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Old 04-12-2014, 04:09 PM   #1
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F53 steering stabilizer?

My RV didn't come with a steering stabilizer. I'd like to add one to it. It's a 1999 Ford F53 chassis with V10. What's your opinions on different brands?

I'm adding new shocks next week and want to do a either a Trac bar or a steering stabilizer. Already done the cheap handling fix.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:21 PM   #2
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SD,
We had a 1999 MH on the F-53 chassis and the only thing I did was install the Firestone air bags. This forum was no known to me at that time so I didn't know about all the other stuff that can be done to improve the ride/handling.

We just got back into the MH scene last August so I'm on a roll with all the improvements to the Ford chassis.

If you have a lot of $$$$ to spend you will get a lot of advice on what to spend it on. If you have some mechanical talent or just the will to want to learn I can show you what I've done with good success.

I did the CHF and just yesterday extended my original links so my wheels won't come off the ground. It cost me $45 to have a welder do it and I can show you some pictures how it came out. They look great and are stronger than the original links.

If you want to build a rear track bar I did it for about $40 and I can show you some pictures and talk you through how it is built and installed. I'll even help you with a phone call if that will help.

Yesterday I finished and installed a steering dampener on the MH. That one cost me about $120 because I bought the bracket kit from O'Riley's for $40. The shock stabilizer was $75.

Just let me know what you want to do. You can PM me if you want more information on what I did. I'll send pictures and also give you some step by step procedures as needed.

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Old 04-12-2014, 08:16 PM   #3
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I forgot to add that I have Firestone Airbags on the rear already
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Old 04-12-2014, 11:20 PM   #4
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I have a National RV Dolphin, 2007 model, on a 2006 Ford F53 chassis. After driving 1200 miles last year from Michigan to Tucson, and enduring some pretty stiff wind on I-10, we had a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer added.

This worked quite well. I call it a "60% solution", because it is not perfect, but it definitely improved steering on windy days, and reduced back stress on long haul traveling. On normal days, average wind, it became a 'one hand steering' MH.

Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:55 PM   #5
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Here's some pics of the dampener that I just finished and installed. I took it for a short drive but did not get it on the expressway to determine the effect of control with wind and semi's. Even if it helps dampen the steering control 5-10% it's worth the time and $$$$$.

There are many things that can be added to these coaches to improve the ride/handling. Because our coaches are so varied so will the results of all these add on items. Each coach will respond differently but the results will all add up to give you a better ride and better control.

I spent about $120 to do this. The shock was $75 and a bracket kit was $40. The bracket was not much help. As you can see I had to build a bracket which bolted to the frame and dropped the end of the shock so it was close to level with the drag link. What I did use from the kit were the two pieces that allowed me to bolt the shock to the two brackets.

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Old 04-13-2014, 09:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDad View Post
My RV didn't come with a steering stabilizer. I'd like to add one to it. It's a 1999 Ford F53 chassis with V10. What's your opinions on different brands?

I'm adding new shocks next week and want to do a either a Trac bar or a steering stabilizer. Already done the cheap handling fix.
First off we must be sure that we are talking about the same product.

A STEERING STABILIZER usually refers to a shock absorber mounted horizontally & parallel on the back side of the front axle & the other end to the tie rod bar between the front wheels to dampen & stop a front wheel shimmy than can occur when a tire hits a pothole or other irregularity on the road etc.. (this probably came standard on your M/H)

A FRONT AXLE TRACK BAR mounts horizontally to the front of the axle and the other end mounts to the M/H frame to keep the M/H from moving slightly back & forth on the suspension when encountering gusty side winds or the air push from a passing large vehicle. Ford made a safety error by not installing the Davis Trac-Bar on the F53 M/H chassis until about 2006 and later. (It' a little expensive but it also adds a safety factor to minimize steering problems in a front tire blow out)

A REAR AXLE TRACK BAR is the same wind benefit as the front and especially on a longer M/H. Before considering this addition, be sure your large sway bar bushings are tight in the housing & on the shaft. If they need replacing be sure to replace with poly bushings.
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwight View Post
First off we must be sure that we are talking about the same product.

