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Old 10-30-2006, 12:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
I had never heard of centramatics before researching Airstreams (the only trailer I've researched) on this forum so I didn't know you could put them on anything except trailers. Can you get them for different sized vehicles or is it a one size fits or doesn't fit, no options kind of thing? I know they aren't a substitute for front end alignment and balancing, etc. But what are they also available for?
There are different sizes for different applications. When ordering them, the more information you can provide, the better.
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:18 PM   #16
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When we got our 345 it had the certramatics on all wheels. Since I have not driven the coach without them I have no idea of how much they help.
Our coach drives and handles great even with 158000 miles.
Rob
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:01 PM   #17
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As Terry pointed out the centramatics are available for many applications. They have found a nice home on commercial trucks and claim to improve tire life considerably.

Rob, we're pushing 200,000 and it drives and steers very well. I just see this cupping and aim to stop it. At $280 a tire Centramatics are a wise investment but if there is something else in there I want to deal with it now.

Replacing everything on the front end would run about $800 (DIY). I'm not ready to just R&R everything yet since it drives so well. But checking for play and loose ball joints is just not as easy as it is on my Beetle.
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Old 10-31-2006, 08:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
At $280 a tire ...
WOW! That can add up on a tandom in a hurry. I guess that's why we don't see them on passenger cars. Lead weights are a lot less expensive.
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Old 10-31-2006, 08:27 AM   #19
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Minnie, the tires are $280 each. Since I have eight of them on the 345 I'm all about keeping them happy.

The centramatics are much cheaper...something like $180 a pair for steer tires.
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Old 10-31-2006, 08:45 AM   #20
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Sloppy Steering

Things to check:
What you can do:
Make sure the front tire pressures are correct; not over or under.
InspectVehicle on ground, brake set, wheels chocked engine off and in park)
Slide up under the front end until you can see the steering box.
Have someone rotate the steering wheel back and forth from firm to firm(where the wheel gets firm to move any further).
1. The shaft that comes out of the bottom of the steering box has an arm on it. This arm attaches to the steering mechanism(draglinks etc.). Is this arm moving in and out (up and down) as the steering wheel is moved from firm to firm? If it is, you need to go to a truck repair facility or frond end shop who knows how to deal with such things. This will cause the slop.
2. Tie rod ends: These are the flexable points in the steering mechanism. Being careful not to get a finger pinched grab ahold to the tierod end with your hand. have your helper move the steering wheel back and forth slowly and carefully(as not to injure your hand or fingers. Rotation should be the only movement you feel in your hand, not loosness. If one end of the tie rod end moves more than the other end of the tierod end you probally have problems. Check every tie rod end. There will be a minimum of four(I think, I'm not familiar with motor homes but some things carry over from vehicle to vehicle).
3. Ball Joints: According to the picturers I saw on this thread there are four. You cannot check these your self. Find a good shop.
4. Upper and lower control arm bushings: You cannot check these your self. Take it to the shop.
5. Front Wheel Bearings: Should be adjusted properly. There are threads on this forum to cover this or take it to the shop.
6. Steering Stabilizer: Must be good. Any questions about it, replace it.
The Six items listed can and do contribute to loose steering. You can have a little looseness in all the points listed(very expensive) or just one or two spots(considerably less expensive)
General Guidence:
Every town has the frame/front end shop that has been around for decades. They align truck straight axles(bend and shim them), align trailer axles(bend and shim them), install eccentrics in the front ends of the foreign cars so that they can be aligned easily, they generally are a mom and pop business and the majority of the mechanics/body shops in the area send the frame work/front end work there for the finishing touches after extensive repairs. Seek out this shop. Ask many people (body shops, mechanics etc), don't limit your self to RV people. A truck is a truck, and that is what you have. There IS one in your community.
Then talk to their customers.
If you were local (Norfolk VA) I would be more than happy to take you there>
Beginner
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
Minnie, the tires are $280 each. Since I have eight of them on the 345 I'm all about keeping them happy.

The centramatics are much cheaper...something like $180 a pair for steer tires.
Oh, I thought you meant the centramatics were $280 each. Still, at $90 a piece, they can add up for 8 tires.

I can see where you would want to extend the life of those tires as long as possible. You don't have to replace the centramatics every time you replace the tires so they are a one time investment to prolong the life of every tire you buy.
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Old 10-31-2006, 09:31 AM   #22
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Beginner has great advise... sloppy steering is annoying at best, dangerous at worst. Something must be loose. Jacking it up and hand wiggling the joints will not work as easily as on a small car. However the procedure mentioned by Beginner should give a hint as to what is loose.

I had an SOB MH that wandered all over the road, especially in wind, and had sloopy steering. I replaced a tie-rod, installed new front tires, and had it aligned. It still wandered all over and had sloppy steering. I sold the thing... but if I had it to do over again I would have a mom-and-pop front-end shop go through it.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:10 PM   #23
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Thanks Beginner...

My husband had the moho at a front end shop today and pretty much found what you have posted here. Karma coming your way for taking time to help us out!!
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:32 PM   #24
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That's great! You won't believe how the ride will improve. Let us know how you make out!!!
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:41 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
But checking for play and loose ball joints is just not as easy as it is on my Beetle.
Actually, it is.
Jack up one front wheel under the lower control arm, so the bottom of the tire is about two inches off the ground.
Place a jackstand under the motor home so it won't fall on you.
Shake the wheel in and out at the top. Note any play in the upper ball joint (an assistant is invaluable for this).
Take a long pry flat-end bar, and place the flat end under the tire about halfway under the tire's width.
With your assistant watching the lower ball joint, lift up on the end of the prybar not under the tire.
If movement is noted with either test, the ball joint is worn out, and should be replaced promptly, and the front end aligned.
Repeat the test on the other side.
If movement is noted when moving the wheel in and out, but the ball joints are not moving, you may just have loose wheel bearings. Adjust the bearings and retest.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:48 PM   #26
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Thanks for all of the tips and tricks. Does any single element contribute to cupping of the tires more than others?

Terry - as always thanks for the DIY version for testing my rig.
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:34 PM   #27
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Sloppy Steering

Yes it good to do it yourself, but, the small shops in my area will make these quick checks for free and being reptuable, not needing to change parts for a larger bill because they are usually swamped, will tell you the truth. Also, dealing with this type of failure on a daily basis, these mechanics will pickup wear and tear that that those of us who don't do such things daily may miss.
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Old 11-03-2006, 11:55 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balrgn
Like ashock, right front.

looks like this
Hi, this can be somewhat confusing. Although the shock like thing on it's side is actually a steering dampner; And that is what it actually does, dampen the shock of the steering from bumps and grooves in the road. This dampens the sideways shock of the bump in the road to the steering linkage. But sometimes they are called steering stabilizers.
The bar on the bottom of your picture [post #13] is the stabilizer and or sway bar. And it is connected on each end by stabilizer links.
So when you ask for a stabilizer; Do you really want a stabilizer bar or do you want a steering dampner?

Bob
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