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Old 08-23-2010, 07:27 PM   #1
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Track bar (panhard rod)

On the Neway AS 120 steer axle there is an item called a panhard rod, page 6 item 12,of the AS series maintenance manual. My bar is loose and produces a clunking sound on some road surfaces. I seems difficult to obtain information on a replacement. A previous note by Engineer Mike advises to torque up the bolts until it does not move to stop the noise. The coach manual calls for lubrication of this part every 15,000 miles however I have not found any grease fittings. I am considering removing the bar, drill out the existing bushing, and install new bushing and grease fittings.
Please post any information you may have regarding this part of the suspension system.
Thanks.
Rod Sprague
2000 Alpine 38 foot
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
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J Rod,

In the Neway AS 120 maintenance manual, it notes that rattling in the front suspension could be a loose Retainer Strap. On my 2001 Alpine Coach 38FDDS, this was the case after about 5 years of use. After having this re-torqued to 200 ft-lbs, the rattling sound went away.

Unless the bushings are degraded to the point of having metal on metal, I can't see how the Track Bar (panhard rod) being loose would cause rattling, since it has bushings in both attachment ends. Those bushings should not be lubricated with any petroleum based lubricant or they will be damaged.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:42 AM   #3
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Track bar

Dale, thanks for the info. I will check the Retainer strap in the morning. The panhard rod does have a rubber like material surrounding a metal sleeve which the 7/8 inch bolt passes through. The arm can be moved up and down at both ends with the bolt remaining fixed. Seems like there should not be that much play in the connection. I will continue to crawl around under the coach pounding, prying, and shaking, seeking a source of the noise.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:45 AM   #4
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Also check the tightness of the shock mounts.
I had a noise problem caused by that and only found it when installing the Koni shocks.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:00 AM   #5
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Cant account for any differences between your 2000 and my 2003--assuming there are any but on some coaches, the flanges that hold the ends of the track bar to the frame and axle are too wide. Accordingly, the inside metal bushings tend to rattle inside the flanges even though the thru-bolts are tight. These flanges are pretty heavy duty material but the thru-bolts can be torqued down so they re-capture/retain the inside bushing [as designed]--thus no more rattles. If the gap is too wide, I guess you could find some shims but again, these are pretty heavy components so torqueing is probably a better solution.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:20 AM   #6
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Can't argue with Scout here because that's what I did on mine.
It took a 1/2" drive impact wrench to do it but a breaker-bar would also have worked.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #7
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The end of the bar should contain either bearings or bushings or both.. Make sure these are not worn. It may be possible to replace those parts WITHOUT replacing the entire bar.
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Old 08-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #8
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Just checked mine and it was clunking. Torqued both ends with a 3/4 impact and no clunking.
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Smile Panhard repair

Thanks for all the input on the panhard rod. All parts are reassembled and there is no movement in the bar by hand. This is the repair I performed. Removed the panhard rod and found the metal sleeve/bushing in good condition. The 7/8 inch bolts had flat spots worn on the smooth and threaded portion of the bolt. I replaced the 4-1/2 inch bolt with a new grade 5, 5-1/2 inch bolt. Using a 5-1/2 inch bolt allowed the sleeve/bushing to be in contact with the smooth section of the bolt. I cut 3/4 inch of threads off the bolt and chased the threads. I then reinstalled the bolt with two flat yellow zinc washers on the head side and one flat washer on the nut side. The modification to the bolt was necessary to prevent interference with the air bag. There is not enough room to install the bolt with the head on the air bag side. It was necessary to remove the bolts holding the panhard rod bracket on the drivers side since the nuts holding the bracket interfered with bolts in the panhard rod. I attempted to place the bracket bolts with the head up however the nut and extended bolt looked like they may interfere with the tie rod.
Will be taking the coach in for service on Thursday morning and will let you know if the noise vanished. The mileage on the coach is 72,000
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:35 AM   #10
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Maybe off base, but to eliminate another possibility...
I had a clunking sound on rough road surfaces. It seemed to originate under the driver's seat. I suspected the panhard rod.
Turned out to be the generator exhaust pipe.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:06 PM   #11
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I have found the upper housing of HWH rh side jack hitting frame at top of jack.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:47 PM   #12
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Bigfoot speaks!

Welcome to the forum. How long have you had your Alpine? I see you are another SoCal member. Did you join ACA or SoCal ACA? The website for ACA can be very helpful, too.

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Was your jack not mounted to the side of the frame?
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:00 PM   #13
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Track bar

Again, thanks to all, on the trip to Cummins NW, the noise level sounded like a new coach I think.
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