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Old 07-03-2014, 04:55 PM   #1
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Steering Box Play- Sheppard M100 SHIM or Swap for a TRW ?

Long read but worth it I promise :-)

So this all started when I purchased the coach over 18 months ago. I drove the coach home from Chicago to Albuquerque and on the way found it could a handful on the road. No before we go crazy, dad was a long haul trucker and lets just say I have plenty of road time driving things larger than a Yugo. I have put 14K miles on my coach in two years also !

So after the coach purchase which was in December, almost 2 years ago, I attended the Quartzite AZ RV show. What a GREAT group of Monaco owners ! I learned a BUNCH. While I was in Q I had Redlands check the alignment and do a 4 wheel weigh, Full gear and food, full of water and fuel and empty black and grey tanks so I know what I was changing later weight wise, I also asked them to adjust the steering box because it felt a bit loose, kind of like driving on ICE every now and then. I had a Safe-Tplus installed for blow out protection.

I had already adjusted tire pressures for the empty trip from Chicago, that helped. The RV dealer that serviced the coach for the seller put WAY to much pressure in the tires.

When I picked up the coach from Redlands they said I had a NON Adjustable steering box and the play I had was "normal" for that box.

So I stood there thinking.... I did not know they EVEN MADE a NON Adjustable steering gear box. OK guess I do the best I can with what I have...RIGHT.

WRONG !!!!

Then I found this forum !!!! I read and read and read some more. EVERYTHING I could find on the INFAMOUS Sheppard M100, steering play, loose gear boxes.

SURE I posted a few threads...got a few responses and even some great information.

Then I found this :
Wandering, sway bars, alignment, ride height, oh my!!

I read it cover to cover !!! GREAT STUFF...maybe I was not CRAZY !! and I was not ALONE in my search.

Long story short... I know ha ha. I met Vanwill the cross brace KING in Perry GA at the FMCA Rally. I was there talking to shops about fixing my steering play and trying to get a second opinion. Vanwill and I talked shop and he mentioned the design of the Sheppard Box VS a TRW and we explored that and said goodnight.

I had already read about REDHEAD Steering gears and the success they were having SHIMMING out the play in a Sheppard M100. I told my DW I am pulling the Sheppard and getting it "Blue Printed" AKA shimmed and taking out as much play as I could.

Then I thought about what VAN and I talked about........could you SWAP a TRW into a Monaco or HR ? Found out Monaco put TRW boxes in their coaches ok MAYBE this could work.

Van gave me a gentle push on the forum...the Wandering thread, read the last 15 pages and it will shed some more light on the "process"

I have spend the last month and over 150 hours of time including phone calls and emails to Sheppard, TRW and a few major rebuild shops in the nation trying to get information. I spent over 5 hours in the GA heat looking around in a HUGE big rig parts yard at the steering box section.

With some help from the irv2 gang I found out that Monaco had used the TRW TAS 65 so I compared the Sheppard M100 to the TRW TAS 65...Spec sheet to spec sheet. Pump requirements, output torque, degree of travel, uses, Almost a perfect match ! OK...let see where this leads !

OK now the MEAT...you are all caught up if you read the link above and then some, at least the last 15 pages, again it is WORTH it if you have a steering play issue with your coach.


If you have an Sheppard M100, right from their repair manual, you can have .5 to 1.5 inches of UNRESPONSIVE motion.....YES it is ACCEPTABLE in their design.

Those of you with the .5 consider yourself lucky...I have the 1.5 + Model

So the FIX...RIGHT....get to it already PLEASE !!
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:26 PM   #2
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THE FIX.....or at least your options...YOU decide...I am just passing along what I have learned in the last month.

If you happen to have a Sheppard box with a good amount of play, that is up to you, then you have you have options.

1. Have the Sheppard shimmed. I have talked to Weller truck parts and they said they can make it really tight but due to the design it will never be a tight as a TRW...WHAT this TECH agreed with me. Have Redhead do it on the West coast as I have heard here they have had great success. I was going to use Weller because they have an outlet here in Atlanta. I moved here from ABQ.

2. Explore the possibility of a TRW Steering Box swap.
Just a heads up Sheppard and TRW will NOT talk to you about it, LIABILITY !
The tech I talked to said he would help, and help he did !

