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Old 05-15-2014, 03:09 PM   #1
BGR
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Ride Height for Horizon/Journeys

I have a "wandering" problem right now that started after rear tire replacement on my 03 Horizon 34H. Last time I was out the problem was almost frightening (at least for my wife ) with the wind being particularly strong that day. I had to compensate quite a bit to keep 'er going down the highway straight at 58 mph.

I've learned a lot from these forums what to inspect and adjust in trying to attack the problem and one thing that was mentioned was ride height. I'm taking the rig in for an alignment tomorrow and I mentioned to the tech I wanted to get a ride height adjustment and he asked me if I knew what the values should be and embarrassingly I said I didn't know, but would check the manual. The reality is I'm not quite clear on what ride height is (height of coach with bags inflated?), how it's adjusted and what the right specs would be for my Horizon 34H. Can any other Horizon/Meridian/Journey owners offer insight here?

The interesting thing about my problem is that it did start when I replaced the original 02 Michelin 255/80R22.5 rears with Toyo M154 265/75R22.5's. The fronts had been replaced about 5 years ago with Toyos and seem to be in good shape. I noticed the problem immediately on the trip home from the shop and thought it odd that new rear tires would introduce this. When I checked front tire pressure however I found there were only like 64-68 lbs in each! At this point I'm wondering if I made the 400 mile journey home after purchasing the rig with that little pressure in them or air was let out afterwards. I do know the thing handled great on the ride home, even with the old, cracked Michelins on the rear, so it made no sense (to me at least.)
I've brought the fronts back up to 90 lbs and I know need to have the thing weighed to properly adjust pressure, but haven't figured out a place to get that done yet.

Anyway, since this coach is new to us I'm going through a full round of maintenance and getting an alignment and ride height adjustment seems warranted. I do have to get this wandering problem under control before a big trip next month though.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
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The quickest way to get the ride height specs is to call Freightliner at 800-FTL-HELP. You can call anytime. You will need the last 6 of your VIN.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:51 AM   #3
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http://www.precisionframe.com/rvdeta...RideHeight.pdf

Follow this link. It should give you the info you need.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:17 AM   #4
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That doc is great, thanks. I also called FL as suggested and they provided the same information in the doc. 10" front and 10.25" rear (+/- .25") measured from bottom of frame rail to centerline of bottom shock bolt is the standard height for the XC chassis.

I was .5" off on one side and about 2" off on the other, so this may be contributing to my control issue. It's in the shop getting both ride height and alignment adjusted as I write this.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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Hope it does the trick. When I had my ride height and alignment done. a laser alignment, they found I had toe out.
The drive home was a vast improvement. Now if they offer it and if you are loaded up with fuel water and supplies get a 4 corner weight check.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:20 PM   #6
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Wonder if the tire size change had an effect of handling?
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Old 05-17-2014, 12:17 PM   #7
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Where you store things in the basement will change the ride height. If you shift your loads around, add or remove water or propane from the tanks, or restock your living area it could change the ride height. If you can get things placed where you think they belong, then get a 4 corner weigh, you will have a better idea of the possible cause of your height difference. The more balanced your load the better the adjustment will be and the ride and handling will improve.

I just added a TruCenter control to my coach. I have no idea if it has improved handling the conditions you mentioned because I have not been able to convince DW to pack up for a test drive. She truly makes the coach "homy" with plants on the dash, clocks on the sills and more "lovely" stuff when we park. But, that being a side issue, I have read nothing but good things about this device. We have extended our stay here in Prescott for another month so I won't know the results till then. The only drawback I can foresee is that it would be easy to compensate the steering pull when a real problem could be in the making, as in your case. So, vigilance is the required action.

If you are willing to go to Gaffney, SC to the Freightliner factory it would be worth the trip. Calling ahead to make an appointment is to your advantage. We sat in the parking lot (power provided) for a week before they "fit" us in. We enjoyed a factory tour during that time. Also, if you can plan to go there when they are having the school it is worth the time and money. We haven't been yet and don't know if we will be able to arrange to do so in the near future.

I hope I have given you food for thought. Happy trails.

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Old 05-17-2014, 03:08 PM   #8
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Your ride height will control two different important functions, your front end saster and rear end drive line alignment..

