Last week we talked a little about IFS and the like and touched on Class A and DP. Most often Class A will be used by folks describing a gasoline engine mounted in the front of a chassis and a box sitting on the chassis. The drivers seat and the co-pilot seat can be turned and are part of the main cabin. The problems for me with class A is the position of the dog house that covers the engine making it a climb to get into and out of the two front seats. And the engine noise between the front passenger and driver while underway. You must remember that I am a DP (diesel pusher) owner with the engine all the way in the rear of the rig.
The other problem with the older class A’s was that they were on a chassis from under a bread truck. A lot of them were not up to the task.
New chassis are being produced that are more suited to the weight and other considerations for motor homes like the Ford. This is how Ford touts it’s 2008 F series class A motor homes chassis:
Ford is basing the power for it’s chassis on the 10 cylinder V type overhead cam 6.8 liter 3 valve per cylinder engine. It claims 363 horses and 457 ft.lbs of torque. Behind this engine is a 5 speed automatic with a Tow-Haul mode.
The chassis is available from Ford in 6 GVWR’s allowing the motorhome maker to match a chassis to their body weight configuration. They are :
• 16,000 lbs.
• 18,000 lbs.
• 20,500 lbs.
• 22,000 lbs.
• 24,000 lbs.
• 26,000 lbs.
The wheelbase Options are 178″/190″/208″/228″and the 242″with 22.5″ Aluminum Wheels. The standard is a 19.5″ diameter wheel.
A new high-mileage internal transmission filter extends fluid change and filter change intervals from 24 months/30,000 miles to 36 months/60,000 miles.
New 9,000 lbs. front solid axle with leaf springs provides increased capacity to accommodate the new GVWR offerings of both new 24,000 lbs. and 26,000 lbs. chassis.
Larger front and rear brake calipers, hub and rotor assemblies, wheel bearings, HydroMax brake booster reservoir and front and rear ABS sensors. These are used in both the ABS system and the possibility of traction control.
New 50 degree wheel cut provides a reduced turning radius for tighter turns, more maneuverability and easier parking. While not as great as the 55 plus turning of the front wheels in the IFS chassis it is better than previous. However it moves the front springs closer to the centerline of the chassis and that could impart ride and body roll a bit.
Tough new frame assembly utilizes 50,000 PSI high strength steel with deep channel side rails to create an extremely stable platform.
Best-In Class heavy duty Dana 17060S axle, rated at 17,500 lbs., is used for all 24,000 and 26,000 lbs. GVWR chassis. So in a nut shell here are the numbers:
362HP 6.8L 3-Valve SOHC EFI Triton V-10 Engine 457 ft/lbs torque
26,000 lb. GCWR – 10,300 lbs. Max. Trailer Weight with 16,000 lbs. GVWR
Standard 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
19.5-inch Low-Profile, Metric Radial Tires and Wheels 81-Inch Front Tread Width
TorqShift™ 5 Speed automatic transmission with Tow-Haul Mode
7,500 lb. Capacity Front Axle
9,000 lb. Capacity Front Axle
14,500 lb. Capacity Rear Axle
17,500 lb. Capacity Rear Axle
Next week we will look at the workhorse numbers and facts and how then measure up.
In the interest of safety, let me add a comment. I was driving down the interstate in a wind when the rear stabilizer bar fell off my Ford Class A chassis on a 2003 Forest River Georgetown. Apparently Ford has gone metric and the bolts backed out of the nuts. I was all over three lanes of traffic before getting it slowed and under control. This was the 3rd thing that had gone bad on the Ford. It was soon traded for a Coachmen on a Freightliner rear diesel and air bags chassis which drives like a sports car by comparison. I recommend anyone looking at a new coach with Ford class A chassis consider a used one with a Freightliner chassis – it could save your life!!!!
Dan and Audrey
We have a new 4winds with the workhorse chassis,8.1 litre gas,loveing it so far,Dan.
If your going to do a WorkHorse review next week I hope that you do something on the new UFO that is out now. It gets the engine in the rear for both the gas/dp set up. would love to see some users of it comment. bob
I’m driving a diesel on a Fred chassis. The reason I’m looking to get a DP is the stability and safety on the road. Any opinion about the ME road master? It is a mid engine diesel. I don’t like having mechanics walking inside just to have the oil changed. Is there any pro and cons that I may consider regarding this chassis? Good info on the IFS.
I totally agree with Clark! I chose a Class A Ford as well and it was the perfect choice for me. I don’t mind climbing over the “dog house” into the driver seat and have no interest in a diesel. But I do enjoy reading your blogs, Brad, so keep em coming!
According to a recent internet search, you’re driving an 18-year old DP. It may be parked in a back lot somewhere, for all we know, according to your comparison with modern day motor homes, whether fueled by gas or diesel. I suspect your technological and socialological growth may have been stunted around the same time as your acquisition of your 1990 vintage coach.
Gas- and Diesel-powered coaches have both progressed significantly since then. The doghouse “obstacle” in my gasser is no higher than the curb at the street in front of my house. Certainly, I can easily negotiate that height as frequently as needed since I can go to my curb and easily collect my daily mail every day. It is a non-issue. If I had to do it a dozen times a day, it would still be a non-issue. And I’m only in the decade behind you, agewise.
You seem to be ‘majoring in minors’ in order to publish this limited-view missive for potential MH owners. The “doghouse” issue is passe, but I will concede one point. That is that the vehicle engine located in the rear is certainly an advantage to lower the vehicle engine noise.
That advantage may be wholly cancelled, on the other hand, by the fact that many DP coaches have the genset located in the front, and the effect when running it is to completely offset the benefit of moving the vehicle engine noise rear-ward.
Additionally, the current schedule for fuel prices for diesel tends towards ‘higher’ and ‘much higher’ than gasoline…up to $.60 or so per gallon differential in favor of gas.
I’d like to see your article updated with all the current facts that would support a new learned opinion. For example, you completely overlooked any mention of engine torque, engine life, engine cost, engine maintenance, engine use in hot/cold conditions, and so on.
You sound like you are really talking down your nose about the Ford class A motorhomes. Well I had my choice when I bought my new CLASS A Ford. I didn’t want a smelly dp. I sold them for three years and decided I liked the side entry. We decided the smell of diesel fuel on your shoes from filling the tank carried into the coach. I could smell this when they would come in to our shop for service. The cost of fuel and original cost of the coach difference gives me more money to spend on our trips. Thanks for the info. I’ll keep my CLASS A Ford.