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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: The Spring has Sprung
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 03:36:38 -0500

As most of you regulars know, I have an 82 model Itasca Spectrum
motorhome.  This nifty little rig is built on a chevy 3/4 ton van
partial chassis.  With its styrofoam and aluminum composite
construction, it weighs a featherly 7500 lbs fully loaded and ready
to roll.  Unfortunately, the front/rear weight bias was such that
the rear tires were near their max ratings.  The major cause was the
sagging of the rear springs.  Even in this picture:

Taken several years ago right after I got the rig, the rear can be
seen squatting.  It had gotten so bad that the skirt line was well
below the rear axle centerline and the rear weight was exceeding the
tire rating by a small amount.  I could fairly reliably separate a
tread by exceeding 70 mph.

I debated between air bags and new springs and finally decided that
new leaf springs would be the most hassle free solution.  A check of
the on-line Yellow Pages turned up

McGlohon Springs Inc
905 E. 16th St
Chattanooga, TN 37408
423 267 5826

I gave 'em a ring and chatted with one of the owners.  He quoted a
price of $325 to do the job and could do it the next day.  I dropped
off my rig that evening and by noon the next day it was ready.


First off, about McGlohon.  This is a vanishingly rare company - an
outfit that does exactly what they say they will do, when they said
they'd have it done and at the price they quoted.  This turns out to
be a huge operation, covering a whole city block.  They have a huge
warehouse full of springs and a full blacksmith shop where they can
fabricate custom brackets, springs and such.  Their main business is
respringing large trucks for extra heavy duty service such as
utility line/bucket trucks.

I knew my rig would handle better than before but I could not
imagine what a difference this simple change would make.  They
rebushed the spring ends while they had it off.  That and getting
the suspension geometry correct has transformed the rig.  It now
drives like a large van instead of an RV.  There is little
perceptible lean in turns that previously had it leaning more than I
was comfortable with.  The straight line stability is outstanding.
Before, a passing semi truck would blow me out of my lane.  Cross
wind was horrible.  Tire pressure was critical - miss the correct
amount by a couple PSI and the back end would wag like it was riding
on castors.

On the way home I was sitting in the right lane contemplating just
how well the rig had handled the turns getting to the interstate and
how well it handled the entrance ramp.  Then I realized that semi
rigs were blasting by and I hadn't even felt them.  When I saw the
next one coming up from behind, I lifted my hands from the wheel to
see what the rig did - nothing.  Unbelievable.

Most importantly, a trip through the truck scales showed the weight
distribution to be correct, with the rear wheels well under their
max rating.  I set the cruise on 70 for the rest of the trip home
and the rig ran like it was on rails.  The change in my rig's
handling is more than I would have ever imagined.

Anyone who has an older rig (or new one for that matter) that squats
in the rear and/or handles poorly should consider having a spring
expert take a look.  And if you're anywhere near Chattanooga, you
should consider a road trip to McGlohon.  I imagine spring specialty
shops are few and far between.  Finding one that actually does a
good job is probably even rarer.


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