Motorhome FAQ

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The ride height is the setting for the air suspension on your chassis. This is important, because if the ride heights are not set properly, two important factors are affected:
  • The front ride height will change the front-axle caster settings. This can effect the handling of your coach on the highway and tire wear.
  • The rear ride height will change the drive-shaft angles. Incorrect drive-shaft angles can cause driveline noise (vibration or a growling sound) and can cause premature wear of the u-joints on the driveline.
The ride height should be checked at each scheduled maintenance interval. This is every six months or 6,000 miles, whichever comes first. Please have ride heights checked at an authorized Freightliner dealer, or purchase a FCCC Workshop manual from an authorized dealer for proper ride height checking and setting information.      
This does appear to be the case at many dealers. Each dealership may have its own reason for this, but most commonly it’s because motorhomes are much more difficult to work on than trucks. For typical repairs on a truck, the engine can easily be accessed by lifting the hood, and other components (such as electrical connectors and fuse panels) are normally in the same place from truck to truck. Because there are so many motorhome manufacturers, component locations can change from coach to coach, and a lot of time can be spent simply looking for a connector. Also, extra care must be taken to protect the interior of the vehicle from oil and grease that may be tracked in by a mechanic. FCCC has no control over the rates charged by the Freightliner dealers, since they are independently owned and operated.  
A motorhome can be divided into two main components—the body and the chassis. The chassis basically includes the frame, engine, transmission, axles, wheels, brakes, cooling system, electrical system, steering system, suspension and instrumentation. Looking at a motorhome chassis is like looking at a home that hasn't been enclosed yet. The foundation's done, and the plumbing and wiring are ready. Onto this platform, the motorhome manufacturer builds a body and outfits it with all of the accoutrements that make the vehicle comfortable to live in. Motorhome manufacturers work directly with FCCC to specify the exact chassis components that meet the needs of the home they wish to build on top.    
That's right. Chassis building is about getting you from place to place comfortably, reliably and efficiently. Body construction is about making you happy once you arrive.  
That's a tough one to answer, since every motorhome owner has different needs and expectations. Customers who choose an FCCC chassis are probably most concerned about three things—the reliability of the engine and transmission, a comfortable and quiet ride and fewer maintenance worries.
Without a doubt, a diesel engine and transmission provide more years/miles of hassle-free service than a gasoline-powered vehicle. FCCC only builds diesel motorhome chassis, and most models are described as "pushers," meaning the engine is located at the rear of the chassis. This provides a smoother, quieter ride, since the driver and the engine sit at opposite ends of the chassis. A diesel engine and transmission cost more up front, but it's a good investment in the long run, especially for motorhome users who expect to travel regularly or for longer distances
Because of the type of fuel as well as the design of the engine itself, a diesel engine operates at lower internal temperatures. This helps lengthen the lifespan of the engine block. In addition, there are no spark plugs and associated ignition parts, which reduces maintenance. A diesel engine also has fewer moving parts, which also helps increase engine life as well as reduce maintenance. And, diesel fuel is often less expensive at the pump than gasoline.  
No vehicle is without the need for regular maintenance. But, FCCC only uses premium components to build its chassis. This means that you can expect a longer service life out of the diesel engine and transmission as well as all of the other systems that make your motorhome mobile.  
Motorhome manufacturers and FCCC work hard to ensure that the chassis and body complement each other to provide the right amount of power, braking ability, frame strength, ride comfort, etc. Basically, a larger motorhome will include a larger engine, more sophisticated transmission and possibly a few more heavy-duty systems. But most likely, the motorhome that fits your needs, in terms of size and comfort level, will be built on the right chassis. Discuss with your motorhome dealer the driving conditions you'll experience most often and how long you expect to stay on the road in a given trip, and they will steer you toward the right home for your budget and your lifestyle.
Air suspension systems are available on larger, heavier motorhomes and help provide a smooth ride and better handling and braking. Compressed air is pumped in and out of air bags to help adjust the angle of the vehicle in relation to the road. When you turn a corner, more air is pumped into the air bag that is on the outside of the curve, which helps prevent the coach from leaning. The same thing happens when you brake. Air is pumped into the front suspension to prevent stress on the front end and help make stops smoother and less jolting. Spring suspension systems are used on some motorhome chassis to reduce cost.
Exhaust brakes are available on some Freightliner chassis. An exhaust brake is a vehicle-retarding device that comes in handy in hilly terrain. It helps slow the vehicle, resulting in longer life of the service brakes.
The parking brake will not release until there is at least 65 psi of pressure in the brake system. Check the air gauges to make sure that you have at least 65 psi in the air system before releasing the parking brake. If not, contact your nearest service facility.
Operating a diesel engine in extremely cold weather may require some modifications to your vehicle. Review the instructions in your operator's manual, and/or contact your FCCC authorized service facility to discuss preparations for extreme weather conditions. CAUTION: Never use any starting aid, such as ether, in engines with an intake air preheater. This could cause an explosion, resulting in serious injury.
Gasoline and non-turbocharged diesel engines lose horsepower at higher altitudes, because the air is too thin to allow fuel to burn as efficiently as it would at lower altitudes. Non-turbo engines lose about 3 percent of horsepower for every 1,000 feet above sea level that you travel. Turbo-charged engines are good to about 10,000 feet without any loss of power. Modern, electronically controlled diesel engines compensate for altitude changes.
Almost all vehicle manufacturers recommend you change your transmission fluid after a break-in period. This helps remove contaminants from the transmission that may have remained present following the component's manufacture. Be sure to check your owner's manual for manufacturers' recommendations for all maintenance and upkeep of your vehicle.
Air reservoirs serve as storage tanks for compressed air. They collect water condensed from the air, and small amounts of oil normally enter the reservoir in the form of vapor, because of the heat generated during the compression. After the water and oil condense, they collect near the tank drain valves and should be drained regularly. If the air tanks are not equipped with automatic drain valves, you should drain the tanks daily during vehicle operation. If equipped with automatic drain valves, they should still be drained manually every six months during operation. To drain the tanks, pull the three drain lanyards provided until all moisture is expelled.
On some of our larger models, a side-facing radiator is available. This type of mount is generally more expensive but can offer some advantages. One is that accessing the engine is easier when the radiator isn't in front of the engine. Also, because of the low air pressure behind a coach, the rear radiator is generally exhausting air from the engine compartment through the radiator. This can include dust and road grime from beneath the coach. Rear-mounted radiators should therefore be cleaned more often, and if they aren't, it can affect engine cooling. On the other hand, a side-mounted radiator can eliminate some underbody storage space. In the end, you have to determine which mount suits your needs best.
FCCC uses Fleetcharge brand coolant for its premium motorhome chassis. Fleetcharge coolant is available through Pep Boys®, Tractor Supply and Quality Auto Parts® stores. Owners can also call Old World at (800) 323-5440 for a complete list of distributors in the United States, or check with your local Freightliner dealer for availability. Owners should reference part number OWI ALA003 when requesting Fleetcharge coolant.
Most larger motorhomes don't provide a spare for several reasons. Generally, the wheel assembly is too cumbersome and heavy for one person to change alone without risking injury. We'd recommend in the case of a flat tire, you enlist the help of a roadside service crew to fix it. If you do decide to obtain a spare wheel assembly, contact your dealer for details on ordering one and the proper way to store it.

