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Old 10-08-2020, 08:56 AM   #1
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Wheel slop. Driver fatigue

On a recent trip back from Phoenix to Vegas I realized I was wiped out from driving. Not a windy day or anything unusual. I called terry at Kenai suggesting it might be time to look
at a 42 or 40 foot coach thinking it would be easier to drive. He suggested looking at the steering. This is what I have


https://youtu.be/6W97gFLcyQc

The guy in the video is from a suspension shop in Vegas. He said nothing unusual below the coach and the issue is from the wheel into the box. Suggested seeking advice from those that know these coaches and whatís normal.

Butch says too much play and investigate steering box replacement or adjustments

Any thoughts or suggestions on next step. ?
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Old 10-08-2020, 01:29 PM   #2
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I hear you, and with a total of under 400 miles on our new to us 07 Magna 45' Rembrandt, and tad under $11K of suspension refresh at Kaiser Brake & Alignment - have about 1/2" play now in our steering while going down the highway 'on center'. On a 40K mile coach. (Note: I had all air bags replaced, and had Kaiser put on their Drive/Drag Link conversation kit, at the same time that they refreshed the suspension in prep for next year I think we'll add Active Air.)

I knew the coach's steering was loose when I bought it, about 3/4- 7/8 in play at that time. Kaiser found the rear end had the wear of about 120-130L + mies on it, probably from the first owner driving with a heavy trailer on the back, and not having the trailer brakes properly adjusted, so the rear end of the coach was doing the lion share...

As you learned, the Sheppard M110 boxes are part of the problem. Non adjustable, as the TRW's were. A company in Washington will 'blueprint' a box for you. But Kaiser's feedback was even those could have as much play as I'm seeing in my steering now. Premier's input was it's an inherent part of the design to accommodate the sloped windshield, requiring two extra arms to connect to each side of the axles for steering. Each one of those arms, as well as the angle of the steering wheel shaft, all add up to 'play/slop'.

Compared to our 80K mile Allure, non sloping windshield, and two less arms involved to connect to the steer axles, disappointing to see the 'play' of the Magna/Affinity top of the line coaches.

I want to go get a few thousand miles and see how it goes for us. Not really much else can be done, that I know of. Possibly set toe in a bit more to help tracking, but don't know if that will help or not, and probably a tad more wear on the steer tires by doing so.

TRW/Comfort Steer like conversion? Maybe Blue-Ox TruCenter conversion? Maybe Safety-T steering dampener conversion? Maybe find and old Howard Steering systems, and rebuild it and convert it to these chassis?

A heck of a lot of funds invested, and more going in, for a 10 year planned usage horizon - to have a coach that could be less then stellar in long distant traveling. (And note, I want to go see how I feel after a few days of 5-7 hour traveling. I know many owner's as do you Tom, that have high miles on these 05+ Magna/Affinity coaches. Luther has over 200K! And they are fine coaches for sure!!! Whining in advance, and as mentioned disappointed this is even an issue for this level of coach.)

Will follow this thread, and see if other may have solved or helped this situation!

Best to you, and all,
Smitty
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Old 10-08-2020, 01:34 PM   #3
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The company in Washington state that "blueprints" Sheppard steering boxes to reduce play: https://redheadsteeringgears.com/
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Old 10-08-2020, 04:45 PM   #4
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Thanks Smitty and Wolfe. I called the Washington company. They charge about 500 to rebuild Now I have to get the exact part number. Iíve called kevin Waite. Iím out of town but can climb underneath I suppose when I get back unless these are universal for our coaches and someone has the number

Anyone?
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Old 10-08-2020, 06:27 PM   #5
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Have you looked a Safety Steer type add on. It really took out the slop of my coach steering.
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Old 10-08-2020, 06:39 PM   #6
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Don't rebuild it. Buy a replacement TRW and install. You can adjust the slop out to 0. Basically.

There are two monster threads on this change out on the Monaco and HR RV's.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/mon...on-249622.html

Spend at least a few minutes and run through some of the threads.

There are many many of us that have changed them out and have a new coach. No more S turning down the road, the see sawing goes away.

We have a 42 footer and it was an absolute white knuckle beast from brand new. No amount of alignments, safe-t-plus, or other add ons did nearly as much as the steering box. Easy enough change out and there are folks that can help with the matchup. TRW has been fantastic to work with.
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Old 10-08-2020, 07:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YC1 View Post
Don't rebuild it. Buy a replacement TRW and install. You can adjust the slop out to 0. Basically.

There are two monster threads on this change out on the Monaco and HR RV's.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f115/mon...on-249622.html

Spend at least a few minutes and run through some of the threads.

There are many many of us that have changed them out and have a new coach. No more S turning down the road, the see sawing goes away.

