Tag Archive: Frustration

My 1996 19′ Freedom Wide Leisure Travel has suffered greatly from handling problems and stability. I was ignorant of how extensive the problem was when I bought the RV. I assumed that the “loose steering” could simply be tightened or adjusted–that the problem was in the steering. Last year I had mechanics telling me to just live with it, that’s the way these things were made inferring that, I as a woman, had no idea what driving a big truck was like. So, as a woman I just nodded my head and took my rig elsewhere; never even mentioned that I’ve driven diesel work trucks, caterpillars, tractors and an assortment of pickups. Such handling issues without corrections are a danger; sway and wandering can make an RV tipsy and unable to hold the road in a straight direction. In the beginning, driving my RV was white-knuckle, back-straining ordeal.  In the wind it was terrifying. The solution is complex involving shocks, rear anti-sway bars, the necessity for wheel spacers, adjusting tire pressure, choice of tires including looking into wider tires and rims, condition of steering linkage and ball joints, and perhaps adjusting the steering gear box. The big Dodge Ram 3500 Van used for the Leisure Travel, Road Trek, Pleasureway and other, mini-RVs in the 1990s have an inherent issue as the weight falls heavily behind the rear axle.  On my Dodge, the rear tires were inset a few inches inside the track of the outer tires.

Increase in caster, what Superior is doing to the front end alignment, could be a better solution than the steering damper. Here’s an explanation from Wikpedia : caster is adjusted to achieve the self-centering action of steering, which affects the vehicle’s straight-line stability. Improper caster settings will cause the driver to move the steering wheel both into and out of each turn, making it difficult to maintain a straight line.

The next thing Superior will do is replace my brand new front brake pads. Lucky me I get to pay for two brake jobs in one week!

For my few readers out there maybe you can answer this question. Chance of making it to the Premiere Top 10 in Kalamazoo, MI and showing my gorgeous Lagotto are fading. My nerves are frayed, I’d be screaming if I had the energy to do so. IF I can ever get on the road wonder how many hours a day I can drive in the LT with all its difficult handling problems and still stay awake? 8? 10, maybe? More? Comfort level is about 4 hrs.

Will take some photos of Olympia in any case. In my opinion she should win top Lagotto of the year! Dogs are not happy when I’m not happy, Olympia is constantly under my feet moaning, poor girl.

P.S. More reasons to hate Ians Tires. IF what Superior Brake and Tire is telling me is true, not only the tires are inappropriate for my vehicle but also the shocks, both of which were the choice of Ians. Seems I need wider, heavier duty tires, which makes sense to me. I saw a Leisure Travel just like mine with wider tires and the owner said there was no stability or handling problem!

The LT is very heavy in the rear!

Superior finally looked at my vehicle at the end of the day so it will have to stay there until tomorrow. After deliberation I decided to let them take off the front steering stabilizer and increase the caster angle. If it doesn’t help they will put the stabilizer back on. It needs alignment now that Ians rotated the tires, so I’ll have do that. If they had bigger better tires I’d have them put on, but tires like that usually have to be ordered. What made me say yes, was when he mentioned that I must get very tired driving the LT. This is SOOOO true. It’s a hard vehicle to drive; much better than when I bought it, but still difficult. If it was a sweetheart to drive I’d never think of trading the LT for another (well who knows.)  In my imagination the LT runs quiet and steady. Ahhhh.

No comment on the brakes or the whining noise. I have doubts that removing the front steering stabilizer will help…. will see.