A STEERING STABILIZER usually refers to a shock absorber mounted horizontally & parallel on the back side of the front axle & the other end to the tie rod bar between the front wheels to dampen & stop a front wheel shimmy than can occur when a tire hits a pothole or other irregularity on the road etc.. (this probably came standard on your M/H)

A FRONT AXLE TRACK BAR mounts horizontally to the front of the axle and the other end mounts to the M/H frame to keep the M/H from moving slightly back & forth on the suspension when encountering gusty side winds or the air push from a passing large vehicle. Ford made a safety error by not installing the Davis Trac-Bar on the F53 M/H chassis until about 2006 and later. (It' a little expensive but it also adds a safety factor to minimize steering problems in a front tire blow out)

A REAR AXLE TRACK BAR is the same wind benefit as the front and especially on a longer M/H. Before considering this addition, be sure your large sway bar bushings are tight in the housing & on the shaft. If they need replacing be sure to replace with poly bushings.

Thanks for your reply. I do know the difference in the above options. A steering stabilizer is what I want. There's no signs that my RV ever had one on there originally. Found a complete Bilistein set up for $181
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:16 AM   #8
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I installed the Blue Ox Tigar trac and the safe-T-plus, easy to install. Drive with comfort now.
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Old 08-28-2016, 10:30 PM   #9
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I want to wake up this thread again!

I feel that Ford never had motorhomes in their mind when they designed the F53 chassis. I bet they were focusing more on the box trucks for bread delivery and UPS like purposes, but never thought that chassis would drive all across around the country.
I tried a lot of different things (and spend the according money) to get a semi civilized driving feeling for my Hurricane. I think I have the back pretty much under control with the CHF and a track bar, but I don't like the front end at all! I installed a steer safe unit and just the other day a set of Sumo Maxim springs. The CHF did no work well in the front because the sway bar hit the springs each time it got actuated. I installed the Sumo springs the other day, and just drove for about 1000 miles with them.
However, they did not do that (at least not well) what I was hoping for. I was hoping that the Sumo's would eliminate the harsh hits and constant jiggles that is felt in the front end (or better, in the front of the cab).
What they do very well is stabilizing the RV!
The white knuckles each time a truck passes by are a thing of the past. Most of the times I could not feel anything, and often I was able to still steer with one hand when a semi rushed by. I still could feel some trucks a little bit, but that was no drama. I have not figured out why some trucks just glide by, Sumos and the rear track bar were well invested money. I am not that sure about the steer safe, I still have to make constant steering corrections and have to turn the steering wheel constantly a little bit back and forth, because the RV tries to wander from side to side.

My biggest problems currently is the wandering and he harsh hits and jiggling in the front. I deflated the tires by 5 psi, and that made the hits a little softer, but the jiggling did not change.
What else could be done? TeJay put in a steering stabilizer a few years ago, did that help with keeping the thing driving on center? That would be a rather cheap fix!
But what can be done about these short amplitude, semi high frequency jiggles? The vibrations caused by those make everything and anything fall onto the floor of the rig, and wander around there for ever.
My son recommended the installation of an air spring system all around. Considering the cost of this, i might as well buy a diesel pusher with air suspension. But I don't want a bigger motorhome, because it's only the dog and i traveling in it. I am almost 74, and that number alone will tell everybody that my RVing days are count, and will come to an end in the not so far future.
Does anybody have a great idea, what I can do?
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:45 AM   #10
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You could add some shims between the axle and springs, to increase the front axle caster.

More caster will help aim it straight down the road.

As far as tire pressure, if you read some of the posts from users of tire pressure monitors, you will see that a few PSI won't make much difference.

Road surface, weather and speed effect the tire PSI more then a few pounds. Some users report 15 PSI swings, throughout the day.

You drop the pressure 5 lbs, but get on a sun drenched blacktop road, and the pressure climbs. An hour later, it clouds up and the road surface changes to a lighter color.
Down goes the pressure. Can you feel the difference ?

If your going 40 mph on a shady, rough road, do the dishs stop rattling ? Mine don't.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:24 AM   #11
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To answer your question, "How much does a shock steering stabilizer help?" That's not an easy answer but CS (common sense) tells me if I correctly installed a shock designed to dampen steering wheel movement in both directions then it has to work. It has to positively effect controlling the steering wheel side to side wonder.

Why do different approaching semi's effect our RV's differently??? I've experienced it over and over and these are my findings. WETW (What Ever That's Worth)

1. The frontal area of the approaching semi and therefore the size (square area) of the wall of wind about to hit us.

2. The speed of the approaching semi. This has a big effect on LM (lateral movement).

3. How close (space between our sides ) is the semi to your RV? Also a big factor.

4. What is direction of the current prevailing wind. Is it at 90 degrees to our direction? Is it a head wind or changing? Sometimes we are already fighting a cross wind and we have a slight left/right rudder input into the steering wheel. Then the semi disrupts that wind and creates it's own input.

