Steering gear/bracket input for pre 2005
We have a 2001 36' mid door unit which we bought new in 2/2002 and have now driven it a wonderful 151,000 miles. This coach,74328, was built in 11/2000.
4 years ago I had Henderson in Oregon check out the coach. One thing mentioned at that time was the the steering gear had some play in it. In the last couple of years the coach has not driven like an alpine as it has wandered on the road and I always seemed to be catching it. My Koni shocks are my 3rd pair, the 2nd replaced under warranty and have some 30,000 miles on them so I did not think the shocks were an issue.
I just left the Seattle area a couple of days ago. I had the steering gear, a Sheppard M100, rebuilt at Red-head in Auburn, Washington outside of Seattle. The turned it around in 28 hours. I had Pacific Freightway in Pacific, Washington just a few miles away from Red Head do the removal and reinstallation. They had a bay they could leave it in when the coach was not driveable and motels are in the area to stay. Bottom line the coach drives like a new Alpine now. Rebuild was about $450 and service for removal and install was about $700. Pacific was a pretty good but not great. Found that communications between shifts was somewhat non existent, but they did good work.
There is a second issue which is a safety critical issue. 2 or 3 weeks before the scheduled maintenance I began to hear a crack or pop from the front of the coach when I had the steering wheel turned all the way to the right or the left, foot brake strongly held down and then started to roll forward. Thanks to input from Dave Fernandez I replicated the issue with the co-pilot, who does not drive the coach, doing this move while I was under the coach in front of the wheels. As you can probably guess she did not take the opportunity to eliminate me from our 50 year marriage!!! In any case the steering gear moved about an 1/4" I think on the steering bracket. I do not know if the nuts were all tight or not as the mechanic did not know. BUT the welds on both sides of the rear of the bracket showed rust and fracture. It appears that was a part of the movement, the 2 welded bracket supports under the torque of the move described above were obviously moving. Now that the 2 supports have been rewelded no noise and a lot more comfort behind the wheel.
Incidentally inspected the drive line cradle mentioned by Engineer Mike in an earlier post and no cracks on mine.
Hope this long message is of use to others.
2001 36 MDDS
03 Honda Pilot toad