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Old 01-05-2018, 07:35 PM   #2493
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Update--thrust angle compensation by adjustable length trailing arms

This project has begat more questions than answers.

Briefly, Z-Mike, in his thread on modifications to his 2003 Dynasty, stated that he had a steady pull in his steering to one side. He determined, using laser measuring equipment, that he needed to change the length of his two trailing arms on one side of the rear axle. He did that, after taking much heat from naysayers about the whole idea of modifying a trailing arm. Bloody wankers! Modifying the trailing arm length cured his steering pull. His total change in the trailing arm length was approximately 1/8”.

My coach has had, from the day I bought it four years ago, a very strong pull to the right. It never bothered me much, just could not let go of the steering wheel. But I also reasoned that the strong pull was definitely taking all the slack in all steering components out, so I was probably benefitting by having slightly better steering control. Without access to any kind of suitable laser measuring equipment, I asked the truck shop I use if they could put my coach on their equipment and tell me how much my rear axle was out of alignment. These guys have always been very accommodating about the “weird” things I ask them to do. They said they could give me the measurement using their very late-model equipment, but that it would cost nearly the same to give me a report as to fix the problem, assuming the coach had some provision for rear axle alignment. It does not, of course.

So, I decided to make the trailing arms adjustable-length, and provided for approximately a +/- movement of 3/16”. We began the alignment process and the laser equipment reported that I needed NOTHING in the way of front-end alignment, and that although my axle was misaligned in the direction to account for the pull to the right, it was only off by 1/16”. I did not think a change that small would have any effect, so I corrected it by 1/8”.

Then came the sad part. That change diminished the pull to the right, but only by a small amount. Without spending any more on alignment checks (you guys know I feel 95% of alignments are money wasted), I decided to just make small incremental changes in the trailing arm length. Unfortunately, having provided only a +/- 3/16” range, I could only change the length another 1/16”. That change resulted in almost no perceptible change in the pulling to the right.

Sooo, I pulled the trailing arms and re-machined them to allow approximately 1/2" adjustment. And since adjusting them is not fun, I decided to shorten them both by the max, and try it out. As I finished reinstalling the trailing arms, the Great Blizzard of 2018 hit southeastern NC. I have not been able to get the coach out of my 800-foot uphill driveway since. Hoping to get it out tomorrow and give it a quick test run before heading out for Q. I’m already two days late leaving.

It's not as if I've never been baffled by a problem before, but this one has me really scratching my head. I believe the truck shop’s computer-controlled Hunter alignment equipment is nearly state-of-the-art. But the conundrum is that it reported NO front-end alignment needed, and a rear axle alignment error that was almost insignificant. BUT, I still have a strong pull to the right, and when I replaced the rear tires (while at the truck shop for alignment) the two PS duals were worn almost slick, and the DS duals still had a lot of tread. Sounds like a classic case of axle misalignment, doesn’t it? Just like Z-Mike’s 2003 Dynasty. I even considered swapping the two front tires from side-to-side, even though I’ve never been able to think of any scientific reason that would make any difference. I did NOT do that, though, since the steer tires were changed to new Michelin’s just before the Alaska trip last year, and that did not change the pull-to-the-right at all.

Until I can get the beast up my driveway and onto the road for a road test, that is where I stand right now. And I need to get on the road to Q!!!!

Collectively, all us guys have solved some straight-line stability problems that we’ve all been told were either “all in our minds” or just could not be fixed. We have brought good straight-line stability to hundreds of coaches now, without relying on the three sacred cows of Monaco “handling experts”--ALIGNMENT, HIGH-DOLLAR SHOCKS, or the RIGHT BRAND of tire. So, once again, I’m asking for your thoughts and expertise. WTH is going on with my coach? (I’m afraid I’ll end up wishing I had left well enough alone, since it drove well and tracked straight-arrow…NAH, THAT JUST AIN'T ME!! LOL)

As always, apologies for the length of this post. I can't help it. I'm an engineer.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:44 PM   #2494
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanwill View Post
This project has begat more questions than answers.



Briefly, Z-Mike, in his thread on modifications to his 2003 Dynasty, stated that he had a steady pull in his steering to one side. He determined, using laser measuring equipment, that he needed to change the length of his two trailing arms on one side of the rear axle. He did that, after taking much heat from naysayers about the whole idea of modifying a trailing arm. Bloody wankers! Modifying the trailing arm length cured his steering pull. His total change in the trailing arm length was approximately 1/8”.



