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Old 05-26-2021, 11:03 PM   #15
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Finished the repair today. It wasn't as bad as I dreaded. I used a solid filler piece and fillet welded the pieces at the break. Will follow up with a gusset at the top just to tie the bottom piece in securely. I'll be posting some pictures and more info in the next few days.
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Old 05-27-2021, 06:49 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT-Tech View Post
Finished the repair today. It wasn't as bad as I dreaded. I used a solid filler piece and fillet welded the pieces at the break. Will follow up with a gusset at the top just to tie the bottom piece in securely. I'll be posting some pictures and more info in the next few days.
Glad to hear that you got the repair done successfully.

I would now suggest that you check your thrust angle at the rear axle. Having the rear axle the slightest amount fore or aft on either side can affect thrust angle and create a push/pull affect on handling. I'm not saying you didn't get it exactly vertical when repaired but even an 1/8" off and moving the drive axle forward or back can affect the thrust angle enough to feel it in the handling.

When I had a pull in my Dynasty years ago, I ended up only moving the drive axle 5/32" to compensate and correct the handling. Might be worth having it checked now to just to confirm.
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:40 AM   #17
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Glad to hear that you got the repair done successfully.

I would now suggest that you check your thrust angle at the rear axle. Having the rear axle the slightest amount fore or aft on either side can affect thrust angle and create a push/pull affect on handling. I'm not saying you didn't get it exactly vertical when repaired but even an 1/8" off and moving the drive axle forward or back can affect the thrust angle enough to feel it in the handling.

When I had a pull in my Dynasty years ago, I ended up only moving the drive axle 5/32" to compensate and correct the handling. Might be worth having it checked now to just to confirm.
We were very relieved that it didn't turn out to be more work than it was. I have friend that is a retired diesel shop service manager that was good moral support and accountability partner. Can't believe we got it done in two days and we made our Memorial Day outing. Without his help and the info I've read here I don't think I would have attempted it. I was more concerned about how to support the coach and suspension during the repair than the repair itself. Blocking the frame off of the rear axle "H" frame worked very well and kept everything parallel during the repair. I'll be posting some pictures and more info later.

I read your info on the thrust angle and it is on my list to get it checked and adjust it if needed.

I haven't thoroughly read the info on the watts link, but I think I see that coming, too. We're planning on keeping the old girl for a while, so want to make things right.
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Old 05-31-2021, 09:58 AM   #18
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We were very relieved that it didn't turn out to be more work than it was. I have friend that is a retired diesel shop service manager that was good moral support and accountability partner. Can't believe we got it done in two days and we made our Memorial Day outing. Without his help and the info I've read here I don't think I would have attempted it. I was more concerned about how to support the coach and suspension during the repair than the repair itself. Blocking the frame off of the rear axle "H" frame worked very well and kept everything parallel during the repair. I'll be posting some pictures and more info later.

I read your info on the thrust angle and it is on my list to get it checked and adjust it if needed.

I haven't thoroughly read the info on the watts link, but I think I see that coming, too. We're planning on keeping the old girl for a while, so want to make things right.
Awesome report. Glad to hear you were able to make your trip. Looking forward to the pictures.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:55 PM   #19
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Update on repairs:

So we managed to get things welded back together enough to make a short planed trip for Memorial Day weekend. Shocks and airbags for the rear axle were not expected to arrive for at least a week, so I figured I would install the gussets and fish plates when I installed them.

Here are a few pictures of the filler bar arrangement. I used a combination of a 1-1/2 x 2" flat bar and a 3/4 x 1-1/2" flat bar to get to the 2-1/4" thickness I wanted to get full contact on the front and back inside faces of the vertical strut tubes. I didn't care about the sides and using the narrower bars allowed me to clear the seam weld inside the vertical strut. I still had to grind the corners a bit on the 2" wide bar to get it to clear the inside radius of the verticals. A little work with a flap disc was required to remove some of the rolling slag from the bars so they would fit with a little encouragement from my 8 pound sledge.

I pre-installed the bars in the lower sections that had broken off and left about 4-1/2" extending out the top to fit up into the upper pieces still attached to the frame rails. I cut some windows in the sides of the lower tubes and plug welded these to secure them to the solid filler bars. I ground a bevel at the break along the flats of the tube, but left the corners to make sure I had good alignment with the original positions. The welds aren't the prettiest I've ever done, but they are plenty strong.

Anyway, we made it out and back and now I'm working on finishing the gussets, replacing the air-bags and the shocks. If I get real ambitious I may work on my 6 packs to cure a few leaks there, too.
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:22 PM   #20
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I have everything blocked-up again and started by removing the shocks and airbags to get better access for the final welding.

