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RE: Ford E450 vs E350 under a Class C

And it's a good thread. Since the E150, E250, and E350 vans were discontinued, Ford made the E350 chassis with more E450 components and systems. This was done because of the severely reduced production numbers. What made them previously different has been reduced to a mere change in springs today, and a few other minors. This is actually beneficial for E350 owners because compared to years prior, the E350 today gets a wider stance, bigger brakes, and hydro-boost-brake instead of the conventional vacuum power brake booster like cars have. I believe the frame thickness is now the same between the E350 and E450, but I did not confirm it. I know my 2007 E350 steel frame is a tad bit thinner per the 2007 E-series spec sheet I found on-line. In years past, the E350 had a more fuel efficient differential gear ratio, but the latest transmission with the extra gear, compensates for that nicely. So if you are in the market for a new rig today, and you are considering a short E350-V10 & 55 gallon fuel tank, versus a short E450 with the same, the primary difference will be in the load capability, and almost no difference in the mechanicals. Keep in-mind that "EXTRA excess capability" will yield a much rougher ride. If you already own a short E450 rig with extra excess capability yielding an unacceptably rough ride, take it to a truck suspension shop and have them remove one or two or three leaf springs per rear corner to get the ride softer without compromising your actual load requirement. The right shop can figure that out for you. And for you with an E350 that barely handles your actual load, add one more leaf spring per rear corner to give you that edge. I am on-the-fence over adding one rear leaf spring per rear corner on our 2007 E350 because our garage door clearance is of concern. Right now, when unloaded, we have only 1.5" between the a/c unit and the top of the door frame. As seen in my signature picture, our original E350 front coil springs are significantly under-loaded which sets the front a bit high. I plan to replace them with one rating weaker to make our ride up front more enjoyable and also hope to lower it a bit. If the results also lower the a/c unit, then I will consider adding one more leaf spring in the rear. Once evaluated and determined to make an improvement, then comes new tires and a front wheel alignment. My new Moog springs are in-hand, ready for the swap. After 12+ years owning our rig I am getting a little more daring experimenting with these things, customizing the spring ratings to better match our actual load along with a little extra margin tucked in there. I enjoy the challenge.
ron.dittmer 12/19/19 11:17pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Entrance Door Strut mount torn out. 2020 JayCo GrayHawk

I should also mention that the longer rope for non-awning conditions shares the weld nut with the shorter rope. We simply grab the rope we want to use. Since then, I installed another weld nut lower on the door jamb opposite the door opening, to hang the bungie cords I use to hold the door open. This way everything is stored right where it is needed. One last point here. The longer rope does double duty as a quick dry cloths line inside the rig. If we have wet beach towels, a wet jacket, an item needing drying before stowing away, one of us will grab the longer rope and hang it on a cabinet knob on the other side of the entry door. Yes the hanging item(s) is sometime in our way entering and exiting, but it's very temporary. It is better to have it inconvenient, than not at all. Again it is quick to hook, and when done, unhook & let go, and it drops back hanging next to the door, so simple to use and put away.
ron.dittmer 12/18/19 07:12am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Models with Adaptive Cruise Control

2019 Transit chassis, 2020 Sprinter chassis, and 2021 E-series chassis all have it optional. On all of these, it is part of a package with auto emergency braking and lane-keep-assist but you can turn off the other assists if you don't want to use them.Let's hope Adaptive Cruise Control is an option on the RV prep cut-away. You would think such options would be standard equipment when considering the application.
ron.dittmer 12/18/19 06:50am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Generator in Class C Rental

Another consideration is if your 2 week vacation is a road trip traveling to a new dry campsite daily, or even every-other day. Your house batteries will charge nicely while the vehicle is being driven. You may never need to think about your house batteries. The only time you would run the generator is when you want to run the microwave oven or other 110V appliance.
ron.dittmer 12/17/19 04:22pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Generator in Class C Rental

