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 Post subject: air suspension
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 11:05 am 
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 10:19 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cortland, OH
Any information from 27RB owners that have installed an air ride suspension system would be appreciated. I love my BF but hate the way she rides and would like to do whatever it takes to rectify the problem. Our previous MH was an '85 Tioga Mirage 26' rear bath. Same identical layout. It rode great! Any suggestions out there?

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Faith


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 10:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:10 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Hendersonville, North Carolina
I'd be interested in knowing what your major complaints with the ride are. I have a 08 27RB and think that it rides fine.

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Don Miller
2008 27RB
Mini Cooper Toad


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:46 am
Posts: 205
Location: Tucson, Arizona
We have a 2005 24RB on the E450 chassis and the ride is fine. It handles fine in winds up to 50 Mph or so and we are also towing. As a previous poster asked, what are your specific complaints? It's hard to make suggestions when we don't know what the problem is.
Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:58 am
Posts: 419
Location: Southeastern New York
Sam Ryan may have hit on the problem. Our 24RB also has a fairly harsh ride. Specifically, here in the east where the roads are miserably maintained, when the coach goes over expansion joints on some of the worst roads, the back end lands with a real bang. It is so bad on some roads that the stove cover and/or sink covers come flying off!

As for handling in the wind, which has also been mentioned, the coach is fine. We owned a 20' Roadtrek prior to the Born Free, and it was far worse in wind and when trucks passed us. Except in extreme conditions (cross winds at 40 MPH with gusts to 50 MPH), I have had no problems with our coach in the wind or when trucks pass us.

So, it is kind of a mixed bag. Handling is fine, ride is rough on bad roads.

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Joe and Lucinda
Tonto, Meadow and Shadow, the papillons
Shiloh and Morpho at Rainbow Bridge
2017 Spirit
Formerly 2006 24RB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:39 pm
Posts: 617
Location: North Scituate, RI
The ride quality and handling of our coaches can both be improved. It all depends on how much you want to improve and what your budget allows. Over the years I have been trying to get the best ride and handling the E450 chassis will allow and am finally satisfied, but it came at a cost. I have changed shocks (Koni's), steering stabilizer (Safe-T-Plus), sway bars (IPD now Roadmaster), and springs (parabolic) and played with the pressure in the air bags (currently 35psi). I guess it all depends on what we are looking for and what is it worth.

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Mel & Connie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 9:04 am 
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:47 am
Posts: 196
Location: Washington, IA
Mel, regarding your comments on ride improvements, I'm curious concerning your choice of the Koni over Bilstein. Regarding sway bars, did you also replace the stock front sway bar? Was there a noticeable improvement? Regarding springs, Mor-Ryde offers a product that was quoted to me at $1,400 installed. What, if I may ask, did your spring upgrade cost? We have a 2008 BFT C/O on a 2007 chassis. Before purchase, went to Humboldt for a test drive of the various models and doing the loop around the plant on the somewhat subpar county roads with expansion joints did notice the more pronounced banging in the 24 model vs. the 22. I attributed it to possibly the heavier duty suspension on the 24 vs. the 22, Ed thought maybe the 24 air bags had a higher pressure. In any event, we chose to go with the 22 and a first I wasn't a happy camper with the over all handling. Being our first RV, a big part of this dissatisfaction was due to just not being use to the nature of the beast. Went from driving a Mercedes with its impeccable road demeanor to an RV expecting the same characteristics. In addition to the banging on rough roads, the back and forth rolling that you get when entering or leaving a parking lot or gas station entrance was very upsetting. To correct this, I installed an IPD rear sway bar and I guess it helped but the best way to help this situation, I found, is to slow way down to a crawl when attempting to enter or exit. Still have the occasional banging on rough roads, but on our travels this winter thru Florida and beyond found that on the really good new roads I felt the ride was as good as the Mercedes. However, when the stock shocks go, I want to upgrade to either the Bilstein or Koni and at some point, possibly, install the Mor-Ryde. But in the final analysis, the more miles behind the wheel of our RV, the more I become accustom to its handling and ride and overall rate it as quite acceptable.

