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Old 07-06-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
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New coach veers right

Maybe all of you experts can provide some advice. I just purchased a 2011 Fleetwood 40G. I picked it up in Oklahoma and drive it home to Dallas. On the drive, I noticed a fairly substantial pull to the right..not just a slight veer but an " I'm changing lanes NOW" pull to the right. I took it to the dealer and they said it was a Freightliner issue. I took it to freightliner and they said the back passenger suspension air boot was not inflating So they fix that and said the pull was normal. As I continued to drive it, I recognize I must continually pull the steering wheel ton the left to compensate for the pull right. I took it back to the dealer and they said it may be an alignment issue but alignments are not coveted by warrantee. So I took it to a shop that specializes in RV alignments and paid for the alignment and rotated the tires. The tech said everything was within tolerance but he thought it steered "a bit" better and the "drift right" might be "angle of thrust" but it was rare for that issue to happen.

I still pulls right, a bit less than before but still to the point where I must steer a bit left to drive straight. Do any of you have advice or is this normal for big rigs?

Your help is appreciated.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:01 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

Your story sounds very familiar... just four years later and I bought a new ITASCA 40DP and it pulled to the left. I would not remove either hand from the wheel.

I went through the same steps with the dealer... then Freightliner Oasis Dealer... then a specialty alignment shop. Then to this forum.

The alignment made it a little better but I still couldn't believe my coach was supposed to drive like that. BTW... front end alignment is a normal owner expense after delivery once you get the coach loaded for travel.

After living with it on a 6000 mile trip, I took it to Henderson's Line Up in Grant's Pass, Oregon. They performed what they sell as a Road Performance Assessment where you tell them what you think your coach is doing... their tech drives your coach over a 10 mile loop of local roads and highways... and tell you what they're assessment is in the form of a pretty comprehensive write-up including four corner weight and what they recommend for improvements, in order of priority... and estimated cost of each.

For my problem, they swapped my front tires from right to left... installed a Safe T Plus Steering Stablizer...took slop out of the steering gear... and I had them install a Super Steer Bell Crank and Motion Control Units. They then took me out on the same loop but I drove this time and told the tech (riding with me) how I felt about how it was handling. I couldn't be happier with the results. My coach now steers straight and true with only a light touch of one hand on the wheel. Since I'm a gadget guy, I would love to install the trim kit now available for the Safe T Plus steering stablizer so I could adjust left and right steering bias on the fly to compensate for cross winds and road crown, but that's another topic.

I believe the Road Test Assessment was around $100/150 and well worth it for a newbie to have an objective professional ride along with me and discuss my coache's handling in such detail.

Many will make the argument that steering stablizers are band aids to cover up problems which should be fixed rather than covered up. In theory I couldn't agree more but being a newbie I thought I had exhausted all the right channels first and I don't regret the ~$2300 I spent on these improvements.

Best of luck to you...

Rick
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:01 PM   #3
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If it is in specs, I would install a saf-t-plus. It can set to overcome the steering problem.
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickO
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Your story sounds very familiar... just four years later and I bought a new ITASCA 40DP and it pulled to the left. I would not remove either hand from the wheel.

I went through the same steps with the dealer... then Freightliner Oasis Dealer... then a specialty alignment shop. Then to this forum.

The alignment made it a little better but I still couldn't believe my coach was supposed to drive like that. BTW... front end alignment is a normal owner expense after delivery once you get the coach loaded for travel.

After living with it on a 6000 mile trip, I took it to Henderson's Line Up in Grant's Pass, Oregon. They performed what they sell as a Road Performance Assessment where you tell them what you think your coach is doing... their tech drives your coach over a 10 mile loop of local roads and highways... and tell you what they're assessment is in the form of a pretty comprehensive write-up including four corner weight and what they recommend for improvements, in order of priority... and estimated cost of each.

For my problem, they swapped my front tires from right to left... installed a Safe T Plus Steering Stablizer...took slop out of the steering gear... and I had them install a Super Steer Bell Crank and Motion Control Units. They then took me out on the same loop but I drove this time and told the tech (riding with me) how I felt about how it was handling. I couldn't be happier with the results. My coach now steers straight and true with only a light touch of one hand on the wheel. Since I'm a gadget guy, I would love to install the trim kit now available for the Safe T Plus steering stablizer so I could adjust left and right steering bias on the fly to compensate for cross winds and road crown, but that's another topic.

I believe the Road Test Assessment was around $100/150 and well worth it for a newbie to have an objective professional ride along with me and discuss my coache's handling in such detail.

Many will make the argument that steering stablizers are band aids to cover up problems which should be fixed rather than covered up. In theory I couldn't agree more but being a newbie I thought I had exhausted all the right channels first and I don't regret the ~$2300 I spent on these improvements.

Best of luck to you...

