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So I took my first test drive in a 40' motor home...


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... but this was not my first rodeo with heavy hauls on the highway. The front felt "drifty" and I got out to look at the front tires: Yup... cupping. This is when it all really sank in.

 

Up until recently, I had been powering up a diesel to pull a 5'er. I did almost all my own work, including the brakes. I carry tools with me wherever I go, and I feel confident in doing some pretty deep repairs on the road - I could even swap fuel injectors on the roadside. The motor home idea was floated - leaving all that work on my truck at a loss if I sell it. Careful research on the web was leaning us to the point where we drove 140 miles to look at a few.

 

My favorite was a '99 Monaco Windsor - I instantly like the layout, the quality of the build, and the add-ons the PO put in there (like the Banks system). As expected, the 16-year-old had electrical issues, but that just means I get to update everything to the way I like things. LED lighting, better connectors, better switches, upgraded faces, modern electronics, etc.... During the test drive, the poor tracking really bothered me. The vehicle allegedly has 90K miles on it, but that's too soon for the front end to start the "Old parts wander". Looking closely at the cupping on the tires, I got this big smack on the face "That's a big damn tire, and I couldn't jack it up with anything I own." I would be at the mercy of a shop, and a flat tire in the middle of the desert would be an expensive event.

 

I understand many here would be "Yeah, So?", but I'm a DIYer, and I'm starting to realize this level of motorhoming is more for those with deeper pockets. Can I spring for the repairs and $1000 for new tires? Yes. Can I throw down $3000-$4000 for a full set of tires every few years? Yes. Do I want to pay for the service to fix a flat 60 miles from the nearest stop sign? Not really... even though it has it's appeal (letting others do dirty work for me).

 

Any feedback on all of this?

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Most of these big rigs have air brakes. My rig even has an air hose for putting air back into the tires (and can get up to 120psi). I carry two $80 jacks from Harbor Freight that let me jack the front or back of the rig up completely using the air from the air brake system. I just position them appropriately, hook up the air hose, stand to the side, and push the button.

 

I like DIY too but at some point (like you said) it's ok to watch someone else do it. But carrying the right gear isn't that big of a deal. So Coachnet (for $10 a month or so) is my pal. :)

 

And a dually pulling a 5er can have 10 tires at $150 each (or more). Those have to be replaced now and then, too. I have six at $300 (or more).

 

WDR

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If you have the correct tires for the load, and keep them properly inflated, and replace them at no more than 7 years, a flat on a class A is a pretty rare event. Yes, it does happen, but rarely on properly used & maintained tires. We have had no flat tires on the MH in 13 years & 90k miles of RVing. I did find a low tire due to cracked valve stem when doing regular routine pressure checks in the first few months, and tpms has alerted me to a slightly low tire on a couple of occasions since then. We have used our road service, but not for tire issues. And I do have a lug wrench & 20 ton jack on board. I wrestled big tires in my younger years, and could now if I had to, but road service would be my first choice if at all possible.

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A 40' DP has 22.5" tires. Are you really ready to lift or pry up the 150-200 pounds of tire & wheel? I have a gasser with 19.5" 245/70 tires, quite a bit lighter than the 22.5". I weighed the sucker and it is about 125 pounds(including the wheel). It is not just the weight, it is so bulky it is hard to deal with.

 

For about $100/year Coach Net will provide road service to come swap your tire. No additional charge if you have a spare with the wheel on it. Extra charge if the tire is unmounted. Also towing included. Good Sam club has the service available as well.

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Fantastic feedback, guys!! My mind was spiraling into a form of "I can't have what I want" hell. I figured I'd hold off on blowing snot bubbles until I had a chance to consult with the pros. Good thing - the pity-party plans are now in a holding pattern.

 

One other thing I completely spaced off - the leveling system. Does that have the capability to lift the wheel off the road? Newbie question to be sure.

 

I agree with tire maintenance, that's how I had the foresight to look for cupping. I've never had a blowout in countless rigs and I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of miles - but I maintain my tires. I just asked because I don't like overlooked details.

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...And a dually pulling a 5er can have 10 tires at $150 each (or more). Those have to be replaced now and then, too. I have six at $300 (or more)....

 

I'm more in your camp... with the price of Michelins. Another item I completely spaced off (tire count).

 

Now the only gripe I can't escape is the tonnage. Only a really big diesel dually and 5'er will approach the weight of a Monaco pulling a Prius... but that's the trade-off for the two very different styles of road homes.

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OCD2AT

 

You know MH does not carry a spare tire or wheel.

 

I have seen MH setting on the levelers with the front wheels off the ground.

 

On DP MH you get to the engine from the bed room, sounds like fun to me. There is limited access from the back and sides, depending on the unit.

 

I buy two tires at a time and put the new ones on the front. I have heard it is best to keep them turning the same way, so I do that.

 

A pick-up and 5er is close to 25,000# and a Monaco 40 ft. is close to 40,000#. I know there is variables in these numbers.

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My HWH leveling jacks will pick the front up off the ground no sweat. I think the rear - where the engine and tranny are - is a different story.

 

But the problem is that if you have a flat, the jacks usually won't go down. At least mine won't if the coach is tipped to one side. Not enough clearance. I had a valve in a front tire fail and the tire went flat. I jacked it up with one HF jack and then aired it up while it was up (tubeless tires are almost impossible to air-up when they are flat... they have to be round to seal.

 

My DP is 22,500 lbs all up. About the same as a 5er and pickup of similar size. Of course when you add slides and extra width and height and a bigger toad....

 

I've had every RV except a pop-up trailer and, so far, I like the DP the best. But they all beat staying home...

 

WDR

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WDR...that sounds light for a DP. Mine is 12k just on the front axle..another 20K on the rear axle.

 

I too am a DIYer but that is for the parts in the coach not so much the drive train. I have used the rear legs to lift the coach wheels off the ground for short periods but would need to carry major blocking to make it safe to crawl under.

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WDR...that sounds light for a DP. Mine is 12k just on the front axle..another 20K on the rear axle.

 

I too am a DIYer but that is for the parts in the coach not so much the drive train. I have used the rear legs to lift the coach wheels off the ground for short periods but would need to carry major blocking to make it safe to crawl under.

The coach is a Foretravel U225; the 225 stands for GVW of 22,500 lbs. But the largest coach that FT made in 1993 was a U300. Even now the largest contingent of Foretravel motor homes are the bus styled U270, U290 and U320.

 

450hp in a 32,000 lb coach is pretty snappy.

 

WDR

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