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dsfriday
2008 BFT C/O


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 11:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:39 pm
Posts: 617
Location: North Scituate, RI
Dennis, I had previously changed the oem shocks with Bilsteins as at that time Koni did not have any for the E450 chassis. After having a shaft on one of the Bilsteins break I switched to the then available Koni shock. As we have had Koni's on previous coaches I was familiar with them and like the fact they are adjustable (3 levels of dampening). If using Bilsteins you may want to consider their comfort shock as I felt the HD series gave a very harsh ride with our coach.

I did replace both front and rear sway bars. The front attaches differently than the original Ford in that it uses trailing arms the same as the rear bar. Along with the steering stabilizer the difference in handling was definitely improved.

My cost for the Parabolic springs here in RI was $1,200.00 about 2 years ago. You should read the previous postings http://bornfreervclub.org/bulletin_boar ... ht=morryde regarding Mor-Ryde.

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Mel & Connie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 10:19 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cortland, OH
Thanks for all the responses regarding my Ford 450 suspension. It appears I am not alone in my complaints. All of the above responses nail it down.... sounds like "bottoming out", sink cover and stove covers jumping around, dishes have have fallen out of the cupboards. An old Highways '07 article mentioned Kelderman Air Ride Suspension System as a solution. I am not familiar with the term parabolic, but I guess I will educate myself. I am willing to bite the bullet and do whatever it takes to improve the ride. All suggestions are appreciated.

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Faith


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:39 pm
Posts: 617
Location: North Scituate, RI
Faith, check out http://www.man-a-fre.com/pa/hstparabolicleafsprings.htm for a description of parabolic springs. In the case of the E450 chassis there are 5 leaves which replace the standard Ford 11 leaf spring.

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Mel & Connie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:55 pm
Posts: 1293
Location: Escondido. CA
Faith wrote:
....Kelderman Air Ride Suspension System as a solution....


Isn't that just another air bag system similar to what is already OEM on Born Free coaches?

Bill

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Barb & Bill
2004 Born Free 22' Built for Two (Sold)
no longer towing a 2008 Smart ForTwo

Escondido, CA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:15 am 
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 10:19 am
Posts: 3
Location: Cortland, OH
I don't think so.....check out www.kelderman.com. It will cost me, but I think I will look further into this system, expecially since there is an iinstaller within 70 miles from me.

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Faith


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:13 am 
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Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:47 am
Posts: 196
Location: Washington, IA
Faith, while you are checking out suspension sytems, take a look at MOR/ryde's website. I have no personnal experiences with MOR/ryde but overall looks to be good approach. There have been other posts on the subject and some have ran into installation problems due to conflict between underlying holding tanks and clearance need for the MOR/ryde system. In any event keep us posted on your progress and results. At some point I would like to intall the MOR/ryde system on our 2008 BFT C/O.

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dsfriday
2008 BFT C/O


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:32 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Ocean View, DE
It seems to me, based, among other things, on years of studying and modifying off road motorcycle racing suspensions, the easiest way a rear suspension change will soften the impact of the road bumps is to increase the vertical travel of the rear suspension, or provide the spring to be intially softer, but then stiffer as is moves closer to the end of its travel. A spring may run out of travel before the force of the bump is absorbed and / or transfered by the spring into the vehicle, leaving the bump stop to provide the final vertical absorption. To have a soft initial response and still provide adequate absorption of a large bump would require a stiffening effect to larger bumps only, a progressive spring could do this. Or the spring could provide more travel, which would result in a more ride height, that is the vehicle would sit higher off the ground. When increasing only the rear suspension travel, the rear would sit higher, the front would be lower because of weight transfer, (think how your car squats on the front when you jack the rear tire up to change it). Raising the rear up will result in more roll effect when cornering, possibly altering the steering characteristics. My last Chevy G30 based motorhome would turn more sharply after the body rolled (or leaned) more in a moderate to sharp turn. I got used to this oversteer effect and the necessary counter steering and noticed the absence of it with my first drive of my Ford E450 Born Free. Another possibility would be to allow more time for the bump to be absorbed, that is, slow down. Driving on an old concrete highway more slowly to reduce ride harshness may create other problems that affect those behind you, as they attempt to get around you. You can soften you tires, but will still need to maintain safe weight carrying and heat dissipating abilities of your tires. If you can reduce friction in the spring movement, that would reduce harshness to sharp impacts, shock absorbers with less “stictionâ€

