed trailer actually makes it more stable in high winds. My first two modifications would be a Blue Ox steering stabilizer and air bags, it will make your driving experience a whole lot better.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:23 PM   #14
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You all have covered a very good list, my post would certainly not be needed, but it will be cathartic for me.
I'm new to Motorhome driving. Ive just passed the 2k mile mark beyond the delivery miles of our sunseeker 2860. So far my "oh wow" learning moments have been that first, the back end needs lots of turn radius, one should be well beyond the steel and cement pillars protecting gas pumps before even beginning a turn, a motorhome bumper is no match for one. The lesson I learned the hard and expensive way is to watch the rear as well as the front in any turn. My next and certainly much less expensive lesson was about the air pressure of semi's passing. It has been mentioned before, but to me is one of the most uncomfortable parts of driving the motorhome. As a semi comes alongside there is enough of a push from the air pressure that I feel I must correct steering just a tiny bit. Then as the truck passes there is a slight vacuum created which again needs another opposite correction. I'm sure this will become second nature at some point but for now every semi catches my attention and I can't wait for them to get past. My final lesson, motorhomes are LOW to the ground and business driveways after a repave or two will have you dragging bottom. I now look at every entrance for the evidence of others leaving their "mark". There have been a couple gas stations and restaurants that didn't get my business because I didnt feel icould get through their dips.

One thing I would like to learn from all you experts is what was it like learning to drive with a toad? I can see that one will be in my future. So far I watch you all going down the road just fine, but what I have yet to see is how you all handle towing flat and then need to back up. Is there a lot of unhitching? How does a toad behave with turns and my worry above about rear sway, is towing hard on front tires?
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:26 AM   #15
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I first started driving trucks about 60 years ago-semis, straight, dump, lowboys, belly dumps, fire engines and so forth. Driving a motor home is a little different, but yet most of same experiences apply.

A toad is always told where to go, especially in turns. A tight turn will force the toad in the opposite direction of the turn initially and then as the turn progresses will be forced the other direction. This is due to the long rear overhang. This is a little hard on the front tires since the sideways force will cause some scrubbing of the front tires of the toad. The front tires of mine lasted around 20-25,000 miles before needing replacement - two trips coast to coast and one to Alaska. Backing is problematic. Carefully done in a straight line at a VERY slow speed can be done for a short distance. If someone gets in the toad, starts the engine and holds the steering wheel can also be done in a pinch. These maneuvers should only be done in an emergency or semi-emergency. As a rule, always unhook before performing almost any backing maneuvers.

Otherwise, except for the camera allowing me to see that the thing is still there, I can't really tell much difference except for when semis pass. It helps some in maintaining stability.
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Old 07-17-2012, 03:37 AM   #16
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I recently traded up from a 2007 24 ft Freelander on a Chevy chassis to a 2012 27 ft Forester on a Ford E-450. The steering was like going from a sports car to a boat. If a Chevy chassis is an option, definitely take a test drive.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:09 PM   #17
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I have a 29 foot class c sunseeker. The buffering from semi trailers is the hardest thing to get used to. I put 5000 on mine so far and I'm finally getting used to it. Because it is so wide compared to a car, you can't let your guard down, and must pay close attention at all times. Haven't tried towing yet, I bought a tow dolly and plan on using it soon. The wife hates to be stranded when we are camping!
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxbuster View Post

Hills at 6% or less are not an issue -- the rig stays pretty even at around 50 mph (80 kph) without use of brakes. A 7% grade starts to pick up speed. We did an 8km 8% grade that scared the crap out of me at least part of the time - in the wind and rain. Someone today (an ex-truck driver) suggested to me that I simply gear down for that kind of grade. Will try that next go-round.

One warning: because of the long back overhang...watch out when going up short steep ramps (like at gas stations). It's relatively easy to scrape the back bottom of the coach (or mostly the bottom of the hitch). I've done that once. I'll be watching next time.

And mostly:

Our rig is a ton of fun to camp in!
When going down a grade steep enough to accelerate, switch the tow mode on. With your foot off the gas it will downshift into 4th gear to slow you down.

Re. the rear overhang, if you have jacks the problem is even worse. Bigfoot mounts the jacks further back than they should be and they will easily hit when entering or exiting driveways. You need to do it at the largest possible angle.
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