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Old 09-05-2008, 09:45 AM   #1
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Various websites and threads I have read seem to indicate that the place to start, before adding trackbars, steering axle bolt-ons, etc., is shocks. I guess that makes sense. What then, alignment? Would appreciate any ideas of what works and what doesn't, if you have already been down that road.
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:45 AM   #2
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Various websites and threads I have read seem to indicate that the place to start, before adding trackbars, steering axle bolt-ons, etc., is shocks. I guess that makes sense. What then, alignment? Would appreciate any ideas of what works and what doesn't, if you have already been down that road.
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:59 AM   #3
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High Ken,
I've been down this road. It took me 2 1/2 years and about $7.5K to get the coach to drive and handle to my satisfaction. Before I make any suggestions, can you post what is is about the coach you do not like. A couple of examples are:
1. Does the coach wander down the road; requiring constant driver/steering wheel correction actions?

2. Does the coach have two much "rock and roll" left to right when encountering a sideways push or going over uneven pavement?

thanks,
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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I believe you are on the right track-at least that is what I have done. Alignment, Shocks (Bilstein for pure handling, Koni FSD may be about as good and may ride a bit better), followed by Steer Safe and a Bilstein steering stabilizer. I plan to add a rear track bar later (although I don't think I really need it badly), then may consider a Davis TruTrac bar for the front. If sway bothers you, you might consider the heavier Roadmaster sway bars, back and front. Some say add-on suspension airbags can help the ride, and there is a company out west that takes off the heavy springs and replaces them with softer springs plus air bags to improve ride-pretty expensive. These things are equivalent to a truck running at near its max weight, and it appears you can spend on improving ride and handling until you run out of money.
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:49 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GaryKD:
High Ken,
I've been down this road. It took me 2 1/2 years and about $7.5K to get the coach to drive and handle to my satisfaction. Before I make any suggestions, can you post what is is about the coach you do not like. A couple of examples are:
1. Does the coach wander down the road; requiring constant driver/steering wheel correction actions?

2. Does the coach have two much "rock and roll" left to right when encountering a sideways push or going over uneven pavement?

thanks, </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Gary, you hit the nail on the head. Those are exactly the two things I'm looking to correct. It's not that I can't drive the coach, it's just seems to me I would enjoy it more if those two items were not quite so prominent.
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:50 PM   #6
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I put Bilstein shocks on our rig and it made a world of difference in side to side sway and ease of steering Good luck!
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:24 PM   #7
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Ken, the cheapest thing to do is weigh your coach and set the air pressure in your tires to that recommended by the tire manufacturer. That in itself may alleviate a lot of your problems. If that doesn't do it, then you can go to the spend money solutions.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:10 PM   #8
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Jim mentioned two of the must do items before after market remedies are tried.
1. Determine the weight on each wheel, axle and total coach.
2. Get the tire pressure correct for the weight being carried.
3. Ensure all suspension parts are functioning correctly. No loose or worn parts or joints.
4. Two axle alignment, by a very repudable shop with the modern laser equipment.

The first after market product I would try is a suspension improvement. Go here to see some suggestions. I do not know your chassis. Call the Super Steer folks at 888-898-3281 PT. Tell them about your concerns and chassis make. They can advise you of your choices. I always felt if I could stop the coach weight shift on the chassis, the steering would improve and the rock and roll would be reduced or eliminated. For my chassis, the air bag restrictors were a miracle. The improvement was immediate and dramatic. It was like having a completely different coach.

The second aftermarket product that might help is a steering stablizer. The one I like is also by Super Steer. Go here to see the write up. I got the Howard System because Super Steer was not available for my chassis. If it had been available I would have purchased the Safe-T-Plus system, with the trim feature. The important thing to remember about this stablizer is it can be recentered by the driver, on the fly. Go here to read about the trim unit. Being able to trim the steering unit on the fly is a very valuable feature. On days where the cross wind is pushing you all day long, you will bless the day you got the trim feature.

The third/fourth item(s) is/are an anti sway bar and a track bar for the rear axle. There are many different brands to choose from. I have the IPD Brand (now Roadmaster).

I recommend the Supersteer company because I like their products very much. Their products have a good reputation. The company has a full line of products for most chassis'. Many of these products are invented by the company.

Consider doing one thing at a time. Then you will know how much each item helped your coach. Also, you may not need all the products. This would get your coach the way you want it and not spend any more $s than necessary.

Good luck and post any questions you have.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:12 PM   #9
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As Jim said the first place to start is to weigh your coach and adjust tire air pressure. That will make quite a difference. I then put a Safe-T-Plus steering control on my coach which made it feel like it really doesn't need me. That was one of the first thing I added to my gas coach in 1999 and never did have to add anything else. Put one on my DP now also.

There is an added benefit of a steering control you don't want to have to see. I was driving with my lead foot about 72mph and had a right front blowout. Tire blew half the side panel off the coach. I heard the tire blow but never felt it. I drove the coach into the median without any problem at all. I was passing a semi at the time and probably scared him to death because he locked up his brakes to encircle him in a cloud of white smoke.