We have a 42 footer and it was an absolute white knuckle beast from brand new. No amount of alignments, safe-t-plus, or other add ons did nearly as much as the steering box. Easy enough change out and there are folks that can help with the matchup. TRW has been fantastic to work with.

I talked over doing the TRW swap out with Kaiser, the Monaco Roadmaster Series chassis this will work, but due to the CC's IFS specifics, he said it will not work for us... Would do this in a heartbeat, if that turns out to be wrong!

And Tomy, call and talk with Kaiser for input on the blue print rebuild. They've said they've had rebuilt units come in that were very tight, and others that had the same amount of play as the units they were replacing. Now the devil is in th detail of that conversation, and I can't recall if they're opinion on the 'blue printed' units... Worth the phone call to talk over.

I jokingly call Cary the 'Chassis Whisperer'! Jen is very sharp on all things suspension too... Both are good people (Though they have some vicious dogs in the office at times! (Look like hush puppies to me!))

Best to all,
Smitty
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Old 10-08-2020, 07:53 PM   #8
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On our '06 Intrigue we had road wander. Henderson's in Grants Pass put check valves in the air lines for the suspension. Steering and corrections improved tremendously. I suspect our IFS is the same as an '05 Magna, but don't know that.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tmyz View Post
On a recent trip back from Phoenix to Vegas I realized I was wiped out from driving. Not a windy day or anything unusual. I called terry at Kenai suggesting it might be time to look
at a 42 or 40 foot coach thinking it would be easier to drive. He suggested looking at the steering. This is what I have


https://youtu.be/6W97gFLcyQc

The guy in the video is from a suspension shop in Vegas. He said nothing unusual below the coach and the issue is from the wheel into the box. Suggested seeking advice from those that know these coaches and whatís normal.

Butch says too much play and investigate steering box replacement or adjustments

Any thoughts or suggestions on next step. ?

One thing to check over very carefully is the actual components. The pitman arm is connected to a drag link. Both ends have joints. Then in goes to a cross link that also has a joint at each end then there are the right an left tie rods again having a joint at each end. I believe smitty had kieser replace his crosslink and had the transfer unit re-machined to accept us standard taper ends. The front ends on these units have non-standard tapers what i believe inferior design tie rod ends. Standard us tie rod ends will not work on any of the system .Hendersons has a manufacture that makes an ok end that is speced for your front end. I found several thousands discrepancy in my exiting ends so replace both tie rods and the drag link. The cross-link was still tight. Also you need to have the engine running to check clearance. I use a dial indicator with a magnet base and measure the movement. Once you have this information you will be able to know whats really loose.
Hope this helps.
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Old 10-08-2020, 11:50 PM   #10
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Is this steering slop issue a chronic problem in all of these Magna/Affinity or just some? Haven't seen any comments or complaints in following this forum for two years. Was beginning to look for these models and years.
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Old 10-09-2020, 12:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IASM View Post
One thing to check over very carefully is the actual components. The pitman arm is connected to a drag link. Both ends have joints. Then in goes to a cross link that also has a joint at each end then there are the right an left tie rods again having a joint at each end. I believe smitty had kieser replace his crosslink and had the transfer unit re-machined to accept us standard taper ends. The front ends on these units have non-standard tapers what i believe inferior design tie rod ends. Standard us tie rod ends will not work on any of the system .Hendersons has a manufacture that makes an ok end that is speced for your front end. I found several thousands discrepancy in my exiting ends so replace both tie rods and the drag link. The cross-link was still tight. Also you need to have the engine running to check clearance. I use a dial indicator with a magnet base and measure the movement. Once you have this information you will be able to know whats really loose.
Hope this helps.
Hi ISAM - Yes, much better job describing the components involved. And yes, Kaiser has a kit that they machine to add the US standard, as the German component was no longer manufactured.

I will be reaching out to Kaiser again, to see if they feel if I gave them more time they can dial things in any better - but not hopeful. (The week were their, was after the recent round of Oregon fires and heavy smoke, etc. was going on. So not normal time. Parts delivery delays from the fires/smoke and us needing to get to our next appointment a Premier. I again want to repeat that the on center play is much less then it was... And I've only driven the coach from Eugene to Junction City, more work/upgrades at Premier, and then over to Newport, OR - so less then 200 miles since the work was completed, and I have not talked with Kaiser since I left.

I want to get out and get a few thousand miles of driving, to learn our coach on the open road, and for multiple hours. I do feel the adjustment of correcting from slack in the steering, was noticeable to me on the run from Junction City to Newport, less then what my 'vast' 300 miles on the coach from my purchase was, but nonetheless, noticeable enough that I comment on it here.

