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Is the Ford Chassis Reliable in RVs?

Is the Ford Chassis Reliable in RVs?

Did you know the Ford chassis is a popular choice for RVers looking for incredible horsepower and torque?

When you think of the Ford brand, you likely imagine the Ford Mustang or the reliable Super Duty line of Ford trucks.

Recently, though, the Ford motorhome chassis has faced some major scrutiny. Is it still worth considering?

Let’s take a look!

About Ford Motorhome Chassis

The chassis of a vehicle serves as the skeleton. You’ll find Class B and Class C motorhomes using the Ford chassis as their foundations. Manufacturers like Winnebego, Coachmen, and Thor are using this chassis.

There are two styles of this chassis for RVs, the F-53 and F-59. Both of these models come with a 7.3-liter V8 gas engine. Ford designed these models for power, ease of maintenance, and packaging. 

Hill-start assist, lane departure warnings, and increased Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR) are just a few of the many reasons RVers love this chassis. The GVWR ranges from 16,000 to 26,000 pounds.

Exterior updates for Transit are subtle but functionally driven. A new power sliding door is available for cargo van and passenger van to make getting loaded up as well as exiting the vehicle easier. Premium high-intensity discharge headlamps with signature LED surround are available. Three grilles will adorn different models in van, chassis cab and cutaway configurations – a three-bar design with black or chrome bars and an open mesh design for maximum cooling. Vans equipped with the powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine get a larger grille for maximum cooling.

What Is a Stripped Chassis Motorhome?

A stripped chassis refers to the chassis only and does not include the body of the motorhome. RV manufacturers purchase stripped chassis from Ford and build their motorhomes on them. This style of building allows motorhome manufacturers to benefit from the engineering and quality of experienced chassis manufacturers.

Large motorhome manufacturers and even custom motorhome builders select a stripped chassis to give them the freedom to build as they please. Only the builder or manufacturer’s imagination limits the flexibility of a stripped chassis.

Is the Ford Chassis Reliable in RVs? 

The Ford chassis uses a gas engine, which brings down the price but makes them more short-lived than diesel. Many users report having a wobble problem, especially when wheels are out of balance. Early editions had frequent reports of the infamous “death wobble.”

However, this is often only found in older models as Ford has changed their manufacturing to eliminate the wobble.

Changes in recent years made these chassis some of the most popular and reliable for Class B and Class C motorhomes. Ford has a reputation for its quality craftsmanship and commitment to improving with each new edition.

For work or play, Ford stripped chassis are the foundation of choice. F-53 – America’s best-selling Class A motorhome chassis** – gets new standard content to improve steering, upgrade center of gravity capability on higher GVWR models and enhance the driving experience. Both F-53 and F-59, commonly used for walk-in vans, get a new steering column, instrument cluster and electrical architecture.

Ford Recalls Tens of Thousands of Motorhomes

In April 2021, Ford recalled more than 16,000 2020 and 2021 F-53 Motorhome Stripped Chassis and F-59 Commercial Stripped Chassis vehicles. This recall addressed a lubrication issue on the rear axle. A lack of lubrication caused bearing damage and seizures, as well as driveshaft failures.

These issues could cause loss of motive power, failure of the parking brake, and an inability to shift into park. 

Which Manufacturers Use the Ford Motorhome Chassis?

The  Ford Motorhome Chassis is one of the top picks for manufacturers in Class B and Class C motorhomes. Brands like Pleasure Way, Winnebago, Coachmen, Thor, and Coach House use it.

Should You Buy an RV on a Ford Chassis?

Ford has a reputation for being an innovative and quality manufacturer. The Ford chassis is one of the most popular choices for Class B and C RVs. The gas engine frees up weight compared to a diesel alternative but sacrifices strength and longevity. If you’re looking for a top-shelf chassis to build on, the Ford chassis is one of the best.

The Ford chassis has developed a reputation among Class B and C RVers as one of the best. It’s tough and powerful but still affordable. It’s a great combination of durability when off-road and smoothness when in the city. Do you know what kind of chassis your RV has?

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  1. Ray Brown says:

    You mention “death wobble” in certain older Ford chassis. Which years?

  2. Kevin Dey says:

    No one should buy an RV with a Ford Chassis. My friend just cancelled his RV order and went with Freight liner after I informed him of this major issue. There is an overwhelming reason why. I will be glad to discuss with anyone who may be interested.
    This is an area that needs to make the public aware of. I would welcome your company to contact me for details.

  3. Bill Maceri says:

    I say the Ford F53, F59 are the best motorhome chassis and have been since the early 80s.they come with Ford’s mighty 460 cid fuel injectioned engine. That’s the only choice for class Bs and Cs.I had a 1998 Fleetwood Southwind class A that I had customized by Fleetwood. It was 33 ft long, and just under 12 ft wide. Fleetwood buys the stripped Ford F53 450 Super Duty, then Fleetwood adds an all steel frame on to the F53. It’s called the PowerPlatform.the coach is then built on top of that. The PowerPlatform adds a much stiffer foundation for the entire motorhome. I have been a Ford man since the mid-60s, so for me there was no other choice. One of Ford’s many great features that add a certain confidence to the ride and handling. As for Ford engines, they have the reputation for being able to run for long hours on the road, and they always start right up with a smoothness that’s always the same. That is a value that adds to the confidence I mentioned earlier. There are never any surprises, and the hum of the engine and exhaust sounds great. When I bought the Southwind, I was concerned about the engine being buried under the front of the coach which I thought would hamper the air flow around the engine, which could lead to overheating. I did some sniffing around at RV sites and found a company called the Banks System, located in Azuza, California. The system includes custom made headers and wider less restricted air flow in the pipes,and they route it out the left side just in front of the left rear wheel, which also helps remove restriction.Theres also an electric modification that will alter the transmission shift points that will maximize gear usage by controlling the shift points. The entire package was installed for $2,500.and it only took a day to install. I highly recommend the Banks system for a lot of reasons. Removing back pressure in the exhaust helped the mpg, and lowered the noise level inside the coach dramatically. The stock exhaust manifold was so restrictive it made the engine really loud, and in a class A, the engine is right there between the two front seats.The Banks system lowered the sound of the engine to where it was very quite and that improved the entire ride quality. Also, I checked with Ford Motor Company to see if the system would effect my Ford warranty,and it did not.These Banks brothers were heavily into auto racing and developed the system for maximum air flow through the engine. The only other modification I made was to install Bilstien shocks at all four corners and a Firestone air suspension system to the rear axles that I could control each from from the dash. That was very helpful in high wind situations, and to help level the coach when parked.These changes really helped the handling and performance, but it didn’t do much for the mpg, it always got around 8 mpg, no matter where I drove it.The gas tank held 75 gallons, so at 8 mpg I spent a lot of time in gas stations all over the Western US. I hated having to sell it, but life changes in ways we wish it didn’t. But I’m now in the position to find another motorhome, I love everything about motorhoming, including being a part of the beautiful western US.But this time I will make use of a point you made, I will go with a 29 or 31 foot class C this time. I like the feeling of being in a cockpit while driving. I never actually thought about the additional safety it provides, but that’s a very good point to consider. So, the main point I’m making here is,If you want to go,enjoy and come back, you better buy the Ford. Oh, one more point in favor of a the Ford, is there are Ford dealers all over the US, so in the event of needing service your never too far from a Ford dealership.Even in tiny little towns in places like Montana, there will be a Ford dealer at the end of main street. And I appreciate that.