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Author Topic: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER  (Read 84263 times)

William52

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #90 on: January 25, 2016, 08:03:32 AM »
I have an 89 E350 its pretty good on the highway, but does wander slightly.
I added 1/8" toe in and it is alot better, my question is, how is caster set?
I believe mine is called twin I beam suspension,  does it require heating and bending?
I agree more caster will be beneficial,  but will increase the steering pressure required,
its worth it either way,
thanks
  It's been a long time since I bent an I beam to increase or decrease anything. BTW NO HEAT! Never heat either beam. Usually just one side or the other. Newer Ford do have sleeves. just a little FYI.
2000 Pace Arrow M35N F53 V10 Ford  100,000 + miles purrs like a kitten. 2010 Honda CRV, Roadmaster Falcon, RVI3 Brake

William52

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #91 on: January 30, 2016, 09:46:00 AM »
  It's been a long time since I bent an I beam to increase or decrease anything. BTW NO HEAT! Never heat either beam. Usually just one side or the other. Newer Ford do have sleeves. just a little FYI.
  Twin I beans usually just add some on one side  or the other to correct pulling. Caster is not an tire wearing angle. Compare to a bicycle its easier to steer and improves tracking.
2000 Pace Arrow M35N F53 V10 Ford  100,000 + miles purrs like a kitten. 2010 Honda CRV, Roadmaster Falcon, RVI3 Brake

Arfdog

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #92 on: August 23, 2016, 07:15:14 PM »
Question:  I bought a set of Ingalls 59400's and set them at 2 degrees caster +.  Now when I set the bushings on a table facing the side that will point out from the a Drivers side and have inserted a rod into the top of the bushing.....why is the rod leaning forward (negative) caster diection?  Please help.  I know there is a simple answer and want to be confident when I take the  RV in Thursday for installation.






Our 2004 E450 28 Foot handled terrible until we added additional + Caster to the front wheels.

The Ford Spec for front end CASTER is:

LH +1.3 to +6.8 Degrees
RH +1.8 to +7.3 Degrees

Our unit was:
LH +3.3 Degrees
RH +3.5 Degrees

We added + 2.0 degrees, so we are now at:
LH +5.3 Degrees
RH +5.5 Degrees.

Alignment problems on the E series follow the 80/20 rule in the sense that TOE and CAMBER is 20% of the story while CASTER is 80% of the story. TOO LITTLE CASTER will amplify any external force many fold to the detriment of stability.

If your unit feels like the steering box needs to be tightened up it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If cross winds and wind gusts cause havoc it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If you think the tail is wagging the dog it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.
If you are needing to drive it all day and never relax it is because of TOO LITTLE + CASTER.

If your unit drives GREAT, like an SUV, it is because you have a proper amout of + CASTER which I am guestimating to be about +5.0 degrees or more.  (Note: The RH caster is always more then LH (CROSS CASTER = LH - RH))

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #93 on: August 23, 2016, 10:20:43 PM »
This picture is a picture of the 594 on the Drivers side.
 
The front wheels are turned full left, the head of the pinch bolt faces forward.

M is over G for + 2.0 degrees of additional caster.  The slot in the outer sleeve is under the M which faces the rear of the vehicle

http://i.imgur.com/el7CvYpl.jpg
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 10:29:32 PM by Harvard »

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #94 on: August 23, 2016, 10:26:51 PM »
This picture is the picture of the 594 on the passenger side.

The front wheels are turned full right. The pinch bolt head faces the front of the vehicle.

M is over S for adding +2.0 of caster. The slot in the outer sleeve is hidden under the M which faces the rear of the vehicle.

http://i.imgur.com/gki7CGyl.jpg
« Last Edit: August 23, 2016, 10:30:16 PM by Harvard »

Arfdog

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTERss
« Reply #95 on: August 25, 2016, 04:31:18 PM »
Thanks very much for the pics.  I had the Ingalls 594's installed with the LH caster coming out at 5.4 and the RH coming out at 5.9 and the bushings did not have to be maxed out.  My vehicle is a 2012 Itasca Impulse on a Ford E450 chassis.  Guess this shows you can't simply set the bushings at MG and MS as the base axle casters can vary.

I did do a short test drive and it looks like the handling has been considerably improved.

Thanks Again,

Jim

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #96 on: August 25, 2016, 05:18:45 PM »
Yes, I agree the base caster can vary. I have used the term "neutral caster" in the past. My neutral caster being the +caster when the Ingalls are set to be 0.0 caster adjustment.

