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Old 11-27-2006, 04:08 PM   #1
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I just purchased an 07 Journey 34H and am concerned on the steering feel. When I picked the unit up it felt very 'squirrely'; meaning the steering feel was not very stable. It seemed to wander, and when I would let my hands off the wheel, the wheel would move left-to-right somewhat. I owned a '00 Journey and did not have this feel.

I took the unit to Freightliner, who did a very thorough inspection of the unit to determine that there were no loose components. It was sent to a reputable alignment shop who determined that the unit was within Freightliner specs, and also that the frame was 'dead-on' relative to square. The unit was weighed and found to be well below maximum GVWR. Note that this was all done on an empty coach, as I had yet been able to load it.

I have since loaded the coach, had it weighed again. I found that I could reduce the front tire pressures from 110 psi to 90 psi based on the Michelin tire loading guide. I drove the coach on a 3 hour trip and found that the handling was significantly improved.

The steering wheel still moves slightly left-to-right when I take my hands off the wheel. I still feel a vibration in the front end, and it pulls to the right somewhat. I have an appointment to have the front tires balanced and to have the front end re-aligned with the coach being fully loaded.

What suggestions does anyone have regarding any other steps I should take with Freightliner or Winnebago as I do not believe this steering feel is correct.

Also, I have read with great interest the recommendations folks have had regarding improvements to the handling of their coach.

Any recommendations for afer-market components to improve the steering feel of this coach?

Thanks for your input and suggestions.
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:08 PM   #2
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I just purchased an 07 Journey 34H and am concerned on the steering feel. When I picked the unit up it felt very 'squirrely'; meaning the steering feel was not very stable. It seemed to wander, and when I would let my hands off the wheel, the wheel would move left-to-right somewhat. I owned a '00 Journey and did not have this feel.

I took the unit to Freightliner, who did a very thorough inspection of the unit to determine that there were no loose components. It was sent to a reputable alignment shop who determined that the unit was within Freightliner specs, and also that the frame was 'dead-on' relative to square. The unit was weighed and found to be well below maximum GVWR. Note that this was all done on an empty coach, as I had yet been able to load it.

I have since loaded the coach, had it weighed again. I found that I could reduce the front tire pressures from 110 psi to 90 psi based on the Michelin tire loading guide. I drove the coach on a 3 hour trip and found that the handling was significantly improved.

The steering wheel still moves slightly left-to-right when I take my hands off the wheel. I still feel a vibration in the front end, and it pulls to the right somewhat. I have an appointment to have the front tires balanced and to have the front end re-aligned with the coach being fully loaded.

What suggestions does anyone have regarding any other steps I should take with Freightliner or Winnebago as I do not believe this steering feel is correct.

Also, I have read with great interest the recommendations folks have had regarding improvements to the handling of their coach.

Any recommendations for afer-market components to improve the steering feel of this coach?

Thanks for your input and suggestions.
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'07 Winnebago Journey 34H - CAT C7, Koni's, MCU's, SS Bell Crank, Safe-T-Plus
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Old 11-27-2006, 04:31 PM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">What suggestions does anyone have regarding any other steps I should take with Freightliner or Winnebago as I do not believe this steering feel is correct. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It seems that you are on the correct approach to finding the problem if there is one. The only suggestion I have relative to tire pressure is to have each corner weight individually instead of by axel. I am not sure which tires are on the 34 Journey but check the tire pressure chart provided by I assume Michelin and go to the next higher rating based on the weight of the heaviest loaded tire on each axel. I am running 110 lbs on my coach because loaded I was almost at my max weight and did not seem to effect the handling that much, other than when cornering (higher pressure cornered better) but to worsened the ride quality.

The coaches do seem to pull to the right slightly based on alignment specs, which do not compensate for the slant of the road deck. I am having that compensated for on the next alignment. Some other members have done so as well, with good success.
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Old 11-27-2006, 05:47 PM   #4
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Don:

Several on the forum with similar rigs installed steering aids such as Tru Center, Safe T Steer, etc. to make the steering on the FL XC tighter. Also, I've heard good things about the handling package from 3T's RV in Lake Havasu, AZ.

I installed a Blue Ox Tru Center and was absolutely pleased with the results...firmer steering feel plus the ability to re-set the steering center if the road surface changes or in cross winds. However, I had a problem with the unit and Blue Ox is re-designing the device and was not able to provide a replacement (after waiting 8 - 10 months). When they get the new one available, it might be worth checking out.

I put a Safe T Steer device on mine (since I could not get a replacement Tru Center) and while it helps, I think the Tru Center was better...felt better, for sure.
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Old 11-28-2006, 08:10 AM   #5
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Don,

Did you get a copy of the alignment results? Did the tech inspect front wheel bearing runout? Did the service advisor show you the bell crank at the left front frame area?
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Old 11-28-2006, 12:22 PM   #6
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Keith,

I get the 2nd alignment (and wheel balance) tomorrow. I will be sure to ask for the information you suggested.

Thanx.
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Old 11-29-2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Back from the alignment shop (2nd trip). Front wheel bearing runout is OK; bell crank is OK (though he recommended a Super Steer bell crank). Alignment is good (dead-on), fully loaded. Tires were switched left-to-right due to a slight pull to the right. Had the front tires spin balanced (on the coach with stick-on weights).

The mechanic told me that both front tires are out of round, one being worse than the other. I have a complaint filed with Michelin. They want me to go to a Michelin dealer to follow up on the complaint.

