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Old 06-01-2023, 02:06 PM   #1
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Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain Wobble

Hi all,


We've had a Sterling All Terrain for about a decade now with three different RV's. It probably has about around 25k towing miles total. I haven't rebuilt it, but keep it clean and inside when not in use.


We recently traded our Class A for a Class C to downsize and as soon as we pulled onto the highway with our toad (Chevy Traverse - which we've had for several years), we immediately got into a scary death wobble. After recovering from it I gingerly drove another few miles and slow speeds to get off the highway, and that was still a bit of a white knuckle experience. Not sure what was wrong, we disconnected the toad and drove separately back home. The new RV was still a bit squirrelly, but a hundred times better.


I'm pretty sure our new Class C needs an alignment and bigger steering stabilizer, and I have that scheduled. But in my research, I've seen reports here that too much play in a tow bar system can lead to tail-wagging and a death wobble. We never had this happen with our Class A, but it was about three times the mass of our new, smaller Class C.


With that preamble, I looked at our towbar and there is some play where the stinger attaches to arms. The acetyl washers are still there an intact. I've not been able to find any information on tolerances to know if the amount of play is acceptable, and if it might be contributing to the issue we are having.


Hopefully this will work, but here's a short video showing how loose it is.


Thoughts? Is this relatively easy to rebuild, or is it time for a new towbar?
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Old 06-01-2023, 05:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
Hi all,


We've had a Sterling All Terrain for about a decade now with three different RV's. It probably has about around 25k towing miles total. I haven't rebuilt it, but keep it clean and inside when not in use.


We recently traded our Class A for a Class C to downsize and as soon as we pulled onto the highway with our toad (Chevy Traverse - which we've had for several years), we immediately got into a scary death wobble. After recovering from it I gingerly drove another few miles and slow speeds to get off the highway, and that was still a bit of a white knuckle experience. Not sure what was wrong, we disconnected the toad and drove separately back home. The new RV was still a bit squirrelly, but a hundred times better.


I'm pretty sure our new Class C needs an alignment and bigger steering stabilizer, and I have that scheduled. But in my research, I've seen reports here that too much play in a tow bar system can lead to tail-wagging and a death wobble. We never had this happen with our Class A, but it was about three times the mass of our new, smaller Class C.


With that preamble, I looked at our towbar and there is some play where the stinger attaches to arms. The acetyl washers are still there an intact. I've not been able to find any information on tolerances to know if the amount of play is acceptable, and if it might be contributing to the issue we are having.


Hopefully this will work, but here's a short video showing how loose it is.


Thoughts? Is this relatively easy to rebuild, or is it time for a new towbar?
You can buy a rebuild kit from Roadmaster. I just rebuilt my Falcon II.

With that said, if the tow bar was working fine with the Traverse behind the Class A, then the culprit sounds like an issue with the Class C. Possibly a shorter or longer distance behind the C versus the A. Are you using a drop hitch that you weren't using before?
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Old 06-01-2023, 05:45 PM   #3
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I think your instincts are right on.

Thats a lot of wiggle showing on your video which has to be getting transmitted down to your baseplates pulling the toad unequally
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Old 06-02-2023, 08:24 AM   #4
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Don,


Thanks, I'll look into a rebuild kit, though I will probably need to also get a bigger breaker bar to get those nuts off.


My theory is that perhaps extra mass of the Class A prevented the tail from wagging the dog. I do have the new RV scheduled for and alignment and suspension work on Monday, and I'll report back here if there's a big improvement.


Cheers,


Andy
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Old 06-03-2023, 10:09 AM   #5
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I just bought a used Roadmaster Blackhawk 2 All Terrain tow bar and it also had some play. I cleaned it up, painted it and rebuilt it. I tow my 16 Ram 1500 with a golf cart in the bed and it did great. I would say get a rebuild kit and try that. The kit is only about $50 or $60.
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Old 06-08-2023, 09:53 PM   #6
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Sounds like the stinger is bad and needs to be replaced. I just had mine replaced, Roadmaster was doing inspections and cleanings at the Rally and determined it was loose. I've had no Death Wobble issues, so I did not notice it. I will see if I notice a difference on the way home.
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Old 06-09-2023, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
You can buy a rebuild kit from Roadmaster. I just rebuilt my Falcon II........
Approximately how many miles did it have before you needed to rebuild? I've the BlackHawk 2, so was wondering.

