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Old 10-18-2009, 01:49 AM   #169
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EM & All - Aside from the air issue, you would build up a large amount of heat on the frame member as well. I would think this could change the tensile strength of the steel in that area, but I'm not an engineer.

On the cutting wheel method, that would be the preferred method, as it's quick, just wear real good eye protection, goggles would be the best since they seal against the face.

EM - for the brackets with the crack, would lancing the crack or cutting down it, and then re-welding be a way to repair that part of the bracket, then also installing the new reinforcing bracket as well?
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:16 AM   #170
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EM- you are a crack up. Fantastic Voyage, I'm impressed. Well, it was something I was wondering about. Hope to see you down the road.
ohhhh- Definitely make the effort to meet E-Mike if possible! I am sure He is crazier tham I am!
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:43 AM   #171
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Old Rver, I had thought about stop drilling the crack. Then I decided the addition of the 2 top bolts that are tapped transfers the load to the repair bracket and the flange where the crack is becomes no more than a spacer. At least that is how I see it
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Old 10-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #172
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The idea of the stiffener layout is to change the method of stress transfer of steering gear to the frame.

The OEM steering gear twists the fore-aft plate portion of the OEM bracket in its plane. That in turn tries to lift or push down the rear face/front face of the bracket respectively. The rear face with its two Hucks close together has to bend (especially at the rear flange fold) to transfer stress to the Hucks to the frame. And the Hucks see mostly tension/compression in the bolt, pulling/pushing to transfer steering stress to the frame channel.

With the straight-arm setup of the stiffener, OEM bracket tries to move up/down & the rear face bolts (which steering gear tries to lift/push-down) are engaged to push up on the stiffener or pull down, and instead of pushing/pulling in/out on the channel and twisting the rear flange. So the frame bolts are now in shear, no longer tension/compression, and both the rear face and rear flange are pinned in place to the stiffener (as well as pinning both frame channels to the stiffener). That reduces bending in the OEM bracket and frame channel dramatically, reducing fatigue dramatically as well.

There isn't any guarantee the crack won't advance ever so slowly over time, but it has to move to do so. If you are worried about that, down the road in the future you could apply heat to the bolts to melt the thread locker & take the stiffener off to inspect, then reinstall. That process would take about an hour, and a long handle torque wrench, and you could do it say every 5 years or so? Probably not something I'll be worrying about.

As to welding a small crack first, I'd be more worried about overheating steel adjacent to the crack, and wouldn't go that route.

If you don't have a visible crack, the condition should be caught early enough for the stiffener to acomplish a permanent repair. As long as the crack condition is caught early, the 4 bolts in the rear face should be good for a permanent fix also. I'll probably look for a couple of volunteers in another 40-50,000 miles for an R&R inspection for the comfort of the order.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:43 PM   #173
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You can get them to rotate with a lot of horsepower, but it will spin the attached fastener part.
I was thinking that a chassis shop such as Redlands or an RV service shop such as Buddy Gregg Motor Homes would have a heavy duty impact wrench that could remove the huck bolts using an anti-spin device (large wrench) on the head of the huck bolt. This would be somewhat faster and cleaner than cutting off the huck bolt.

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Old 10-18-2009, 09:02 PM   #174
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I tried my Torque Multiplier on the lower Huck thinking how tough can it be? I can turn the 1/2" drive into the TM at about 100# on a 24" wrench handle. That gives a net of about 650+ ft-lbs on the nut. I tried to get a wrench on the tapered nut end to arrest rotation, but the hex is shallow there, kind of like a jamb nut on the end of a truncated tapering cone. I couldn't get the wrench to grab enough depth of the jamb nut part to keep from angling off, but you might get a deep impact socket on it (1-3/16ths); still I think that would wind up being a two man job, and that you'd probably go back to cutting. The suggested maximum torque for Grade 8 fasteners (equivalent to the 10.9 grade of the Hucks) is 230 ft-lbs dry. All I could do was (with great difficulty) spin the huck & its nut, I didn't budge one from the other.

