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Old 06-19-2022, 12:06 AM   #1
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THOR #12281
Steering Wheel Drift

Not being as attentive in extremely heavy I-95 traffic as I should have been, I got myself into a situation where I had to slam on the breaks to avoid plowing into cars ahead of me that came to a sudden stop from a busy on-ramp. In my defense, I would like to point out that I was startled and distracted by a semi that screamed by me and swerved over into my lane at the ramp.

I thought for sure I was going to crunch several cars. But, to my relief, I was able to stop my 36 foot 2017 Jayco Precept, class A motorhome with a Honda CRV toad on the back in a surprisingly quickly so that I didn't hit anyone. And I was thankful I had a good toad breaking system. I was also thankful for my co-pilot's (wife's) loud scream.

But, to get to the subject of this post... my problem now is that I notice my steering wheel is no longer properly aligned. I have to turn it about 10 degrees clockwise to keep RV going straight down the highway although, there is no detectable play in the steering. I drove home for about 250 miles like that and experienced no visible irregular wear on my new front tires.

Has anyone else out there experienced their steering wheel getting off center like this? If so, do you know what can cause it?

I am thinking it could be that the breaking was so severe that it slid the front axial cross beam backwards on the driver side leaf spring where it's attached with U bolts to the spring. That would effectively pull the attaching arm to the steering gear box backwards making my steering wheel reposition in a clockwise direction.

Whatever the case, I will be taking the rig in for front wheel re-alignment next week. Hopefully it can be corrected without any permanent misalignment in my steering system.

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Old 06-19-2022, 12:18 AM   #2
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Haven't experienced that issue after a hard braking event. Sounds like you had a hard braking event that may have turned into a breaking event.
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Old 06-19-2022, 12:39 AM   #3
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You have leaf springs up front?
You'll easily see a mark if one of the buckles slid.

But going to a pro is indeed the answer.
We can guess,
Pro can know.
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Old 06-24-2022, 11:08 PM   #4
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Drive it without the toad and see what happens, it may be tugging on the tail.
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Old 06-25-2022, 05:30 PM   #5
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Steering Wheel Misaligned

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Originally Posted by Sappy2 View Post
Drive it without the toad and see what happens, it may be tugging on the tail.
No, the steering wheel is about 10 degrees off clockwise with or without the TOAD. I had the front wheels realigned and they were only slightly off. And the shop said it would be a lot of work to realign the steering wheel. The steering is nice and tight, and the RV holds the road great so I guess I will just live with it. My only concern now is, if I decide down the road to sell the RV to an individual, will they be concerned about the misalignment during a test drive? If I trade it in, nobody will notice.
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Old 06-25-2022, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hikerjohn7 View Post
No, the steering wheel is about 10 degrees off clockwise with or without the TOAD. I had the front wheels realigned and they were only slightly off. And the shop said it would be a lot of work to realign the steering wheel. The steering is nice and tight, and the RV holds the road great so I guess I will just live with it. My only concern now is, if I decide down the road to sell the RV to an individual, will they be concerned about the misalignment during a test drive? If I trade it in, nobody will notice.
I think you're safe on the resale.
Most wouldn't notice if the inside dual and the black tank were missing.
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Old 06-26-2022, 12:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by hikerjohn7 View Post
No, the steering wheel is about 10 degrees off clockwise with or without the TOAD. I had the front wheels realigned and they were only slightly off. And the shop said it would be a lot of work to realign the steering wheel. The steering is nice and tight, and the RV holds the road great so I guess I will just live with it. My only concern now is, if I decide down the road to sell the RV to an individual, will they be concerned about the misalignment during a test drive? If I trade it in, nobody will notice.

