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Old 07-13-2005, 03:17 AM   #1
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I posted this to the FCOC board too, but it seems folks might be interested here too. Sorry for it being so long.

We have a '05 Journey 34H and since delivery have had issues with the ride & handling. The ride is awful (imagine an empty moving van) and, while this is our first Class A, the handling is... disconcerting.

In order to get a handle on things I'm in the process of checking all the relevant stuff - weight, ride height & alignment. To that end, I've finished the first step. I was able to get the coach to a local commercial scale. I have an appointment next week for a ride height adjustment & 4 wheel alignment.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get left & right weights at the scale I used but here's
the numbers.

'05 34H Winnebago Journey Cat 350

I had my coach weighed with Full Fuel, Full Water (for weight), Empty
Grey/Black water tanks, 2 people on board in the front seats. All of our normal gear except no food in the fridge. We've got pretty much all the available options, but still your mileage may vary...

Front Axle Actual: 7,340
Front Axle GAWR: 10,410

Rear Axle Actual: 15,340
Rear Axle GAWR: 17,500

Gross Weight: 22,940


As you can see, for us, I can dramatically reduce the tire pressure. Even adding a fudge factor for not knowing the side-to-side weights, I can reduce the front pressure to 85psi. According to Michelin, the capacity of the XRV 255/80R22.5 LRG on our coach is 4440/side Single. In the rear, I can go with 90psi, which has a capacity of 8410/side Dual. So this gives me 8880/axle Front and 16820/axle rear, which I think should be safe until I can get side-to-side weights

I had been running the pressure according to what the max capacity of the axle, which was the best I could guess without getting weighed (110PSI front, 95psi).

By the way, for those of you paying attention, you'll notice that the rear axle carries 82% of its capacity and front only 70%, with a total rear weight bias of 67%. Others on the FCOC board noted that this wasn't too good. The down side of the shorter chassis, is that there's almost nothing that can be done about it. The thing to remember is that is especially import to load the shorter (less than 36') DP coaches from front to back, with your heavier items stored as close to the front as possible -- which we already do. Please don't rely strictly on my advice/suggestion. It's important to weigh your coach to make the proper choices for your own situation.

I'll work to post the results of the ride height & alignment in the event folks are intersted.

-Michael
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Old 07-13-2005, 03:17 AM   #2
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I posted this to the FCOC board too, but it seems folks might be interested here too. Sorry for it being so long.

We have a '05 Journey 34H and since delivery have had issues with the ride & handling. The ride is awful (imagine an empty moving van) and, while this is our first Class A, the handling is... disconcerting.

In order to get a handle on things I'm in the process of checking all the relevant stuff - weight, ride height & alignment. To that end, I've finished the first step. I was able to get the coach to a local commercial scale. I have an appointment next week for a ride height adjustment & 4 wheel alignment.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get left & right weights at the scale I used but here's
the numbers.

'05 34H Winnebago Journey Cat 350

I had my coach weighed with Full Fuel, Full Water (for weight), Empty
Grey/Black water tanks, 2 people on board in the front seats. All of our normal gear except no food in the fridge. We've got pretty much all the available options, but still your mileage may vary...

Front Axle Actual: 7,340
Front Axle GAWR: 10,410

Rear Axle Actual: 15,340
Rear Axle GAWR: 17,500

Gross Weight: 22,940


As you can see, for us, I can dramatically reduce the tire pressure. Even adding a fudge factor for not knowing the side-to-side weights, I can reduce the front pressure to 85psi. According to Michelin, the capacity of the XRV 255/80R22.5 LRG on our coach is 4440/side Single. In the rear, I can go with 90psi, which has a capacity of 8410/side Dual. So this gives me 8880/axle Front and 16820/axle rear, which I think should be safe until I can get side-to-side weights

I had been running the pressure according to what the max capacity of the axle, which was the best I could guess without getting weighed (110PSI front, 95psi).

By the way, for those of you paying attention, you'll notice that the rear axle carries 82% of its capacity and front only 70%, with a total rear weight bias of 67%. Others on the FCOC board noted that this wasn't too good. The down side of the shorter chassis, is that there's almost nothing that can be done about it. The thing to remember is that is especially import to load the shorter (less than 36') DP coaches from front to back, with your heavier items stored as close to the front as possible -- which we already do. Please don't rely strictly on my advice/suggestion. It's important to weigh your coach to make the proper choices for your own situation.

I'll work to post the results of the ride height & alignment in the event folks are intersted.

-Michael
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Old 07-13-2005, 05:26 AM   #3
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Michael,

Funny you bring this up!!!! I have an Itasca Meridian 34H. Even though it is my first motorhome, it is my opinion that it handles terribly! I am very interested in what you find with relation to the front end alignment. I suspect that the wandering that I am experienceing is related to that.

