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Old 05-11-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
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Steering assist devices---another happy user

Hi All,

My family and I are currently 6 weeks into our 9 week, 27 state, cross-country-and-back tour of the US.

Prior to the departure, I gassed and loaded the coach and weighed each axle to insure a decent forward-to-aft and left-to-right load distribution and then all four corners individually to insure correct tire inflation per the manufacturer's tables. A full 2-axle laser alignment at a local truck service shop was performed. All zerks were greased. All poly suspension bushings were verified in good shape. In spite of all of this preparation, a good portion of the first 5,600 miles were a white-knuckled nightmare. Construction, a massive 200 mile long slushstorm through Utah, restricted lanes, poor roads, passing trucks and high sidewinds did not make for a happy driver, nor passengers. (I must add that I do have a CDL and periodically drive large 2-axle trucks for company business.)

While in Florida I bought a Steer Safe and ordered an Ultratrac rear track bar from Brazels. Installation waited until I had time at my folk's house in PA. In the last 5 days we've been making a beeline for the Badlands and Rushmore, passing through PA, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN, and are currently in SD. I can only report that the difference in handling through all road conditions, especially through the lousy I-80 (a toll road no less!) of OH and IN, is nothing short of astounding. There is still some slight wander with a full gas tank (presumably due to some loss of caster control), but by and large the thing now tracks nearly as well as my crew cab pickup truck.

I cannot recommend highly enough these types of chassis modifications for those experiencing difficulty in this area.

Keith
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:54 AM   #2
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Good luck on your trip. Sounds like a lot of fun. I also put in a Steer Safe and it makes a big difference. The other nice thing about them is if you get a front blow out it will help you keep control of the rig. That's worth the money in itself.
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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I have a Steer-Safe installed and I like it, but I'm willing to bet that 80% of your improvement came from your new rear track-bar
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVRon View Post
I have a Steer-Safe installed and I like it, but I'm willing to bet that 80% of your improvement came from your new rear track-bar

I do not doubt that.

We headed west 300 miles through SD on 90 today with a sustained 18 to 20 mph broadside from the north. We encountered several lane restrictions and some two way traffic. At no time did the rig feel out of control. I am very satisfied.

Keith
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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Trac Bar

Is a rear Trac Bar the same as a Davis Tru Trac?
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:38 PM   #6
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I'm thinking about similar upgrades from a forum advertiser, Redlands Truck and RV. Thanks for your feedback. It helps me make my decision.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:21 AM   #7
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I know what you mean. here is my story:

January 2, 2006 I pull out of my drive, do a walk around and find the tail lights on the towed are dark.. Ok, look at a couple of documents, realize the motor home charges the towed's battery on my set up, push the PARKING LIGHT buton on the towed and off we head for Lost Wages, er, Los Vegas and my daughter.

When I got there it was a serious relief to drive the towed,

We returned 1st of March and over the summer I had the Blue Ox TRUE CENTER stablizer bolted to the tie rod and a Davis Trac Bar (Front in my case, I thought I was getting the rear one but turned out it was the front) bolted on. The trac bar was installed by Nordstrom's RV (Flint) she comes to your site and bolts in on right ther,e no need to drive to her shop. Very nice and reasonable rates too (Less than 3/4 what the dealer charges for labor)

Thanksgiving (Well the Two days before) I again head to Lost Wages.

When I got there MAN was that towed squirrely I mean it was HARD TO DRIVE.

Same motor home, Same towed. I
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:03 PM   #8
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Thanks trainsktg! I've been fighting the wander in my '97 Holiday Rambler and I'm betting these mods will be the solution. While I noticed a significant improvement after new new tires and an alignment I am still really tired after about 350-400 miles and the navigator wants to cover more ground! I'm going to research this tomorrow!
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B52Guy View Post
Thanks trainsktg! I've been fighting the wander in my '97 Holiday Rambler and I'm betting these mods will be the solution. While I noticed a significant improvement after new new tires and an alignment I am still really tired after about 350-400 miles and the navigator wants to cover more ground! I'm going to research this tomorrow!
The first thing is to check out your front end and make sure it's all good. Bad bushings, a bad bell crank Etc. can make it a bear to drive. Then buy a Steer Safe and trac bar and you will be good to go...
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:42 AM   #10
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Steer Safe and Ultratrac

Keith,

Thanks for your reply and help. You seem to know about RV handling and how to make a MH track as well as it can. I am not familiar with the UltraTrac. I had already made up my mind to get the Steer Safe and install it myself. But, that alone might not be enough to get the best performance from my motorhome. I have adjusted the tire pressure to manuf. specs and have new tires and had alignment checked. You are right my MH is listed at 30 ft. but measures almost 32 from bumper to bumper with a lenghty overhang beyond the rear wheels. Where did you purchase the Ultratrac and is it a fairly easy install?

Regards,

Randy
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:31 PM   #11
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A rear trac bar is the best thing you can do to stop tail wag, period. It is simply a bar that one end mounts on the frame, the other end mounts the rear end. It allows the suspension to go up and down but not side to side. Put it on a previous coach and loved it.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:49 PM   #12
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Keith,
Where did you purchase the Ultratrac and is it a fairly easy install?

Regards,

Randy
I ordered mine from Brazels a few weeks ago. They had a $429 internet special, which might be still running, and even with the $40 or so to ship it to my folks in PA, it was still $100 less than the version that Camping World carries.

Note: The design of the Ultratrac for the Ford 18k F53 has apparently changed. It neither bolts through the chassis rail nor attaches to the pumpkin, as the website shows. If that is the version you need, it might be accidentally shipped with the old instructions, as happened to me. Once I received the correct instructions, I still had to 'flip' one of the bracket pairs to make it work. I sent pictures of my install to Jon and Allen at Brazels and they approved the way I installed it. With the correct instructions, the install is fairly easy, if you have the tools. It took maybe 1.5 hours, as the new version is not as straight forward as the old. When I get home, I am going to replace one of the set bolts (the one immediately beneath the rubber snubber) with a flush mount allen screw. After about 1,600 miles, the bolt has not damaged the snubber by sticking out like it does, but Im going to do it anyway.

Keith
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:54 PM   #13
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Thanks, Keith, for the info on the Ultratrac. I emailed Jon at Brazels yesterday but have not heard from him. I will be sure to ask him about the install. My MH is a 1999 Majestic M30Q with Ford V10, and F53 chassis so I probably will have the same issue with the install as you had. My MH tracks pretty well on the interstate and large 18 wheelers going by are not a real concern, but I have not been caught in any severe crosswinds yet. Rewgards, Randy K., Montgomery, Al.
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