The adjustment is unusual because this model chassis only has one adjustable tie rod end. The official Ford procedure is to remove the steering box and shim it as needed to center the steering wheel. Of course the alignment will need to be adjusted too. BUT, there actually is an easy DIY adjustment you can do. The steering column is attached to the steering box on a splined shaft and held by a single pinch bolt. Just remove the bolt, pull the shaft off and reposition it. There are 36 splines so a one spline adjustment will give you 10 degrees. Making the job even easier….you’ll find that there is enough room in the wheel well to sit up and work conveniently. I do not know why Ford doesn’t tell you about this. It’s simple and effective.
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:07 PM   #8
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I agree drive without the toad, maybe the coupler on the toad got bent and is pulling a little to the side, it would be extremely hard to move the front axle as the alignment pins would have to snap off.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:49 PM   #9
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Steering Gearbox Spline

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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
The adjustment is unusual because this model chassis only has one adjustable tie rod end. The official Ford procedure is to remove the steering box and shim it as needed to center the steering wheel. Of course the alignment will need to be adjusted too. BUT, there actually is an easy DIY adjustment you can do. The steering column is attached to the steering box on a splined shaft and held by a single pinch bolt. Just remove the bolt, pull the shaft off and reposition it. There are 36 splines so a one spline adjustment will give you 10 degrees. Making the job even easier….you’ll find that there is enough room in the wheel well to sit up and work conveniently. I do not know why Ford doesn’t tell you about this. It’s simple and effective.
Yes, and thanks for confirming my theory. I got under the RV and saw that spine you described and was thinking that would be a way to realign my steering wheel. I am not sure I want to take it on myself, however, since that is one heck of a big pinch bolt. But maybe I will ask my favorite mechanic how much he would charge. My estimate, too, is that it would not affect the recent frontend alignment I just had done. Do you agree?
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hikerjohn7 View Post
Yes, and thanks for confirming my theory. I got under the RV and saw that spine you described and was thinking that would be a way to realign my steering wheel. I am not sure I want to take it on myself, however, since that is one heck of a big pinch bolt. But maybe I will ask my favorite mechanic how much he would charge. My estimate, too, is that it would not affect the recent frontend alignment I just had done. Do you agree?
My previous rig was on a 2017 F53 24K chassis and came from the factory with the steering wheel cocked to the left far enough it was interfering with the turn signal shutoff. Making this adjustment, it brought it almost centered (ever so slightly to the right) and had no effect on anything aside from making the steering wheel aligned with the direction of travel. I drove it like that for four years with no issue (probably 20K miles) before we swapped it for our current rig.

On top of the steering box, I removed the bolt, lifted the coupler off the splined shaft, had one of my boys center the steering wheel for me, then slid the coupler back onto the splined shaft. I used some thread locker on the bolt, since that's the last thing I want falling out while driving.
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Old 06-29-2022, 09:32 PM   #11
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Steering

Do you have a steering spring mounted on your steering system I have one on mine and one time it slipped and I had to drive a couple of hundred mile home with the steering wheel way out of center if you have I’ve make sure you wheels are centered and the spring is in the correct position
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Old 06-30-2022, 05:52 AM   #12
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I think you're safe on the resale.
Most wouldn't notice if the inside dual and the black tank were missing.
������ I had to laugh...but I am realizing the truth in this comment!
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Old 06-30-2022, 11:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twriner1 View Post
Do you have a steering spring mounted on your steering system I have one on mine and one time it slipped and I had to drive a couple of hundred mile home with the steering wheel way out of center if you have I’ve make sure you wheels are centered and the spring is in the correct position
“spring”? Do you mean stabilizer?
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Old 07-01-2022, 01:40 AM   #14
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THOR #12281
Steering Wheel Misalignnent

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDustyGeek View Post
My previous rig was on a 2017 F53 24K chassis and came from the factory with the steering wheel cocked to the left far enough it was interfering with the turn signal shutoff. Making this adjustment, it brought it almost centered (ever so slightly to the right) and had no effect on anything aside from making the steering wheel aligned with the direction of travel. I drove it like that for four years with no issue (probably 20K miles) before we swapped it for our current rig.

On top of the steering box, I removed the bolt, lifted the coupler off the splined shaft, had one of my boys center the steering wheel for me, then slid the coupler back onto the splined shaft. I used some thread locker on the bolt, since that's the last thing I want falling out while driving.
Thanks for the info.

And, yes, I heard about that method and I might try it. My current misalignment is not much so I may also just decide to live with it.

What I don't understand is why my heavy breaking incident caused it. And I am pretty sure it did since I think I remember the wheel being straight before the incident.

But since I had the alignment re-checked and it was pretty good, I am thinking something either slipped or bent slightly and the change, though possibly small, is being amplified by the complexity of the steering linkages. Whatever it was it must have been very slight because no one can detect any damaged or bent components in the linkages.
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