I do not have the data to prove it BUT I think if we were able to compare the nose up or nose down attitudes with "base" casters we would see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Gunner4565

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #97 on: November 02, 2016, 07:59:41 PM »
I have a new 2015 Ford chassis Thor Chateau E350 25 footer and I would like to improve its highway handling (trucks/wind) so my DW can drive it.  I have read this entire thread and others.  My plan is to make incremental improvements by adding a track bar and steering stabilizer/centerer.

But upon reading this thread, I think the first action is to get an alignment done asking them to increase the caster.

What caster value should I shoot for?  Looks like between 5 and 6 deg would be good.  I can buy the Ingalls 59400 bushing on Amazon which will give about 2 deg of increase over the base line.  The other bushing option appears to be the Moog K80109 which will adjust to 4 deg.

Any problem with the Moog?  Would it give the technician an easier time with more adjustment available?  Or will the bushing walls be thinner thereby compromising the stability?

Gunner

motorhead446

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #98 on: January 31, 2017, 04:08:12 AM »
Hello, just wanted to pass on this tidbit. The ingalls 59400 bushings will work up to the current 2017 E 450 chassis.  They are not listed on the website so I called Ingalls and confirmed it.

bryfinn

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #99 on: March 03, 2017, 11:04:42 AM »
Wow! What a long lived and great thread! And yes the caster problem probably exists on all cutaway an incomplete chassis of many different makes and capacities (Sm, med, lg), unless the fitter reset everything after completion which I have found to be rare. I worked as a Ford Tech, Fleet Tech, and a FD Tech back in the 90's and I was ASE and Ford Certified in suspension. When the cutaway is new and shinny with new unsettled springs with no load, the factory will set the alignment for that condition. Have you ever walked around a dealership and seen new dual pickups with the bed off and how high in the air the rear frame sits? Well when a load is placed on the back and the rear of the truck settles as the rear approaches the ground the frame and suspension rotate around an imaginary arch with the front axle being the origin. This causes the caster to become less positive in most suspensions. As discussed before, the right amount of caster makes vehicles track strait. Well this rotation can easily knock 2-3 degrees of of a caster and take it to a minimal setting, which when a force is applied by a passing vehicle or a wind gust can case the suspension to be compressed and momentarily force it out of spec which is the reason to try setting the suspension in the middle for a specific load, so these sudden impulses do not push the suspension out of spec so easily. 

Another aspect that is worth looking into is the ride height specification. Each chassis has an optimal designed ride height, at this height, changes in the suspension geometry (bumps, wind gust, etc.) have the least impact on handling, as the ride height increasingly differs from the optimal "designed" ride height, these input have a more drastic impact on handling. Correcting any ride height issues should be one of the first items before setting the caster, camber, and toe (they will change again if you correct the ride height). I would also check for frame squareness while performing these adjustments. This is especially important if your rig has a cut frame with an extension. Ride height will change over the years as the springs settle, unless you have an air-ride with an auto-adjust feature. While you are at it make sure the following are in great condition: ball joints, tie rods, drag-link, steering-box, bushings, shocks, tires, etc. are all in good service.

Everything can be adjust to spec, if the sleeves do not get the +4 to +5 degrees of camber, (my target would be 4.5 at the specified ride height) you will likely need a frame shop to adjust the axles with a press. There are shims to adjust the camber and toe is the last adjustment.

I am a huge fan of the air suspension and it is on my upgrade list, for my 2006 31' E450 Fleetwood which is starting to squat in the rear and wander the road because the alignment is now off. It is too harsh on washboard roads and rough highways, it feels like it is damaging my coach. I am not talking about the add a air springs for the back but a complete retrofit to air springs/bags. We performed these modifications to our ambulance fleet (Chevy) and the difference was dramatic over the spring based buses. If I were a patient, I would want the aired setup ;).

Poly bushings should replace all rubber after 5-10 years. They last longer and 5-10 years is about as long as rubber ones stay the correct hardness. Shocks would make a big change in ride and drive-ability (it sounds like Koni has the hot setup), then sway bars, I think the poly bushings on the sway bars make a bigger improvement than the larger diameter bars, so if your budget is tight, look at replacing the rubber bushings with poly.  Note the front sway bar settles the rear and the rear sway bar settles the front.

The steering damper would be the next upgrade, then finally the rear track bar.