HERE is the kicker. Having a Sheppard shimmed cost about $550, no labor for me so I can not guess there, a shop told me $1000 to do it all once long ago.

It is $565 to purchase a rebuilt TRW and they will take my Sheppard as a core.
Purchase a good used pitman arm, they do no use the same ones., for a $175 , 4 new mounting bolts due to length, the TRW box has longer and thicker bolt boxes, and 2 quarts of steering fluid. So about $225 for the SWAP.

I found a TRW TAS 65, you know just like Monaco used, that was a DIRECT bolt on SWAP !
It is in my coach right now, it took me all of an hour to have the Sheppard box laying at my feet. I am just waiting for a pitman arm to index on to the TRW, will be here Monday and I should have a road test out this week. I will post it.

I HAD a Sheppard M100 Model # HD94PQ31 and now I have a TRW TAS65 66003.

I have lots of other information to post so...here is a few pics while I run and get a fresh "cold one"

The yard I looked around in.
My Mount and Box set up.
The PLAYFUL box out of my coach.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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I also have a 2011 Knight with the same 1.5" play. Took it to Monaco, they said alignment. Did that. Then they said I need a new box, did that. Then new shocks. Did that also. Took it to Henderson. After adding Safe T Plus, they say I need a new steering box. Again? I want the TRW. Where is Redhead located?
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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Don't you hate when you close a window after 10 mins of typing. I had pictures open and all info on laptop. OH well, wow only one beer and time to keep this going.

OK Please read the TEST post #732 here :
Wandering, sway bars, alignment, ride height, oh my!!

and catch yourself up.

Almost forgot, MY Pitman arm # is 84263202

A few more pics.

My mount with ADJUSTMENT ACCESS hole drilled
Sheppard VS TRW
TRW TAS 65 6603
Mounted in Coach
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeigant View Post
I also have a 2011 Knight with the same 1.5" play. Took it to Monaco, they said alignment. Did that. Then they said I need a new box, did that. Then new shocks. Did that also. Took it to Henderson. After adding Safe T Plus, they say I need a new steering box. Again? I want the TRW. Where is Redhead located?
RWeigant,

You mentioned a problem I found out about a few months ago. A NEW Sheppard...it WILL NOT HELP !! I have talked to a coach owner who had play and had MONACO replace the box and they made it WORSE. The good old .5 to 1.5...crap shoot.

Shocks help the ride not the wander.

Most of the big shops I have talked to send out their boxes to have rebuilt if they even offer that. You can talk to Redhead directly,

Red-Head Steering Gears - Custom Rebuilt Steering Gear Boxes in USA

They are in Seattle WA. I hope they do not play the no swap liability card, if so try someone else or if you must have them Shim your Sheppard.

That would be my last choice, you can not fix a box with play that was designed to have play in it. GREAT for US NON professional drivers !

I hope I helped a little, but we coach owners have been told everything you said above by the people who love taking our money, they do good work and some of the things they do make it better but it does not FIX the problem.

SHIM or SWAP that is IT. WE want our coaches to go where we tell them to go...not wandering down the road in a consent left to right phugoid.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Congrats on an amazing accomplishment. It takes a special talent and a little "crazy" to pioneer replacing a component like that. Most shops wouldn't fathom that kind of work. It's a shame that Sheppard has such a poor design but has many of these boxes out there. I look forward to your test drive.
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:56 PM   #7
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I have taken over over 100 pictures of various Monaco's and HR of varying years and discovered that the steering box mounts do not differ that much, even between the TRW and Sheppard mounts.

I have had some GREAT help from the IRV2 TEAM and gathered some interesting information.

I am trying to avoid posting the same information on this "new" thread as I have in the wandering thread so If you have any questions please feel fee to post them and I will get back to you ASAP.

There are a few gotchas in the process so if you are inclined to even give the SWAP a thought let me know and I will try and help you avoid the pitfalls.

Mounts...TRW and Sheppard
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crah View Post
Congrats on an amazing accomplishment. It takes a special talent and a little "crazy" to pioneer replacing a component like that. Most shops wouldn't fathom that kind of work. It's a shame that Sheppard has such a poor design but has many of these boxes out there. I look forward to your test drive.
Thank you Sir ! Sometimes being a type "A" is a curse, but even if I could not fix the problem I wanted to know what it was.

