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What equipment options are there to smooth a rough ride on BLM / FS roads?


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I recently purchased a 2015 Fleetwood Bounder (34' class A gas coach) and added 960W of solar with 400ah of lithium storage and a cell booster and WiFi booster for remote communications so I can do considerable boondocking in the western US and Canada. I have been down about 100 miles of BLM and forest service roads in the last month and am concerned about wear and tear on the coach caused by the intermittent washboard surfaces and potholes. One trap I constantly fall into is speeding up when the road smooths out only to be going too fast when washboard suddenly reappears. I just got off of a 30 mile one way trip along FR-22 to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, averaging 10-15mph and still hitting the brakes when the road suddenly got rough.

 

Are there equipment upgrades I can purchase to improve the suspension on these back roads?

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I tend to agree with Jim except that I have found that a lot of places will not allow one to ride an ATV down their roads.....especially state and national Parks. Personally I would look at towing a jeep if you do a lot of these parks. As Jim mentioned with his quad....my RZR can do a good 40 to 50 miles per hr where with my motorhome I would be doing 10 mph. With my jeep I would probably be travelling at somewhere between 30 to 50 mph on the same roads.

We do a lot of boondocking just like what you are describing. For that reason we tow a 4x4 pickup with the RZR on the back. I go in as far as I am confortable with the motorhome . Then we do day trips with the truck or RZR depending on the terrain. Its a lot of fun!

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You can also lower air pressure in the tires in jeep or pickup but would not on motorhome and then air them back up when you get ready to head down better roads. Not the greatest for tires but it beats shaking all the bolts out :huh: plus ruining shocks, breaking frame etc :angry: Plus shaking up your drinks ;)

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Shocks might help if yours are weak but nothing is going to beat slowing down.

 

Took us a while to figure that out, once we realized we were in no hurry the speed issues became a non-problem. What sense does it make to arrive a few minutes sooner, tired - stressed and with rig repairs looming in the near future?

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Not quite the same, but replacing the shocks in my 2500HD tow vehicle made a huge difference on washboard roads. I was surprised, since I figured the harshness was from the stiffness of the springs. I did get adjustable shocks (Rancho 9000XL's I believe) and if I'm on a roughed out road for a while, I'll climb under the truck and turn the shocks to full soft. It is really an amazing difference.

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I find that driving about 15-20mph on washboard helps smooth out the ride. This way you are hitting the tops of the washboard peaks instead of dropping down into each gully. BTW the 15-20mph is a guess. I don't look at the speedometer, I just drive fast enough to smooth out the bumps.

 

The RV does get vibrated quite a bit with the increased speed. The increased speed does smooth out the really hard sharp jarring you get when you drop down into every gully.

 

You must keep a sharp eye out for the pot holes though. Dropping into a deep one can do some damage.

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Suspect this is the F53 Chassis, with V10, a good combo.

 

Yes to doing four corner weights, and lowering the PSI to the lowest safe PSI setting.

 

Also, I believe the F53 comes with a Bilstein shock, but the specific model of shock makes a differences. Some shocks, like the Koni FSD, control dampen the ride on the 'rebound or down stroke' of the piston, vs the 'up stroke' of the piston into the shock. I know we had an improved ride in our 99 F53 Chassis by switching over to Koni FSD. I believe Bilstein also now has a shock that does 'down stoke' vs 'up stroke' dampening too(?). But I doubt that are stock on the F53 Chassis.

 

Those would be your two best least cost options for reducing the harshest of the road transfer into the coach.

 

A more pricey option, that would/should yield more suspension cushion between the ground and the RV house is:

 

https://kelderman.com/shop/?vehicle_year=23&vehicle_make=26&vehicle_model=78

 

This is a bit more pricey:)!

 

Oh, and as a side note. Our 98 Bounder, on the 99 F53 Chassis had been to Alaska and back when we bought it used. We went thru the suspension pretty thoroughly, to bring things back up into shape. Our coach would rattle as we went down any toad that was not very smooth. So we nick named our rig 'Rattling Roo'. Our new coach also has few Alaska induced rattles, and we call her 'Roo II'.

 

Best of luck to you, and enjoy your Roo!

Smitty

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I find that driving about 15-20mph on washboard helps smooth out the ride. This way you are hitting the tops of the washboard peaks instead of dropping down into each gully. BTW the 15-20mph is a guess. I don't look at the speedometer, I just drive fast enough to smooth out the bumps.

 

The RV does get vibrated quite a bit with the increased speed. The increased speed does smooth out the really hard sharp jarring you get when you drop down into every gully.

 

You must keep a sharp eye out for the pot holes though. Dropping into a deep one can do some damage.

Yes I noticed that speeding up takes the jarring away but then I had a person pass me on a rough stretch and I got to watch his wheels as he went by :o it looked like a jackhammer passing me, I'm sure it creates good business for the front end alignment guys :unsure:

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That's the idea, as far as what I was thinking, the "jack hammer" affect. Let the suspension get the workout, bouncing up and down, instead of all the stuff in the RV. Either that or drive on washboard as little as possible. It is possible to drive about 2 to 4 miles an hour, that helps some. But it sure does get boring driving 2 or 3 miles to the place you want to stay and it takes 30 minutes to an hour.

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