Hi Jim, Louise and Sophie, As others have commented, 1 gallon of fuel per hour sounds quite high for a typical 4000 watt Onan which is the most common generator installed in class C motor homes. I estimate half that at 1/2 gallon of gas per hour. If your rental class C has two air conditioners on the roof, then maybe you have the larger Onan 7000 watt generator that consumes double the amount of gas. Regardless, a little 2000 watt Honda will have it's advantages if your plan is to run it 24/7. The noise from an Onan running for 2 weeks straight would make me nuts, but that would not be the case with a little Honda. The little Honda won't power up much though. You might be able to power a small microwave, or a small space heater but not at the same time. A little Honda is nice for battery maintenance, TV watching, computer and internet, low power activity like that. If camping remotely with no plan to move for the duration of your stay, plan on carrying lots of extra gas in gas cans. It's hard to say, but maybe four 5 gallon cans to keep a little Honda running for a 2 week period. I really don't know. The Onan running 2 weeks straight will require roughly 170 gallons of gas...Yikes! Are you certain you will need to run a generator for the entire 2 week period? Most people boon docking run the generator as needed which for us is less than 2 hours a day, but we don't hang out at the camp site all day either. You will have to run an Onan constantly if requiring constant air conditioning in the summer or space heat in the winter.
ron.dittmer 12/17/19 12:15pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Access to overhead bunk

Overhead bed....difficult for the older adult or senior?? Dang!! I don't think I'm quite that decrepit yet. I'm 65, 5'10", and 230 lbs....yet have no problem navigating the ladder in or out of our overhead bed whatsoever. It is my preferred place to sleep.Well....My hat is off to you. Good for you that it's works well. My reference considers the "typical" senior. There are always exceptions and you are surely one of them. I also think some of the limitations are relative to the head clearance in the upper bunk. The low ceiling in some rigs prevent the person from sitting upright, making it more difficult to get in and out from. Then there is the dinette or couch to utilize in some situations. There is no one statement that covers every over-head situation. My apologies for that.
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 02:48pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Access to overhead bunk

Oh yes, the over-head bed. It is free space. - great for kids - works for the younger adult - difficult for the older adult - seniors? you have to be young-in-body or you'll find yourself in the hospital with a broken hand or sprained ankle. As much bad press the rear-corner gets from seniors, it's challenges don't compare to an over-head. We owned a tiny class C with over-head bed for 24 years. That space was reserved for the kids and linen. At age 49, we replaced the rig with a rear corner bed B+. Getting a walk-around queen or full would have been ideal, but with a garage limiting our choices to 25'-0" in length, we opted for a rear corner double bed in a length of 23'-8" that fits in our garage with a little room to spare which has proven valuable. Having a door opening height limit of 9'- 11-1/4" limited our choices even further. We were fortunate to find a fully featured motor home that fit in our garage. https://live.staticflickr.com/6162/6173444433_501de1ebf5_z.jpg width=640
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 11:41am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Entrance Door Strut mount torn out. 2020 JayCo GrayHawk

This is not addressing the original poster's specific issue with his door strut being torn away, but seems a good place to share my no-strut solution. We bought our rig new in 2007. Back then Phoenix USA did not provide a door strut or other type of door limiter. I wanted to limit the swing of our door in "soft stop" fashion for a few different reasons. 1) When the awning is setup, the door hits the support beam. 2) During exceptionally windy conditions, the door would rip out from my wife's hands, swing 180 degrees, and slam hard into the door stop. My Micky Mouse solution installed back then continues to work well for us. The rope limiter offers a very nice soft stop. It attaches easily, and in our case, can be attached or detached with the door open or closed. Also, it never is in our way when passing through the door way. We always make sure it is attached on a windy day. Admittedly, it does not work perfectly with the roll-up screen door. Sometimes the screen door will roll-up open when the wind plays with the door held open with a bungee-cord. The hardware I used is called a "weld nut". Google pics of weld nuts to see various types. I happened to find nice user-friendly thick round smooth ones at home. https://live.staticflickr.com/3403/3508503872_08f2eda265_z.jpg width=640 As the years have gone by, I added a second rope, a bit longer for non-awning conditions. When we want to keep the door open, I bunge-cord the door open, utilizing the rear view mirror. It's hoaky, but it works. I have thought of installing a conventional door strut limiter, but we got well used to this method and it's flexibility to fully open the door 180 degrees....exceptionally nice when the rig is parked at home in our garage. https://live.staticflickr.com/6162/6173444433_501de1ebf5_z.jpg width=640
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 10:47am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Opinions Appreciated (yeah about tires)

Have you tried tirerack.com? Request the search by tire size. Lots of good tires out there.That was going to be my reply. For our 24 foot long E350 motor home, I will be changing tires before our next big trip. My plan is to buy 6 of THESE TIRES from Tire Rack. I have a means of mounting and balancing them myself. I also plan to mount 4 of the 6 on new Alcoa alloy wheels I will purchase HERE. I am very happy with all the sets of Sumitomo tires I installed on a number of the sports cars I have owned from Corvettes to Solstices. This will be my first Sumitomo experience with our motor home.
ron.dittmer 12/16/19 07:01am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

