Coachman Santara Class C Steering

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RVPilotRuss

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Joined
Aug 4, 2005
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Warrenton, Virginia
I have 1998 Coachman Santara Class C motorhome and man that thing can beat me up while driving. Now honestly it is only on some secondary roads or roads that and not exactly in the best condition, but there are times when I'm two fisting that steering wheel and she'll hit a certain dip in the road and next thing I know I'm fighting to keep her going straight. Then on interstates and major highways she steers just fine. We tow a Jeep Liberty somethings and I have noticed it is worst when towing. The coach only has about 20k miles, the tires are in excellent shape, I keep the tire pressure at 80lbs as recommended by Firestone. Has anyone had this experience and a solution, or am I just a whining little asshat? Camping World sells Steer Safe Stabilizers, and I was wondering if those may help. And will adjusting the airbags help me?
 

rhmahoney

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Feb 9, 2005
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1,405
Read up on wheelbase to total length ratios and what long rear overhangs can do to affect ride comfort and sway.

Weigh the coach and check for overweight rear axle.

Try totally emptying the water tanks and see how this affects the issue.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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At my Silver Springs FL home
No, you aren't whining. There is a probelm (or more than one) and it can be fixed.

What length is your Santara and what chassis is it built on?  Santara Class C's are currently built on a Ford chassis, but 1998 may have had another type.  You mentioned airbags, which suggests a Chevy or Workhorse P32 chassis, but those are usually under Class A's rather than Class C's.

Here are my initial reactions...

At first blush, your problem sounds like worn shock absorbers.  Bad shocks will result in loss of control on uneven road surfaces.  If your rig has front air bags in the suspension, inadequate air bad inflation will have similar effects.  What mileage do you have on this rig?

80 psi sounds like a lot of tire pressure for this sort of rig.  Did you get this by weighing the rig and looking up the weight in Firestone's inflation tables?

When is the last time you had the front end aligned and the front suspenson checked for wear?  An alignment is probably the very first step to take. 

A Steer Safe or Safe-T-Plus stabilzer will help you keep the steering under control but does not really fix the problem you describe. And the fact that there is no wander at speed on a smooth highway suggests you don't need these except as an emergency handling aid. I would NOT buy eithe rone until the basic problem was resolved.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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25,375
Location
Davison Michigan
Some others have hinted at coach specific posibilitiees (Weight distribution, overhang, center of gravity

However in a car there are a few things that can seriously affect stearing

1: Tire pressure, the tire manafacturer's "Maximum safe pressure" may not be right for your vehicle

2: Tire condition, and do all 4 tires match (Same age/make/model)

3; SHOCKS!  You have done a very good job of describing how one car of mine drive when the shocks failed

4: Alingment: Likewise you have done a good job of describing bad alingment, VERY bad alingment.  I believe the specific value is castor but I'm not sure.(The values in alingnment are toe in/out, (Direction the tire points) Chamfer (If I remember correctly this is how far in/out from the centerline the tire is) and castor (If I remember correctly this is how far forward/backward the tire is)

Finally there is one more thing... Busted suspension component.  For example a spring or spring mount

In any case... I'd have a good alingment man look at it
 

lhyzer

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Posts
6
Your Coachmen Class C has the ride rite suspension on the rear axle increase the air in the air bags to 70 to 80 psi. I think you will find that it will handle much better. The max psi in the air suspension is I believe 100 psi's for that air system. Never let it go below 10 psi or you will damage the system. When I had the 98 Class C I ran the 70-80 psi in the ride rite and had no steering problems.
 

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