Leading to premature tire wear, poor handling, driveline growling and wear on U joints etc. when not set properly

The air bags when set properly fill and return the chassis to the set limits of the ride height adjustments no matter what the load.
actually there is a valve that when a load is added it adds air to the air spring (bag) and returns the chassis to its ride height, when the load is removed, it lets air out

I may be wrong but this is my knowledge of what the airbags/ride height do.

When you drive with or without water, burn your fuel down your ride height stays the same
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCtime View Post
Your ride height will control two different important functions, your front end saster and rear end drive line alignment..

Leading to premature tire wear, poor handling, driveline growling and wear on U joints etc. when not set properly

The air bags when set properly fill and return the chassis to the set limits of the ride height adjustments no matter what the load.
actually there is a valve that when a load is added it adds air to the air spring (bag) and returns the chassis to its ride height, when the load is removed, it lets air out

I may be wrong but this is my knowledge of what the airbags/ride height do.

When you drive with or without water, burn your fuel down your ride height stays the same
You may be correct about self leveling. I am not the one to comment on that. But, even if this is true, a grossly unbalanced basement will be felt in the ride. I had real problems with my last coach because the basement compartments were on the slides. It was hard to get my "stuff" in a good spot for balance because of the compartment restrictions. This new coach is easier to distribute the weight in because of the design and space available in the underbelly.

Another consideration of weight distribution is tire loading. What you have indicated is true plus this consideration. Correct loading, weighing, ride height adjust and front-end alignment should cover it all.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #10
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So true Rick

I am on of the fortunate ones, my front and rear side to side weight distribution varies not more than 200#, How lucky am I. Well maybe a bit more when I get in the drivers seat and my wife in hers, lol
BGR's , Horizon is a clone of my Journey so I expect he may enjoy the same with attention to his placement of his goodies.
But you never know till you get that 4 corner weight check. Its important.
If I don't inflate my tires to the proper weight for the load they are carrying plus 5#, and inflate them to sidewall pressures my teeth fillings will come loose.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCtime View Post
Your ride height will control two different important functions, your front end saster and rear end drive line alignment..

Leading to premature tire wear, poor handling, driveline growling and wear on U joints etc. when not set properly

The air bags when set properly fill and return the chassis to the set limits of the ride height adjustments no matter what the load.
actually there is a valve that when a load is added it adds air to the air spring (bag) and returns the chassis to its ride height, when the load is removed, it lets air out

I may be wrong but this is my knowledge of what the airbags/ride height do.

When you drive with or without water, burn your fuel down your ride height stays the same
That is very close to how Spartan says their air ride system works.
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Old 05-19-2014, 07:24 PM   #12
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Well now I'm frustrated. I don't feel competent enough to do a ride height adjustment and I wanted an alignment, so I had to find a local truck repair shop that will do this. My RV shop can't do alignment and he's the only guy (other than myself) I trust. I found a truck repair shop that seemed to have good reviews and was recommended by a couple of RV shops around here, albeit ones I wouldn't use. First warning sign on the initial call was the owner asking me what the ride height should be. Anyway, I got the information from Freightliner and the good folks in these forums. I measured the front height before taking it to the shop and found the driver's side dead on (10"), but swear the curbside was 1-2" off. In a way this was a competency test for the new shop and I did mention I thought that side was a off a bit.

I picked it up today and they told me no ride height adjustment was necessary. First he tried to tell me it was supposed to be 8.5" and I said, no FL says 10+-1/4". He then says well, we found that info on the internet and that's what it said. He tells me to wait and then brings back an article with pics and realizes oh, it was 10", not 8.5 Anyway he says, it was correct. Think I'm feeling confident now?

He also told me the alignment was off just a tad, with toe off by a quarter. At least, that's what tech wrote down. No problem here, can't really refute that.

He then tells me they brought the front tire pressure up to 130lbs. I said, 130lbs, why that much? He said "that's what it said on the side of the tire." I said, but that's the maximum cold inflation pressure, not the recommended pressure for this coach and its weight. Winnebago says 100lbs. He insists it's correct. This guy has owned a truck shop repair shop for like 30 years and works on truck chassis day in and day out and he believes this?

I didn't notice much difference driving it home and of course I was worried about the overinflated front tires which I'll now lower.

The shop also replaced the seals in my front hubs as they said found them leaking and the drivers side had leaked to the point where they told me it soaked the brake shoe and it had to be replaced. He did show me an oil film on the back side of the wheel, so I took him at his word, but now I'm wondering if I got scammed all around.

