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RE: Quest for Quality Small RV

I really like the idea of a small motor home being built on an over-capable E450 chassis, but for reasons most people would not consider. We would all agree the E450 chassis is designed to manage a much larger motor home than a tiny 22 footer like a (Phoenix Cruiser 2100) with a short 138" wheel base. The suspension is so very stiff on such a rig that it must be terribly rough on the house and contents, and also the occupants. But....... For a little extra money, you can take such an over-capable rig to a truck suspension shop to remove the appropriate quantity of rear leaf springs, and replace the front coils springs to softer ones (Like I Did With My Rig Here). The end result is that you have over-rated brakes along with other over-rated safety and durability benefits like a thicker main frame that will take longer to degrade from rust. I imagine the thicker E450 frame would also decrease potential body flexing (if any). I understand that the difference in fuel economy between the E350 and E450 in past years is no longer applicable. The rear differential gear ratio is the same used in both for a few years now because the additional gears in the latest transmission compensates appropriately.
ron.dittmer 01/23/21 10:40am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Replacing Over-the-Cab TV

That's fine if you boondock most of the time and can only use 12v. However reception for a signal might be an issue.We bring DVDs to entertain us some evenings, especially when camping in the fall when it gets dark earlier. Like you say, in most places we boondock, there is no conventional TV reception.
ron.dittmer 01/21/21 06:58pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Help! Onan 4K generator refuses to start and stay on

I remember my dad using white gas for our camp stove and its shelf life was great."Great" is an understatement. My parents had old Colman fuel laying around as did my siblings. They knew we camped with a camp stove (until 2007) and gave us their old fuel. After we bought our motorhome, we had no need for that fuel. Still I kept it for years longer just in-case, and I still have one gallon today. After all those years it still remains clear as water and smells like new so I put most of it to good use in my car's fuel tank. White gas used in camp stoves and lanterns is unleaded fuel without additives including cleaners and pollution retardants. It is as pure of an automobile fuel as you can buy, though I wouldn't recommend driving around in tank fulls of it.
ron.dittmer 01/18/21 07:02am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Help! Onan 4K generator refuses to start and stay on

My vote is that you have a weak/inoperative electric fuel pump on your Onan generatorI lean towards this too. So many people go right to the carburetor when there is a problem. There are countless replies over the past 14 years I have been hanging out on RV forums, people saying "It's Your Carb", "Use Seafoam", Replace Your Carb". For the past 32 years, I have been living in a house on an acre so I have a 18hp lawn tractor, 8hp roto-tiller, 8hp snow blower, and a 5hp power-washer, all of which are 4 cycle engines with simple carburetors. The tractor, tiller and snow blower are 32 years old. When I am done with any such equipment for the season, I simply place them aside. I don't do any storage preparation what-so-ever including never adding a fuel stabilizer. When I pull them out to use them as needed, I check the oil level or change the engine oil if it's time, and clean or change the air filter. I top off the fuel tank and they initially start rough, but after a minute, they smooth out and are ready to get work done. For the past 14 years, I have always applied the same practice to our Onan, yielding the same good results as my yard equipment. Due to becoming "involved" grand parents along with world travel, this past summer marked a two year period since I previously started our motor home or our Onan. Two years was the longest duration yet so I was a tad bit concerned. The motorhome is stored indoors so I was fairly confident all would be well and I was right. The Ford V10 engine started instantly and smoothly as if I had it running an hour earlier. With a lot of priming in advance, the Onan started up fairly quickly, and behaved as it always did, requiring a minute or so to smooth out. This past summer during that awakening, after 20 minutes of running properly under load running the a/c unit, my Onan suddenly shut off. After some research, I narrowed the problem down to the fuel pump. It became sensitive to working when it is very hot outside. When the day cooled off, the fuel pump worked fine. I have a new fuel pump and filter ready to install prior to our next trip. I think much of the reason why Onan recommends running the generator once a month is because some are stored outdoors in very high humid environments. Running it as recommended might be for the sake of the power generating portion of the unit, not the engine itself. As far as a "gummed-up" carburetor is concerned. Today's fuels are formulated to avoid that varnish that we dealt with in the days with carbureted automobiles. Vehicles today with high pressure fuel injection systems cannot tolerate "varnish" and such, so the fuel is so much cleaner than years ago. This "clean" fuel benefits small engine carburetors. There is no varnish build-up. There could be dirt build-up from a leaking air filter, so carb cleaners like Seafoam does have it's use. 2-cycle engines with oil in the fuel benefit greatly from carburetor cleaner products. In many parts of the USA, fuels include a certain amount of alcohol. That cleans things better yet leaving even less residue in the carb as it evaporates away during the storage period, but the additive is hard on rubber gaskets and seals and such in many carburetors. It tends to dry them out, stiffening them, and in a worst case scenario, it cracks the rubber seals. My 1983 Toyota pickup truck I owned for 24 years, had a diaphragm in the side of the carb that the alcohol would dry up to the point that it no longer would move as it was supposed to. I had to change that part every-other year because of the alcohol in the fuel. Around these parts, I cannot buy gas without some amount of alcohol.
ron.dittmer 01/17/21 07:08am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Help! Onan 4K generator refuses to start and stay on

