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tazerman

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Jun 22, 2006
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11
This is bit of a long story, but here go's....we are not totally newbie's, we have had a 1979 dodge lindy, 19' for 10 years, but we do not travel long distances.? A long trip for us is about 700 miles round trip, and we have had almost zero problems with this little baby.? I think one blow out and general maintenance.

We have been wanting a home with a down bed because of our puppy, so this last weekend we went to Salem,OR and purchased a 1989 Itasca Spirit, 22' class A on a Chevy p30 chassis, with a 454. I won't tell the whole story to bore you but we got 100 miles out of town, had a blowout, tore the left rear off the home, all the tank plumbing etc... :eek: got that changed, slowed to fifty mph made it 70 more miles, blew the inside right dually, tore the right side up, including a whole in the floor, couldn't get help, sat on the highway for 9 hrs. for a trooper, no Les Schwab would come out, finally got a tire truck out of Biggs Junction, stayed the night, got to a Les Schwab in Wa. changed all tires and made it home to Spokane, WA.

Here's where I need the help, even after all the new tires, which I went to 10 ply, This thing still drives like crap.? :-[ It feels like the tail is wagging the dog all the time. You cannot take one hand off the wheel at all if you want to feel in control of it, when someone comes up on you rear corner you can feel the home move around and you have to correct for it, it makes for a very tiring ride.? I did go to the library on the site and found some info on there about handling, but thought I would ask the specific question on here.

Again.....1989 Itasca Spirit, 22', class A, Chevy chassis, #7500 rear axle,new 235/85/16's, 10 ply
This thing has aftermarket air bags in the rear, and I was wondering if this could be part of the cause?

What do you all think?

Thanks Darren
 

King

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Jan 30, 2006
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354
Location
MA
What are you putting in the air bags?  They should have 45 - 50 # min.  If they are empty, you would have severe handling problems.
Art
 

tazerman

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Jun 22, 2006
Posts
11
Art, the previous owner had set the bags at 70 lbs. on the left and 50 on the right, he said he did this because the water tank is on the left and it would compensate for the weight.

Darren
 

Chet18013

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Mar 5, 2005
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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
I notice you live in the WA/OR area. If it's not to far to go, you might want to consider a trip to Eugene and have Kaiser Brake and alignment look at your allignment. They specialize in motor homes--do all the work for Monaco and Country Coach. They worked wonders with ours and I'm real happy with the results. Be sure and have them align both the front and rear.

Chet18013
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Here are several things to do right up front:

(1) The P30 chassis has an independent front suspension with air bags inside the front coil springs. Those air bags leak after awhile and chances are good that on a 1989 the bags have little or no air left in them.  That will make it wallow badly.  Get underneath and check the bags. Try to put air in them (they have a standard Schrade (tire) valave) and set to about 60 psi and see if that help. Check to see if they retain the air. On a 1989 it would be a good idea to replace the bags with new ones anyway - - one or both might be bad or will be soon.  Workhorse Custom Chassis has a new replacement bag for this chassis but the original GM ba should still be available too. The Workorse part is an improved design, though.

(2) The P30 is notorious for having a poor quality bell crank on the steering gear, which lets it wander badly. Replace it with a Henderson Super Steer Bell Crank, available from Henderson Line Up or Camping World.  Supersteer Bell Crank Then get the front end aligned.  If at all possible, take your rig to henerderson's Line Up in Grant's Pass, OR. They are experts in this chassis and its handling problems and can really fix you up. Henderson's Line Up

(3) You may want to add a rear anti-sway bar too, but don't decide that until you do #1 and #2.
 

tazerman

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Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Posts
11
thanks for the replies.......Gary, I may have lied to you guys, I went out and looked at the home and there is no bags in the front coils.? I may have been mis informed if this is a p 30 chassis or not, it is a-arm with coil springs but no bags.

It does however already have supersteer bell cranks, don't look to old, still very blue and have a sticker on them from Henderson's in Grants Pass, Or? I noticed on that link you gave me it says the bell cranks are adjustable, do you know how? is it under the cap on the top?

It would be a fairly long trip for us to go to Henderson's for work, approx. 650 miles round trip.

