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Old 11-28-2013, 10:14 PM   #21
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I have found that stepping on the gas at the bottom of a steep uphill grade will keep the cruise from getting behind the power curve and, in some cases, will avoid the downshift. If the grade looks too steep, I will force the downshift with some heavy gas pedal to avoid the double down.

I played with the tow/haul mode in some steep downhill grades and found it extremely useful in avoiding the constant braking. If I read the manual correctly, it may also help avoid the downshift in steep uphill grades with the cruise.

We leave for Florida from Michigan in three weeks. If anyone has used the tow/haul mode through the mountains, I would appreciate hearing about your experience and any tips

After driving our new 2013 351ds for 500 miles, I had a full alignment and performed the CHF mod. The alignment report was surprising. The rear axle was not square and most of the front end was out of Ford spec. Now it drives outstanding and the sway bar mode really improved the handling. No more white knuckles.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:14 AM   #22
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I simply turn off the cruise going through hilly terrain, and let the engine handle what it will without revving. It's not that important to me to maintain speed on an incline. I've found the tow/haul feature to work very nicely for maintaining speed on declines. Ifrpilot - you'll use it coming down off Monteagle mountain between Nashville and Chattanooga. As soon as you see the signs warning of steep grades ahead, tap the tow/haul button and you'll be set. If you feel it's still not breaking enough to suit you, simply tap on the brake and it'll downshift for you.

We too had the full alignment done, and they confirmed that it was indeed out of alignment a good bit. Also did the CHF mod but I have to say, the change in handling after the CHF was negligible. HOWEVER, I didn't think it drove bad before the fix, so maybe I'm just lucky.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:28 PM   #23
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We just got to our mid point camping spot....super crappy spot since the front wheels had to be about 6 inches off the ground to level it.

Anyway, it was a pleasure driving it today. I'd say about 95% wind free all the way from Orlando FL to Allatoona GA. It was so smooth that I found out that the coach will not go faster than 75 mph. I totally spaced out going with traffic when I noticed that I lost power. I looked down and was doing 75.

LMAO, I though our camping spot here at Allatoona Landing Marine Resort was bad since the pad in our site is shot, when I heard the train screaming....twice in the past half hour.

In order to level the coach the front wheels would have to be about 6" off the ground. Didn't get a warm fuzzy so I lowered it until the touch the ground.

Haven't really heard much about this topic. Is it okay to have the wheels off the ground? It seems kinda wobbly to me, but it may be perfectly okay since the levelers will support the weight.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:38 PM   #24
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I'm told that you should never ever raise the backend off the ground, and preferably not the front either. Although I've seen quite a few coaches at campgrounds with the front ends about 6-8 inches off ground.

You are lucky on the weather as it won't be as cold coming home from florida for you as it was us a week ago.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #25
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I can understand not raising the rear wheels off the ground due to the parking brake, but not sure about the front. I'd like to hear from the "I've been doing that for 10 years without a problem", guy. This is our first automatic leveling RV and have no idea what those hydraulic levelers are designed for. Do they need to work in tandem with the suspension or are they fully capable of holding then entire weight of the coach? Our last RV was a travel trailer with electric stabilizing jacks. They were designed to stop the sway and not leveling. Since the "leveling jacks" on our new coach are "leveling jacks", does that mean that they can actually "level" the coach regardless of any condition?
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:47 PM   #26
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It is very common to have a front wheel and in some cases both off of the ground when using the auto level system. There are some conservative types (like myself) that will level the rig with boards under the tires first to get a reasonably good leveling and then engage the auto level on sites that are not very level. The reasoning I use is based on not having the frame twisted or stressed any more than it needs to be. The hydraulics will support the front axles or one rear wheel but it is not a good idea for both rears to be off.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:53 PM   #27
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Good questions, alparmmer. While I wouldn't be in the "been doing this for 10 years without a problem category", I have read and researched a ton about using auto levelers and read many posts from those who have been at it much longer than me. A few things I've gleaned, in no particular order:

Many folks choose not to use the auto feature, feeling that it often lifts the coach too high to achieve level, and opt to level manually instead

Many use blocks under the low wheels so the jacks don't have to bear all the weight. Doubt I'll do that much myself, as one my goals with auto levelers was to get away from using blocks!

Many are emphatic about not raising the back wheels off the ground

Raising the front wheels off the ground doesn't seem to concern most

Also, unrelated to the leveling, it's ironic that you all stopped near Cartersville, GA on your way home - that's exactly where we stopped for the night on our return from Florida too.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:53 AM   #28
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Keep in mind that if you raise your back tires off of the ground, yo lose the protection of the parking brake and the transmission park.

If the unit rolls, bent jacks and big problems!

Bill
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:32 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bend302 View Post
Keep in mind that if you raise your back tires off of the ground, yo lose the protection of the parking brake and the transmission park.

If the unit rolls, bent jacks and big problems!

Bill
Indeed, hence the widespread cautions about doing so. I've yet to hear a story about this actually happening, however I think I'll not temp fate!
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #30
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We just made it back home and it was a near perfect trip...an 18 wheeler idiot ran us off the road. I can't figure it out, but he had to be intoxicated or way too tired. Three lane highway, 65 mph, we were in the far right, he came through the middle lane and pushed us right off. Thank God it was a big shoulder and managed to move out of the way. I honked the entire time and he didn't even flinch. I have to admit that the horn in our coaches suck. I'm going to have to install an air horn or something as loud as the 18 wheeler boys.

We love our coach, but there are some things we need to modify.

-Need some sort of lumbar support
-Dim the radio for night time driving
-Dim the lights on the switches
-Louder horn
-Bypass the electric front shade so it drops down a little bit more
-Get longer front sway bar links (anyone know where to get them?)
-Don't like how the black tank valve hits the panel and it's hard to push it back in
-Figure out what's causing a tick tick tick...not sure if coming from the engine or the front left side of the coach
-Figure out how to make a better latch for the two front side sliding windows...that stupid little butterfly locking thing is pretty bad.
-Not happy with the rearview camera...it just looks down and it has zero wide angle...I like the one in my truck where you can see the bumper and also what's behind you.
-Need a brighter outside light for the awning area...the yellow light is worthless
-Figure out how to make the dash/center console more solid...you can actually grab the lower left end of the center console and move it back and forth like a cheap plastic toy...also the top of the center console is very saggy...I installed a GPS there and the thing shakes like crazy

I'm sure there are a few more. I'll post as I go.
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