Hi Kennyg, I would try this. - take off the air filter - start the generator - as it starts to die on you, spray a little starting fluid in the carb to keep it running - keep doing it until you are tired of doing so Just maybe running the generator for a while that way will clear up the cause If you can keep it running with the starting fluid, but the engine refuses to run on it's own, then check fuel flow. Disconnect the fuel line and run the fuel pump with the start button in the prime position. If it stops at the same 6 second interval, then it sounds like a problem with your fuel pump. If you cannot keep the generator running with squirts of starting fluid, then you have an electrical problem, not a fuel problem.
ron.dittmer 01/15/21 02:28pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Sway bar swap

We are heading out west again this coming June for 4 months. Last time we had a 22 ft Class C on a Ford e350 chassis. We really got pushed around going across southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. White knuckle all the way. This year we're going to run US 412 from Columbia Tn. to Springer NM. We have a bigger RV this trip. The addition of the Roadmaster stabilizer and having adjusted the J-Ride properly has been a great help. This sway bar should help alot too. Not expecting a sports car ride, but being able to stay in one lane would be great.You did "Real Good" replacing your stock rear stabilizer bar with a heavy duty version. Do yourself a favor and replace the front one too. It will share the load, allowing the rear bar to be even more effective. There is a long list of things that can be done to improve "handling" but both front and rear stabilize bars provides the most bang for the buck. As I see it, there is a pecking order for improving handling. - weigh the rig while on a trip, fully loaded, even with occupants, and adjust the tire pressure accordingly. Many truck stops have weigh scales. - get a front wheel alignment with the same load (add weight to represent occupants in their positions) - replace your stock rear stabilizer bar with a heavy duty version (you did this) - replace your stock front stabilizer bar with a heavy duty version - replace your stock shock absorbers with heavy duty Bilstein RV shocks - replace your stock steering stabilizer with a heavy duty version (brands vary) - add a rear trac bar If each axle of your rig is loaded to within your spec'd limit, but your rear end is sagging or dragging, have a shop add spacers to the rear axle to lift the rear to the proper level. Adding more springs or air bags will increase the harshness of your ride. The house takes a beating as it is. You don't want to make it worse yet.
ron.dittmer 01/14/21 06:21pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Replacing Over-the-Cab TV

The replacement tv type will depend on how you use your rv. My 40” is a 12 volt model but uses 65 watts.Could you share what brand and model 40" you have that operates at 65 watts? Our 26" 120V Samsung TV runs very hot, so much that I installed a computer fan behind it to cool it down. It's confinement does not help the situation. A new edge-lit 32" 12V TV may use much less power, hence run cooler and use less energy. Our 26" has lots of frame. For a while now, the 32" is almost frameless so the over-all size is the same. I'd like to compare the specs on power consumption of what I have to what I would buy to determine if it is worth the effort and cost. Here is our 26". It is mounted securely without an arm. There is not a lot of breathing room around it....air circulation is poor. width=640
ron.dittmer 01/14/21 04:23pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Replacing Over-the-Cab TV

