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Old 04-18-2015, 01:54 PM   #1
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Track Bar for F-53 Chassis Homebuilt

Hi,
Many (40+) have requested pictures & information regarding my rear Track Bar (TB) build for our 2014 WBGO coach on a 2013 chassis for under $50. To expand the coverage & include more information I decided to start a thread devoted to it. And it will save me some time typing notes to those interested in doing the MOD. Yep!! it works great to stop the tail wag, and semi blow by.

First I'll set some guide lines based on varying skill levels then post some pics.
If you own or have access to the necessary metal welding, drilling and cutting tools that's one approach. If you don't then there's another way. You can build the differential (DF) plate and frame bracket out of 1/2" ply wood then take it to a metal shop for them to (copy) build. Most TB's commercially cost between $300-$600 I'm sure you can have a metal shop build your prototype for less than $100.

The contraption connecting the DF and the frame bracket is called a, "Top Link" (TL). They are available from any Tractor or Farm Supply store for less than $30. The one that I used is a CAT 1 TL and is 17" closed and 26" open. You'll know it's a CAT 1 TL because the through bolts are 3/4" in diameter. My TB has been on for over 8,000 miles with no issues so I know you won't need a bigger TL. When I installed the TL I tried to get as many threads inside the rotating sleeve as possible for maximum holding power.

I don't know all the different DF designs that ford used over the years but MODS can be made to compensate for them I'm sure. I'd just need some pictures if your DF does not look like mine. The DF plate is just a free formed design so the plate can be bolted to the DF and then is high enough so the TL is close to level with the coach down on the ground.

I used 1/2" plate steel for the bracket and the DF plate. I'm sure you could use 3/8" but I figured why not use the heavier stuff for better support?? The weight difference is not much. I also used 4 of the DF bolts instead of 3 as some others have done. I don't want anything coming loose. Also torque and use blue lock tight on all bolts for extra safety. Take one of the bolts to a good store and get 4 new bolts, same grade, but 1/2" longer.

I'll post about 1/2 0f my pics now but add more later to cover making the DF plate so the bolt holes will absolutely match.

PM me if you have any questions and also please include your e-mail address to avoid the forum e-mail.

Thanks, & good luck with the build.
TeJay
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:40 PM   #2
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Looks good. I need to make the differential plate for my 2001.
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Old 04-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #3
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Tenant gave me the info on the top link and when I went to get one I found a tractor stabilizer bracket for about $16 I used this to mount to the frame to hold the frame end of the link. Hardest part for most will be the differential bracket Tejay mentioned. It is well worth the effort and great for saving the money to put elsewhere!
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:09 PM   #4
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Nice clean build. But have you ever noticed that ALL OEM and professional built track bars have either rubber or urethane isolator bushings and are much longer. Wonder what those engineers know?

Richard
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLS7201 View Post
Nice clean build. But have you ever noticed that ALL OEM and professional built track bars have either rubber or urethane isolator bushings and are much longer. Wonder what those engineers know?

Richard
The rubber bushings no doubt still provide a little give but that give probably translates into maintenance. The linger trac bar would probably provide a little more stabilization but I doubt anyone we know could tell the difference. Not all companies are using long bars though. Of course the flip side of no bushings may cause wear in a different place
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:46 AM   #6
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Richard,
The operative word is "isoator" bushing. We are trying to control leaf spring side to side movement (wind gusts) by tying frame and differential together. I see your point and I'm not an engineer either but I don't see much advantage to a bushing which as mentioned (Knightab) could be an area of eventual service.

Also since some don't use bushings and I've seen no issues so far I'll stick with it. If it became necessary one could install some poly bushings.

TeJay
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:51 AM   #7
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When I was racing formula cars which puts a lot of stress and strain on the outboard suspension components, I never once had to replace a rod eye. Using this logic my motorhome will probably never need attention in that area during the rest of my time owning it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:16 AM   #8
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The longer the track bar, the less horizontal movement of the axle as the track bar swings up and down.

