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Author Topic: Sway Bars  (Read 2009 times)
NLK
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« on: August 31, 2010, 11:01:47 am »

I just purchased a 2008 2551w/s E450 from Stuart.  Absolutely love it!  I don't know why but I am noticing rocking that my 2007 2551w/s E450 did not have.  I am considering putting heavy duty sway bars in the front and or rear ... maybe heavy duty shocks??  I would appreciate anyone's expertise and input before I spend a large sum of money on something that I know nothing about.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 02:48:43 pm »

Consider the lower priced Helwig front & rear bars.  My brother and I installed a rear bar on his E350 and he noticed the difference the minute he was on the open road.  He just returned from a 8000 mile trip to Alaska and the Helwig did great.

I have front and rear heavy duty Roadmaster bars.  They appear to have better mounting hardware, but how good is good enough?  Helwig bars are much cheaper and easy for the do-it-yourselfer.  They seem to be well built too, just the hardware less elaborate.

When ordering, be sure to get the right ones.  There are different bars for different years & model (E350 & E450).
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NLK
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2010, 03:37:24 pm »

Thanks ... I will check into both types.  I don't plan on doing it myself though.
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2010, 06:30:15 pm »

NLK when I went to the factory, it was pointed out to me how much bigger the sway bars are on the E450 over the ones on the E350. Stuart told me that one customer had a set of sway bars he wanted installed, but when they compared them to the original ones, they changed their mind. I am waiting for Bilstein to produce shocks for the 2010 in October. I think that is the first thing to improve handling on the E450. If you had an E350 like Ron, I would say go for the sway bars as he is very well informed about the E350. I would still consider shocks first. IMHO.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 07:14:00 pm »

Tom,

Ford upgraded the E-Series chassis in 2008 which I believe is the same today.  I am surprised to hear the Ford bars are comparable to the aftermarket heavy duty bars.  Looking at the 2008 specs, the Ford bars are smaller by a lot.  Maybe the bars were changed between 2008 and 2011.  One can always get under the RV and measure the bars they have.  Reviewing my 2007 and 2008 E-series Ford data sheets, this is what is stated.

2008 specs on OEM E450 bars straight from Ford are
21mm dia front (8.25")
1.125" dia rear
Both with softer rubber bushings

Roadmaster & Helwig heavy duty bars are as follows
1.375" dia on front
1.500" dia rear
All with harder polymer bushings that compress less in a hard lean

For reference:
2008 E350 Super Duty Cut-away chassis has the same diameter bars as the E450 Super Duty Cut-away.
2007 E350 Super Duty Cut-away chassis has 1.000" diameter front bar and NO rear bar.
2007 E450 Super Duty Cut-away chassis has 1.000" diameter front bar and 1.125" rear bar.
All 2007 E-series chassis from an E250 cargo van on up to the E450 Super Duty cut-away, use the same shocks.
That tells me the shocks are not well suited for the E450 if they are also used on a standard E250 van.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 10:55:26 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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PJ Corey
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 08:14:58 am »

My 2010 2551S had excessive play in the steering and felt like I was driving in jello when I drove on uneven surfaces or in high southwestern winds.  I talked to Stuart who said the ride should feel stable. It sure didn't, though.   I talked to two highly knowledgeable truck/rv shops who looked underneath and pronounced the sway bars standard stock and not sufficient for the house I was carrying down the road.  One guy easily rocked the rig from side to side by pushing on the stair to the entrance to the rig.  New Roadmaster sway bars front and rear and new shocks have dramatically changed the ride for the better.  Expensive but well worth the money since we plan on spending a lot of time on the road.

Paula
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NLK
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 08:54:05 am »


I go tomorrow morning to get everything serviced at the garage.  They specialize in vehicles over 5 tons only.  I've printed out the specs that you have provided.  If I have to bite the bullet and put in heavy duty sway bars in the front / rear and also new shocks ... gulp ... so be it.  Nothing can ruin my trip more than stretches of "white knucks".
I knew something wasn't right with the rocking and to be honest it was making me a tad nervous in the multiple lane city traffic. 
Thanks for everyone's expertise.  I'm sure I'll be back again looking for help in the future.
 ThankYou 
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 10:51:15 am »

Glad to hear you will look into heavy duty sway bars & shocks.  Regarding shocks, there are two best brands to consider.  Bilstein and Koni-RV adjustables.  If you get the Koni-RV, request the shocks get set to the stiffest setting.  We have Koni-RVs and are very pleased with them.  Others seem just as happy with the Bilsteins.  Just be sure you get the "right" Bilsteins.  There are a few choices....softer & stiffer.  Get the stiffer ones.