Ron, I'll bet that the Sprinter's "narrow" chassis - along with that of some new U.S. small vans from Dodge, Ford, etc. - was designed primarily for more practical use in delivery/commercial vans to be used in the crowded and/or narrow streets in towns and cities ... especially for situations in Europe with respect to the Sprinter's design. As such IMHO they are marginal, if not bordering on risky, for use in RV's to be used on the open road in the widest possible variety of situations (such as in open windy country). I don't see how a stiffer suspension system will help to stop wheel lift on one side should a high power cross-wind hit one of these narrow-framed and tall motor homes.Sprinter offers a DRW cargo van to carry extra heavy loads. I believe MB had narrow European city streets in-mind when designing it. It appears that same narrow-stance rear axle (or something very close to it) is used on their RV cut-away chassis for the US market. It surely is not ideal on USA interstate highways and national parks and such. Concerning suspension upgrades....Because of "the Sprinter lean" I see them experiencing, I believe it will help stabilize Sprinter motor homes if owners replaced their stock front and rear stabilizer bars with stronger versions....if such upgrades exists. I don't fear Sprinter RVs would actually tip over on their side, but rather remain steady, under better control, and with improved stopping power. But I just don't read of Sprinter owners having any such concern. Maybe they don't realize what's going on with the house in back because it feels fine up front. My brother did not realize how bad his old 1998 E350 Starflyte leaned until I convinced him to install a rear Helwig bar. After we installed it together, he noticed a huge improvement in handling. But even with that, he didn't want to spend ~$200 more to replace his wimpy stock front stabilizer bar with worn-out grommet ends, thinking it can't get much better. If he did both front and rear stabilizer bars, his control and his stopping power while on the curves, would have been dreamy. He's had the rig so many years since. He would have enjoyed his ride for all that time. He's got around 140,000 miles on the odometer now. Sometimes you don't realize how poor something is until after it's been made right.
ron.dittmer 12/11/19 02:10pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

.....but what makes me nervous about their construction is their height versus the width (stance) between their rear dually sets. The Sprinter based motorhomes look too tall for their width. They look to me like they could be blown over if caught just right in a sudden violent cross-wind. Even in moderate highway cross-winds, the ones I've observed from behind seem to lean a lot from the wind pushing. However I'm pretty sure that most owners or prospective owners of Sprinter based Class C (B+?) motorhomes don't notice, or pay any attention to, or pay any heed to ... this.I have to agree with you concerning this point. My own observation of Sprinter motor homes is that most of them are constructed too tall for their narrow width dual rear wheel axle. I have watched them maneuver around on irregular unpaved parking areas in truck stops. More than once my heart skipped a beat watching them tip sideways so extremely. I can't imagine what goes on inside the cabinets. I also see them getting tossed around on the open road from passing trucks and significant cross winds. I am perplexed that Sprinter owners don't complain or discuss any of it on RV forums like this one. There are plenty of E350/E450 discussions over the same thing, with replies sharing practical and very affordable solutions. I wonder if there are after-market heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars available for the Sprinter. It would not surprise me if there is nothing available because MB is very stern on keeping everything MB down to the motor oil. Anything not MB voids their warranty. What a scam MB has going there. I lead a team of volunteer mechanics at THIS AUTOMOTIVE CHARITY within our church. We work on all kinds of older high-mileage vehicles including Mercedes and BMW. Those two brands will never be seen in my garage at home.....and I am 100% German. The Germans can keep their German engineering. PS: If you click on that link called THIS AUTOMOTIVE CHARITY and scroll down, there is a 2 minute video on the charity. You might find the video interesting because there is no other charity that actually uses the donated vehicles to help people with their transportation needs. CARS for kids, CARS for vets, those types of vehicle-donation charities liquidate the vehicles at wholesale auctions to support another mission. This charity goes deep with their donated vehicles. Your donated vehicle could be gifted to someone in need of reliable transportation. The most common scenario is a single mother with small children, but all kinds of people qualify. Whether given another vehicle, or repairing a vehicle already owned (helping owners with repairs is most popular) the recipients do go through an extensive screening process to assure the charity is helping the right people. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of, been serving now in my 23rd year.
ron.dittmer 12/11/19 07:53am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

We averaged 13.4 MPG in that trip, including driving 75 MPH in western states and having to deal with strong headwinds for several days.It sure seems that no matter which direction a motor home is driven, it deals with a significant head wind. Murphy's Law loves to play with motor homes.
ron.dittmer 12/10/19 04:49pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

