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Old 10-31-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
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97 F53 steering damper

My coach handles pretty well but it does wander a little. It has a rear track bar, polyurethane sway bar bushings and FSD shocks. From what I've learned lurking on the forums, the problem could be insufficient caster (less than 4 1/2 degrees) or a defective or absent steering damper. Checking the existing steering damper first, I found it was shot, no damping at all.

After searching the web, I'm confused about an appropriate replacement. I wouldn't mind an aftermarket replacement, but I want a simple hydraulic/pneumatic damper tube type replacement that would fit in the original brackets. So far, no luck.

Any thoughts from the old timers out there?

Thanks
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:51 PM   #2
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When I originally replaced mine on a 97 F53 chassis I bought it from Stengel Brothers. It can even be bought from Amazon. It is a RV Magnum from Monroe. The part # is 555949. I believe Bilstein makes one also, do not know number.

I did however remove it when I installed a SteerSafe unit.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:27 AM   #3
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Ford Chassis

When I owned a '96 Endeavor (gas) 32' I had a steering problem. I talked to a number of different companies and I took the advice of one of them. He told me that the answer to a Ford Chassis was to choose a Steer Save and a Davis Tru trac. When I had the Steer save put on the company that did it in Florida recommended a Safe t Plus instead of a Steer safe. i.e. a steering damper instead of a spring loaded device. i stuck with the Steer safe cause I had had one on a previous m/h, and was happy.
When I bought a 2000 HR 30' gas (used /private sale) it had a Safe-T-Plus steering damper on it and I kept it. I also put on a Davis tru trac. Drove like a dream.
Then I bought an 03 HR Vacationer 32' Gas w/2 slides, on consigment. ( my wife thought that the two slides might be cheaper than having a marriage counsellor or a divorce lawyer drive with us all of the time.
The 03 had neither of the two devices on it and I told the sales guy that I wouldn't buy his m/h because of that. And, if he put both on the 03, I would buy it. His reply, "where am I going to get them for this chassis."
My reply, "they right on the 2000 that I'm trading you, it's the same chassis." He agreed, took both of them off of my 2000 and put them on my 2003 and away I went, happy as a clam. Still have it and it drives great. I like the Safe-t-Steer better that the Steer Save cause the springs on the Steer Save squeaked a lot.


Joe from Ct.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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Either unit is better than just a plain vanilla steering damper. As to the squeek everyone talks about, I do not hear it. Probably one advantage of having extremely poor hearing.

Can't hear the DW most of the time, either.
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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When I bought my 94 F53 it had a red Safe-T-Plus on it.
I took it on a trip and any time you had a cross wind I had to put continuous pressure on the steering wheel to counter the Safe-T-Plus to say in my lane.
I was hurting after a trip with it on so when I got home off came the red Safe-T-Plus and replaced it with the stock plain vanilla steering damper from O'Reilly. It was a MONROE Part # 555949 Gas-Magnum RV Steering Damper.
Now I do not have to fight to drive down the road in the wind.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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Steering Damper

Isn't that something. What works for one person(or m/h) won't work for another. Oh well, the idea is to keep the DW happy.

thanks

Joe from Ct. (still with my first wife after 50 yrs, concession after concession after concession)
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies.

As I said, my coach handled/rode pretty good with a totally worn out steering damper so I'm not going to spend up to $700 for a top of the line unit. That limited my choices to Monroe (~$35) or Bilstein (~$85). I decided to splurge a little so I ordered the Bilstein.

I'll post after again after installation and a test drive.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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What was the Bilstein part number?
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:02 AM   #9
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For my 1997 F53 the Bilstein part number is BE3-6735-H1. That number is good for quite a few other years as well. The auto/truck parts websites have better prices than the RV sites. You might search under "steering stabilizer" as well.
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:38 PM   #10
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After all the threads I have read about steering problems, I feel fortunate I am only trying to resolve a swaying concern. I have seen many MH's driving down the road constantly correcting the steering direction. I saw one guy I really felt sorry for, he was all over the road with perfect driving conditions. He really had his hands full.
Jupoa, are you still going to replace your steering dampener, or are you thinking about trading it in?
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:04 PM   #11
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Wanabee,

I already have a Bilstein damper on order.

Haven't seen a coach the DW and I gotta have yet. Even if we did, we are so tight it would have to be an exceptionally good deal. Also, after all the upgrades, remodels we've done to our existing coach, it will be hard to part with.

I'm going to retire in a couple of weeks, I wander how hard it would be to cut an extra slide into my existing coach?
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupoa View Post
Wanabee,

I'm going to retire in a couple of weeks, I wander how hard it would be to cut an extra slide into my existing coach?
I retired early at age 52 last year and I also can relate to things being tight. I am very happy not to have any car or coach payments and I prefer to keep things that way as long as possible.

As for the slide, let me know. I have a nice sawzall to get things started
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:35 PM   #13
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I've driven my coach with the new Bilstein steering damper installed. It replaced a worn out original equipment MotoCraft unit.

It fit easily into the original brackets but the movable bracket had to be relocated because the Bilstein unit is longer. Instructions are included to position the bracket properly.

Before I installed the Bilstein, the chassis had a problem with hunting for a straight line. Just required minor but nearly constant steering corrections. Now, with neutral conditions, (no gusting cross winds, relatively smooth road, etc.), I can release the steering wheel for five or ten seconds at a time and the coach will stay in its lane. Not that I do that ordinarily.

Anyway, it was inexpensive, easy to install and it made a subtle but positive difference.

Happy trails
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:52 PM   #14
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Good to know.
My steering damper looks original, no signs of leaks so I think I will leave it alone. Gota stop replacing things somewhere!
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