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Old 08-29-2007, 04:07 AM   #1
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Last night I took a 07 Journey 36G with 5000 miles on it for a test drive. One of my concerns was that the center spoke on the steering wheel was not straight (horizontal) while driving on a flat straight interstate road. The left side of the steering wheel spoke was down approximately two inches from horizontal position. My experience with cars tells me that it is out of alignment. The salesman told me that this is the way the Freightliner sets them. I have no experience with any diesel style chassis and am wondering if this is true or just BS and if it is a concern.

Thanks in advance for comments.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:07 AM   #2
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Last night I took a 07 Journey 36G with 5000 miles on it for a test drive. One of my concerns was that the center spoke on the steering wheel was not straight (horizontal) while driving on a flat straight interstate road. The left side of the steering wheel spoke was down approximately two inches from horizontal position. My experience with cars tells me that it is out of alignment. The salesman told me that this is the way the Freightliner sets them. I have no experience with any diesel style chassis and am wondering if this is true or just BS and if it is a concern.

Thanks in advance for comments.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:34 AM   #3
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I don't recall my steering wheel setting crooked at all. However, I don't know that it means the front end is necessarily out of alignment. It could simply be that the last place that did the alignment didn't line up the steering wheel very well. The statement that "Freightliner sets them this way" is suspicious, especially since Freightliner and Winnebago will tell you that you should have the alignment checked and readjusted after taking delivery and loading with your normal gear. So even if Freightliner did set it that way, it would be unlikely to still be that way...
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:41 AM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jcar6109:
I have no experience with any diesel style chassis and am wondering if this is true or just BS and if it is a concern.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

My opinion is BS (Bovine Biosolids as we say on the farm).
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:50 AM   #5
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My 2004 Bus (Freightliner) did have an issue with the steering wheel at first. While the wheel was centered, the turn signal kickout cam was not. It was hard to operate the left turn signal because the arm was against the cam.

Normally, you align the front end so that the front tires are straight, then adjust the drag link to center the steering wheel. That's the why mine was set up. However, when I turned the wheel lock to lock I found that it didn't take as far to reach the far right as it did the far left. What Happened is that Freightliner connected the steering column assembly to the splined steering gearbox input shaft out of phase. When the steering wheel was centered, the gearbox was slightly turned to the right. If you centered the steering gearbox, the steering wheel (and turn signal cam) were off centered. Removing the steering column and realigning it on the steering gearbox corrected that. Once that was completed an adjustment to the drag link made everything nice and straight and centered again.

I would recommend lowering the leveling jacks in the front, then center your steering wheel and turn it lock to lock, counting the turns as you do. If it's and equal amount in both directions your steering column is correctly coupled. If not, your FL dealer should center it properly. Once you have the gearbox centered drive the vehicle back and forth slowly so that it goes in a straight line. If the wheel is still crooked, adjust the drag link to return the wheel (and gearbox) to it's center position.

Of course this is not your RV so it's really not your problem. But, if you are interested in buying it, I'd see that the dealer corrects it before you buy it. That's not the way they should be. I'd be sure to check that the gearbox is centered once the wheel was. If they take the easy way out and just adjust the drag link without checking the gearbox, you'll be riding on a non-center position of the box and you'll suffer gear wear due to the taper. Once the column is correctly installed it should never move. If the column is offset, then it was incorrectly assembled at the factory.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:53 AM   #6
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Any decent front-end man can correct this problem. It is a mater of adjusting the toe setting out on one side and in on the other. DO NOT let them tell you they can correct this by pulling the steering wheel and moving the wheel over a tooth or two on the spline.

And you do not normally send them out this way from the factory. It is usually caused when a front-end man gets in a hurry and does not center the wheel before he starts his alignment procedure.

Ken
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:27 AM   #7
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The tie rod ends are opposite threads. One side is LH thread and the other is RH thread. The only way to adjust them is to remove one tie rod end from the steering knuckle and screw one side in and the other side out. But, if you do that you'll wind up with minimal threads in one tie rod end and way too many in the other side. Freightliner had a recall on recent solid axle XC coaches because the tie rods were falling out from lack of threads so this is the last thing you want to do. If your tie rod end threads are equal, don't take them apart.

That's what the drag link is for. The drag link connects the steering gearbox's pitman arm to the left side steering knuckle. By playing with this length you'll re-center your wheel.

Normally you won't have to move the steering column over a tooth or two on the spline. However, if it wasn't put on right at the factory (like mine was) you won't be riding in the center of the steering gear. This will accelerate wear in te gear. You also can turn real tight on right hand turns but not so tight on left hand turns.

Seeing as how this is a first time look at the steering, I'd check it to see that the gearbox and column are indeed aligned before messing with the drag link. Once you know it's centered you'll never have to mess with the steering column spline again.
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:10 PM   #8
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Cruzer is right about the steering wheel adjustment. Mine was off about as much as yours when I first bought my coach. After alignment the drag link was adjusted to correct the steering wheel. The adjustment on the drag link was so tight that they had to apply heat from a torch to get the adjusting nut to move.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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Hi,

For What It's Worth - my 2004 Journey 36G was delivered to me with the steering wheel not centered. Because I deemed this to be a warranty problem with Freightliner, I took it to the FL shop in Sacramento. They contacted FL and was told that it is a Winnebago problem because FL ships the chasses to Winne with the steering columns unassembled so Winne can assemble them with the nose sections of the various motorhomes. In this process, they install the wheel on the steering column and sometimes they don't get it in the right spline position.

The problem is not down below at the wheel level but upstairs at the steering wheel mount. Rather that pay for another 160 mile trip to Sacto, I purchased puller tool and fixed it myself in 15 minutes. FL Sacto told me it was a mistake to assume the tie rods and/or drag link was installed improperly at FL.

It has been 3 1/2 years and 33,000 miles since my fix and my tires show no signs of abnormal wear so I am inclined to believe FL's story which was also confirmed to be by Customer Service at Winne.

Carle McFarland, 2004 Journey 36G
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Old 09-01-2007, 03:42 PM   #10
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Mine was like this when it was new and the dealer tried to fix it by pulling off and repositioning the steering wheel. Fortunately they were unsuccessful in getting the wheel off. I said I was getting an alignment soon anyhow and they agreed to pay any extra expense to correct this condition.

Took the MH to Henderson's a few weeks later and they said it was very easy to fix this and taking the wheel off was not the way. Was a minor tie rod adjustment that they did for no charge while doing the alignment.
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Old 09-01-2007, 05:20 PM   #11
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Getting the steering wheel off is one of the simplest tasks I have done on the MH. A simple set screw releases the cover. The puller takes just a few minutes to remove the wheel.

I can't imagine a reputable service establishment that couldn't get the wheel off.

I hope the alignment people didn't get the steering sector off-center in the process.

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