Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Sumo Springs

Sumo Springs SSR 121-54

I recently had SuperSprings Sumo Springs installed on my 2017 Winnebago Fuse 23a.  It has been so far one of the best upgrades to the Fuse I have had done.  I recommend it to everyone.

Lets start at the beginning.  I have scraped the rear of my Fuse once.  This was going from a driveway on to a crowned road.  I have scraped the stairs once.  This was going over a speed bump when I bounced because I was going a little faster going out than when I was going in.  In both cases  I was not being careful but in each case if I had had 1/4" more clearance or  less bounce I would not have had a problem.

So what to do.  I had read on several other sites about Sumo Springs and I have talked about them here as an option to raise the Fuse.   They were recommended unofficially by the Winnebago engineering team.  It appeared with a small amount of modification to the unit you would get a large payoff.  So I decided to give it a shot.

I had the local RV dealer do it. It appeared I could have done it if I had the right jacks and stands but  I just did not have the time and had been putting it of for a while.   I should have brought it to a local suspension shop to do the work. I could have saved a good amount of money (30%). But I had the Fuse in the shop for a recall and time is what I am short supply of so I just said make it happen.

Rear bumper before SumoSprings     Rear bumper - after SumoSprings

So before I had the Sumo installed the fuse stood at 12" at the rear bumper.    After they were installed it was at 13.5".  An increase of an inch and a half.   Good.

Step before SumoSprings Step after SumoSprings

Before I had the Sumo installed the stairs on the fuse were just under 7.5".  After they were just over 8".  An increase of a little over 1/2 inch.  Again - A good change that would have saved me in the past

So the real proof is in the pudding.  Did doing this modification change how well the Fuse rides and  drives?   It did and it did for the better.   I have always thought that the Fuse rode like a nice SUV.  Now it rides like a luxury car.   All of the little bumps and cracks in the road have disappeared.  And so did the noise and rattles in the Fuse when you went over them.  I have never noticed any real sway in the Fuse but I could tell on our first little drive (650 miles) that that there was even less now.  It now rides like a Cadillac.

I even rode on the back bed for a little bit.  Before the Sumo Springs it was pretty bumpy riding back there.  Way more noticeable than in the front.  Now with the Sumo Springs installed the ride has calmed way down in back.

How do the Sumos do this.  I posted an earlier article and the Sumo Springs act like airbags would in a traditional motor home.  You can't adjust them but they absorb the bumps and provide a better foundation for the coach to ride on.

The next question is did I do anything to the front suspension?  The Sumo folks sell something for the front springs as well.  I did not do anything to the front.  The Travato group members who have done this don't seem to think that the Sumo product for the front do much or anything to help in an RV configuration.  They are probably right since all of our weight is in the rear.

Another question is did it change the level and do I need blocks now?  The answer is no.  The Fuse seems to be as level as it always has been.  I don't have exact enough equipment but in my driveway and a the campsite we stayed at everything was still in the center of the bubble level.  The extra inch over the length of the vehicle did not seem to throw anything off much.

What about the warrantee?  Per Ford it will not void the warrantee if it did not cause the problem.

From a overall perspective, just the improvement in the ride would justify adding the Sumos to me.  If you have a 17.5 or 18 you already have some additional clearance but you will get a little more.  Not as much as if you added an additional leaf spring but every little bit helps.

From a technical perspective the shop replaced the original bump stops with Sumo Spring bump stops model SSR-121-54.   They used a 1" spacer .

Last question -  How much?  This seems to always come up.   You can buy the SumoSprings on sale for as little as $223 but they retail for around $300.   Installation takes 1-2 hours.

Don Moody did a great video for anyone who want to do it themselves or just see what this involves:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

3.2 Diesel Engine

Ford 3.2L Power Stroke Diesel Engine Coffee Table Book

There is a Ford publication with a huge amount of information about the 3.2l turbocharged diesel engine in our Fuses.   Found on the forddoctorsdts site and part of a series called the "Coffee Table Books"

Here is a link in case you can not find it on the original site: Link

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Scenic Mountain RV Park

Scenic Mountain RV Park

For Veterans Day we took a trip to north/middle Georgia.  It is now camping time in the south and it was time to get out and do some exploring.   Our destination this time was Milledgeville, Ga.   Well not really the town, but the Scenic Mountain RV Park and Campground.

