High Wind = White Knuckle driving - any suggestions?

jjmcclure

2020 HR 144 4x4
Buy a 3500. I barely notice the wind.

If that isn't realistic, better shocks from Van Compass or Agile Offroad will help.

If you're camperizing your Sprinter, try to minimize additions to the roof and generally keep weight low.

Otherwise, loosen up your grip and arms, usually having relaxed hands on the wheel will actually smooth out the gusts more then white knuckles.
Tried the relaxed grip today in medium winds (15-20mph), and increased the speed from 65 to 75 and let the cross wind assist do its thing. Amazing difference. Now we’ll see what happens in stronger winds.
 

ENMeyer

Active member
I have PTSD from yesterday's drive through WI/IA/NE. Gusty crosswinds the whole way. I think my crosswind assist dash light may have burned out from too much use.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...

Otherwise, loosen up your grip and arms, usually having relaxed hands on the wheel will actually smooth out the gusts more then white knuckles.
I agree.

My 2006 2500HC passenger is not an RV. It doesn't have crosswind assist. I still believe that overcorrection being unhelpful applies.

******
I had some time to kill while driving across Kansas. Interstate 70 entering before Hays, to Topeka, and beyond to home. There was a pretty strong gusty NW wind during those many hours of driving.

2006 2500HC 140 Passenger Sprinter. 160,000 miles on the clock.
225 75r 16 tires. Goodyear G947 RSS front. Mastercraft Courser ATX rear. 50 psi all around.
OEM suspension. OEM style newer rear shocks and front struts.
The truck was loaded for 2 people on a road trip vacation. Medium load at best.

Along the way my wife checked some airports for wind reports. Over the distance the winds were typically reported as 27 - 35 mph sustained, gusts to 40 - 45 mph. My guess is that we may have been hit by a couple gusts above 45 mph, but that is subjective. That said, even including the airport wind data doesn't change the fact that this post and the observations remain very subjective.

I have always believed that there is an inherent looseness in van suspension which makes some drivers feel that the van will wander. My experience is that my vans [Added: van, not an RV] have tracked fairly well. As is expected, I do notice some effect from side winds and truck wash, but rarely do I feel that constant steering correction is necessary. That remains true while towing my travel trailer and sailboat, but at those times my speed is somewhat reduced. Reduced speed is always your friend when things become too gusty.

As we were heading east on I-70 I did notice that the cross winds were quite gusty. I also noticed that I was comfortable steering with just one hand. My basic method was to keep a steady pressure to the left against the prevailing winds. The wind gusts would hit, the van body would move and shake, but the tires tracked properly down the road in the proper direction. Very few gusts actually required me to noticeably move the steering wheel.

Every so often there would be a high(er) power gust. With those gusts the van would actually change direction a bit, but it didn't take much steering wheel movement to keep on track.

I had time to notice how I passed trucks in the gusty wind when traffic permitted me to drive as I wanted. I would swing out, pass the truck, and then wait for a friendly gust to nudge the van to right. When that nudge came I would move back to the right lane. There was no hurry on my part to "steer" back over to the right.

Having some time, I commented to my wife about one of the relatives who constantly see-saws the wheel when driving. That is even with no wind. I started to demonstrate what happens when the wheel is see-sawed rather than just held to one side as I normally do. I wasn't "steering". I was just moving the wheel gently within the loose range of the steering. After about 10 seconds of see-saw my wife exclaimed "CUT THAT OUT!! That's why I always drive and XXXXX always rides, even when we're in her car." I went back to my one handed pressure to one side mode and all was happy again.

Anyway. We had some serious cross winds and gusts while crossing Kansas. For the most part the Sprinter just tracked along like it should.

A big for what it may be worth on the above comments. I have no data.

vic


******
 

Mr. Bills

2016 170 HR 4x4 Class B Conversion
I just returned from a trip to San Felipe, Baja California. On the trip south 25 March 2021 the sustained winds from the west across Laguna Salada were measured at 22 MPH with gusts up to 31 MPH. This compares to the historical record of 36.9 MPH at the El Centro Naval Air Facility on 5 June 2020, 39.1 MPH at the China Lake Naval Air Station on 27 November 2019, and 38 MPH at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport on U.S 395 on 17 November 2020.* The winds were strong enough to cover several sections of Mex Hwy 5 with sand.

Although my Sprinter never felt in danger of tipping over, the gusts were disconcerting to say the least and it took some effort to keep from being pushed by some of the stronger gusts into oncoming traffic on the narrow two lane highway. My observations at the time were that keeping speed down to no more than 60 MPH helped tremendously and made the drive significantly less of a white knuckler.