I have heard that vortex generator on the rear help with gusts and passing vehicles, but this would be my last step. Well, if money were no object, there would be one more last step and that would be an active suspension on the shocks like the new Corvettes and Cadillac s have on them, but I have never seen them for this large of a vehicle, so we would be in the experimental category. If all of this was done, handling would be a dream. If you did any of this starting with ride height and suspension alignment, you would be happy.

Happy Travels!
Great thread!

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #100 on: December 04, 2017, 08:31:54 PM »
OP here, for the record.

I now have driven 40,000 miles on this 2004 E450 since late 2010, and early 2011 when I started this thread. I can assure you I have not experience any abnormal tire wear.

Just to recap how my DIY job unfolded.

1: Took it in for an alignment and all they did was tweak the toe and never touched the caster or camber.
2. In an RV park, I adjusted my existing Ingall concentrics for +2.0 more caster each side and set the Ingalls for 0.0 camber on each side.
3. Again in the RV Park, I tweaked the toe using a tape measure.

And now being 40,000 mile later I know it worked out good.  Cheers

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTERss
« Reply #101 on: December 08, 2017, 08:33:21 AM »
Thanks very much for the pics.  I had the Ingalls 594's installed with the LH caster coming out at 5.4 and the RH coming out at 5.9 and the bushings did not have to be maxed out.  My vehicle is a 2012 Itasca Impulse on a Ford E450 chassis.  Guess this shows you can't simply set the bushings at MG and MS as the base axle casters can vary.

I did do a short test drive and it looks like the handling has been considerably improved.

Thanks Again,

Jim

I think you can simply set the bushings at MG and MS and you would have more then +5 degrees caster, more is better. My unit sits about 1 degree nose down (I have rear air bags), if it were leveled I would have about +6 and +6.5 degrees of caster. I know the final camber does not matter one iota because it changes as soon as you sit a driver and a passenger in the front seat. JMO.

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #102 on: March 14, 2018, 10:38:27 PM »
OP Here. Just bumping this to the surface because there are still a steady stream of wandering RVs.

99dart

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  • If it ain't broke...don't fix it!
Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #103 on: March 15, 2018, 08:28:43 PM »
OP Here. Just bumping this to the surface because there are still a steady stream of wandering RVs.

Thinking about taking our new to us 2016 Quantum WS31 in for an alignment. Should I assume that I will need the new bushings and go ahead and buy them beforehand?
2016 Thor Quantum WS31
2014 Ford Focus toad
1998 Four Winds Chateau -- sold

blw2

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #104 on: March 16, 2018, 09:31:30 AM »
Thinking about taking our new to us 2016 Quantum WS31 in for an alignment. Should I assume that I will need the new bushings and go ahead and buy them beforehand?

I took my RV to Josam in orlando.  I've been told they are alignment experts and I couldn't find a local shop that was convenient and able to do the RV.
Actually it has been a while so I should probably plan a trip back....

Anyway, I had known about Harvard's advice at the time and was asking them for more caster.  what they told me was that the caster adjustment is a trade-off with camber.... to get more caster positive, it throws off the camber, they said to the point of causing problems with bump-steer....
Anyway, they put it where they suggest was the best compromise.  Not nearly as high as Harvard suggests, but it performs well enough.

I have no idea how these bushings would affect camber.  harvard, maybe you can chime in on that?  Anyway, I'd say that if you want to follow the advice I'd go to the alignment shop with the bushings in hand....
something I have in the back of my mind that I might do some day... but honestly with the tire pressures set by weight and the alignment as was done by Josam, it's good....no luxury car, but it's good.
Still, I wonder...should I pick up some bushings and head back in for re-alignment?...hmmm, something to consider....
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #105 on: March 16, 2018, 11:11:44 AM »
Thinking about taking our new to us 2016 Quantum WS31 in for an alignment. Should I assume that I will need the new bushings and go ahead and buy them beforehand?

Assuming you have a E450 chassis, if the alignment shop is knowledgeable they will have the sleeves in stock or know where to source them on the spot. IMO.

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #106 on: March 16, 2018, 11:36:24 AM »
I took my RV to Josam in orlando.  I've been told they are alignment experts and I couldn't find a local shop that was convenient and able to do the RV.
Actually it has been a while so I should probably plan a trip back....

Anyway, I had known about Harvard's advice at the time and was asking them for more caster.  what they told me was that the caster adjustment is a trade-off with camber.... to get more caster positive, it throws off the camber, they said to the point of causing problems with bump-steer....
Anyway, they put it where they suggest was the best compromise.  Not nearly as high as Harvard suggests, but it performs well enough.

