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Old 11-14-2016, 10:02 PM   #21
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Steering play: How much can be reduced?

Ford E-Series chassis (most Class Cs and Axis/Vegas) come with power-assisted recirculating ball steering. Compared to most newer cars which come with rack-and-pinion steering, there is going to be more play in the steering no matter what else is going on. It's just part of driving an E-Series, and many other large truck-based vehicles.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The recirculating ball mechanism has the advantage of a much greater mechanical advantage, so that it was found on larger, heavier vehicles while the rack and pinion was originally limited to smaller and lighter ones; due to the almost universal adoption of power steering, however, this is no longer an important advantage, leading to the increasing use of rack and pinion on newer cars. The recirculating ball design also has a perceptible lash, or "dead spot" on center, where a minute turn of the steering wheel in either direction does not move the steering apparatus; this is easily adjustable via a screw on the end of the steering box to account for wear, but it cannot be entirely eliminated because it will create excessive internal forces at other positions and the mechanism will wear very rapidly. This design is still in use in trucks and other large vehicles, where rapidity of steering and direct feel are less important than robustness, maintainability, and mechanical advantage.

Just food for thought.


For what it's worth, old trucks with manual steering were really bad. First trucks I drove when I was a teenager did not have power steering. The steering was also extremely slow due to provided mechanical advantage so mere mortals could steer them at parking speeds. Steering play was horrendous by modern standards.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:43 PM   #22
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Boy, do I ever remember those days! First three cars I owned didn't have power steering or power brakes. I'm sure spoiled now!
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:01 PM   #23
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Boy, do I ever remember those days! First three cars I owned didn't have power steering or power brakes. I'm sure spoiled now!
Still have one -- an old Mustang. Steering is so slow -- approximately 5 full turns lock-to-lock. I parked it with about 170,000 miles (can't quite recall exact mileage) which means the recirculating ball steering box has even more play due to wear. Replacement will be high on list when I rebuild the car.
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Old 11-15-2016, 03:09 AM   #24
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Thanks brucev, that's good to know. I'm trying to avoid slides altogether, but if forced into it by lack of other choices, I expect the smaller ones like on Axis will have minor impact on side-to-side weight distribution.
I am with you! Why would anybody want to cut a gigantic ole into a wall that is not that sturdy to start with! And than add a lot of weight on the side of the hole to just regain a little bit of the original wall stability. That just does not make sense! If I would get a unit with slides, I would definitely get as small slides as possibly and preferably a slide out of the back of the rig.
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:46 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsoner
If I would get a unit with slides, I would definitely get as small slides as possibly and preferably a slide out of the back of the rig.
The more I think about it the more I'd like to see a motorhome with the hybrid bed "slides" or rather "pop outs" like these:

Then you can have the additional room of having the bed "outside" the interior and the simplicity of a simple hinge. Our first camper was a hybrid like that and I really liked it (other than the crappy quality..oh there is that word again LOL).

Sure you'd still have the hole in the wall, but not much added weight (the hinge, the locking mechanism, some canvas, and a foam mattress).

One on the back or rear side of a Vegas/Axis unit would be perfect (it wouldn't do much good on something larger like a Challenger LOL).
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:56 PM   #26
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The more I think about it the more I'd like to see a motorhome with the hybrid bed "slides" or rather "pop outs" like these:

Then you can have the additional room of having the bed "outside" the interior and the simplicity of a simple hinge. Our first camper was a hybrid like that and I really liked it (other than the crappy quality..oh there is that word again LOL).

Sure you'd still have the hole in the wall, but not much added weight (the hinge, the locking mechanism, some canvas, and a foam mattress).

One on the back or rear side of a Vegas/Axis unit would be perfect (it wouldn't do much good on something larger like a Challenger LOL).
I started out with something similar like this. The walls would fold in the middle and the trailer was only as high as a standard popup when traveling. Pretty clever design. It was light weight enough that I could tow it with my S10 Blazer without any trouble (that vehicle had a 2.8 l V6 with anemic 110 hp)
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:39 PM   #27
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Our first trailer was a Fleetwood Wilderness 721C like this one:

We had the first model year (yeah don't do that! LOL but we did it again with the Axis) and had nothing but problems with it. Other than that I loved it LOL.

Towed it with our Ranger 4.0L 160 Hp.
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:44 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
The more I think about it the more I'd like to see a motorhome with the hybrid bed "slides" or rather "pop outs" like these:

Then you can have the additional room of having the bed "outside" the interior and the simplicity of a simple hinge. Our first camper was a hybrid like that and I really liked it (other than the crappy quality..oh there is that word again LOL).

Sure you'd still have the hole in the wall, but not much added weight (the hinge, the locking mechanism, some canvas, and a foam mattress).

One on the back or rear side of a Vegas/Axis unit would be perfect (it wouldn't do much good on something larger like a Challenger LOL).
Those types of hybrids certainly offer a lot of value for the cost.

