Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

This forum is for Born Free Owners and those interested in owning a Born Free.
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 Post subject: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:55 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Just registered for this great forum. We are in the hunt for a “nimble” motor home as we move up from the ‘86 VW Westy we have camped in for 33 years. Two of us plus two Labradors, doing public lands camping in the Northwest and Southwest, occasional longer trips. Been looking at Chinooks, Phoenix Cruisers and Born Frees, 21-24 feet, with the more recent Born Free 22RSK being a leading contender. Wondering whether we are expecting too much from it in terms off rough roads and back-country camping. May want to tow in the future. Should we be looking for something with the E450 chassis instead? Do added leaf springs or other mods help substantially with road clearance? They seem worthwhile if only for handling, but extra clearance would be nice. It seems the Liquid Springs or similar with controller may be the way to go for flexibility but hard to find or install on older models, not to mention cost.

So for purposes of access to more remote camping and for easier parking, how much difference is there really between the 22 and 24 foot (and even 26 foot) models? How much does the 450 help for rough roads and ability to modify for clearance and stability?

Many thanks for any comments....these are somewhat subjective matters but all input helps. Have been studying the various threads on springs, air bags etc. I guess what I want is for someone to tell me we can drive the gravel road to The Racetrack in Death Valley if we have the right BF and mods, but I kinda doubt that is the case.

David


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 Post subject: Re: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Wauchula, FL
I'm new to the Born Free but have traveled a lot on dirt roads in our 19 years of travel. The longest trip was 1000 miles across Labrador when it was a dirt road. Generally we traveled on dirt roads with our Honda CRV. It had on demand 4 wheel drive that helped us twice get out of hairy situations. An appropriate tow vehicle allows anything.

The quality we look for in a tow vehicle is reliability because we are frequently a long way from any kind of service.

When we crossed Labrador we took a small trailer towed by our CRV, really a great combo.

When we went to Alaska we had a motorhome. We learned washboard roads and the motorhome are a bad combo. Our laptop flew off the dashboard desk onto the floor. Now our motorhome had 90 psi in the tires and like the Born Free airbags in the springs. Of course the BF's tires run at lower PSI, ours are 60-65.

Like the motorhome we had there's plenty of clearance however I'd be shocked it it's ideal for the Racetrack road. When we went to Death Valley we had our motorhome we traveled about in the Honda CRV then the towed vehicle. We drove Titus Canyon, a one way loop with the CRV. I would not consider taking even the smallest Born Free on that road.

Now the Born Free is well constructed, better than our bigger Bounder motorhome. I don't see it as a Racetrack road vehicle.

_________________
Norm Milliard
'93 Born Free 21' RB
Escapee, Full timer


Last edited by bornnorm on Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:53 am 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 7:48 pm
Posts: 652
Location: Tipton, Iowa
Interesting questions. Born Frees will do fine on back roads. Do NOT take them anywhere you need short front and rear overhangs, or anywhere that you may drag the chassis as you’ll likely remove your plumbing. They’re not meant for off-roading. I have a 32RQ and I tow a Jeep Rubicon. There will be a significant difference in the rear overhangs of a 22-24-26’ model. I’ve taken my Born Frees many places off the beaten path, but always on roads. I would not attempt Forest Service roads in the back country or across the desert with washes with ANY motorhome unless it’s specifically set up as a 4WD expedition motorhome where the cab can flex independently of the coach. I do have pretty aggressive drive tires on the rear axle and standard steering tires on the front.

If you’re planning on going places in the back country, I’d recommend finding a parking spot for your coach and exploring in a Jeep of some flavor. I had Toyotas FJ’s for years, but the FJ Cruiser cannot be towed four-down. Jeep is the last brand standing in a true body-on-frame 4WD with a transfer case that you can tow 4 down just by shifting the transfer case into neutral.

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_________________
'06 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis
(Former: '01 Born Free 23 RK)
Dinghy: '16 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with a Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar.
Traveling with Sir Winston and Lady Rae (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels)


Last edited by Roger H on Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Wauchula, FL
David, when I hear Death Valley's Racetrack road, I think of Death Valley's Titus Canyon road. Definitely not a place for even a short motorhome, at least not when we drove it.

I don't see ordinary dirt roads as an issue.

I believe in having a tow vehicle. My preferences is a four wheels down tow vehicle with a manual transmission. We are beginning our 7th loop of the USA. Each loop takes us about 8 months or about 8,000 motorhome miles. Obviously we average very few motorhome miles per day, something like 30- miles per day. Probably consuming a 800 gallons of gas over 8 months.

The reality is our towed vehicle may average twice the mileage, 16,000 miles. Depending on the tow vehicle and the terrain we might burn another 650 gallons.

We tend towards buying used RV's, our Born Free is 26 years old and our Scamp 16 is 28 years old. Our tow vehicles are usually bought new and we keep them for 250,000 miles or 10 years. Since we often travel long distance from service we look for reliability first. This year we have a 13 year old, used tow vehicle, a first for us.

Obviously we love our travels. There is so much to see and do. We feel fortunate to have done it for 19 years. We could never have imaged the possibilities. Another aspect of travel is the freedom to think, to muse about this and that. Iwas surprised to find out how 'freeing' travel can be.

Safe travels...

_________________
Norm Milliard
'93 Born Free 21' RB
Escapee, Full timer


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 Post subject: Re: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:54 am
Posts: 9
Location: Dumaguete Philippines/ Montana USA
Newbie here dreaming of full-timing in a well used Born Free in the Rockies. I also would do USFS backcountry dirt roads, no tow, but with a small motorbike on back. Where can one find diagrams of older BF's with such things as overhang differences? I lean towards a 24-27er, but what exactly is the overhang of each? How about with a WeldTec Designs 6" lift front and rear? Could one economically protect exposed rear parts with some type of skidplate? What I would do is ride a ways up the road checking it out, then take the RV. There's so many places in central Idaho where you could park all summer long, IF you don't get stuck. It seems like some well graded USFS roads would be fine, but the side roads would need surveying first.


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 Post subject: Re: In the Hunt
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:43 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Wauchula, FL
Overhand, Born Free President 21'

The President is really 22 feet long, it's over hang is 6.5 feet from the center of the rear tire, or about 30% of it's length. Having owned a gas motor home the overhang was dramatically longer. It was felt more in cross winds where the side forces really wanted to 'spin' the motorhome. (Did you read about the massive cruise ship this week that was severely 'tipped' by 100 knot winds, injuring a number of passengers?)

The lowest point on the rear of Born Free is the bottom of the hitch, 17" off the ground .

There's another thread that discuss casters on the rear. We've owned a significantly lower trailer with casters. It appears our Born Free never had casters.

_________________
Norm Milliard
'93 Born Free 21' RB
Escapee, Full timer


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