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Old 11-03-2020, 06:38 PM   #1
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More Workhorse Handling Issues!!!

I am looking for help with my 2003 Workhorse chassis (motorhome is a 2004 Newmar Scottsdale).

My primary issue is steering free play (including rut tracking) as described as follows: My wheels are not staying pointed in the same direction as my steering wheel. When turning my steering wheel my motorhome wheels are not following my input. In other words, my coach is not going in the exact same direction that I am pointing it!

For this reason when it is windy or road conditions bad I am constantly correcting the steering. In fact during my last trip between AZ and ME (approx. 2500 miles) I did so many corrections (probably literally in the thousands!) that I actually developed carpel tunnel in the hand that was doing the driving (left hand).

Other issues:
1) When I am driving down the highway and there is a slight difference in road height in my lane (often due to construction) I have a very difficult time keeping control of the vehicle….seems it is practically driving itself.
2) When I am driving down the highway and run into wheel ruts left by semis (again in my lane) I again have a very difficult time keeping control of the motorhome….seems it is practically driving itself.
3) I am actually often fairly afraid to pass another vehicle (particularly semis) and only do so when I absolutely have to, as my steering is to loose.
4) My steering problems are compounded by high winds and semis passing me. High winds (say 10-20 mph) are much more of an issue than semis…although I still get a bump from them when they pass me.
5) I often unfortunately have to travel in fairly windy conditions. The motorhome is much easier to drive when it is not windy.

All of the above handling issues were supposed to go away as I made many, many corrections over the years. Here is a list of what has been done to date (or what came OEM):

• OEM 2 ½ inch workhorse stabilizer shaft at back springs
• OEM 2 inch workhorse stabilizer shaft at front springs
• Rear trac bar (Supersteer)
• Front trac bar (Davis TruTrac)
• Roadmaster steering stabilizer…..installed approx. 2017 or 2018
• Rear sway bar (Roadmaster with largest 1 ¾ inch diameter)…..installed late 2019.)
• Front sway bar (Roadmaster……installed 2020)
• Koni FSD gold shocks……installed early 2019
• Alignment in 2019

In other words I have so many handling corrections on this rig I can barely crawl under it!!! Hence my frustration is very great because regardless of what I have done, I still am quite unhappy with the handling. But I should note that handling is actually quite a bit better (and safer) after the last 4 items above were done.

This other information may be of help also:
1) At 30 ½ feet long, my wheelbase to length ratio is about .496 or so (just under 50)....not the best number here.
2) If 50% of rear axle weight should ideally be over the front axle, I am 550 pounds too light on the front axle (recent measured weights when fully loaded were 13,140 lbs in rear and 6020 in front when fully loaded without wife in passenger seat).....again not the best numbers.
3) If you should ideally have 75% of posted GAWR on both axles I am at 75% of GAWR on the front and 90% of GAWR on the rear (or at 87% combined both axles)
4) I am running Samson GL283A tires. Appear to be in good shape. Tire size 245/70R19.5.
5) Tire Inflation is 85 in front wheels and 95 on rear duallys.
6) My recent alignment resulted in correction by the techs of apparently front toe in on both sides.
7) No adjustments of caster has been done. Apparently free play can be improved somewhat when castor is shimmed to approx. 6-7 degrees with the workhorse chassis….and apparently slight inward toe (on front) is helpful also (I find out now)?
8) A rear spring clip was repaired (welded new clip over old one) in early 2019 on passenger side rear. Seems to be holding up well after approx. 14K miles of travel. Is evident that this broken spring clip was allowing side to side movement quite a bit in past (probably before both trac bars were installed which most likely corrected this)

I am mainly trying to figure out where to go from here, what should be done, and in what order.

I am leaning toward: 1st) checking the front end for loose or damaged steering and linkage connections including checking for problems with the steering box and, 2nd) possibly a new front wheel alignment and at the same time adjusting castor to 6-7 degrees with shims.

I am in the Tucson area and am having a hard time finding knowledgeable people to do this type of work down here….any thoughts on that would be appreciated also.

PS – Thanks to Vanwill for his great discussions on this topic about Monaco coaches.
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:31 PM   #2
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Mine was the same way when I took delivery this Jan. It was scary on a 2 lane road. I could hold the steering wheel straight and the RV would wander left/right, and when turning the wheel it felt like there was a delay before I saw any results. Mine has 40K miles, and every steering part was tight, except the bell crank. While laying on ground watching the bellcrank while the wife turned wheel L-R, just enough to take out the slop, I could watch the bell crank shaft move within the bellcrank housing. Ordered one from Supersteer, now its as tight as can be. Had an alignment done afterwards using Hendersons recommendations on settings, made a world of difference. Other than the Bellcrank, nothing else has been touched
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Old 11-04-2020, 07:58 AM   #3
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Since you have already spent thousands on every “upgrade” imaginable, about the only thing left to try is increased castor, which you obviously know about. While the alignment is being done, any competent shop will inspect all the components for worn or broken parts. If adding castor still doesn’t “fix” your issues, may I suggest it MAY be your driving methods that are a factor in you fatigue.
Not trying to blame you, but IF you are too focused on the road immediately in front of you, you can be trying to “micro manage” the steering which can be exhausting. Try looking further down the road, and try not to react to every variation in your position within the lane. Your tires are approximately 8 feet wide and most highway lanes are 12 feet wide. There is nothing “wrong” with using all the width available to you
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Old 11-04-2020, 10:40 AM   #4
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POPULAR MECHANICS MAY 1973:
START QUOTE:
If too little caster exists, the car will wander and weave,
thus necessitating constant corrections in steering.
END QUOTE:
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:40 PM   #5
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Thanks very much for your thoughts edgray. Per your input will check castor and worn components. Probably not a driving issue as I have crossed country (ME to AZ) literally 44 times in last 22 yrs (5th wheel for 15 yrs, cab over camper for 3 yrs, and now this motorhome) and never experienced anything like this. Thanks again for your thoughts.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:48 PM   #6
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Thanks for your input US1......I am guessing something is really wrong somewhere in the front end with steering components, etc. Just hoping it isn't the steering box which I hear can be quite expensive to fix with this particular unit as an aftermarket one from Supersteer is apparently not available for a W-22.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:59 PM   #7
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Questions on Preferred Alignment Settings