Shawn
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:58 AM   #4
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Zephyr:

Have you noticed an improvement in ride with reduction in the tire pressure?
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:14 AM   #5
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Hi zephyr451,
We had an 03 Journey DL 36LD and also had handling issues. The ride of the 235/80R 22.5 XRV's was smooth enough but it tended to wander and you were uncomfortable with where it was going to go when you steered it down the road. I talked with a tire dealer about this problem and was told that Michelin makes the XRV tire to be as soft as can be to give RVer's as smooth a ride as possible. His recommendation was to replace the tires with XZE regional truck tires. They have a higher load factor, stiffer ride, longer treed life, and should make a significant change in the handling qualities of the rig. My birthday rolled around and I treated myself to 6 255/80R 22.5 XZE tires and was amazed at the difference. We have since moved up to an 05 Horizon 40WD which comes standard with 275/80R 22.5 XZE tires and we opted for independent front suspension. Just corrected a toe in problem that was causing undue ware on the outside of the front tires but other than that, after 33,000 miles, it handles great, rides smooth, and turns on a dime. As memory serves, your weights seem about the same as we had on our Journey. Ride height might be an answer but air pressure seems like it would make the most difference. Too much and you don't have enough treed patch in contact with the road. This would definitely cause rough ride and squirrelly handling. Too little and the tire will overheat from sidewall flexing.
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:28 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by smlranger:
Zephyr:

Have you noticed an improvement in ride with reduction in the tire pressure? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

To be honest, we haven't been on a trip yet. I'll be driving the coach up to the alignment shop (about 30 miles) next Monday, with the new pressure settings. After we get it back we'll be off on a weekend excursion with all the factors set (tire pressure, ride height, alignment). I'll be sure to report the effects of each of the changes.

-Michael
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:47 AM   #7
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I think you're taking the logical steps in the correct order. Winnebago did change the spec'd out tire size from the 235 to 255 width so some of us with the 235's had to run high pressures to support the weight. You've already got the 255's which can support quite a bit more weight than your rig weighs as you've found out. Correct the tire pressure is a good first step, and having the allignment checked is number two.

Be sure to have the ride height checked before the allignment is done as it will change the allignment if the front suspension height is significantly changed.

When I first got our rig, the first trip it did not drive to my liking. It was only when I took it to be alligned did I realize how far off the ride hight was set. Our rig leaned over an inch to one side. The allignment shop was kind enough to allow me to part the rig on their rack and adjust the ride height before they started on the allignment. It was like driving a different rig after correcting the height.

The alignment rack happens to be a perfect level location so it's easy to adjust the height there.
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:41 AM   #8
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We knew about the short wheelbase, light nose issues before we entered the MH purchasing cycle thanks to the information we purchased from RV Consumer Group. We made a conscious decision that we'd be sacrificing some stability because we did not want a 36-40 foot coach. To be sure, this is a universal issue not limited to FCCC chassis.

In anticipation of problems we added a Blue Ox TrueCenter in order to help compensate for the tendency for short wheelbase induced wandering which is amplified if you are towing. $700 installed but it really works and provides a manual ability to compensate for crosswinds too (switch on dash).

I was fortunate my dealer at time of delivery had adjusted the tire pressure to 85 front/90 rear from the factory delivery of max pressure used to improve fuel economy on the cross country delivery. They provided a proper walkthrough on the weight inflation tables too.

The dealer however could not prove they did a ride height/alignment check as required in the PDI. I went to my FCCC Oasis dealer and had it checked. They said it was all to spec. I sent the invoice ($150) to the dealer and they reimbursed me for half.

With short trip camping loads we have been running 92 front/97 rear (I interpolated the tables between the 5 lbs ranges). This was based on axle weights divided by 2. I finally found a public scale within an hour drive where I can weigh all four corners separately. I plan to do that next week after loading up for a 2 week trip.

We find the ride is MUCH better at the lower pressures and the cornering handling on the Michelin's is still quite good.

Also, keep in mind since the fuel tank is right behind the front axle you will probably find the coach starts to get a little twitchy as the fuel level goes down. By more twitchy I mean more sensitive to road conditions such as ruts in concrete from studded tires (a general problem here in the Pacific Northwest). I find when I first notice it the fuel is down to 1/3 or less.

Based on other research some of the remaining ride/handling problems are due to the Michelin tires themselves. Within a year I plan on switching over to Goodyear G670's (lot of information about these tires elsewhere in the forums).
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Old 07-13-2005, 02:50 PM   #9
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally Posted by Jon & Vicki:
I was fortunate my dealer at time of delivery had adjusted the tire pressure to 85 front/90 rear from the factory delivery of max pressure used to improve fuel economy on the cross country delivery. They provided a proper walkthrough on the weight inflation tables too.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Unfortunately, I know for a fact that my dealer did nothing to check the tire pressures and I'll know soon enough about the ride height. It's good to know that's a PDI item. I'll be able to use it as a lever to get some money out of them.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Also Originally Posted by Jon & Vicki:
I finally found a public scale within an hour drive where I can weigh all four corners separately. I plan to do that next week after loading up for a 2 week trip.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It would be very interesting to hear what your weights are, as we have the same basic coach. I look forward to your post.

