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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:44 am
Posts: 2
Location: Lakeland, MN
Our 2002 26 RSB E450 has 65K miles on it and we are trying to improve the handling. My BF has factory front and rear sway bars and a factory steering shock. I am wondering if anyone has seen a significant improvement in overall handling by upgrading the factory installed sway bar and steering stabilizers to the aftermarket equipment I have read about experiencing handling improvements in previous posts (shocks etc) but I am not sure if these are replacing factory installed sway bars and steering stabilizer or adding them new to there BF. Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 1997
Location: Spencer, IA
You were not very specific in telling us what your exact handling problem(s) are. If you are having steering stability problems, that is, your are constantly working the steering wheel back and forth, then before adding and add on steering stabilizers, I would recommend that you have the caster setting checked in your front end alignment. If possible get the caster setting up to at least +5.0 degrees - that will make a major improvement in steering stability.

Recommend you read a post titled Alignment Issues Causing Unstable Steering and Road Wander in the Technical Library section on this forum for more information about this issue.

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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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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:44 am
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Location: Lakeland, MN
Hi Bill, Thanks for your reply. Yes, indeed the steering stability as you identified is part of the problem. I have read the post you referenced and have an appointment next week for alignment. i plan on bringing a printed copy of that post with me to the service center. Being new empty nesters, we will be putting many more long drives on our BF than we have in the past and sharing the driving with my wife, I want to make our BF handle as good as possible. Based on your posts is seems you have a lot of knowledge on our model and wondering if you have any thoughts on the improvements I would experience in upgrading the factory sway bars and steering stabilizer to after market equipment?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:54 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Newark, Ohio
As Bill has already mentioned, the alignment setting for maximum positive caster makes a big improvement in steering stability by reducing steering wheel sensitivity. This requires an aftermarket bushing to get the 5 degrees of positive castor.

We replaced the factory anti-sway bars and found it made a huge difference in the handling of the coach. Some of the improvement came from the urethane bushings included with the new bars that eliminated the slop that was noticeable in the worn-out factory rubber bushings. Installing new urethane bushings on your old sway bars would certainly improve the handling, but the heavier aftermarket bars do more work to keep the coach from leaning in corners. I don’t regret a single penny spent on our Hellwig front and rear sway bars.

We also recently replaced the factory steering stabilizer that had started to show dampness of leaking fluid. We installed a Bilstein 24-174534 Steering Damper. After driving 3000 miles with the new steering stabilizer, mostly towing a car hauler or a boat, I’m totally pleased with the Bilstein steering damper.

You might also consider running beads in your tires to keep them in balance.

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Chuck & Laura Meadows
'99 24RB PSD


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 2:39 pm
Posts: 617
Location: North Scituate, RI
I agree with Bill regarding the alignment but in addition to our 2002 26RB I also had Koni shocks, IPD (now Roadmaster) sway bars front and rear and
a Safe-t-plus steering stabilizer. As Chuck mentioned the sway bars are much heavier stock and also they attach to the chassis with a trailing arm similar to
the rear bars, a big improvement over the standard Ford front bar. Very pleased with the overall improvement.

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Mel & Connie


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:45 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Santa Fe, TX
"I don’t regret a single penny spent on our Hellwig front and rear sway bars."

Chuck,
I want to change out my sway bars and see your recommendation for Hellwig. I've gone online and being an old racer, I see that Summit Racing sells them. Of course there are several different places and several different models to choose from. Do you remember which ones worked for you? I have a '99 BF built on a '98 Ford E450 Chassis and of course all Summit Racing shows is a Ford E350. :roll:

A new steering stabilizer is the first thing that I did, as the old ones shock rod was literally rattling around in the cylinder :shock:
Also...
where can I find that aftermarket bushing that Chuck & Bill mention to get the 5 degrees of positive castor in their alignment?

I understand that I'm only going to get "some" improvement in my handling. I absolutely despise that Ford Twin I-Beam Suspension and would like to get all that I can out of it.
Thanks,
David

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David, Anne & Dimey (19yr. old Papillion)
1999 26' Born Free SB
1999 Mazda Miata Toad
Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:54 pm
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Location: Newark, Ohio
David,

We’ve been pleased with the handling improvements that came from the Hellwig anti-sway bars, alignment bushings set to +5 caster, and new lower ball joints. Roadmaster bars would also be a good choice. You might be pleasantly surprised at how well the Twin I-beam suspension can work with a couple of modifications and all of the slop removed. I was.

Below are links to the sway bars, bushings, and some photos of the alignment bushings. You might also check to see if your lower ball joints have been replaced. If they have been replaced, you will likely have grease fittings on the new ones. If they have not been replaced, they are likely worn enough to merit replacement to improve the drivability of a 1999 coach. Since the post, I’ve installed 4 Bilstein shocks.

