We just returned from a 6500 mile cross-country trip that included 14 national parks and touching both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During this trip we climbed to > 10k ft on three separate occasions and endured 119 degree temperatures. And we did this pulling a car on a dolly, fully packed with A LOT of supplies (I didn't weigh it).
Climbing/descending: The ford v10 is a beast! We had many very steep climes which had the trans drop down to to second and sometimes to first (aka beast-mode). I say beast,-mode because I swear that in first, that engine could have the MH climbing vertical. Really, after this trip, I know this engine could pull me up anything. And the trans is so smooth... When descending, I found the 'tow haul' mode to be amazing. In the mode, after applying the breaks, the trans automatically downshifts. Apply the breaks again, and it will downshift again. I found that I rarely even had to apply my breaks.
Temps: Driving from LA area to Las Vegas, we hit some serous long climbs and high temperatures. There were at least a dozen vehicles stuck on the side of the road. I never once noticed the engine or trans temp gauge budge.
Scariest drive: The Tioga pass (west to east) was my most concerning drive. I found the tight steep declining roads after the entrance into Yosemite to be tough. The roads are narrow with a ton of tight turns with folks flying around everyone of them. We also had a dust storm kick of as we were leaving Roswell which left us with zero viability. The storm lasted about 45 minutes and when it cleared we realized we only had 10 more feet of shoulder before driving off an overpass.
Wind: I found this to be the biggest factor as far as mileage went - even more so than the elevation changes. In the open areas of the country, I could barely reach 55 mph with a good headwind.
Speaking of mileage, I averaged between 7 and 8.5 mpg. I drove between 65 and 70 depending on the winds.
Handling: I have no suspension upgrades (not even the cheap fix) and found the MH so easy to drive (after a while). I say this because the first 8 hours were exhausting. After that I seemed to become one with the MH
and found that I really didn't even think about staying in my lane anymore and could enjoy the views. Of course the high winds and occasional trucks were a slight issue, but overall I found it very easy and relaxing to drive (and I did a lot of it - 106 total hours).
- Buy a national park pass. This pass saved us hundreds of dollars as many of the parks have $20-25 entrance fee.
- Use the gassbuddies phone app to plan your gas stops and be very careful when picking your gas pump (especially when pulling a car). Plan your exit.
- Purchase some kind of roadside assistance (we used Good Sam).
- Only pre-book your necessary hard-to-get campgrounds.
- At a minimum, add 20% to your drive time from what your mapping software is telling you.
- Careful about using cruise or you'll be loosing $$. I found that the cruise control is just too aggressive. The slightest overpasses would cause the trans to down shift. I wish there was like a historesis setting.
- Flat tire (passenger rear outer). Turned out my valve extender broke off where the braided (non-metal) tube connected to the hub. Maybe vibrations, don'w know. I called GS who had someone come to our campsite and fix it for $35.
- Cracked windshield. A rock hit in CO which quickly led to a spreading crack. I live in FL and believe the law here says I should be able to get a replacement with zero deductible.
- My starter went out. Maybe the hot temps? Actually the starter motor was okay but the solenoid (which is attached) failed to actuate. Basically nothing would happen when I turned the key. I ended up getting towed to my camp site (used my roadside assistance again
) and was able to find a replacement starter at a nearby Napa autoparts store. I was able to replace it myself in about an hour. $200
- In hot temps (> 105), my truck AC would blow warm air and my generator would stop running with an 'oil over temp' alarm. This led to some miserable drives...
- Fresh water tank leak. I believe this mas my doing when I had to sanitize/flush my tank (another story). I think I may have torqued the tubing while loosening/tightening the drain plug.
- I noticed my driver and sofa 'leather' like material is cracking.
- My floor ripped from the slide moving in and out.
- My three year old batteries need to be replaced.
Overall, I was really pleased with the ford chassis and the MH in general. We drove on some of the roughest roads you could find. It was so bad at times, my teeth were rattling and I thought for sure something was going to fall off. The hydraulics all worked and we (wife and kids) were all very comfortable the entire trip (well except for the heat). We navigated some of the tightest roads (Tioga pass, Zion, ...) and hooked up/dumped daily without issues.