I only have 1 complaint and it's a huge one: price. Or specifically what you get in terms of size and ammenities for the buck. A small Class C offers much more bang for the buck. And don't think the MPG of the Mercedes is enough to offset the price; not even close.Especially as of late since MB upgraded the Sprinter with all the current-day high tech safety features. The price of the chassis increased immensely.....maybe by $10,000. They were already a bit pricey, but now they are ridiculous. You got to really love the brand to buy the product now. I don't see there being any other justification. In my opinion, the gain in fuel economy did not justify the extra cost to purchase and maintain the vehicle along with higher prices for it's required diesel formula. Now today it is even harder to justify with the steep increase in cost to purchase a Sprinter. If only the Ford Transit chassis could handle as heavy of a load as the Sprinter. Then it would provide an affordable alternative. I think the new 2021 E450 coming out with the new 7.3L pushrod engine will also include current-day safety features. I hope there won't be a significant price hike as seen with the MB. If so, the time for an affordable brand new E350 or E450 based motor home could be right now.
ron.dittmer 12/10/19 09:52am Class C Motorhomes
RE: GM Trac Bar

Installing a rear trac bar can also be a challenge with other chassis brands. Back in 2007 with our E350 chassis, I had a local shop install a heavy duty Roadmaster rear stabilizer bar and rear Henderson trac bar. I recall the shop owner mentioning that the two together presented an installation challenge. They overcame it, but I never got the details.
ron.dittmer 12/10/19 09:09am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Motorhomes on Mercedes Chassis

Our first RV, the Winnie View. Very reliable, gets 15 MPG @65 MPH.....Gonzo42, not intending to talk you down, but I could say without stretching the truth that our 2007 Phoenix Cruiser built on a 2007 E350 chassis with V10 engine gets 12.5 MPG @65 MPH (when not towing) but such a declaration doesn't reflect a practical figure. Our "trip average" calculation is 10.5 MPG. The engine, trans, and the rest of the chassis have been 100% trouble free. Maintenance for us in 12+ years are just do-it-myself oil and various filter changes. In year 2020 with 40,000 miles on the chassis, I am planning on our first set of replacement tires, a brake system flush, trans fluid & filter change,and other preventative maintenance. I have the means of doing it all myself so it will all be only cost of material. Back when our rig was new, I did initially invest in heavy duty front and rear stabilizer bars, a rear trac bar, a heavy duty steering stabilizer, and RV shocks. Last year I replaced the Koni-RV shocks (the old type red ones) with heavy duty Bilsteins. So I've had my up-front investment in getting the rig to handle to our liking, and a second set of fresh shocks more recently. Our 2007 Ford E350 chassis with V10 engine has been the right economic choice for us. I don't see any reason to feel any different about the Chevy 3500 and 4500 chassis. But the MB Sprinter scares me. The improvement in fuel economy seems to be over-shadowed by the extensive cost of maintenance, sensitivities, and MB repair facilities.
ron.dittmer 12/09/19 09:08pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: V 10 mpg

Been thinking about getting a newer class C for some time, seems the most common 24 foot or under on the used market is the V10. After following this thread and reading about repair costs on the V10, The community has convinced me to keep my Toyota V6 until it falls apart like some Keystone Cops movie. I would like to have more power so will be watching for a Toyota 3.4 donor vehicle.You can get um with a 5.4 Ford (which yields no benefit to the V10, really) and 6.0 Chevy. Either way, you're comparing apples to oranges between an old mini C Toyota chassis and a full size class 3 or 4 chassis with a much larger "house" on the back. If Ford V10s scare you for repairs, then, maybe better off with a bicycle. One of the most dependable engines out there, save for spark plug spitters, which anymore is a somewhat rare occurrence and known and easy, economical repair. Other than that, bulletproof. Honestly, I wouldn't let the internet scare you away from a V10 Ford.....and I'm not even a Ford fan! lolI do agree with Grit dog that the Ford V10 (at least ours) has been trouble-free for 12 years. We do park it indoors which helps immensely. There are a few 5.4L-V8 E350 chassis rigs out there, but they'll be limited to the shortest lengths. From threads posted over the years, I gather it yields a 10% improvement in fuel economy which compares to the Chevy chassis with it's larger more powerful engine. If shopping around for a low-priced used shorter rig maxing out around 24 feet, I advise to limit yourself to a chassis no older than a 2005 (or is it a 2006) not only to avoid the earlier spark plug issues with the V10 engine resolved in 2004, but most beneficial is the next generation transmission that yields better engine performance with the extra gear along with improved fuel economy. Ford named it "Torqshift". When internet shopping, REMEMBER the model year of the motor home is often built on an earlier model year chassis. A 2005 Coachman can be found on a 2004 E350. Repeating myself, we've owned our 2007 E350-V10 chassis rig for 12+ years now and it's been great. Our plan is to own the motor home for 35 years, anticipating we will then be too old and dangerous to drive it.
ron.dittmer 12/04/19 09:29am Class C Motorhomes
RE: V 10 mpg

