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Old 12-10-2008, 03:14 PM   #43
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All, I have been following this thread, and have come up with some ideas to help alleviate this issue, well alleviate might be the wrong word, but here goes anyway.

1. The ACA set up a rally in Yakama next fall, around the September/October time frame.

2. We as a group, through the ACA - contract with www.jonesandsonchassis.com to fabricate the parts for the steering box bracket and the necessary additional plate sections to increase the frame rail and the bulkhead section the steering box bracket is affixed too. We also arrange for them to do the work on each coach present. With WRV gone, we will have to take care of this together.

3. We then all head up to Yakima for the rally with the expectation of having all these brackets modified/repaired, because we are in one place, the expense to have the work performed should be less for us as well as from the company doing the work, and we all finally get to meet.

I hereby volunteer to assist as am needed since I live in Washington State, and Yakima is not so far I cannot hop in the car and drive over, etc. In addition, I will assist as necessary or as wanted in arranging for a lodging place (read campground or facility) and assist to take the reservations, or in whatever way I can. This way I also learn what is involved in getting one of these local rallies going.

Instead of a "hit or miss" situation with every one running off and having it done a hundred different ways, we concentrate on a "one solution fits all" approach, working with one fabricator and shop and have the work done for each unit at one time.

I am going to assume, it affects the longer coaches worse than the shorter coaches just from a weight perspective, but it does seem to affect all of us, at least at this point.

Basil - I realize you are up to your head in the DRR rally, but I believe you live up this way as well, please contact me after a consensus is reached at the DRR and let me know how I can assist.

Engineer Mike & Dale Both of your expertise is deeply appreciated on this issue, and you will be called on for further information as needed, if for no other reason you video skills are great. I vote you both be place as our representative to work with the vendor to repair/replace those defective brackets doing the liaison work so they understand exactly what is going on with the new fabricated new parts.

I believe we should have a group "repair/refurbishment" approach to this important safety issue.

All Let me know if I can help, as I will be giving up my chairmanship of the Treasury of our local camera club next spring to do way more traveling in the MH. In addition, I have extensive computer skills I will lend to the project.
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:16 PM   #44
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This may seem too simple; but it apears to me in movie 3 that the majority of the movement is from front to back. That being the case; isn't it possible that by driiling and bolting the bracket to the steel crosspiece (firewall?) in front of it, the load would be distributed to it, stiffining the whole assembly and reduce the movement? Wadda u guys think?
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:35 PM   #45
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Here is what I hope will be my last post on this subject. Another place to look at the movement, is on the inside of the frame rail. With the generator slide all the way out, you can look down the inside of the frame rail. There was noticeable deflection in the wall of the frame when the steering was turned.

Photo of new brace installed. I plan to clean splashed oil, sand and paint new metal and welded areas. You can see, area across bottom where weld was missing, area in front of top huck bolt where crack was welded and how brace was installed. Repair man was planning on adding a piece of metal to inside of frame member and piece on outside of bracket mounting flange. I didn't think that this would cure the total up and down movement at the outer face of the bracket. I suggested some sort of brace from the outer edge of the rear mounting bracket to the metal brace seen above with the steering column going thru it. His recommendation was what you see. This keeps the bracket from moving up and down with steering movement, which stops the movement in the frame rail. The brace was cut off of a piece of an old truck frame rail.


The rear is the only problem area in this bracket. The front has a couple of HD metal pieces that act as a brace for that end. 2 photos of front bracket attachment.




Just for fun. This is one end of a "people mover" that was built by the shop where I got the work done. It is 12 feet wide and about 40 - 50 feet long. It has an assembly like this at both ends, the other end has a six cylinder engine that runs a hydraulic pump. The pump powers the drive, the steering and the lift (shown below to raise the bed) at each end.
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Old 12-10-2008, 04:11 PM   #46
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Matt,

You posted while I was writing mine. The problem, is the twisting on the back of the bracket, the movement you mentioned is just a symptom of this. The bulk head (firewall) is not strong enough to cure the torque from the rear of the bracket and not at a good angle for strength. I am very happy with my fix and think that it could be done even easier. With the design and length of the brace it gives a long lever arm to brace against the torque. I will leave it for Mike to explain. The brace could be made, with it extended down all the way to the bottom of the stock bracket, with the mounting flange only as long as mine. This brace could be just bolted in. The same as mine on top and thru the back of the stock bracket. This would eliminate the movement and the force applied to the brace would only be in sheer thru the bolts used in place of my weld. The frame is hard to drill, but can be done.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:37 AM   #47
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This photo is from my 2000 Alpine. It does appear the strength of this bracket has been reduced over the years.