Walk-In Van FAQ

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In addition to walk-through access to payload, a walk-in van provides you a durable vehicle with a long life cycle. A walk-in van is easy to operate and, in many cases, an FCCC walk-in van chassis provides better maneuverability in tight areas and on narrow streets.
A diesel engine burns diesel fuel, a less volatile, less refined product than gasoline. Because of the type of fuel, as well as the design of the engine itself, a diesel operates at lower internal temperatures. This helps lengthen the life span of the engine block. A diesel engine also has fewer moving parts, which also helps increase engine life as well as reduce maintenance. Fuel economy will vary according to a vehicle's design and route conditions, but frequently mileage is better with our diesel-powered walk-in vans than with comparable gasoline-powered vehicles.

Because it is longer-lived, a diesel engine in general is more reliable than a gasoline engine. Overall vehicle reliability is the larger question, and FCCC designs and builds chassis with only premium components. This means individual systems typically perform better and last longer. Matching the right chassis to the job is also important to ensure low maintenance. If you're carrying more weight than the chassis (this includes frame, axles, suspension, wheels, tires, engine, transmission, etc.) was designed to carry, your maintenance costs will be higher. Your chassis should also match your route conditions. An inner-city route with fewer miles, but numerous stops and starts requires different chassis components than a highway route with fewer stops. FCCC custom-builds chassis to a wide array of specifications to help ensure you get the right vehicle for the job and that your experience with FCCC is a profitable one for your business.
Although it can depend on the vehicle application, an automatic transmission enhances driver ergonomics and simplifies operation for drivers. For many drivers, an automatic transmission is more comfortable and familiar. Today's drivers often expect a more automotive experience. As a result, automatic transmissions are usually the preferred standard equipment.
The lower the ratio, the faster the road speed. You should select your rear axle ratios based on your driving conditions. A higher ratio equals greater startability or acceleration, versus a lower ratio which impacts gradability or hill-climbing ability. If you are an inner-city delivery operation with very few on-highway routes, you may consider a higher ratio for better startability. If you mainly drive between cities on the highway, you may choose a lower ratio for better road speed.
The sway bar is mounted near the axle and bolted to the frame. It helps minimize the side-to-side movement of the chassis for better handling.
The Freightliner AirLiner® suspension is available on the MT-55 chassis with suspension ratings at 18,000 lb. and 20,000 lb.
The longer the overhang, the more weight will be distributed to the rear of the vehicle. When payload volume is more important than capacity, you want a better distribution of weight. In other words, more area in the back must be used to distribute the weight evenly. As far as drivability is concerned, the longer the vehicle, the more you will have to compensate for maneuverability in tight turns.
FCCC offers engine-block heaters that may aid in cold-weather starts. Also, the Cummins® ISB has a standard grid heater which pre-warms the diesel fuel before injection to optimize starting in cold climates.
Yes. One of the benefits of doing business with Daimler Trucks North America is that it offers many different types of commercial vehicles, from 18-wheelers to Business Class trucks to walk-in vans. Most products we offer can be serviced by any Freightliner dealer.
FCCC does coordinate in-house training upon request and will work with your company to determine training needs.
The best place to start is with your chassis dealer. To find a Freightliner dealer near you, visit our Dealer Locator or consult your local Yellow Pages. Your dealer can help you determine what size chassis you need for your business and help you choose a body company to outfit your chassis for your specific needs.

