Today was Motor Brake and Wheel  with Barry. My friend Tom suggested it and met me there. Tom took over seeing to it that things are to go better for me and my RV! And it seems there is hope.  They spent 2 hours checking my motorhome suspension as we watched; at first it seemed there might indeed be trouble with ball joints or the tie rods, it drove wonky yet all tested good . . . that’s when Barry, the shop owner stepped in, he took the LT out for a spin and returned saying that the only trouble was the steering gearbox. As Bruce said, the steering gearbox was adjusted too stiff and while it seemed there were other troubles it was that tightness which was preventing the steering wheel returning to true and also making the steering so difficult. Barry offered to adjust it but it was discovered that the particular OEM steering gearbox for the Dodge Ram Van 35000 is not easily accessible. It’s a several hour job to drop off the stabilizers and then drop out the steering gearbox, give it a quick adjustment and then reload everything back in place. On top of this Barry mentioned that it might or might not help, it’s wasn’t a for sure thing and even if it did help once I’d driven for some time it could then be too loose and need to go through the same process to be tightened.

On the pit

On the pit

Barry took me on the road for a little driving lesson. The option to drive the LT as suggested by Tru-Line was not wrong. Tru-Line simply didn’t explain enough or provide the lesson I really needed. The steering gearbox when out of the box does not behave like the steering gearbox one normally encounters when driving, and esp this is true for the 1996 Dodge Ram Van. It’s sticks both to the right and left at “high points.” The places it sticks can cause the steering to go wonky as one would normally try to correct this erratic steering. What I learned is that one needs to barely touch the steering wheel with your hands flat and spread out alongside side the wheel, not grasping or actually holding; it’s actually super sensitive and takes very little input to cause the tires to turn. Movement will happen with bumps in the road, wind, trucks passing and so forth but the trick is to not overreact with a tight grip and cause oversteering which quickly goes haywire.  It will take practice.

Slow and steady is what’s needed, and a very light touch. He told me not to let anyone behind me push me to a faster speed that was comfortable, such as has happened to me before up in Washington with those scary bridges. Instead he said, “turn on your hazard blinkers,” that’s what trucks do when they are moving slow. Let everyone behind you know you are not going any faster and when it’s safe pull over and let them pass.

Lots of turning will loosen up the steering gearbox. It’s not so much the number of miles as how much the wheel is turned so plenty of that can be done off the freeway at slow speeds and it will help. It’s tight. I opted for this as solution…  just drive… but now with more understanding.

The other problem the brake pull, likely a result of Tire Pros lack of knowledge.  Either the wrong kinds of brake pads were used, due to the material they are made from they may cause uneven braking, or the pull is from the rotors.  I opted for a $35 brake inspection on Friday which will include swapping the pads right to left to see if the pull changes from the left to the right. Yep, should have gone here in the first place!

 

I only wish I could have kept the softer tires. I wonder if I could have. The XPS Ribs are a harsh ride, but hopefully with enough miles behind me (and whatever the brakes need) the LT can be redeemed.  Will see….   Sorta hard to believe right now, sure have heard a lot conflicting info ….  so will see!  Will be turning and turning and wondering if all this could be right.

 

Going Around In Circles …
sorry no song just a crazy RV and crazy RVer

Advertisements