5. Is there a line of trees effecting how the wind will hit us?

Here's one of the positive aspects of what has been done to our coach. There is almost no effect (maybe 2%) when semi's approach us on 2-lane roads from the front. On this last 4,000 mile trip we drove close to a 1,000 miles on 2-lane hilly winding roads through NH, VT and ME. Never an issue.

Most of our week trips her in AR are also on 2-lane roads. We typically drive 3-4 hours somewhere here in AR camping with the WBGO group.

Here's what I've spent which directly effects the ride and handling of our coach:
1. Rear TB $50
2. Steer Safe $400
3. Koni Shocks $720
4. Steering stabilizer $120
5. CHF links/plates $100
6. Front Sumo Solo's $200 I'm not sure they softened the ride much but I'm sure it has helped the roll.

That's about $1,600 bucks. I'd do it again and it's still cheaper than a DP. Throw in the 5-Star TUNE and the Centramatic Balancers ($800) and we are up to $$2,400. I'd still do it.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:27 AM   #12
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On the issue of what trucks push my MH the most.

I have found that 6 wheel box trucks, like U Haul or Lowe's rentals, push me more then the biggest OTR trucks, pulling doubles. Maybe it's the shorter wind wave that effects my MH.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:44 AM   #13
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did someone mention vibration/high-frequency jiggling?!?!?

My previous coach was my nemesis with that issue!

Here's what I did:

1. alignment (didn't help, wasn't out of alignment)
2. King Pins replaced (defective from factory) - no difference
3. Tires road-force balanced x 3 - nope.
4. Checked radial run-out myself, rotated one front tire about 90 degrees and it seemed to improve the runout measurement and improved the jiggling about ~ 40%
5. Safety-Plus - helped the wind-push and wandering A LOT. I will do it on my new rig eventually.
6. Centrimatics - didn't make much difference so not a balance problem
7. Drive shaft re-balanced - MAYBE less floor vibration - no real difference.
8. Changed the BRAND of tires from GY RV 670s to Michelins. Made a large difference, but didn't eradicate the front end vibration.
9. Got a lawyer and got a modest settlement from Ford which paid for the mods that weren't covered by warranty plus maybe the gas I used going back and forth to all of the various venues.

Other mods I was going to do before my wife, out of the blue, decided she liked the Tiffin and we traded:

1. Front trac bar (16000K chassis doesn't come with one).
2. Rear Trac bar
3. Sumo Springs
4. dynamite.

I had actually purchased the first three from Super Springs and returned them before the install, so I never got a chance to see if they worked - Had high hopes for the sumos - and maybe the dynamite (just kidding).

My new coach has some very minor jiggling/vibration and I'm trying to get a final resolution. put on centramatics just to be sure.

1st real mod: I'm going to switch from the stock Bilstein shocks to a set of Koni FSDs. Just ordered them. Will also do the Sumos because.

Just.

Because.

If those two mods don't work to give me a smoother ride, I'm not terribly worried as the jiggling is nothing compared to the first coach. My new coach has a front trac bar and 22.5" wheels and a longer wheelbase. Those all help.

LVRVLUVR has done a lot of testing on his many, many RV's and may have some opinions as well.

Meanwhile - I'm goin camping!

TeJay is a genuine resource as well. They've both been a great help an encouragement to me.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:19 AM   #14
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I forgot to mention that I also got a brand new set of tires (did not change anything), and a brand new set of top of the line Bielsteins (did not change anything either. The front Sumo Maims definitely took the white knuckles away, more so than the CHF and the steer safe.
Best money spent so far was the rear Tiger Track track bar and the Sumo's. I feel that the steer safe was mostly a waste of money.

My son (a master mechanic at the largest Ford Dealer in Minnesota) will investigate what allows big semis to be driven with little effort, and will see, what of that can be implemented into my motorhome (with reasonable cost).
When looking through the Kelderman description, I read that they replace the leaf spring for a softer one.

When in turn looking at the Sumo Maxime spring, it basically doers the same as the Kelderman air bag. What would be, if one would also use a softer leaf spring with the Sjumo's, would that provide a Kelderman like ride?
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