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2023, 10:51 AM   #8
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Approximately how many miles did it have before you needed to rebuild? I've the BlackHawk 2, so was wondering.

Thanks!
I'm a Roadmaster fan and have had three of their tow bars over the years. I went to the Falcon II several years ago and when I started towing a larger truck. That tow bar worked great until I hit a dip that I didn't see at about 25mph. My Ford Raptor has so much front-end travel that it whipped up and then down and destroyed the tow bar.

I bought another Falcon II, this was three years ago last Thanksgiving. A year later, I thought there was a lot more movement in the joints then there should be. While at Quartzsite, I took it over to the Roadmaster booth and without any argument, they tightened everything up and said they now had a different stinger and replaced mine.

Fast forward to three months ago and I felt it was getting a little loosey goosey (I'm kind of anal). It was probably fine, but I ordered the rebuild kit and rebuilt it. The kit is inexpensive and really gives you the opportunity to take it all apart and clean areas that are hard to reach.

If you do the rebuild kit.....take several photos of the "stack" of washers in the center joint. There are two metal washers that go on one after the other.

I also ordered a large 5/8" allen wrench that I keep with me in the coach. It allows me to tighten that center stack if I feel it getting a littel sloppy.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
I'm a Roadmaster fan and have had three of their tow bars over the years. I went to the Falcon II several years ago and when I started towing a larger truck. That tow bar worked great until I hit a dip that I didn't see at about 25mph. My Ford Raptor has so much front-end travel that it whipped up and then down and destroyed the tow bar.

I bought another Falcon II, this was three years ago last Thanksgiving. A year later, I thought there was a lot more movement in the joints then there should be. While at Quartzsite, I took it over to the Roadmaster booth and without any argument, they tightened everything up and said they now had a different stinger and replaced mine.

Fast forward to three months ago and I felt it was getting a little loosey goosey (I'm kind of anal). It was probably fine, but I ordered the rebuild kit and rebuilt it. The kit is inexpensive and really gives you the opportunity to take it all apart and clean areas that are hard to reach.

If you do the rebuild kit.....take several photos of the "stack" of washers in the center joint. There are two metal washers that go on one after the other.

I also ordered a large 5/8" allen wrench that I keep with me in the coach. It allows me to tighten that center stack if I feel it getting a littel sloppy.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
AWESOME information, thank you!!!

I, too, am a Roadmaster fan! They have the very best customer service that I have ever experienced.
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Old 06-09-2023, 11:40 AM   #10
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Is the tow bar level? We had the death wobble on our C-max until I got a drop-down hitch. We were getting it again recently, but bought new tires and had the alignment done and so far no more death wobble.

Stay safe, Walt
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Old 07-05-2023, 10:12 AM   #11
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Update:

We rebuilt the tow bar, added an HD front steering stabilizer and sway bar. The suspension upgrades improved the MH handling considerably, but there is still instability above 50mph with the TOAD and and a strong sense of the tail wagging the dog that is bad enough that I don't think this is a safe configuration on the highway.

We took it to a suspension shop and they checked the MH alignment, which is in specs. They recommended adding a heavy-duty rear sway bar and heavy-duty shocks all around, which will cost a couple of grand. But I'm not 100% sure that will fix the issue.

The tow bar is level and everything is setup correctly. We've towed this vehicle without issue behind our Class A for years. Prior to that we had a smaller and lighter Class C and we towed both a CRV and a Honda Minivan (which is about the same weight as our current Chevy Traverse) without issue and without any suspension upgrades.

I'm not sure where to go from here, and I'm reluctant to throw more money at the problem without know what the actual problem is.


Cheers,
Andy
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Old 07-06-2023, 03:59 AM   #12
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I was talking about the tires and alignment on the toad, not the rig. Havenít had the death wobble since.

Walt
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Old 07-06-2023, 04:59 PM   #13
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I was talking about the tires and alignment on the toad, not the rig. Havenít had the death wobble since.

Walt

Thanks, that is next on my list. I'm more convinced it's a problem with my toad and not my rig.


Cheers,


Andy
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