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Old 11-20-2019, 04:10 PM   #1
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Alignment, Shocks, Safe-T-Plus and drag link.

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop a note outlining some work we just had done while visiting in SoCal. We're staying with my brother so found a good opportunity to take the RV in for some much needed service.

We went to Alignments Plus in Sam Marcos, CA for the services. They had to RV about a week which included us dropping off the RV taking a ride with their service technician to evaluate the current ride and allow him to ask question and make suggestions while we were still there. Then came the measuring and locating of issues with the steering, wheels (bearings), suspension, shocks, etc.
While this visit was by no means cheap, it did net us a much better handling coach.

  • We had an old steer-safe device on the RV that was removed in favor of a new Safe-T-Plus device. There's a noticeable difference in handling now. It's a little weird for me because I'm so used to sawing at the wheel, but I'm sure I'll adapt.
  • The rear axle was moved in alignment with the rest of the rv (was out 5/8"). This required the track bar we installed to be adjusted.
  • I'm not sure that the drag link does much more than to give some adjustment to the steering wheel which was off-center by about 30 degrees. That's one of those things I've not really looked up yet.
  • They fixed the toe, camber and caster with the alignment to set things to a more positive driving experience.
  • Probably the biggest change of all came from adding Koni FSD's all the way around. I had installed some Bilstein's on the front just last year. Having driven it now with the Koni's I can tell that Bilstein's are much stiffer and produce a harder ride. We had FSD's on our car and I didn't notice as much as I did with the RV.
  • Last year we installed Sumo Springs so I think we are now pretty much maxed out on F53 suspension upgrades.
All in we're just over $3800 but for 3 years on the road I think that's a pretty good per year average for suspension work. Some of the things I could have probably done myself to save some $ but at the point we are at I felt much better just having it done and over with no strain to my back (it even lightened my wallet!!! ).

If you're in the San Diego area and need some service I wouldn't hesitate to go to them for service!
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:10 PM   #2
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Correcting the thrust angle should have straightened the steering wheel.That was the cause and effect on my MH, the thrust angle was out 3/4", driving turned into a pleasure.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:13 PM   #3
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Correcting the thrust angle should have straightened the steering wheel.That was the cause and effect on my MH, the thrust angle was out 3/4", driving turned into a pleasure.
Ray, what is thrust angle? Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:17 PM   #4
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Suspension Issues

Redlands Truck and RV will also evaluate and suggest the additions you talk about.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:20 PM   #5
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Redlands Truck and RV will also evaluate and suggest the additions you talk about.
Redlands Truck and RV engineered the adjustable drag link for the F-53 and is in Motorhome Magazine.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:32 PM   #6
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Ray, what is thrust angle? Thanks.
Have you ever followed a large truck and you could see the cab from one side? Thrust angle is off, either positive or negative.
My explanations seem to always be rambling, so this is much better.

Thrust angle explained
Nearly all RWD vehicles have built-in adjustments in the rear suspension in addition to moving the axle position on leaf springs.
Thrust angle, another explanation from Tire Rack.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:14 AM   #7
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Ray,

Both good technical explanations!!!

Also sometimes referred to as "Dog Tracking."
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:23 PM   #8
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I just had our 2002 F53 worked on at Redlands Truck and RV. While they did a great job, it was like pulling teeth to get them to recommend anything to help with my handling issues. My main concern was getting pushed around in heavy, gusty winds. They did totally oppose any thoughts on the CHF when I mentioned it though. They said it wouldnít help and would end up breaking the links.

I ended up with new Koni FSDs and rear sway bar bushings which have made a tremendous difference in my handling. I will probably do the CHF myself and install the Safe T Plus at some point in the near future. I would still recommend Redlands for anything you might need.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:36 PM   #9
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TC,

Sorry to hear what they said about the CHF. If an alignment shop saw no advantage in the CHF they obviously do not know much about SB's and how they operate. Any tech who works on vehicles has seen anti-sway bars with adjustable holes. They are used in many types of racing and have been around for years.

Their lack of understanding/knowledge would scare me.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:00 PM   #10
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TC,

Sorry to hear what they said about the CHF. If an alignment shop saw no advantage in the CHF they obviously do not know much about SB's and how they operate. Any tech who works on vehicles has seen anti-sway bars with adjustable holes. They are used in many types of racing and have been around for years.

Their lack of understanding/knowledge would scare me.


Iím sure they totally understand but If it doesnít require a $1000 part they can sell you it must not be a good idea.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:07 PM   #11
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Thom,
I live is So Cal and can attest to the Quality work at Alignments Plus. There are a few good truck shops here that know their way around a F53.

I had my 2019 Itasca 31b Aligned at East County Alignment. Just on the other side of town. Had a big Hellwig sway bar installed up front and a Roadmaster auxiliary bar added to the rear.

The thrust angle was off in my rig too. The Tech says itís common. Itís a different coach now. Drives with two fingers now like me F150.

Still rides a bit rough. Koniís Are my next move to help with that.
Still on the fence about SumoSprings. May start with the fronts just to see if they help. Easy to take off if I donít like the change.

Thanks for the detailed post. Good info.
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TC Wndsr View Post
I just had our 2002 F53 worked on at Redlands Truck and RV. While they did a great job, it was like pulling teeth to get them to recommend anything to help with my handling issues. My main concern was getting pushed around in heavy, gusty winds. They did totally oppose any thoughts on the CHF when I mentioned it though. They said it wouldnít help and would end up breaking the links.

I ended up with new Koni FSDs and rear sway bar bushings which have made a tremendous difference in my handling. I will probably do the CHF myself and install the Safe T Plus at some point in the near future. I would still recommend Redlands for anything you might need.
So what is your rig make? Glad to hear that you made improvements on the wind handling issue and that you were still pleased with Redlands' service. The comments made that they don't know there way around a F-53 chassis could not be further from reality. I would speculate that you could probably find a decent percentage of F-53 experts that would argue the CHF adjustment subject. They are not cheap no matter who is discussing them but they do know their business of motor homes/trucks.

I finally had the Roadmaster front and rear (behind the factory original) sway bars installed on ours. I will be driving it on an extended trip soon so I will be able to check out the results, probably in the wind too.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:39 AM   #13
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So what is your rig make? Glad to hear that you made improvements on the wind handling issue and that you were still pleased with Redlands' service. The comments made that they don't know there way around a F-53 chassis could not be further from reality. I would speculate that you could probably find a decent percentage of F-53 experts that would argue the CHF adjustment subject. They are not cheap no matter who is discussing them but they do know their business of motor homes/trucks.



I finally had the Roadmaster front and rear (behind the factory original) sway bars installed on ours. I will be driving it on an extended trip soon so I will be able to check out the results, probably in the wind too.


I have an 02 National Seabreeze.

I didnít say Redlands didnít know their way around an F53. I found them very competent though it was strange that they were reluctant to suggest products that might improve my situation. In a way I appreciate that they didnít try to push a suspension package that would cost thousands of dollars but I was looking for their expertise and guidance.

I can understand their position on not wanting to do the CHF, a labor only repair doesnít provide much profit for them. They are in business to make money. Whether the fix works or not is another subject.

I agree they are not cheap but I wouldnít hesitate to go back to them or recommend them to others.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:58 AM   #14
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