The main reason that we took off was to try out the new Sumo Springs (they are great by the way).    Oh, and it was Sonya's birthday.

So we traveled from Tallahassee to Milledgeville on all sorts of roads, 2 lane roads, 4 lane roads and Interstates. The next day we headed north to Commerce, Ga and then back to the campground.   A little different for us since normally we try keep moving, but we were scared that with the holiday weekend spots might be hard to find.  But Scenic Mountain was a nice place to make a base.

After we checked in at the office next to the main road, we drove down the hill and then up to the top to our campsite.  We were in site 13, but not a problem.  Sonya's birthday is November 13 and we were celebrating and that looked like a good omen.

Winnebago Fuse Scenic Mountain RV Park

Everything we saw was in good repair and the place was spotless.   Our site could have accommodated a 40-50' Prevost, so our Fuse looked rather small on the site.  The site was level  all the way from the front to the rear so we parked near the rear to stay close to the utilities.

Every spot had a nice table, fire ring and plenty of space to walk Lily and explore.  The one thing that was missing was a grill.  Not to worry since we always have our UCO Flat Pack Grill.  The first night we had steak and mashed potatoes and enjoyed talking to our neighbors around the fire.

The next morning we got out and drove some more.  We explored Milledgeville and headed up to Athens and Commerce Ga to see what we could see.    On the way back we stopped at the Farmview Market just South of Madison, Ga.  A really nice grocery store with lots of locally produced items.  The butcher shop was wonderful.  And connected to this is a Cafe.  Unfortunately we missed it by 5 minutes (we stopped just after 3:00) but the menu looked wonderful.

Scenic Mountain RV Park

Back to the Campground.  There is a pool, clubhouse and a fishing pond.  The showers were spotless and overall it was just a super nice place.

RV Dump Station Tifton Rest Area I-75

On the way back to Tallahassee we stopped at a rest stop on I-75 above Tifton, and low and behold what did they have - a RV dump station.   Florida used to have these at a number of places but have been taking them out.  We will have to remember this for the future.

We got back home and decided that the Sumo Springs were definitely worth it.  A much better ride.   We drove 650 miles.  The mileage was between 15-16mpg traveling at speeds from 45-75.   And Sonya had a Happy Birthday in the Fuse.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Coasting or Engine Breaking

Here is an interesting video that Richard Kozloski shared with me.  I am not sure it applies to the Fuse, but it is interesting never the less.

 I keep the Fuse in gear going down hills and and kick the transmission into manual.  Then I can downshift and use the engine to help with breaking.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cabin Door Noise fix from Winnebago

One of the common problems with the Fuse is excessive noise coming from the cabin door when driving at highway speeds.

On my 2017, the wind noise was on our punch list before we picked it up.  The dealer adjusted the door and added some weather stripping and that helped - but it was still there.  I added some additional weatherstripping and filled some weep holes in the stairwell and would only get the noise above 65mph and even then it was not too bad.

Then during the Spring Get Together, the Winnebago engineer told us that they had found some issues with the airflow around the door causing noise at the door hinges.

This is an excerpt from the Spring 2017 Get Together notes:
Side door noise -  There are two door vendors that have been used.  Atwood is the original door and Lippert is the current door.  The door has been used on other units with no noise issues but the thought is that the placement of the awning arm on the other unit and/or the curved front of the Fuse is making the air flow different and it is hitting the hinges. Winnebago is working on a hinge cover that may solve this issue.  (Whether this solution can be retrofit is still unknown. One issue being the aesthetics of the graphics and the other being the change in door heights.)

Well Winnebago now has their fix.

Wind Deflector diagram

Winnebago has come out with a Wind Deflector Screw Cover.  Part number 321703-01-01A.  311996-01-02A. Part name is: Wind Deflector Screw Cover. Looking at the Winnebago Parts lists it looks like it started being installed on new units in late August 2017.   

Fuse Wind Deflector - thanks to the Netzleys

I am not sure if it will work on the older 2017s with the Atwood door, but if you have a 2017.5 or better there is now a solution.   Reports from the Netzleys who had them installed at the factory are very positive.
The wind deflector they installed for us at the factory made a BIG difference. We can now hear the radio, cell phone and carry on a conversation! We'll post a picture and more information in the next day or so. - Sharon Netzley

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall 2017 Get Together in the Rockies

We held our Fall Get Together - the "Get Together in the Rockies" September 29 to October 1 in Fort Collins, Colorado.    It was great.

