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Old 05-30-2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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I plan on getting an alignment and wheel balance performed soon and have a couple of questions.

Would a truck tire dealer or an RV service center be better? (I have Goodyear tires).

What is the typical cost and amount of time to perform the operation?
Should I remove the wheel liners myself to save time (and potential damage)?

I am located in Southern Connecticut. Would anyone be able to recommend a location based on personal experience?

Any help appreciated.

Wayne
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Old 05-30-2006, 04:44 PM   #2
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I plan on getting an alignment and wheel balance performed soon and have a couple of questions.

Would a truck tire dealer or an RV service center be better? (I have Goodyear tires).

What is the typical cost and amount of time to perform the operation?
Should I remove the wheel liners myself to save time (and potential damage)?

I am located in Southern Connecticut. Would anyone be able to recommend a location based on personal experience?

Any help appreciated.

Wayne
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Old 05-30-2006, 05:54 PM   #3
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My first choice would be to take it to whoever in your area services your chassis. Our coach is on the Ford F53 chassis and we have an outstanding Ford dealership in the area. They know the chassis better than any tire or RV dealership.

When we were looking to buy our coach the local dealer made a big thing about "in house service". We found out by accident that they send any chassis work to the respective truck dealerships. F53 chassis go to the Ford dealer, Workhorse goes to the GM dealer (don't know if they still do), Freightliner to Freightliner, etc, etc. If you are thinking about the RV dealership ask if they will be doing it in house.

We also have an excellent Goodyear dealership in the area. When we have our tires replaced next year I'll take it to the Goodyear dealer for new G670's, but the alignment will still be done by the Ford garage.

On edit:
The alignment should run you between $100.00 and $150.00 if no parts need to be replaced. The new tires should already be installed, and the coach should be carrying everything you normally take with you including a full tank of water.

I would also check your shocks. If they haven't already been replaced I'll bet they need to be.
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:24 AM   #4
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Ask the dealer who they use. Where you take you MOHO depends on which chassis you have. Call a large truck dealer in the area and see if they service Motorhomes. Goodyear has Wingfoot dealers that deal more in truck tires than some other dealers. Scout around and see what you find. Good Miles,
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:25 AM   #5
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I have a Sightseer 29R on the Ford chassis and the front end was just aligned. I called a local used/rental RV dealer and they told me who they use. The shop was a commerical truck tire dealer and the cost was $135 for the alignment. The only thing they did not correct was the steering wheel is not straight, it was not straight since I bought it. I was surprised that the tech told me they don't fix that and to try the dealer where I bought the RV. Anyone know how to straighten the steering wheel on a 2006 F-53?
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:35 AM   #6
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The steering wheel on an F53 chassis can be removed and realigned so that it's straight. Unlike the GM (now WorkHorse chassis) there is no master spline so the wheel can go on in any position.

I haven't tried to remove ours yet since the Ford dealer repositioned it when they aligned the coach. On ours you have to remove the center section of the padded steering wheel which is held on by 2 screws from the back.

The nut in the column has to be removed, then you can use a steering wheel puller to remove the wheel itself. Be sure to mark the current location of the wheel on the column and where you want to move it to before you disassemble it. Each spline on the column moves the wheel about 2*. Ours is still slightly off to the left since unfortunately it would have to be between splines to be perfectly straight.
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:56 AM   #7
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From my experience, the best place to get an alignment on a motorhome is a truck suspension/frame shop. The folks at most Ford dealers don't have a clue on how to properly align a motorhome chassis, F53 or F450.

They can also do a tire balance at the same place.

As for the steering wheel being off center, the correct fix is to have the front end properly aligned (they have to run the toe in on one side and out on the other until the steering is recentered). Removing the steering wheel is basically a case of a poor alignment job.

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Old 05-31-2006, 05:02 AM   #8
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The steering wheel angle ("clear vision") is not adjustable via an alignment setting. Reindexing the steering wheel is all that can be done. You are limited to the spline count though, 36 rings a bell, so 10 degree increments is all you can adjust the wheel.

Also, all that's easily adjustable is the toe. Camber requires things to be bent, and caster requires the axle to be shimmed at the leaf spring. Most shops will simply set the toe and send you on your way.
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Old 05-31-2006, 06:38 AM   #9
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Thank you Hikerdogs and tderonne, that is what I needed to know. I am going to fix that tonight and we are off for Sturbridge and Cape MA in the morning. Funny, the steering wheel on my 67 cougar can be adjusted the same way, guess things don't change that much.
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:21 AM   #10
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I can elaborate a little.

The steering system is a draglink system. The front wheels are tied together with an adjustable link. That's where the toe can be adjusted, that bar can be made longer or shorter. The steering box has an non-adjustable link that connects it to the driver's side wheel.

(My steering wheel is off just a little, I've thought about loosening the steering box from the frame and seeing if I can shift it just a little to get the wheel straighter. If I ever try that, I'll report it here.)
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Old 05-31-2006, 07:38 AM   #11
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tderonne couldn't have said it better. The "Clear Vision" he is talking about is the name of the Ford bulletin that describes how to reposition the wheel for "clear vision".

Adjusting the wheel position was done under warranty (as part of the alignment). The alignment itself wasn't covered but repositioning the wheel afterward was. If your coach is still within the warranty limits I would ask the local Ford HD Truck dealer about it.
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Old 05-31-2006, 08:52 AM   #12
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You didn't mention what coach you have.

If it is a gasser I would have it aligned were they align school buses. That is what I do.

As far as balancing the tires. Tires are not balanced from the factory and I have never had a class A's wheels balanced. If you have stainless steel wheel liners they do not balance with the wheel liners on.

Please place you coach info in your signature.
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Old 05-31-2006, 10:49 AM   #13
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My steering wheel was off center when I purchased it new. A friend following me one day told me it was "dog walking". I took it to a truck alignment center and they had to realign the rear end, that got the steering wheel a lot closer to center.
Since Ford uses a non-adjustable drag link I know there is no front alignment procedures to fix a steering wheel off-center. Prior to air bags I used to pull the wheel and rotate it on the splines. I have been warned about doing that on a air bag steering wheel. If someone has personally done that I would be interested in how it was done without deploying the bag! I have aged to be cautious about mysterious things....
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Old 05-31-2006, 11:33 AM   #14
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I had my Sightseer 29R aligned and they had to put wedges in to align it to Ford specs. My steering wheel position did not change after the alignment. The steering wheel was centered on 11:00 O'clock when going straight down the road before the alignment and it hasn't changed.

So I can remove the wheel and re-index it on the spines to move the steering wheel closer to 12:00 O'clock? What do I do about the air bag?
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