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Old 11-06-2014, 01:34 PM   #29
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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"jerichorick"......Even a brand new OEM bell crank does not perform as well as the SS. The SS uses bearings where the OEM unit is just a cone fit and begins wearing out the first day you drive it.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:11 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by jerichorick View Post
Then it was a moment of convenience and not necessity. Have you ever heard of the OEM bell crank failing?
I'm not even sure I'd call it "convenience". And it certainly wasn't a necessity. I just held the OEM unit in one hand and the SS unit in the other and decided I wanted to have the SS unit on my coach.

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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"jerichorick"......Even a brand new OEM bell crank does not perform as well as the SS. The SS uses bearings where the OEM unit is just a cone fit and begins wearing out the first day you drive it.
Well said Don.
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Old 11-07-2014, 03:41 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
"jerichorick"......Even a brand new OEM bell crank does not perform as well as the SS. The SS uses bearings where the OEM unit is just a cone fit and begins wearing out the first day you drive it.
I guess I am not getting the point. If I understand what the bell crank does, the steering link hangs from it. Not much movement I'm thinking. If the greasing is done correctly on the OEM it should last a very long time. For you folks who did the SS upgrade did it really effect your steering? Was it worth the $400-500 plus labor?

Our topic is about the Blue Ox TruCenter. Does the SS qualify as a steering improver and can one expect similar results from it as from the TruCenter type component?

What am I missing here?

Rick Y
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Old 11-07-2014, 04:29 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by jerichorick View Post
I guess I am not getting the point. If I understand what the bell crank does, the steering link hangs from it. Not much movement I'm thinking. If the greasing is done correctly on the OEM it should last a very long time. For you folks who did the SS upgrade did it really effect your steering? Was it worth the $400-500 plus labor?

Our topic is about the Blue Ox TruCenter. Does the SS qualify as a steering improver and can one expect similar results from it as from the TruCenter type component?

What am I missing here?

Rick Y
As mentioned, I found there to be NO noticeable difference in the steering or handling of the coach... it is not intended to do what the TruCenter does... and, when prioritizing improvements to a coach I would give the bell crank a very low priority.

It was "worth it" to me because I found it to be superior to the OEM device and wanted (not needed) it on my coach. I wouldn't suggest that anyone else should get one, nor that it will solve any particular problem anyone is experiencing.

Simple as that.

Rick
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:25 PM   #33
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I'm going to partially agree with "RickO". If I were to buy a brand new coach, I wouldn't look at the bell crank as a handling improvement. If the coach had 20K - 25K and was starting to show some wear, I would replace the bell crank, bushings, shocks and any other loose items.

Simply speaking, the steering box supports one side of the steering assembly and the bell crank supports the other side (a steering box that doesn't steer). The OEM bell crank has no bearings. It's simply a cone that fits inside another. A nut locks the two together and keeps the movement to a minimum. It's a joint where steel rubs against steel, slowly wearing itself out.

The SS bell crank uses bearings, so there is nothing to wear out or get sloppy. It's one of those things, like neopreme bushings, that people replace for a tighter front end. Just like a steering box, they eventually get sloppy and need adjustment. With the SS bell crank, it will never go bad like the OEM model.

If you were to trace a path of where front end slop starts and stops, it starts at the steering box, moves to the bell crank, then tie rod ends and then to the king pins/bushings. If you don't start at the beginning when eliminating slop, fixing anything downstream will not be as effective.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:23 AM   #34
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So, Don and Rick O, when it's broke fix it with something better. I have 27+K on this coach and the steering is tight. My last coach had many more miles and the wheel was tight. I guess your piece of mind is a thing to consider. What works for you is good. Personally, I don't see this as a rapid failure point. King pins are often built the same way and go a long way before replacing. I'll not loose sleep over my bell crank.

It is so true that steering stabilizing add-ons won't fix a worn front end. Bushings, worn components or damaged components and the such must take priority. Once all of that is verified, the steering assist component add-on is a good feature.

This is my third Freightliner XC chassis. Each has had a road pull. I put Steer Safe on the first coach and it helped. I did nothing for the second coach and I fought the wheel most of the time. When I first bought the coach in Spokane I thought it needed a front end alignment as I drove east. At a rest stop, my first time to get out of the coach on a trip, I thought my door was stuck and I started to worry. Then I gave it a hard shove and it opened, then slammed back at me. There was a 30+ mph wind pinning me in. No wonder I was fighting the steering. When I got this coach in Ft Myers I noticed it had a pull. After loading it I had the front end aligned. The pull was still there. In Prescott I was able to buy a TruCenter for $500 from a fellow volunteer. We installed it together. Was not a tough job. Two people made things easier. I am in OR now via WA. We hit about every road condition and wind (except snow. Hate snow.) and the coach handled wonderfully. I didn't realize how hard I had been working trying to stay in my lane. I thought my fatigue at the end of the day was because I had been in the saddle so long. Now I realize it was from expending so much subtle energy over many hours of wheel fighting that was causing me to feel so tired at the end of a days drive. This upgrade is well worth the money and effort to install it. Maintenance is not gone. I still have to be wise and vigilant.

Rick Y
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:54 PM   #35
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Rick.....You're right about when it should be replaced. I'm guessing "RickO" is as anal as I am about adding stuff to my RV. I was a mechanic in my younger days, still do all of my own mechanical and fabrication. My motor home is the "Hot Rod" I never had. I enjoy making things better. I enjoy the project itself, the end result and later talking about it and providing information to others.

I had a 2005 36' Monaco Diplomat that handle very well for a 36' DP, but that wasn't enough. I added $1200.00 worth of Koni shocks (8 of them on Monaco), $2300.00 in sway bars and the $1100.00 TruCenter. Many would have driven my stock coach and would have been completely happy with the handling....not me. Just love those projects.

I have a brand new 2014 Newmar Dutch Star. Not much I can do to it. It has a tag axle and Comfort Steer......but I did order new shocks with less than 8000 miles on the coach. I already did the fronts and the rears come this week. Many would laugh, but I'm always willing to experiment and make things better.
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Old 11-08-2014, 01:12 PM   #36
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FWIW, if I had it to do over again today, I would opt for the Tru Center over the STP. When I bought my STP Blue Ox was having some serious quality problems with the Tru Center which they have since corrected.

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Old 11-09-2014, 11:06 AM   #37
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Rick.....You're right about when it should be replaced. I'm guessing "RickO" is as anal as I am about adding stuff to my RV. I was a mechanic in my younger days, still do all of my own mechanical and fabrication. My motor home is the "Hot Rod" I never had. I enjoy making things better. I enjoy the project itself, the end result and later talking about it and providing information to others.

I had a 2005 36' Monaco Diplomat that handle very well for a 36' DP, but that wasn't enough. I added $1200.00 worth of Koni shocks (8 of them on Monaco), $2300.00 in sway bars and the $1100.00 TruCenter. Many would have driven my stock coach and would have been completely happy with the handling....not me. Just love those projects.

I have a brand new 2014 Newmar Dutch Star. Not much I can do to it. It has a tag axle and Comfort Steer......but I did order new shocks with less than 8000 miles on the coach. I already did the fronts and the rears come this week. Many would laugh, but I'm always willing to experiment and make things better.
You said it. I didn't. I guess if I had the bucks I might do more of these things. Shocks might be my next option but more likely tires. I find these to be a bit small for my comfort. Yet, at $500+ a tire I don't think the change will be done soon. The tires are too new and the mileage is too low. As it is I just wanted to improve the steering effort. Love the TruCenter.

Rick Y
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