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Old 10-27-2012, 10:17 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 3
1973 Winnebago Indian Steering

Hello all. I am hoping for a little insight regarding the loose feeling in my steering I am experiencing while driving my RV.

I knew I had some work to do with the chassis so I took it in to get an idea of what I was facing after purchase of my 1973 Indian. Plus I needed it to pass the safety inspection to legally drive it.

My biggest concerns were the brakes, cracked tires, and wobble/loose feeling I feel in the steering wheel. So after 6 new tires, almost entirely new brake system, and shocks, I was told it was ready to go and drives great. When asked about the steering wheel being loose, they tell me its "normal" and I just need to get used to driving it.

So I drive it and I still have this terribly loose feeling in my steering wheel. There is almost no resistance at all and I hear a bunch of plastic rattling in the steering. The tires turn but I feel like I am constantly over turning the wheel to just keep it driving straight and I am only going about 30 miles an hour.

I can't imagine that this is "normal" and was hoping someone may have an idea of what the problem maybe as I try to figure it out or take it else where.

I also do not know how fast I am driving. I have no reading/needle for MPH though my odometer works. I have talked to MOPAR and they have the tachmeter cable for replacement but before I purchase and replace, I was wondering if there was a way to tell if I actually need a new cable or just need to replace a needle in the dash.

Any assistance or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: The Land Of Oz RVM17
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They surly looked at the tie rod ends and king pins or ball joints, which ever the ol girl has when they did the work down under. You probably need a new or rebuilt steering box, as they do wear out and get sloppy. As for the speedo cable, take it loose on top and bottom. Turn by hand on the bottom and have somebody watch on top and see if it turns also. Or just drive and watch the top if you can pull it from under dash. If no movement you need a new cable. If it does move and the speedo does not register, you probably need a new speedo head. These old cables are prone to break, or get dry and make the needle jump around. I would guess its the cable, and hope for you it is as the head can be a little harder to swap out. After you find one that is. Good luck!

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Old 10-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: West Central MO
Posts: 284
If the odometer works, I doubt if it is the cable. More than likely the speedometer.
Back in the 60s and 70s Chevrolet power steering was extremely sensitive. It took very little effort to turn the wheel. It just might be "normal". However, alignment, air bags in the front springs, steering box adjustment could all have an effect on the steering. Before all the big money gets spent, I would check out the alignment.
1984 Holiday Rambler Imperial
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:59 AM   #4
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Thanks for advice

Thanks KSCRUDE and QuietWater for the advice. I will share my findings. Thanks again.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,504
73 Winnebago has a dodge striaght axle front end. While it does have power steering it should feel solid. Check the tie rod ends and the king pins. The king pin busings could be worn. The wheels are heavy so you have to put the front end on jackstands then use a pry bar under the wheel to see if the is excessive play in the tire. The mounted tire should only move 1/8" max at the outside edge. You are looking to see if the "steering knuckle" has excessive movement in the straight axle bore. MOOG makes replacement nylon bushing kits. Not hard to do just messy due to the grease. The grease dries out in the bore and results out in excessive wear. You have to grease these regularly. Age is unkind especially when they sit for long periods of time.

Dave in Virginia
1978 Winnebago Chieftain
Dodge M400 - 440-3
Classic Winnebago Site: http://www.classicwinnebagos.com/forum/index.php
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
Posts: 44
Early Dodge front axles had brushing that wear, Dave is correct. They will cause the rig to need to be "herded" down the road, and the tires to "cut" the inside edges. Not sure when the improved axles were used, my 1970 has the old ones.....

Certified RV Technician
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