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Old 05-14-2009, 02:35 PM   #113
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We now seem to have 2 or 3 aalternative fixe4s" why didn't you/Carrier use one of the prior concepts? Would you pleqase post pictures of the fix you utilized.

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Old 05-14-2009, 05:37 PM   #114
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I would guess that if the welds were not deep enough to start with, that a proper weld would fix it now. The early coaches that were checked did not show any movement like the later ones. See Mikes notes posted earlier.

Dale Gerstel
2007 Limited SE 40fdts
Las Vegas, NV
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:01 PM   #115
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Submitted our complaint today 5-14-09.
Mike and Nancy
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:58 PM   #116
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WDog- You can see the fix I added on my coach in the PDF doc on post #95 of this thread. It looks to me like a steel adaptation of it will work well. Before doing something wild like grinding off the rear Huch bolts (which I've now done in case that's not apparent from the doc), I wanted to study the issue enough so that a stiffener to control the deflection would be as simple as I could make it, use fairly standard materials, and be more bulletproof when installed than the original setup.

The prototype in aluminum isn't "standard" and wouldn't do for a commercial type fix, but there is a 3.5"x6"x5/16" steel angle that w/the right shims welded to it and holes prepunched would make for an easy replacement. The aluminum was easy to use for experimental purposes, and I think will lead to an easy fix. Places like Redlands Truck & RV should be able to do this as a drop-in kit, or at least that's my aim.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:37 PM   #117
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Not to undermine Mike's design and I am NOT an engineer, but I have had my own Idea of a "easy" bolt on fix, after I saw how good the one that I had installed on mine worked. My Idea is just like Mike's, without the need to cut off the Huck bolts. If you take Mike's angle, make it out of the proper thickness of steel, and then just cut off enough of the small plate of the angle plus enough of the large plate to allow for the foot of the stock bracket. The top bolts onto the 2 frame rails, just like mine, but instead of welding to the rear of the stock bracket, the brace comes down over it and bolts on. After the part is in hand, it only requires drilling and bolting. Either way the frame rails will be hard to drill.

Mine was made and installed by a great fabricator, who's main line of work is HD repairs on trash trucks. His first thought was to stiffen the frame. I had spent a fair amount of time looking at what was going on. I found the front of the stock bracket to be better braced by the mounting flange being bent to the inside. This allowed the internal stock brace to stiffen that flange. The area of the frame where the front attached was also much stouter, due to other plates attached at that same point. I saw that the main problem was that the rear leg of the bracket could not take the torque from the steering box. I thought that while a stiffer frame would help, that was at the other end of the plate from where the torque was being applied. I told him that I wanted to keep the back face of the bracket from rotating by some sort of attachment from above to the top outer corner of the bracket. He then came up with the brace seen in the photos of my fix. As I have said, mine is very solid now and I don't see why this design would not work. So now I will leave this to you back yard mechanics and engineers out there, I just thought I would put my 2 cents worth in.

I hope that you can decipher what I mean, here is a rough drawing.

Dale Gerstel
2007 Limited SE 40fdts
Las Vegas, NV
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:28 AM   #118
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I was reluctant at first to consider removing the Huck bolts. Replacing them reliably seemed problematic. However some research on available fasteners & their proper installation encouraged me to look past that inertia. After all, its done all the time ITRW. Cutting off the Huck bolts using a Milwakee 4.5" angle grinder & cutting wheel was a lot easier than I anticipated, tho it produces a lot of racket & sparks (eye & ear protection mandatory, and a fabric face mask is recommended). When done, I like the 3 advantages it gives:
1) the short face of the full angle that can now be installed can act as a squash plate over the (former) Huck bolt flange to keep it flush w/the frame during stress. The native 04-09 bracket flange receives too much prying action for my taste which produced the vertical stress crack on Dale's rig, and this full cover plate helps keep it flat to the frame.
2) the full length short face of the angle acts like the front flange's 3/8" x 20" high plate stiffening the two frame members together. Dale's welded fix does this by elongating the rear-face/rear-flange, and I think its an important part of a good fix.
3) the full height angle bolted to both lower frame member & rear face of steering bracket adds heft to the otherwise too thin rear-face/rear-bolt-flange fold in the bracket steel, resisting further bending. The OEM 1/4" folded plate acts as a hinge, and the added angle beefs up the full flange/rear-face.

My thinking is that this package of advantages is a good trade off for the discomfort of replacing the Hucks. The Grade 8 fine thread fasteners are about 150,000 psi steel, and pretty tough, and that's about what the Hucks are; all that is needed is a proper torque spec & application of suitable "permanent" Loctite type thread locker.