Commercial Bus FAQ

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Unlike many bus chassis builders who simply utilize an existing product and call it a bus chassis, FCCC custom-engineers and builds all commercial bus chassis to, first, meet the needs of this unique transportation segment, and, second, to meet the needs of each individual chassis customer. The cornerstone of the FCCC chassis is a heavy-duty frame designed specifically for bus applications and several long-life diesel-engine selections matched to medium-duty transmissions. Chassis manufacturing is backed by an exceptional support organization with one of the largest service networks available for commercial vehicles.
Diesel engines are substantially more efficient than gasoline engines by an estimate of 35-40 percent, producing more power per unit of fuel burned. The efficiency of the diesel engine has been greatly enhanced by the use of turbochargers and charged-air cooling, which has resulted in increased power and performance at minimum fuel consumption rates. Advancements in engine design also mean diesel is no longer considered a "dirty" fuel. Fuel injection and control strategies have produced the "smokeless" diesel. All Freightliner chassis use diesel engines that are EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) certified. Additional advancements in catalytic converters have produced diesel engines that are certified to meet LEV (low emissions vehicle) standards. Freightliner also offers compressed natural gas and liquid propane-powered vehicles. Diesel engines also require less maintenance, because they operate at lower internal temperatures than gasoline engines. This reduces wear and tear on the engine and provides the diesel chassis a longer lifespan.
Full warranty details are included on page five of our warranty booklet available from any commercial bus dealer representing bus products built on FCCC chassis. Please note: The chassis warranty is not active until the Delayed Warranty start form is completed and mailed. The form is included in the vehicle information packet.
Basic Chassis: Urban Transit 1 year/12,000 miles
Drivetrain Components: Urban Transit 1 year/12,000 miles
Basic Chassis: Shuttle, Demand/Response, Charter/Tour 2 years/24,000 miles
Drivetrain Components: Shuttle, Demand/Response, Charter/Tour 3 years/36,000 miles
The drivetrain includes drive axles (differential assemblies, axles, shafts and axle housings), steering axle (beam, spindles, kingpins and kingpin bearings, and steering arm) and excludes drivelines and U-joints. FCCC warranties the frame against defects in material or workmanship for five years or 100,000 miles (frame includes frame rails and crossmembers).
FCCC offers the largest dealer/service network in North America. There are currently more than 400 commercial vehicle dealerships throughout North America. Service is available from many dealers around the clock and most parts are available immediately from the dealer or within 24 hours. For the location of the dealer nearest you, consult our Dealer Locator.
Normal production for a released diesel chassis design is 8-10 weeks. Alternative-fuel chassis have a typical production time of 120 days. Your commercial bus dealer can contact Freightliner's technical sales manager for more exact scheduling.
Operator manuals are supplied standard with every chassis. Replacement manuals can be ordered through any FCCC commercial vehicle dealer. Searchable electronic manuals are also available. Parts manuals are compiled specifically for a particular chassis serial-number. You can order a serial-number-specific parts manual through your Freightliner dealer by providing the chassis serial number.
FCCC can provide general fleet maintenance training to fleet customers. Your dealer will consult with FCCC to determine the cost for training, based on your needs. Engine and transmission maintenance training is available through authorized Cummins® and Allison® dealers.
The top speed and gradability of your commercial bus is based on several factors, including engine horsepower, engine speed, tire revolutions per mile, GVWR and the transmission and rear axle ratios. Performance requirements should be determined prior to chassis component selection to ensure your needs are met. Your commercial bus dealer, in conjunction with FCCC engineers, can consult with you one-on-one to custom-design the right chassis for your bus.
Commercial bus operators should contact a commercial bus manufacturer or dealer representative. Links to commercial bus makers building on Freightliner chassis are located in our Links section. Commercial bus manufacturers and dealers interested in more information about FCCC bus chassis can call 1-800-489-2528 for product literature. A listing of service dealers is provided in our Service Locator.