As with most such matters, the sky is the limit on how much you can spend.  For us it cost $3900 at a local RV/Bus/Truck specialty shop for the following including installation.
- Roadmaster heavy duty sway bars, both front and rear
- Koni-RV shocks all around
- Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer
- Henderson rear track bar (Stabilizes the rear horizontally side-to-side, especially beneficial when towing)
- front wheel alignment

Our old motor home of 24 years had serious handling issues from the beginning which worstened along the way.  12 years into it we had that shop perform miracles on it.  I wasn't going to challenge their recommendations on my new PC2350.  We do plan to keep our PC longer yet so why not enjoy the safety and comfort benefits from day-one.

The invtestment has saved our lives once already, going way too fast on a curve in the road on a mountain byway.  The RV stayed firmly planted while hard in the turn, allowing me to nearly lock up the brakes (it does have ABS) yet maintain good control.  This while towing a small car without secondary braking at the time.  How can you put a price on that?

Also the comfort in driving it is huge.  I find myself able to drive for 3 to 4 hours straight which I could never do when I was continuously doing steering adjustments.  Driver fatique is drastically reduced.....another safety factor as well.  My wife also enjoys sitting at the dinette with her laptop, organizing trip pictures and videos, with her drink staying in the cup, and the cup staying on the table.  LOL
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 11:12:09 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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NLK
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 09:29:48 am »

Ron,
The mechanic drove my Phoenix and it rocked and rolled for him too. The garage did all the PM and he is going to order the shocks and sway bars.    When the installation is complete and I've driven around a bit, I'll let you know the verdict.  Thanks again !!!
NLK
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 11:21:29 am »

With heavy duty sway bars, you'll appreciate the improved stability when parked as well as when on the road.  We don't feel the need for stabilizer jacks.  We don't get severe rocking to-&-fro when walking around inside.  It moves so much less.

If your PC is still with you without HD bars, stand inside on the open floor and intentionally try to rock it wildly side-to-side and see how bad you can get it to sway.  Then after the bars are on, do it again.  You should notice a big difference.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 12:32:30 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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TomHanlon
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 08:02:30 pm »

Hey guys,
I am on vacation in Yellowstone but want to be kept in the loop on this. I am alsways looking to improve the motorhome. I have not had any problems yet, but keeping an open mind.
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Tom Hanlon
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NLK
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 10:10:02 am »


I have my Phoenix back home, waiting for the parts to come in.  Yup, your right.  I stood inside, with me rocking back and forth and it "danced" with me.  I will try it again once the new sway bars and shocks are installed.  Thanks
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NLK
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2010, 10:33:23 am »

Ron thanks again for the specs on the sway bars !!!   I picked up my motorhome yesterday with the new RoadMaster heavy duty sway bars and shocks installed ... front and rear.  I drove around about 125 miles before getting home.  OMG like night and day.  I feel like I'm glued to the road and no more rockin' and rollin'.  The steering has improved 100% too. So here is my 2 cents worth ... if your reading this and own a 2008 2551s E450, it is costly beefing up the sway bars and shocks, BUT IT WILL BE WORTH EVERY PENNY YOU SPEND.  I'm disappointed that FORD would think that the sway bars they installed were sufficent to handle the weight.  OR is FORD just trying to save a few bucks at the customers expense?
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2010, 05:23:29 pm »

NLK,

I am glad to hear you got such a great improvement with you mods. Which brand of shocks did you have installed?

I am waiting for Bilstein to manufacture the front shocks for the 2010 Ford E450 in October. I want to go slow and do one thing at a time so I can tell what does the most to improve the handling and ride.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2010, 05:39:15 pm »

NLK,

I am so glad to read you very pleased with the upgrades.  It is difficult for my point to mean anything when readers are fine with their rig as it is.

My married brother owns a 1998 E350 Starflyte which had no rear bar of any kind.  They were very pleased with how it handled.  I pushed a bit aggressive to get them to buy a rear heavy duty sway bar of which we installed together this past May.  After their next weekend get-away, they both gave me many thanks.  They were quite surprised in the difference when passing trucks and on curvey roads.  I won't push on the other stuff because they both lost their jobs since.
It's kind-of like the fellow with a lot of ear wax who didn't know how poorly he was hearing until after the doctor cleaned out his ears. Smile

Adding a rear bar on a pre-2008 E350 rig that had nothing is a great first step.  If you own a Phoenix Cruiser 2100, 2350, or 2400, built on a 2007 E350 chassis or older, you don't have a rear sway bar.  If if have an E450 or a newer E350, the bars you have are something, and something is better than nothing.  But the heavy duty bars still make a big impact as what I read from people who upgraded them.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2010, 06:12:40 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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