I don't think we'll get more than 2 good size bolts into the rear face due to the internal stiffenter arrangement, and good fab practices. The internal angled stiffener leaves the upper 60% of the inside face of the bracket blind, so you can't get a nut on anything above ~3" above the lower edge of the bracket (this line is marked in red on my PDF photo of the prototype). After staring at that for a while I settled on 2 ea. 5/8" bolts. I think the 2 should be sufficient as they would resist in the neighborhood of 8,000 ft-lbs of torque on the rear face. At that, the upper bolt on my prototype would receive (8000 x 12"/ft)/(19"-2-(4/2)-1.25) = ~7,000# tension (a 5/8" Gr.8 should be good for >20,000) so that's OK. However, I'm thinking of adding another bolt at the upper side of the bottom channel; that would provide some safety factor for the possible variation in replacement of the Hucks, and butress the stiffening effect on the two C-frame members combined.

The only problem w/trying to bolt conventional angle shape into the rear-flange/rear-face angle is the rounded inside corner of the OEM bracket. I fixed that w/the 3/8" aluminum by rounding the hard 90 outside angle of the alum.; I could get away w/that cuz of the thickness of the angle. With steel (probably 5/16) I would rather leave the angle's profile intact, so the inside bracket angle's curve will have to be handled w/a shim between the rear bracket face & new angle. This is a trade-off because the shims (my design needs 2, one between angle & rear face, and one between 4" angle face & frame because of the offset of the OEM bracket's rear flange) should be tack welded in place on the drop-in bracket bracket; that requires an additional step in mfg'rg the bracket bracket, but makes installation easy. I couldn't weld my 1/4" shim to my alum bracket bracket, and getting it & bolts in place was a juggling match.

Where else can you go and have this kind of fun?
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:18 AM   #119
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I'm very interested in the Carrier & Sons steering bracket kit. Can you post a photo of this bracket kit from Carrier & Sons? If not, then can you send me a private email with a photo and info? Thanks,
Dale & Karin
2006 Alpine Coach Limited 36FDTS
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #120
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Here is a pic of the Carrier Bracket Bracket (not sure how it mounts):

Here is the EngineerMike Bracket Bracket as mounted:

Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:20 PM   #121
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After reading all of this I did the following:

1. Inspected my bracket (no apparent problems).

2. Sent in my form to NHTSA.

3. Decided NOT to go back to school for my engineering degree!

Thanks to all you for your help...........I think.
Jerry and Judy Davis
Fremont, California
05-06 36'FDDS
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:38 AM   #122
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Filed ours today...
'07 Alpine Limited 40MDTS
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:54 PM   #123
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I have submitted a complaint regarding the steering bracket. I was able to select Western and Alpine Coach. Other options were Alpine, Alpine Coach and Apex.
Jack & Josie - Austin Tx
2006 Alpine Limited, MDTS, 75501
2005 Saturn Vue
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:16 PM   #124
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I just filed our Complaint. Thanks to all!!

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:29 PM   #125
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Steering Gear Bracket Modification by Carrier & Sons

Following RVersOnline lead, we had our steering gear bracket modified by Carrier and Sons RV Service in Eugene, Oregon, today. They made brackets to match the 2007 34' of RVersOnline and had them waiting for us.

The upper brackets turned out to be the same but the lower bracket was different for our 2006 36'. It needed a shorter bracket, and didn't need any Huck bolts removed. So they fabricated another bracket, installed it, and it eliminated all perceivable movement from the view of the naked eye. It is a very sturdy bracket. I took some before and after video with my digital camera, and the movement before was about 3/4" overall, and my coach was lightly loaded. When the coach has been fully loaded, the movement is a little greater. The bracket moved about 3/8" away from the frame and about 3/8" up from the ground when the steering wheel was turned, before the modification.

I took some pictures and have attached them below. The first picture shows the original design to match the 2007 34'. The second and third pictures show the new, smaller, lower bracket. The remaining pictures show the upper bracket, which attaches to the gear box bracket and to the frame, just like the lower bracket, and also show the installation.

I have not figured out how to attach the videos to this message, so if you're interested in seeing my rough videos, PM me and I'll send them to you. They will give you an idea of the difference in movement. Also, if you want to know what it cost me, PM me and I'll let you know. It took about 3 hours to fabricate the new bracket, and about 3 hours and several brand new drill bits to install it. I was able to get both the bracket re-fabricated, installed, and a new set of Bridgestone R250 295/80 tires installed at Les Schwab in Junction City all in the same day. For those who don't know, the greater Eugene area is a great place to get about anything done to your coach, plus there's no sales tax in Oregon.

I was very pleased with the work done by Carrier and also appreciated the fact I could stay free overnight on pavement in front of their shop and had 30 amp hookup and water. They do have a dump area if one needs it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:59 PM   #126
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That looks like a great design, very sturdy.

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