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Old 03-24-2011, 11:31 AM   #1
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Shocks, Alignment, then Stabilizer ?

I am sold on all of the discussions regarding shocks and steering stabilizer and placed my orders.

My question is order of install:
Should i install the shocks, then get a alignment before I install the steering stabilizer?


Background for those interested:

2001 Allegro Bus 37 tp
Freightliner XC Chassis w/ airbags

Shocks Chosen
Front:
2 KoniŪ FSD: 8805-1020
Rear:
2 KoniŪ FSD: 8805-1022

Purchased from
BYOR - FreightlinerŪ XC
I was referred to this outfit by Koni when I had a question about the proper shock to select for my older chassis.

Steering Stabilizer chosen:

Blue Ox TruCenter

Purchased from RVupgrades.com. This company was very helpful, there was a discrepancy on their website relating to which bracket was needed for my coach. Blue Ox said I needed a TC6011, RVUpgade site said I needed a TC6009, but only offered a TC6010. I contacted Blue Ox, they informed me that 6009 and 6010 were obsolete. I purchased the 6010 on the RVUpgrade site and put a comment in to verify the bracket kit. They sent me a email immediately and stated they were contacting Blue Ox to sort it out and verified they would send me the correct 6011 bracket kit.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:46 AM   #2
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My thought would be shocks first - then road test it - maybe you will not need an alignment.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:12 PM   #3
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I tend to be a little maintenance worried when I buy older things, I fret over it has never been done, or never been done correctly... etc...

Good point though; as it stands, I don't think I need an alignment. Of course with all the bouncing and steering correction I do from the bouncing who could tell Tire wear seems to be okay, so you are probably right, might not even need one.

Best to test drive after the shocks as you recommend. Then either alignment or straight to stabilizer.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:21 PM   #4
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I'm about ready to purchase Koni's from Brazels as well as a rear trac bar. I think I must replace my 7 year old OEM Monroes first, then install the rear trac bar. After that, we'll rob the bank (mine), then worry about the front end.

Bob
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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NO DOUBT! i am out of upgrade money for a while! I mean A WHILE!

but is all for the comfort and safety of my family...
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:06 PM   #6
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The only thing rewally adjustable is the toe in, if you can change those shocks, you can stretch a tape measure across the front and back of the tires and check the toe.

Toe out is really bad. 1/16" or a lil more toe in is good.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimM68 View Post
The only thing rewally adjustable is the toe in, if you can change those shocks, you can stretch a tape measure across the front and back of the tires and check the toe.

Toe out is really bad. 1/16" or a lil more toe in is good.
Thanks JimM68. Do you have any tricks for finding center of the tire? Do you use sidewall to side wall, or tread edge to tread edge?
I do a lot of wood work/"fashioning" but my bad measurements can be fixed with caulk there.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:53 PM   #8
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Here is how to do it accurately measure the "toe" yourself.

Get a small square piece of duct tape and clean off and area on both the fronts of the tires at the spindle height. Use alcohol. Now stick on the square of tape exactly at spindle height which is halfway up the tire. Now put an X on those two tape squares and with your DW helping and a metal tape. Pull that tape tight and measure the distance from X to X and record it. Now start up the MH and drive it forward so the tape squares roll under the tires and are now on the back of the tires at spindle height. You now have the same reference point which is important. Now measure the distance bewteen the two Xs and record it. For "toe in" you want the front measurement smaller than the back measurement. If it is bigger then you have "toe out" which is wrong. The difference between the two measurements is your "toe in" amount.

You cannot roll the MH backwards while doing this because there is a little slack in the steering and suspension and it will show up if you roll baclwards and making everything off. So you need to plan ahead so you can keep rolling forward to keep the same preload on the suspension.

If you have to adjust the "toe" then do half an adjustment on each side of the tie rod adjusters so it will keep the steering wheel straight. If you make all the adjustment just on one side then your steering wheel will not be straight afterwards. You will have to look carefully at the threads on the tie rods where the adjusters are to decide which way to turn the adjusters. Look at the threads and decide which way pulls in the two sections together or which way spreads them apart. If the adjusters are behind the front wheels then to increase the amount of "toe in" you will have to screw both adjusters so you are spreading the tie rods apart. If the adjusters are in front of the wheels then you will have to pull the tie rods together to increase the toe in. Put tape on the adjusters and draw and arrow to show which way to turn it so you don't forget in the heat of battle. If the toe in is close then you only need to turn those adjusters an equal SMALL amount. Don't get carried away.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:01 PM   #9
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Thanks Mike! Lots of great tricks and tips! I certainly can appreciate heat of the moment reminders. I can't count the number of redo's I have had to do because I was just plowing through something.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:47 PM   #10
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The biggest problem with backyard alignment is that the coach needs to be on an absolutely flat and level surface. All measurements will be off otherwise. You can also measure toe by clamping a flat plate or bar ( a level works) across each tire at hub height and then stringing the front and back measurements as described in the previous post. You do have to watch out for stuff like oversized raised sidewall graphics, etc, but this method does not require rolling the coach.

Do not assume the factory alignment is good. If done properly it would take a hell of a hit to goon up the alignment on these beasts, but my coach had 15 deg of caster from the factory.

Caster creates self-centering forces, but it also creates phase lag in the steering, with the result being I was always "chasing my tail".

If the alignment is good there will be a minimal charge, otherwise, you needed it anyway.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:04 AM   #11
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Actually to do just the toe in portion of an alignment you don't have to be absolutely flat and level. If you try and do the castor portion then yes you have to be level. Using the flat bar clamped to the wheel works well on cars but I was going to try it on a MH but the wheel and lug nuts stick out too far beyond the tire and I couldn't find a way to clamp the bar. The other problem I found was the body of a MH drops down further than most cars so you can't measure across the bars unless you were to use super long ones to get it out in front of the MH so that just doesn't work. Had to go back to the tape measure method.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:49 PM   #12
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Don't forget to check for slop in the steering box adjustment. There are several posts in the freightliner chassis section on this. I got a lot of improvement by adjusting the steering box.

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Old 03-27-2011, 10:57 PM   #13
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Parts are all due in by Tuesday. I took the coach out for a short trip saturday and sunday, I CAN'T WAIT for the new shocks and steering stabilizer to be installed.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:59 AM   #14
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I was on another forum and posted about my coach "wandering" all over and what would fix it. I got all kinds of replies but one guy said "Fix your problems first before you spend $$ on extras because you might not need them". I didn't listen. I bought a Steer Safe and had it put on $600. Not much better. I then bought Koni FSD shocks and had them put on $800. Nicer ride but still wandering all over. I then took it to a truck center and asked them to check out the front end. Bad Bell crank, upper and lower bushings, worn ball joints, out of alignment and bushings shot all over. got it all fixed $1484,00. Driving home it felt good until a truck passed and I was almost in the next lane... Back to the truck center to find out my rear stabilizer bar bushings were shot. Fixed that $135.00.... So to make a long story short, fix what's broke first.....
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