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 > Lifting my class C

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Nomadist

San Francisco Bay Area

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Posted: 12/30/20 07:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a new-to-me Class C, a 1997 Four Winds, 23ft long.

Often, when I enter a gas station or other driveway, I drag my butt on the pavement. Technically, I drag the hitch (see pic below). I'm afraid this will get worse when I'm towing my 7x14 trailer that will carry my motorcycle. I also want to go onto dirt roads and perhaps a tiny bit offroad to do some boondocking.

This picture shows the problem:

[image]

And how low the hitch has been placed is making it worse:

[image]

My options seem to be:
  • add castor wheels
  • raise the vehicle permanently with a lift kit; I've identified one for $2k (installation extra) that will do the job
  • raise the vehicle on-demand with air bags
  • raise the hitch
  • a combination of the above

I'm sorting through the options and, as this is my first RV, I'm learning fast.

A few notes and tips I've learned from others:
  • the lift kit will bring up the entire rig by 5", front and back
  • the geometry of this type of vehicle does not allow for many good options (agreed! who designed this with so much cabin behind the rear wheel?); the person who mentioned this to me stressed getting castor wheels no matter what else I do
  • like the castor wheels, I've been advised to add airbags no matter what as this helps firm up the rear when loaded with the trailer; this person also suggested foregoing the lift kit and just going with the castor wheels and air bags because lifting the entire rig will make the steering less safe. This makes sense to me and I'm leaning toward this (castor wheels plus air bags, no lift kit).

But the problem is made much worse with the hitch placement. My question to the folks here is whether the hitch can be raised in some way. The visible part appears to be attached to a long bar that appears, in turn, to be attached to the frame. Is there a hitch design that isn't so low? It looks like that alone would give me four more precious inches.

Then again, with the wheels and airbags, maybe lifting the hitch isn't necessary. Perhaps I should spend only a bit of time and money since I expect this to be my training rig to be upgraded within 24 months.

Thoughts?

Edit: got the pictures in

* This post was edited 12/31/20 11:27am by Nomadist *

Home Skillet

Pearland Texas

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Posted: 12/30/20 08:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I installed air bags on mine. I can adjust the rear height from the cab.
Works really well.


2005 Gulf Stream Conquest 31ft
BigFoot Levelers,TST in tire TPMS,Bilstein Shocks,Trans temp guage,Lowrace iWAY

Nomadist

San Francisco Bay Area

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Posted: 12/30/20 08:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

@Home Skillet, does it simply prevent the rear from lowering or can you get some additional height, too?

ron.dittmer

North-East Illinois

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Posted: 12/30/20 08:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi Nomadist,

Our rig is 23'-8" over-all length, just a tad bit longer than your rig. Our weight placement is tail-heavy and front-light. What I did is not a full encompassing solution to your dilemma, but it was an easy and affordable increase in tail height, leveling the rig, and also ride-comfort. CLICK HERE to read about it which includes some detail in picture fashion. In your case, I would install rear air bags which should increase your rear ground clearance a couple extra inches. Between the two changes, you could increase your rear ground clearance by roughly 3".

If your rig is built on a Ford E350 chassis and suspension improvements were not yet performed, I strongly recommend the following.

- Add a heavy duty rear stabilizer bar. You have no rear stabilizer of any kind.
- Replace your weak front stabilizer bar with a heavy duty version.
- Pending the condition of your shock absorbers, replace them with heavy duty Bilstein shocks.

Those 3 changes will improve control, not increase rear-end clearance.


2007 Phoenix Cruiser model 2350, with 2006 Jeep Liberty in-tow


IAMICHABOD

Sunny So Cal 90713

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Posted: 12/30/20 09:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nomadist wrote:

I have a new-to-me Class C, a 1997 Four Winds, 23ft long.

Edit: not sure how to include pictures. Neither the link nor the picture buttons seem to work. Sorry, I tried a bunch of things.


The buttons will not let you post pictures but...

Follow This Link and it will walk you thru the process,good luck and welcome to the Forum.


2006 TIOGA 26Q CHEVY 6.0 WORKHORSE VORTEC
Former El Monte RV Rental

Buying A Rental Class C

Chevrolet Based Class C


Nomadist

San Francisco Bay Area

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Posted: 12/30/20 10:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

These are great suggestions, Ron. I'll see if anything has already been upgraded and make some plans if not.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 12/31/20 12:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,

I added a single roller which fits the hitch.

I upgraded the wheels and use taller tires which gained me some mileage

I recently redid the rear springs and added a leaf--one leaf was actually broken.

I added timbrins.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Gooma

Iowa

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Posted: 12/31/20 06:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Castor wheels only DECREASE the clearance.

ron.dittmer

North-East Illinois

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Posted: 12/31/20 06:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

I recently redid the rear springs and added a leaf--one leaf was actually broken.
A broken leaf spring is certainly something to check for, but you bring up an interesting subject of adding another leaf per rear corner to get more lift.

Our particular garage door clearance would not allow for a taller rig, but if that opening was tall enough, I would consider adding one leaf per rear corner, or better yet, a spacer per corner. A spacer increases lift without increasing harshness of ride. Spacers are commonly used in the RV industry to level a rig that is heavier in one rear corner than the other. It makes sense to use them to increase rear ground clearance in permanent fashion.

Dusty R

Charlotte Michigan 48813

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Posted: 12/31/20 06:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've raised garage door openings.

Maybe I should have said that some garage door opens can be raised.

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