Lots of Winnebago FusesWinnebago Fuses in a row

We had 14 Fuses and 1 wanna-be (the new term is "gonna-be") come to the event.   The Winnebago Engineer canceled at the last moment with an emergency, so we had to do the tech talk on our own.  There were enough experts in the group to answer most of the questions.

The Fuse Group from Ft. Collins

So what did we do.   On Friday night we had a pot luck.   And there was some mighty fine eating.  I am not sure it was the altitude or the cool mountain air, but everything was delicious.

The Fuse cup

The souvenir from the event was a little different this time.  We did not do wine glasses.  A comment last time was they were a little fragile for camping so this time we went with plastic cups.  They won't break and being lighter they might help with the gas milage.    If you want one and are traveling through Tallahassee, let me know.

Saturday morning we had the Tech discussion.  We will go into that a little further down the page.

We had leftovers for the group for lunch and then after lunch we toured the coaches.

Fuse PartyFuse Food

Saturday evening we had our Pizza party.  That was some good pizza.

Then unfortunately it was over and we all went our separate ways.  It was great to get and meet everyone.

Ok, so now what you were waiting for.  How did the tech talk go?

Before the meeting I was able to talk to Winnebago about what they are thinking about future Fuses.  I think we all like to know what Winnebago is thinking about.   A lot of what they are doing is happening on all of their small motorhomes so the real question is when it will happen in the Fuse.   Keep on the lookout for this as the 2018.5 and 2019 models come out.

Remember these are futures and subject to all sorts of factors, so there are no guarantees.  These may turn out to be standard features or options or not make it outside the lab.

One of the new items Winnebago is looking at for all of their motorhomes is using compressor refrigerator.s  For those that don't know, a compressor refrigerator is like the one in your house.  Runs on electricity only (DC) but does not care  if the motorhome is level or not.  Cools much faster but uses electricity.  The first compressor refrigerators in small Winnebago motorhomes were released on the models announced earlier this month.    (Look at the Norcold compressor refrigerator in the new Navion)

To make the compressor refrigerator work out there is discussion about making the batteries bigger.  Group 31 as opposed to Group 24.  And if they can find the space they might be able to squeeze in a third battery to add capacity.

They also want to make solar standard.  Not just with 1 solar panel but with 2 100w panels.  This will help with the extra electrical needs of the compressor refrigerator.

A lot of the feedback they are getting from potential buyers revolves around people wanting an Inverter.  They are going to try and get one in the Fuse for us.

Ford is making the drivers side seat swivel in the 2019 Transit (remember that the Fuse is a transit underneath). It should be available around the August, 2018 timeframe.  Once they are available they they will use this chassis in the Fuse.  The key to this is Ford will be moving the parking break from between the drivers seat and passenger to somewhere else (possibly electronic).  Ford may also have a different solution on the passenger side.

And as far as being a low rider.  Winnebago continues to look for ways to raise the rear.    The engineering team has taken our feedback very seriously on this issue.   One thing they are exploring is angling off the last couple of feet in the back.  It is going to require them to move some things around in the rear and they think they can without decreasing any storage or having to make major design changes.  They think that there is a good possibility that they can rake the last couple of feet in the rear and add a few inches of clearance.

The group also had some questions for Winnebago.  Since they could not make it I took them down and Winnebago said they would answer them for us.    Here is the list and the answers are underlined:

1). How many Fuses are on the road:  Over 600 

2) Why does the rear tv sound not come through the bed speakers on the T:  The rear speakers are connected to the radio/DVD player. The radio can only play audio from one TV.

3)  The consensus is that we really need a better way to access the batteries.  Is Winnebago looking at putting them on a sliding tray or something.  The current setup is really bad for checking water levels. We will evaluate.

4). Has there been some thought to moving the generator breaker to somewhere easier to access on the A.   Crawling under the unit to reset the breaker is problematic:  At this time we do not have a solution. We cannot move the breaker.

5) Have you thought of making the rear window the emergency exit window on both units: We would need to reduce the width and height significantly to clear the ladder and customer bicycles installed on the bike rack.