I could see the front bags were going to be very difficult to unbolt from the top, so I decided to loosen the tops from inside. Once the bottom nuts were removed, I made a cut around the top of the bag just under the top mounting plate and the lower half came out easily. I then used a abrasive cutoff disc and removed the heads of the upper mount studs from below the plate. Then with a little persuasion with a chisel the top came loose. It ended up breaking off the small right angle fitting for the air line as it came through the mounting plate hole, but I was planning to replace those anyway, so no big deal and they were off in about 15 minutes
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Old 06-11-2021, 08:40 PM   #21
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The shocks came off easily, especially the ones on the front of the drive axle. On those, the mounting studs were broken off of both mounting brackets. They must have been under some severe loads at extension, because both eyes are elongated. I've seen a number of different fixes for replacing the broken studs in the original brackets, but I'm a little leery of them breaking loose again. I don't understand why Monaco didn't use the same two-plate arrangement here that they used at the bottom mounting location. So I may make some custom brackets like that. I was also thinking of just mounting them the same as the shocks at the rear side by attaching a stud to the frame rail at the top and adding two more plates at the bottom. I don't think it would have much effect on the ride and handling by moving the shocks inboard about 6 inches. Would appreciate your feedback on this.

The new shocks came in yesterday, so I'm hoping to go to work on it tomorrow.

Greg
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:09 AM   #22
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Nice job on the repair but I am surprised you had to cut the air springs to remove, seems like a lot of work. I didn't think the air springs were that bad to access the fasteners once the tires were out of the way. Quite an easy job actually once the tires were off. I like the inner gussets on your vertical supports. I added external gussets on mine similar to the 2009+ Roadmaster chassis.
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Old 06-14-2021, 08:51 PM   #23
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Nice job on the repair but I am surprised you had to cut the air springs to remove, seems like a lot of work. I didn't think the air springs were that bad to access the fasteners once the tires were out of the way. Quite an easy job actually once the tires were off. I like the inner gussets on your vertical supports. I added external gussets on mine similar to the 2009+ Roadmaster chassis.
I don't have a right angle air ratchet and figured the top nuts on the front airbags would take forever to get off with a manual ratchet. Access to them is pretty tight. It actually was pretty easy to cut them out.

I finished adding the external gussets and the rest of the repairs and maintenance on the back end today. Still need to check for leaks, set the ride height and install the front shocks. We're excited to take it out and see how it rides.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:19 PM   #24
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I finished the external bracing today and re-located /re-installed the front shocks on the drive axle. I used 3/8"x 3" flat bar for the vertical tubes. Cut the tops at a 45 degree angle to tie them into the original bracing near the frame rails.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:26 PM   #25
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I finished the external bracing today and re-located /re-installed the front shocks on the drive axle.
I used another piece of the flat bar as a reinforcement to the center area of the x- brace. I would have liked to add one on each side, but it's too tight on the front side near the h-frame.
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Old 06-14-2021, 09:41 PM   #26
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I finished the external bracing today and re-located /re-installed the front shocks on the drive axle.
Because the original upper front shock mounts failed I decided to relocate them to the other side of the h-frame tube and add two new mounting tabs to the frame at the top. I didn't get a very good picture of the top mounts, but they are very similar to the bottom, just welded to the the side of the air bag strut. I was a little concerned that it would put the shock too close to the tire, but there is about 2" of clearance, which is the same as the clearance to the h-frame at the back of the tire. I think it's a much stronger setup.
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:38 AM   #27
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Glad to hear that you got the repair done successfully.

I would now suggest that you check your thrust angle at the rear axle. Having the rear axle the slightest amount fore or aft on either side can affect thrust angle and create a push/pull affect on handling. I'm not saying you didn't get it exactly vertical when repaired but even an 1/8" off and moving the drive axle forward or back can affect the thrust angle enough to feel it in the handling.

When I had a pull in my Dynasty years ago, I ended up only moving the drive axle 5/32" to compensate and correct the handling. Might be worth having it checked now to just to confirm.
Mike,

I have considered making and installing some adjustable trailing arms for one side of the drive and tag axles before getting the alignment checked. Then they could adjust them when on the machine. Do you think that would be worthwhile? Do you know if there is anyone making and selling them now?
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Old 06-15-2021, 09:58 AM   #28
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Mike,

I have considered making and installing some adjustable trailing arms for one side of the drive and tag axles before getting the alignment checked. Then they could adjust them when on the machine. Do you think that would be worthwhile? Do you know if there is anyone making and selling them now?
I considered machining some adjustable ones as well but opted to just get my thrust angle checked then adjust accordingly. I then went back and had it double checked after altering my control arms but that was not necessary as it was dead nuts on, plus my alignment guy didn't charge me anything to double check it after I altered the lengths. Personally I don't know if I'd go through the hassle of making them adjustable. Once measured and altered there really should be no reason to have to adjust them again.

If you go the adjustable route, look at some of the Freightliner OTR trucks as they and most other OTR trucks have adjustable control arms.

I like the way you added the gusset to the X-brace on your rear suspension. I did the same on mine as I had seen others crack/break. I did that when I added the rear gussets to the vertical supports back around 2008/2009~ish when I updated mine.
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