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Old 01-05-2009, 08:28 AM   #71
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Mike - thanks for the explanation and your tire pressure info. That helped me understand this issue better. I also didn't know Goodyear wanted a higher tire pressure. I thought with Toyo's recommendation of 120 lbs in the front no matter what load, and with the wheel rating at 120 lbs, that was the max we could put in the tires.

We can't go to DRR this year so I will be interested in what all of you find with multiple years and potentially different mounts.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:56 AM   #72
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Not to be a contriarian EM but tire pressure can make a significant difference. The cushion behind the rubber (air) affects coefficient of friction between ground and rubber, as well as adding more (ground) contact surface area. An anecdotal example is on my old pickup that does not have power steering. With 30# air I can just barely turn the wheels when it is not moving. With 35# I can turn the wheel with one hand. I don't use the pickup much but when I go to use it and have a hard time turning the wheel I check the air in the tires and, you guessed, it is 30# or lower. There really is a very significant difference in the force required to turn the wheel. By physically looking at the tires, I can't tell they need air.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:57 PM   #73
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Steve- I'm not a tire expert, but I'd agree that if I'm 15-18# low on air (like 5# on a base of 30), I should add air for this and other reasons. On a Load Range H tire I can't see that making a big difference on contact patch (assuming I have 100# to start); the side walls are too stiff. And the only friction that matters there is when the rig is at a dead stop; once you are rolling even slowly, the basic weight times coefficient of friction supersedes rotational friction of the stationery tire.

Likewise, I'm assuming folks are airing up based on weight tables, so if they are @ 105# it is because their axle weight is corresponding to that recommended pressure.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:18 AM   #74
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Mike,

From postings on this subject, there have been a '06 36fdds, a '04 40fdts and my '07 40fdts that have had this problem. This would indicate to me that weight is probably not the problem. One guess about why some do and some don't have the large movement, is stiffness in the steering assembly, tie rod ends, kingpins, etc. I have seen this over the years in many manufactured assemblies, due to swings in the tolerances of 2 parts assembled together. One assembly will be almost loose and the other will be so tight that it might require tools to move it. I may be way off, but in the testing at DRR, the coaches being tested would be checked for the amount of force required to turn the steering wheel with the engine off and the coached raised in the front on the jacks to eliminate the ground resistance.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:54 AM   #75
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Guys,
I have a 1999 FDS; I'm assuming that the bracket change with adjustable pedals is the problem and that this issue doesn't pertain to me??? Hoping!
Thanks
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:29 AM   #76
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jt- the early bracket design was different (and inherently more bullet proof), and so far no reports of any issue w/your setup. Mike
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:39 AM   #77
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I have been considering the purchase oof a left-over 07, 08 or o9 36 preferably or 40 ft mid side entry AC, However upon discovery of this site and this subject I have stronger reservations! Is there any evidence to believe this problem exists or does not exist in 08 or 09? I will be anxiously awaiting the conclusions from the DRR. How many of you current owners would purchase a new one w/o a mfg. warranty or long term support?
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:24 PM   #78
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Waterdog,

This problem is not what I would consider serious, if the bracket is inspected every so often. That said I would recommend fixing it, as it shouldn't be that expensive to do. I think that EMike is drawing up something for a bolt on fix.

As to buying a coach without a "live" manufacture, there are not many choices and who knows who else will go? I would pick the coach you like and go from there.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:25 PM   #79
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Waterdog,

If I were looking for a new coach I would buy another Alpine, especially a mid-door 36 like we have because that's our favorite floor plan. Partly we would buy it for all the Alpine reasons -- driveability being one of them. Also, having been down the road on most of the issues, they are all fixable, mostly predictable based on the experiences of the owners here, and this forum and the additional support from Mark Harrah gives you, in many ways, more support than you get from the factory or the dealer.

With so many coach manufacturers going out of business, it's hard to predict who's in business for the long term. Seems like all the majors are having some difficulty.

I agree with Dale, it's more important to pick the coach you like and go from there. One thing should be the support and technical resources available. Another I would recommend is to buy an extended warranty when you buy the coach, and shop around for those. Search all the threads on this forum on extended warranties and you will get a lot of info.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:55 PM   #80
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Waterdog:

Though mine is a 2003, bought used, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again. I'd even buy a newer one. Then I'd look through the forum for year-related issues and have them fixed.

The issues are well documented, the repairs equally so. The prices are great and warranties are available.

I still couldn't be happier than I am with my Alpine.
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:44 PM   #81
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Being a new Forum Member, I must ask---what must I do to isolate the problems experienced with 08 Alpine Coaches?
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Old 01-24-2009, 05:18 PM   #82
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While looking through the posts, note which people have '08s and send them a private email (PM) via this forum. Look at their profile page.

I know Engineer Mike has an '08 as do a number of others. I sure saw a lot of '08s in Quartzsite and most of them get their info here.

