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Old 11-29-2017, 01:49 PM   #1
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Watch those mirrors..

Just an FYI type post about the fun we have had with mirrors. We recently did a 1900 mile round trip to FLA that was made challenging by the loss of the driver's side mirror head a few hundred miles into the trip. I knew that we were very wide at the mirror (they are 8 inches past the 102 in body) but I should have been more careful on a two-lane road. We meet a pickup truck after dark that apparently had extension mirrors as well and we both lost a mirror in the encounter. Thankfully we have the breakaway arms so the arm survived (a complete mirror head and arm is around $600). We thought we could find a mirror along the way, which was not the case. Driving without one was not an option. I end up making one out of my shaving mirror and a stick-on convex I found at camping world.

Almost all RV mirrors are made by a company named Velvac, not available at your friendly Ford dealer.

So, if this ever does happen to you know that Velvac supplies parts to consumers on their website www.velvac.com (camping world can order them for you if you can wait 2 weeks). If you can figure out the Velvac part numbers you can search them on ebay and often find the same parts at about half price (I bought a complete head for $120, 50% off the Velvac price). But, you will not find mirror parts in stock.. anywhere.

The other thing we learned from this long trip- if we can't improve the handling of this RV a lot more (a 2017 Forester 2291S) then it is going to be sold. The next step is all new shocks, as we have the alignment tuned as recommended by the experts and installed a steering stabilizer. I am beginning to think these class C's are inherently unstable at speed.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by retireearly View Post
Just an FYI type post about the fun we have had with mirrors. We recently did a 1900 mile round trip to FLA that was made challenging by the loss of the driver's side mirror head a few hundred miles into the trip. I knew that we were very wide at the mirror (they are 8 inches past the 102 in body) but I should have been more careful on a two-lane road. We meet a pickup truck after dark that apparently had extension mirrors as well and we both lost a mirror in the encounter. Thankfully we have the breakaway arms so the arm survived (a complete mirror head and arm is around $600). We thought we could find a mirror along the way, which was not the case. Driving without one was not an option. I end up making one out of my shaving mirror and a stick-on convex I found at camping world.

Almost all RV mirrors are made by a company named Velvac, not available at your friendly Ford dealer.

So, if this ever does happen to you know that Velvac supplies parts to consumers on their website www.velvac.com (camping world can order them for you if you can wait 2 weeks). If you can figure out the Velvac part numbers you can search them on ebay and often find the same parts at about half price (I bought a complete head for $120, 50% off the Velvac price). But, you will not find mirror parts in stock.. anywhere.

The other thing we learned from this long trip- if we can't improve the handling of this RV a lot more (a 2017 Forester 2291S) then it is going to be sold. The next step is all new shocks, as we have the alignment tuned as recommended by the experts and installed a steering stabilizer. I am beginning to think these class C's are inherently unstable at speed.
There are complete kits you can get that supposedly drastically improve handling. I think they are made by Blue Ox. You should have Ride Rite air bags as well- try toying with the pressure in those and see if it helps. There should be a standard schrader valve in a storage compartment on each side for each bag.
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:29 PM   #3
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Thanks for the idea.. I will check them out. I have tried various PSIs in the bags from 30lbs all the way up to 65. They seem to have no effect on handling. Overall the problem seems to be lack of stability in the rear translating into the front requiring constant steering efforts.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:35 PM   #4
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I have C that handles quite well with no chassis mods at all. If you find the C unstable don't even think about an entry level A.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:59 PM   #5
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If you install a rear track bar it will greatly improve what you are feeling. $500.00 and easy install if you are handy with tools and can crawl under the rear axle. I would try 80 to 90 psi in your ride rite air bags and see if it helps.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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I am beginning to think these class C's are inherently unstable at speed.
My recommendation is not too give up to easily on your class C. There is a lot of info on this forum related to improving drivability. I bought my 3011 expecting drivabilty issues as I did a lot of research upfront. I.e. the suspension on the E450's is not set up out of the factory to support many RV applications and most disappointing is that most Class C RV manufacturers do nothing nor offer any options to improve driving characteristics. That may be because "good" drivability is somewhat subjective so everyone looks at if differently.