An "ideal" replacement TV is one that runs directly off 12V to use less battery energy. Unfortunately the bigger TVs drop the external 12V-ish transformer. Also, not every smaller TV has an external 12V-ish transformer. You have to shop around for one. It is not a disaster to have a 120V television requiring the need for a separate power inverter to convert your RV-12V to 120V. It's just going to drain your house battery faster. I think RV supply centers sell TVs with an external power supply, but at elevated prices. If you find one you like at a Camping World for example, you might find the exact same TV sold at a regular store or on-line for a lot cheaper. One thing about television model numbers. Each store has it's own specific model number for virtually the same TV so you cannot exercise price-matching. Differences if any are miniscule. So keep that in-mind when shopping around.
ron.dittmer 01/14/21 11:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Electric scooter instead of Toad?

As I see it, an electric-assist bike or scooter, or even a gasoline-powered scooter or small motorcycle is meeting a small portion of a much bigger need. I think they are a great enhancement to a tiny motor home (like a class "B") that you would normally get around in all the time. But if you have a standard class B+/C or class A motorhome, seeking an alternative to breaking camp daily, then a tow vehicle is really your only practical solution. Our class B+ SEEN HERE IN DETAIL is on the small side of "standard" at 23'-8" long and we have a tow vehicle. We used to tow a 2-seat sports car (a 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder) but changed to a 4x4 Jeep Liberty because the MR2 was unable to handle severely primitive roads to remote trail heads and other sight-seeing excursions. There are many times we miss the MR2, but the Liberty is the all-encompassing solution. The bonus with the Liberty is having a place to carry extra, from golf clubs to bicycles. I had my reservations when first contemplated towing another vehicle. But doing so for 14 years now, it has become second-nature. I am happy to do it for the benefits and conveniences it provides. Towing is not all roses, but for me and my wife, the benefits far out-weigh it's complexities.
ron.dittmer 01/13/21 06:28am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Modify OR Access Easily Over cab Bed for the Older Camper

This is not what you want to hear, nor asking for, but the right solution is to change motor homes to one that has a main floor double or queen bed, or twin beds as is popular with older folks. I just did a quick search on the motor home you own and note that you have a rear dinette that could be made into a rear corner bed. That is of coarse one option to consider. That situation is what we deal with. 14 years ago, we bought what we hope will be our final motor home purchase. Our 2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350 SEEN HERE remains in tip-top condition that is easy accomplished with heated indoor storage. We are turning 63 years old this year. We continue to have no trouble (only the expected inconvenience) with our limited access rear corner main floor double bed, but we anticipate it will be more challenging as we age. We will find out whether we give up such travel from the limited access bed, or we are too old and dangerous to safely drive the rig that comes with a general loss of independence. I hope it is the later happening much later. The plan would be to sell our house to include a motor home in the garage to sweeten the deal.
ron.dittmer 01/12/21 05:36pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Forrester 2151SLE