I drew this up (for another thread) as I wanted to see how much horizontal movement could be expected with a 24 inch bar.

When the track bar is parallel to the axle, and the axle moves vertically 4 inches. The track bar pivots at the frame and causes the axle to move horizontally (back and forth) by 3/8 of an inch.

Longer track bar - Theoretically, if you could make the track bar twice as long (48 inches) That same 4 inch vertical travel would only produce 3/16 inch of horizontal travel.

So why did I choose 24 inches;

1) Very inexpensive 21 inch bar is available from Tractor supply.

2) There isn't a lot of room between the frame rails, both vertically and horizontally to implement a track bar system any longer.

3) The horizontal deflection from a 24 inch bar is acceptable to me and can be reduced by how the bar is initially installed.

When I install mine, I'll attempt to make it so when the MH is loaded, the bar will be slanted upward so the axle end of the bar will be about 2 inches higher than the frame end. This way, when the axle moves down 4 inches, the axle should only deflect a total of 3/16 total.

4) I think bushings would be better than a solid swivel joint, but I don't think the improvement would be worth the additional cost, again, considering the extreme low cost of the bar. I don't think bushings in the bar would pick up any significant horizontal forces being induced into the axle. Most of the horizontal movement will be absorbed by the leafs twisting and the leaf spring bushings.

..
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiter21 View Post
The longer the track bar, the less horizontal movement of the axle as the track bar swings up and down.

I drew this up (for another thread) as I wanted to see how much horizontal movement could be expected with a 24 inch bar.

If the track bar is set parallel to the axle, then the axle moves vertically 4 inches. The track bar will swing will cause the axle to move horizontally by 3/8 of an inch.

Theoretically, if you could make the track bar twice as long (48 inches) The same 4 inch vertical travel would only produce 3/16 inch of horizontal travel.

So why did I choose 24 inches;

1) Very inexpensive 21 inch bar is available from Tractor supply.

2) The horizontal diflection is acceptable to me and can be reduced by how the bar is initially installed.

When I install mine, I'll attempt to make it so when the MH is loaded, the bar will be slanted upward so the axle end of the bar will be about 2 inches higher than the frame end. This way, when the axle moves down 4 inches, the axle should only deflect a total of 3/16 total.
Excellent review!
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:42 AM   #10
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Here is a drawing that shows 4 inches of vertical travel that passes through a plane parallel to the axle. I think this would be the ideal way to mount the bar.

This drawing is to scale.

..
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:16 AM   #11
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I spent a lot more for replacement front sway bar and additional rear sway bar and track bar, but really helped the 2012 F53 chasis. Check out Rally's "R" Us, this guy goes to rally's and installs equip. at your site. I'm not much of a mechanic, but the fix in this thread looks good. Dave
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:23 AM   #12
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Waiter21,
I remember reading you previous thread concerned with the rod movement. That was a good analysis and worth the read. Thanks !!

When I installed mine the rod was lower at the DF. I do understand but with 8,000 miles on it an no issues I'll leave it that way for another 4-6,000 miles and keep a close eye on it.

TeJay
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:07 PM   #13
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Here's the additional pics regarding cutting a template for the DF plate, which is the more difficult part of the MOD.

The paper I used is some stiff paper that I got at surplus. It's about like index stock. It's heavy but can be cut, with the hammer against the cast iron, easily. My ball peen hammer is way to big for this but it did work. You can see from the pics where the rounded end (peened) is used. One pics shows bolts placed into the holes already cut. That's very important. That's how you hold the paper in place so you can cut the remaining holes. The sheet of template paper does not shift. If it does the holes won't match.

I looked at the post and I think you'll get the idea. I've cut hundreds of gaskets over the years.

TeJay
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:10 PM   #14
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The previous post is a demonstration on how to make a gasket or template and I was using an air compressor that blew up on me for the demonstration.

TeJay
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