Rick
Fantastic response and very helpful. I will look into these options.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:34 AM   #5
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The "thrust angle" problem is rare but could be the cause. Basically it means the rear axle is not quite square with the chassis and thus pushes the rig left or right. A competent alignment shop would have detected that problem rather than guessed at it, though. A "4 wheel alignment' would be the fix, but that could get pricey if it is very far out of position.

Another possibility is slight brake drag on the right side, which would cause a move to the right. Again, that should be noticeable by inspecting the wheel and brakes. Bad wheel bearings on the right would have the same effect.

A sloppy steering gear or improperly adjusted steering gear box seems a more likely flaw, though. It's much more common than any of the other things mentioned.

There are a couple places in the country that can and will find and fix problems such as this. Josam's in Orlando, FL, Henderson's Line-up in Grant's Pass, OR, and Eric's RV in Sequim, OR, come quickly to mind.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:58 AM   #6
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I agree completely with Gary. The reason we buy diesel pushers is for the good ride and handleing. the chassis will need a complete alignment (front and rear) after the coach is built, as well as the ride height checked and set, and these should be done with the load you plan on carrying. However you said you just picked up a new coach, and it doesn't drive right out of the box. I would be headed right back to the dealer that just took a big pile of my hard earned $$, and not be to interested in this problem or that problem, or alignment is the owners problem (thats the age old answer) and where I have to take it, I beleave your coach has at least a 12 mo bumper to bumper warrenty. Also I really would not want to have the dealer tell me about needing to spend more money for after market things just to make my brand new coach drive like its supposed to! I would give the dealer a chance to make it right, then contact Fleetwood, just don't wait until you get a bunch of miles on it. But thats just me. hope you get it resolved quickly.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:55 AM   #7
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Freightliner aligns the chassis prior to shipping to the "box" manufacturer. The "box"manufacturer is "supposed" to do final alignment after the "box" is added to the chassis. The problem then becomes once you get several thousand pounds of stuff loaded in the mh, the alignment is all off again...maybe.

Prior to the alignment you had done, was the mh loaded and did they check the ride height prior to doing the alignment? Mine pulled to the left due to the ride height being wrong and yes the FL shop kept trying to align it to compensate for this until I finally found a shop that set the correct ride height and then set the alignment back to factory specs. It no longer pulled and steered correctly.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:01 PM   #8
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The correct ride height is indeed crucial to proper alignment and handling, so get that checked first. If you can get to Freightliner Factory Service in Gafney, SC, that is a good place to start resolving the problem. Or, if you want to stay near the Fleetwood factory (Decatur, IN), go to Monroeville Chassis in Monroeville, IN. They do work for Fleetwood regularly.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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You have a bad tire! this is really simple. Any competent alignment shop will tell you the tire is the issue. How do I know? Just went through this on my truck. It started pulling to the right, so figuring I had hit something and being 4 years old I took it in to the alignment shop. After doing his thing and test driving it he still felt the pull. He swapped the front tires and it started pulling left. Took it to my tire dealer and they rotated the front tires to the back. No more problems.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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The OP stated after the tires were rotated it continued to pull to the right.
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Old 07-09-2011, 01:33 AM   #11
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The problem you are facing is not normal or acceptable for a new motorhome, diesel or not. It's unfortunate that this issue triggered the usual finger pointing often seen in the RV industry. Fleetwood just sold a very expensive vehicle to a good customer and then treated them like a stranger when a serious problem occurred. I'll be glad when these companies start to realize that this behavior is absurd and will ultimately come back to bite them. Imagine how we would all feel about Fleetwood if you told us that they provided you with stellar service and support throughout the process. I hope things work out for you.

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Old 07-09-2011, 06:23 AM   #12
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Mine did the same thing on a 11 Freightliner chassis. It could not be fixed by 3 frieghtliner shops. I went to Bay Diesel in Red Bay Al next to Tiffin factory and through 6 hours effort they got it. It is great now. They put one side to the max and the other to the min. allowed in the spec. for alienment. They also had to change the ride height. It took me months to get this fixed. I ma so relieved!!!
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Old 07-10-2011, 12:06 PM   #13
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Resistance

With the min and max settings, did you notice a reduction in MPG? It seems like with many of these options it will FORCE the coach straight and decrease the natural roll thus reducing the MPG.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:54 PM   #14
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I'm not sure about reducing its natural roll but I am sure I want my mh to roll down the road straight. If that cost a gal of fuel every 10-15 tank fill ups then I think that is less costly than replacing tires early due to poor wheel alignment and ride height adjustment. And that doesn't take in to account driver fatigue of fighting a unit that doesn't want to go down the road straight.

Just for information purposes only. I went to three large truck alignment shops in the Houston area and not a one of them had a clue when I asked "do you make sure the ride height is within spec before doing an alignment". If you have a Freightliner chassis and the unit is not loaded with your usual travel weight and if the ride height is not correct, save your money on any alignment work.
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