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Old 07-23-2015, 01:08 PM   #1
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My Dilemma

Here's the story.......Recently bought 24' Chateau (ford E350 chassis). It drove well empty. I replaced front torsion with Hellwig, added rear Helwig bar, replaced all shocks with Bilsteins. Then I sent to a recommended Alignment shop, with very specific instructions: I wanted +5.5 Caster or better.
Well when I picked it up, the shop owner said all he could get was +4.4, and any more gave iot a pronounced pull to the right. I said I would try it. (Rv was not "loaded' at time of alignment)
I drove it 100+ mi. with a far amount of wind and had to "steer" the whole way. It was not relaxing....ever! Today, on the way back, wind was relatively calm. Things were definitely better; but steering seems "vague" (very light, no feel).
So here are my questions:
-Should I find another alignment shop (how come everyone else can get "5.5 caster or better?)
- Should I by Ingall 594 bushings and insist they use those?
- Would rear airbags help? (water tank was full, but then we boondock)
- how about one of those super "steering" devices, will they solve it, and which one?
- Tire Pressure: I read a lot about weighing RV axles and then matching the tire pressure to the weight..........Is there a chart that gives these tire pressures? Where can I find it?

With all the RVs traveling down the road, driven by "older American males" (like myself); I can not imagine that they all drive as "iffy" as the one I have (not terrible, but not pleasant or relaxing). If they do...... it is no wonder that Stroke is the number two killer of our elderly. They all were probably taking a roadtrip at the time.

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Old 07-23-2015, 01:09 PM   #2
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BTW: I flat tow a '96 Geo Tracker. But the RV doesn't even know it is there

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Old 07-23-2015, 05:32 PM   #3
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Dont mean to be rude.....BUT......

If it drove well empty.....why did you make all those changes before making several trips loaded up so you could properly evaluate the handling?

IMHO, you have added way too much roll stiffness and the body is now steering the chassis.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:40 PM   #4
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The first thing I did with each rig I bought was load it up to normal and get the alignment adjusted, as stated in the owner manuals. Worked!
Best wishes
Dave and Nola, RVM1
The Journey is Our Destination!

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Old 07-23-2015, 06:05 PM   #5
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I assume you haven't had the MH weighed. What tire pressures are you running? Here's Michelin's load and inflation table.
Load & Inflation Tables | Michelin Truck
2014 Itasca Spirit 31K
2016 Mazda CX5, on an Acme tow dolly, 4 trips 5800mi
Now 2017 RWD F 150 with a drive shaft disconnect
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the "Inflation chart. That's what i was looking for.
I had the thing weight today (I'm on a mission). Here's what the results were (Loaded):
Rear........7780 (full water tank, full fuel)

Here is what I discovered while talking to alignment guy today.
The new tires I had put on before the alignment were inflated to:
LF.........62.5 lbs
RF.........72.5 lbs
Rear Duals, both sides.........approx 71 lbs, all
Anyone see a problem?
I deflated the RF to 62.5 and took it back ot the state hwy I just returned on (a God-awful road for ruts, frost heaves, you name it)
with a heavy gusting cross wind.........results: I could drive it with one hand (as opposed to the two handed death grip I had before).
Now I will deflate all the tires to the "chart" recommended pressure and see how that goes.
To address the question of "Why I changed things if it initially drove well"

I should have said "It drove better than it did now......... loaded"
The alignment guy has a similar RV and he was very impressed with the way this one handled and was gonna' add the sway bars to his rig. The rig handles turns much better, cross winds don't bother it too much, passing big rigs are almost a non issue.
I think the "Tire Pressure Anomalies" (62 LF....72 RF) was the big problem. Now to find the sweet spot. (The pressure chart is a good start); But I'm open to any recommended pressure from more experienced RVers.

btw: If you want to have an interesting time......put 10-15 lbs more pressure in only one of your front tires and go take a nice winding road......you'll see what I mean.
When you buy new tires.......trust, but verify.I should have known better.

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