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Old 05-03-2008, 07:16 AM   #1
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Hi Guys!
We're newbies both to Class A and to Alpine (our first MH is our bright, shiny new pre-owned 1999 FDS). But the legendary steering I've heard about doesn't seem to be that great. The coach steering wheel seems to have a lot of "play" on the highways, and I'm constantly jiggling it back and forth. I don't know if it's a coach or user problem, since I've never driven another type of coach. Any suggestions???
Thanks in advance for any help!
jt
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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Hi Guys!
We're newbies both to Class A and to Alpine (our first MH is our bright, shiny new pre-owned 1999 FDS). But the legendary steering I've heard about doesn't seem to be that great. The coach steering wheel seems to have a lot of "play" on the highways, and I'm constantly jiggling it back and forth. I don't know if it's a coach or user problem, since I've never driven another type of coach. Any suggestions???
Thanks in advance for any help!
jt
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:34 AM   #3
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Without knowing how many miles are on the Coach, I'll offer a broad-brush statement:

Motorhomes drive differently than do cars. The issues you describe were present, to one degree or another, with every MH I've owned.

However, this statement is not intended to make you blindly accept what you are experiencing. It is possible there is a mechanical problem or excessive wear, which may be exacerbating your perception.

I'd suggest you have it looked at to determine if there is a problem with the suspension, linkage, steering gear or idler arm.

That is the only way you'll know for certain.
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:41 AM   #4
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Thanks for your reply; The coach has 70K miles and new tires. I'll have my favorite alignment shop check it out!
Happy trails!
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:30 AM   #5
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JT

I too have a 1999 and have not experienced excessive play in the steering. There are times that I feel it over steers slightly going down the road, but I have always thought that is because of its weight and size. I would feel better having it checked out if only for your piece of mind.

Jim
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:42 AM   #6
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You may be experiencing what is known as the "pendalum effect". Because of the weight of the engine at the rear, there is a tendency when steering for the weight (mass) to move oppositely. You then want to steer the other way to counteract. The seesawing will tend to escalate. The best way to minimize is make slight adjustments and wait for motorhome to settle. You'll figure it out. When I got my first diesel pusher the salesman said I would be an expert in 50 miles. After nearly 70,000 miles in pushers, I concluded in some ways I knew less.

Perfect example. I let my friend drive my 36FDS. He noticed he had to make more and more steering inputs. I asked him to relax his grip the wheel, make smaller adjusts; the coach settled right down. From there on he used less input and acheived the desired results.

Hope this and other suggestions help.
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Old 05-03-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Hello & Welcome Cajun John:

When you take the Coach to the Alignment Shop have them also check into the play in the Steering Gear Box as it may have worn enough to cause excessive play in the steering wheel.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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Cajunjohn,

Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Alpine Coach ownership.

When I bought my coach, I had the same problem, it seemed that I couldn't keep it in the middle of the lane. As I drove more miles, it got easier. After about 2000 miles, I'd determined that it was an operator problem rather than a mechanical problem. It was a matter of continually over steering, and I was worn out after 300 miles. Now, I have to guard against being lulled into inattention. A trick I heard of is to drive with only one hand, It forces you to make only minimal corrections.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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On our inaugral trip, I noticed that whenever I was going up a hill (increasing power), I had to steer one way and when I started downhill I had to steer the other way a bit.
I had never driven a large, rear engine diesel before,so I thought this was "normal". After talking with a few other MH owners and truck drivers, I was told that this was not normal.
In Spokane, I stoped at the Freightliner service facility where they discovered that the rear end was 2-3 degrees off center and had been intalled with undersized bolts. After a full day of "tweaking" (under warrenty) they gave us our coach back.
I could drive it up or down hills hands off. I can't believe I drove so far fighting the steering.
I don't know if this is your problem or not, but If they installed one that way maybe they installed two.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:41 PM   #10
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Hello All,
New here, and have not taken delivery on new (2007) coach. But we also read the Country Coach Magazine, and there is an excellent article on how to drive a MH. See http://destinations.countrycoach.com...fm?article=706

Just holding the steering wheel (your hand position) is important. Although have many miles driving large truck (not 18 Ws) I found the few times I have driven a MH, to be a challenge. After reading this article it has informed me on some areas to concentrate on.

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Old 05-15-2008, 02:56 PM   #11
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Hi Guys,
Update: Went to my favorite alignment place, and they have definately confirmed a good deal of slack in the steering. Next appointment is at a truck, bus and MH front end place. First guy seems to think the steering gear box is in need of replacement (no adjustment possible; its auto-adjust). Anybody got any suggestions?
Thanks for all the help so far!
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Old 05-16-2008, 01:53 PM   #12
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cajunjohn: I would look into SteerSafe. I also had the issue you relate and installed this unit (with a friend) and the difference was amazing.I recommend it.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:06 PM   #13
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cajunjohn I just has my steering gear rebuilt at Massey's Diesel Repair in Phoenix. I had to have some machine work done to stop a small leek and the total cost was about $900. I've only driven it about 50 miles but it really made a big difference. My 2001 has a Sheppard M80 steering gear. I don't know if the M100 will fit, but Tom told me after he was done that they rebuild quite a few M80s but they never have done a M100. Jim
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:11 PM   #14
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Eh labas, John.
I am familiar with the feelings your having. Getting the front end aligned was good thinking, but you've mentioned one thing that says a lot about your steering touchy-ness. New tires. It takes several hundred miles until the tires "wear in". When new tires are added, it feels like driving on icy roads. At least with me, and the tire dealer advised me of this fact as a preparation for driving on new tires. That should solve some of the problems.


From a former "Metry" citizen.
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