Hi Cardinals, Regarding your floor plan. One thing you will want to get a fitment for is the driver seat when the slide out is put away. For such a design, the slide out will interfere with the adjustment of the seat. It is a common complaint with taller people, sometimes so bad that they regret their purchase. With the slide out put away, sit in the driver seat, set it as far back as you deem most comfortable, then adjust the back rest to a comfortable driving position. You might find that you cannot position the seat properly for your driving comfort. My wife and I are turning 63 this year. Our floor plan is very similar to the one you are considering. As others have stated, the rear corner bed is going to become a bigger and bigger challenge as we get older and older. So far, so good for us. We are not overweight people with good hips and knees so our mobility is still good. But who knows what the future holds for us. You will want to determine the model year of the Ford E350 or E450 chassis. The chassis could be one model year older having the older 6.8L-V10 engine. Or it could be a current model year with the new 7.3L-V8 engine that is more powerful and more fuel efficient. The past 1.5 years has been a "transition" period for the Ford E350 and E450 chassis, so new motor homes being sold today could have older technology or the latest chassis technology with their associated benefits in fuel efficiency, performance, and comfort. If your rig is for just two people, I strongly advise to avoid a design with a large front over-head bunk. The long winded post below will clarify this comment. The post also needs a little update-tweaking on some chassis specs to reflect 2021. Ron, I have a different perspective with respect to your sentence above advising against a large front over-head bunk. There's two of us and one small dog on our RV trips in our 24 foot Class C of the "classic design" (with the normal full queen bed above the cab). The wife has back problems so she gets the entire corner bed in the back, and as such has plenty of maneuvering room when sleeping in it and wiggle-room for getting into and out of it. I get to use the entire overhead cab bed for sleeping and it's a whole bunch of room for sleeping. The wife is 75 and I'm 78. Winnebago even designed in a switch right by the overhead cab bed that turns on a floor light back by the bathroom to light my path for nighttime toilet trips. By the way, the complete "classic" overhead cab area in a Class C is an excellent design for shading the entire cab area and hence keeping the sun off the cab area when traveling and camped during warm weather. When traveling I push the back half of the overhead cab bed slightly upwards and forward a couple of feet so as to rest it up onto the front half and thus expose the underbed floor cutout that makes it easy to enter and exit the cab seats while nearly standing up. When traveling we can secure and store a lot of soft stuff on the remaining overhead cab bed surface area and on the two overhead cab floor "wings" that stick out slightly above the driver and passenger seats. We love our two queen beds for each of us to sleep in. We have occasionally had to use the additional full bed we get by dropping the hinged dinette tabletop and spreading out the seat cushions to make the mattress for it. Our small dog-person sleeps and travels in her own crate sitting on one of the dinette seats secured with a seatbelt. FWIW and somewhat related, there's an excellent video somewhere on YouTube showing how an older couple lives full time in a 24 foot classic Class C, with most/a lot of it being drycamping. It's very interesting how they do it in complete comfort for two adults.Hi pnichols, You missed my point about the over-head bunk. If you need that bunk, then shop with other construction methods in-mind. You utilize your over-head bunk as intended and so it is good that you have it. But if you did not utilize it, then it's best not to get a class C with it.
ron.dittmer 01/09/21 02:29pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Forrester 2151SLE