Also, go to your profile page and add your coach's year and configuration to your signature line. This helps people figure out your questions and means people with '08s are more likely to respond.

BTW, WELCOME to the forum and to Alpines!
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:11 PM   #83
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I seem to have missed something! What happened to the consults with Burk, Mark & Gary the desert survey to determing which years had the problem and the suggested/recommended fixe(s) Waterdog4315
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #84
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At the Desert Rat Rally VIII we examined about 30 rigs for front steering issues. Ignore any discussion above by that boob, EngineerMike, about measurements. He should have known static measurements wouldn't reveal anything about an exclusively dynamic loading.

To recap the reason for this thread: Dale's three short video shots posted above were taken while the coach was stationary on a hard surface, and a willing accomplice steered the front wheels left to right & back again. You can see in the videos a fair amount of bending in the steering bracket. Dale's bracket was missing two Left-Right (L-R) welds attaching the inner stiffener brace to the outer bracket front & rear faces, and had a vertical stress crack at the upper end of the rear flange fold (where two Huck-bolts attach the bracket to the chassis).

At DRR8, we found the following conditions (Note: anything that sounds even vaguely like a recommendation is purely my seat-of-the-pants guess as a coach owner, is not in any way substantiated by any engineering analysis, does not constitute a policy or recommendation of ACA, the Officers or Board of ACA, or the operators of iRV2 and should be taken only in the spirit in which it is offered, namely with a shot and a beer):

1) There were 3 bracket designs employed by WRV over the years. The initial bracket, version 1.0, (97 to ??) was very compact and therefore very durable, and showed minimal bending from operating the steering. You can expect some stress cracks in the internal L-R welds which varied substantially, from quite small to ~3.5" (about half the length of the weld by the time the coach has 75-100K miles). The bracket material is 5/16" thick. Periodic service should include inspection of these welds; IIWM, I'd have them cleaned, V-grooved and re-welded if the crack exceeds 2" in length (a qualified welder will know what that means; make sure of his/her qualifications), and then repainted which will aid in later detection of any re-cracking. Otherwise these early brackets appear free of the significant movement Dale's video documents.

2) The next design, Bracket 2.0, was also of 5/16" material, and was used from ?? till ~03. The change-over to Bracket 3.0 happened when the adjustable pedals were added, so it may not precisely coincide with model year change. If your brake pedal actuates thru the floor, not thru the firewall ahead, then you have one of the 1.0 or 2.0 designs. Another way to verify the bracket design you have is to locate your brake master cylinder; if it is under the driver's floorboard area, you have 1.0 or 2.0; if it is mounted left-to-right in front of the firewall (visible w/gen slide open) you have 3.0. Again, this v2.0 5/16" bracket has the internal L-R welds, although the "box" is larger than v1.0. And again, Bracket 2.0 didn't bend meaningfully while operating the steering. Similar to v1.0, stress cracks develop particularly in the rear L-R internal weld, and IIWM, I'd treat the condition the same as per v1.0 above (periodic inspection, then fix as above weld if >2").

3) Version 3.0, starting about model year 2004, is made of 1/4" plate, so the steel is 20% thinner than 1.0 or 2.0 designs. The internal brace consists of a single bent plate, where in earlier versions the internal brace was of 3 pieces, all welded together at their edges. Remember on Dale's coach, this internal brace was not fully welded to the outer "box" of the bracket. We found one coach with the same situation, i.e. L-R welds missing; all other coaches inspected had the L-R welds. However, bending of that one bracket did not vary significantly (remember, only a visual analysis was performed) from other, fully welded, v3.0 brackets. And all the 3.0 brackets behaved like Dale's video. Additionally, several of the rear L-R welds showed varying lengths of stress crack, though none exceeded ~2". If I had a coach that was missing the L-R welds, I'd have these welds added. You can see in photos above the difference between Dale's internal bracket support & others (e.g. Wayne R's lower photo), and then the added L-R welds when he posts his fix. Periodic inspection of this bracket seems like a good idea. With all the miles on all the Alpine Coaches, and only the one 2004 coach known to have come apart in service, this does not appear to me to be a source of panic. It is easy to check the bracket. Some photos of your rear dual-Huck-bolt flange and any L-R weld crack would be good references for comparison during future inspections.

However, I'm cogitating on a design for a bolt-in stabilizer bracket to add to my rig. Keeping the rear face of the bracket box from a lot of bending up/down seems to me like a good safety precaution. This would do the same thing as the upper 3-bolt-plus-weld addition shown on Dale's fixit photo. Eliminating the up/down bending would stop the prying action that caused Dale's stress crack, and allow me to sleep better while driving. When I get to something definitive on a bracket, I'll post it here. If anybody else gets excited and makes a bracket revision, please also take a photo, or better yet high-def video, and post that as well. Mike
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