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Old 04-12-2015, 11:13 AM   #15
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Your thoughts on alignments are spot on. Finding a shop where somebody really know what's going on is not easy. The local shop that I just happened to find has proven a computer alignment machine wrong. They only use old style methods to work on truck chassis and they are good. When the tech said that a set of front tires when properly set up should last 150,000 miles I figured he knew what he was doing.
Any good alignment shop should take reading before and after. If one starts by asking for that information maybe one can avoid a not so good shop. I would ask to see the alignment machine make the readings. Ask the tech to explain what he/she's doing. I've never accepted the idea that customers can't be in the work area because of insurance. If they won't allow me back in the work area while they are working on my unit I would leave.

Thanks for the observations and good points to consider.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:40 PM   #16
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I agree with the thoughts about getting a good alignment.
I truly believe that you can check alignment better with a 2 foot level and a tape measure. I've done it many times and my tires wear evenly.
One example happened when my son needed a rear alignment on his Cadillac CTS. It had sagged and the independent rear suspension had the tires bowed out and wearing on the inside. Too much positive camber. The Cadillac dealer's $100,000 digital alignment rack was used. They adjusted to a digitally measured, slight negative camber and produced a digital printout. Most people would walk away happy, but we noticed that the rear tires were still bowed out and quite noticeably. After bringing this to the attention of the technicians and manager, they agreed not to charge us and get the system "re-calibrated". By the way, I did have them put a level on it to prove the point. It was embarrassing for them.
So I'm staying with a level and tape measure. They don't go out of calibration.

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Old 04-13-2015, 07:50 AM   #17
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You make a darn good point. Buying one of these is a big investment and should not be done without a lot of preparation. It's not like buying a new washer and dryer. Many have recommended renting a similar unit before buying. Many of us know we could also get a much smoother ride if we spent more $$$$$. Most of us know that the diesels on diesel chassis have air ride systems but don't make those choices because of a much higher investment that we maybe can't afford.

We went through a similar situation back in 2010. We decided to get into a travel trailer (TT). We went through three units in 4 years before we both decided that the TT was built to cheap and was difficult to pull. We spent a lot of money that we could have put towards a nice MH. That water is over the dam so we just chalked it up to experience. It was a tough learning process.

These gas units on the F-53 chassis can be made to ride decent with just a few bucks spent. I have often said that it would be nice if they would offer some good suspension upgrades like an air ride system. For now new shocks, maybe air bags, even better tires help some. Adding maybe $2-3,000 additional dollars is not a lot considering the cost difference from the basic units. Those buying the bigger gas units using the 22.5" tire will already have a better ride than those of us using the 19.5" tire.

Life is about choices and sometimes we make them based on our situations then do the best we can with what we got. Doing your homework is a big factor. I know we spent a year reading and researching before we got the MH. We picked a manufacturer first then a floor plan. Finding a dealer was next and that was based partly on what they gave us for the TT. They gave us what we paid for it so that choice was easy. The dealer was next to the factory in Forest City Iowa a mile from the WBGO factory. So that choice was also easy.

Enjoy your new unit and your retirement as I'm sure you will. Many smooth and happy miles are ahead.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:09 AM   #18
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We have new Brave 26a. Short wheelbase (158) made it a bear in traffic. Invested in suspension changes to help with handling. You can monetize upgrades, but no price tag for family's safety.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:10 PM   #19
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curiosity, what is the reason for adding more caster?
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:14 AM   #20
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Before adding any aftermarket items ensure all stock steering and suspension components are in good condition. Tires inflated per weights. Alignment is proper., Etc etc etc. Only then consider aftermarket add ins or changes. And I suggest you make any changes or add ons one at a time, so as to be able to know which changes were impactful, and when to stop spending money.
Vince and Susan
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:31 AM   #21
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We bought our 2001 Mirada last fall. When I test drove it at the dealer, I was impressed as to how tight it was and how responsive it seemed to be. I'll now add that we were not in traffic and there wasn't any winds or trucks or any typical highway environment stuff.

