The following is a post in a FB group I recently joined. Iíve posted in this site about my experience trying to get my coach to drive and handle properly. Hereís my story, I hope it helps others out.
I joined this group because I enjoy building, repairing, making stuff work again... just about anything mechanical. Thanks for the opportunity to learn and share.
11 months ago my wife and I purchased a 2008 Winnebago Journey 39Z with 69,000 miles on a Freightliner XC chassis (remember that). We felt it was in very nice condition and had pre-buy inspections completed before we exchanged funds.
This was our first RV... I had never driven a motorhome before so I had nothing to compare it to. The first few months we drove to local parks and began to learn the ins and outs of RVing...
I immediately started learning that there was plenty for me to tinker with and make improvements. With no prior driving experience to fall back on I quickly felt like this thing should drive better than it does.
Iíll try to keep this short but I feel others can benefit from my experience.
First enhancement was a SuperSteer 100 bell crank. Fixed resistance issue in steering.
Replaced what I felt was the original shocks Koni FSD Gold. Improved the ride.
Installed SuperSteer Motion Control Units in air bag supply lines. Improved rocking drastically.
Installed Source Engineering rear sway-bar. ďHelpedĒ the handling of the coach... ďHelpedĒ...
Was talked in to purchasing the Bilstein Shocks by Source Engineering and their airbag Comfort Control Units in air bag supply lines.
In June we took our first big trip from Arkansas to Colorado via Oklahoma and Kansas. I got home and immediately started more work on this coach. I decided that if what I just experienced on that trip was the way these things drive.... NO BODY WOULD WANT ONE!!!
Pulled the Bilsteins off back on with the Koni, personal preference. Back to the SuperSteer MCUs.
Installed 1 3/4Ē front sway bar and adjusted all tire pressures for actual axel weights (new tires basically aired to max pressure by Michelin dealer😡
Thought I had it licked until a trip up to Minnesota and back. No such luck. Started reaching out on forums for advice and received everything you can imagine ...
Oh yea, ride height incorrect. To high, adjusted that.
It just didnít steer properly. Driving was tiring. Of course I was told thatís what they do just learn to drive it. I didnít buy that.
This coach had a Safe-T-Plus unit on it. After talking to STP factory I pulled it off and sent it back for evaluation. Defective!!! Bam! I finally solved the handling problem.
In the mean time I scheduled a front end alignment in Belton MO with Transwest Truck, Trailer, RV. On my up I experienced the same old crap. Sawing the wheel and lots of wandering...
And now the rest of the story....
On the way to Belton MO, I called ahead and requested the lead tech drive the coach when we arrived. After a quick highway speed test drive the technician felt like we were chasing the rear end. Tail wagging dog. Back at the shop it didnít take long for him to determine the rear suspensionís bushing were shot allowing things to move around.
Several $$$ later.... wow what a difference!!! Handling 80% Improvement but.... I still felt there was something else not quite right.
I asked them to inspect all front end parts for wear. It all looked pretty good. When I got home, I crawled underneath it and looked it over while my wife gently moved the steering wheel. Components looked good but it looked like there was play in the steering shaft to the gearbox.
Quick call to TRW support and my next step was adjust the lash in the steering gearbox. That all but eliminated the play in the steering wheel. CAUTION this is a delicate process, too much and you can mess up the gearbox.
So today I hope to drive the coach and see if Iíve finally got it fixed. Of course replacement of front end components would also help but I think theyíre okay for now (more $$$$).
Transwest fixed the rear end but I did everything else. I swapped the shocks several times before the wife told me she liked how the Koni shock rode.
Read... Digest... and Remember...
Maybe my journey will help someone else.
MONEY WELL SPENT
A phrase we like to hear!
Whole Assembly Balance for Bus-Motor-Homes from Centramatic
Had four Centramatic Wheel Balancers installed today.
I went to the Loves Travel Center in Alma AR I-49 Exit 24. Ask for Lee.
What a HUGE improvement in the ride and handling. I had the beads. When the tires were separated from the wheel they found globs of beads stuck to each other on the sidewall. They werenít just rolling around inside of the tire waiting to go to work.
Amongst the other handling and ride issues I was trying to sort through, I just knew the tires werenít self balancing as advertised.
Iím tickled to death how that changed the ride.
After the tires were separated, the beads were vacuumed out, remounted on the wheel, I had the tech place them on the balancer to check how much weight they need and if they tracked true. Centramatic says you want less than 8 ounces. I guess more than that it makes the balancers work harder. My worst was 6, best was 4. We didnít balance them just wanted to know what weíre dealing with.
Iím glad I went front and rear with the Centramatic, my wife will tell me if the back is smoother BECAUSE she pointed out several times that it vibrates terribly in the back... 😟
So there it is. No rocket science just the process of learning.
Knowledge is Power and in the case of these RVs it can mean cutting to the chase of understanding what to do and fix to make life easy.