Hi Cardinals, Regarding your floor plan. One thing you will want to get a fitment for is the driver seat when the slide out is put away. For such a design, the slide out will interfere with the adjustment of the seat. It is a common complaint with taller people, sometimes so bad that they regret their purchase. With the slide out put away, sit in the driver seat, set it as far back as you deem most comfortable, then adjust the back rest to a comfortable driving position. You might find that you cannot position the seat properly for your driving comfort. My wife and I are turning 63 this year. Our floor plan is very similar to the one you are considering. As others have stated, the rear corner bed is going to become a bigger and bigger challenge as we get older and older. So far, so good for us. We are not overweight people with good hips and knees so our mobility is still good. But who knows what the future holds for us. You will want to determine the model year of the Ford E350 or E450 chassis. The chassis could be one model year older having the older 6.8L-V10 engine. Or it could be a current model year with the new 7.3L-V8 engine that is more powerful and more fuel efficient. The past 1.5 years has been a "transition" period for the Ford E350 and E450 chassis, so new motor homes being sold today could have older technology or the latest chassis technology with their associated benefits in fuel efficiency, performance, and comfort. If your rig is for just two people, I strongly advise to avoid a design with a large front over-head bunk. The long winded post below will clarify this comment. The post also needs a little update-tweaking on some chassis specs to reflect 2021. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New, used, or well used, when shopping for a conventional class B+ or C, the most important consideration is how it is constructed. This post outlines construction methods which are most affordable and methods that cost more, but are built to hold up much better to the elements and also the punishment of the road. Some motor home manufactures offer different levels of quality through their various model lines. Instead of providing a list of brands to consider, it is best to identify what "Better" is. When shopping for a motor home, don't get distracted with "Eye Candy" and "Square Footage". You want to pay close attention to how the house is constructed. Water infiltration is the number one killer of motor homes, rotting them away long before anything is worn out. Once water gets inside, it is like termites. By the time you realize there is a problem, a lot of damage has already occurred. Also consider that mold & mildew can grow inside the walls which then you have a health hazard. My advise focuses on identifying a reliably well sealed motor home. #1 BEST (Very Expensive, Can Be 1.5 times the cost of Second Best) NO structural seam work. The brand Coach House is a fine example. It is seamless, made from a mold. The only places where water can leak is cutouts for windows, entry door, roof-top vents & a/c unit, storage compartments & maintenance access, all of which are in areas of very low stress. Because they have a seamless shell, these motor homes are not common and have a limited selection of sizes and floor plans. #2 SECOND BEST Common, Affordable, & comes in Many Sizes so this is my main focus I own an example of this type. My Rig Here manufactured by Phoenix USA. Made in sections, but assembled in a way that greatly reduces the threat of water damage. Here are the good things you want to look for. a) Structural Seams Away From Corners When a motor home is driven, the house bounces, resonates, shakes, and leans countless times, representing a endless series of earthquakes. Corner seams see greater stresses than seams located elsewhere. Corner seams are more easily split, especially when the caulk gets brittle with age & exposure to the sun. One extremely bad bump in the road can instantly breach a corner seam. Seams hold up much better when they are brought in from the corners in lesser stressed areas. b) A Seamless Over-The-Van Front Cap A huge bed above the van’s roof is the most vulnerable area of a motor home. No matter how well they are made, that long frontal over-hang resonates when the RV is driven making it common for seams to split there, most troublesome with age & exposure to the elements. HERE is an example, one of many water-damage threads I have read. Scroll down in that thread to see pictures of the real damage. The small front aerodynamic cap of a B+ design HERE eliminates the overhang which eliminates most of the resonation, along with the most vulnerable seam work. There are a few conventional “C” Designs (big over-van bed) where that area is seamless. If you absolutely must have that huge bed, then look for a seamless bucket-like design. The Itasca Navion is a fine example. If your requirements are to have a large class-C with a massive over-van bed, the best example I seen was this Fleetwood Tioga model offered around 2008-2009. It is unfortunate all class-Cs don't practice seamless cab-over area construction for it would greatly improve the class-C industry. Increasing in popularity by many manufactures is a shallow bucket design with fewer seams located in less-stressed areas. The Nexus Triumph is one such example. This shallow bucket design is a reasonable compromise. If you plan to accommodate more than 2 people, having that large extra cab-over bed will be extremely useful. c) A Crowned Roof Rain and snow melt runs off a crowned roof. A flat roof will sag over time, then water puddles around heavy roof-top items like the a/c unit. Water eventually finds it's way inside after gaskets & caulk have degraded from age, sun, and change in seasons. d) Rolled-Over-The-Edge seamless Fiberglass Roof Sheathing A single sheet of fiberglass as shown HERE that rolls over the right & left sides of the roof, down to the wall. The overlapping of fiberglass to the wall provides a good water seal and the fiberglass sheathing holds up better than roofs made of sheet rubber or thin plastic called TPO, which require more attention to keep your RV well protected. e) A Five Sided Rear Wall Cap A five sided back wall moves the seams around to the sides to areas of much less stress as seen HERE. The rear wall resembles a shallow rectangular cooking pan standing on it's side. Like the example, some rear wall sections are constructed with an integrated spare tire compartment and rear storage compartment. Not only are they convenience features, but that rear wall/cap offers a solid double-wall for exceptional strength which is more resistant to flexing the adjoining seam work. It helps in keeping the house together. Don't be fooled. Some manufactures add rear wall sectional styling which gives the appearance of a 5-sided pan design. Though not as desirable, they are still an improvement because all the holes for lighting and such are not in the structural wall where water could otherwise get inside the house. You can easily tell by noting the sections & seams between them and the flat back wall that remains exposed. CLICK HERE to see an example. f) Walls Are Either Resting On The Floor Or Bolted Against It Common sense would say the walls should rest on the floor, but some manufactures actually bolt the walls into the side of the floor framing. This means the weight of the roof and walls (and everything hanging on them) rests on mounting bolts. How well will that method hold up when being driven for so many thousands of miles? Checking for this is very difficult. It takes a trained eye for sure. CLICK HERE for an example of it done right with the walls resting on the floor. Bigger Will Be Weaker The size & floor plan you select MUST FIRST meet your needs before this consideration. The bigger the house, the weaker the structure will be. Consider two cardboard boxes made from the exact same corrugated material. The smaller box would naturally be