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Author Topic: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer  (Read 10605 times)

lindstrome

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Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« on: March 12, 2009, 07:52:20 PM »
We purchased a Class C 2008 Jayco Greyhawk 31SS on a Ford E450 chassis.  It came with some weak factory anti-sway bars.  When we travel and it is windy or 18-wheelers pass us, the coach really sways badly.  It is a white knuckle drive to say the least.  There have been times when I have had the motorhome in the middle of the lane and have been nearly blown completely off the road where there is NO shoulder.  Quite scary!  We also have a lot of sway and rocking anytime someone rolls in bed or does most anything in the motorhome.  I have talked with the folks at several RV stores to include Camping World and they recommend we at least install a heavy duty anti-sway bar on the rear of the motorhome.  We also had one place say the best thing would be some sort of shock absorber for the steering.  Anyone have any experience with this type of problem?  Thanks

Mark R.

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 08:37:44 PM »
I strongly recommend Not putting a steering stabilizer on that rig, are you a new MH driver, have you towed any long travel trailers for long distances? Many people not use to driving a big box rig or towing can be very uncomfortable about the way a rig acts when a truck passes them. Ford did not build their first truck last year, and rv builders have put lots on big bodies on top of them.  When being over taken the front of a RV will start aiming left as it passes steering goes neutral then as it passes front of rig starts to aim right, I recommend smooth gentle inputs  and try to relax, after a while you will most likely get comfortable with the handling, make sure your tires are all at max tire presure, this can have a significant effect on handling. Good luck.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 09:22:36 PM »
Well... I drive a Workhorse, not a ford but there are two things I disagree with

1: Steering stablizers. Mine makes a BIG difference.. I opted for the Blue Ox True-Center, this unit is, far as I know, unique in the industry because I can effectively disable it for up to 30 seconds FROM THE DRIVER's SEAT.  and when I push that button.. MAN does it make a difference, big time difference Hugh difference,  (I did not notice it so much till I pushed the button)

2: Tire pressure: NOT the max, Read that side wall ALL OF IT, not just the 'Max pressure 100 PSI" (or whatever it says) but  '1Max Load 11,000 pounds at max pressure of 100 PSI'.   (NOTE, I'm making up numbers here for this example)   Did you notice the difference between my the first line and what most folks read?

There are two pressures that are all but guarenteed to be wrong, the pressure on the sticker and the pressure on the side wall.

(As it happens on my rig the sidewall is right)

The proper method is to weigh the rig, wheel by wheel and inflate per tire maker's specifications based on the weight.

Here is why

If the pressure is too low (Typically the sticker is too low) then only the outer edges of the tire are in full contact, there is excessive flexing of the sidewall causing excess heat and finally... BANG, you have a total blow out..  Recall Ford's issues with Roll-a-matic explorers?  They blamed Firestone but the real problem was Ford ran the tires 5 PSI low, add to that a few other things and exactly the kind of tire failure they displayed could be expected.  Also due to the greater sidewall flexing you have less control over your ride.

The other pressure that's usually wrong is the sidewall max  At this pressure (Unless you happen to be at max load as I am) the center of the tire is the only thing in contact with the road.  This means less traction, it also means  that you have excessive wear in the center of the tire leading to early tire failure

At the proper pressure the entire tread is firmly pressed against the surface of the road, this gives you the greatest amount of control and the best tire life.

It's the only way to go.

This one does not depend on chassis maker

As for the steering stablizer.. Well, as I said I drive a Workhorse..

PAN HARD Bars... Or Trac Bars (Same thing two names)

Now as I said, I did not really notice the difference the True-Center made when I drove off after install.. I noticed it when I went to re-center (Oh, the reason you can "effectively disable" is so you can re-center it to adjust for differing conditiosn, such as a steady cross wind or a high crowned road).

However the Pan Hard bar.. I did notice that one. Davis Tru-Trac  The next one (You can use 2) I put on will likely be an Ultra Power
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Ron

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 10:04:34 PM »
My recommendation is BEFORE you start wasting your $$$$ on swaybars and such load the rig as you would normally travel and get it weighed preferably at each tire if possible.  The inflate the tires to the pressure +5 psi shown in your tire manufacturers tire inflation charts.  If that doesn't improve things then while loaded take it to a Qualified alignment shop where they can perform a full all wheel alignment.  Tell the techs exactly what you are experiencing.  After the alignment if you are not satisfied with the handling then discuss the issues with the alignment techs and consider their recommendations.
Ron & Sam-home is where we park it. Currently located   HERE

Just Lou

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2009, 10:36:32 PM »
Great answer, Ron.  If there really were a single $400 answer to all the perceived MH handling problems, either the chassis or coach manufacturer would probably have implemented it. 

