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Old 04-22-2020, 04:37 PM   #1
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Ford F-53 toe-in

Hi,
It seems like there are a lot of knowledgeable folks in this forum so I am hoping for some expert answers to my questions! I have a 2020 Thor Hurricane 29M on a 2019 Ford F-53 chassis. (<5k miles) I am the second owner. I drove it from Michigan to Texas and back this year and the whole way the front end was wandering back and forth slightly, worse with a cross wind. It was very tiring to drive. All the way to Texas and back I kept thinking that perhaps the toe-in was not set correctly, causing the wandering. So before I made any modification$ I wanted to check it. I drove it straight ahead 15’-20’ then stopped and measured the toe-in. According to my very careful measurements I had 1/8” of toe-OUT! So I backed up and drove ahead again and retook the measurements, it was still the same, 1/8” toe-out. Since it is an almost new coach and the tie rod ends are not rusted I loosened the pinch bolts and lengthened the tie rod ¼ turn, which seemed to me like it should change the toe-in by only a small amount. After the adjustment I backed up and drove ahead again and took another measurement. This time I had 1/8” (or very slightly less) of toe-IN. I didn’t think that ¼ turn would make that big of a change. I then took the coach out for an 8 mile road test. When I returned and re-measured, it was the same, still 1/8” of toe-in. I did not notice a big difference in the handling though, it still wandered a little, but maybe a slight improvement. My questions for the group are:

What is the official Ford spec for toe-in on my coach, or where do I find it?

Does it seem right that I had that much change in the toe-in with only ¼ turn on the tie rod?

The coach is almost empty now; as opposed to being almost fully loaded on our Texas trip. Could loading make a significant change in the actual toe-in?

I am just measuring with two straight edges and a tape measure so I realize it is not the most precise method, but I am careful and it is repeating. I plan to get a professional alignment as soon as things open back up around here. In the meantime, after reading many, many posts on this topic, I ordered a rear trac-bar. I just received it yesterday, so I will be installing it soon and hoping that will reduce the wandering significantly.
BTW, I did the CHF before the Texas trip and I thought the sway was acceptable, even when being passed by trucks on the expressway. Other aspects of the handling seemed ok too, it was just the continuous wandering that bothered me.
-Ken
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:42 PM   #2
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+ caster

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:

Your RV has too little positive caster, it should be in the range of +5 to +6 degrees.
Caster on the F53 is adjusted using wedges between the spring and axel. Contact a heavy truck suspension shop for best results.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:00 PM   #3
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If the RV is more nose down then level you will have less +caster then the +caster you would have if the RV were level or nose up.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:01 PM   #4
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Toe does not affect wandering.
Toe affects tire wear
Toe can absolutely change due to vehicle loading.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:32 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=tfryman;5235023

Toe can absolutely change due to vehicle loading.[/QUOTE]

Explain that.
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:55 PM   #6
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Try installing a Safe-T- Plus bar. Did wonders for my wondering F-53 steering experience!
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Old 04-22-2020, 05:59 PM   #7
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I'm curious about what your tire pressures are set to.
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:08 PM   #8
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Alignment

All of these F-53 suggestions will be similar with alignment, weighing for proper tire pressure, casters added, Saf-T-Plus, Trac-Bar on rear differential, heavier and/or additional sway bars (rear)….

Ours also was not level in the front and we added a spacer on the right side too. They all have similarities but the specifics of your Hurricane can only be answered if you actually take it to a reputable RV or truck alignment shop. They will tell you what is going on and get you in the right direction as to what to do with it.

I will add that on our 2019 (2018 F-53) we have done/added everything that has been commented on by others in the past short of installing the $15k LiquidSprings (now being offered on some gas Tiffins and Newmar 26k chassis). Our rig is actually fun and relaxing to drive, even in some non-crazy levels of wind. Hope this helps. Forgot one thing- I know I will be beat up for this but we did NOT do the CHF because the shop I go to has advised me that they are often having to repair them after they break from the stress. All I know is that our rig drives nicely now and that's what I wanted.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:30 PM   #9
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See if this post helps: https://www.irv2.com/forums/f23/2020...is-468059.html

https://robrobinette.com/ConvertToeDegreesToInches.htm

Ray
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvard View Post
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:

Your RV has too little positive caster, it should be in the range of +5 to +6 degrees.
Caster on the F53 is adjusted using wedges between the spring and axel. Contact a heavy truck suspension shop for best results.
Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with your thoughts on this subject. First, who wrote the statement for Popular Mechanics 50 years ago and how much did he know about motorhome handling characteristics? The caster setting on a motorhome needs to be different to maintain the same trail measurement that a car has. Toe and camber is measured down where the rubber meets the road. Trail is also measured down where the rubber meets the road and the caster angle is how you set the trail. You determine the trail you want, then calculate back to the caster angle that is needed. The bigger the tire diameter, the longer the trail measurement is, so a smaller the caster angle is needed to maintain the proper trail. When i had F53's with 19.5" tires, about 3* was good. With the 22.5" tires I have now, about 2.5* is good. My current settings are 2.3* driver wheel and 2.6* passenger wheel. My last four coaches have been set up this way and needless to say, alignment techs really don't understand it. Putting big caster settings on motorhomes will allow the wind to blow you all over the road.

