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Old 11-30-2019, 12:18 AM   #1
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Steering Lash

I find my steering feels to be loose.

I can turn the wheel about 6-8" and the MH keeps on going straight, or moves to the left or right if it wants to, especially if a truck passes the MH tends to be drawn into it so I need to keep good eye on the steering.
I took it into my mechanic - the same one from the previous owner- and he said this is all normal in motorhomes. It is called "steering lash"

I was planning on asking the previous owner, but he unfortunately passed away just a couple of months after I purchased the MH.

He's the funny thing....I look up at trucks and they seem to be holding the steering wheel in one spot and so do the double decker busses that travel our highways. They don't appear to have "steering lash"

My neighbour who drives a dump truck came with me for a short drive and said if his truck steering was like the MH's, he would refuse to drive it, it's dangerous.

As I said earlier, my mechanic says there is nothing wrong with the steering, so I dunno ????????

Does the tire pressure have anything to do with this issue?
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:39 AM   #2
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As far as I know Monaco used either a Shepard or TRW steering box. The TRW box has a lash adj. , the Shepard does not! The way my box is set gives me less than 2 inches of free play. You can do the adj yourself via a slotted screw with a locknut on the outside of the box, don't over tighten ! Shepard boxes can be rebuilt but they have no actual adjusrment. Do a search on here, you can change to a TRW box, it's been done by many. Good luck, it's easy Dave
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shepfly View Post
As far as I know Monaco used either a Shepard or TRW steering box. The TRW box has a lash adj. , the Shepard does not! The way my box is set gives me less than 2 inches of free play. You can do the adj yourself via a slotted screw with a locknut on the outside of the box, don't over tighten ! Shepard boxes can be rebuilt but they have no actual adjusrment. Do a search on here, you can change to a TRW box, it's been done by many. Good luck, it's easy Dave
How would I know which is which?
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:29 AM   #4
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Steering Lash

Google Monaco Watts suspension. A Monaco owner fabricates these systems. He may be able to help. Good Luck
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:35 AM   #5
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that much play i would not drive it spec should be less then 2 inches. i would have it looked at.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:04 AM   #6
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Also, get a new mechanic!
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shepfly View Post
As far as I know Monaco used either a Shepard or TRW steering box. The TRW box has a lash adj. , the Shepard does not! The way my box is set gives me less than 2 inches of free play. You can do the adj yourself via a slotted screw with a locknut on the outside of the box, don't over tighten ! Shepard boxes can be rebuilt but they have no actual adjusrment. Do a search on here, you can change to a TRW box, it's been done by many. Good luck, it's easy Dave
Check this thread from a few years ago. It has most of the information that you will need in the links provided in the thread
Steering Box Play- Sheppard M100 SHIM or Swap for a TRW ?
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Old 11-30-2019, 11:05 AM   #8
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In addition to the lash adjustment. Take a very close look at the u joints in the connection between the steering wheel and the steering box. Also check for any play in the bearing at the bottom of the steering column. If you have ANY detectable play in either place, correct this play with new u joints or bearings BEFORE you start with the steering gear box.

Adjusting the steering gear box is easy to do if you have a TRW, but be aware that you can adjust the box too tight. It will stick when you turn the wheel and not automatically return to center. That will result in an evil driving beast.

How many miles does this coach have?

I would have a truck alignment place put it on a rack and look at all the suspension components. Something is not right to result in that much freeplay in the steering.

I do want to comment on the observation with big trucks. No they do not fight the wheel like motor homes. Factor one is spring suspension in the front vs airbags. Factor two is lower roll center. Factor three is a much shorter wheelbase. If the suspension engineers made the front suspension of a motorhome as tight as a truck, no none would buy them. Also, you are sitting in front of the wheels plus the wheelbase is much longer than we typically drive. The steering response is much slower on the motorhome. Meaning it is easy to overcorrect.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:08 PM   #9
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also, it may not be the steering box. Check out this thread for a few days reading:



Wandering, sway bars, alignment, ride height, oh my!!


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Old 11-30-2019, 04:02 PM   #10
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What I've always done to figure out where the loosness is in steering is to have someone turn the wheel back and forth taking up the slack while looking at each joint individually for lost motion before going to the next. I too think it should be much less than 6".

If you take it to a shop to have it checked, be as certain as possible that they know what they're doing. I took our first MH to a nearby Peterbuilt shop for an alignment and got a young fellow who apparently was just learning. Having had enough experience not to buy all he was telling me I later took it to a smaller shop that I trusted that had good alignment equipment. The first alignment was off enough to have caused premature tire wear during our first 9k mile trip, but was corrected during the second alignment.

Best of luck with the problem, and thanks to all the posters. I'm still learning about our Monaco.

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Old 11-30-2019, 08:03 PM   #11
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I was not be happy with 2” of free movement in my “new” ride after the first 2 hours...crawled under and added 1/2 turn CW. Could feel a slight binding which went away after 100 miles and I would say I have 1/4” play. 6” is probably more than just the steering gear box. A TRW will have a 3/4” jam nut on a bolt with a straight slot easy to see on the side of it.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:22 PM   #12
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Diplomat may not have a TRW box.

If your case of manuals has the build sheet(s), with model and serial numbers of all the equipment, the make of steering box is listed there.
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Old 12-13-2019, 12:08 AM   #13
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After a discussion with my car mechanic, I took the MH in to a truck & trailer shop in town for there opinion as to what my problem might be and they gave me a list of things that could be the cause of the steering lash problem before they crawled under to have a look.

After one mechanic sitting in the driver's seat moving the steering wheel back and forth with the engine running and not running, while the mechanic under the MH barking out instructions, the service manager came to me with their results.

Firstly the air pressure in the front tires was a bit lowboy after they increased it to what ever it should be, they decided that it needed a right side tie rod, it required the TRW steering box to be tightened, another part of which I forgot the name of and 2 heavy duty shocks......apparently the shop in Quebec only changed 2 shocks, hmmmmm.

So they assured me that once the new parts were installed and the steering box adjusted, it will drive as new.

I will get it back next week sometime, providing all the parts arrive on time.
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Old 12-13-2019, 07:56 AM   #14
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"After one mechanic sitting in the driver's seat moving the steering wheel back and forth with the engine running and not running, while the mechanic under the MH barking out instructions, the service manager came to me with their results."

Yup, that's what it takes. The diagnosis matches your symptoms. I am a little skeptical that both the box and the tie rod are bad. Most likely it's just the tie rod end that is worn. It's easy to verify that it was bad. Ask them for the old part back. Hopefully they don't overtighten the box which will wear it out quickly.

Good luck, hopefully it resolves.
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