No! But there are ways to improve ride feel and comfort. I had no experience driving an RV and the first time I drove our 2007 Winnebago Vista 30 foot class A, AKA Wanda, it felt cumbersome, awkward and unresponsive. It's exactly how I pictured it would be. It's like driving a small apartment on wheels. The steering is best described as dull. There is nothing precise about it. The ride quality was like sitting on a bouncy ball being thrown against a wall. It's safe to say I didn't enjoy it. I can see how it might be okay for some people, but I really enjoy driving. I've owned numerous fun cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats because I like the freedom of being behind the wheel.
What I was impressed with however was the Ford Triton V10 Engine. It's brawny and stout and the only downside of our model is that it only has a 5 speed automatic. Later models have a 6 speed automatic, which would definitely help Wanda get up hills and with MPGs. I read about a great tune from 5 Star Tuning which had amazing reviews to improve on power delivery, so I will be saving up for that.
Since Wanda is an opportunity for me to check off an item on my bucket list, driving across country, I wanted make sure I would enjoy the drive. So, I started researching ways to improve her.
There are tons of directions you can take this build but after extensive research, we came up with two options. Keeping in mind we had a tight budget, we needed the best bang for our buck.
Option 1: To Sway ? or not to Sway? That is the question.
In the sports car world, if you want more performance from your suspension you add bigger anti-sway bars. These devices stiffen up the suspension and prevent body roll. I've upgraded the Anti-sway bars on all my cars and trucks and have been extremely pleased with the difference. For Wanda, I was considering RoadMaster RSS Anti-Sway Front and Rear Bars. These bars are significantly larger than stocks and would provide that rigidity. The brackets also seemed high quality with a built to last craftsmanship.
In both of these options, I included the RoadMaster Steering Stabilizer and Bracket Kit.
The install for Option 1 was a little more complicated and it was slightly more expensive. On Amazon, the following items totaled $1600:
Option 2: SumoSprings vs Poor Handling. FIGHT!
At first I thought these were gimmicky, they look like fake airbags. How do foam cones provide rigidity and comfort? However, the more I researched and read the reviews, the more I was buying into the claims. So many reviews praised these springs and the difference they make on the ride. Here is what Sumo Spring claims: "SumoSprings are a patented suspension product designed to enhance load carrying ability, stabilize sway, and improve overall driver control and ride comfort. They are maintenance free, do not leak air, and do not require airlines or compressors."
Again I included the Road Master Steering Stabilizer and Bracket kit
On Amazon, Option 2 totaled about $1500.
After deliberation, drum roll please.....we went with Option 2.
I was extremely curious about how Option 2 would work. How could so many great reviews be wrong? There was only one way to find out.
All three components were a very straight forward installation. I would consider myself a pretty handy person but feel a beginner DIYer would be able to handle this with the basic tools needed to complete the job and a buddy to help the process go quicker. Find a friend people! The directions were clear and included many pictures for reference. The steering stabilizer was done in under an hour, the front SumoSprings took about 2.5 hours and the rear took 2 hours. You can make all these changes in one day. We didn’t even need to take the back wheels off the RV. The most difficult part was contorting your body to reach under the wheel well.
First of all, this was one of the best purchases we made for Wanda. The RoadMaster steering stabilizer made steering as easy as can be. I am able to drive down the highway with one hand comfortably. The RV no longer wanders all over the road. It tracks straight and true. I especially like it during turns because the wheel has more resistance and feel, which provides more confidence. I also really like the added safety that the stabilizer provides during a tire blowout. The RoadMaster Steering Stabilizer should help keep the wheel straight. Often times during a blowout, the RV will pull you in the direction of the blow out. It’s nice to have some extra security that I will be able to control Wanda if we suffer a blowout.
We are extremely pleased with the performance of the SumoShocks. It is a night and day difference. We no longer have uncontrollable sway. We feel more stable. The best improvement is the ride quality. They help absorb the bumps and imperfections of the road. We even notice the cabin is quieter. You can certainly feel the difference in rough road conditions but where it really shines is when you have a nice stretch of smooth to moderately smooth road. For a split second the RV doesn't feel like a house on wheels but more like a 30 foot sports car. And that is what it's really about Sidetrackers, enjoying the ride.
What are ways you improved your driving experience in your RV? Let us know in the comments below.
By: Kevin Quiambao
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