stronger. It will be more resistant to bending, twisting, and other types of flexing. So if you are on the fence between models, the smaller one will be your stronger choice. Potentially Troublesome Construction Entry level motor homes are made with seams in corners and finished off with trim, including the massive cab-over bed. Their roof is flat and finished with rubber or TPO. They are most affordable, and come in all sizes. HERE is one such example. If considering this construction type, keep in-mind they require more regular care with bi-annual inspections. Plan to use a caulking gun now and then. When buying a used one, consider that you really don't know how well the previous owner maintained it. Buying new or used, that construction method will be counting on you to be a good non-neglectful owner. There are also the rare exception of the Lazy Daze which has seam work in the corners, but the substructure and sealing method is of the highest quality that it holds up like a seamless body. It's excellent sectional construction methods are not commonly found in other brands. I am no expert on this, but I'd give it a #1.5 Almost Like Best A Caution Concerning Slide Outs Slide outs are most popular. Everybody loves the extra floor space they provide. There are so few motor homes made without at least one slide out. Unfortunately slide outs can introduce risk of water damage to the main floor around them. Good seals work when the rig is young, but can loose their ability to seal properly as they age. When looking at used rigs with slide outs, closely examine the main floor around each one. If you can lift the carpet adjacent to the slide out and see the wood floor is a gray color, that is a sign that water gets inside. Also, completely open the slide out and step on the main floor adjacent to the slide out. If it feels soft, the plywood or chip board material underneath likely requires replacing. About The Chassis The most popular is the Ford E350 and E450 with the V10 engine and this year Ford replaces that 6.8L-V10 with a larger, more powerful 7.3L-V8. The Ford Transit diesel and the Mercedes Sprinter diesel are popular alternatives to the E350 in the smaller sizes. The GM 3500 & 4500 chassis are not popular but are a very good choice for the right application. Any of the chassis mentioned made since 1998 are real good, new or used. If you plan to tow a car or heavy trailer, be aware that the Transit and Sprinter will be least powered. People who tow with them naturally take it slower. I am not sure a Transit can tow anything significant. That needs further research. If considering a recent “small” class B+ or C motor home, here is a comparison between the two current main chassis contenders, the Sprinter with the V6 diesel engine and the Ford E350 with the V10 gasoline engine. Advantages Of The Mercedes Sprinter With Diesel Engine - Offers a 35%-50% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically. - More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room. - Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride. - A grander view out the windshield - Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to. Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine or larger V8 engine - Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $24,000 MSRP cheaper - The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque - The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight. - The E350 is able to tow a heavier load. - The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability. - In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel - The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America - The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping. - This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions, you are low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford offers a great backup system. The V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues. You decide what your priorities are, and pick the appropriate chassis. There are some really sweet motor homes being built exclusively on the Sprinter chassis, such as the Winnebago Navion and View. The Ford Transit Chassis This chassis is increasing in popularity in the smallest sizes. According to Ford's website, the Transit DRW chassis is offered in the 156", and 178" wheel base, and is rated as high as 10,360 GVWR. Ford offers a motor home package specific for the RV industry. It's diesel engine compares to the Sprinter in power and fuel economy, but is more affordable and is easily serviced at Ford service centers, just like the E350 & E450. The cab has a lower stance than the Sprinter making it much more friendly to get into and out from for people in their later years. Entering and exiting is more like a mini-van rather than a standard van. The Transit's lower cab also offers roomier over-head bunks that are easier to access. The Dodge Promaster 3500 Cut-Away Chassis This front wheel drive chassis is another recent entry in the RV industry. I am concerned over it's lack of load capability as reflected with single free-wheeling rear wheels. I have been reading posts written by new Promaster RV owners stating they are over-weight with just two people, some personal effects and food. They say they can't carry water and never a 3rd person. I would not be comfortable with such a limited load range in a B+ or C. This chassis does seem to be a good option in the "B" motor home market. The Chevy 3500 & 4500 Chassis Unfortunately this chassis is not more popular, primarily because GM sort-of gave up on competing with the Ford E350 & E450. It offers more interior comfort than the Ford, but not as much as the Sprinter. It's power & weight ratings are a little less than their Ford counter-parts making them a great chassis for all but the heaviest of class Cs. They are also a little better on fuel consumption. One thing to keep in-mind, if you are counting inches in storing your rig, the Chevy is a little longer than the Ford by a number of inches which was critical for us with our garage as seen HERE with our Ford 2007 E350 rig. That could be the reason why the Chevy has a little more interior driver/passenger leg room. The Ford E350 & E450 The majority of class B+ and C motor homes are built on one of these two chassis for a number of very good reasons, and with the changes in recent years to the engine and transmission, the good reasons increase. They have more power and load capability than the others. Ford approves outfitters to modify the chassis to increase or decrease the wheel base which supplies motor home companies a lot of design freedom. Ford has off-the-shelf components that work with the wheel base modification. So if you need a new drive shaft, fuel line, brake line, parking brake cable, wire harness, whatever, Ford has them available. Finally, the E350 and E450 chassis is competitively priced. Engine Power Ratings of Ford, MB-Sprinter, Chevy, and Dodge Ford E350 & E450 - 6.8L-V10, 305hp, 420ft (7.3L-V8 starting in 2020) Ford Transit Diesel - 3.2L-I5, 185hp, 350ft Mercedes Sprinter Diesel - 3.0L-V6, 188hp, 325ft Chevy 3500 & 4500 - 6.0L-V8, 323hp, 373ft Dodge Promaster - 3.6L-V6 (GVW only 9,300 pounds) Now to supply some data as to why I feel our Phoenix Cruiser stands above most other brands. These two videos drag on, but provide lots of data and also clarify critical things to look for when evaluating any brand. CLICK HERE on a comparison between a Phoenix Cruiser and an undisclosed brand. I think it is a Nexus. There is a lot of nit-picking but is notable when adding it all up. It is also educational on what makes a better motor home...of coarse at a higher price too. CLICK HERE for a slideshow on how a Phoenix Cruiser is built. I feel this slide show teaches so much, especially about hidden things that unsuspecting buyers would never think about.
ron.dittmer 01/09/21 06:57am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Lifting my class C