I've seen folks here say if you want the job done right (and honestly) do it yourself, but unfortunately that's just not possible for every job.
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:28 AM   #13
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If you had the time, I'd strongly suggest you take your coach to the Freightliner factory in Gaffney, SC or to Winnebago in Forest City. Either of these locations will give you the correct service it appears you need (4 wheel alignment {Freightliner only, Winnebago only does 2 wheel}, ride height, tire inflation). Inflating tires to the max on the sidewall is NOT the correct answer. Most wheels can only handle 110#. You need to get all 4 corners weighed then inflate to what is shown on the tire inflation chart (+10#).
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Old 05-20-2014, 06:33 AM   #14
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BGR, I hear your frustration. Been there. If you can find a FL Oasis service center in your near travels check in with them. These folks are supposed to be the custom chassis support folks of FL. I had all of these issues addressed at the Oasis center in Gaffney, SC, home of the FCCC. I came away a happy camper. A call to them might help. They could tell you of the center nearest you. Don't give up. All you are seeking is correct and MUST be done right. It is your money and the health of your equipment that is at stake here.

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Old 05-20-2014, 06:54 AM   #15
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BGR, The shop owner is/was correct for truck tire pressures, owner/operators do not concern themselves with a smooth ride from their tires, they focus on tire longevity and carrying-capacity. All the tire inflation/load charts show the absolute MINIMUM air pressure for the corresponding load, not the optimum, and nearly all so state. For instance, the RMA=Rubber Manufacturers Association states "over 90% of all tire failures are the result of under-inflation or overloading".
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:24 AM   #16
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Thanks, I've calmed down a bit.

Turns out they only put 120 lbs in the front tires. Still too much. I hear what you're saying Ray and for trucks you may want to load for maximum capacity and be less concerned about wear, handling, traction etc. Longevity though? Don't they wear faster at maximum inflation? In any case, my understanding was the manufacturers make those recommendations based on GAWR so I'm not sure why you would want to go that much higher. Part of my point was that I know this is a truck shop, but the guy wants RV business and markets for it, so if he's going to work on RVs he should know these things. I know there are a lot of folks that believe you should always run tires at max PSI, so maybe he's one of them.

I checked ride height again and it's definitely off on the curb side by an 1.5", so I'm going to take it elsewhere as I've read up again on the procedure and the cautions and it seems out of my depth.

Unfortunately the closest FL service center is 50m away, so I'll have to find another shop, one hopefully more competent.

Thanks for the insights everyone!
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:56 PM   #17
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BGR

Call the truck shop, talk to them very politely, explaining there must have been a mistake and ask them to reset the ride height on the low side.
They should make it right, you paid for the service.
You now know whats right and whats not. You can take your ruler and check it there.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:52 PM   #18
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I'm not sure of your tread patterns I have a service truck that weighs about 50,000. I changed the back tires and had Driver type tires put on (they are the type that have lugs on the edge of the tire) they don't match the front tread pattern. The truck was a handful at best. It felt like the back wanted to come around all the time. Good luck
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Call the truck shop, talk to them very politely, explaining there must have been a mistake and ask them to reset the ride height on the low side.
They should make it right, you paid for the service.
You now know whats right and whats not. You can take your ruler and check it there.
I'm having my regular shop do the height adjustment and then I'm going to let the truck shop know that the motorhome did indeed need it and ask them to do another alignment check at their cost.

Quote:
I'm not sure of your tread patterns I have a service truck that weighs about 50,000. I changed the back tires and had Driver type tires put on (they are the type that have lugs on the edge of the tire) they don't match the front tread pattern. The truck was a handful at best. It felt like the back wanted to come around all the time.
On the rear I put Toyo M154's, an all position tire. A previous owner put Toyo M140z's on the front and I'm not sure why, because that's considered a trailer tire. Toyo does say it is suitable for any position, but it wouldn't have been my first choice. They might be the problem. They're about 5-6 yrs old, but still have plenty of tread. (Motorhome only has 26k.) I'm trying to avoid the expense of two additional tires if unneeded, but if it fixes the problem it would be worth it.

Still can't explain why I found only 60-70 lbs in the fronts after getting the rears replaced. This was shortly after I bought it and I fear I made the 400 mi journey purchase journey back on them at that pressure, but it handled fine that first trip (and on my test ride.) Makes no sense.
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