I don't have any opinions, myself, about the tires. Michelin certainly hasn't made a strong reputation for themselves in the RV market. I hope to use them for a couple of years, as we'd like to get a toad first.
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Old 07-13-2005, 05:50 PM   #10
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For what it's worth, I replaced my Michelins with Goodyears at 4,000 miles. It made a dramatic improvement in road wander and ride. I then added the Blue Ox TrueCenter and now when I release the wheel it will track straight down the road.
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:35 PM   #11
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CalTex,

Sweet. That's just what I was hoping to hear from someone with my configuration. Now I'm sure I'm going to do it.

Did you get dynamic balancers at the same time too?

Out of curiosity how long did you have to wait get the Goodyear's and what did you pay? I've read posts in various forums of anywhere from off-the-shelf to 4 months on backorder.
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:05 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by CalTex:
For what it's worth, I replaced my Michelins with Goodyears at 4,000 miles. It made a dramatic improvement in road wander and ride. I then added the Blue Ox TrueCenter and now when I release the wheel it will track straight down the road. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

What size Goodyears did you select? I was looking at the G670RV mentioned by Jon & Vicki and according to the line card, aren't available in 255/80R22.5.
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:44 PM   #13
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Zephyr I put on the Goodyear G670 275/70/22.5 since it matched the rolling radius fairly closely.

John & Vici I did not get the dynamic balancers, although I did look at them. I decided to just have them all balanced in the conventional way. I also had then checked for roundness and would have had them trued if necessary. The tires were in stock (this was year ago in Dallas) and I think I paid about $2,200 mounted and balanced.
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Old 07-14-2005, 02:20 PM   #14
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Michael,
It certainly sounds like you've done your homework! Good luck,
Tagalong
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Old 07-18-2005, 07:54 AM   #15
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I have a 2004 Meridian 34h. I'm running 90 lbs in the front and 98 in the rear. I've got 12,400 miles on it and I have always been happy with the ride and handling.

Joe T
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Old 07-19-2005, 01:35 AM   #16
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Well, I just thought I'd close out the thread here with a note on the results of the alignment, etc.

Basically, the alignment & ride-height were already set according to spec, although they did find the left front toe to be out a bit. The shop verified the ride height, alignment (all four wheels), made sure that both axles were square to the chassis and made sure the chassis was square too.

I had the coach weighed and I was able to make dramatic changes to the tire pressure as a result -- 87 Front, 90 Rear. I had been using the pressure associated with the max axle rating until I could get the proper weight (110 front, 95 rear). I could use still lower pressures, but I'd like to keep a little extra in case the scale wasn't entirely accurate, or we add a bit more stuff, etc.

The ride is greatly improved as a result. Still, I guess I had hoped the ride would still be more compliant. I'm also surprised to the extent that large trucks like this rely on tires to deliver a compliant ride.

At least now I'm sure of the coach is properly setup and is working as the factory intended -- something I wasn't sure of prior to all this work. The expense of all this was fairly modest. The shop only charged me $160.00 for the whole thing, although I think it would have been more if the rear had needed adjustment.

That's all for now. Thanks for all your help!!

-Michael
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Old 07-27-2005, 05:49 AM   #17
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Michael: Interesting topic. My 34H with full fuel and water, set-up with everything my wife and I carry weighed in at : STEERING AXEL 7820, DRIVE AXLE 16640, GROSS 24460.

Also, handling issues; I had 3Ts (3tsrv.com) install a handling kit on my coach. There was a big improvement. My wife enjoys taking her turn at the wheel because our coach handles great. 3Ts is in Lake Havasu AZ, the kit can be installed by a mechanic or yourself. 3Ts, 800-223-1779, Tina is the office manager. Anyone with handling questions should call. Tell her Gary in CA says hello.

Also, thanks all for the info on the tires......
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Old 07-27-2005, 09:00 AM   #18
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Gary,

You're the second person who has posted the weight of their 34H. The other one was on the FCOC forum. Interestingly enough both of your coaches weighed more than ours. It makes me concerned that the scale I was weighed on wasn't entirely accurate.

Do you have the washer dryer option? What was the CCC listed on your data sheet in the bedroom closet?

As I noted in a prior post

My axle weights are

7,340 front
15,340 rear

That's 1780 pounds difference. Granted we didn't have everyone on board (no wife, no dogs, no food, etc). That still seems like a bunch.

Just food for thought.

Thanks for your info!!

-michael
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Old 07-27-2005, 02:44 PM   #19
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Just for reference here are my weights (done by the dealer before any thing was loaded on the coach. It had a half tank of fuel, no water no waste.

Left Front 3010
Right Front 3290
Total Front 6300

Left Rear 7210
Right Rear 7210
Total Rear 14420

Total Coach 20720

Robert
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Old 07-27-2005, 04:02 PM   #20
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I've also been thinking about getting dynamic balancers. I've been leaning toward the centramatic system http://www.centramatic.com/.

I like the idea of something external to the tire, rather than stuff you put inside the tire. With the inside tire solutions, I can't get around the possible damage to the interior of the tire.
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