My coach has had, from the day I bought it four years ago, a very strong pull to the right. It never bothered me much, just could not let go of the steering wheel. But I also reasoned that the strong pull was definitely taking all the slack in all steering components out, so I was probably benefitting by having slightly better steering control. Without access to any kind of suitable laser measuring equipment, I asked the truck shop I use if they could put my coach on their equipment and tell me how much my rear axle was out of alignment. These guys have always been very accommodating about the “weird” things I ask them to do. They said they could give me the measurement using their very late-model equipment, but that it would cost nearly the same to give me a report as to fix the problem, assuming the coach had some provision for rear axle alignment. It does not, of course.



So, I decided to make the trailing arms adjustable-length, and provided for approximately a +/- movement of 3/16”. We began the alignment process and the laser equipment reported that I needed NOTHING in the way of front-end alignment, and that although my axle was misaligned in the direction to account for the pull to the right, it was only off by 1/16”. I did not think a change that small would have any effect, so I corrected it by 1/8”.



Then came the sad part. That change diminished the pull to the right, but only by a small amount. Without spending any more on alignment checks (you guys know I feel 95% of alignments are money wasted), I decided to just make small incremental changes in the trailing arm length. Unfortunately, having provided only a +/- 3/16” range, I could only change the length another 1/16”. That change resulted in almost no perceptible change in the pulling to the right.



Sooo, I pulled the trailing arms and re-machined them to allow approximately 1/2" adjustment. And since adjusting them is not fun, I decided to shorten them both by the max, and try it out. As I finished reinstalling the trailing arms, the Great Blizzard of 2018 hit southeastern NC. I have not been able to get the coach out of my 800-foot uphill driveway since. Hoping to get it out tomorrow and give it a quick test run before heading out for Q. I’m already two days late leaving.



It's not as if I've never been baffled by a problem before, but this one has me really scratching my head. I believe the truck shop’s computer-controlled Hunter alignment equipment is nearly state-of-the-art. But the conundrum is that it reported NO front-end alignment needed, and a rear axle alignment error that was almost insignificant. BUT, I still have a strong pull to the right, and when I replaced the rear tires (while at the truck shop for alignment) the two PS duals were worn almost slick, and the DS duals still had a lot of tread. Sounds like a classic case of axle misalignment, doesn’t it? Just like Z-Mike’s 2003 Dynasty. I even considered swapping the two front tires from side-to-side, even though I’ve never been able to think of any scientific reason that would make any difference. I did NOT do that, though, since the steer tires were changed to new Michelin’s just before the Alaska trip last year, and that did not change the pull-to-the-right at all.



Until I can get the beast up my driveway and onto the road for a road test, that is where I stand right now. And I need to get on the road to Q!!!!



Collectively, all us guys have solved some straight-line stability problems that we’ve all been told were either “all in our minds” or just could not be fixed. We have brought good straight-line stability to hundreds of coaches now, without relying on the three sacred cows of Monaco “handling experts”--ALIGNMENT, HIGH-DOLLAR SHOCKS, or the RIGHT BRAND of tire. So, once again, I’m asking for your thoughts and expertise. WTH is going on with my coach? (I’m afraid I’ll end up wishing I had left well enough alone, since it drove well and tracked straight-arrow…NAH, THAT JUST AIN'T ME!! LOL)



As always, apologies for the length of this post. I can't help it. I'm an engineer.


Van, wow, thinking like you, and Z-Mike you guys have cured the pull. Sorry it still plagues your coach buddy.
Reminds me of a bad handling race car chassis I had, that would never handle right on a concrete track. Purpose built, in short it was a slightly twisted 2x4 rear stub rail, didn’t show up in jig.