I'm sure that my Van Compass suspension, Fox shocks and Sumo springs helped keep my 10' tall rig planted, but since those parts were installed by the previous owner I cannot compare the difference between what I have and a stock sprinter suspension. However, I can report that my newly installed LT265/75R16 BFG T/A All Terrain KO2's rolled smoothly, tracked straight, and did not contribute to any handling issues. I can also report that in normal conditions I can pass 18-wheelers at 75 mph on the Interstate with little or no wind buffeting


________________________________
* Source: wind.willyweather.com
 

RVBarry

Well-known member
Note the roads in Baja are insanely narrow and have no shoulder.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
Note the roads in Baja are insanely narrow and have no shoulder.
There is a shoulder. All 3" of it.
When I took my bus conversion to Baja, both my side mirrors would cross painted lines on both sides.
First passing of semi from other side was a close call as going past the 3" the gravel would pull my bus into the ditch where rollover is unavoidable.
Later on I develop technique for going straight for mirror collision, only in last moment steer into the shoulder and immediately turning back on the road - making a curve at the passing point. That in case of shoulder pull met me already counteracting.
That obviously was giving me headlights blinking from other vehicles, that that what Baja is.
At the time I could drive my motorhome on US freeways for 700 daily miles.
200 miles in Baja was leaving me exhausted at the end of the day

 
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72chevy4x4

Active member
Buy a 3500. I barely notice the wind.
agreed that a 3500 (4500) is better, but sill noticeable. I think the improvement comes mainly from the sway bar up grades. I had no swaybar on the rear of my 2500 but very large on rear sway bars on my 4500-big difference when driving twisty roads and with wind gusts.
 
After more than 45 years of Baja driving, you nailed it Mr. Bills.

Aiming for the edge of the paved road at the last moment works. Using your left turn signal does let the approaching trucks know you know you see them and would appreciate whatever space they can give.

Along with a wave of the hand shows you appreciate their giving you whatever space they can. I notice them moving as far to the right as they can when they see my left turn signal and wave of the hand.

I can't recall anywhere else where this simple gesture of signaling an approaching truck is as much appreciated. Then again, there are few narrow main highway two lane roads that have little to no shoulder for most of the way. The very few sections that are wider are appreciated. I suppose controlling the speed is affected by narrow roads more than wide ones.

There used to be a road signs everywhere along the Baja peninsula that stated this roadway is not designed for high speed. Well, no sheet. Most of the posted speed limits are 80km/hour, 50mph.

I admit I exceed that when the roadway is straight and flat and away from any towns.

Every little village you come across should demand slowing down to the posted speeds, as if the speed bumps won't remind you, if you do not. Along with the local police looking for a contribution, it is always wise to crawl through these populated areas, if just to show that you respect them as you would want them to respect you.
 

ches

Member
Using your left turn signal does let the approaching trucks know you know you see them and would appreciate whatever space they can give.
It seems to me that the left turn signal is also used if a truck gets behind you that there is no oncoming traffic and it is safe to pass. This is even better if you are behind a truck and can't see ahead. Wait for the left hand signal. This may be used all over Mexico. Confirm before you try it of course, it has been many years since I traveled in Mexico and tried that.

Also, it sure helps to have a copilot to look for topes while the driver looks for stray people, dogs, or worse cattle and horses in the road among other things.
 

Kajtek1

2015 long/tall limo RV 2.1l
There used to be a road signs everywhere along the Baja peninsula that stated this roadway is not designed for high speed. Well, no sheet. Most of the posted speed limits are 80km/hour, ............
When I drove sedan in Baja, I choose to interpret that number as mph.
What might be worth mentioning is pulling over to the right shoulder before making left turn.
Something that can surprise you quite a bit the 1st time.
 

showkey

Well-known member
You know it’s really windy when the ESP lights and then errors out because the steering wheel angle does not compare correctly to the yaw for the vehicle.
 

Van-demic

New member
Upgrading the wheels and tires made a dramatic difference in my HR 4x4. I plan to upgrade the suspension with a full build. I’m not one handed in wind, but hope to be there once everything is done.
 

Arolikbow

New member
Recently had the Van Compass 4.3 kit installed in my 2020 VS30 4x4 and drove down I-84 East from Hermiston to Biggs Junction Oregon. I’m a sales rep and make that drive a lot. It’s rarity if it’s not blown really hard. I was so thrilled with the cross wind performance and stability. I totally agree with @Wrinkledpants comments as well. The in town driving performance is a big upgrade as well.
 

sprinterPaul

Well-known member
We just took our maiden voyage in our 170" 4x4 high roof from Colorado down to south western New Mexico. Holly wind! I was white knuckled for 2 days straight. The Cross Wind Assist kept kicking in which felt like it made it worse (at least my heart rate). So question for you all....is there anything to be done to make it better? Bigger tires, shocks, valium?
Stiffer shocks and springs basically.

The Agile rip for instance does wonders.

more weight does not necessarily help. There is a point where it is detrimental to handling. Your springs needs to be able to handle the added weight.
I would away from stiffer/larger sway bars as you have more negative impacts offroad.
 

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