The Safe-T=Plus was the first thing I added to my new rig. I originally bought it to help the problems Ken asked about but now I also consider it my safety net in case of another blowout. Of course I think I've have my share now. Not that I want anyone else to have any either.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:01 PM   #10
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Hi Ken, I spent 11 years, of my younger life, in the alignment business and I'm very fussy about the way my vehicles drive. Before you go spend a bunch of money on goo-gaaas and foo-faaas, make sure you're not dealing with any worn parts. Check the rear sway bar bushings. They are prone to fail prematurely. Make sure the front wheel bearings are adjusted properly. If your king pins haven't been greased properly, they will bind and cause wandering. Get the toe in set at 3/32". This is the best thing you'll do to get rid of the wandering. A pan hard bar (Davis Tru Trac) will be the final touch that will give you a relaxed driving experance. After all of that, if you determin the MH is swaying or porpoising to much, install new quality shocks. That's all I did to my F53 and the wife actually enjoys driving it.
Just to show you how important wheel bearing adjustment is. I had a customer come over for a lub, oil & filter. I always jack up the front end to lub the king pins. While the tires were off the ground I shook the tire to check for worn king pins or loose wheel bearings. The bearings were loose so I snugged them up as a courtesy. I didn't tell the customer about the bearings, but when he got home, he called me and ask why his MH drove so much better after a lub job.
Like I said earlier, take care of the details first, then go spend your big ol stimulus check for goodies.
I might also add that all the valuable information given by owners of other chassis years and styles probably don't apply to your problem. All chassis are not created equal
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:16 PM   #11
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Some of you have right on the dot.
We start each and every coach evaluation with a 14 mile test drive with the customer along to determine what the coach does under varing conditions and better yet, which of those handling problems that do show up, actually are percieved by the customer to be a problem area. Similar chassis with the same general wheelbase and total weights may affect the customer differently based on their personal driving habits. Some can easliy drive with conditions that we know we can improve, yet if the customer is happy with their coach, I would never suggest they spend money on a repair of a driveablility issue that there are not bothered by as they travel down the road.
After a test drive, we 4 corner weigh all coaches (or 6 corner weigh if a tag axle is present). We will adjust the air pressure when the tires cool down to the recommended pressures based on the weighing. We then jack up the coach and completely check the total suspension for wear and check all tires for wear and born on dates. Next is a complete greasing of the chassis and air brake systems (where present) including the U-Joints and slip yokes. We are amazed at how many coaches are not properly greased and out of those, how many will drive better just by properly greasing the chassis.
Next is a complete wheel alignment check, front - rear and tag axle when present. Adjustments are made and that is all followed up by another shorter test drive to verify that the system (coach suspensions should be considered as complete systems) and the coach drives as good as it should.
Now and only now will we start making recommendations as to enhacements to better the driveability of the coach. You should never suggest or consider an add on suspension enhancement until all of the above is complete and you have a proper baseline to truely check the driveability of your coach. Often, the obvious is overlooked by those that want a quick "fix in a can or a box".
We see and repair close to 400 RV's a year and every one is done in the same manner to attempt to acheive the same results on all units.
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:22 PM   #12
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Ken, seeing that you are in Vancouver Wa. let me recommend Henderson Lineup in Grants Pass Oregon. They can do all of the things recommended. The ability to: test drive, individual axle weights,set air pressure, alignment (front end and Duals, Koni or Bilstein shocks, and their own design super steer. I have been doing business with them for 10 years. Peter Harney is the service writer Eric, Chris, and Rob are the technicians working in the shop. If you decide to give them a call the # is 541 479 2882 ext 301 for Peter. Tell them of my recommendation and they may buy you lunch. Also they have a courtesy car if you ask in advance.

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Old 09-05-2008, 10:14 PM   #13
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Is this a great website, or what? A TON of great information!

OK, guys, I'll start with four corner weighing and tire pressure adjustment, and see what that does. Btw, did just contact previous owner, he confirms I'm still running on OEM shocks, so with well over 30K on the coach, I probably can't miss with new ones.

Dick, your shop sounds a lot like Henderson in Grants Pass (and they are a little closer.) I have used a couple of their products, installed by a local Portland shop, adding the Steer Safe and Bell Crank to the P30 chassis under my Itasca. Helped a fair amount, but not quite what I was hoping for. However, in all fairness to Henderson, the local shop did not go through the weighing/tire pressure/new shock routine; they just sold me the two components and installed them.

I agree with Tom, you can spend a lot seeking perfection, which I'm not. If I can just achieve a noticeable improvement in the two areas Gary mentioned, I'll be a happy camper. (Pun intended.) Thanks again to all of you.
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:33 PM   #14
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Ding, Ding, Ding,.....We have a winner. I too, used to line up front ends. KISS...Do all the right things, and do them every time, to every vehicle. That way , you always have your "bench mark". After that, the rest is a simple process of elimination. Robbie


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Dick L:
Some of you have right on the dot.
We start each and every coach evaluation with a 14 mile test drive with the customer along to determine what the coach does under varing conditions and better yet, which of those handling problems that do show up, actually are percieved by the customer to be a problem area. Similar chassis with the same general wheelbase and total weights may affect the customer differently based on their personal driving habits. Some can easliy drive with conditions that we know we can improve, yet if the customer is happy with their coach, I would never suggest they spend money on a repair of a driveablility issue that there are not bothered by as they travel down the road.
After a test drive, we 4 corner weigh all coaches (or 6 corner weigh if a tag axle is present). We will adjust the air pressure when the tires cool down to the recommended pressures based on the weighing. We then jack up the coach and completely check the total suspension for wear and check all tires for wear and born on dates. Next is a complete greasing of the chassis and air brake systems (where present) including the U-Joints and slip yokes. We are amazed at how many coaches are not properly greased and out of those, how many will drive better just by properly greasing the chassis.
Next is a complete wheel alignment check, front - rear and tag axle when present. Adjustments are made and that is all followed up by another shorter test drive to verify that the system (coach suspensions should be considered as complete systems) and the coach drives as good as it should.
Now and only now will we start making recommendations as to enhacements to better the driveability of the coach. You should never suggest or consider an add on suspension enhancement until all of the above is complete and you have a proper baseline to truely check the driveability of your coach. Often, the obvious is overlooked by those that want a quick "fix in a can or a box".
We see and repair close to 400 RV's a year and every one is done in the same manner to attempt to acheive the same results on all units. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
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