Each case is different, but I learned from folks here on the Forum that optimizing my stock set up has made my coach very drivable.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Mark R.

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  • 1986 Executive Industries 1967 Ford Fairlane,toad
Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2009, 08:14:50 AM »
"We also have a lot of sway and rocking anytime someone rolls in bed or does most anything in the motorhome."

A almost new , 2008 Ford F 450 should not need a 4 wheel alignment unless it has been used off road or bent in a crash, nor do I think a alignment problem would cause a rig to sway out of control if someone rolls over in bed. I assumed  2008 vehicles would have radial tires, riding on tire edges at low pressure is found on bias ply tires not radials. Excessive  sway and rocking from someone walking around the RV, does not sound remotely possible unless the rig has  broken spring s or flat tires. This sounds like P.I.T. to me ,thats pilot induced turbulence (over reaction to a perceived or real external input), someone used to driving a toyota for ten years then jumps in a RV and thinks it should handle like a car.

lindstrome please do not take this wrong, maybe you have been driving rigs like this all your life, and this chassis is bent or falling apart, with a loose front end that needs a big shock with internal springs to hold a center position mounted on the steering drag link to hold the wheels straight, but it sounds like PIT to me. JMHO
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rankjo

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2009, 08:43:23 AM »
First of all, I'm assuming that when you say that there is lots of rocking and rolling when people turn over in bed, that you are PARKED at the time.
Bigger coaches don't do that so much because they have hydraulic jacks which level and stabilize. I'm guessing that you don't have those.

Second, as mentioned above, you first have to make sure your tires, shocks etc are properly installed.  I had a new set of shocks put on once, and the mechanic forgot to tighten one of the nuts, which promptly fell off and made for interesting driving.

Third, this corner weighing is important.   You can get it done at rallies sometimes, where they have a scale like a bathroom scale on stearoids.  Or go to the local weigh station and get total weight, front axle/rear axle, right side left side, and go from there.  It is important to know that you are not OVERloaded, which will make a class C handle like a roller coaster, and it is also important to know that you are EVENLY loaded. Also, if you have half a ton of stuff on the roof, that Class C is gonna sway.  All the heavy stuff should be as low as possible, and it can make quite a difference. In our case, it's books for our 4months in the South. We don't store them in the bookshelves anymore, but in boxes in outside lockers.  When travelling we carry as little water/sewage etc as possible.
Weighing is also important because from it you can calculate the RIGHT tire pressure, or even determine that the tires are not adequate for the load (dangerous).

So if you do all that and are still concerned, then before you embark on expensive bars you should try to define what the problem is as precisely as possible. With our Class C the problem was "tail wag" or roll oversteer, which can be set off by a passing semi etc. You also see that in tight corners when the RV doesn't steer smoothly, but tends to roll and require steering corrections. The answer for us was to stiffen up the rear axle with some rubber doughnuts made by Timbron, which were cheap and easy to install.  What a difference!

But you need good advice, and not just throw bars at the problem and come away disappointed.

And a Class C will never handle like a Class A. You have to go slower and be more careful.

Hope this helps and is not patronizing.

Rankjo

Mark R.

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2009, 10:41:42 AM »
Just in case you rely want to spruce up your suspension, try this link out! 8)

http://www.linkmfg.com/pdfs/ur/80000974.pdf
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2009, 11:19:22 AM »
A stiffer anti-sway bar may help with trucks passing. It will do little or nothing when you are parked and people move around inside. You need stabilizer jacks for that, or a complete leveling system. 

I also would not add one of the "shock absorber" or spring type steering stabilizers cause it isn't going to do much for the problem you described. The Blue Ox Tru Center steering might help some, as would a Track Bar (panhard rod). Neither will stop the feeling you are being blown off the road, but they should make it much easier to control in all conditions.

I have to agree with MarkR.  - it does sound a bit like you may be oversteering when the trucks start pushing you around. It's a common problem until you get more used to the effects of wind on a big vehicle. Your coach is large for the E450 chassis and the suspension is probably pretty near its max limits when you are loaded for travel. It is never going to drive like  a sports car. Or even the family sedan.
Gary
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Just Lou

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Re: Anti-Sway Bar or Steering stabilizer
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2009, 02:33:25 PM »
I think Mark and Gary have about said it all.  31 feet of RV is a lot of box to put on an E450.  It is going to rock and sway some in wind gusts and large truck turbulence.   I had a 26' Tioga and I had to learn to let the beast wallow in the wind.

Stabilizers or jacks are the only answer for stability when parked.

Relax, and make all your occupants stay seated while driving.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX