White-knuckle barely described it. I was all over the road. Every passing truck pushed me half-way out of my lane. Would I ever dare let MsBoyink take the wheel?
Our first drive in Sally was an eye-opener.
Our truck and fifth wheel was a very stable rig going down the road. Semi trucks would pass us and I’d hardly notice. The stress of driving was more about the length and height than keeping it on track on the road.
Then we drove Sally.
Like a Houseboat
Years ago we rented a houseboat on the Mississippi River. It was a 55’ box on the water. Steering was a constant see-saw of correcting one way then the other.
Sally felt like that houseboat.
I stayed in the lane - on average.
One advantage of buying an older Class B is that there are years of experience out there to draw on. I searched for handling issues on the 1990s-era Pleasure-Ways and Road-Treks (also built on the Dodge platform).
I found various solutions including wheel spacers, rear anti-sway bars, and airbags.
I discovered that these ‘90s-era Dodge vans have a 4” narrower wheel track in the rear vs. the front. Once I read that, the difference was obvious. I always thought the rear of these vans looked a bit….doofy.
The theory is that by having the rear wheeltrack that much narrower than the front you catch different parts of the road, which leads to the instability. Installing wheel spacers in the rear would make the wheeltrack the same as the front which should help.
At $110/pair the wheel spacers were the cheapest fix. I decided to try them, and look to the other solutions if they didn’t work out.
Even if they didn’t solve the handling issues, Sally’s rear stance wouldn’t look so doofy.
I ordered these spacers.
Installation was straight-forward:
- Remove rear wheels
- Slide spacers on
- Install lug nuts on spacers, torque down lugnuts
- Install wheels onto spacers, torque down lugnuts