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Old 12-25-2015, 03:35 PM   #1
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What The Heck Happened?

On a trip to S.Carolina last week we had just gassed up and filled the propane. Leaving the station I drove on an angle out the step driveway and was up to about 40 MPH when the MH started shaking like both front tires were coming off.I mean a violent shaking. I stopped and checked everything underneath out and couldn't find nothing wrong. I checked my dash cam and it showed I hit some small holes on both tires at the same time. I had hit bigger holes on this trip with no problems. I checked the jacks and they were up but my red light on dash says they are down. Could a jack come down and hit the road caused that. We drove 40 miles slowly to our destination with no further problems.There is nothing loose in the front end. Drove back home 350 miles with no trouble.I stopped several times to make sure the jacks were up but The red light is still flashing.What the heck could of caused the violent shaking? We have 8 brand new tires and all new sway bar bushings installed before this trip.Please help if you can. Thanks
P.S. 1997 Tropical F-53 w/Tag axle
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Old 12-25-2015, 03:39 PM   #2
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wow, scary... but I have no clue for you. Hope someone else can give a clue. Hoping all goes well for you.
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Old 12-25-2015, 04:19 PM   #3
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Had the same thing happen on John Deere Chassis. (1990 GeorgieBoy) Violent shaking of steering wheel after hitting a drop off in the pavement. It had long leaf spring suspension also.

Had alignment checked and toe in adjusted. No repeat. Discussion here too: Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Front end shake after hitting a bump
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Old 12-25-2015, 04:24 PM   #4
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I would lookup the word "Death Wobble"
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Old 12-25-2015, 04:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 TropiCal View Post
On a trip to S.Carolina last week we had just gassed up and filled the propane. Leaving the station I drove on an angle out the step driveway and was up to about 40 MPH when the MH started shaking like both front tires were coming off.I mean a violent shaking. I stopped and checked everything underneath out and couldn't find nothing wrong. I checked my dash cam and it showed I hit some small holes on both tires at the same time. I had hit bigger holes on this trip with no problems. I checked the jacks and they were up but my red light on dash says they are down. Could a jack come down and hit the road caused that. We drove 40 miles slowly to our destination with no further problems.There is nothing loose in the front end. Drove back home 350 miles with no trouble.I stopped several times to make sure the jacks were up but The red light is still flashing.What the heck could of caused the violent shaking? We have 8 brand new tires and all new sway bar bushings installed before this trip.Please help if you can. Thanks
P.S. 1997 Tropical F-53 w/Tag axle
Well Sir,
You've done a pretty good job of describing of this issue you're presently having. Now, may I ask about some history of this vehicle and your ownership. How long have you had it? Has it EVER presented this same type of SHAKING before? You say the Jack down light is presently "ON", correct? Was it on before this little driving over the two pot holes incident?

You've had new sway bar bushings installed. How about an alignment, wheel balance check, correct wheel bearing tension check, etc.? For the infamous "Death Wobble" to all-of-a-sudden just start to happen, usually there's a reason. If a coach has been owned and driven for quite some time, as in years without this "phenomena" occurring, then for it to just out of the blue, start to happen, is ultra-rare.

These coach chassis's, frames and suspensions, are made to take what we throw at them. Hitting a couple of pot holes, even with both wheels at the same time, is to handled with ease. No one likes it, but it does happen.

Now, you've asked if a "Jack" could come down and contact the ground and could have caused your issue, not hardly. The primary reason is, something would have to FORCE that jack down, as in hydraulic pressure from the system and, the correct solenoid(s) would have to be activated and, the pump engaged for this to happen.

And even if this phenomena would/could happen, there would be sever damage to that particular jack and, I'd bet the universe that it would not retract after such an engagement with earth so, what you'd see under your coach is one seriously damage jack, STILL IN THE DOW POSITION, only fairly well bent.

As for the Jack down light, that's a common issue here. Much of the time it's primarily caused by the fluid being either a bit low and, therefore not triggering the fluid level sensor to shut down the light. Or, there are some systems with sensors on each jack. In that case, yes, you can have a jack down light due to one jack has not fully retracted. But, you'd have seen that right off the bat, before leaving your last parking/camping spot.

If it were me, I'd maybe start by looking closely at your front tires, ALL THE WAY AROUND THEM, for possibly damaged treads, a separation, out of roundness, and more. If your coach was moving down the road, shake-free for all the miles previous to this "double pot hole hit", I'd maybe rule out the loose wheel bearings but, in this case, I'd check everything.

Look at your shock bushings real close. How many miles on the coach? Your coach, I assume by the user name, is a '97 Tropical. Not all that familiar with that model. Is it diesel, gas, what type of chassis, suspension etc.? How about your steering box, any potential play in it? I'd also maybe jack up the front so both front wheels are suspended and, grab ahold of one and wiggle it back and forth to see if you get exact duplicate movement on the other wheel/tire.

If not, something maybe loose in between like tie rod ends or, maybe one at least. And, while it's hanging around up in the air, you can test for improper wheel bearing tightness. How about King-pins? Does it have that type? Let us know what you find out so that others may learn.
Scott
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Old 12-25-2015, 06:19 PM   #6
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When you had new tires installed...how did they balance them?