We rented one almost like that one (different brand) for a week years ago and found it very easy to tow -- it was very light yet stable. It was also very roomy for the size of the box since the main beds were two queens; one at each end. The inside had a dinette and a gaucho couch so plenty of seating, had a nice size bathroom, and adequate counter space.

Because there were only two of us, a lot of the space was essentially wasted on us. It would have been great for traveling with a family.

There were a few things I didn't like though. Outside noise came through canvas unimpeded, making it too easy to hear outside even with air conditioner on; and opposite as well. Another was having to break camp in rain and folding the ends wet.

Some campgrounds don't allow any soft-sided RVs, so that could be an issue. Similar pros and cons apply to roof-mounted beds in vans which expands sleeping to four, provided one is agile enough to climb that high -- upper bed over 6-ft above floor in some cases. I'm really glad we rented it for a week, because when my wife thought about ordering a Sportsmobile van with pop-up roof, it gave us a point of reference to predict how we'd like it.

Everything else being equal, I'd go with a larger trailer or van if available to avoid anything that opens up. It's that KISS thing for me. Same with motorhomes. I'd much rather add a foot in length to an Axis than a slide off the back. Simple works even if not as roomy or as convenient. Beds that fold out of the way, elevate against ceiling, or convert to anything else is my preference rather than expand to outside.
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:24 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance
Some campgrounds don't allow any soft-sided RVs, so that could be an issue. Similar pros and cons apply to roof-mounted beds in vans which expands sleeping to four, provided one is agile enough to climb that high -- upper bed over 6-ft above floor in some cases. I'm really glad we rented it for a week, because when my wife thought about ordering a Sportsmobile van with pop-up roof, it gave us a point of reference to predict how we'd like it.
Yeah our unit had a couple of dinettes that both would convert to beds thus we could leave the ends closed when necessary; thus a "Hard sided camper".

Yeah it can get a little noisy in there but then I wasn't suggesting this setup for you, just happened to mention that I would like to see that option (if it was available on our Axis we probably would have picked it up).
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Old 11-15-2016, 11:52 PM   #30
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Yeah our unit had a couple of dinettes that both would convert to beds thus we could leave the ends closed when necessary; thus a "Hard sided camper".

Yeah it can get a little noisy in there but then I wasn't suggesting this setup for you, just happened to mention that I would like to see that option (if it was available on our Axis we probably would have picked it up).
Jamie, I knew you weren't talking about me. My comments were completely generic. I've seen a lot of trailers of all sizes with beds that swing open, both from ends and also from sides, but don't recall seeing motorhomes with soft-sided extensions -- except for Class Bs which extend straight up. Westfalia-type pop-tops were obviously very successful for decades. However, when taller van roofs were made available, most buyers seem to prefer a permanent structure even though it adds height.

Likewise, I think there would be limited demand for a Class A or C with "hybrid" bed extensions. I think most buyers would just buy a larger RV or with more slides.

I have seen pictures of an old Class A that had a large pop-top roof with beds in that attic area. Something like that may work for families with lots of children. The top essentially created a second floor with limited headroom.
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Old 08-18-2017, 05:28 PM   #31
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Steering Lash

Even after installing the Safe-T-Plus Steering Stabilizer, the steering was still vague. My alignment shop adjusted the lash in the steering gear box. It steers MUCH better now as long as the coach body is not rolling side-to-side. You can add all the suspension mods available, but if the lash is wrong you will constantly be correcting with the steering wheel.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:18 PM   #32
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Quote:
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Jamie, I knew you weren't talking about me. My comments were completely generic. I've seen a lot of trailers of all sizes with beds that swing open,.
Jamie & Chance....this summer, in LaJunta, CO we had a couple pull in next to us, with a brand new trailer...they were retired and had tent camped all their lives...were in Oregon and saw this trailer and fell in love ! We saw the interior...it had 2 king beds and lots of room. When it began to rain, they zipped up the plastic covers and were totally dry !
Neat setup !

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Old 08-18-2017, 08:14 PM   #33
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Even after installing the Safe-T-Plus Steering Stabilizer, the steering was still vague. My alignment shop adjusted the lash in the steering gear box. It steers MUCH better now as long as the coach body is not rolling side-to-side. You can add all the suspension mods available, but if the lash is wrong you will constantly be correcting with the steering wheel.

On my two old classic Mustangs which had similar type of steering, except manual, I had to adjust the play out of the steering on a somewhat regular basis. My dad taught me since his pickups and trucks had same issues.

Body roll wasn't much of an issue with my Mustangs because they sat close to pavement, but the steering was quite vague anyway compared to modern vehicles with rack-and-pinion. Not that body roll would affect a car with independent front suspension in the same way.
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Old 06-17-2020, 06:55 AM   #34
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Suspension and steering issues with Ford twin I-beam suspension

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For highway travel in an RV, there's not much downside to higher spring rate transfer in my view. The sway bar compromise is when traversing uneven surfaces just as the wiki quote states. For traveling uneven dirt roads a disconnect would yield the best ride and eliminate spring rate transfer induced sway or "waddling" as in that wiki quote.

