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Author Topic: Steering damper and suspension improvements - advice please  (Read 1480 times)
2travel
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« on: September 26, 2013, 10:08:13 am »

Hi PCers, 

I have a 2006 2100 on a E350 shorter wheel base.  Can you advise me on ways to improve the handling.  I am considering the Safe-T-Plus steering damper.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

How about special shocks and anti-sway bars.

Any experience and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks,  2travel    Steve Bowser 
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2013, 11:03:17 am »

Steve,
    did you look at all the previous post on alignment/handling all kinds of good stuff...  first thing is to go and get the rig aligned or checked   some of the guys did this and solved their problem, found out the were out of alignment just a little... ... also describe your problem so we can suggest fixes... from reading a lot of post on this problem I don't think it matters what rig you have, the problem seems to be when they made them(chassis).. in other words your chassis is either square or off some... the fixes (adding suspension or what ever to it) squares everything up and away you go easy breezy... from the small to the big chassis it just depends.  fingers crossed a good alignment will solve your problem and help your wallet haha  good luck
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 10:38:14 pm »

Unless your 2006 2100 suspension was upgraded by the previous owner, you won't have a rear stabilizer bar of any kind.  Having a heavy duty stabilizer bar in back, all by itself, will make a huge improvement in handling.  I would also replace the wimpy front stabilizer bar with a heavy duty one and then you really doing well.  I would consider heavy duty bars made by Helwig for they are most affordable, and can be installed by a novice who knows how to use tools.

Replacing your steering damper with a good one as you are considering, will help a lot too.

At a minimum, I would get those three upgrades along with a front wheel alignment.  There is more that can be done, but your 2100 might not see the benefits from special shocks and rear trac bar, unless you are towing something.

We did the works on our 2007 2350 and it handles like a gem, with or without towing our Jeep Liberty.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 10:42:00 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 12:24:43 am »

Steve, please describe the handling issue you are experiencing.  Also, if the tires are inflated properly and the front tires wearing evenly. 
Randall
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Barry-Sue
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 07:46:19 pm »

Steve

There has been a lot of discussion about what needs to be done to improve the handling of some of the PC models.  We had a 2008 2350 that had a tendency to wander and on occasion veer to the right.  These tendencies were increased when we were below 3/4 of a tank of gas and empty holding tanks.  

The first thing we did was have the front end aligned at a truck/frame shop.  This helped some but created an oversteer condition.  Next we installed Bilstein shocks in the front only.  This corrected all the steering issues.  We were still experiencing back end wandering when trucks passed or in high winds.  This is when we added the Blue Ox Trac bar.  This was all we needed to do to create a SUV type ride.

Our 2008 was on the newer designed E350 compared to your 2006.  I would just caution you to study what you need to fix and make each fix individually to see if you have taken care of all your problems.  You might only need new shocks, or an anti sway bar or trac bar or steering stabilizer to satisfy your ride.  We identified our problems and then checked online to see what products were there to solve each issue.

We now have a 2012 2551 and have not made any changes and it drives very nicely.  We plan to put on new shocks in the very near future but that is probably all we will have to do.

Barry
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 07:50:42 pm by Barry-Sue » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 09:42:11 am »

Good post
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TomHanlon
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 11:52:41 am »

I agree with Barry in that you should do one thing at a time and see what works for you. Then do the next thing. I have used Bilstein shocks on three different motorhomes, one class A and two PCs. I can tell you they did the most to help handling of any of the changes I have made in the past. I fact, I did not follow the rule on one thing at a time on my current PC in that I put both front and rear shocks on at the same time. Then I added the Bilstein steering dampener. I can tell you that the new stainless shocks are far better riding than the old yellow ones. I bought the shocks at eshock.com and had a local truck tire shop install them. The steering dampener I installed myself in less the a half hour.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 01:21:09 pm »

On this subject matter involving a 2006 2100 built on a 2005 or 2006 E350 Ford chassis, I feel different than the masses.  Here is why.

My wife Irene and I own a 2007 PC-2350 built on a 2007 E350 chassis, bought new from PC-USA in 2007.  My brother Tom and his wife Darlene bought a 10 year old 21 foot long 1998 Starflyte on a 1998 E350 chassis.  Both motor homes have (I should say had) the same issues and deficiencies straight from Ford.

The following applies to every E350 chassis Made Prior To 2008.

Rear Stabilizer Bar
The problem is plain and simple.  Ford never installed a rear stabilizer bar on the pre-2008 E350.  Unless PC-USA or a previous owner added a rear bar, you don't have one.  Also consider that the 2100 has an extremely poor ratio of wheel base to rear overhang.  That further amplifies the condition.  The majority of RV weight is on the rear axle without a rear stabilizer bar.  That is over-ripe for handling problems.
Adding a heavy duty rear stabilizer bar will have a monumental positive impact on handling.