Hope this helps,
Chuck


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4803&p=27077&hilit=+59400#p27077

1997-2016 Ford E40 & E450 Super Duty Cut-A-Way Chassis - REAR Sway Bar (1 1/2" diameter)
Model:7180
http://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.php ... ts_id=3759

1997-2007 Ford E40, E450 - FRONT Sway Bar (1 3/8" diameter)
Model:7008
http://www.sdtrucksprings.com/index.php ... ts_id=5868

---these two products are the same:
Ingalls Engineering 59400 Alignment Adjustable Camber /Caster Bushing
https://www.amazon.com/Ingalls-Engineer ... B000COBT68

Specialty Products Company 24180 Adjustable Camber/Caster Sleeve for Ford RWD and 4WD Vehicles
https://www.amazon.com/Specialty-Produc ... B000IYCAN8

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Chuck & Laura Meadows
'99 24RB PSD


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:45 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Santa Fe, TX
Chuck.....WOW !!!
Between you and Bill, y'all are making my life so much simpler !!! :D
Not only did you show me exactly what I need...but you found it at a considerable savings !!! This definitely moves you up to "my new best friend" category :lol:

Seriously....thanks to both of you, I'm sure that I'll make that twin I-beam suspension work better for me :)
p.s.- per y'alls suggestion, I see a new set of Bilstein Shocks on the horizon too ! :idea:

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David, Anne & Dimey (19yr. old Papillion)
1999 26' Born Free SB
1999 Mazda Miata Toad
Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:00 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Gettysburg, PA
Hi we have a 2017 Born Free Reign - 24 foot. The company that does our repairs is recommending we install Roadmaster RSS Anti-Sway Bars. Based on what I'm reading it sounds like they've made a good recommendation. Any updated opinions?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:45 pm
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Location: Santa Fe, TX
Per the recommendations from Bill & Chuck...my '99 BF now handles like a brand new RV. I was SHOCKED :shock: when I opened the box for the new sway bars and saw the size of them...especially compared to the stock ones ! I've had my BF since Oct. and have to admit, I've been very hesitant to drive it :( ...especially around 18 wheelers on the open highway :shock: ...but not any longer ! The change was amazing ! After buying my RV, this is the best money that I've spent YET ! I HIGHLY recommend their suggestions ! Thanks again Guys !!! :D

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David, Anne & Dimey (19yr. old Papillion)
1999 26' Born Free SB
1999 Mazda Miata Toad
Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:39 am
Posts: 89
Location: Kansas City, KS
I just purchased a newer 23' model and drove it home and felt there was too much sway. The OEM stuff is kind of middle of the road design for type thing. Mine already had the super springs which helps on leveling. I installed hellwig pieces, largest they made was 1.5" for the back up from 1.125, at the front 1.375 up from .90. The rubber bushings are also changed for the poly. Made a world of difference in body control going around corners and anything that upsets the suspension.

Another thing I would recommend is the dynamic type balancers that either balancemasters or centramatic makes, or maybe in the wheel beads. I have used balancemasters on another truck and the smoothness going over expansion joints, tire vibrations and the like are reduced considerably, which imo is what tears these RV's up. I put centrmatics on this 23' model and the difference is noticeable though the centramatic appear to be cheaper then what they used to sell, prob overseas now in china. Discount tire misbalanced two of the tires, one on the front, when I reinstalled it I didn't install the balancer as I wanted to see what the difference was, I am now going out to reinstall it. The balancemasters for the little extra change would be my preference.

Mine also has the steering stabilizer, little more drag than I like at say less than 60mph, but up around 70-80 I think it is beneficial.


Born Free should make these upgrades available or make their customers aware of them at the least.

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2013 23' FL on Ford E350 with all the goodies.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:52 pm
Posts: 1137
Location: Mobile, AL
I read this thread yesterday and was very tempted to comment. Read them again today and felt a need to speak out. I must be a very unaware BF owner. I've driven mine over 100,000 miles with standard Ford suspension components and haven't a complaint about handling on the road. I've had cars and motorhomes over the years that had stability issues and I find my BF to be good enough that I don't feel a need for improvement. I am not challenging any posts here. I just want to say that many aftermarket investments are great if you have the money, but to me some. don't make a big enough difference in the overall scheme of things to justify my investment of time and money.

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Dallas Baillio
2001 26RSB
Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club Member


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 8:05 pm
Posts: 1997
Location: Spencer, IA
I basically agree with Dallas. Before spending money on suspension modifications, make sure your coach front end is properly aligned and particularly make sure the alignment shop sets the caster to the high end of the spec range - try to get it to at least +5 degrees. You my then not have to spend money on steering stabilizers and larger sway bars. A good set of Bilstein or Koni shocks also helps.

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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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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:53 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:55 pm
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Location: Escondido. CA
My experience was the same as Dallas.

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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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 7:48 pm
Posts: 653
Location: Tipton, Iowa
I put Roadmaster anti-sway bars on my Kodiak chassis. They were absolutely necessary. My only regret was that they didn't build a yet heavier one than they had for the rear.

I also installed a rear Helwig on my e-250 B-van and it made a world of difference in the handling.

That said, I never felt the need to do anything to my stock '01 23RK.

Some's need's 'em and some's don't. I'm in agreement that you need to check alignment and the other issues first, but you certainly won't be wrong installing beefier anti-sway equipment.

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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)


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