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Old 02-19-2007, 01:32 PM   #1
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I looked into retrofitting my DSDP w/Comfort Steer. Short term news is not good, but, hope for the future.

From Spartan, even if it was possible, contractually Newmar won't allow Comfort Steer to be on any other models than the high line coaches, or any models before the 2007 model year.

From TRW, and I mean the the man who practically invented comfort steer, the cost would be very prohibitive.

Potential good news, there is always a possibility for a retrofit package in the future presuming there is demand and the parties can agree to it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:32 PM   #2
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I looked into retrofitting my DSDP w/Comfort Steer. Short term news is not good, but, hope for the future.

From Spartan, even if it was possible, contractually Newmar won't allow Comfort Steer to be on any other models than the high line coaches, or any models before the 2007 model year.

From TRW, and I mean the the man who practically invented comfort steer, the cost would be very prohibitive.

Potential good news, there is always a possibility for a retrofit package in the future presuming there is demand and the parties can agree to it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:38 PM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">From TRW, and I mean the the man who practically invented comfort steer, the cost would be very prohibitive. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Congratulations on making the acquaintance of Ken Sherwin and company...I've seen the guy eat the buffet at the Country Table....He CAN hold his own!!

Scott....remember the factory tour and what we saw?
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:52 PM   #4
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I wasn't sure if that was public knowledge. Ken is one of the nicest people I have talked to.

He also has some interesting stories. Not many people have rolled a DP. It was a test vehicle and he said without any inflection in his voice, "we got a response we weren't expecting"
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:00 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Scott....remember the factory tour and what we saw? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know bait when I see it.
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Old 02-19-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Actually Scott, I'm sure there a a "few" people that may have rolled a DP, but none that were as fortunate as Ken and his partner were in the outcome...Everyone worries about "how" they'd get out of their coach in an accident...Ken just crawled out that big hole where the windshield used to be...

Even still....those two gentlemen were VERY fortunate to have only suffered the moderate injuries they did...

BTW....Ken Sherwin is a member of iRV2.
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:15 PM   #7
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Scott,
This is in reference to retrofitting the Comfort Drive. Looking at this purely from a mechanical view, I do not see CD being retro fitted to current rigs. My view is based on having the Howard Precision Steering System installed on my coach. I had to make the pligramage to San Antontio, Texas for the install. This is where the manufacturing facility is and only one dealer in the USA was licensed to install the Howard System on IFS chassis. Since mechanical engineering was my training, I got very involved with the installation. In a nutshell:
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
<LI>It took 6 workdays to complete the install.
<LI>Once my steering mechanism was disassembled (and I do mean disassembled). Gear boxes, tie rods, all of it was literally all over the floor. Measurements were taken and plastic models of the brackets were made.
<LI> The plastic models were cut and formed to fit as they were placed under the coach.
<LI>The lower steering gear box had to be taken to the manufacturing plant to have the tie rod bellcrank removed so the Howard bracket could be welded to the bellcrank.
<LI>The plastic models were returned to the manufacturing plant and made into metal brackets.
<LI>The brackets were welded to the frame.
<LI>The rest of the Howard install was completed as the steering system was reassembled. They go back together together.
<LI>Front end was aligned to Spartan specs.
<LI>Test drove the coach and all wandering was gone. The system worked from the frist try and has worked flawlessly.[/list]The Howard System is not CD. It is a huge hydraulic cylinder that keeps the front wheels pointed where the driver points them. The driver can recenter the Howard system at the push of a button.

What does all this mean. The Howard engineer had over 1K bracket designs in his collection. The chassis manufacturers change how the steering is configured quite often. Combine this with the coach manufactures making changes to how the coach sits on the chassis and there is no standard IFS coach that Howard can be ready to install on. Every install is an adhoc event.

If this scenario is true for how CD is mechanicaly integrated into the chassis and steering system, the cost migh be more than most are willing to pay.
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:21 PM   #8
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Gary, as a matter of clarification,I'm reasonably certain I read in one of John Canfield's posts recently that Howard PCS is no longer installed where you guys went,but by yet another dealer they've farmed the RV installs out to...If you recall,there was one such dealer in Florida at one time.
Just some thoughts...
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:33 PM   #9
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I am not current on the single dealer that does the installs. My Howard System has been perfect so I do not keep abreast of Howard's environment. The best warrantry is one the is never used! I do know Mr. Howard was attempting to sell the company. I do not know the status of this.

You are correct, before 2004, there were several dealerships around the country that installed the Howard System on IFS front ends. That was stoped in 2003 or 4 (I think) because of the ad hoc nature of the installs mentioned in my post.

On edit, I may not have made it clear that there are/were Howard systems for straight axle and IFS front ends. The straight axle Howard System's were sold and installed by many dealerships accross the USA. All of my posts are about the Howard System for IFS front end coaches.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:16 PM   #10
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Gary,
A couple of weeks ago, I called Iron Horse RV in San Antonio (they were the ones who did John Canfield's install). I wanted to see what it would take to get the Howard System on my '07 DSDP. I was told that Howard had stopped taking orders for new equipment, and would only consider fabricating replacement or repair parts. The guy at Iron Horse said Howard was looking for a "buyer".
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:26 PM   #11
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Bill,
Iron Horse also did my install. When I called for my appointment John's coach was in their shop having the system installed. They were not sure they wanted to do mine because of all the difficulty they had with John's coach.

Once they got my coach on the lift, they were hesitant to begin. Mr. Howard came over to Iron Horse to take a look at the coach. He and his engineer were not sure they wanted to do the install. My plea of desperation was heard and they took pity on me and did the install. I had several private conversations with Mr. Howard. He took personal interest in the install and came back 2 times to review the progress. A direct report to Mr. Howard was on the test drive with the lead tech and myself.

I do not know if folks are aware of who Mr. Howard is, but he holds many patents in the airline and auto industry. The Howard System is a good example of a needed product that works better than advertised but was not adopted by the industry (chassis mfgs) because straight steering has not been their priority.

On edit, if you are desperate to have the system installed, PM me. I will call and see if they will make an exception. No guarentees, they may or may not even remember me. But, if you are as desperate as I was, it might be worth a try. I am not sure what they will charge, it will, most likely, be over $5K and you need to get the coach to San Antonio. Since your home base is Austin, it is not a long drive.
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:18 AM   #12
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Gary,

Thanks for the offer, but I'm kind of hesitant to have something that complicated installed and then have the company disappear. I've talked to John, and he is a little concerned, too, that he's got an orphan in his Horizon. His description of the process was similar to yours: amazement at how they had to gut the insides of his coach to get the system installed.

I hope Howard Engineering are able to find a buyer that can take things over. Then I might be more willing.

I was really wishing I had it yesterday driving in gusting, 45 mph cross-winds on I-10.

Or maybe TRW &/or Spartan &/or Newmar are going to offer an upgrade kit for us poor KSDP and DSDP owners. Or I guess I could just trade in my coach on a new MADP! (I would get a LADB like Bob, but I don't want to be mistaken for a country music star.) Thanks again.
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Old 02-20-2007, 01:56 PM   #13
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I can see your view on this. For me it was either get the Howard System or get rid of the coach. Somewhere in the Spartan chassis forum is the saga of my chassis woes. The bottom line is that at highway speeds, the coach drove like a Beagle hunting rabbits. When they test drove the coach, before installing the system, the tech said is was....squirly. (Squirly is the only word I can think of to get my point accross without moderator intervention).

I have no worry. The system is almost 1 year old (April) and has worked perfectly. I wish I could say that about the coach it is attached to.
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