If the RV is more nose down then level you will have less +caster then the +caster you would have if the RV were level or nose up.

Your statement indicates the caster changes with the pitch of the body, nose up or nose down, and that isn't true. Only the suspension is compressed or relaxed with the pitch of the body, the axle position and orientation stays exactly the same in relation to the ground, where the rubber meets the road.

I can offer demonstrations to support every thing I claim.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alank View Post
Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with your thoughts on this subject. First, who wrote the statement for Popular Mechanics 50 years ago and how much did he know about motorhome handling characteristics? The caster setting on a motorhome needs to be different to maintain the same trail measurement that a car has. Toe and camber is measured down where the rubber meets the road. Trail is also measured down where the rubber meets the road and the caster angle is how you set the trail. You determine the trail you want, then calculate back to the caster angle that is needed. The bigger the tire diameter, the longer the trail measurement is, so a smaller the caster angle is needed to maintain the proper trail. When i had F53's with 19.5" tires, about 3* was good. With the 22.5" tires I have now, about 2.5* is good. My current settings are 2.3* driver wheel and 2.6* passenger wheel. My last four coaches have been set up this way and needless to say, alignment techs really don't understand it. Putting big caster settings on motorhomes will allow the wind to blow you all over the road.

If the RV is more nose down then level you will have less +caster then the +caster you would have if the RV were level or nose up.

Your statement indicates the caster changes with the pitch of the body, nose up or nose down, and that isn't true. Only the suspension is compressed or relaxed with the pitch of the body, the axle position and orientation stays exactly the same in relation to the ground, where the rubber meets the road.

I can offer demonstrations to support every thing I claim.
1. Did you notice the in the first link given by NXR there is an F53 alignment report showing a LH caster of +7.1 degrees and a RH caster of +7.3. When compared to your data how can one F53 have +7.5 and another set to +2.5 degrees? What are the caster specs for the 22.5 inch F53s?

2. Given a vehicle with a 240 inch wheel base: If I add 2 inches of height above the rear wheels (more nose down) the front end caster angle will be reduced by 0.5 degrees (less +caster).
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Old 04-23-2020, 05:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantaemail View Post
Try installing a Safe-T- Plus bar. Did wonders for my wondering F-53 steering experience!
Thanks, as a matter of fact I have a Safe-T-Plus sitting on the bench next to my trac-bar. I plan to do the modifications one at a time to determine how much each one helps.
-Ken
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Old 04-23-2020, 05:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
I'm curious about what your tire pressures are set to.
I have Goodyear 19.5" tires. The inflation chart from Goodyear says for my weight I should inflate to 85 psi front and rear so that is what I left Michigan with. Coming back from Texas I kicked the pressure up to 90 psi. It did not stop the wandering but it might have made a little difference. Coming back I had the fresh water tank full (due to cold weather I had to leave it empty on the way down) also which added another 400+ pounds on the RH side midway between the axles. This, like everything else, could have had an effect on the handling.
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Old 04-23-2020, 05:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl II View Post
All of these F-53 suggestions will be similar with alignment, weighing for proper tire pressure, casters added, Saf-T-Plus, Trac-Bar on rear differential, heavier and/or additional sway bars (rear)….

Ours also was not level in the front and we added a spacer on the right side too. They all have similarities but the specifics of your Hurricane can only be answered if you actually take it to a reputable RV or truck alignment shop. They will tell you what is going on and get you in the right direction as to what to do with it.

I will add that on our 2019 (2018 F-53) we have done/added everything that has been commented on by others in the past short of installing the $15k LiquidSprings (now being offered on some gas Tiffins and Newmar 26k chassis). Our rig is actually fun and relaxing to drive, even in some non-crazy levels of wind. Hope this helps. Forgot one thing- I know I will be beat up for this but we did NOT do the CHF because the shop I go to has advised me that they are often having to repair them after they break from the stress. All I know is that our rig drives nicely now and that's what I wanted.
Thanks Earl II,
I have come to the conclusion that if I want to enjoy driving this rig I will have to spend some more cash. I appreciate your post, it gives me hope that I too will eventually get this sorted out. I only hope that by doing this methodically I will be able to minimize the cost.
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