Why does a stiffer sway bar help highway handling? Here's a shot at trying to explain my observations for independent front suspensions: Wheels change their steering geometry as they travel up or down from center alignment |-| (both toe and camber). If you observe full droop or extension causing wheels to point like this /-\ toe (top down view) and camber \-/ (horizontal view). Full compressed goes the opposite for each toe and camber. With sway, one side is compress and the other is extended so consider the front wheels slightly shifting \-\ or/and /-/ as sway finally settles back to center |-|. Adding spring rate transfer reduces sway and in doing so it also reduces uneven suspension travel so there's less apposing steering geometry changes (win win for highway travel).
I agree with you completely. I had been the shop foreman of one of the main two suspension shops in Fort Worth Texas. I worked at Fort Worth Champion Spring in downtown Fort Worth for many years. I have been going to school for alignment and other automotive technical applications since 1960. I just recently retired as The Honda Specialist in Fort Worth, Texas. I think I have probably learned a little bit in that time. Most of the problem with the Ford twin I-beam suspension seems to be with the fact that Ford installs a spring of a certain weight capacity and then they sell it to RV companies and heavy duty truck dealers that sell to welders, Hotshot delivery companies, and other heavy-duty companies that stick something on it 1,000 pounds or more heavier than what the chassis was designed to carry and they care nothing about alignment or the driver. That is when the toe goes way out and the camber goes negative and of course the truck or motorhome wanders all over the road and makes people want to buy all kinds of kits or fixit’s. It also seems like Ford always puts negative Caster on the right side. I never have figured that out but one "extremely well-trained????" "Ford front end Technician" told me one time "that it was so that if you went to sleep you wouldn't cross the center line and crash into oncoming traffic". Okay, I have been around long enough to have met some extreme morons that claimed to be mechanics. Fortunately, he went back to driving a truck which was also very scary.

To summarize my thoughts, the truck/motorhome needs to be level first. Then it needs to have some tow in. Never toed 0 or toed out. If the Caster is skewed either way it needs to be slightly from right to left or more positive on the right than the left.

Please, before you start adding parts/”miracle fix everythings”, get the truck level and properly aligned, slightly toed in and then go drive it. You still might need sway bars or better shocks but you might be able to save the money and take your lady out for a nice paid vacation instead..
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:22 PM   #35
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Minimalist business decision

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Originally Posted by Edki45 View Post
Please, before you start adding parts/”miracle fix everythings”, get the truck level and properly aligned, slightly toed in and then go drive it. You still might need sway bars or better shocks but you might be able to save the money and take your lady out for a nice paid vacation instead..
Yes, before I did all the suspension upgrades, my alignment shop had to install aftermarket caster/camber devices because the stock Ford ones did not have the range to put the numbers where they belonged. My E-350 spring rates are too low, the E-450 not so much. The ambulance handling option would have helped, but overall, it is an obsolete design that should be retired. Another minimalist business decision which overruled good engineering.
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Old 06-18-2020, 04:51 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edki45 View Post
I.....
To summarize my thoughts, the truck/motorhome needs to be level first. Then it needs to have some tow in. Never toed 0 or toed out. If the Caster is skewed either way it needs to be slightly from right to left or more positive on the right than the left.

Please, before you start adding parts/”miracle fix everythings”, get the truck level and properly aligned, slightly toed in and then go drive it. You still might need sway bars or better shocks but you might be able to save the money and take your lady out for a nice paid vacation instead..
Here are my thoughts on this E series caster subject:

Some E350/E450 have handling issues, some do not, the following may explain the difference:

Ford ships all E350/E450 cut aways with identical fixed, non adjustable
caster/camber sleeves, "one size fits all". You can recognize these sleeves because they are keyed and cannot be rotated. They are marked "F8UA-AA 0+.25" on the passenger side and "E97A-CA +0-0" on the drivers side.

The RV builder almost never changes the Ford sleeves, as a result:

If the final RV build is nose down one degree then the runtime caster will be about +3.5 degrees. These units can have a real wandering problem.

If the final RV build is nose level then the runtime caster will be about +4.5 degrees. These units are probably indifferent.

If the final RV build is nose up one degree then the runtime caster will be about +5.5 degrees. These units are probably just fine.

So, some RVs have a problem with wandering at highway speeds and some do not have a problem. JMO
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:54 PM   #37
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The attached Ford data for spring rates may be of interest.

Considering a motorhome like an Axis/Vegas has a wheelbase of 188 inches or longer, it’s difficult to imagine that much variation in RV pitch will result from normal loading differences. However, I suppose the much shorter radius arms could make a significant difference, which may explain why Ford seems worried about springs that are specified wrong for RV’s weight.
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