I have started a few threads and made several related posts in others about what I found and did. My most recent summary is exactly what it took to make my vehicle drivable to my liking and also well enough for my wife to drive. I am very happy with the way it handles now and would recommend many of the same steps to others knowing that everything I did may or may not be required on another vehicle, but it's a good starting point.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post1643876

"I've taken a number of steps to improve steering and "driveability" with each step adding an incremental improvement. I added a final piece (Blue OX Tru-Center) after a 4000 mile round trip to Denver where I experienced a variety of driving conditions. At this point it finally drives reasonably well for a large truck with a sizable overhang.

Modifications
Installed sleeve to add caster
Electronic front end alignment from a good truck shop
New front and rear Hellwig sway bars
Supersteer tracbar
Blue Ox Tru-center

PS With the exception of the caster sleeve and alignment I did all the work myself saving a lot of money."
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for the idea.. I will check them out. I have tried various PSIs in the bags from 30lbs all the way up to 65. They seem to have no effect on handling. Overall the problem seems to be lack of stability in the rear translating into the front requiring constant steering efforts.

RE,

That is the most common complaint I see and was the first that I addressed. I.e. I installed both a trac bar and larger sway bar on the rear and at the same time since the installation of both requires mounting to the same place on the chassis so why do it twice.

Also, while this did improve drivability, it was not until I completed all the steps in my other post that I could call it a day and just have fun driving it.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:30 AM   #8
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But you are still running with the original Ford shocks?

I suppose a lot of this is expectations and the unit does ok as long as road and weather conditions are perfect. When they are not it becomes a lot of work. We had one 600 mile day and it was exhausting. It just doesn't feel safe to my wife and her ability to drive it was the main reason we moved to a motorhome. We need to improve the confidence factor enough to start towing a car.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:38 AM   #9
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But you are still running with the original Ford shocks?

I suppose a lot of this is expectations and the unit does ok as long as road and weather conditions are perfect. When they are not it becomes a lot of work. We had one 600 mile day and it was exhausting. It just doesn't feel safe to my wife and her ability to drive it was the main reason we moved to a motorhome. We need to improve the confidence factor enough to start towing a car.
I still have the original Ford Shocks but they are on list to replace, at least the front ones. In my opinion, replacing them is more about improving ride than handling so that was not my top priority. In the rear you have air bags that mitigate some of the ride harshness so those may never get changed unless I see a good reason to do so.

Not sure if this is your first RV or not, but we learned a lot on our first long trip. First, driving an RV is not like driving a car. While we may not think twice about jumping in a car and driving 600 miles, I would never consider doing that in an RV knowing what I do now. On our trip the longest segment we did was 450 miles and that was wayyyyy to long! I was completely worn out. We then had to reschedule our trip to adjust for shorter drive intervals finally settling in on a max of 300 in any given day while 225-250 was optimal, at least for a single driver.

Of course, I did that trip before installing my Blue OX tru center and as it turns out that was a good thing as I was able to experience driving through some high wind country without the benefit of a self centering device installed. Since then I have been able to do a real life comparison on a recent trip to North Carolina and this time it was a much more relaxing trip as we have more realistic expectations and the suspension improvements have been completed.

As for my wife, she is on the petite side so driving the RV was not an option until I completed all the upgrades. So now after 2 seasons of doing all the driving myself, we should be able to go into season 3 with her doing some of the driving, at least on the open stretches.

PS We do tow a Subaru which does add additional some level of driving effort.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:21 AM   #10
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If you install a rear track bar it will greatly improve what you are feeling. $500.00 and easy install if you are handy with tools and can crawl under the rear axle. I would try 80 to 90 psi in your ride rite air bags and see if it helps.
Amen! I installed a Blue Ox track bar and sway bar.... What a difference! Usually run about 75#'s in the air bags. 👍
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:03 AM   #11
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Not to throw Coleman fuel on the fire.... I did not care to drive our Ford 450 based C. We traded it for a Chevy 4500 based C and I look forward to driving now.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:17 AM   #12
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Jane - What were you driving before and what are you driving now?
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:27 AM   #13
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2001 Santera, now have a 2018 Freelander, both Coachman.
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