Been thinking about getting a newer class C for some time, seems the most common 24 foot or under on the used market is the V10. After following this thread and reading about repair costs on the V10, The community has convinced me to keep my Toyota V6 until it falls apart like some Keystone Cops movie. I would like to have more power so will be watching for a Toyota 3.4 donor vehicle.For 24 years, we owned a motor home built on top of a 1983 Toyota 2.4L-L4 carbureted engine with a 4-speed manual trans. The engine was rated at 96hp. It was a real slug. 57mph was the sweet spot to achieve 20mpg. Going faster did not save time because of stopping so frequently for gas. We replaced the rig 12 years ago with an E350-V10 primarily for the facility upgrade, but also benefit in having normalcy with power. We aclimated quickly getting half the fuel economy because everything else has been so much better. If your RV facilities meets your needs adequately and you are able to maintain everything, I advise to keep going with it.
ron.dittmer 12/04/19 07:37am Class C Motorhomes
RE: toilet treatment for black water tank

We just can't afford sewer gas or poop smell in our garage from a poop tank that we are unable to thoroughly clean. My wife and I are both concerned about it. If one of us had an emergency, we'd surely poop in the toilet. But we've managed to avoid doing so up to this point.Yeah, you don't want smells in your garage, but I'd be curious to see if that would even be a problem with normal use & cleaning... Sewer gas is heavier than air, so I'd think you'd need quite a lot of build-up to have enough volume to exit the vent stack absent a vacuum effect (e.g. driving or wind). Worst case, you could always rig up a vent to the outdoors with some dryer vent hose... ;)We noticed a foul odor in our garage back in the early years 2007-2009 during the RVing season May thru September when we did not power-flush the black tank between trips. That was from urine alone in the black tank. So we power flush between trips during the season and continue to practice no-poop, and bleach the waste system at the end of the season. My wife is totally on-board with the practice as she actually suggested it from the beginning. I am sure as we continue to age, the need to yield to number two will become essential. But until then, this works well. Please don't misunderstand me. I surely don't suggest others follow our practice. I shared our process (especially our end-of-season bleach-cleaning portion) to contribute to the original question.
ron.dittmer 12/03/19 08:28am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Yes boys and girls, you REALLY need to carry a spare...

I guess you could twist the frame.I understand where you are coming from. But I figure the suspension is mounted near about the four corners of the frame. Imagine hitting a rise in the pavement on one side or the other.....frost heaves to Alaska being an extreme. Each time a tire hits, it not only lifts a corner, it does so with a lot of force. So I figure a slow gentile lifting of a corner (in the right place of coarse) should be much less of a concern. I use a bottle jack and lift where the rear axle is mounted to the suspension. Up front, I lift on the lower control arm in just the right place where it is balanced and strongest. I would lift at the frame, but the bottle jack is too stubby. I'd have to set it on tall blocks of wood or similar.
ron.dittmer 12/02/19 04:08pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: Yes boys and girls, you REALLY need to carry a spare...

I've never owned a dually before, so on the Ford E450, are all 6 wheels the same?Yes! A spare tire with standard Ford E450 steel wheel is used in all 6 positions. Some people like to rotate their 6 tires around. I personally think that is a bad idea for the rubber tires, but I mention "rotation" to support the fact that the spare is used in any position. Regarding using your hydraulic lifting jacks for changing any tire. If you can raise any corner so high that you can lift the tires completely off the ground, you can utilize the jacks for that purpose. BUT, you need to take extra precaution. You MUST first block the other wheels adequately so the rig does not move when working on it lifted. Break loose all lug nuts prior to lifting the rig. After the tire change, snug the lugs as much as possible with the lug wrench without jerking the rig, making sure everything is in position with no "play", then lower the rig so the tires make limited contact with the ground so they don't spin, then torque them to proper specification. Then completely lower the rig and check the lugs again. This is my opinion. Others may contradict my post here.
ron.dittmer 12/01/19 08:30pm Class C Motorhomes
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