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Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Yahoo Message Number: 11
Just joined this forum after finding a link on RV.NET.
Hope it gets going good.
We have a 2004 Gulf Stream Endura 6340 D/A. Purchased it in April 2006. Have put 18,000 miles on it since then. Very happy with our purchase. MPG is at 10.3 for the miles we have had MH. Some problems but have taken care of them on my own. No GS warranty,  bought used over 1 year old. Did have some GM warranty repairs done at a MD truck dealership. Great service.

Attended a Gulf Stream Rally in Goshen, IN. last month. One of the vendors at the rally was
McCormick Motors | Nappanee, IN | McCormick Motors.
They supply the C5500 chassis for all the manufactures in north IN. They have a couple of kits that help C5500 handle better. One is Stabil Ride. Which is a larger anti-sway bar for the front and longer over travel snubber for the rear. A second kit includes Stable Ride and Bilstien shocks. I have purchased and installed these items on my 2004 Endura 6340. Has made a big difference in the rocking that occurs at slow speeds when making turns.

Gulf Stream has Stabil Ride installed on all C5500 that they get on 2005 and newer models. Jayco only puts it on Gas models. Do not know what other manufactures use. I had already installed Bilstien shocks on the MH. Cost was less than $500 with me installing the parts.

My C5500 is a 19,500 lbs Chassis. Rear shocks on the 22,500 are different than the lower weight MH. Make sure if you get these parts that you specify the chassis weight. Can get part #'s for anyone that is interested.  I talked to Ivy Arndt at McCormick for this information.

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #1
Yahoo Message Number: 12
Thanks for the good info Ron.

Any idea of McCormick Motors will do same day maintenance. GM does NOT sell the Kodiak in Canada - just its sister Top Kick. Our Chev dealer (we also have a Tahoe and Equinox) initially said they'd do the maintenance but they've backed right away from that promise as they don't have a suitable. The nearest GM MD Truck dealer is about 30 miles away and I suspect has little experience with the Kodiak/Top Kick in MH form.

Our unit is a 2007 gasser (Jayco Greyhawk 32SS) and so far I've been pretty pleased with the highway performance. We have not driven in heavy winds yet so the jury is still out but in moderate winds and travelling at 60 to 65 mph I've been pleasantly surprised that it seems as stable (if not moreso) than the two diesel pushers we had previously ( 04 Journey 39W and 06 Ambassador 40PLQ). When 18 to 30 wheelers go by us it is hardly noticeable. At this point I have no thoughts of suspension upgrades but plan to keep an open mind. It also seems to track much better and require far less steering correction, which is very nice. In some ways it is not much different than our Tahoe. BTW, we bought the Tahoe when I got fed up with the narrow leg area on on Colorado, which was killing my knees. The Tahoe towed beautifully behind the Ambassador. When we decided to downsize it meant getting another toad (Tahoe LTZ was only 2 months old) or getting a C that could tow it. That certainly narrowed the selection quickly.

I have found that 60 to 65 mph is a comfortable cruising range and have not cared to go 70 at all (at times we got the diesels up much higher by simply going with the traffic flow and often were shocked to see the highest speed on the gps). We have the 6 speed Allison and at 60 mph it only turns 1850 rpm which we were pleased with (the Cummins ISC would turn just over 1500 rpm). Still a lot of cab noise compared with the pushers though - mind you, they were as noisy but the noise was so far behind that you really couldn't hear it without the volume turned up on the rear camera. We find that the noise level goes up considerably when the engine fan kicks in (at least I assume it is the fan that is coming on when we go up even the slightest grade that doesn't even cause the transmission to downshift). The noise level is probably the most significant difference (other than missing the exhaust brake) and we find we have to turn up the radio much higher and also speak much louder even though we are sitting so much closer together.

When I set up this group I wondered if it should be for gassers only but quickly tanked that thought. If we change one more time I'd probably go to a diesel version to get the exhaust brake (and the new 4.5 Duramax coming in two years looks pretty good to me as a candidate for the Kodiak). Had the Kodiak based C Class MHs been available in 2003 when we entered this expensive habit, we would have saved a lot of money as we would have bought one then and would still have it. The C Class units with a slide that we looked at back then all had so little CCC that they could not meet our needs.

Thanks again for the info.

Don

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #2
Yahoo Message Number: 13
BTW, I found this surprising as to date we've just managed a bit under 8 mpg (both tanks have been distorted by a one hour border crossing at Sarnia/Port Huron though). I sure hope ours goes up to that range after a few more miles (only have 1200 on now). Our 8 mpg is without towing as well.

Don

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #3
Yahoo Message Number: 16
McCormick will do service in one day. A couple of people at the Rally made appointments to have their MH's serviced. Call Ivy or send her a email. You will find her address and phone on the site.

If you want a closer place. Try Bob Sellers in Farmington, MI. That where I got my MH serviced. This a GMC dealer, not Chevy.