(And to be clear. No knock intended to Kaiser in anyway. Cary and Jen were both very professional and good communication.)

After I get some seat time, I'll ask them for any other recommended steps to improve the slack feel. Including the more conversations about the Sheppard M110.

When we first bought our 04 Allure, it took me about 6-9 months to dial in the suspension. (Porpoising IFS shocks; Weak front sway bar brackets; Henderson's Supersteer Motion Control Unit Check Valves (Replaced two years later with Source Engineerings Comfort Control Valves.), and other modifications. So will keep networking on improving the Magna's overall handling.

Best,
Smitty
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Old 10-09-2020, 12:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griffin379 View Post
Is this steering slop issue a chronic problem in all of these Magna/Affinity or just some? Haven't seen any comments or complaints in following this forum for two years. Was beginning to look for these models and years.
Well from my feedback, after I choose this coach and started working on what I assumed was a mechanical issue that needed addressing - I feel I've picked up that some looseness/slack at 'on center' is the norm(?).

Hopefully other 05+ generation Magna/Affinity owner's will share their perceptions too.

I've talked to a few other owner's since my purchase, and they say they don't even notice the slight numbness, slack at on center as they drive - they now automatically adjust as needed. And some say they often find on a crowned road, they can get to a position where minimal wandering occurs... I do need more seat time to see if can get that perception too - and hope that I do!

And heck, maybe another owner will jump in and say 'Just add the Acme Solve-It-All component, and all will be fine ahead...

Best,
Smitty
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Old 10-09-2020, 01:18 AM   #13
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I like the front suspension and it seems to run out fine but one has to understand what its forced to do. On a straight axle truck camber does not change much so if tow is set then you track good.
On these motorhomes with independent suspension about the only time there right is when they are on the frame rack. This presents challenges for us to try to stop the up and down movement that throws the suspension off.
Most roads are worn with a channel in the paving which is helpful to truckers but with a wide body motorhome we are likely never in the groove.
Shocks-Most trucks have a frame mounted shock dropping to a spring perch. This creates a 1 to 1 load ratio and due to rubber 16000lb fronts are normal so 8000 per side need to be controlled. The kirkstall has a rating of 18 to 20000 with them more likely controlling 20000 dynamically . The shock control points are about half the distance between wheel and the a frame bushings so this results in a 2 to 1 ratio.What this means is you have to have a shock that can control 20000 per side.proposing,bouncing and front corner leaning are a result of the shock being unable to control the force. I have 3 inch diameter king shocks on my front and they are a beast.Just based on piston size the are about three time efficient.
Another thing is the flow control systems that go to your bags.What these do is restrict how fast a bag can deflate and inflate.when turning a corner you will feel the coach lean.I the shock cant hold then air will move from the compressed bag over to the inflate bag . the flow resisters slow this process taking some load off the shocks.
Another issue is tag load The tags usually hold 8 to 10k. Tag take more then more is added to the front. I read a post one time about a fellow who had a harley on the back and the coach was squirley when he took it off coach handled fine.Perhaps taking a few pound of the tag and lighten the front or vice versa.
One last note then i will stop.I could go all night.
Our roads are so bad and grooves so prominent that one cant drive like a car. If the machine was to drift a bit be a little slower on your steering .it likely will come back on its own.dont try to hold i line and keeps your eyes down road. dont look at the pavement if front of your windshield.
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Old 10-09-2020, 12:33 PM   #14
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Smitty and all: Interesting problem. My input may or may not help, BUT..Years ago I owned a 1976 GMC 26 FT PALM BEACH MH, FWD/OLDS 455 which had independent aka Toronado steering and a tandem rear. So, lots of wandering and much was rightly said that our roads were tough to drive. However, I did take the steering box out to a guy who rebuilt these to orig specs. Mine had an adj nut but with 130K miles, needed a rebuild for output shaft play, etc. So, as I was leaving the shop I asked about how important the alignment of the pitman arm to the alignment mark on the steering box for centering! This is a big deal! As explained to me, there is a mechanical centering and hydraulic reinforcement resulting in null wink on the steering box/gears. My GMC had too many attempts to fix a wandering problem. So, how to fix?? Still talking GMC...I adjusted the toe in/out to both wheels to get my On center relationship for the steering box. Problem fixed!
My adjustment was much simpler compared to our CC. BUT, is it possible that the Shepard box has a centering Mark to establish a 'NULL wink' REFERENCE ??
The GMC steer box tech told me if you don't establish that 'null wink ' then you wasted your time to have a real fix. The box will still be sloppy when driving.
I have looked at my 2002 Allure in the past but did not inspect for an alignment mark. Not having a problem but while under there for general inspection....
Problem is locating where the gaps are as they seem to add up over the length of the linkage.
Are we having fun yet?
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