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Old 12-11-2008, 10:04 AM   #48
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Tom,
Thanks for the photo. your bracket is different than the ones used in later years. While it is hard to tell from the one view of your bracket, it looks like it may be stiffer than the newer ones. It would be important to see how much yours flexes. E Mike what do you think? Now if we can find out in what year they were changed. Also how old it is does not affect possible cracks, as much as the amount of miles and how the coach is used. Wind, mountain roads, city driving, tight maneuvering while parking and weight on the front axel are a few of the factors that cause more flexing.

It will be interesting to look at the different year coache's brackets at DRR. We will probably have the full range of years there.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:25 PM   #49
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There would be no doubt at all in my mind that anyone with any connection with Ron Doyle that he could give the date of change if he kept any records at all.(I would think so from a liability standpoint.) (He would be liable if something was knowingly done at the sacrifice of the future safety of an owner, regardless of Incorporated or not.) Being owner and president he was the one that approved any and all changes. This would appear to be a blantant sacrifice of safety to the purchasing consumer.

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Old 12-11-2008, 06:07 PM   #50
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Ours is a 2000 and has about 58K on the clock. Since we purchased ours I'd say the majority of our miles have been two lane, not so smooth roads. Many like HYW 12 in Utah.

I'll give a look at ours. Tom's definately looks beefier.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:09 PM   #51
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Just checking to see how you guys/gals are fixing this on your Alpines.

Dale, your fix looks like it will work. The welds sure aren't purdy... ...but it looks like they got some heat and penetration.

FWIW, I wouldn't worry about who, what, why etc. re: your coach since your factory went buh-bye.

I would just take it upon myself...er...yourselves to check your coaches independently and see if your requires some stiffening or repairs.

The Yakima group fix idea is a good one providing that the frames are identical in this area. You all would know better than me.

Good luck on this endeavor and I hope you all get it fixed.
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Old 12-11-2008, 06:34 PM   #52
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I spoke with Mark Harrah, he worked on frames before going to Cust. Service. He said that there was always been some movement, but that Dale's is
very abnormal. He thought that this was probably caused by a missing or broken weld. He will get back to me this weekend after trying to get some engineering info.
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Old 12-11-2008, 08:01 PM   #53
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This is a photo of the top of our steering bracket. The underside looks just like Tom's. The plates on the inside of the bracket are shaped like one half of a hexagon.

I started the rig, we are sitting on a smooth concrete floor. There is some movement in the bracket, but it is a very small amount. The movement I saw was only at the base of the frame (bottom side) and the steering bracket. I would estimate the movement to be about 1/16 of an inch. No signs of any stress or cracks, except maybe for a bit of paint flaking.

The bracing plates on ours are welded the full length of the bracket, where Dale's braces are welded only at the very top.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:32 AM   #54
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This photo, with the brake pedal return spring showing, jogged my memory. My best guess, is that WRV changed the steering box bracket when they changed to the movable pedals.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:15 PM   #55
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Looks like the 2000 era bracket was more compact, i.e. a smaller box w/smaller plane surfaces. Think of it like a shoebox w/given thickness of walls; make the box larger and the same-thickness plates, making up the sides, will flex more for a given amount of force because it is further to a reinforcing corner. The other 2 changes are the front bolt flange was reversed (folded backward in later years vs. forward in early years, and the box is mounted to a frame member in the 2000 era coaches vs. an added member later. Early years should be ohkee-dohkee.

Dale's fix oughta do it. Easier, and Dale discussed this, would be a bolt-on strut from the upper frame to the rear-vertical face of the box. Could easily be made of two pieces of angle iron. You'd need to drill the frame for 2 bolts, and the rear-vertical face of box for 2 more bolts; the brace could be fabricated, then used to mark the frame & box for drilling. The drill job is not easy or quick given the accessibility, i.e. it will take patience and muscle but you wouldn't need to weld in awkward positions.

For anybody whose box isn't welded internally, as Dale's wasn't, it will need the internal welds added, or a comparable internal brace welded or bolted, and it should be cleaned & thouroughly inspected for cracks. We should have enough coaches @ DRR to get a good brace design on paper.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:59 PM   #56
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Got an email from Mark Harrah tonight and he said,
"the only changes that were made to the mount is when we changed stearing gear boxes and when we went to the hanging pedals." I've asked for dates.
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