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Old 05-30-2013, 09:19 PM   #21
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Yes, you're right--I misspoke on the wording of the warranty. It was the chassis, not the "coach," that has the 36/36 warranty.

As to the driving stability issue, we didn't think it was bad either when we took it for a test drive. That's why we didn't worry too much when we couldn't get much information on the Bilstein shock pricing. I reasoned that we could just try it this season and see how things went. However the steering stabilizer idea intrigued me as I've never driven a class C with one installed. That being said, we didn't think our last class C really needed much more than the Bilstein shocks, but we never had a blow-out on the front (knock on wood).

We'll get the thing and use it a bit, and then go from there. We still might end up with Bilsteins on the thing--but it probably wouldn't be this year. But maybe we can find someone with a steering stabilizer installed and talk to them about it...and maybe go for a ride in their rig.

Thanks.

TB
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:03 PM   #22
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We have a 2012 3170DS. I would recommend installing Bilsteins heavy duty (not comfort) shocks and having the front end aligned as the first things to do. Go after rattles next. We have 10,000 miles on the unit so far with 2700 of those miles in the last two weeks. We're extremely pleased with the unit and would recommend it to anyone.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:05 PM   #23
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Bilsteins all-around, or just on the front end? Our last class C had them all-around as I recall.

How many squeaks did you guys have to go after?

TB
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:15 AM   #24
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Forester Class "C"

My new 2013 Forester #3051S is my third motor-home but my first Class "C". Both previous were Class "A" a 2011 30' Fleetwood Bounder and a 2010 40' Newmar Dutchstar diesel. The Dutchstar had Comfort Steering that uses a computer to assist with varying road conditions and allows you to adjust the wheel tension from 1-5. The Dutchstar was a dream machine to drive with air springs and comfort steering system. Last summer I did 4000 miles on it.

I spent my career driving fire apparatus in a City. So my time behind heavy trucks spans well over 30 years.

At delivery, I drove my Class "C" from the dealer 70 miles to my residence on the interstate. Once on the interstate it was a chore to keep it in the traffic lane. This really surprised me and I was very concerned. The wheel constantly needed small corrections. My speed was 60 mph and maybe sometimes 65 mph. I drive at 60 when towing with any of my RV's.

This road test was enough for me to take some type of action. Because, I was NOT driving it this summer over 1,600 miles in that condition. I did not feel it was safe and extremely wearing on any driver.

In the past two months I have done a lot of research on Class "C"s. The first thing I did was determine the correct tire pressures for front and rear. Next determine the correct air spring pressure with a loaded RV. Finally, I determined that a replacement Steering Stabilizer would help keeping the vehicle on center line. The Ford factory damper is just not heavy enough for a E450 chassis once a 30 foot RV is built on it! My online searching lead me to the Roadmaster Reflex Steering Stabilizer cost $370.00 with free shipping from Hitchsource.com. Before purchasing I called my friend in Maryland who is a professional mechanic and he highly recommended the stabilizer upgrade. The stabilizer was purchased and I installed it in about 35 minutes. Then I road tested it back on the interstate with amazing results. I could take my hand off the wheel at 65 mph and it would hold center line. There was no pulling to the left or right. (front tires 75psi, rear tires 80 psi, air springs 70 psi)

This week my RV was taken to my local Ford Truck Service Center for a front alignment check. Why you may ask? I was required to replace an $800.00 tire on my Class "A" because it was out of alignment when I purchased it. (bought used in 2010 with 9,200 miles on it). So, before traveling this summer I want to make sure my front tires are going to wear evenly. BTW...the Service associate at Ford was pleased that I had already upgraded my steering stabilizer and believes they should come from the RV Factory with the upgrade.

Tim
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Old 05-31-2013, 10:51 AM   #25
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Great post Tim, and very useful information. You aren't the first one to tell me about the steering stabilizer (since we sold our last class C). I suspect that we'll end up doing that AND the Bilstein shocks. Once folks drive a class C with that stuff installed, I think that they (like you) are very impressed. Everything I've heard indicates that these are problem "safety items" indeed, and not just convenience items.

