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Old 12-07-2008, 10:20 AM   #15
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Monty,

I have uploaded photo, I will post it as soon as it is approved.
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:48 AM   #16
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Monty,

Our coach was built in early 07. Here is photo of mount.

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Old 12-07-2008, 12:22 PM   #17
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Dale.....Thanks for the picture. On our 04 manufactured in March of 03, steering box and mounting bracket look different than yours. I will take a picture in next couple of days and post it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:49 PM   #18
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Dale, I couldn't live test mine; but I did go out and take a god look. I'm taking it for granted that yours is a "U" shaped brace (I can't see the front leg in the photo)? Mine also has a fairly substansial /-\ shaped brace inside the bracket. Does yours?
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:38 PM   #19
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Mike,

That is what I thought, but can't remember about our 2002 and have no older coaches to look at.

Matt,

Yes to both. The bracket has front leg like the back and the internal brace installed at an angle. The movement is a twisting of the face of the bracket where the box mounts to it. The bracket does the main movement. There is some movement on the frame rail in the area of the two bolts, mainly on the large flat face, but possibly on the top of that rail next to the rail above it. I will try it again next week before I take it in and while I video it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:56 PM   #20
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05 Alpine steerinng bracket 40,000 miles

05 Alpine looking up from bottom of bracket.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:17 PM   #21
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05 Alpine steering bracket 40,000 miles

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:26 PM   #22
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All, I am going to summarize what I believe we are seeing.

A steering box bracket, made it seems of stamped plate steel, not a steel casting. Two huck bolts holding the steering box bracket at the rear to the lower frame member.

The bracket is bolted to the front cross member (not frame member), but not huck bolted with reinforcing gussets inside the box part of the bracket. Even if it were cast steel, which would be a beefier part, the frame member still might move some. The front cross (wing) member does not have any strength associated with it, aside from it being attached to the frame members (huck bolted) and the “house part” bolted to it. Based on that understanding, some of the strength comes from the house part of the structure.

At this point I should mention we visited the factory last year 2007, September I think, well before they closed, and inspected a Peak Chassis without a coach assembled upon it. The wing supports (mentioned above) do not have any lateral support associated to them. They attach to the main frame rails with huck bolts, and depend on the house structure to give them front to rear movement strength. That statement is based on looking at the chassis with no house assembled upon it, not even a floor, just the bare unit, with an engine and transmission and steering assembly installed. You can see a similar picture of what I am trying to explain in one of the many WRV motorhome brochures.

My uneducated guess is, aside from some kind of reinforcing at the front and rear of the steering bracket box itself, an additional frame cross brace-bracket would need to be installed across the frame member to the other side frame rail to give the assembly side to side strength. Putting additional brackets just behind the rear huck bolt on the inside of the frame won’t provide the side to side reinforcement necessary I don’t believe, however, I am no engineer.

My next question is, if you unscrew the huck bolts to add the additional strengthened steel parts, can you then reinstall new huck bolts and not weaken the structure as a whole? I have to make the assumption you can since if the frame was damaged and a section was removed, and replaced, new huck bolts would be used to assemble the new to the undamaged old frame members.

Has anyone given thought to this; it might be engineered to be flexible to some extent like an airplane wing is flexible so it won’t snap off in turbulence. But based on WRV’s QA of the electrical system in many of these coaches, can we trust the engineering done on this assembly to be strong enough to last the years/miles some of us plan on putting on these units.

It might be advisable that we voluntarily have what some would call a roll call, citing the year of the coach, mileage, and a picture of the steering gear brackets and frame areas, to determine how well they are standing up. As one poster stated, his looks different, so I guess the next question is, how different, provide us a picture if you can.

Thank you Dale and the other folks who have provided pictures, I know it was not any fun crawling under that thing, and I don’t look forward to it, especially with it being winter and most likely wet when I do it, but my camera is going in there with me so I can take those pictures too. I am hoping I can gain some access through the propane door compartment just aft of the steering area.
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:15 PM   #23
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If a photo is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? These are not the best, but will give you a fair idea of what is going on. I just shot them with my digital camera. By the way, I think that all of the dirty spots in that area are from oil splashed when Cummins was working on the hydraulic system and oil change. Not to say that I look in that area other than when doing a lube.

Movie 1

Movie 2

Movie 3
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Old 12-08-2008, 02:55 PM   #24
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Dale, that is the scariest thing I have seen in a long time. That is worth reporting to the National Safety something for a recall. Obviously we are on our own here but it must be publicised. My Alpine is back at Camping World with another hydraulic leak at the wardrobe slide but if mine does that, action is necessary. I would remove that bracket and have it boxed and gusseted. It looks like the frame part should be backed up and gusseted too.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:13 PM   #25
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This might be a good time to take advantage of Mark Harrah's expertise and see what he thinks about this structural problem. If Mark doesn't have any ideas possibly one of our fellow Alpine owners will have sufficient engineering knowledge to provide a suggestion as to the proper way to reinforce this area.

Dale, the amount of movement shown in your videos is very impressive, or should I say scary? I'll be checking my 2006 tomorrow.
This is definitely a critical safety issue.

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:55 PM   #26
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Oh my God, that is way more movement than I even expected. I agree, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation provides recall information. We should notify them somehow, and these units should be recalled. Monomoy can be ordered by them to Fix the units, since bankruptsy was never performed.

I wonder how safe it really is?
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Old 12-08-2008, 07:05 PM   #27
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1) You can take the huck bolts out (break em loose w/a big wrench or cut em off w/an abrasive wheel) and replace them with grade 8 bolts from your local Ace Hardware, Orchard Supply, etc. They need to be installed with a grade 8 flat washer on the turned part, which will probably be the nut on all 4 bolts, and you'll probably need at least minimum box wrench purchase on the opposite part to keep the thing from spinning. I can't gauge the shank size of the bolt; Dale- if you can give me that I'll fake a torque spec for the replacement bolts. It will likely be a few hundred ft-lbs.

2) you could eliminate a lot of the prying on the "wing" portions of the bracket by installing a 1/2" plate on top of the wing, matching the length & width of the wing. Drill or punch the holes 1/16th inch oversize. That stiffener will keep the wing flat against the "frame" member so force on the left-right flanges remains perpendicular to the axis of the coach. As you can see from Dale's excellent cinematography, the wings flex away from the frame. IMO, this simple addition would reduce the issue to one requiring periodic inspection, and you don't need to remove the steering box (I think). It should reduce the flex to about 1/2 of the OEM amount. You'd add plate & replace bolts one side, torque down, then do the other side.
Here is the warranty:
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:56 PM   #28
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E Mike.

Would ½ T6 aluminum do the job with one edge having a radius to nest in the radius of the bracket work. A piece of 4 or 5 inch angle extrusion could also be bolted on top of the radius block and fastened to to the bracket with 4 to 6 bolts depending on space. For me working with aluminum would make this more of a DIY project.
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