Also Gary, the home does have a very large rear anti-sway bar, it looks to be between 3/4" and 1"

After I do the repairs from damage from the blowouts I will jack up the front end and check for play, but I want to get qtr panels and floor and exhaust back on it so I can start to forget that nightmare.

Help on handling in the meantime is still appreciated.

Darren
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I thought a 22 footer was awfully short for  the P30 chassis, but Chevy used the P30 designation on a variety of frames. On that size and weight rig it seems more likely that you have the van & pick-up chassis than the P30 Class A chassis.

Or maybe the air bags failed and the previous owner just ripped them out? Check the VIN and get it decoded to identify the chassis. A friendly Chevy dealer might help but you can usually find VIN decode info online too.

How about Eric's RV Performance in Sequim, WA?  They know suspension inside out as well. Eric's RV Performance
 

tazerman

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Jun 22, 2006
Posts
11
Hey Gary, decoded the vin, it is a P37 CHASSIS, AFTER MUCH READING HERE AND OTHER PLACES IT SEEMS NO ONE REALLY CLASSIFIES A P30 chassis. It is really quite confusing when researching it.

P=forward control
3=one ton
7=motorhome chassis

I read there was never a vin with P30 designation, either 32/37 but people started to group them as the P30 series, or P series, quite frankly at this point I have no idea if the home should have front bags on it or not. ???  It does have the holes in the lower a-arm where they could be installed, but I think all chevy trucks with those a-arms had that hole anyway, who knows?

Darren
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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You are right about the vague definition of Pxx series of chassis and there has been a lot of confusion over the years about "what chassis do I really have?".  Here's a link to a discussion of that very question on another web site  P30 or P32?

You have to get down to specific axles, wheels, trannys and such to be sure - you cannot generalize based on it simply being a P motorhome chassis.  Unfortunately I don't know how to tell you to identify a particular front axle type. It's also possible that the original coil + air suspension was replaced by coil only, such as the Supercoil

There was something called the "monobeam" front suspension that was used on some P30/P32 chassis but I don't know how it differs from the standard suspension (which had the air bags). I see these two different suspensions listed in places like Monroe Shocks application charts because the two suspensions require different shock absorbers. I also see a referenc to a Dana Monobeam axle, so maybe this is a Dana axle component?  If you could find some ID number or manufacturer name on the front axle, it might help identify it. You will need to know that to get shocks, steering stabilzers and other suspension upgrades anyway.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Tazerman,
I came across a document that a guy put together concerning front end alignments on Chevy P series motorhome chassis. There ia some useful information in there on the various suspensions and you will need this info to get a proper alignment anyway. Suggest you download and print a copy and keep it in the motorhome for the alignment you need now and future alignments too.

P-series motorhome alignment
 

tazerman

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Jun 22, 2006
Posts
11
Gary, thanks for all the help and leads you have given me !!! That link to the information on front end alignments is not pulling up.? It will go to the page but it is blank, could you try it again?

I do not think the front springs have been replaced, I have wiped them clean and there is no coating or blue paint, they are just steel looking like stock chevy springs.

Thanks for your help trying to figure this turd out.? ?:eek:

Darren
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
Even with poor alingment you should not have been popping duals,  One question I have is how old were those tires?

Rear tires can blow due to age, due to hitting something on the road or due to wear and tear, and due to overload or underinflation (Which to a tire is much the same thing)  Alingment normally takes out FRONT tires.

Of course there is always the odd exception to the rule

With you new tires, on your repaired rig, you might want to consider a Tire Pressure Monitoring System such as the Pressure Pro.  Lets you know when a tire is running low on air (Kind of pesters you to put more air in) it's saved a few tires on my towed already.

Another option is the Smart Tire TPMS, it monitors both pressure (Too high or too low) and temperture, However It has to be professionally installed (Straps to the rim inside the tire) and won't fit on some towed tires.  The Pressure Pro is as easy to install as checking your tire pressure and will fit on ANY tire with a standard valve stem (Which is to say any tire)
 

tazerman

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Posts
11
John the blowouts were due to age, they decoded as 1996 tires, looked great and I did not know about age problems at that time, not until I got home and found this site, the tires had 90% tread on them when they blew.
 
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