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Date Posted: 03/ 24/ 03, 6:24am
There are many things to check and that affect steering:
Tires. Good tires at proper pressure front and rear will reduce sway.
Alignment. Proper alignment to Wanderlodge specs (not bus specs) will improve tracking.
Drag Link Play. This large steering box to left wheel rod has adjustable ends and sometimes needs adjustment.
Kingpin Play and Lube. The kingpins need to be properly lubed, with the front suspension un-loaded. It will make a difference in how it tracks.
Steering Box Play and Mounting. The steering box has been loose on several units from comments on the wanderlodge.org site (loose mounting bolts), should be fairly easy to correct. Also end-play in the box, can be adjusted some.
Finally, Driver. My coach has beautiful tight steering, and is almost unaffected by wind and passing trucks, yet when pulling the steering wheel I found that previous operators have sawed at the wheel so much that the horn ring had worn completely through the copper layer a few degrees on each side of center! There is a tendency for new motorhome owners to constantly correct and overcorrect when they feel the body roll. Body roll is normal. Adjusting the Koni shocks to a stiffer setting or replacing if they're bad will reduce body roll, but it is IMO a good idea to try to drive the coach without correcting when you first feel the coach move, to see if it is truly turning or just body roll. Further, try correcting half as much as you would expect to, giving the coach time to catch up with your steering input. Turning the wheels 12' below the roof will take a moment to feel the extent of your input.
There are "fixes" available as well. The large spring assemblies attached to the suspension on both sides (I can't recall the name, possibly Steer Safe?) are in my opinion a "band-aid" and don't correct anything. It will make the steering feel heavier and reduce driver input, correcting the driver error problem and making the coach feel tighter as well as reducing the amount of steering in road ruts, but at a substantial cost and probably increased steering wear with the extra forces applied. The Howard Power Center Steering I haven't driven, but a trimmable setup like this would help to reduce the driver effort on a long drive across a constant side-wind, which is rare, and will make the steering heavier as above making it feel tighter.
The product I feel is probably the most cost effective is the Safe-T-Steer, which although not trimmable is a self-centering shock absorber type steering stabilizer which dampens steering input and makes it feel heavier, again probably adding slightly to steering wear from the additional power necessary to steer, but less expensive than the others and IMO at least as effective (I like how it drives and plan to add one to my current coach).
Again, much of it is technique in my experience, (assuming all is properly maintained and adjusted) but if you wish to spend money on one of the "band-aid" products I'd suggest the relatively simple Safe-T-Plus.
Most of these are also marketed as safety products, which will keep a blowout from tearing the steering wheel from your hands! In my opinion, having had two blowouts myself, bull. A blowout in a Wanderlodge with its heavily over-boosted steering is a non-event unless you happen to be steering with one knee while eating a hogie with both hands. Further, all of these items add resistance to steering, so if your engine were ever to quit or the power steering goes out (been there, done that, freeway in Chicago in my last coach) you'll have extra resistance to overcome (which isn't a big issue with the big steering wheel of the '81).
Get a good lube job and alignment, replace cheap tires and properly inflate, and try correcting less before adding anything. Good luck.
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