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Old 03-16-2014, 10:13 PM   #645
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I can't wait to get started. Thanks for following up with Van on the U-bolt size.

Roy

Wish I were there. I love gumbo!!
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:57 AM   #646
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All y'all--

5U-1201S is indeed the correct number for the U-bolts from Nick's Truck Parts. The nuts are extra-height 1/2-20 (fine thread), and the U-bolts come with very thick, hardened washers. The nuts are not locking nuts, so put a dab of Loctite Blue on them when assembling.

As to replacing bushings--on any bushing replacement job on the Monaco, removing the bolts is the difficult part. They are frequently rusted solid to their brackets, and if the bushings in the rear have the thin metal sleeve, the bolts will be rusted to them as well. Although I have welded up fixtures to help remove the bolts, it is much, much easier if you remove the wheels. Good luck with that, too! All truck tire shops tighten the lugs with 1" impact wrenches on their max setting using air pressure typically 50 PSI over what the wrench is rated for. They are a bear to break loose. But once loose, when you reinstall them to the rated torque, they can be gotten off fairly easily. I've been told by the truck shop that Budd Wheel Co. says do not put anti-seize on the threads, and I understand the reason, but I did it anyway. I have re-checked my lug nuts several times and none have loosened.

Re-aligning the holes after replacing bushings--I understand your hesitation. I can only say that was never once a problem on any I have done. I sawed off a bolt to be about 1-1/2" long under the head and machined a taper onto its end to use as an alignment tool, but never used it.

Brace length and type of tubing--I have found that most coaches from 36 to 42 feet use one of three brace lengths--48", 51", 53", measured from center-to-center of the rod ends. The vast majority I've made were 51" long. Also, for those so inclined, DOM tubing is available that is heavier wall and/or larger diameter. I do not think the heavier tubing is required, and have not made braces from anything other than 1.25 OD x .125 wall. Jim Sanderson (1995 Dynasty) is the only person with a heavier brace, which he fabricated himself AFTER replacing all (20) bushings with the ATRO bushings. He noted that the bushing change alone made a HUGE difference. I made mounting plates for him to use which would accommodate the 3/4" rod ends he chose.

Front P-rod stiffener--I cannot say I've evaluated this well enough to recommend it. Although I hurriedly installed it on my 2000 Dynasty 36 before leaving for Albany/Perry last week, I also installed rear braces at the same time. Not a very scientific test, and as Iíve said frequently my coach is not a good test coach since it has the later style bushings and did not wander appreciably to start with. My 1993 Dynasty 36 had the older style bushings and was absolutely ďroad wildĒ, even though all its bushings were in perfect condition when removed and replaced with ATRO bushings. The reason for trying the P-rod stiffener was two-fold. Primarily, it was driven by trying to find something that was adaptable to the front end. The trailing arms at the front of the coach do not lend themselves to crossed braces because of generator placement on post-1993 models. Secondly, myself and a couple of my buddies found it unmistakable that simply replacing P-rod bushings ONLY, and using ATRO bushings would bring an immense improvement in almost all pre-2000 coaches. Although that improvement was conclusively proven to be largely due to replacing the REAR P-rod bushings, it made sense that the problem existed in the front suspension as well, but just to a lesser extent. I will say that one of my buddies suggested tying the stiffener rigidly to the P-rod at one or more places along its length. I won't go into why that seems like such a good idea, but I'm going to machine something to do just that when I get home.

Again, I will make braces for anyone, at least for a while longer. I've made enough of them to prove out the principle. If anyone cannot fabricate the parts themselves, Iím happy to do so, but I'm even happier if you can do it yourself. Iím not trying to make money from these things. I just want to help folks and to gather data about how certain improvements work. If you can fabricate your own braces, I encourage you to do so, and Iíll help in any way I can. All I ask is that you reply with how they worked for you.