The Huck removal really isn't as big a deal as it may seem; I started out thinking it would be a project unto itself. But it really isn't any different than cutting off a rounded off bolt or other fastener that has been bent, etc. Takes me about 10 minutes per w/the cutting wheel (and I'm a wimp). But I do wear goggles, ear muffs (and you will wish you did both if you try it otherwise), mechanix gloves, and a bandana over my mouth as it does produce some smoke. And I set up a battery powered fan for ventilation, and put a couple of cold ones on ice for the after-time. Remember not to try to pick up the cut off bolt as it will be H-O-T!! (I could explain how I know this personally, but it would be embarrassing, so I won't)

I also stop occasionally to make sure my hair isn't on fire, as I'm trying to preserve what's left.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:00 PM   #175
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Well I wont have to worry about checking to see if my hair is on fire. But I will try to wrench them off first.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:41 PM   #176
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EM - Thank you for the explanation of the stiffener and its relationship to the original bracket. I will learn more when I add it to my coach. Hoping to see you on the way south!! I don't need to know how you learned that the cut off bolts are hot, as I learned a similar lesson once as well.

It's embarrassing but we were welding some new ladder extensions onto a Capacitor Tower (series capacitors group in a high voltage substation) and the welder I was assisting said don't touch the ladder rungs, I heard him, but I was getting down and had already taken off my gloves, burned the heck out of my hand. I rushed down and went to the tool trailer, put ice all over the burn and for about 1 hour all I did was keep ice on the burn. And off and on that whole evening I put ice on it, all I ended up with was a blister in about 2 days. Ice is always the best for burns; wish they had known that in the 50's.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:44 AM   #177
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We had Mike's kit installed at Buddy Gregg north of Dallas TX. John posted about it in the "sticky" thread about the kit: WRV Alpine Steering Bracket Upgrade Kit . They did a very professional job.

Wayne - the mechanic at Buddy Gregg really tried first to remove the huck bolts but said there is just not enough head on the nut to get them to come off.

We had one conflict with the kit since we are a narrow door 36 ft. Mike spells out the issue in his post which includes a photo of our install: WRV Alpine Steering Bracket Upgrade Kit .

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:47 AM   #178
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Ref a recent video from Tiffin on their "new and improved" chassis suggests the Huck-bolt fastening system is a permanent process. If true, I dont think you can un-thread the bolts once set--not with "conventional" wrenches/sockets anyway.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:55 AM   #179
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Audrey, Thanks I checked my socket collection and did not have the correct deep well socket. I do have a grinder and will cut them off when I get to Texas.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:10 PM   #180
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Cummins Onan Coach Care in Elkhart, IN installed our upgrade kit recently. They did a great job and only charged us for 2.5 hours @ $80/hour with the Power Club discount. Thanks to Engineer Mike for his support. It's nice to drive down the road now feeling secure that at least this won't be a problem.
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Old 03-06-2010, 12:15 PM   #181
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While down in Eugene, OR yesterday I was talking to the owner of a welding shop about the steering bracket we were getting from Carrier and Son's. He said he had fixed several steering brackets while WRV was still in business, and that WRV had sent Alpine owner's to him for the repair.
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Old 03-06-2010, 12:34 PM   #182
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I pick up the new steering bracket brackets in Sacramento on Monday at the shipping outfit's loading dock (delivery to Auburn is considered "remote" so they wouldn't deliver till Thursday). So those who ordered at Quartzite will have completed kits shipped some time next week.

Interesting about the shop in Eugene. I wonder how many they repaired, and what kind of shape they were in. MRL- can you post or PM me the name of the shop? I'd like to talk to whoever did the repairs and see if they were repairing torn brackets. So far we've only heard about one full tear; would be useful to know what that shop was repairing.
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