FOUND IT ! With a little help !

Test drive coming next week..If all goes as planned :bang head:

HAPPY FOURTH TO ALL !
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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Old Yesterday, 01:54 PM #878
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"Indexing" sounds challenging. deSanford PS Very good tenacity and perseverance Craig.
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deSanford,

THANKS for the great idea on indexing, it came to me at 3 AM.

Like we do in aircraft building if we want to duplicate a process in parts building we build a Jig. I can build a simple jig out of a small piece of 3/4 furniture grade plywood say 12" X 12" bolt the Sheppard to it, then use the Sheppard arm still attached to the box with a long bolt secured in the end of the pitman arm touching the plywood, make a mark, swing the arm full the other direction, make a mark.

Unbolt the Sheppard and bolt in the TRW, grab the new pitman arm put the long bolt in the drag link hole, put the bolt on the plywood mark and drop the splined end on the TRW box.

Run the pitman arm full the opposite direction to make sure it swings mark to mark, which it should according to the spec sheets and the Tech at Weller. I can always make a MINOR adjustment if needed.

Thanks for the KISS process......Keep IT Simple....Stupid....AKA ME sometimes.
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:42 AM   #10
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Suggestion for Jigs. Sure would help the rest of us. As mentioned in the other threaed we had an engine jig for installing engines in a kit airplane. Sure was easier with all the stuff off it.

Perhaps a paper template/pdf to make drilling the adjustment hole more accurate and easier. And you already mentioned making one for clocking the arm. And a cradle to hold the heavy monster via a jack. Could roll it in place with a floor jack and lift it right in.

My suspicion is the Sheppard box may be used in a lot of construction vehicles where slow speeds and rough terrain actually helps keep fatigue down. Feeling every rock on a dirt road would be tiring. Also used in a dual system the two might just about cancel each other out.

I am for getting a TRW. Can't wait for the test flight. I have another 3-6K mile trip when returning to Florida so would have a great comparison. My trim kit for the safe-t-plus will be reinstalled for the return trip so could have an amazing fun ddriving experience.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Suggestion for Jigs. Sure would help the rest of us. As mentioned in the other threaed we had an engine jig for installing engines in a kit airplane. Sure was easier with all the stuff off it.

Perhaps a paper template/pdf to make drilling the adjustment hole more accurate and easier. And you already mentioned making one for clocking the arm. And a cradle to hold the heavy monster via a jack. Could roll it in place with a floor jack and lift it right in.

My suspicion is the Sheppard box may be used in a lot of construction vehicles where slow speeds and rough terrain actually helps keep fatigue down. Feeling every rock on a dirt road would be tiring. Also used in a dual system the two might just about cancel each other out.

I am for getting a TRW. Can't wait for the test flight. I have another 3-6K mile trip when returning to Florida so would have a great comparison. My trim kit for the safe-t-plus will be reinstalled for the return trip so could have an amazing fun ddriving experience.
I agree we can work our way up to maybe a PDF of bolt patterns or a least templates we could index and send around. I am hoping for more bolt on swaps but I know I can only hope for more bolt pattern matches.

One would need some sort of cradle like you mentioned if you had to drill holes or set up a TRW fit. Great Idea and I know of a few welders in the bunch including myself. It depends on who is next.

I have a 2K mile trip late August so I hope after a 100 mile plus road test this week and then later this month installing Van's cross braces, I did put new shocks on for the ride, my trip will be SO MUCH nicer to drive.

I will be emailing the next box number Monday to my contact, I do not want to wear out my welcome. I need to buy him a steak dinner and a TALL cold one for all of his help already.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:48 PM   #12
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For your database, the pitman arm on my 08 Camelot is #1009262. The first digit looks like a 1 but could be an arrow. Poor cast in number, making it hard to differentiate.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:47 PM   #13
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Craig,
Congrats. Very nice post and very useful info. I'm getting the bug to go get a TRW.

Roy
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:26 AM   #14
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Craig,

Fantastic work. You put me in mind of one of my favorite quotes from Calvin Coolidge.

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

Bob
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