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Old 04-04-2014, 11:37 PM   #673
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Van,

BTW, I have come up with an idea for the stop on the swing arm that I think would be better than the bent up tab, and possibly less likely to over-extend. I think a cone-shaped bushing (like the head of a countersunk screw) that nests into a partial countersink on the opposite arm, would grab and not over ride. I think I will make this bushing out of bronze (for no justifiable reason), internally thread it and hold it in place with a countersunk SS screw from below the arm. I hope you get the picture. I think this might work. I am going to modify mine this way when I get back from seeing our next new grandbaby later this month. Then, if this turns out, I think I will get some harder SS strap and make a new swing arm from scratch that is a couple inches longer to allow the door to open wider.
There probably no end to how much this item can be over-engineered.

Roy
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:18 AM   #674
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Initial Report with X-braces and Shocks

We finally got the job done and did the first test drive. My initial thoughts are I should have done the x-braces first and then the shocks just to see how each of them played into the new ride characteristics. As you can see from the pictures we welded in the x-braces and also installed Road King shocks. Yes, I know they are ridiculously expensive shocks, but I plan to keep my coach for a long time and they are fully rebuildable and I don't want to buy shocks again.

On the highway the ride is significantly more stable in a straight line than it was previously. An 18 wheeler went blowing by me and I didn't even notice it. My test drive wasn't real long but it certainly didn't take as much effort as it did before to stay centered in the lane. On the city streets there is a total transformation in the ride and handling. Road compressions and small bumps are just soaked right up, certainly a function of the shocks. Diagonal compressions when making a turn no longer make the coach rock like you are on the high seas. So the shocks are certainly a big part of the change. However, I don't think the shocks would be a significant contributor to the highway wandering although they may help some.

We are really looking forward to getting out on a longer trip and enjoying the new found stability. Thanks a million Van for sharing your ideas and details so we can all benefit. The parts are not very expensive and the install is simple, whether you weld in or use the U-bolts. Looking forward to reading your future posts and new ideas.



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Old 04-10-2014, 08:52 AM   #675
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Those are "Van Tastic" pictures. I can't wait to build a set for mine.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:28 AM   #676
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I installed my "Van" bar and took a short test drive yesterday. If there was a difference I couldn't tell. I my opinion the original track bar is mounted very wrong and is causing the problems, so maybe I will look at doing something with it. Maybe a little more caster in the front end may help. Lots of things to try...
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:20 PM   #677
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Dennis K did you have your Jeep attached when you went for a short drive? deSanford
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Old 04-10-2014, 05:23 PM   #678
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Dennis K did you have your Jeep attached when you went for a short drive? deSanford
No, I didn't.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:00 AM   #679
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Try it now with Jeep

Now you will notice a difference. deSanford
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:09 AM   #680
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After more than two years of being an engineer fascinated by the wandering phenomena, and trying a great many things to cure it, I have finally gotten enough of the crossed rear braces out there to begin to be able to draw some general conclusions. Some of these are my opinion; most are fact:

• Pre-2000 coaches get the most dramatic results because they have the softest bushings and the worst wandering problems.
• On pre-2000 coaches, 90% of the problem is in the rear suspension.
• On pre-2000 coaches, just replacing the P-rod bushings (F&R) with the ATRO bushing is often sufficient to correct wandering to the owner’s satisfaction.
• Dynasty coaches of all vintage seem to wander less than their otherwise identical sister coaches that do not have the “semi-monocoque” construction. Dynasty coaches were the only single-rear-axle coaches to have the welded steel superstructure.
• Post-2000 coaches tend to wander significantly less, due to the stiffer bushings used. They are not as stiff as the ATRO, but they are an improvement on the pre-2000 bushings.
• Post-2000 coaches APPEAR to have more issues with the front suspension/steering, but this may be just that if the worst offender (rear end) is improved significantly by the stiffer bushings and/or the crossed braces, the front end shortcomings become more apparent.
• Tag axle coaches almost never exhibit a wandering condition—more proof that the majority of the wandering problem originates in the rear of the coach.
• Shock absorbers (misnamed—they are “motion dampers”) play no part whatsoever in wandering. Replacing them will cause the coach to respond more crisply to motions induced by road variations. But when traveling down a straight level highway, they have zero effect because they are moving only imperceptibly. If your coach wanders, you can replace your shocks with rigid links and your coach will ride like a buckboard…while it continues to wander.
• NOTHING can give the owner more sensation of “wandering” than lost motion in the steering gear. NOTHING. If a coach has lost motion or “play” in the steering gear (or any other component), that has to be addressed FIRST, before trying anything else. Don’t fear adjusting your steering gear, if it is the adjustable (TRW) type. A mechanically inclined fourteen year old can do it. If you have a Shepard (non-adjustable) gear—once it develops looseness, consider replacing it with a TRW. The swap involves some serious fabricating/welding, but I would never invest five cents in repairing a Shepard gear.
• Anti-sway bars do not directly address the cause of wandering in the Roadmaster chassis. They COULD be designed to do so, although I’ve seen no design that does that. Anti-sway bars do (like shocks) contribute to “tightening” the general handling of the coach, and to some (not all) owners, they seem to diminish wandering.
• If an owner of a post-2000 coach reports a wandering condition, it will be more difficult to cure it.
• If an owner of a post-2000 coach were to drive a mid-90’s coach in original condition, he would think his own coach handled wonderfully.
• Even for an owner of a coach for which crossed rear braces seemed to do little or nothing to diminish wandering, what the braces are physically doing can be verified by executing the “panic lane change” maneuver before and then after installation. During a panic lane change, the instability of the H-frames comes into play even on post-2000 coaches. As you violently change lanes, the H-frames are acting somewhat similar to skateboard wheel trucks—they are assuming a direction different from that of the lengthways centerline of the coach. Therefore, the H-frames exaggerate the move and the “overshoot” in both directions. During that panic lane change maneuver, the crossed rear braces have an effect very similar to anti-sway bars—roll and wallowing is much reduced.
• Safe-T-Plus and other devices which essentially fasten a shock absorber to the steering linkage tend to mask steering gear looseness.
• NO coach will wander if ALL its bushings are replaced with ATRO bushings and crossed rear braces installed.
• And of real significance is the human factor—have two people drive the same coach and they may come back with wildly different opinions of how it drives. One may say it is great, while the other claims it wanders so badly it is unsafe.
• When someone has an alignment done to cure wandering, they will invariably report “some improvement”. One in ten will say, “That cured it.”—NO ONE so far has said the same thing six months later. It’s part of the “human factor”—you spend $200 or more and you invariably feel some improvement…for a short time.
• Not one in ten (or FAR less) alignments change anything but toe-in, which you can set yourself with a tape measure and a helper. Having “toe-out” can indeed induce a form of wandering, but you can determine if that is your problem with a tape measure. Excessive toe-in will wear tires more quickly (not much concern to most of us whose tires age out rather than wear out), but increasing toe-in beyond 1/8” has minimal effect on handling/wandering. Camber can only be changed by extraordinarily powerful equipment used to bend the axle—very few alignment shops have this equipment. Luckily camber virtually never needs adjusting, barring a severe collision which bent the axle. Caster can only be changed by shims, and like camber, virtually never needs changing. Although increasing caster THEORETICALLY improves straight-line stability, in practice I have heard of only one case ever where changing caster had any appreciable effect, and that was on a coach whose H-frame was improperly welded at assembly, leaving the coach with virtually zero caster.
• There is NOTHING that will demonstrate to you what is happening when your coach wanders more graphically than the tail-wag test. Only two folks I know of have done this besides me. Both of them said it was a “Holy Crap!” experience. Both of them cured their wandering.
• The most important concept to understand in curing wandering is this—If your coach wanders, no matter how many axles it has, it does so for one and only one reason—IT IS GOING WHERE ITS WHEELS ARE POINTED. PERIOD. It is not sliding sideways on its tires. It is not being moved by the wind. Aerodynamics are not causing it to wander. Do whatever you have to in order to keep the wheels pointed in the direction you THINK you are pointing them with your steering wheel, and your wandering will be cured.

For those coaches that have been resistant to having their wandering cured by crossed rear braces (invariably post-2000 coaches), I have long been trying to come up with some way to stabilize the front H-frame. On my previous coach (1993 Dynasty 36) it was possible to add crossed braces to the FRONT and rear trailing arms. I have yet to drive ANY coach of ANY year that handled as much like it was on rails as that one did when I finished with it. For most coaches, the genny placement precludes crossed braces in the front. Since the root cause of all wandering in all Roadmaster chassis was due to inadequate Panhard rod design/implementation (both front and rear) I’ve recently focused on attempting to significantly stiffen the “wrist action” of the existing front P-rod. (Had Chrysler ever built a prototype of the Roadmaster design before selling it to Monaco, I’m sure they would have recognized, and cured, the problem.) I have only a few of these P-rod stiffeners in the field so far, and they have already undergone one major redesign. Results are promising, but there are not enough installations to be statistically significant. I’ll keep you posted as more information is available.

This has become one of the longest-running threads on iRV2. I think that speaks to the fact that it concerns a really large segment of Monaco owners. I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your thoughts, your suggestions and your data. Special thanks to Craig, who first got me interested in trying to help other folks with the wandering problem. I think we are at least halfway to a universal “cure” that can be applied to any Roadmaster chassis. When that happens, I’m sure some company will choose to make it a commercial product(s). I personally am only interested in the solution of the problem, not in selling the hardware. I will, however, continue to help those of you who are not equipped to fabricate your own devices.