Any other suggestions?

I find this frustrating as this is a new coach and since I owned an older Journey, I am pretty confident this steering feel is not right.

Thanks to all for the helpful suggestions.
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Old 11-29-2006, 02:18 PM   #8
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I understand your frustration but before you get too far with Mich, make sure it's not a mis mount, as in the bead of the tire did not receive enough lube when originally mounted and now its not fully seated into the aluminum rim. Our fix is to dismount the offending tire and wheel and remount with proper lube. Also, when you get a chance loosen the bell crank arm off the bell crank, if you can turn the bell crank by hand it's ok, if you can't it's no good. If it sticks call me and we can ship you one.

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Old 11-30-2006, 03:31 AM   #9
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Pusherman...some truck tire and commercial dealers have equipment to "true" an out of round tire on the coach...I had this done in Florida on my old Vectra and it really made a difference...
.Also, some of my friends have the 32 foot Journey and say that the coach wanders because of the shorter wheelbase...My 36 foot Journey runs straight...never had any alignment work done...I did remove the 235 tires and installed 275's and this improved an already good ride...
I run 100# all the way around. Good luck, RKL
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Old 12-03-2006, 04:05 PM   #10
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We've had a similar experience with our '05 Journey 34H.

The twitchy/wandering feel is something that can occur with any motorhome that is relatively light on the front axle versus rear axle and overall weight. The 34H is a 208" wheelbase with a 50/50 ratio of wheelbase to overall length. The front axle only carries 7500-8500lbs whereas the rear axle carries 15,500-17,500lbs.

Knowing this at the time of purchase we added the Blue Ox Tru-Center. It helped but more was needed.

Correct tire pressure did make a big difference. After a four wheel loaded weigh we run the front at 85lbs and the rear at 95lbs.

We skipped the pain of hassling with Freightliner for alignment, etc. We had a third party who knows their stuff with trucks and RV's rebalanced all four wheels and do what they called a "preferred spec" alignment. This helped a lot. But there is still some vibration right at 55mph.

There's additional things which help with the stability/wandering. It tracks better when there is more weight on the front axle:
- fuel tank is full
- fresh water at least half full
- store heaviest stuff in forward basement compartments (and in the case of the 34H the right front compartment as that side is considerably lighter than the left).

When it comes time to replace the tires we'll probably go to Goodyear G670's.

The 3T's mods are something like $800-1000 and do a lot for both general handling and side-to-side forces and making the XC chassis behave more like an Evolution chassis. We have not done this as we have not had a chance to that far south yet but it's on wish list.
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Old 12-04-2006, 05:38 AM   #11
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Jon,

Thanks. See my reply under the other post '07 Journey on Order'.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:00 PM   #12
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Don: I had the same handling issues with our Itasca 34H. The handling of our coach greatly improved when I had the 3-Ts handling and anti-rock kits installed. A world of difference. They design and make their product on site. I am a big fan of 3T's. Give them a call ask for Tina or John 800-223-1779. Tell them Gary says hello. Send me a private message if I can can help you.
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:07 PM   #13
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Gary, thanks. I have seen your previous posts on 3-Ts, and have been into their website. Based on all that I read this is about the only suspension improvements available for the Freightliner chassis, and looks like it will especially help the 34H due to the weight distribution issues.

Sure wish they were closer to Rochester.
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Old 12-12-2006, 12:34 PM   #14
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By dodging snowflakes, I now have been able to have the two front tires on my Journey replaced under warranty by Michelin, as they were out of round (I paid for mounting only). Drivability is significantly improved. The steering wheel no longer wanders left-to-right when I release my hands, no more vibrations at 55-60 mph, and the pull to the right seems to be eliminated (I did notice some pull but I believe it was following the ruts in the road, as it would pull both left and right at times). All in all, I am now very happy with the handling of this coach.

I also took the opportunity of good weather to stop by Allison to have my engine brake programmed to downshift to 4th gear (default was 2nd gear). Time will tell, but I think this was a great improvement on the operation of the engine brake. I had it programmed to 'Latch' mode prior by CAT; between these two changes I now like the opertion of the engine brake significantly better as when it was delivered from the factory.

Note: No charge from Allison dealer today for the reprogramming! An early Christmas gift!

Thanks to all for their helpful suggestions.

Merry Christmas to everyone!
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Old 12-12-2006, 09:33 PM   #15
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Don: Glad to hear Michelin stepped-up. Also interesting to read about the reprograming of the Allison. Send a progress evaluation as you put on some miles. Drive careful and Happy Holidays.
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:33 AM   #16
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Pusherman

You have a 2007 coach. You should not have paid for anything to get the problem resolved.
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:47 PM   #17
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Cost me $40 for mounting as I had it done at an independent shop -- and Michelin made it clear that they would not pay for it. Freightliner paid for the re-balancing. I suppose I can submit the mounting fee charge to Freightliner for reimbursement.
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:12 AM   #18
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When you were at Freightliner did they check the ride height settings. We just got one in on Monday and I jst checked the ride heights and they were out 3/4" both front and rear. Have not drove it yet after resetting to compare difference in driving feel, but ride heght can really affect its on road feel.
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:55 AM   #19
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Zertrider,

When I had it into Freightliner the initial time, they checked ride height; it was OK. I understand that ride height could make a difference in how it feels on the road.

I am now convinced it was 1) Front tires over-pressured, and 2) out of round front tires.

Now both have been addressed, and the steering feel is 100% better.

Thanx.
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