Be safe traveling, see you at QZ.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:05 PM   #2495
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When I got my coach - it had a strong pull to the right - we swapped the front tires and it took care of about 80% of it. Never could see anything wrong with them. Put new steer tires on last year, didn't change much, still a slight pull. When I did the bushings it seemed to help a bit, but still a slight but consistent pull. I adjusted the steering box and Safe-T-steer (again) and that pretty well took care of it. it will still pull a bit from time to time - road crown or wind maybe, not sure - but it is to the left about as much as it is to the right now - on a nice road with no wind it is dead on. Personally I think you should adjust the rear as close to perfect as you can (how is the rear thrust angle side to side? is it possible the housing is out of whack? ), then take one more look for other issues - go back through all the basics - steering box centered, front wheel bearings, brake adjustments etc. safety steer adjusted, try the tire rotation etc. Easy for something to have gotten out of whack while you have been working on other things. If you crutch it with the rear alignment you may miss something else... Done it to myself lots of times! In my case, the most pervasive and annoying issues have usually turned out to be something simple I had previously overlooked.
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:19 PM   #2496
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Originally Posted by Kurt Averill View Post
When I got my coach - it had a strong pull to the right - we swapped the front tires and it took care of about 80% of it. Never could see anything wrong with them. Put new steer tires on last year, didn't change much, still a slight pull. When I did the bushings it seemed to help a bit, but still a slight but consistent pull. I adjusted the steering box and Safe-T-steer (again) and that pretty well took care of it. it will still pull a bit from time to time - road crown or wind maybe, not sure - but it is to the left about as much as it is to the right now - on a nice road with no wind it is dead on. Personally I think you should adjust the rear as close to perfect as you can (how is the rear thrust angle side to side? is it possible the housing is out of whack? ), then take one more look for other issues - go back through all the basics - steering box centered, front wheel bearings, brake adjustments etc. safety steer adjusted, try the tire rotation etc. Easy for something to have gotten out of whack while you have been working on other things. If you crutch it with the rear alignment you may miss something else... Done it to myself lots of times! In my case, the most pervasive and annoying issues have usually turned out to be something simple I had previously overlooked.


Very true. Plumb bobs and string.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:15 AM   #2497
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Van, years ago when radial tires were becoming mainstream on passenger cars we ran into a pulling issue with such. The term used was tire concentricity and I pilfered the meaning from the Internet, below.

"Condition where the plies and/or belts are not level across the tire tread and are somewhat cone shaped. This causes a pull to one side as the car is driven straight ahead if the tires are on the front of the vehicle."

We used to rotate the front tires side to side to affect a change. Sometimes the car drove straight, sometimes pulled the other way.

Even though you replaced the front tires and experienced the same pull, a swap of the tires might still be in order. 99% sure it won’t be the tires, but don’t let the 1% bite you. Been down that road, so now I verify.
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Old 01-06-2018, 03:52 PM   #2498
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Van, years ago when radial tires were becoming mainstream on passenger cars we ran into a pulling issue with such. The term used was tire concentricity and I pilfered the meaning from the Internet, below.

"Condition where the plies and/or belts are not level across the tire tread and are somewhat cone shaped. This causes a pull to one side as the car is driven straight ahead if the tires are on the front of the vehicle."

We used to rotate the front tires side to side to affect a change. Sometimes the car drove straight, sometimes pulled the other way.

Even though you replaced the front tires and experienced the same pull, a swap of the tires might still be in order. 99% sure it won’t be the tires, but don’t let the 1% bite you. Been down that road, so now I verify.
About 4 years ago I had my coach aligned at Josams in Florida. After the alignment I went for a ride with the tech. Going up the road the steering would pull, can't remember if it was left or right. I was in passengers seat and when he let go of the wheel it would start turning. He said we need to swap the front tires. I thought hows that can change anything but oh well. We went back to shop and he jacked up the front and swapped the two front tires. He said come on let's go again. On the same street, the same straight stretch, he let go of the wheel and sure enough we went half a mile straight as an arrow without him touching the wheel. Granted when the alignment was done the tires probably had 4000 miles on them since they were new. Van, with yours being new this may not even pertain, but I thought I would mention it.

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Old 01-06-2018, 04:34 PM   #2499
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After all the mods to my 08 Endeavor including the steering box I removed the shims from the alignment done in Oregon at a very good shop.

Mine has always pulled to the right and at one time I had installed a steering trim control. That has been removed. I'm a bit sorry I did now.

New tires made no difference in the pull.

After removing the shims I found the steering effort to be greater so now I am fighting the pull with more force.

Go figure.

I was able to remove the shims myself but sorry to say I actually tossed them a few months ago. I would like to put them back in.

So could the front H frame be off track? Wouldn't the front being off a bit cause the issue?

Can the axle be shifted a fraction???

Wish we were going to Q with all of you.
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Old 01-06-2018, 04:36 PM   #2500
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After all the mods to my 08 Endeavor including the steering box I removed the shims from the alignment done in Oregon at a very good shop.

Mine has always pulled to the right and at one time I had installed a steering trim control. That has been removed. I'm a bit sorry I did now.

