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Old 11-17-2019, 07:35 AM   #1
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Strange popping

We were coming back from a trip to Disney World and we were about 10 miles from home and the motorhome made a strange popping sound. Almost like something locked up and then broke free.

Yesterday I went to move the motorhome and it did it again. I put it in drive and no movement forward and it was stuck, I then put it in reverse and it popped and then I could move it in either direction. I don't know where the pop came from because the wife was not home to help me locate it.

We did blow out a driver's side tire on the way down to Florida. There does not seem to be any damage in the wheel well other than the fuel filler tube was ripped off. Nothing further down the coach.We made it to Disney just fine and to the beach after that.

First thought was brakes, which it may be but strange it did it the first time just driving down the road. Beginning to think it may be the jack shaft u-joints. I may just replace them for piece of mind.If that doesn't fix it then I will start pulling tires.

Has anyone ever changed the jack shaft u-joints on a 1998 Tradition? Where did you order them from?
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:17 AM   #2
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Did you hyper-extend your front jack in order to help with the tire change?

If that's the case, you might have noticed a big rubber cushioning device near the wheel. A rubber bellows type thing...an air bag. When you extend it, the bellows gets some kinks in it and later as you're driving, it POPS as it fills out again...usually caused by bump and lumps in the road...totally random. Takes days of driving sometimes for it to get back to normal.

If you did help jack up the front of the RV, that could be all it is. Nothing to worry about, usually. But it may shorten the life of that air bag.
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Old 11-17-2019, 04:40 PM   #3
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Could be a sticking brake/slack adjuster. Maybe air line got a kink in it from tire issue and air diaphragm is not engaging and disengaging properly.

Unlikely but if brakes are worn significantly, I have heard the brake cam lobe can get stuck at high center.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:59 PM   #4
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Are we talking the poping from the front or rear ?

U joints won't stop the MH from rolling, a stuck brake can.

With helper, get the air pressure up, and have someone push in the parting brake knob, while watching the rear slack adjusters. A normal one will move towards the chamber. A stuck one will hang out where it was before you pushed the brake button in.

As the shoes wear, the S turns more and more. At the last of the S, it can stick, as in the image.

The S cam shafts also require grease. The fitting is often overlooked and buried in dirt. If the dry out, that can also cause sticking.Click image for larger version

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Old 11-22-2019, 11:46 AM   #5
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Since the first time happened while rolling and almost home, I would question it being related to the brakes hanging. Anything is possible, but I would be more inclined to suspect a foreign object in the rear axle or possibly the transmission. It's easy enough to ensure the slack adjusters/ cams are not binding. Chock the wheels and release the brakes. Then you should be able to pull out on the slack adjuster and have freedom of motion. Both sides should feel the same. As mentioned, a bad u joint definitely would not have these symptoms.



Good luck.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:33 AM   #6
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The first time it did it we were going about 45 miles an hour. Had not used the brakes in over 2 miles. I will see if I can narrow it down.
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Old 11-23-2019, 10:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by chiefM View Post
The first time it did it we were going about 45 miles an hour. Had not used the brakes in over 2 miles. I will see if I can narrow it down.



That almost certainly eliminates the brakes. Unfortunately, it is most likely rearend related or possibly transmission. There just is not much that can be responsible for the symptoms you experienced. Either way, it would be best to take it to a shop to have it checked out before more damage occurs. Hopefully it will be relatively cheap and easy to locate/ repair at this time.



Good luck!
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Old 11-23-2019, 05:12 PM   #8
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I'm guessing your American Coach has IFS, if so at that year model I'm sure the ball joints are a problem.
Once they wear out you'll get a popping, creaking sound.

I'm not sure the "not moving" issue is related.
Sometimes a shoe will rust fast to a drum after parking and all at once break free..... usually after rain or washing the wheel end or somehow water got between drum and shoe.
If it ain't made that noise again, probably a non event.

These coach's were notorious for the rubber protective boot to fail allowing the now exposed joint to wear out in a hurry.

If you can safely get under coach, take a look at them.
However you'll need to jack each wheel up to check joints.
A search here will provide you lots of IFS ball joint threads.

.....to answer your last question, the u-joints in the drive shaft are a common truck part that you can get at ant heavy truck parts store or truck dealer in your area.
Have you greased them? The u-joints will have a grease fitting on them (there's 2 of the joints)
But honestly the issue you described don't sound like a drive line problem.

But does point out the need that the brake s-cams and slack adjusters could also need greasing....
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