When we drove out west (6000 miles) I noticed that I had to "drive" the thing, all the time. It didn't beat me up, but I couldn't let my attention get diverted, especially in truck or crosswind traffic. It was both hands on the wheel and get ready to respond when the truck passed me.

The CHF seems to have helped a lot. I did a short test drive after the CHF, but wont be able to get a good comparison for another couple months when we do a 3000 mile run

I also weighed my MH and lowered the tire pressure down to 70psi (it was at 90)

I may take the MH and get a front end alignment. But will probably wait until after the 3k mile trip to see how it handles with the CHF , tire pressure, and other other little tweeks. I've been following the threads on front end alignments to learn as much as I can.
1999 Fleetwood Southwind 35S (Ford F53 6.8L V10 275hp 4R100 4 spd trans) - Toad 2003 Saturn Vue.

It won't do MACH 2, but I can get a sandwich and take a pee.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:58 AM   #22
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Why add more caster??? Good question and it's a fairly simple answer. You've pedaled a bicycle I'm sure. You've also taken your hands off the handle bars and leaned left and right to steer. If you didn't something's wrong. Anyway it's Positive caster that allowed you to do that.

Now,if you looked straight down the steering shaft of a bicycle and mark that spot. Then look from the top of the handle bars straight down vertically. The tire would be up in front of the straight down vertical spot. Vertically you'd notice that the front tire touches the ground in front of vertical. Another way of saying it is the top of the steering axis or pivot point is tiled back towards the driver.

On any vehicle when you turn left and right you actually lift the weight of the vehicle to turn. Then when you let go of the wheel after the turn the weight forces the wheel to head straight. That's referred to as, "Return-ability." The greater the positive caster the more weight to raise during the turn but the more weight to force the steering wheel back to center.

As a kid you probably had an occasion to ride in one of those little red wagons. After a few of those outings we figured out that you never wanted to get going to fast down a hill. Why??? There is no positive caster and you can't control the steering. CRASH !!!!

There is a limit to the amount of positive caster. To much and it can be harder to steer (more weight to lift) and sometimes the steering when going fast can be troubling.

I think you can see if you have a lot of caster there's more weight to move. In gusting winds that means it's harder to move the front of the coach left and right. That's a good thing.

The Ford F-53 chassis has a range around 4.0 to about 6.0 I always lean towards the 6.0.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:33 AM   #23
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I agree with having a proper alignment done.
My rig would always tend to drift to the right and passing trucks would push me.
So I made and installed a rear track bar(it has one on the front from factory) did the CHF front and back, sure it did tighten down the handling, but the biggest improvement was the alignment.

The mechanic put the mh on the rack and took readings of 0' toe and to my surprise 5.6'caster left, and 5.5'caster right, with no shims on the axle. He added a 1'shim to right side and adjusted the toe in and said try it.

Huge difference! It tracks straight with minimum steering and it also brought the steering wheel back to centre from a constant 11:00 position.

So, an alignment should be first on the list.
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:55 AM   #24
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Good report, Thanks. You obviously found a guy who instead of just setting it according to the specs he knew what to do to get it right. It isn't always about hitting the specs which is what most new techs do. They follow the computer guidelines and they are not always right.

As a side note, treat him with respect and be sure and thank him for a job well done. That goes a long way. Money is not the only reason why some people continue to do good work.

TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 04-24-2015, 04:32 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the information! Anyway, after I got home, and lifted front end and looked over steering gear box, I found that it has an adjustment screw for worm play next to frame. Working on steering box's years ago, by adjusting this screw, pushing in steering arm, against 'worm gear', cuts steering wheel play. In those days, the 'worm' gear had
slightly wider worm width at 'straight ahead', helping to hold the steering wheel. off to
either side, was a problem. I worked on cars and trucks, when all we had was 'arm strong' steering. One of the problems, with first power steering, was how to open 'valves', and some would 'let 'worm gear', move up and down slightly, adding power
to steering. Anyway, I'll be adjusting this adjustment, before doing anything else. This
adjustment has to be made with wheels straight ahead, if they still use 'wider, screw
worms' for straight ahead. (to adjust, with wheels turned, will be in a 'bind', at center
of worm gear.) just 'food' for thought...have a 'great day'....gh

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