6) The wheel simulators and nuts seem to be a problem.  The nuts have gotten lost on the road and they cause issues accessing the tire stems.  People are replacing the stems or having to take off the simulators to add/check air pressure:  We would like some clarification on this issue. Do you think the 2 nuts that hold the liners on are not tight to begin with or are the nuts not staying tight? We do provide extensions for the inside duals which should be accessible. The outside dual require a dual head angled air chuck to fill or check tire pressure.  (I sent them information from the group so they could understand the issues)

7) What about factory TPMS from Ford: Not available from Ford on the Transit cutaway chassis.

8) The springs are fully loaded on most of the Units.   We measured all of the units.  Clearances range from 11-14-16 inches depending on year and what suspension mods have been made. We had several (including an 18) with additional leaf springs added and one with Sumos added:  We have evaluated the Sumo Super Springs. The springs raised the rear of the coach about 2 1/2´” At this time the testing required by Ford for Winnebago to install these springs has not been done by Sumo. They are available for a customer to add.

9) The rear bumper is attached to the plywood rear wall.   Lots of damage is caused when bumped like a bumper:  We will look into this issue.

10) What about replacing the bathroom door in the T with an accordion door.  One person did this and now several others will as well:  We had an accordion door on a rear bath in a past floorplan. Many complaints, we won’t do this change.

11) Have you changed out the drawer latches with heaver duty ones.  There seems to be a mixture depending on what unit is looked at.  We all agree we need the HD latches. We spec out a 10lb latch for large drawers and forward facing drawers.

12). More questions about how to make the Front table on the A model useful with the slide in. We are evaluating this suggestion.

13) Can you change the latch on the Front TV on the A so you can angle it to the couch as opposed to the door. This suggestion is also being evaluated.

14). Richard K.  Has reoriented the seating on his T to open up the front area much more than the default layout.  He posted some pictures you all should look at.   This seemed to be the hit of the show. I couldn’t find the photos. Could you send?  (I sent Richards article in response to this)

15). Still issues with Quality control.   Rust spots in the sink are common:  This issue should go through warranty. I will ask our warranty dept. for the sink warranty claims.

16) The Bents are having problems getting a new bathroom sink (cracked)  and trim for the pop up counter extension from their dealer.  The dealer is saying it is backordered from Winnebago.  Are repair parts backordered? We had a shortage of parts for production. We no longer have a shortage.

17) You would sell a lot of Fuse branded gear if it was available. I will pass this request on to the Marketing dept.

Then we went around the room for Q&A.  We had lots of questions asked and luckily we had a large number of experienced Fuse owners to answer them.   Lots of talk about raising the fuse.  Lots of hints and advice on storage and places to shop.   Just like the facebook group but live and in person.   It really was great.  I stopped taking notes because I became too interested in the discussion.  

After this and lunch we went and looked at everyones Fuses and the mods they had done.

Fuse Smart Car
Smart Car Tow Setup
Fuse 23T storage
23T storage organization
Fuse Slide Out
Slide out decoration

Fuse wheel Stems
Berg Stem Extenders

Fuse HD sewer hose
Wastemaster Premium Sewer hose

The big hit of the walk around was Richards mods to his 23T.  He has rearranged the bench seat to open up the front.  My photos did not do it justice so you can read his article here.

I also measured various Fuses.

Fuse HeightFuse HeightFuse Height

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What are Sumo Springs

Here is an interesting video about Sumo Springs and what they are.     Sumo Springs are from a company called SuperSprings.   This video talks about several of their products so you can see how and why they developed Sumos.

Sumos are just one of the options to increase the rear height to avoid scraping the rear.  Adding additional leaf springs and adding rollers are other options people have come up with to protect the rear end.

Based on conversations with others, the Sumos should add an 1.5 inches of additional clearance.    The model number for the Heavy Duty SumoSprings for the Fuse is SSR-121-54.   List price is approximately $300 though I have seen them as low as $230.  The costs for a set of HD Sumos and have them installed should be less than $500 including a hour or so of labor.  It is a fairly easy modification and those with access to heavy duty jacks and jack stands are able to do it themselves.

If you do not care about the whole SuperSprings line and only want to listen about Sumo Springs, jump to 6:40 in the video.