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Old 10-23-2006, 08:46 AM   #1
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Sloppy Steering...

Our 310 Classic seems to have a lot of play in the steering. My husband looked at the linkage, and has decided that this is just the way it is. He has become quite skilled at handling it, but I find it unsettling. I want to learn how to drive it next summer in case of emergency and to give him a break. I just can't see myself doing that as things are now. Has anyone been able to improve the steering?
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:54 AM   #2
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Our '86 345 has 159,000 miles and NO slop in the steering. That is how yours should be. I think a trip to a good truck alignment shop would be in order. With a machine that large, sloppy steering is a really bad thing.
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:59 AM   #3
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You may have bad ball joints, they can be bad, and the truck can wallow around, and you won't be able to tell unless you check them in the right way.
Once that much weight starts moving in the wrong direction, and you overcorrect, it can feed on itself, eventually swaying all over the road at best.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:15 AM   #4
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WE also changed out the bilstein steering stabilizer and added "steersafe"(which was a do it yourself installation". Both have improved the steering
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:31 AM   #5
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When I got the Peanut, the front end was so loose it felt like floating a boat. First chance I got I tore apart the front end and upgraded shocks, springs, stabilizer and airbags. (rear shocks too). Drives just fine now!
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Old 10-25-2006, 01:33 PM   #6
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Also, check the tire's air pressure. If it is too low you will have a mushy front end that will contribute to rambling. If it is a matter of excess play in the stering wheel, you may need a new stering worm. (that might be outdated by the time your motor home was built) I remember my Dad replacing the stering worm in an older pick-up he once had because of loose play in the stering system, but it didn't have power stering.
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Old 10-29-2006, 04:18 PM   #7
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Do not drive with loose steering. You will not be able to control the MoHo if you are trying to avoid an accident. Have your Airstream checked by a good truck shop. Our 345 drives great so why put up with loose steering when you know it does not have to be loose. Safety first.
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:59 AM   #8
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Great replies!

Thanks all. Good to know that this is something we can ammend!
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:32 AM   #9
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I'm beginning to see some noticable cupping on my steer tires. In fact between 40 - 50 I get a related vibration in the front end.

I know this is related to suspension/steering or out of balance wheels. The tires are fairly new (< 25,000 miles on them) and while I've been thinking about adding some centramatics on the steer tires I was wondering about correcting the situation rather than simply masking it.

To date I have replaced the bags, shocks (bilstein), wheel bearings, steering stabilizer (bilstein) and the previously mention tires/balance.

I grease all of the joints regularly and have checked for end play on the lower ball joints (it's hard to tell if there is any since everything is so heavy).

Any suggestions on other items to check or tests to perform?

I don't get what I would ocnsider excessive wandering or steering play...the rig doesn't steer away from the crown in the road, etc.

For a long time I ran my front tire pressure too high (at the recommendation of the installing dealer) but have since adjusted to the correct pressure for the weight/wheels.

Is this simply an out of balance deal or something more?
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:39 AM   #10
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I had intermittent vibration and then sloppy steering. Recently I replaced the steering stabilizer which took care of both of the problems.
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Old 10-30-2006, 09:58 AM   #11
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dumb question...

...what is a stabilizer, was it quite expensive and where do you have work done? (We are in the process of looking for a good shop that can do work for us.)
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:00 AM   #12
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Uh oh, I did a search...

Please disregard my dumb question.
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auretrvr
...what is a stabilizer, was it quite expensive and where do you have work done? (We are in the process of looking for a good shop that can do work for us.)
Like ashock, right front.

looks like this
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swebster
I know this is related to suspension/steering or out of balance wheels. The tires are fairly new (< 25,000 miles on them) and while I've been thinking about adding some centramatics on the steer tires I was wondering about correcting the situation rather than simply masking it.
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?
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:09 AM   #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, 03:18 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.
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Old 10-30-2006, 05:01 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, 07:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
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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, 07:27 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, 07:45 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>
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