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Old 07-26-2016, 02:05 PM   #1
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1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Malibu , California
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Front Steering Springs?

The front, driver's-side lower ball joint on my '86 345 failed during a slow-speed right-hand turn. I had the ball joint replaced, and the mechanic said I should replace the "steering helper springs?" that were over-stretched. Nobody seems to know what these are, or where to get them. I've tried NAPA and several truck/rv specific retailers. Any help would be greatly appreciated. For the record, they said the failed ball joint had been welded at some point which probably led to the failure. Weird. I plan to ck the passenger side asap. Thanks for your time...



Freedombro@gmail.com
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:36 PM   #2
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Been there with the ball joint. Youve got a coil spring and an air bag inside the coil spring. Thats it, not sure which he may be referring to.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:38 PM   #3
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Looks like you have some version of a steersafe mechanism, maybe hes referring to the spring in the picture that is over stretched.
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Old 07-26-2016, 02:57 PM   #4
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You might take a look at this Steer Safe thread.

It sure looks like you have some version of the Steer Safe mechanism installed.
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Old 07-26-2016, 04:01 PM   #5
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Thanks to everyone! I reached out to Steersafe for replacement springs. No response yet.
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:24 AM   #6
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it seems that the steer safe springs kept your wheel in position, but stretched the springs. I had those on the 345 and really liked what it did to the notorious wandering issue with these P-30s. Some say the springs put to much pressure on the other steering components, causing premature wear, something I doubt.
I am considering putting them on the 310
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:46 AM   #7
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I just ordered the replacement springs from Steersafe. They are $15 each plus shipping. The system seems to work, as steering was never an issue with them in place.
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Old 07-29-2016, 08:08 AM   #8
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Wow!
I have never heard of welding a ball joint... and usually they fail by wear (loose, noisy, etc), and not catastrophically.

Our 96LY P30 wandered quite a bit, and it had the Steersafe on it. We just picked this up several months ago, and the PO said he had replaced the airbags 2 years ago.

Started looking at it in detail once home, and the entire front end was... tired. Replaced upper and lower A-arms/ball joints, tie rod ends, bell cranks, bell crank arm, SPRINGS (one bag had already failed, so I just selected the springs correctly and removed the airbags), and wheel bearings. Pulled off the Steersafe. Took it for a test ride. No more wander.

From an engineering perspective, the Steersafe has to work the components more than without it on; in every turn you are loading the bell cranks and the ball joints more than what was intended.

These forces then assist you in the event of a blow-out or suspension failure. But if you keep your tires in good condition, your odds of a failure are really, really low. Tires generally don't fail, unless by age (mostly) or puncture. The age part folks should be smart enough to not allow to happen; the puncture part does sometimes happen. So in that particular case, the Steersafe is very useful; at the expense of loading your steering system ALL THE TIME more than originally intended.

We'all get to choose our path and live with the result.

In your case, the Steersafe was invaluable. Glad it was not worse. But I'd save that ball joint as a maintenance reminder.

Could you post a detailed pic of the failure?
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Old 07-31-2016, 07:26 AM   #9
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Steersafe customer service was great. They shipped the springs priority at no extra charge, and I received them two days after I ordered. Very happy with them.

On another note...$1000 to replace a lower ball joint seems high, no? I need to find a good/fair mechanic in LA. Any suggestions?

This forum makes owning these "challenging" vehicles much easier. Thanks to everyone who helped.

Cheers!

-Keith
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:47 AM   #10
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Keith, good deal on getting those new springs. Nice to know SteerSafe is good to work with.

$1000 sure seems high to me but then again I usually do my own work and I never pay myself that much

Brad
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:02 AM   #11
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As someone who when travelling has blowout/front suspension failure on his mind at all times, and accordingly grips the wheel a little tighter than I normally do; Steersafe sounds like a great back up.......unless like a PO suggests, it produces more wear and tear on other components.

I wonder what Henderson Supersteer thinks of this system?

Cheers
Tony
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Old 08-01-2016, 12:03 AM   #12
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I've got the Bilstein heavy duty Steering stabiliser and Bilstein shocks on my 250. Recommended.


http://www.jcwhitney.com/bilstein-b6.../p3090865.jcwx




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Old 08-01-2016, 02:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Boom Sounds View Post
I've got the Bilstein heavy duty Steering stabiliser and Bilstein shocks on my 250. Recommended.


http://www.jcwhitney.com/bilstein-b6.../p3090865.jcwx




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I have the same in Bella, Nick.

I maybe over interpreting freedombro's initial photo but it does appear the Safe Steer has kept the bottom section of the wishbone connected to the hub after the ball joint failed, and has to be worthwhile purely from that perspective.
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Old 08-01-2016, 05:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pago cruiser View Post
Wow!
I have never heard of welding a ball joint... and usually they fail by wear (loose, noisy, etc), and not catastrophically.

Our 96LY P30 wandered quite a bit, and it had the Steersafe on it. We just picked this up several months ago, and the PO said he had replaced the airbags 2 years ago.

Started looking at it in detail once home, and the entire front end was... tired. Replaced upper and lower A-arms/ball joints, tie rod ends, bell cranks, bell crank arm, SPRINGS (one bag had already failed, so I just selected the springs correctly and removed the airbags), and wheel bearings. Pulled off the Steersafe. Took it for a test ride. No more wander.

From an engineering perspective, the Steersafe has to work the components more than without it on; in every turn you are loading the bell cranks and the ball joints more than what was intended.

These forces then assist you in the event of a blow-out or suspension failure. But if you keep your tires in good condition, your odds of a failure are really, really low. Tires generally don't fail, unless by age (mostly) or puncture. The age part folks should be smart enough to not allow to happen; the puncture part does sometimes happen. So in that particular case, the Steersafe is very useful; at the expense of loading your steering system ALL THE TIME more than originally intended.

We'all get to choose our path and live with the result.

In your case, the Steersafe was invaluable. Glad it was not worse. But I'd save that ball joint as a maintenance reminder.

Could you post a detailed pic of the failure?
Pago What did it cost for that front end work? Do any or all yourself?
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