Week 742-743 - The Story of our wREcK - 11-08-2020

The Story of our wREcK

Once upon a time Mama and Papa Bear bought a motorhome to see a little bit of America. They loved their motorhome.

They drove it here, they drove it there, they drove it everywhere. As it turns out, they never came back to live in their house!

They drove the "MotherShip" and just kept driving and driving. They drove so much they wore out their tires in Alaska.

When they got to Montana they went to Les Schwab to get new Goodyear G670 tires. Just like the ones that Monaco put on the MotherShip when it was new. They loved the way the original motorhome drove, especially in the mountains.

But, a nice young salesman at Schwab talked them into Michelin tires. "They will ride smoother and cost a little bit less." So the Papa Bear drove off on four new Michelin rear tires in the MotherShip with 58,586 miles on it.

After a few weeks of driving, Papa Bear was not feeling good about the new tires. The rear of the MotherShip would sway back and forth on the mountain turns. Dumb ole Papa Bear should have gone back to Schwab and returned the tires, but that thought never occurred to him.

Lots of big rig motorhomes have Michelin tires and love them. Maybe it wasn't the tires. What could it be? Maybe it's in Papa Bear's head? So they drove it for five more years and Papa Bear's head never got better! They were starting to feel as if they were driving around an ole wREcK, a motorhome past its prime. Maybe with 102,898 miles the MotherShip suspension is starting to show wear.

Determined to get back to the ride they loved, new Koni shocks were installed. Not cheap but either was the MotherShip and they love the MotherShip. So off they go on new shocks. It was a shock, as it did not improve the ride.

At 110,854 miles the Michelins were worn out. Yeah! They get to buy new tires. Six new Yokohama tires were installed by Wyatt Tire in Eugene, Oregon.

As suspected, the MotherShip handled better. They learned that the Michelin tires that the nice young man sold them were too soft for the size of the MotherShip. Oops! Papa Bear learned a big lesson.

While the handling was better it stills seems to rock and sway too much. Maybe Papa Bear is getting too old to drive a 33,500 lb moving house? Perhaps the days of driving this old wREcK on mountain roads might be over. The swaying, porpoising and rocking are only accentuated by towing a car.

Even so, they sold their house to continue to live in the MotherShip for good.

With 130,000 miles of wear, it was time to inspect the wREcK and fix anything it needed to last another 15 years. Off to the Eugene, Oregon area, the RV capital of the West. At a visit to Cummins in Coburg, a chassis inspected came up good with only a minor oil leak to be stopped. Monaco (REV Group) in Coburg repaired the front door that did not close well and leaked air when traveling.

A trip to Elite RV in Harrisburg found that all four slides need attention. Not a surprise considering the four slides have gone in and out at more than 600 stays. The slides will be repaired in March 2021 on a return to Oregon. Papa Bear couldn't help but notice that a company called Source Engineering claimed to be able to enhance the ride of diesel pushers.

After a meeting at Source Engineering in Veneta (in the Eugene area) they were convinced to install the kit. They have kits for various motorhome brands. For the Monaco Diplomat they have the Ride Enhancement Kit (REK-281). The installation includes lots of components as shown here.

Techs finished the install in one day. It also included air values on each of the 8 air bags.

Does the MotherShip ride any differently? Yes, it does. The 8 Koni shocks were replaced with custom made Bilstein shocks. The new shocks damper the movement both up and down where as the older only dampered in one direction. This minimizes "porpoising" which is when the front of the coach pitches up and down repeatedly. This happens on lumpy roads and many bridges.

A second component are sway bars. These large U-shaped bars keep the wheels from shifting left and right. Lateral movement occurs in turns and when a large truck passes by. Again, this enhancement lessens the effect of this movement.

Third, the kit includes a front stabilizer. The stabilizer attaches to the steering system. As you turn the wheel, the stabilizer is compressed or expanded. This unit keeps the wheel from moving too quickly as when you have a front tire blowout. A blowout can cause a radical front steering movement that can force your motorhome across the road or onto the shoulder.

A fourth component they opted for were air valves added to the air bigs. These valves slow the increase or decrease of air to the bags. This eliminates the "bouncing" that is normal on an air bag suspended motorhome.

So that's the story of our REK. Overall, the ride is better than when the MotherShip was new. And Mama and Papa Bear rode happily ever after.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Photos from Oct-Nov 2020

The Full Time Motorhome Living Guide

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