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Old 04-14-2019, 12:38 AM   #1
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Top speed for you top heavy dudes and dudettes

A few people have mentioned being able to cruise at 80 mph with the right drive train. For those of you who have raised your roofs to 12-13 ft, how fast do you DARE go? How stable does your skoolie feel at high speeds with crosswinds, etc?

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Old 04-14-2019, 06:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
A few people have mentioned being able to cruise at 80 mph with the right drive train. For those of you who have raised your roofs to 12-13 ft, how fast do you DARE go? How stable does your skoolie feel at high speeds with crosswinds, etc?
I raised the roof on our first bus 10".
It didn't feel any different than before honestly. But that's a mild roof raise. We're sensible folks. A little goes a long way.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:29 AM   #3
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My old 1984 Nissan Pickup was the Baha Champ that year (1984-1986 actually - then they changed to the Hardbody design). I used to love racing it on gravel roads. I had oversized (31◊10.50R15) MT or AT BFGs which raised the truck. I could beat anyone except my friend with a 1973 Honda Civic with a 1978 Honda Accord 1.8L CVCC engine dropped in, Weber carb, headers, the wider Accord rims and tires, wider Accord lower control arms, and taller Accord rear struts with the springs cut (they were too tall at stock) that jacked his back-end up 2"-3".

When I put a fiberglass high-top camper-top on the truck-bed (slimline design, not the full-out stand up inside kind) which raised the height 3" over the cab in the rear, I could feel the truck want to roll if I took corners hard. I can lift it alone - it's not that heavy I took that thing off, since it added some serious blindspots also.

Then I later raised my suspension 1.5" for better clearance offroad (aftermarket torsion bars and longer heavy-duty rear shackles) and my racing days were over. No more hard turns. But offroad was so smooth!
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:10 PM   #4
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I don't feel safe driving 80mph in anything as big as a semi/skoolie at all. Biggest reason I never went OTR is because I knew it was a LOT of weight traveling VERY FAST, at least regional routes were a bit slower paced IMO.

At 80MPH in, say, a 20,000lb vehicle in optimal conditions and assuming instant reaction time, you're looking at a 1000+ feet stopping distance. That's more than a fully loaded semi trucks stopping distance at the same speed, and I'm just not comfortable with that in a relatively lightweight skoolie.

Now all that being said, I assume you mean aerodynamic forces reducing speed or causing vehicle instability. No experience with a high top lifted roof skoolie, but drove a few flat nose cabs with a high top trailer, essentially a brick in the wind. You WILL feel the sidewinds and may have to be a bit more cautious about driving in extremely high winds, but otherwise just keep both hands on the wheel and you'll be fine. Despite the high top on a lifted roof skoolie, it doesn't really effect the center of gravity unless you load a lot of weight on the roof, or place holding tanks up there.

My regional route took me more through mountains so it was more wind and winding roads, less speed. But out on the plains I'd have to push 70-75 to just keep up with traffic (Colorado, this would be DEN to East CO). Never had to pull over, never had any close calls due to the winds, I wasn't comfortable driving those speeds but I rarely did those routes, and this was in a vehicle with a much higher center of gravity than a lifted roof skoolie.

Overall, I'd suggest not pushing it over 80MPH and try staying below 65MPH in extreme winds, but otherwise just look out for bridges and you should be fine.
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:53 PM   #5
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As a professional truck driver, I only felt comfortable running 80 when it was "safe" to do so. In my view, when I could do so without following too closely and could maintain a safe space cushion around me.

I've also had my share of top heavy loads. I think the most memorable one was a 20' container loaded with hydraulic cylinders. The floor of those is like 5' off the pavement, and this one was loaded to the roof. I could feel how top heavy it was, and took curves/turns accordingly. I arrived safely, and would have felt safe crossing the country with it (even at 80 on the straights).
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