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Old 04-01-2018, 06:13 PM   #1
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F53 suspension issues

Hello: I'm new to the forum and to a new motorhome - 2018 Vista LX 27N. After the first shakedown trip I realizes that I needed a lot of suspension mods. Already completed is the roadmaster rear add on sway bar, the front roadmaster replacement sway bar and Koni shocks. The handling has improved but not as much as I would like. The steering is very mushy and any amount of wind is a problem.

I have done some research on steering stabilizers and trac bars, but most of the information I have seen on trac bars refers to rear trac bars. The improvement I have read about using a rear trac bar is that it helps when a big truck passes while overtaking the MH on a four lane road - that the wind blast forces the rear of the MH to the right which forces the front to the left. That's not my problem. When the truck reaches about mid MH it pushes the front of my MH to the right. It would seem that this would be helped with a front trac bar and a steering stabilizer. Am I correct? Would like opinions from more experienced folks. Questions like -
1) Front or rear trac bar or both & which manufacturer?
2) Conventional steering stabilizer or return to center & which manufacturer?
3) Is there a further benefit from Sumo springs as well?

I need all the help I can get. My knuckles are still white from the last trip.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:55 PM   #2
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I’ve only done the Sumo Springs and the Steering Stabilizer, but this has cured my suspension issues about 90%.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:55 AM   #3
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Remember you are driving a big box down the road and it will not drive like a car.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:10 AM   #4
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Humble Bob-

According to posts on iRV2, the F-53 chassis alignment can strongly affect the steering feel. Here and here are links to two threads. Don't let the "tech talk" overwhelm you. What is important is that your coach chassis suspension be in alignment.

Also, correct tire pressures for the coach wheel/axle weights can help.

Your 2018 already has a front track bar.

Any of the name-brand rear track bars should do. On iRV2, there is a thread on a DIY rear track bar (link here).

The prior owner of our coach added a Roadmaster steering stabilizer. Therefore, I don't know how well it "improves" steering. I can say the steering is not vague.

You do not mention sway as a problem after you added the Roadmaster front and rear anti-sway bars. The Sumo Springs act as anti-sway devices. Adding them would not help the symptoms you describe.

I'd take steps in this order:

1) Tire pressures
2) Alignment
3) Steering stabilizer
4) Rear track bar
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:14 AM   #5
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Thanks Creativepart - which steering stabilizer did you use
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:23 AM   #6
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1v3fr33rd1 - thanks for the input. Tire pressure and alignment have already been dealt with. I will check with Winnebago about the front trac bar because my 27N does not have one. Maybe it got left off for some reason - if so "warranty claim".
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humble Bob View Post
Thanks Creativepart - which steering stabilizer did you use
Roadmaster RSS Reflex Steering Stabilizer.

The Sumo Springs really helped all kinds of issues. Though I still have some body sway - that tippy feeling - and I think an additional rear anti-sway bar would help that. The Sumo's tighten up all the responses so there is much less wallowing. The ride is a bit firmer but not harsh.

The folks that installed my steering stabilizer didn't adequately tighten the mounting clamp on the steering arm and shortly after the install I was making a right hand 90 degree turn in a campground and I heard the stabilizer slip and it jammed in the turned position. We were on our way home at the time and I had to drive 4 hours holding the steering wheel cranked in the opposite direction to make the RV go straight.

It turned out that the stabilizer hung down because of this and during the ride home it bent the steering arm, too. My installer took full credit and installed a new RSS and new steering arm free of charge to correct it. I didn't even need to ask them to do it. I showed them the damage and they set about ordering the parts and fixing everything. When it came time to pay for the work I said, "I want to talk to you guys about your involvement in causing this problem." Their response was "We know, it's a $0 charge invoice for the work." Nice!
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:54 AM   #8
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Thanks - I'm leaning toward the Roadmaster RSS. The Roadmaster sway bars really do help, along with the Koni shocks. Still trying to figure out the trac bar issue.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:14 AM   #9
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Hmm...

2018 Vista LX brochure link on Winnebago points to 2017 LX brochure, here. Page 22 of the brochure says the 27N is built on the Ford 18,000-pound GVWR, 178-inch wheelbase chassis.

2017 Ford F-53 chassis specs are here (pages are oddly mislabeled here and there, but the info appears correct when compared with other sources). Page 7 of those specs says the front track bar is standard on the 18,000-pound GVWR chassis.

This is the path I took to answer the question in my post #4.

If you can confirm the information above to your satisfaction, it will give you some basis for discussion with Winnebago.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:23 AM   #10
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Some folks swear by the rear Track Bar. The trackbar is a simple device - also known as a Panhard rod. It stops the solid rear axle from moving forward and aft.

Since the solid rear axle is located by the leaf springs it can move up and down, but it can also move forward on one side and back on the other side and visa versa. This movement "steers" the rear axle and can be a problem. The track bar lets the axle move up and down but not forward or aft. It just locks one side of the axle which prevents all such fore/aft movement on both sides of the axle.

The Sumo Springs have a small effect on this as well. As they tie the solid rear axle to the center of the lowest part of the leaf spring. This controls axle movement up, down, and forward and aft. But it doesn't limit the forward/aft movement. Just controls it.

I think that the front track bar is part of the Ford Chassis, and if so it would be very unusual for it to be left off by the factory. WBGO doesn't install that part it's just a standard part of the Ford cutdown chassis. It seems that after market manufacturers have abandoned the front track bar product because "Ford puts them on the F53 chassis as standard now". All I see for sale are rear track bars.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:58 AM   #11
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Thanks again - The Ford spec says it should have a front trac bar - I will go over to the storage lot and crawl under and have a look. I have also called Ford and given them the VIN for them to check. They said they will call be back.
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Old 04-02-2018, 12:00 PM   #12
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Yes. The spec says it should have the front trac bar. I have called Ford and given them the VIN and they will check to see what the chassis actually had from the factory. I will go to storage and crawl under and see what is or is not there.
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:18 PM   #13
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I drove to storage and crawled under the MH (not easy to see much) but it does have a front trac bar. That said, the problem still exists - when a big rig passes on my left it pushes the front of the MH to the right, not left. One other item, I am towing a 5000lb. off road vehicle (jacked up Nissan Xterra) on a Roadmaster tow bar. I guess my next move is a steering stabilizer and/or a rear trac bar.
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Old 04-03-2018, 04:25 AM   #14
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We found the rear trac bar was the most beneficial.
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