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Old 12-01-2015, 09:58 AM   #1
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VIP Smart Wheel?

One thing that irritates me about the 2016 Berkshire is Forest River's failure to update to a VIP Smart Wheel...I mean, seriously, entry Level autos come equipped with Smart Wheels these days, why is this feature missing on a $200K+ MoHo?!

The Charleston has a Smart Wheel and, since the Berkshire and Charleston both use the same Freightliner XCR Chassis, how hard would it be for Forest River to put a darn smart wheel on a Berkshire? (And offer a factory retrofit for existing Berk owners).

Hopefully someone from the Diesel Division reads this thread and makes the decision to start putting Smart Wheels on Berkshires...having a Smart Wheel isn't just a luxury, it is an important update for driver safety!
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:24 AM   #2
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I would like one also, and could be a deciding factor between an XLT or Newmar Ventana. VT has the smart wheel among other amenities that the XLT doesn't. MSRP is almost identical though.
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:34 AM   #3
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Anyone ever check with Freightliner as whether the steering wheel could be swapped out with a smart wheel ? For all we know the added wiring connections could be there.
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Old 12-01-2015, 10:56 AM   #4
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I would also love to see a smartwheel on the new Berks. I think that a retrofit is a good idea, but something would have to be done with the redundant switches (wipers, cruise) It would also be a big improvement over the current wiper switch in both ease of use and placing it within a safe distance to enable. I hate being in a downpour and having to take my eye off of the road, reach over and adjust the wipers. Also would be nice to update the smartwheel to include audio functions.

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Old 12-01-2015, 11:22 AM   #5
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Anyone ever check with Freightliner as whether the steering wheel could be swapped out with a smart wheel ? For all we know the added wiring connections could be there.
Funny you should ask I have a RFI to VIP Smart Wheels -- waiting for a reply from their Engineering Department as we speak
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:26 AM   #6
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I would like one also, and could be a deciding factor between an XLT or Newmar Ventana. VT has the smart wheel among other amenities that the XLT doesn't. MSRP is almost identical though.
I hear you CC - problem is, I am such a Forest River FanBoy that the thought of going to another manufacturer would be a VERY painful decision (in more ways than one...I am pretty sure if I switched, my DW would kill me )
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:43 AM   #7
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Funny you should ask I have a RFI to VIP Smart Wheels -- waiting for a reply from their Engineering Department as we speak
That's funny I also shot them an email asking what is involved in the change over. Not sure but doesn't seem to involved. Could be wrong though ( it's happen a couple of times in my life ) . Couple of links that I found.

RV Tech Library - Smart Wheel

Home | Vehicle Improvement Products Inc.
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:49 AM   #8
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I'd be all over this mod if do able. More buttons all the better . I don't think you'd necessarily have to disable the others, but I could be wrong again. Damn I hate that !
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:06 PM   #9
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I would also love to see a smartwheel on the new Berks. I think that a retrofit is a good idea, but something would have to be done with the redundant switches (wipers, cruise) It would also be a big improvement over the current wiper switch in both ease of use and placing it within a safe distance to enable. I hate being in a downpour and having to take my eye off of the road, reach over and adjust the wipers. Also would be nice to update the smartwheel to include audio functions.

Rich
So the smart wheel doesn't control the radio as well? IMHO, that is a really poor design. On a GMC Acadia that I had I could control the radio, heat and AC and some other functions. Seems they should be able to put these functions on the wheel as well.
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:14 PM   #10
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So the smart wheel doesn't control the radio as well? IMHO, that is a really poor design. On a GMC Acadia that I had I could control the radio, heat and AC and some other functions. Seems they should be able to put these functions on the wheel as well.
Tom, it just controls cruise, wipers, and headlight/marker lamp flash functions. Probably not enough of an improvement for me to make the investment/switch/upgrade on my current coach. Would be nice to have on next coach, though. Maybe by then it will offer even more features/functionality.


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Old 12-01-2015, 12:27 PM   #11
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Tom, it just controls cruise, wipers, and headlight/marker lamp flash functions. Probably not enough of an improvement for me to make the investment/switch/upgrade on my current coach. Would be nice to have on next coach, though. Maybe by then it will offer even more features/functionality.


