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Author Topic: Caster piece by Harvard  (Read 5149 times)

cgmartin

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Caster piece by Harvard
« on: October 12, 2014, 02:25:37 AM »
This is a break-away piece to the outstanding editorial done by Harvard in 2011, in which he discusses the issues dealing with too little caster in e350/e450 vehicles. If he is still around, and might respond, I would appreciate it, or someone else with intimate knowledge of this issue. When he mentioned that he did adjusted the caster  while in an Arizona campground, but later in his piece he stated he had no way of checking caster, how did he know what caster setting he had to begin with, and  how would he know what his starting point was?  Also, I would like to know if a truck front wheel alignment shop does that does wheel alignments will adjusts the caster as part of the process of aligning the front wheels.  Finally, should i let the wheel alignment shop take care of ordering the Ingalls 594 camber/caster sleeve, and is this required for the actual wheel alignment process, or only when adjusting the caster? Thx.

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2014, 10:05:44 AM »
Yes I am still here and still driving the same 2004 28 Foot E450. I bought this unit in Sep 2010 and it turned out to be a nightmare to drive on the highway. Following the advice I received on RV.NET I took it in for a wheel alignment at the KalTire Truck Bay in Calgary, AB on 10Oct10. All they did was tweak the TOE and charged me $166.00. But, their report did specify the current +caster settings so I was able to deduce from that starting point and with the Ingall 59400.pdf cheat sheet. The RV factory had installed the 594 bushings but did not take advantage of the additional available +caster. Then it was on the 16Nov10 when I decided to try adjusting for the extra caster in an AZ camp ground. Best move I have ever made in my 71 years.  :) :) :)  Also, if you dig a little deeper into that original thread you will see the procedure to measure the caster using graduated levels to measure camber at full left and full right wheel positions. Thanks for asking the question.

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 10:35:44 AM »
Another point to make about my unit is that it has rear airbags and when these bags are inflated (80-90 psi) my unit has a ONE degree nose down attitude. In terms of caster this means that if I had a level vehicle (which I don't) I would actually measure ONE MORE degree of caster then I measure with my nose down.

I am adding that info for the benefit of anyone with a level vehicle that has +4.3 degrees of caster. With such a vehicle you could still gain +2.0 degrees and have a resulting runtime caster of +6.3 degrees, which is better.

Also, another tidbit of info. If you are running your front tires at the max inflation pressure (as opposed to the inflation pressure actually required by the load) then you are running at LESS CASTER TRAIL then you could benefit from by running at the recommended load tire inflation pressure.

cgmartin

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2014, 05:24:27 AM »
Sir, I am extremely glad to hear from you, and I sincerely hope you are in good health.  You are probably the premiere source of information when it comes to all things about caster and steering wheel alignment.  You answer now makes more sense. I have a 2008 Fleetwood Tioga on a Ford e450 chassis, and although it tracks rather well, with about 72 lbs psi on the front tires, it is still a Ford and could see some improvement in handling, which is why I am so interesting in this topic. I am hoping that my unit has some type of sleeve already installed, like your unit, which would save me the expense. I think that if I followed your instructions, I would do this work myself, but I would ask where in the steering mechanism I might look for the sleeve you spoke of. Was your sleeve also a Helwig? And does the process of making the adjustments require loosening steerage components?  Thank you in advance.

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2014, 09:43:20 AM »
The sleeves are Ingalls 594s and are located (and viewed) from the top of the upper ball joint. Here is a link to a picture of the top of my passenger side. This picture is NOT a picture of the final setting on my vehicle.

http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv215/pb20091018/PassengerSide.jpg

When changing the caster (or camber) it does effect the TOE adjustment so the TOE must be aligned after the Caster/Camber adjustments are made.

Other then adjusting the TOE turn buckles the only other mechanical work is to loosen the pinch bolts that secure the caster/camber sleeves and make sure you use a torque wrench to tighten these pinch bolts. The torque spec is given in the 59400.pdf document (55-65 ft lbs).

ON EDIT: CAUTION: THE WHEEL MUST BE ON A JACK TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE SLEEVES.

I stand corrected, the picture DOES show M/S which is the final setting of my passenger side.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 10:56:55 AM by Harvard »

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2014, 11:37:33 AM »
And here is a link to my Drivers side (M/G) which gives me the +2.0 Degrees of Caster on that side.

http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv215/pb20091018/DriverSide.jpg


Here is a link to the Ingalls 594 Cheat Sheet:

https://www.ingallseng.com/Instructions/59400.pdf


Here is a link to the original 2011 thread which to date has received over 20,000 hits:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=40337.0


cgmartin

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 06:34:27 PM »
Thank you sir. Outstanding info.

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2014, 04:38:59 PM »
Here is a site that has posted an outline of the steps involved c/w pictures that may help.

http://www.quicktrickalignment.com/fleet-alignment-tools/

To reiterate, all I did was set the sleeves to the max available +caster and let the camber be where ever it ended up. The resulting camber is a function of the weight on the front suspension. So, my 4300# (max 4600#) worked out well as I have not had any abnormal tire wear in the 30,000 miles since.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 04:59:05 PM by Harvard »

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 10:55:00 PM »
Here is a link to my latest hobby venture, a means of estimating the caster using a digital camera and importing pictures into Windows Paint.

The intention is not to suggest the user do a DIY alignment, it is just a means for one to estimate the current caster settings before one approaches an alignment shop.

http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/28154264.cfm


cgmartin

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015, 08:22:56 PM »
Harvard, I took my Ford e450 class C to a truck repair shop to see if they would do the front wheel alignment, and the mechanic said there was really "not much he could do" about the alignment, even with sleeves, and said that unless I was having a real hard time driving it, I should just leave it alone. So I did. Was he just being lazy, or was he correct in stating that unless there is a major problem with the wheel alignment, a routine alignment will not fix anything? I actually think my motor home drives great, but I just wanted to make sure the wheel alignment was right on target!

Harvard

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Re: Caster piece by Harvard
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 08:38:41 PM »
If you would care to take and post pictures I would only be too happy to "have a look" at what I think are your present settings. I caution you, my procedure is theoretical, it has not been proven to anyone else but me. But, if I do not get some examples outside of my "driveway" it will never amount to anything. I would like to make further commitments to your situation but I first need some pictures before I proceed further.