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Old 11-28-2022, 03:27 PM   #1
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Experts please! Toad wheels lock on sharp turns

Hi, I’m from the UK and there are very few toads being used over here. Over the years the industry has been dominated by cars towing caravans, so there was never a need. But things are changing!

Our rig is very untypical because 1) our bus is unique and not commercially available and has a big rear overhang compared to most rigs 2) our toad is a 4x4 and I think is the only one of its type set up for flat towing in the country.

Anyway. . .

When we do sharp turns, left or right, sometimes the toad wheels turn the opposite lock and then as the manoeuvre continues we are then dragging the toad and its wheels don’t follow the tow vehicle.

I have done a good search of this forum and seen a number of people give the splendidly logical explanation that, with a large rear overhang, on a sharp turn, the back of the towing vehicle will initially swing the ‘wrong way’ before it follows the direction of the turn. The toad, therefore, thinks it is going one way before it is suddenly pulled the ‘right way’ but the wheels are pointing the wrong way. . . thus the problem.

While every set up is different I get the principal.

In an ideal world, the caster of the toad should get the wheels pointing back to where the pull direction is coming from, but in reality, if they have gone too far the ‘wrong’ way then it just can’t.

So. What I am asking of you far more experienced RVers, who experience this issue, is what do you do to compensate for this? I’d really love to hear your stories.

For clarity, I have heard;
- you can do a tight turn without this happening as long as you are already moving - the issue is mostly from a standing start.
- If it is a standing start, leave some distance to drive straight for some feet before you turn - plan ahead!
- put a marker on your steering wheel and view it in the rear camera to see how the steering wheel is moving.
- check the steering geometry and especially the caster settings
-
Any more ideas?

Cheers

Steve
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Old 11-28-2022, 04:13 PM   #2
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Not towing a jeep. But my son tows a Smart Car and he puts a bungie on the steering wheel to keep it straight. When you go into a turn the bungie stretches and helps the return to center. Just info, I'm sure someone else my have better solutions. Happy travels.
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Old 11-28-2022, 04:52 PM   #3
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Not towing a jeep. But my son tows a Smart Car and he puts a bungie on the steering wheel to keep it straight. When you go into a turn the bungie stretches and helps the return to center. Just info, I'm sure someone else my have better solutions. Happy travels.

Bungie crossed my mind too, but looking at his picture I don't think he has that much overhang so I think he would be best off to start by making sure the front end alignment is in spec, get it into spec, and if the problem continues, put another couple milimeters of toe in the alignment and maybe add another half degree of caster. increasing the toe will reduce the tendency to "turn out" too far and soon, and increased caster will increase the forces that make it return to center after the wheels "turn out " during the initial part of the turn.
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Old 11-28-2022, 05:25 PM   #4
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My best judgement of your picture shows the towbar sloping down to the tow vehicle/bus. Most of us in the States have the opposite problem, and it seems most end up with a slight slope upwards. If you can raise the hitch on the tow vehicle/bus with an adapter it might stop the geometry of your setup from pulling the Toad front end down into the roadbed. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but it is what I would try.
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Old 11-28-2022, 05:46 PM   #5
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I agree with "RealNiceTent", more caster should help.

By the way, cool looking MH.
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Old 11-29-2022, 06:35 AM   #6
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My best judgement of your picture shows the towbar sloping down to the tow vehicle/bus.
In real life it is perfectly level as recommended by the A-Frame manufacturer so I'm not sure if a small change on that will change things.

I will try the bungee hack though as this makes a lot of sense.

What would be useful is to know what kind of proportion of RV users come across this. Is it rare or something a decent proportion of users have?
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Old 11-29-2022, 06:44 AM   #7
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Also when you are hooking up the toad after engine shutdown turn the steering wheel back and forth a couple of times. That relieves the pressure in the power steering and will make the wheels track better. The bungee is an old trick and does help on some vehicles. The combo of the two should have you going straight. Cheers.
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Old 11-29-2022, 12:18 PM   #8
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You say this only happens sometimes on sharp turns. I wonder under which circumstances it happens.

It seems to me that it would happen when you're making sudden/abrupt steering inputs in the bus. I wonder if the toad wheels don't get stuck in one direction if you're slower with the inputs in the bus. It would be interesting to hear your experience there.

I have watched my toad in the camera do this same move the wrong way, but the wheels never get stuck in the wrong direction. My coach has a lot of overhang too.

I agree that more caster in the toad would help, and it might make it drive better too.
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Old 11-29-2022, 03:00 PM   #9
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Do you have a good steering stabilizer on the Jeep.
Them big tires can bump and kick the steering over pretty easy.
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Old 11-29-2022, 04:22 PM   #10
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It seems to me that it would happen when you're making sudden/abrupt steering inputs in the bus. I wonder if the toad wheels don't get stuck in one direction if you're slower with the inputs in the bus. It would be interesting to hear your experience there.
These are pretty slow turns, and certainly not abrupt or at speed.

As an aside, this is a Suzuki Jimni 4x4. It has had a 2 inch suspension lift and the wheels and tyres are not standard. However, the lift kit came with realigned bushes to bring the caster back to factory settings. When I drive it the steering feels fine and returns to centre after a corner normally.

Sadly, there is no caster adjustment so I can't experiment with it.

I can adjust the tracking and see if that helps I guess.

Apparently, the bungie trick was brought in for early Smart cars as they had a rear engine and no steering damper.
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Old 12-02-2022, 06:36 PM   #11
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When you say the lift kit came with "realigned bushes," are you referring to something like this? ...and if not, is it something worth trying?:

Suzuki Jimny Castor Corrected Radius Arms - Jimnybits

"These suspension arms help to rotate and reposition the front or rear axle after lift springs have been fitted. When you fit lift springs you find the springs bow, and the steering won't self centre but these arms sort out all that out!"
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