One of these days, I'm going to make a two-sentence post. I know you don't believe that...

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36, pulling one Harley
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:27 AM   #681
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Originally Posted by Dennis_K View Post
I installed my "Van" bar and took a short test drive yesterday. If there was a difference I couldn't tell. I my opinion the original track bar is mounted very wrong and is causing the problems, so maybe I will look at doing something with it. Maybe a little more caster in the front end may help. Lots of things to try...
Dennis, you are exactly right about the original Panhard rod design. If Chrysler had designed the original chassis with TWO Panhard rods per H-frame, Monaco would always have had not only the best riding coach in the industry (which it did) but also a marvelous handling coach (which it never was). If you can add an additional P-rod to the front and rear, your coach will handle like a dream. Practically speaking, that is not an option that is available to most folks following this thread. Although that is the ultimate solution, I have never focused much on it because of the difficulty in implementing it. There would be some serious welding to get another set of 1/2" thick brackets mounted to the frame and H-frame. I would surely like to see someone try it, though.

To get you started thinking, I have considered adding a SINGLE set of additional brackets inline with the originals, and fabricating a second P-rod to install adjacent to the existing one. The trailing arms pretty much preclude adding another P-rod on that end of the H-frame. Although a symmetric placement of two P-rods along the side of the H-frame would be best, it is not absolutely necessary. Any additional pivot that is inline with what already exists will likely do the job. The original P-rod, when equipped with very stiff bushings, is ALMOST adequate. It only needs a modest amount of help. That is what I'm attempting with the P-rod stiffening assemblies.

An alternative you might try, if you are equipped to do much fabricating, is a Watts-link. It appears to me that might be more easily done in with the front H-frame on most coaches. There is adequate room to place it on the rear crossmember of the front H-frame, and getting the outboard supports for the outer ends of the rods is easier than on the rear.

You are obviously a very mechanically savvy guy with fabricating capabilities, so please try out your ideas and keep us posted. The progress we have made so far would not have been possible without all the input and ideas of all those who contributed to this thread.

Van W. 2000 Dynasty 36, pulling one Harley
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:56 PM   #682
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Walts post in the other thread (VMSpc)

Van,
It appears Walt has made some progress/enjoying the stability of the P-rod stiffener. He made a comment in the other thread concerning VMSpc on a tablet, stating it was an enjoyable ride, or something to that effect.

I on the other hand got caught up in a rat race since my issue of cross braces interfering with other equipment when I dropped the air out of the suspension. I will be trying to get my rear braces installed this week.

I have the HWH air leveling and it appears I do not have the room to install the P-rod stiffener unless I move some of the air control system. It may be something to look at in the future.

Darin
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Old 04-29-2014, 03:52 PM   #683
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Darin i have HWH air leveling also you just have to bend the relay bracket back a little it close but it will work or did for me it will also be close to the air pump & frame. Van had to make a special set of clamps as you and i dont have any room to spare.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:30 PM   #684
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Darin i have HWH air leveling also you just have to bend the relay bracket back a little it close but it will work or did for me it will also be close to the air pump & frame. Van had to make a special set of clamps as you and i dont have any room to spare.
Walt,
Do you or Van have pics of the P-rod bracket?

I could probably make a little room.

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Old 04-30-2014, 12:13 AM   #685
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Darin, look at post #671 to see some pix of the stiffeners. It shows an installation where there was room for stiffeners on BOTH sides of the original P-rod in the first couple of pix. Most coaches only have room for a stiffener on one side. The last couple of pix show the installation on my own 2000 Dynasty 36. It has ABS, but does not have air leveling. The clamps are used as an additional method to stiffen and stabilize the P-rod stiffener. I'm not sure yet whether they are necessary. One installer said he got an unmistakable improvement by adding the stiffener, when the crossed rear braces had not done much to help his post-2000 coach. But he said adding the aluminum clamps did not make any noticeable additional improvement.

So, first check that you have enough clearance on one side or the other of your front P-rod to add a stiffener. The stiffener alone may be more important than the clamps. Again, I don't have enough of the front P-rod stiffeners out there to form a solid opinion.

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Old 04-30-2014, 03:36 AM   #686
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Report on 2000 Dyn 40 ft 2 slide and a shepard gear box with Van handling improvement kit, installed the rear cross braces and made a 300 mile trip. I could not tell that it made any difference but our coach has always drove and handled good i then installed the P Rod stiffner and made a little 6 or7 mile test and WOW what a difference, before i did have to correct the stering a little and that was gone the coach drove like on a rail i then did a panick lane change at 70 mph 3 or 4 times coach was solid Van then sent me the P Rod stifner clamps that i installed and this past week end we made a 350 mile trip and the coach handled super good but could not tell any difference with the clamps on the P rod than before without the clamps.
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