Rich
Rich,
I agree. Not much of improvement to make the change unless the cost is very low.
Tom
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Old 12-01-2015, 05:22 PM   #12
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Here you go. Wiring diagram for smart wheel.
http://www.rvtechlibrary.com/electro...lSchematic.pdf

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Old 12-01-2015, 05:30 PM   #13
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I'm so use to the controls now I'd be as screwed up as Hogans goat😘


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Old 12-01-2015, 06:41 PM   #14
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Well tougher / more expensive than I would have thought. Response to my email to VIP wheels.



Hi Joseph,

In order to put a SmartWheel in a coach that wasn’t originally so equipped, you would likely have to replace the steering column from the floorboards up, add the wheel, horn pad and controller and then wire the affected systems (cruise, headlamps, marker lamps & wipers) into the controller. It’s been done, but it’s not an afternoon project. The column looks the same externally, but the SmartWheel requires a clockspring-equipped column. The clockspring and non-clockspring versions of the column are different enough that you can’t just add a clockspring.

You could do a direct upgrade to the Wood/Leather wheel that the top end SmartWheel is built on without the controls. Just picture the following without the switch pods. http://www.vipwheels.com/sites/defau...photos/V44.jpg

Your note is the 2nd today to cross my desk regarding the Berkshire, looks like FR is missing an opportunity here! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Regards,

Dan

Dan Klugiewicz
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151 Ram Road
Antioch, Illinois, United States 60002-1937
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Old 12-01-2015, 06:56 PM   #15
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Well I guess that answers the question! Don't think anyone will be doing the swap anytime soon. I can just imagine the issues that would arise by rewiring everything.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:05 PM   #16
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We have the 2011 Berkshire 410QS. It came with a smart wheel. It controls wipers, cruse, lights etc. Doesn't control radio.


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Old 12-02-2015, 09:59 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=BamaBob;1047231]One thing that irritates me about the 2016 Berkshire is Forest River's failure to update to a VIP Smart Wheel...I mean, seriously, entry Level autos come equipped with Smart Wheels these days, why is this feature missing on a $200K+ MoHo?!

Bob, I complained about this many times. The Berkshire, even with the so-call Smart Wheel, should provide the ability to flash the high-beams (with head-lights on or off. High-Beam flashing has been provided in cars and pick-ups for years, as standard. After all, conveniences like motorized side mirrors, power door lock, intermittent wipers, etc., etc. are now standards.

I feel that Freightliner is also as much a blame as FR. FR probably doesn't install it because prospective buyers and even seasoned owners don't know anything about it, and are not crying for it. Thus FR just pockets the extra cost that they would have put out for the Smart Wheel,. Besides the high-beam flashing provided by the Smart Wheel, yes I'd like the other features as well.

I do not get it, that a high ticket Berkshire comes with a Dumb Wheel.

Hank
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:22 AM   #18
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We have the 2011 Berkshire 410QS. It came with a smart wheel. It controls wipers, cruse, lights etc. Doesn't control radio.


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Maria,

I am assuming you bought your unit used? That is proof of concept that it IS possible to add (at least) a basic smart wheel!
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:52 AM   #19
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Joe,

Yeah I got the same email from Dan @ VIP. I replied and asked him what it would cost in Parts to make the change. I am waiting for a reply back and when I hear from him, I'll share with the group.

Like y'all, I am really irritated that the Berkshire - especially the top of the line XLT - does not have at least a basic Smart Wheel. If Forest River wants to directly compete with Newmar Ventana, they better get off the dime and install a Smart Wheel, since it is standard equipment on the Ventana!
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:19 AM   #20
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Maria,

I am assuming you bought your unit used? That is proof of concept that it IS possible to add (at least) a basic smart wheel!
Hey Bama, I don't want to speak for Maria, but I believe the 410qs was a limited run coach with a (425hp?) motor among other things. It may have been on another chassis, which could explain the smart wheel. Interestingly, there was an earlier Charleston model 410qs. Maybe the limited run 410qs Berks were based on some leftover 410qs Charleston chassis before they were model year upgraded. Just thinking out loud here....


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