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Main Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: PJ Corey on June 22, 2010, 02:39:29 pm

Title: Upgrades
Post by: PJ Corey on June 22, 2010, 02:39:29 pm
We bought a 2010 2551 w/slide in Tempe, AZ early this year.  We have had some problems with it since then -- none of them noticed when it was driven around and tested out in Tempe.  In fact, it was the very same rig featured in Motor Home magazine in February of this year.  Great review but no mention of the issues we encountered.  The problems were centered around driveability. For instance, the play in the steering wheel was pretty extraordinary and made even more-so when the southwest winds kicked up or we were on any uneven road surface.  Actually, it was a problem on any surface.  In fact, it felt like we were driving in jello most of the time and it was tiresome to try to keep the rig straight.  Plus, the rig rocked from side to side when someone stepped on the outside step.  I took the rig to a well known and respected independent  rv repair shop in Albuquerque who drove the rig on local roads and I-25 and showed us how unstable it was.  They recommended Koni shocks and beefier sway bars and an alignment.  After $2500 worth of work the play is lessened about 75% and the rocking is far less severe.   The rig drives much better although the play that is still left in the steering is bothersome.  The second issue was found after camping friends following behind us noticed a problem with our suspension.  We stopped and measured and were down about 3" on the passenger side without water.  I purposely filled the water tank when we took it to the rv repair shop in Albuquerque and we were alarmingly down on one side and way up on the other. The rv shop suggested air bags for close to $900 but I called Kermit and asked for advice.  At that point we were spending way too much money to make this rig drive right.   He said to tell the shop to take out the spacer block that was on the drivers side between the axel and spring and not do the air bags.  The shop took out the spacer block and we are now level with the slide out or in and the fresh water tank full or emptied.  I don't quite understand what a five pound spacer block had to do with all of this but Kermit's advice was spot on and saved us some money.  Nonetheless, we did not expect to pay $2500 extra to up grade a brand new rig so it would drive straight without physical effort.  My advice: ignore Motor Home magazine reviews.  Second, if you are anywhere near Albuquerque and need help with your rig call Statkus Engines. 
Title: Re: Upgrades
Post by: Ron Dittmer on June 23, 2010, 11:37:44 am
If you search my name on and also on this forum in the tips and tricks section, I talk a lot about this subject matter.

You did everything right, but not everything complete.  You complain of the floaties which requires continuous steering compensation.  You need to get a front wheel alignment and a heavy duty front steering stabilizer.  The brand we upgraded to is a Safe-T-Plus, but there are other good brands available.

Here is what we had done to our 2007 Ford E350 chassis with a PC-2350 on it's back.  The motor home had only 800 miles on it at the time.
- rear heavy duty Roadmaster sway bar (the 2007 Ford E350 chassis had none to begin with)
- front heavy duty Roadmaster sway bar (the stock Ford bar is very thin and ineffective for the application)
- Koni-RV adjustable shocks set to the stiffest setting
- rear Hendersen trac bar (eliminates side-to-side horizontal tail wagging, especially beneficial when towing)
- heavy duty Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer
- front wheel alignment
Cost $3900 and was definitely worth the expense.

Our 2007 2350 handles like a dream.  No more rocking, swaying, unintended lane changes, or excessive steering compensation.  I hold the wheel steady with a light touch and the RV stays put.  Even under abnormal conditions, the RV handles well.  I can even hold a cup of coffee steady, until I have finished drinking it.  The safety factor is huge and means so much to me.  Driving went from being a chore to a pleasure.  No more premature driver fatique.  The quality of ride to the passengers is an additional benefit.  My wife will sit at the dinette and her refreshment will stay on the table.  Her coffee doesn't slosh out from her cup either.  Keep in mind, this is all while towing a vehicle.

If you think another brand of motor home would avoid this expense, it just becomes amplified as the motor home gets bigger.  The bigger they are, the worse the problem.  That is why people say the Phoenix Cruiser is better.  Smaller is better, but still not right.  It depends on where you are coming from, which would explain why the article written mentioned how good it handled.

I mentioned this a few times to Kermt.  Phoenix USA should offer a "Handling Package" as an option or upgrade.  They could easily install these upgrades at the factory and make some money from it too.  The exception would be the front wheel alignment.  That needs to be done with the RV complete and loaded.  Just imagine people in RV forums saying things like "WOW, this thing handles great with that handling package option".  One more reason to order a PC.
Title: Re: Upgrades
Post by: PJ Corey on June 23, 2010, 12:37:19 pm
Hi Ron,  I did have the front end alignment done, as well.  Statkus Engines where I had the work done pointed out I might need a steering stabilizer if the alignment, shocks and heavier sway bars didn't fully do the trick.  As I posted, a good deal of the awful steering play has been eliminated but enough overcompensation remains to make driving this rig a chore especially in these southwest winds.  So, I guess a steering stabilizer is next.  At least the suspension problem seems to have resolved itself with the removal of the spacer block. 

Did the steering stabilizer you put on your motor home hamper your turning radius at all?  I have heard that those stabilizers do lessen the turning radius and since I have so little at this point I do wonder how it would be getting around parking lots, for instance. 
Title: Re: Upgrades
Post by: Ron Dittmer on June 23, 2010, 02:15:41 pm
I did not notice any change in steering limititations.  That is the first I heard of the possibility.  Maybe if it was not mounted properly, I could surly understand potential for it.

Each upgrade influences something for the better.  All together, it's a significant improvement.  If you leave out one, there's your weakness.  After having steering stabilizer upgraded, you may still say it's not perfect, but you will say it's much better.  It is a house on wheels, so there is only so much that can be done.  Of coarse it could never handle like a tight sports car, but it will change your driving experience for the better.

We owned our first motor home for 24 years.  12 years into it, we had lots of upgrades done to improve handling.  Learning from that, we decided to go "All-In" right from the start and enjoy the investment from the beginning rather than starting at mid-point.  For us it was a 4 to 5 percent increase in the cost of the motor home, but what a change for the better.  Our trips are so much more enjoyed because of it.