I have no idea how these bushings would affect camber.  harvard, maybe you can chime in on that?  Anyway, I'd say that if you want to follow the advice I'd go to the alignment shop with the bushings in hand....
something I have in the back of my mind that I might do some day... but honestly with the tire pressures set by weight and the alignment as was done by Josam, it's good....no luxury car, but it's good.
Still, I wonder...should I pick up some bushings and head back in for re-alignment?...hmmm, something to consider....

"Bump Steer" in the context of camber is BS, an excuse not to learn something new.... Also, if you reread my posts all I did was add +2.0 degrees of caster and 0.0 degrees of camber. The resulting camber setting has been close enough "for all practical purposes". That is what I did 40,000 miles ago along with a DIY Toe adjustment and I have never had any tire wear issues.

Bump Steer has probably been part of front end dynamics ever since caster was invented. IMO. It is an effect that is not an issue where caster settings are set to "practical settings". Again, IMO.

Most alignment shops are so used to the profits realized from their "tweak the toe and you are good to go" approach to the Ford Trucks and they do not want to change. IMO



« Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 12:33:13 PM by Harvard »

99dart

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  • If it ain't broke...don't fix it!
Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #107 on: March 16, 2018, 09:03:38 PM »
Assuming you have a E450 chassis, if the alignment shop is knowledgeable they will have the sleeves in stock or know where to source them on the spot. IMO.

Thanks for the quick response guys! I will have to call a couple places to find out if they can do a MH alignment. I'm in a small town, so we shall see.
2016 Thor Quantum WS31
2014 Ford Focus toad
1998 Four Winds Chateau -- sold

Harvard

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Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #108 on: March 17, 2018, 02:37:34 PM »
Thanks for the quick response guys! I will have to call a couple places to find out if they can do a MH alignment. I'm in a small town, so we shall see.

Here is a link to a very recent testimonial by a handle named "2kGeorgieBoy". I suggest you print it off and take it with you.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,112427.30.html

START QUOTE
Jeff..Although we have a 2000 Georgie Boy 31' Maverick "C" on  a Ford E450 chassis, I can fully agree on the caster effects, at least for us.  When we got the unit in  Jan 2014, the dealer had us take into a  truck shop for an alignment. It turned out OK....A trip to Moab shortly there after brought out the problems. I then started reading the threads and comments here about the caster settings....esp., from Harvard. I checked the data from the first alignment and found that it was set at about 3 1/2 degrees positive...about in the middle of Ford's recommended range. Shortly before a cross country trip to Maryland in fall of 2016, I returned to the shop where the first alignment was done. I talked to the service manager and he knew of the problems with the E450's and was happy to increase the caster as I asked. The alignment tech was also familiar with it and ended up with settings close to 5.5 degrees positive. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The unit tracked straight down the road, passing semis no longer caused a white knuckle hold on the wheel, and overall it was just a lot more enjoyable. It did however increase steering effort a little but not anything to worry about.  But,be sure that the shop you go to is willing to "think outside of the box". Our first alignment was "plain vanilla", right in the middle like it was always done. Second time out, they were very willing to increase settings beyond what normally would be done, and still stay with in Ford's guidelines (0-7 degrees, I believe). I realize that our E450 chassis is an entirely different animal than yours, but I was trying to add support to the caster increase thinking and how it helped us......if you go down that road.
END QUOTE

Re: E350/E450 Handling Problems are caused by too little + CASTER
« Reply #109 on: March 25, 2018, 02:06:34 PM »
 Thanks, Harvard and others on this thread  for the education to  refine  my plan to improve  the suspension on the E-450 chassis of my 2018 Leprechaun 260DSF. as follows:
1. Sumo springs on the front. Back came with firestone air bags
2. Roadmaster steering stabilizer
3. Roadmaster rear anti sway bar in rear
4. Koni adjustable shocks.
After Installation  I will have the front wheels realigned, watching caster, after ensuring the rig is level front to back by proper inflation in the rear airbags.
The air bag instructions tell me that air bag inflation is set to have a level a loaded coach from back to front  and side to side.  Now understanding caster physics , I see it can be effected by coach level back to front .
Now back  to airbags.  Firestone manual says, " Normal pressure loss should not exceed 3 4 psi per week when the air springs are inflated to 50 psi and should be checked monthly.
Since I'm adding a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), I'll add caps for the air bags. 
Gratefully
Richard
 

 

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