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Ed & Beth
2003 Born Free 26' RSB: SOLD March 2016
replace by a house near the beach


Last edited by ewagman on Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 2006
Location: Spencer, IA
Like others have done, I had Mor-Ryde in Elkhart, IN install a set of parabolic rear leaf springs in my 2002 26' RSB coach back in 2007 at an approximate cost of $1,400. Although the ride improvement was not as much as I had hoped, it did improve some. And like others have noted, my experience is that in general the roads east of the Mississippi river are noticeably rougher riding than are the roads west of the river. Since most of my long distance travels are from Iowa out to the Phoenix area each year in Jan, Feb, & Mar, and since most of the roads I use on that trip are in relatively smooth, my opinion is that the parabolic springs ride improvement over those roads was not worth the $1,400 cost. If you do significant traveling over rough roads than these springs are probably worth their cost.

Mor-Ryde also offers their signature RL suspension upgrade system that would offer an even more improved ride on rough roads but as others have noted, installation of this system on E350/E450 based Born Free coaches sometime requires relocation of either a holding tank and/or the LPG tank and associated plumbing. Their website address is: http://www.morryde.com/

Another company that has in the past manufactured an upgraded rear suspension system for model year 2002 and newer E450 chassis called the UltraRide system is Link Manufacturing in Sioux Center, IA. Their website address is: http://www.linkmfg.com/ultraride/ultraride.html The Born Free factory is offering a version of this UltraRide system on the larger 32' Kodiak 5500 chassis as an option I believe.

The one modification that I had done was to install a set of Bilstein comfort shocks and that made the biggest ride improvement in my coach in my opinion. Koni offers really good adjustable shocks for the E350 & E450 chassis.

Also, inflating your tires to a higher pressure than really required will contribute to a rougher ride. The 24' thru 27' Born Free coaches come equipped with E (10-ply) rated tires which permit a maximum cold inflation pressure of 80 psi. However, if you weigh all four corners of your coach with full tanks and in down the road running condition, and then look at the inflation pressure needed to support the weight in each corner, you will most likely discover that 80 psi is not needed in the tires.

Click on the blue Download button on the right side of the window below to see a tire inflation graph that you can use to properly inflate your tires but not over-inflate them. In the case of my own 2002 Born Free 26' RSB coach, I run 60 psi in the fronts and 75 psi in the rears.

And finally, I have not found the need in my case to install either a steering stabilizer nor larger diameter roll bars. But that does not mean they won't improve your coach's ride and/or stability.


Attachments:
born_free_tire_inflation_gr_106.pdf [4.91 KiB]
Downloaded 413 times

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Bill Hemme - Spencer, Iowa
E-mail: whemme@earthlink.net
2002 Born Free (Ford E-450 V10) 26' RSB
2016 VW Golf GTI - toad
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 Post subject: air suspension
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:18 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Colorado or in the West
Really great info from everyone, even if we don't understand it all!

Wanted to add that I had Super Springs installed by HendersonsLineup, an Oregon company that specializes in alignment and suspension issues especially for motorhomes. Several BF owners have used them, and they are often at RV rallies and events across the country . These are rear leaf springs that lifted the suspension on my back-end heavy 2008 24 RB enough so that I can now clear most inclined driveways and not bash the bottom of the coach nor my bike rack. The Super Springs cost about $800 total and I wish I'd had them much earlier.

I've had the coach weighed at each axle several times, and need 80 psi in the rear, 55 up front . I usually keep the airbags around 60-65 ..

Hendersons also recommended a rear trac bar to help with handling issues, but ran into installation problems due to the placement of one of the air bags. My 24 BF handles differently in wind and on rough roads and steep driveways than the 26'BF I had before , due to the shorter wheelbase and pivot point. However, now I can do a nifty U-turn !

Overall, I think the Ford E-450 does a good job. Now that I'm not dragging the rear end of the coach, my big problem is driving down steep mountain grades. The coach climbs pretty well, but coming down a long 9% grade ,with all that weight in the back, is scary. I use the tow haul, and downshift too, but it's still a white-knuckler. Better get out of my way! Here comes a gal in a Born Free!

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Ann P. , 2008 24' RB. "All who wander are not lost."


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