June 24, 2024
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Upgrade your Motorhome Anti-Sway Bars for a Safe and Stable Ride

Most gas powered motorhomes today are built upon a stock Ford or Chevy truck chassis which were not intended for RV use. Truck frames used for gas motorhomes were not intended to support a 30+ foot house and all of its contents. But, as a new buyer, it is common to simply focus on the looks and amenities of your new motorhome and overlook the hidden equipment that make it safe and stable to drive.

Suspension components on a stock truck chassis, like the anti-sway bars, are simply undersized for most RV applications. Most RV manufacturers just don’t want to have added expense of upgrading the suspension even though it would make the RV safer to drive. They would rather have RV dealers sell those as add-ons.

Upgrade your Motorhome Anti-Sway Bars for a Safe and Stable Ride 1

You will quickly find out how your RV is affected by a strong wind or a semi-truck buzzing by on the highway when you experience it for the first time. That white knuckle feeling is NO fun.

You might think “Is this what driving a motorhome is like?” Well, it doesn’t have to be.

The Solution

Several third party suspension upgrades are available to improve your ride and make your RV safer to drive. A thicker anti-sway bar on the front and rear would probably make a big difference I thought. I remember the front-end being a big bouncy on recent trips. So, I figured that some heavy duty replacement shocks should fix that as well.

There are several other suspension upgrades I could have made like track bars, steering stabilizers, etc.. But I learned that it is NOT a good idea to add too much at once. Instead, make one or two improvements then drive it for a while.

I needed to convince my wife that this costly upgrade was a priority. Suspension and chassis upgrades are not like getting a new TV or comfy couch. This expensive upgrade would be hidden from view and only affect the drivability and stability of the coach. My pitch was that it would make our RV much safer to drive (actually true) and she agreed. I would attempt to do the work myself to keep the cost down.

Here is what I decided to do:

  1. Replace the front and rear anti-sway bars with heavy duty Hellwig anti-sway bars, then
  2. Upgrade all four of my shock absorbers to heavy duty Bilstein shocks

Roadmaster anti-sway bars were a popular option, but they were also more expensive. I decided to go with Hellwig anti-sway bars instead. Not only was the Hellwig equipment less expensive, Hellwig also offered better support for a DIY install.

Suspension Add-Ons

Here are the Hellwig front and rear kits I purchased for my Ford E-450 Chassis.

Upgrade your Motorhome Anti-Sway Bars for a Safe and Stable Ride 2

Hellwig 7008 Front Anti-Sway Bar for Ford E-450

his heavy duty anti-sway bar replaced the stock Ford anti-sway bar. Watch the video below for installation.

Read reviews on Amazon

Upgrade your Motorhome Anti-Sway Bars for a Safe and Stable Ride 3

Hellwig 7180 Rear Anti-Sway Bar (for Ford E-450 Super Duty)

This heavy duty anti-sway bar replaced the stock Ford anti-sway bar in the rear of the motorhome. Watch the video below for installation.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Upgrade your Motorhome Anti-Sway Bars for a Safe and Stable Ride 4

Heavy Duty Bilstein Shock Absorbers

I replaced my stock shock absorbers with four Bilsteins. Check the specs to choose the right ones for the front and rear. The shocks pictured here are for the front.

Read more reviews on Amazon

Can You Install Them Yourself and Save Money?

Yes. I called to get a couple of installation bids beforehand and discovered that it would cost twice as much in labor. The Hellwig installation instructions are pretty clear. So I decided to take on the installation of the anti-sway bars myself.

DIY anti-sway bar installation on motorhome - RVWITHTITO.com
DIY anti-sway bar install on a motorhome

It does require a lot of crawling around underneath the RV and applying lots of torque with a torque wrench. An impact wrench would make the job much easier. You will need a torque wrench and some specific sized sockets identified in the instructions. Having never done this type of job before, I was able to get both anti-sway bars installed.

The worn tires on the front had just been replaced. So I had an RV alignment shop to a front-end alignment. While there, the also installed the heavy duty Bilstein shocks for me.

The Installation

In this video, I’ll take you through the installation of the front anti-sway bar. You’ll notice that there is no jacking up, drilling or special tools involved. I was able to complete the job using basic wrenches and ratchet hand tools. The only difficult part was working in a confined space and trying to film the process.

This second video details the installation of the rear anti-sway bar. Again, there were no special tools needed. I then took the RV to a reputable RV alignment shop to install the Bilstein shocks and perform an alignment. After the alignment, I was able to drive the RV for the first time with everything installed. You’ll see my first reactions towards the end of the video.

I did the exact same thing to our 2013 Ford E-450-based Triple E Regency class C motor home; installed Hellwig heavy duty sway bars front and rear, and Bilstein shocks all around. Now it drives and handles like it’s on rails. -Superspockman (from YouTube)

Front Anti-Sway Bar Upgrade on our Class A Motorhome

The suspension upgrade on our Class C was so successful, I decided to repeat the process on our 2003 Winnebago Class A motorhome. This time I went with a replacement anti-sway bar specifically designed for our Ford F-53 chassis.

Here is a video to take you through that installation. This time I had an impact wrench which made all the difference.

The new anti-sway bar, made by Supersteer, was perfect for our motorhome. Since installing it, we’ve driven through the rough roads in the Yukon Territory, Alaska, and throughout Baja California. Watch this video to see the anti-sway bar in action.

Conclusion

After replacing the anti-sway bars on our Class C and Class A motorhomes, the driving improvements have been remarkable. We just feel safer and more in control.

It has changed the whole RV driving experience for me. As if I didn’t already enjoy driving the RV before…now it is much more relaxing. Passing trucks, crosswinds and uneven roads don’t have much of an affect anymore. This was clearly evident when traveling through the Yukon Territory to Alaska in our 34 ft Class A motorhome.

If you’re planning on keeping your RV for a while, I highly recommend this upgrade. It’s worth the investment and you’ll feel safer and more in control behind the wheel. Better yet…buy a used RV that someone has already upgraded.

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