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Old 01-08-2019, 10:42 AM   #1
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Newmar Dutch Star wheel Alignment

I recently had my 2012 DS 4086 with 55K miles serviced at Freightliner Factory Service in Gaffney,SC. As my passenger front tire had unusual wear, I had the coach aligned and they installed 2 new tires on the front end( Same size. brand, air pressure, etc) The alignment paper said they adjusted the toe in to spec.
When I picked up the coach and headed home, it had a strong pull to the left-so much so if you let go of the steering wheel, you went into the oncoming lane. As I was towing , I had to go to the next interstate interchange to return to the service center. Once on the interstate within a few miles, it corrected itself( let go of the steering wheel and it tracked straight.) So I continued home. 100+ miles down the road, I stopped for fuel. When I started back up, I had the same pull to left, but it self corrected. By now the service center was closed for the Christmas 2 week break, so I continued home. Several days later, I did a test run, and sure enough, same issue, initial pull to left which self corrected within a few miles.
I contacted Newmar CS and they deferred to Freightliner. I contacted Freightliner and have a new appointment in March to fix, but the service manager could not explain why this was happening and claimed never heard of it before. Yes, my coach has Comfort Drive, so I'm assuming the self correcting is done by Comfort Drive?
So, I hoping some "expert" on the forum might explain the what/why of this situation and what I need to pay attention to when returning to Freightliner factory service.
Thanks, Dave
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:02 PM   #2
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Do you know very much about alignment, and what they actually did? Do you have independent front suspension? Did they give you a printout of the alignment specifications before and after their adjustments?
I don't know much about the "Comfort Drive" feature but I can see how it would cover up a poorly adjusted front end which is probably why you had a bad front tire but never noticed anything in the steering wheel.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:05 PM   #3
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They did give me the alignment papers which showed toe in in the red before and in the green afterwards. other than that I don't know what they did. I do have independent front suspension.
thanks
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:37 AM   #4
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The comfort drive is just a steering assist so maybe it is malfunctioning causing the pull at startup. If you can, disable the comfort drive and take a test run to see if the pull still persists.
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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"der two".....send a PM to Ken Sherwin on this forum. He is the designer of Comfort Drive and can answer your questions. He can also tell you what needs to be done when a coach with CD is aligned.
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:01 PM   #6
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Thanks Dutch Star Don, look forward to hearing from Ken
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:15 PM   #7
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I was there in may and had front air bags and a wheel seal (front ) replaced, The roads were under repair and the interstate too. So we were miles away on a better interstate when I realized how bad the pull to the left was. Pat said to come back but we were too far to turn around. Doesn’t seem to be tire ware, just irritating pull. Good luck and will follow your posts. I didn t get an alignment sheet on mine
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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I'll throw something in here after reading the above posts. I have my own specifications I like on a motorhome. I've done 3 chassis, 2 - F53 and the current Freightliner. My preferred specifications are not within the factory specified limits. My preferred specifications have to be set in degrees, not by an arrow that indicates red or green as dertwo said he got.

The current (newer) alignment equipment only get you within a range of alignment settings. The alignment technician only knows if the arrow is in the green, it's OK, and if it's in the red, adjust until you get in the green, then you're done.

The problem I see here (for example) is that most acceptable caster settings from the factory ranges from about 4 to 6 degrees. So with the modern pre programmed equipment, 4* would the bottom of the green bar and 6* would be the top of the green bar. So the right wheel could be 6* and the left wheel 4*, both within the green bar on the alignment screen, so nothing would be done and the coach will go out and pull to the left while rolling down the road. It will pull left or right if there is 1* difference between the wheels.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:28 PM   #9
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"Alank" I think you're right. I was at Gaffney for chassis service. Thinking I was being thurough, I had alignment and air bags checked etc. Everything was adjusted in the green like you say, as one or two things were slightly out of the range.
Well, afterwards it pulled to the right. I went to Central Alignment in Knoxville TN, where they do things the old way, and got things straight.
In my case it's about time for new steer tires. So when that's done I'll go back to Central Alignment and have them do it again.
I agree with your assessment. The new equipment does not achieve a fine tuned alignment.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:27 PM   #10
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Electra 225, sorry you didn't have satisfactory results withy your Gaffney alignment. Unfortunately, with the computerized equipment, you are subjected to the level of understanding of the person doing the programing, and sometimes I question that.
I have never seen it, but I know programing could be done so that in my example above, both wheels would be in half green, when they are in the desired range, and then have to be within 1/2* of each other to get full green.

Freightliner specs are for the right wheel to be 1/2* more positive than the left wheel for whatever caster spec. you want. This has been an industry standard almost for ever to make the steering pull to the left to off set the crown of the two lane roads. I don't it's near as important as it use to be because the multi-lane and interstate roads that many of us spend most our time on today just doesn't have the crown of the two lane roads.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:55 PM   #11
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Thanks again "alank", good information. I must say though, the people at Gaffney are top notch, and friendly to boot. I WILL return to keep the (chassis part of it) up to snuff. BTW, Pat will be missed for sure but I hear she's left it in good hands.

Take care, safe travels......
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