New tires made no difference in the pull.

After removing the shims I found the steering effort to be greater so now I am fighting the pull with more force.

Go figure.

I was able to remove the shims myself but sorry to say I actually tossed them a few months ago. I would like to put them back in.

So could the front H frame be off track? Wouldn't the front being off a bit cause the issue?

Can the axle be shifted a fraction???

Wish we were going to Q with all of you.
When I had mine aligned, they told me this chassus is known to pull right. They installed shims, aligned and all it good.....now to find some wood to knock on....
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:11 PM   #2501
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Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
After all the mods to my 08 Endeavor including the steering box I removed the shims from the alignment done in Oregon at a very good shop.

Mine has always pulled to the right and at one time I had installed a steering trim control. That has been removed. I'm a bit sorry I did now.

New tires made no difference in the pull.

After removing the shims I found the steering effort to be greater so now I am fighting the pull with more force.

Go figure.

I was able to remove the shims myself but sorry to say I actually tossed them a few months ago. I would like to put them back in.

So could the front H frame be off track? Wouldn't the front being off a bit cause the issue?

Can the axle be shifted a fraction???

Wish we were going to Q with all of you.


Myron wish you were coming to QZ, I would like to drop some plumb bobs under you frame of coach and H frames.
Do some checking, I went to Kaiser in Oregon, my castor lead on the right was not enough for the amount of crown on some roads. Since the change no pull. But I didn’t have a constant pull either like Van or yourself. It would be nice to compare.
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:13 PM   #2502
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When I had mine aligned, they told me this chassus is known to pull right. They installed shims, aligned and all it good.....now to find some wood to knock on....


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Old 01-06-2018, 08:59 PM   #2503
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Myron wish you were coming to QZ, I would like to drop some plumb bobs under you frame of coach and H frames.
Do some checking, I went to Kaiser in Oregon, my castor lead on the right was not enough for the amount of crown on some roads. Since the change no pull. But I didn’t have a constant pull either like Van or yourself. It would be nice to compare.
I'm parked on a very level slab of concrete. If you want me to take some measurements I would love to. Maybe in a few days though. It is very cold right now.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:05 PM   #2504
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I'm parked on a very level slab of concrete. If you want me to take some measurements I would love to. Maybe in a few days though. It is very cold right now.


I’m a visual kind of person, I tend go back to basics when all else stumps me. Hard to imagine all the changes that are logical should help you but don’t.
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Old 01-07-2018, 07:57 AM   #2505
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Well, the Great Blizzard of 2018 has turned into the Deep Freeze of 2018. It is 3* here in the heart of Dixie this morning. With below-freezing temps every day since the snow, very little has melted. I used my tractor to clear my driveway as best I could, then even scraped the road I live on for 1/4 mile to get to the intersection near me where I can connect to a highway that is clear. Still, nothing has melted and there is a sheet of ice where my driveway connects to the road, and realistically, I'm not getting out of here until after Monday, when we have our first day above freezing.

On the suggestion of Bob Nodine, I removed my very old Safe-T-Plus. That is the one that is nothing but a large hydraulic damper connecting the relay rod to the front axle. He said the one he had included a centering spring, and the device had to be connected with the wheels straight ahead and the spring relaxed. I had never given that a thought, so I loosened its mounting to the relay rod to see if it moved. It did not appear to move at all, so I doubt that was a problem.

Although it's possible that the pull to the right is caused by some mechanical issue, like several of you have suggested, I still come back to that VERY uneven tire wear on the PS duals compared to the DS duals. It just seems to me it has to be some kind of alignment issue. I'll take a short test drive before heading to Q, to see if shortening the trailing arms on DS made any difference.

Brakes are not dragging. All wheels roll smoothly when off the ground (and parking brake disabled).

I'll post again as soon as I can get the beast out of my driveway and on the road.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:37 AM   #2506
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Van, I had the big blue beast "safe-t-plus" on mine too. It is very difficult to get it perfectly centered so I built an electric trim for mine. That did the trick but I wanted it off to check the changes after the steering box and then the watts link.

Mine still pulls to the right. I have never seen any adverse tire wear other than the standard rivering. I wonder if it is was the wandering that caused that issue.

With your elegant work shop I could pencil you a diagram for a trim kit. Mine was very crude and I would not share pictures if I had them.

The trim kit was nice in the wind too. What I did not like was the extra steering input needed to overcome the centering pressure.
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