As the factory specs. say that there should be no adjustment to castor, does anyone know the preferred castor settings for a W-22? I need to tell the alignment shop something. And hopefully they won't be reluctant to do something not advised by the OEM specs.

Also:

Are shims commonly available at alignment shops?

Are steel shims preferred over aluminum ones?

Should the toe be turned in slightly also, as some have said? If so how far?
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:54 PM   #8
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When I got my P32 the PO had already installed the supersteer bellcrank and I'm guessing because the steering must've been worse than it is now. Mine wanders a bit but nothing like what you describe. Considering this is a fairly inexpensive bolt-on widget it might be worth a try before you go mucking with wheel geometries. Even if it's not a magic bullet at least you will have one less variable.

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Old 11-04-2020, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishmaine View Post
As the factory specs. say that there should be no adjustment to castor, does anyone know the preferred castor settings for a W-22? I need to tell the alignment shop something. And hopefully they won't be reluctant to do something not advised by the OEM specs. Also:

Are shims commonly available at alignment shops?

Are steel shims preferred over aluminum ones?

Should the toe be turned in slightly also, as some have said? If so how far?

MOST of your questions are addressed in this thread: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f22/work...er-511516.html

Especially look at post # 11 therein
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Old 11-04-2020, 07:22 PM   #10
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Mot being real familiar with the OP chasis I am assuming he has a straight axle. Although this is a different model but with a straight axle on my Ford pickups I always had to increase the toe in about a quarter turn in order to get them to track right. One had the twin I-beam and this one has a straight 4WD axle.
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Old 11-06-2020, 09:00 AM   #11
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Thanks to Mark_K5 ...this unit doesn't have a bellcrank just a non-adjustable power steering gear box which is apparently very expensive to replace (w-22) if it is bad. Hoping to make alignment corrections prior to messing with that!

Thanks to Edgray....per your input have reviewed the link you listed and have set up an appointment with an alignment shop to: 1) check and repair the front end, if necessary, 2) adjust castor to approx. 6 degrees.

Thanks to David.....Not sure what to do with toe-in. This is a solid front axle design (I beam) with leaf springs. Some say to adjust toe-in slightly, some say not to mess with it....causes too much tire wear. Last year I had it aligned and at that time they actually adjusted the front toe-in on both front tires back out. From what I now know, this may have been the wrong thing to do, particularly if a slight toe-in may actually help reduce steering free play. Guess I will wait for the alignment shop's input on this one, unless anyone else has any thoughts.
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Old 11-06-2020, 10:23 AM   #12
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You need toe-in, in your steering geometry. Total toe in of 1/8 to 1/4 inch, after the caster has been set, works very well for my W-20 Workhorse. No tire wear at this setting. Set positive caster of 5-6 degrees, strive for setting within 1/2 degree side to side.
Make sure alignment shop checks condition of drag link and tie rod ends for wear.
My short wheelbase 31 foot Allegro has had these settings since shortly after purchasing it new in 2003.
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Old 11-06-2020, 02:28 PM   #13
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Thanks very much for your input Dieselclacker...I am assuming you have a front end suspension set-up virtually identical to mine....I think I'll go with your recommendation!

I don't very often get to talk to anyone with a very, very, short workhorse Class A (my newmar is 30 1/2 feet). Assuming from your helpful note that your handling is pretty good? And that there is some hope that I may finally get a truly drivable RV! Have you had to add any/many aftermarket trac, sway, or steering controls? Any horror stories to get your RV under control or was it fairly good right out of the showroom?

Thanks again.
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Old 11-06-2020, 04:03 PM   #14
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My Workhorse came with 3 and just under 3 degrees of caster, and virtually no toe in. In this condition it had a tendency to wander. Setting the front end to the specs I described helped the wandering greatly. I probably could use a rear track bar, when pulling my toad, the coach has a tendency to dart somewhat on rutted and uneven highways. I am reasonably sure a track bar would improve or eliminate the darting while towing. I really don’t use the motorhome much anymore, probably won’t install one.
My coach has 19.5 tires and wheels. With my weight, I only run 80 psi in front and 85 psi in rear, which I believe helps the ride and drive ability. I run Toyo tires with H load range.
My view on strong crosswinds, not a lot you can do to make it an enjoyable ride. It’s a big flat sided breadbox on a medium truck chassis, and catches a lot of air!
Sweet spot on my coach is at 2100/2200 RPM, which is about 62 mph. It purrs at that setting, is quieter and is more fuel efficient.

Hope you get yours modified to your satisfaction so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
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