For oil and filter changes I started using Speedco
(http://www.speedcousa.com/). They do a great job and check everything
for a good price. I cannot afford a GM dealer. Same job Speedco does would have cost almost $100 more at GM.

Our MH is a Duramax. Never got less than 9. Driving in the mountains or on the flats. Try to stay 60 to 62 mph.
A neat tool to help get better mileage is a ScanGauge II.
</title> <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge"> <link... Gives you lots of info and helps calculate
fuel mileage. I use it to tell when engine needs to downshift. Works much better than letting cruise control downshift.

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #4
Yahoo Message Number: 17
We are in Michigan regularly in the summer (s/b 5 times) as my son races at Waterford Hills. (He works out of Livonia.) In an email I asked where you call home - I take it i Michigan.

Don

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #5
Yahoo Message Number: 18
Oh, I gather I should get an oil change indicator flashing at about 7500 miles (for the 8.1L - anyone else verify that ). That will mean about a year for us. What I have to do is lube the U-joints every 5,000 miles or 6 months and would rather do that myself than find a dealer. Anyone done this and if so how easy was it. I like the clearance under the Kodiak as even I could get under. In the first week I crawled all over seeing what was what and where.

Don

ps. Our 07 Tahoe had an oil change at about 6000 miles and the indicator was saying 10,000 plus (and same reported by OnStar).


Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #6
Yahoo Message Number: 21
Ron, we have a 2006 Jayco Seneca with a Duramax 6.6lly and a
ScanGauge II. At the end of our recent 7,000 mile Alaska trip
(12,000 total mileage) I was getting 10.4 MPG @ 55MPH. Not to bad! I
just did an oil change with Mobil Delvac 1 synthetic so I am hoping
to improve on that just a little.

If any one is interested in seeing the improvements we have made to
the coach, you can visit My Spaces at

http://craigdavis1943.spaces.live.com/?_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaHandler=TWljcm9zb2Z0LlNwYWNlcy5XZWIuUGFydHMuUGhvdG9BbGJ1bS5GdWxsTW9kZUNvbnRyb2xsZXI%24&_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaFolderID=cns!C1FD01E198EE7AF!217&_c11_PhotoAlbum_startingImageIndex=1&_c11_PhotoAlbum_commentsE

for a slideshow.

Craig

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #7
Yahoo Message Number: 22
Craig
Nice set of pictures. I did not see the Scan Gauge II in the pictures.
Mounted mine on top of steering column. It does interfere with viewing odometer. But only need that for keeping tract of mileage. What is the item below O/D switch. What gage do you have mounted next to the trans temperature gage.
DW saw the Fireplace. Wants to know what it is and does it work?
10.4 is good. I have not been able to do a lot of driving below 60.
But for .1 miles per gallon I will stay at 60. I have found that
transmission does a lot less down shifting at about 2000 rpm.
We have some pictures on our site. Here is a link
Traveling with our Super C Motor Home — LiveJournal

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #8
Yahoo Message Number: 23
Ron, the ScanGauge is a new addition after those pictures were taken. It is mounted in the recess just above the Eclipse GPS/Entertainment system.

The round switch below the O/D switch bridges the Coach and Chassis batteries in case the starting battery is low.

The gauge to the right of the Transmission Temp is a Pyrometer (EGT) by ISSPRO that I added. I like to know if I am close to over heating the engine. Below that is a SmarTire pressure/temp monitoring system....saved my bacon more than once!!

The fireplace is a Belevedere Brass.

victorianhearth.com

It is a replica of an old English coal burning fireplace. This model is electric with a very realistic coal bed and asthetics aside, it has a 6000 watt heater as a back up to the furnace.

If you copy and paste the entire link you will get bigger pictures to see more detail.

http://craigdavis1943.spaces.live.com/?_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaHandler=TWljcm9zb2Z0LlNwYWNlcy5XZWIuUGFydHMuUGhvdG9BbGJ1bS5GdWxsTW9kZUNvbnRyb2xsZXI%24&_c11_PhotoAlbum_spaFolderID=cns!C1FD01E198EE7AF!217&_c11_PhotoAlbum_startingImageIndex=1&_c11_PhotoAlbum_commentsExpand=0&_c11_PhotoAlbum_addCommentExpand=0&_c11_PhotoAlbum_addCommentFocus=0&_c=PhotoAlbum

Any ides why this board doesn't show the entire link?

Thanks for your link....nice pics. Any additions to your rig that you
are happy about? I am always on the look out for great ideas. :-)

Craig


Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #10
Yahoo Message Number: 25
In the second picture showing front of your MH. There are a couple of
yellow round items. Hard to tell what they are. Are they shocks?
Fireplace looks great, but we do not have room for it. One of the big
differences in the Jayco 34' and GS 34' is more storage in bedroom.
This cuts down on room in living area. Seeing the fireplace makes us
wonder if we should have given up a little storage.

