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Old 07-03-2019, 08:26 AM   #1
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Question Do alignment or wait

So, getting ready to take a 2100 mile journey to the New England states. Would it be worthwhile, in your all's opinion, to have the alignment completed as listed here or just wait until we get back?

I have 1200 miles on my rig now
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:42 AM   #2
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You have a limited time frame to do the alignment if you want FR to pay for it... Talk to your dealer and find out what may be covered and for how long.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:49 AM   #3
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It made a world of difference in the handling of mine. I would do it. I paid for mine!
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Why would you wait?
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RedLdr1 View Post
You have a limited time frame to do the alignment if you want FR to pay for it... Talk to your dealer and find out what may be covered and for how long.
My dealer is 3 hrs away. My local shop would do a great job, I think, so I would just pay for it and then get FR to reimburse, if they would.
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Old 07-03-2019, 10:25 AM   #6
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Why would you wait?
The couple of shops that I spoke too both recommended not to get an alignment until you have 2K-3K miles on the rig. The explanation was that the front end components will wear some during this period and if you get a alignment right after purchase, you may find yourself having to get another alignment soon after hitting this mileage because of that wear. Knowing this, I decided to wait to have the alignment done even though it took me past the reimbursement period from Forest River. For the $150 that it cost, this strategy was worth following just so I would not have to do it twice.

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Old 07-03-2019, 11:25 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by newRVer View Post
The couple of shops that I spoke too both recommended not to get an alignment until you have 2K-3K miles on the rig. The explanation was that the front end components will wear some during this period and if you get a alignment right after purchase, you may find yourself having to get another alignment soon after hitting this mileage because of that wear. Knowing this, I decided to wait to have the alignment done even though it took me past the reimbursement period from Forest River. For the $150 that it cost, this strategy was worth following just so I would not have to do it twice.

RVr
If it wears that much more, then there is something wrong. I have 94000 miles on mine and no front end parts have been replaced other then shocks.
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Old 07-03-2019, 11:44 AM   #8
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caster alignment

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 collars, "one size fits all". You can recognize these collars 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 collars, 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, possibly excepting the 31+ footers.

So, some RVs have a problem with wandering at highway speeds and some do not have a problem. JMO.

POPULAR MECHANICS MAY 1973:
START QUOTE:
If too little caster exists, the car will wander and weave,
thus necessitating constant corrections in steering.
END QUOTE:
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:24 PM   #9
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Alignment

My horrible experiences told me to get it done NOW!.. After around $10,000 damages, II bought new Hercules tires and my Firestone dealer told me my axles were not aligned. I had that done, including some replaced springs, and just had all bearings repacked by trustworthy professionals. I would never buy another trailer without having the axles aligned, repacking the bearings and putting on reliable tires.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:33 PM   #10
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My horrible experiences told me to get it done NOW!.. After around $10,000 damages, II bought new Hercules tires and my Firestone dealer told me my axles were not aligned. I had that done, including some replaced springs, and just had all bearings repacked by trustworthy professionals. I would never buy another trailer without having the axles aligned, repacking the bearings and putting on reliable tires.
He is discussing his Ford Motorhome chassis.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:35 PM   #11
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I have NOT had my done in two years of ownership, and it handles just fine ! Fingers crossed that continues !
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:54 PM   #12
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Do you have driving in a straight line issue now?

If the answer is yes then certainly have it done before your trip. If it runs pretty true then don't.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:54 PM   #13
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Mine does wander all over, not just on the highway, which is why I have decided to have it completed. If I do have none adjustable front end, then I'll contact FR and see about getting them replaced.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:50 PM   #14
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When it is aligned, they change what is there. Its in a kit they use. They use the kit and adjust from there.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by A32Deuce View Post
When it is aligned, they change what is there. Its in a kit they use. They use the kit and adjust from there.
My RV wanders a lot and I was wondering if anyone can tell me what kind of shop can do a front end alignment on an F53 chassis. Do I have to go to a truck shop? You refer to a kit, would most alignment shops know about this or should I come prepared with kit.

Reason I ask is because my local tire dealer, alignment shop said they are not equipped to do motorhomes.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:09 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Harvard View Post

POPULAR MECHANICS MAY 1973:
START QUOTE:
If too little caster exists, the car will wander and weave,
thus necessitating constant corrections in steering.
END QUOTE:
A lot has changed on suspensions since 1973.

Also, author of this article is failing to note that all three angles, Caster, Camber, and Toe all change when the suspension is compressed or rebounds. It's HOW MUCH each angle changes that can make a vehicle stable or not (in steering).

Ford's are unique as they can exhibit huge changes in all three as the suspension works. This is why Ford went to the huge tire pressure differential from front to rear way back in the 70's with the most common pressures being 44 psi front and 80 psi rear. They were trying to induce an understeer in order to offset the oversteer condition induced by their suspension geometry.

It's often possible to tame a "wild (steering) Ford just by making sure the suggested pressures are maintained for both front and rear. Some people like to soften up the rear tires because they think the high pressures are unnecessary due to the light(er) load they are carrying. Doing so may reduce some ride harshness but at the expense of steering.

Lastly, because Ford Steering Geometry changes so much when the vehicle rolls from side to side, a great investment is a REAR sway bar. If already equipped with a light duty one, upgrade to a Hellwig or similar.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by A32Deuce View Post
If it wears that much more, then there is something wrong. I have 94000 miles on mine and no front end parts have been replaced other then shocks.
X2!
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cariboo camper View Post
My RV wanders a lot and I was wondering if anyone can tell me what kind of shop can do a front end alignment on an F53 chassis. Do I have to go to a truck shop? You refer to a kit, would most alignment shops know about this or should I come prepared with kit.



Reason I ask is because my local tire dealer, alignment shop said they are not equipped to do motorhomes.



Thanks for any help.
F53 is a different front end design the an E 3 or 450. You have a solid beam axle and the Es have twin I beams.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:15 PM   #19
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If it wears that much more, then there is something wrong. I have 94000 miles on mine and no front end parts have been replaced other then shocks.
The term "wear" does not necessarily imply something negative. Much like a new engine "wears" and has to be broken in before you can drive it normally (i.e. not exceeding some speed limit) , it just means that the parts will have some minute level of metal reduction due to friction. The same can be true with some suspension components especially on older suspensions which I'd say the E450 qualifies for. The technicians also referred to E450 suspensions as being "stiff" when new and indicated that it is better to drive them a bit before completing an alignment. So my decision was strictly based on their input and knowledge of trucks. Also, in my case, the original alignment specs where within Ford's limits and I was doing the alignment to add caster as part of an overall suspension improvement strategy. If I felt the alignment was a major issue and contributing to a drive-ability issue, (i.e. severe pulling in one direction or the other) I certainly would have completed the alignment sooner than later.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:16 PM   #20
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My dealer is 3 hrs away. My local shop would do a great job, I think, so I would just pay for it and then get FR to reimburse, if they would.
You may still need to go thru your dealer's warranty coordinator. My dealer called FR for pre-approval for the alignment. I then went to a local truck center and had the work performed and paid for it myself. I provided a copy of the "before and after" alignment specs to my dealer who then submitted the claim to FR. It took about two weeks but I was reimbursed for the alignment and installing new adjustable bushing in front end. Since you aren't close to your dealer call FR and see if you can eliminate the "middle man".

While at the alignment shop I had all metal, one piece, valve stems from Duallyvalve installed to get rid of the plastic valve extenders on the inner duals. I also had all the wheels balanced. Those two items cost me about $200 including the metal valve stems.

When I pulled out of the shop the difference between "before and after" was unbelievable...
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