Front Stabilizer Bar
The front stabilizer bar in every E150, E250, E350, and E450 in model years prior to 2008, all have the same poor end link design.  The ends of the front stabilizer bar pass through rubber grommets in the lower control arms.  The rubber grommet openings quickly wear to an oval shape causing excess play, rendering the bar much less effective.  Where I volunteer HERE, I have seen a number of E150s & E250s, and all had worn out oval shaped grommet end links.
Installing a heavy duty front stabilizer bar will eliminate that mounting method so all play will be forever gone.  Being that the new bar is heavy duty, it is much more effective as well.

ADDING: Here is a picture of our 2007 E350 with heavy duty front sway bar installed.  Note how the end of it at the top of the picture, is mounted with blue poly bushings and end links.  Also, note the lower control arm with the original black rubber grommet still in place, used with the original Ford stabilizer bar.  That grommet wears quickly becoming oval, then rendering the bar completely ineffective until after the vehicle is leaning by some amount.

I also believe in a good steering stabilizer.  We have a Safe-T-Plus and notice it's effectiveness.  It helps the driver from compensating when he doesn't have to, and from over-compensating when he needs to.

You who disagree with me will be hitting my [Disagree] button and you are surely entitled to do so as long as Aimee keeps it available.  But you'll never see me using that button on anyone here.

As others have mentioned, a good wheel alignment done while as loaded ready to go on a trip, along with proper tire pressure. If either are wrong, that too will negatively effect handling.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 04:07:44 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 02:52:01 pm »

Quote
I put both front and rear shocks on


Tom,

Did you use the comfort shocks or heavy duty shocks?
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Barry and Sue 
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 02:57:41 pm »

Tom,

Another question - why did you need the steering damper?  Did the new shocks aggravate a problem and did the steering damper help?
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 03:43:30 pm »

Barry, I used the HD shocks. They are the same ones as used on ambulances, per the lady on the phone at Bilstein.
There was still some play back and forth that I wanted to tighten up, so I went with the larger steering dampener over the one that Ford uses. I like my motorhomes to handle like a sports car or as close as I can get it too. It will never happen totally.

Ron you are the expert on the older, pre 2008 chassis, so I don't know why anyone would disagree with what you have to say. I might disagree with some other things, like no slide, but I also don't use the disagree button for other peoples opinion. 
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Tom Hanlon
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 05:00:54 pm »

Barry.
 Oh I must omit that my wife is always asking me "why can't you just leave it alone". She just doesn't understand my need to play with my toys.  LOL
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 06:52:00 pm »

good info   wish you guys would mentioned how much some of this cost.... if I decided to add something I want to be able to make sure I'm getting the price where it close and not getting overcharges.... and also get a better price than you did haha...

sparky
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2013, 01:24:32 pm »

I don't want to mention that back in 2007 I spent $3900 on all my suspension improvements because it will frighten readers.  I since learned that I spent far too much money, and try to spread the word on how to save multiple thousands.

Heavy duty Helwig front and rear stabilizer bar kits will run $300-$350 each, but shop on-line for I occasionally seen them for less, or free shipping.

The Safe-T-Plus  steering stabilizer is not cheap.  I forget the cost, but I recall there are no bargains to be found.  I want to say around $500 but don't take that number literally  There are other brands too.  Shop around for that.

If you are handy with tools in-general, you can install everything mentioned by yourself on your driveway without jacking up the rig much.  A bottle jack can raise the frame some inches to help maneuver underneath, but you surely don't have to lift any tires off the ground.  I know this because my brother and I did the rear bar for his rig on my driveway.

Here is an excellent video on installing front and rear Helwig stabilizer bars on a driveway.  It is for a 2007 E450, but the E350 will be the same.  The fellow explains everything perfectly and compares the new heavy duty bars to the original bars.

Part 1 - Front Stabilizer Bar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBAJyGmKsdo
At time 4:50 he compares old to new bars.
 
Part 2 - Rear Stabilizer Bar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGch11NysbI
At time 7:25 he compares old to new bars.

If you can't do it yourself, I would think that some auto repair shops could handle it as long as they are aware that they don't need to raise the vehicle on a lift.  Most shops can't lift a motor home due to the height and/or weight.  But a 2100 might be light enough for some lifts.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 01:32:25 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2013, 11:25:58 am »

My cost or what previous owner paid
     I think I'm reading this statement correct

     Install Safe T steering control   
     silver steering stabilizer 408.00
     Safe t bracket kit   52.00                 
install Koni shocks front and rear
 supersteer rear trac bar    525.49

    Our unit does handle like a dream...

according to receipt    Parts  1564.99 labor  983.28    ouch

BTW  they put in jacks  on the unit also,,,, they are different from the Phoenix jacks and have an auto leveling system, that's why I think? they cost more Series 625     TOTAL cost 6317.00   again ouch
 I have not used them,,, but have been playing with them a little till I get comfortable with their workings,
sparky
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