Items that I have added are.
Mud flap.
Storage for sewer hose.
XM radio with antenna.
Windshield cover. Custom made.
27" LCD TV.
Replaced drum chair with Euro Chair.
Made a box to replace GM console between seats. Gives map storage.
External cellular phone antenna and amplifier.
Suspension upgrades listed at beginning of thread.
CB/Weather radio and antenna.
Gas cylinders to raise bed frame up.
Mount for Garmin 2620 gps.
Dash Mat cover.
Air connection to fill tires. MH has air brakes.
Maxx Air covers.
Water Softener.
Cab dome lights.
Install Tornado Permanent Tank Rinser in black & gray tanks.
Direct TV. With Wiengart satellite crank up antenna.
Replace awning and slide toppers with metal shield type.
Routed generator exhaust out rear of MH. Allows use of Gen-turi.
Upgraded kitchen sink to one with deeper bowls.
Hook up FloJet RV Waste Pump Kit. Use it to dump at home.
Install Flow-Rite Remote Battery Fill system.
Install Charge Wizard on Inteli-Power 9100.
Replace incandescent lights with florescent lights (10).
Install larger medicine cabinet in bathroom.
Replace folding table in dinette with pedestal type.
Electric Hot Shot water heater kit.
Install Surge Guard. Changed mind and use a portable model instead.

Current project is installing 1500 watt inverter.

Items on the to do/wish list.
Tire pressure monitor.
Replace GM radio with something better.
Improve shelfs in cabinets.
Put in 50 amp hookup for storage pad.
Lower Microwave. DW is short, needs a stool to see inside.
Digital thermostat for front and rear heat/AC.
Make a support for floor to frame in wheel wells. Newer model 6340's
have this upgrade.
Get awnings for slide and rear windows.

MH is currently covered in backyard. Will try to get pictures later
when it is uncovered. Have to move it soon. Upgrading pad where MH is
parked.

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #11
Yahoo Message Number: 26
Wow!! What an impressive list of improvements. You and I are of the same mind. The coach you get from the factory is just the starting point in making it your own.
The yellow items on the front axle are Steer Safe. SteerSafe.com That and the Bilstein shocks have dramatically improved the handling of the Kodiak chassis.
I see you have a CB. I am currently installing the Fire Stick II antennas in a co-phased array on the cab over section of the coach. I'm not as agile as I used to be and crawling around on the elevated Entertainment Center platform is proving to be a challenge. J The good news is when finished, the antenna access will be hidden inside the cabinets.

Oh well.....I'd better get back to work.

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #12
Yahoo Message Number: 27
Craig
That sure is one beautiful rig you have there. I like all the
improvements you have done.
The one I am really interested in is the Eclipse GPS/Entertainment
unit. I have been wanting to install something like that, but was
not sure of the size of the stock unit. Is it a double din? Was it a
pretty basic install, ie:no cutting? I usually use Crutchfield.com
for my electronics, but they do not have the Kodiak listed.
Are you happy with the Eclipse? Which model do you have?
Sorry for so many questions.
Thanks,
Bill

 

Re: Kodiak Chassis Upgrades

Reply #13
Yahoo Message Number: 28
Hi Bill ~
Thanks for the kind words about the rig.
The Eclipse is an AVN5495 combination GPS and Entertainment system. The GPS section is very similar to the one in my Lexus. Very accurate, automatic rerouting, large touch screen with a nice tilt feature, POI's by type AND a list of those in the vicinity, and natural voice directions. You are right it is a double DIN unit that fits perfectly in the Kodiak dash without modification. I installed a KVH Satellite dome previously and used a watertight PVC junction box embedded on the roof feeding a 1 1/4" conduit that goes through the roof behind Entertainment Center faccia . This path was used to route the two coax cables and power/control cable to the dome. When I had the Eclipse professionally installed (getting a little long in the tooth to be on my back doing under the dash work J ), I had them place the GPS antenna on top of that junction box, To much interference from the cab over to dash mount it.
It is the entertainment side of this unit that really makes the Eclipse special. The player handles AM/FM/CD/MP3 & DVD with on screen display of title, artist, genre, song length for those CD's , DVD's and MP3's that have the newer coding. In addition it will "rip" (decode and transfer) any CD or MP3 to its internal hard disk for up to 3,000 tracks of nonstop music or audio books. Wonderful audio with no more CD shuffle!! You will see your music library on the screen and just touch to play your selection. Great for long trips. These links will give you all the details.
http://www.eclipse-web.com/avn/avn5495overviews.html
http://products.howstuffworks.com/eclipse-avn5495-dvd-touchscreen-system-review.htm

I have had it for a year and a half, and have been very pleased with the ease of use, functionality, and sound quality. There is also a lower cost AVN5435 version (this one is pricey) without the hard disk capability. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Craig