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Old 02-23-2014, 12:10 AM   #1
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Any 280DS owners that can answer these questions for me?

Hi all...It was suggested that I post my question here and not in the "intro" post. Here goes!
*******
I'm hoping some 280DS owners (any year) can help with 3 things I need to make some other decisions BEFORE I buy my 280DS. Let me list those first:
1. Rear Axle carrying capacity. (GAWR) Strangely, FR does not list it on any of its' spec sheets and dealer couldn't tell me either since he doesn't have any on the lot.
2. Distance in inches between the rear axle hub and the end of the coach...within a couple of inches is fine.
3. And most important...Does the F53 chassis extend almost to the rear bumper OR is there a welded on extension from the end of the chassis to the rear of the coach?

If the answer to #3 is "there's a welded on piece" then you don't need to bother with #1 & 2.

Now...to answer the question...I'm trying to see if I can upgrade the hitch TONGUE weight carrying capacity from the stock 500 lbs. to about 700 lbs with a different hitch and mount and possibly air bag assist for the rear springs.
The goal is to be able to carry a pair of highway capable scooters on a hitch mounted rack for the both of us instead of a toad.
#3 welded extension is a deal breaker... I'm limited to 500 lbs. if this is the case.
#1 & 2 are the missing pieces of info I will need for the calculation if #3 is OK.

The nearest 280DS to me at present is about 800 miles away! So I'm turning to you owners here and asking for some much needed info.
Thanks in advance and I hope to be able to return the favor for others here in the near future.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:00 AM   #2
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Many of the Ford units are bolted frame in the mid ship area. Mine is a 35 foot.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:41 AM   #3
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Thanks...the 280DS is built on the Ford F53 chassis with an 18k GVWR and 178" wheelbase. As you can see, there is considerable overhang of the "i-beam" frame aft of the rear axle. This is the section I'm concerned with as many coach mfr's add on welded sections to the end of this frame to support their coach overhang. I can't add on a better hitch IF Georgetown does this additional add on in the 280DS.
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Old 02-23-2014, 09:56 AM   #4
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Its safer to use a trailer that has breaks. Tires and brakes are important too. Weigh your rig fully loaded as you would be on a trip. You may be surprised at how close or even over you may be on your GVWR. Also going over the 500lbs on the hitch will affect your handling. The F53 tends to be "loose" in steering and tracking even when the weight is properly distributed. I'm also surprised by the breaking effort of my coach. The gassers do not stop quickly or easily as compared to DPs which come with air brakes. If you weigh your MH on truck scales you will see the actual weight on each axle. Compare that to the tire capacity and see how close you are. I would not weigh with full tanks, but most of the time you won't be completely empty so maybe weigh with tanks 1/4 full and gas tank full. Food, fuel, water and personal gear, tools etc. can easily max out your capacity. Stopping distance is a real issue. You will find out quickly if you haven't already. I have learned to allow way more distance between myself and others going down the road. The first time you have to totally hit the brakes because of somebody in front of you, you may be very surprised how long it takes to stop a fully loaded rig.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:27 AM   #5
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Bill...I am not towing a trailer AT ALL. I do not yet own a rig. I am simply looking to increase TONGUE weight carrying capacity for a hitch based motorcycle carrier and two scooters. Existing tongue weight capacity on the coach is 500 lbs and I am simply trying to increase it by 200lbs with a better hitch attached to the ACTUAL frame. I KNOW the GVWR will NOT be exceeded with this addition...and will be adding air bags most likely to compensate for the lever effect on the front steering.
Thanks for your concern.
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Old 02-23-2014, 12:01 PM   #6
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Did you get the Ford Document I attaché don your last message about the chassis specs?
It shows the Ford Chassis structure for your 178" frame.
No matter what you may want you are limited to 500lb hitch weight unless you rebuild the frame and hitch up.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2012_F53_F59_v1.2.pdf (4.66 MB, 35 views)
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
Did you get the Ford Document I attaché don your last message about the chassis specs?
It shows the Ford Chassis structure for your 178" frame.
No matter what you may want you are limited to 500lb hitch weight unless you rebuild the frame and hitch up.
Yes, thanks but I have the same thing for the current year already ...and that is EXACTLY my intention. To build the hitch up to a class 4. IF THERE IS NO WELDED EXTENSION ON THE FRAME.
FORD technical services in Detroit Confirm that I can use a class 4 hitch on THEIR frame for the F53.
It is the HITCH that Georgetown adds which is only capable of a tongue weight of 500LBS. The FORD FRAME is capable of much higher tongue weights (like the 1000lb class 4 rating) provided the GAWR for the rear axle is not exceeded. THAT depends on the coach and the load of course.... Which is why i need a REAL GAWR from an owner, and a real measurement of axle to hitch receiver from an owner and a real inspection of the underside of the coach to see what is done where the frame ends from an owner.
The real key for me is DOES GEORGETOWN ADD ON A WELDED EXTENSION TO THE F53 FRAME ON THE 280DS?? ONLY AN OWNER CAN ANSWER THIS FOR ME SINCE I HAVE NO ACCESS TO THE COACH.
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Folks...I don't want to come across as snippy and I DO appreciate everyone's spirit of helpfulness and concern. That said....please accept the fact that I have done CONSIDERABLE research and I ONLY want the answers to the questions I asked in my original post ...and NOT other advice. ONLY a Georgetown 280DS OWNER or factory person can answer the questions I've posed...so I would appreciate ONLY owners responding further to my questions in the original post. Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Thanks...the 280DS is built on the Ford F53 chassis with an 18k GVWR and 178" wheelbase. As you can see, there is considerable overhang of the "i-beam" frame aft of the rear axle. This is the section I'm concerned with as many coach mfr's add on welded sections to the end of this frame to support their coach overhang. I can't add on a better hitch IF Georgetown does this additional add on in the 280DS.

YES Forest River adds on to the frame.
That should answer this question for now.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:28 PM   #9
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Iggy...do they add on to all frames or just some?
It would seem to me that some chassis need it and others don't. I still would like to hear from someone who has a 280DS to confirm. Thanks...that is a beautiful coach you have!
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:09 PM   #10
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Do they add on to all frames or just some?
Answer: YES

You can see in my picture how they welded the additional parts to the frame.
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