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36, presently at FMCA/Perry, GA
Eastern NC
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:12 PM   #647
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Van,
Thank you very much for all the pertinent info. I am ordering my parts now to make braces up for my 07 Diplomat 38.ft.
Regards
Roy
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:28 PM   #648
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I found something interesting online. It looks like the Foretravel rides on an H frame system. Looking at the Foretravel website, it looks like they made changes in 2006 though. http://www.beamalarm.com/Documents/r...djustment.html

The link above looks just like the roadmaster set up. I wonder if that chassis had more than 1 p rod. I also remember some of the Magnum Chassis from the older Safari coaches having an 8 bag h frame setup. It would be interesting to see a comparison between the 3 h frame setups and see what the other manufactures were doing different.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:13 AM   #649
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Vanwill,
I received all of the x-brace components listed on the BOM from QS Components. The only question I have is where to use the cone spacers?
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:22 PM   #650
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Glenn, the spacers go between the mounting plate and the rod end. They are to give the rod end a bit more angular movement before bottoming out against the mounting plate. The smaller side goes toward the rod end.

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36
Eastern NC
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:06 AM   #651
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Hopefully these pictures will help.

The cone end of the spacers allows the rod to swivel as shown here without the spacers interfering.

Jim
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:39 AM   #652
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Got it. The swivel seemed like it provided a fair amount of clearance for movement and I was thinking that the rods wouldn't move much torsionally but I suppose it doesn't hurt to give them as much room to move as possible.

Work in progress, installing new shocks at the same time and unfortunately I still have to to keep my day job for another 6 years so I'll report back in about a week with the final results. Thanks.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:12 AM   #653
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Here is an update on the materials required for the crossed brace installation. It includes the revisions necessary to use the U-bolts. Note that the sketch for the brackets has changed, and a second plate is no longer needed, due to the U-bolts.

I have some questions from several of you, and I will answer you by Monday. We just returned from the Perry, GA FMCA rally and I've been gone from home for over two weeks. I've got a lot to catch up on here.

As always, I'll be happy to help any of you in any way I can.

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36
Eastern NC
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:08 AM   #654
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanwill View Post
Here is an update on the materials required for the crossed brace installation. It includes the revisions necessary to use the U-bolts. Note that the sketch for the brackets has changed, and a second plate is no longer needed, due to the U-bolts.

I have some questions from several of you, and I will answer you by Monday. We just returned from the Perry, GA FMCA rally and I've been gone from home for over two weeks. I've got a lot to catch up on here.

As always, I'll be happy to help any of you in any way I can.

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36
Eastern NC
Van,
Thanks for the updated BOM. This should help the few that are interested in building their own.

Darin
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:35 PM   #655
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New Braces Installed

Vanwill,
Got my braces fabbed and installed. I didn't think my coach exhibited much tail wagging before, but this mod definitely improves handling. Thanks very much for such a great design.
I wound up with 51" braces and used 2 3/4" bolts for mounting the joints to the brackets. One brace was mounted U-bolt ends up and one U-bolt ends down, which seems to give adequate clearance.
Here are some pictures of my braces and the final installation. Happy to help anyone in my area wanting to do their own.
Regards,
Roy and Debbie
07 Diplomat 38PDQ
Sacramento
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:28 PM   #656
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Are those the new shocks I see on there, or were you just polishing the old ones? With the braces and the new shocks you will be ready for the race track. You will definitely have a flat handling coach.

Can't wait for the report after your next road trip.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:05 PM   #657
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Yes, I put those Bilsteins on that I got from e-shocks. Had to make a tool to hold the double-D end of the shock stud so I could tighten the nuts using a ratcheting end wrench. A little tight for someone my size.
Yes, with the new tires, new shocks and now trailing arm braces, my coach handles and rides a lot better.
Now just have to trace down a pesky leak that shows up inside the rear cap at about floor level or slightly below on both sides. I have resealed the awning rails, plastic molding below it, front and rear caps, slideout flanges, windows, and everything else I can think of. Haven't found any threads on this yet, so maybe I'm chasing a non problem.
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Old 03-31-2014, 06:16 AM   #658
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcb View Post
Yes, I put those Bilsteins on that I got from e-shocks. Had to make a tool to hold the double-D end of the shock stud so I could tighten the nuts using a ratcheting end wrench. A little tight for someone my size.
Yes, with the new tires, new shocks and now trailing arm braces, my coach handles and rides a lot better.
Now just have to trace down a pesky leak that shows up inside the rear cap at about floor level or slightly below on both sides. I have resealed the awning rails, plastic molding below it, front and rear caps, slideout flanges, windows, and everything else I can think of. Haven't found any threads on this yet, so maybe I'm chasing a non problem.
rmcb,

I also installed one set of U bolts up and the other down. Our installations look identical. The cross braces make a huge improvement in steering response and handling on our coach.

Bob
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