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Old 05-26-2014, 04:39 PM   #1
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Working with truck repair shop to correct steering/stability problems

We recently purchased a 2011 Georgetown 337 XL DS (33') motorhome. Overall, we really like the rig. We have experienced some problems. We're not surprised about this.

We're working with a speciality big truck repair shop in Indio, California to resolve the problems indicated below.
  • Steering problems (rig pulls to the left when going down the road).
  • Ford icon on steering wheel leans to the right (about 2 AM position) indicating steering wheel is not centered correctly.
  • Too much play in the steering wheel (steering to much back and forth to keep rig going straight).
  • Rocking motion when driving down the road or going around a curve.
So far, the repair shop has
  • Aligned the front end of the rig.
  • Eliminated most of the play in the steering wheel.
  • Installed a front end Safety Plus steering stabilizer, which has greatly reduced the rig's rocking motion.
  • Lubed the suspension.
This week (Tuesday or Wednesday), we will take the rig back to the repair shop. They are going to "true" the steering wheel. To do this, they need to do something with the steering gear box. They said this will resolve the steering "pulling to the left" problem.


We used the truck repair shop to do similar work with our previous RV (2006 Winnebago Sightseer, 27'). The procedures worked wonders. The difference in driving the rig was like "night and day." We're hoping for a similar result for our new rig (2011 Georgetown 337 XL DS).


If you have experienced similar problems, I would appreciate whether you had similar repairs done. Did this type of work resolve problems you experienced.


One additional thought: I researched the 2011 F53 Super Duty Motorhome Chassis manual for information about whether our Georgetown rig already had stabilizer bar(s) installed. The documentation seems to indicate yes.


Might it be possible that our rig did not have a stabilizer bar in the front; hence, we needed to install one (i.e., Safety Plus steering stabilizer)?


Maybe, I'm simply confused regarding stabilizer bars.


I look forward to your comments and suggestions.


Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:27 PM   #2
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Cheap Handling Fix!
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Old 05-26-2014, 05:37 PM   #3
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Thank you for your feedback comment. I assume "Cheap Handling Fix!" indicates the work being done is appropriate and hopefully will resolve the problems.

Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricklillie View Post
Thank you for your feedback comment. I assume "Cheap Handling Fix!" indicates the work being done is appropriate and hopefully will resolve the problems.

Rick Lillie
Oh No! Cheap Handling Fix is free, if you can do it yourself. Do a search for Cheap Handling Fix and prepare to be amazed. That is ALL we have done with our coach. That and ensure proper tire pressures. 13000 miles with three fingers on the wheel. I just hope you don't expect a car like handling experience. Cause it's a truck with a very large breadbox attached.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:05 PM   #5
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Thank you again for the reference. I looked at the "Cheap Handling Fix" forum page and read the comments. The Georgetown forums are an incredible resource.

We really enjoy the Georgetown rig. Features are much better than with the 2006 Winnebago 27' rig that we had. With this said, the Winnebago was a very well-built RV. Many of its features were better designed than similar features in the Georgetown.

For example:

->Just about all of the electrical outlets are "up" (under cabinets) throughout the rig. Very few outlets are on the walls. Why would a designer do this?

->It took us a while to figure out how to open the light fixtures that shine down from the upper storage cabinets. Lights were so bright that we changed out the halogen bulbs with LED (soft white) bulbs.

->We've learned a lot already about the topper cover on the full-wall slideout. I'll save that story for another day.

We realize our Georgetown will not drive like a car. What we're doing right now is to make it easier to drive and less tiring.

I love and appreciate your analogy. "Cause it's a truck with a very large breadbox attached."

Rick Lillie
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:21 PM   #6
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I would think that the wheel alignment would have taken care of your coach pulling to the left. I've only had experience with cars, but centering the steering wheel means disconnecting the shaft and moving it in a position that makes the steering wheel straight. Not sure how that would stop the pulling to the left issue, but I really don't know.

It's strange to me that you had that much steering play if your coach is only a 2011 model.

You coach probably has an OEM front trac bar, but not a rear. The trac bar connects the axle to the frame to get rid of any side movement, yet allowing up and down movement. A rear one is recommended. Oh, and better shocks is a must like the Koni FSDs. Don't forget correct tire pressure.

It sounds like the only thing you need is a rear trac bar, beefier sway bars...or move the sway bar end links to the innermost position on your sway bars (CHF or Cheap Handling Fix).

We've done everything in our coach for the exception of a steering stabilizer (SafeTPlus, TruCenter, SteerSafe). It rides pretty good, but haven't decided on which steering stabilizer to go with. The most expensive one is the TruCenter by Blue Ox, but still wondering if it's worth the extra Pesos.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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I had the same problem on my 2013 378. Bought it new and it drove terrible. After the alignment the coach drove like a dream. Did your repair shop adjust the toe in, caster and camber? Once they did my caster it corrected the steering wheel center. You should not have to disconnect the steering box to correct the steering wheel center. The Ford website will have the correct alignment specs and you should be able to match it up to the specs the repair shop did to your coach. My coach came with front and rear anti-sway bars and a front track bar.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:46 PM   #8
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Centering the steering wheel is done by lengthening one tie rod and shortening the other. Not a major undertaking.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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Is the alignment covered under warranty? If not what is the cost?
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:44 PM   #10
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your comments. We took our first RV (Winnebago 27' Sightseer) to a specialty shop (Pacific Brake & Alignment) in Indio, California. They deal primarily with the big truck rigs. They also service RVs.

Pacific worked wonders with the first RV, so we decided to have them checkout our 2011 Georgetown RV. They trued the steering wheel (i.e., the FORD emblem looks right at you rather than off to 1:30 on the clock), adjusted the steering box which got rid of most of the "play in the wheel" which made steering really responsive and controllable, and aligned the front end, and installed a SafetyPlus steering stabilizer on the front of the coach.

The difference in performance of the coach is amazing. We still get rocked a bit when we hit heavy cross winds. I'm not sure they is a "cure" for this problem. When winds pick up, we slow down and drive defensively.

During the past few days, we drove through mountains with steep 6% down grades. We tried the suggestion of slowing down in advance of the down grade to a slow speed and setting the cruise control. While this worked, the longer the down grade, the more speed would pick up exceeding the speed we had set on the cruise control. When this occurred, we would break lightly and down shift to "3" or "2" gear. This combination of actions helped keep the coach running smoothly and under control.

We're not towing a car on our trip. Rather, we have a rack on the back where we carry a two-seat Honda Elite motor scooter.

So far, we're getting about 8.0 to 8.5 mpg. This is much better than we got with our Winnebago.

The repair costs were not inexpensive, but seemed reasonable for where we live.

->Front-end alignment: $165
->Adjusting the steering box: $65

The most expensive part of the repairs was the SafetyPlus Steering Stabilizer and installation kit.

OTHER REPAIRS THAT WE'VE MADE

We appreciated a comment we received about how to re-glue the ceiling over the driver/shotgun seats. We followed his suggestions. So far, the repair has worked great.

NO SOLUTION TO REPAIR NEEDS THUS FAR

So far, no one has managed to figure out how to make our Dometic refrigerator work properly. It performs OK when we travel through "cooler" parts of the U.S. When traveling through "warmer" (Southwest) areas, it performs terribly. I called Dometic about the problem and they had nothing worthwhile to say or offer.

We're open to suggestions for fixing the refrigerator problem. We've installed two fans (i.e., one at the bottom of vent and one at the top of the vent.

Suggestions?

Best wishes,

Rick Lillie
Palm Springs, CA.
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