Since we'll only be traveling less than 100 miles per trip (at least for the first part of the Summer), we'll hold off right now. I'm sure there will be other reasons for the thing to get into the shop. There are always little bugaboos to be addressed, and we'll likely just wait until it goes back in to make any upgrades we determine are necessary. But I think that I agree with you in that Ford probably should offer a " safety upgrade" package for RV manufacturers. If a person buys a new coach then I really don't see why the manufacturer can't install a chassis manufacturer-approved upgrade. We would gladly have paid another $1K or so for Bilstein shocks and the steering stabilizer, in place of the "stock" shocks and steering in the unit.

I'm surprised though that your other rig was out of alignment! For the sort of money these things cost, you'd think the front end would be properly aligned. I suppose it's possible that something happened on the way from the factory to the dealer that resulted in an out-of-alignment condition, but it seems strange since most vehicles can be driven thousands and thousands of miles before that happens.

Food for thought...

TB
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:51 AM   #26
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My 2010 Newmar Dutchstar had 9,200 miles on it when purchased. It was less then a year old when I bought it, but the first owner must of done something that kicked it out of alignment. I am sure it was fine from the factory, Newmar does final one when the coach is completed. I was at their factory last summer and witnessed it.
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:02 PM   #27
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Bilstein Shocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcbetka View Post
Bilsteins all-around, or just on the front end? Our last class C had them all-around as I recall.

How many squeaks did you guys have to go after?

TB
Please explain us newer Class "C" owners on the Bilstein Shocks upgrade?

Do you install them on the rear even with Firestone Ride-rite air bags?


Tim
Fort Myers, FL
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:16 PM   #28
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That I'm not sure about. The class C we had them on did not have rear air bags, so I am not sure--and I couldn't get much out of the dealer. Apparently there aren't many calls for Bilstein shocks, as they didn't have any idea on pricing.

We found out about them on the OpenRoads forum several years ago. There is a TON (understatement) of information over there, on all-things RV. One of the most popular styles of RV is the class C, so there seems to be a never-ending stream of data flowing out of that forum. But I had never heard of those as a replacement for the stock units, but boy we were sure glad we had them installed. It was about $800 for all four (installed price) as I recall, but man did it make a difference!

My impression is that the Bilsteins would do very well for stability, in that they don't make the vehicle as susceptible to being "dippy" with any sort of swerving you might need to do. That was without a doubt THE biggest benefits we saw in the Coachmen unit we owned. Our intention at the time was to install both the Bilsteins all-around, and the steering stabilizer--but to be honest after the shocks were replaced, we just never saw the need to do anything else. That being said, the unit we bought was a used coach with about 36,000 miles on it. So it's very possible that the original shocks were simply worn, and the Bilsteins were just new shocks. That thought occurred to me at the time, however the threads I read in the Open Roads forum indicated that, even when replacing new shocks, the Bilstein shocks made a tremendous difference.

TB
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Old 05-31-2013, 02:54 PM   #29
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I suggest Bilsteins all around. The rattles and their cure were dream dinette -adjustable shower curtain rod at outside end to hold the outside end up to stop its bouncing up and down; stove exhaust hood - put sound deadening material used in car stereo applications which keeps sheet metal from resonating (didn't need to put material above fan (hard to reach and fan is not easily removed), just a couple of four by six inch pieces on the horizontal sheet metal directly above stove around the vent); shower door - removed it and put curtain rod and shower curtain (hangers on door broke from being bounced - I see there is now a different shower door which may not have the problem); microwave - fastened down loose plywood shelf microwave sits on and put small rubber crutch tips (cut to fit) on two microwave feet which did not have rubber feet (remove microwave for fix by unscrewing fascia panel and removing panel and microwave together - microwave is screwed to fascia panel - there is an access port inside side panel of locker just forward of microwave to reach microwave cord and plug ).
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:00 PM   #30
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Great tips! We'll be sure to reference back to this thread after we get that unit. Hopefully we'll have plenty of time in the 2-3 weeks after taking delivery, and can get to some of this stuff. Although there really wasn't much noise in the unit we test-drove, anything to quiet the ride would be worthwhile...especially as things start to loosen a bit after a couple thousand miles.

So the tips are much-appreciated. Thanks!

TB
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