Handling Issues With New RV

With under 60 miles of use, the prospect of driving the rig any further brought a lot of worry and stress. I soon realized, it was because our new 2017 Thor Motorcoach Miramar had 26mm of positive tow on the front wheels. After this was corrected, the bus felt more like driving a well engineered machine more than ever before.

Prior to taking the the RV into the shop to get a proper alignment, I did not enjoy driving the rig at all. This was not only first RV, but short of driving a u-Haul truck, this was the biggest thing I have driven. For years, I’ve driven grand touring passenger vehicles, so naturally I assumed that something with less precision would take some getting used to. Just the sheer size of the unit and constantly worrying about driving in between the lines on the road, not hitting anything and braking in time was overwhelming. 

My first ride home from the dealership and the subsequent trip to our first shake down at Wekiva Falls was mentally exhausting. These were relatively, short trips and I came out of these with a pale white complexion and an innate sense that there must be something amiss out of this.

Recently, we met up with a group of Thor Motorcoach enthusiasts, I explained the issue I was having and how much I disliked driving. They all responded, practically in unison, “get a front end alignment”. One gentlemen, with a Windsport said that he struggled to get his coach above 50mph on the highway, but once he did the front end alignment he could get to 70mph with no issues. I knew at that point, this had to be on my first order of business.

After doing more research, I found that this is not the first thing that motor home owners are doing. Most people have come to know that when you buy a vehicle, that the alignment is something that is already done before you drive it off the lot. What I have learned time and time again, is do not make any assumptions with the RV. In the Ford manual, it states in the book that the alignment was performed before leaving their factory. When the chassis makes its way to the body builder, they put the house on top and modify the chassis without any further thought to the implications of how this impacts the suspension. Many new owners are quicker to jump into adjusting or replacing their swaybars, swapping springs first.

When the bus came out of the shop after the alignment, I was surprised by how much adjustment was needed. It was 26mm of positive tow, which means the wheels were pointed outwards from the center line of the RV. No wonder I was having so many issues with the steering wheel fighting me for 60 miles and how unpleasant of a drive this was. After the proper adjustments, the wheels now slightly point inwards. The result is nothing short of spectacular!

I’m happy to report after driving from Orlando, FL. to Ashburn, GA. or about 300 miles, the front alignment made a significant difference in how well the rig steered, handled and drove.

My recommendation to new owners, get a front alignment out of the way first.

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