Given the age of your rig, back in the late 90's, early 2000's, it was common for motor homes to have a 3500 pound hitch. Sometime around 2005, it was increased to 5000 pounds, and as of late, it's increased to 7500 pounds. I wonder if you might benefit from a stronger-rated hitch that happens to mount with more ground clearance. If you are handy enough to unbolt the old hitch and install the new hitch yourself, the cost to purchase the hitch alone won't be expensive. Another observation... Studying your last picture, your rollers are mounted in "extended" fashion. I wonder if you removed the extenders, they just might still make "first contact". Assuming your rear springs are in good condition, as a minimum to address ground clearance, I would add 2" worth of spacers on each rear spring stack, and raise your two rollers by removing their extenders. I would save the extra spring and air bags for later (if needed) because they will stiffen the rear suspension, adding extra stress on the house and it's seam work from the rougher ride. Regarding "improved handling". I would start with heavy duty front and rear Helwig stabilizer bars (and heavy duty shocks right up next) and evaluate from there. They will provide your "best bang for the buck". They will also significant improve the safety of your rig, most notably in mountain and canyon driving by planting all your tires more firmly on the pavement for improved control and also improved braking power. It is highly probable that your rear drum brakes will benefit immensely from a good manual adjustment process. If handy, you can do that yourself at home. Ask me if you want the details. Properly adjusted rear drum brakes on a motor home will significantly improve brake performance. If they don't do their share of the work, the front brakes will take on more work than designed for and they will lock up. On mountain and canyon roads, if they lock up during your turns, you are heading to the cliff. If you have anti-lock brakes (a good thing) the two front tires still can't slow down so much weight efficiently. Get your 4 rear tires doing their share of the work by adjusting the distance "tight" between the rear brake shoes and drums. I speak from personal experience with our previous motor home that was built on a Toyota chassis.
ron.dittmer 12/31/20 04:25pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Lifting my class C