My son-in-law is an EMT and he said their tires on the ambulance were a bead balance and occasionally when they first start out the tires would vibrate until the beads did their thing.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:53 PM   #7
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I'm retired as a service rep from a big 3 automaker. I can tell you that nearly every time I investigated a vehicle with this type of complaint, I found the problem was related to the front tires. Usually it was simply low tire pressure. This was particularly true in the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Owners didn't want to ride around with tires at recommended pressure because ride quality suffered when the vehicle was unloaded - as they were probably most of the time. If they ran less air pressure, it was a much softer ride. Sometimes it was a wrong application - not enough load range tire for the vehicle. The condition normally surfaced when hitting dips or potholes or even train tracks at an angle, such that one tire hits first, followed by the other tire dropping as the first is on rebound. You can imagine then how it would vibrate side to side. I'd be looking really hard at the tires.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:57 AM   #8
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tires and balance issues doesn't explain why his jack light is on......have you tried putting the jacks down and up and see if they operate?
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Old 12-26-2015, 07:05 AM   #9
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If you just had tires put on I would also check the lug nuts and at least re- torque them.
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Old 12-26-2015, 08:58 AM   #10
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Death wobble, put into action by the drop off and pot holes. Might happen again ten miles down the road or it might not rear its head for another 50000 miles. Sometimes just the right input does weird stuff.
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Old 12-26-2015, 11:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE UP View Post
Well Sir,
You've done a pretty good job of describing of this issue you're presently having. Now, may I ask about some history of this vehicle and your ownership. How long have you had it? Has it EVER presented this same type of SHAKING before? You say the Jack down light is presently "ON", correct? Was it on before this little driving over the two pot holes incident?

You've had new sway bar bushings installed. How about an alignment, wheel balance check, correct wheel bearing tension check, etc.? For the infamous "Death Wobble" to all-of-a-sudden just start to happen, usually there's a reason. If a coach has been owned and driven for quite some time, as in years without this "phenomena" occurring, then for it to just out of the blue, start to happen, is ultra-rare.

These coach chassis's, frames and suspensions, are made to take what we throw at them. Hitting a couple of pot holes, even with both wheels at the same time, is to handled with ease. No one likes it, but it does happen.

Now, you've asked if a "Jack" could come down and contact the ground and could have caused your issue, not hardly. The primary reason is, something would have to FORCE that jack down, as in hydraulic pressure from the system and, the correct solenoid(s) would have to be activated and, the pump engaged for this to happen.

And even if this phenomena would/could happen, there would be sever damage to that particular jack and, I'd bet the universe that it would not retract after such an engagement with earth so, what you'd see under your coach is one seriously damage jack, STILL IN THE DOW POSITION, only fairly well bent.

As for the Jack down light, that's a common issue here. Much of the time it's primarily caused by the fluid being either a bit low and, therefore not triggering the fluid level sensor to shut down the light. Or, there are some systems with sensors on each jack. In that case, yes, you can have a jack down light due to one jack has not fully retracted. But, you'd have seen that right off the bat, before leaving your last parking/camping spot.

If it were me, I'd maybe start by looking closely at your front tires, ALL THE WAY AROUND THEM, for possibly damaged treads, a separation, out of roundness, and more. If your coach was moving down the road, shake-free for all the miles previous to this "double pot hole hit", I'd maybe rule out the loose wheel bearings but, in this case, I'd check everything.

Look at your shock bushings real close. How many miles on the coach? Your coach, I assume by the user name, is a '97 Tropical. Not all that familiar with that model. Is it diesel, gas, what type of chassis, suspension etc.? How about your steering box, any potential play in it? I'd also maybe jack up the front so both front wheels are suspended and, grab ahold of one and wiggle it back and forth to see if you get exact duplicate movement on the other wheel/tire.

If not, something maybe loose in between like tie rod ends or, maybe one at least. And, while it's hanging around up in the air, you can test for improper wheel bearing tightness. How about King-pins? Does it have that type? Let us know what you find out so that others may learn.
Scott
Thanks Scott, its a 1997 National Tropical V8 Ford F53 40 feet long W/tag axle.it has 45,000 miles on it. I have had it 3 months.The previous owner told me there was nothing wrong with it.$3000.00 later Im still making repairs.....On a smooth road it rides like a caddy and straight down the road. When I hit holes with both wheels is when it shakes and the 2 holes I hit were bad and it shook the sun visors and the ceiling light covers flew off.It was a out of control shake at @40 mph. I believe we would of wrecked if it happened at 65 mph on the interstate. I had all the front end parts checked. Everything is tight.After much research it looks like this is a common problem with this chassis and has been named "Death Wobble"...Its unbelieveable that Ford hasn't been made to upgrade the older chassis.This is a dangerous problem. Safe-T-Plus has a fix for this at a cost of @700.00....Part #41-140... I think adjusting the weight and air bags will help as I was light on the front end.Thanks for all your ideas.
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Old 12-26-2015, 12:04 PM   #12
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tires and balance issues doesn't explain why his jack light is on......have you tried putting the jacks down and up and see if they operate?
I had this happen on my last trip. Just driving down the road and that ear splitting alarm goes off. I pulled off, looked and the jack in question appeared to be up. I put the unit in store mode, alarm went off after a couple of seconds and all was good. Hasn't happened again. The sensors on the jacks seem to be quite sensitive. If a jack moves any at all, its going to trigger. Jack many have moved just a hair when the front end was doing its dance.
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Old 12-26-2015, 01:24 PM   #13
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my experience is 4million miles as over road driver and class 8 truck owner. What you describe would take me straight to the steering box and its linkages.
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Old 12-26-2015, 02:13 PM   #14
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Spin balance....I have been told to have them balanced while on the MH.
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