I recently redid the rear springs and added a leaf--one leaf was actually broken.A broken leaf spring is certainly something to check for, but you bring up an interesting subject of adding another leaf per rear corner to get more lift. Our particular garage door clearance would not allow for a taller rig, but if that opening was tall enough, I would consider adding one leaf per rear corner, or better yet, a spacer per corner. A spacer increases lift without increasing harshness of ride. Spacers are commonly used in the RV industry to level a rig that is heavier in one rear corner than the other. It makes sense to use them to increase rear ground clearance in permanent fashion.
ron.dittmer 12/31/20 06:31am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Lifting my class C

Hi Nomadist, Our rig is 23'-8" over-all length, just a tad bit longer than your rig. Our weight placement is tail-heavy and front-light. What I did is not a full encompassing solution to your dilemma, but it was an easy and affordable increase in tail height, leveling the rig, and also ride-comfort. CLICK HERE to read about it which includes some detail in picture fashion. In your case, I would install rear air bags which should increase your rear ground clearance a couple extra inches. Between the two changes, you could increase your rear ground clearance by roughly 3". If your rig is built on a Ford E350 chassis and suspension improvements were not yet performed, I strongly recommend the following. - Add a heavy duty rear stabilizer bar. You have no rear stabilizer of any kind. - Replace your weak front stabilizer bar with a heavy duty version. - Pending the condition of your shock absorbers, replace them with heavy duty Bilstein shocks. Those 3 changes will improve control, not increase rear-end clearance.
ron.dittmer 12/30/20 08:47pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Parks And Places Online

I think you people are over-thinking this. My brother's PARKS AND PLACES ONLINE is a hobby of his in his recent retirement, sharing his travel experiences with gentile reference to God our Creator.
ron.dittmer 12/29/20 06:17am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Changing Spare Tire

I am 62 years old, not significantly overweight, but was never blessed with Conan-like physical characteristics. I have had the front wheels off my Ford E350 chassis motor home just this past summer to change the front springs to softer-rated ones. I am happy to report that I can handle a wheel by myself with no concerns. A 6-ton bottle jack and tire iron are the two basic items required to lift any corner. A higher-rated bottle jack will be much heavier and much harder to handle so I don't recommend the over-kill. Our spare tire is stored chest high and I am able to get it up and down myself, but I can see that my days are numbered in that regard. I can see resorting to a camping neighbor one day if I ever had a flat to deal with. I maintain the full 80psi in the spare tire, then plan to let out the right amount of air pending the location it is mounted.
ron.dittmer 12/28/20 07:05pm Class C Motorhomes
Parks And Places Online

My brother has been putting together YouTube videos of parks and places that he and my sister-in-law have travelled to. It's sort-of a travel channel hobby he is establishing. CLICK HERE to get to his YouTube listing of short videos. I thoroughly enjoyed the one video called "No To Solar", primarily because he shares his opinion during a hike in Big Bend National Park. I simply enjoyed his hike.
ron.dittmer 12/27/20 06:53pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Gulfstream BT Cruiser Quality

I think the other important point for shorter C's is the knowing the weight distribution especially when towing a trailer causing the front end to be light.It is very interesting that you bring this up. Our Phoenix Cruiser (23'-8" long with a 158" wheel base) loaded up on a trip with a full tank of fresh water, the rear axle is at capacity, but the front axle is very light.....heavily over-rated. Our fresh water tank is situated against the rear wall so that 35 gallons of weight is a counterweight to the front end. We also have a 5000 pound hitch with a tongue weight rated at 500 pounds. If we trailered at that capacity, it would add 1000 more pounds on the rear axle.....a very bad condition. Fortunately we tow 4-wheels-down so our actual tongue weight is a negligible 25 pounds or so. One thing I recently did was softening the ride up front, since is was so heavily over-rated for the actual application. CLICK HERE to read all about my project which includes detailed pictures.
ron.dittmer 12/22/20 01:59pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Gulfstream BT Cruiser Quality

Well just checked my 08 Bounder wall specs and it to is mounted on the outside on a wall hanger, after 12 years and 52,000 miles its still in great shape and zero issues, Fleetwood says its to reduce squeaks from the wall to floor.That makes no sense to me, but it must be working because many manufactures do it. It is good to read that you have no issues. BTW: Our Phoenix Cruiser 2350 with the walls resting on the floor, is 13 years old and we have no squeaks either. It's been a very "tight" rig. I imagine it helps that the house is smaller than most in over-all height and width. Any box made with the same exact materials will be stronger when made smaller. A softer riding suspension should also help.
ron.dittmer 12/22/20 07:22am Class C Motorhomes
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