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Author Topic: How much steering input is normal?  (Read 3636 times)
belfert
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« on: February 02, 2009, 08:13:29 PM »

It seems like my bus requires too much steering input going down the road.  How much is normal?  I don't have much play in the wheel.

I have to constantly be steering back and forth just to stay straight going down the road.  My car if I hold the steering wheel in one place on a straight road will go straight basically forever.  If I held the bus steering wheel in one spot like that I would either be in the median or the ditch before too long.  The constant steering input gets tiring after a while.

I've had the steering checked by at least three different shops who say everything is good.  BK did replace one control arm bearing, but that didn't change anything.  Am I expecting too much for a bus to steer good?  I have never driven any other bus except mine.  My next step is to have the steering gear pulled and rebuilt.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2009, 08:23:04 PM »

Lucas makes a product for power steering that solved 90% of mine. I think its made for worn steering boxes. My tow in is straight up and I may try 1/8 inch in to see if I can get it to steer as good as the manual that was in my 05. Check the tow on the tags to because rear steer will make you chase it around.
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 09:35:21 PM »

I had a similar problem that turned out to be the steering column itself.  Something in the column was binding a bit, so that the wheel would not self center.  This meant that I had to be constantly compensating to center the steering wheel.  When you make a turn and release the wheel does it return to center, or do you have to bring it back manually?
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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2009, 11:36:58 PM »

If you have air assist steering, it's just the nature of the beast.  But if you have full hydraulic steering in an integral steering box, it is too loose.  Something needs to be tightened up.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2009, 01:00:09 AM »

I bought my bus from a coach operator, and one of his guys gave me a few minutes of driver training when he delivered it to me. I very quickly commented on how much 'steering' I was having to do, even when going straight - he said something like "Don't worry, that's normal - eventually you will stop expecting it to behave like a car, and will settle down and find yourself steering much less.". And this is exactly what I found happened - at first you are hyper-sensitive and trying too hard, which results in you 'over driving' the bus with constant steering inputs. Later you find you have relaxed and letting the bus do the work without panicing every time it seems to be changing the direction slightly. It's perhaps the difference between 'guiding' the bus rather than 'driving' it.

Jeremy
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 03:24:04 AM »

Hey Brian, in addition to what the others have suggested, try what they call "bump" steering. I really can't think of a single coach where i work that doesn't wander to some degree as you describe.

For every given highway/coach combination there will be a tendency to drift to one side or the other, usually the right due to the crown of the road. As the coach drifts to the right,(or maybe the left), just "bump" the steering gear with enough input to bring it back left to your desired position in your lane. Try to avoid giving so much input that you now have to steer back to the right again. You should not have to be steering right-left-right-left-right-left. It should be left-left-left-left.This sounded weird to me when i was told how to do this, but it does work. After some practice, you will sit there with a nice light touch on the wheel, and just keep bumping the wheel to the left and the bus will keep nice and straight. It also helps to focus way down the road.

Give it a try, nothing to lose and hope it helps.
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 05:58:17 AM »

As was already mentioned, try to focus on the road about 1/8 mile infront of you instead of immediately in front of your coach. I found this helps alot and , at least for mew, helps prevent "chasing" the steering.  This also helps with awareness of what is happening down the road in front of you (if you see brake lights come on, you can lift off the throttle and start slowing slightly before reaching the "braking point"). Jack
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2009, 06:26:14 AM »

I believe the steering returns to center like it should, but it has been a while since I have driven the bus.

The steering issues certainly aren't the end of the world, but I think it would be easier to drive with less steering input required.  Most of my trips are out west on I80 with little traffic so looking out far ahead is pretty natural.  After driving for a little while you get used to the steering and it is just a natural part of driving the bus.  I'll probably get the steering gear rebuilt and then not worry about it if the steering doesn't get any better.
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2009, 06:31:35 AM »

Driving I-80, part of the problem might be cross winds (at least, part of the time).  Jack
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2009, 08:09:52 AM »

When i brought my bus home i found that i was constantly steering for the first 100 miles....ie, tight grip on the wheel.  I loosened up my touch and by the end of the 1100 mile trip i did not even hardly notice the steering as being a problem. Grin
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2009, 08:14:29 AM »

First of all, make sure the toe in is set to about 2/32 to 1/8. Most truck alignment shops will set it up to neutral which will make the front tires last a long time, but it also makes the coach "hunt".

Second, if it's hydraulic steering, you can have the worm screw adjusted either too tight OR too loose, and to a newbie it acts the same. However there is a subtle difference. If the box is too loose, you will find that you move the steering wheel an amount before anything actually moves on the coach. If it's too tight, the coach will turn immediately, but you have to actually move the steering wheel back to center. It will not return on it's own.

I am assuming that there is no play in the tie rod ends or other front suspension components.

I agree with other posters, more miles and relaxing your hands helps a lot.
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2009, 09:27:33 AM »

I seem to recall the tie rod ends were replaced by C&J Bus Repair when I first got the bus.  Everything has been checked by multiple shops and they all say everything on the steering is good.  I would be happy to have any worn parts replaced, but nothing seems to be worn out.  Precison Frame and Alignment seems to be nationally known for sterring issues with RVs and coaches, but they give it a clean bill of health.

The bus has been driven some 14,000 miles since I have owned it and I'm pretty well used to the steering by now, but it is still annoying.

I haven't adjusted anything on the steering box since no shop has recommended this.  Precision frame said the center part of the gear may simply be worn since that parts gets most of the use.  Remeber, my bus is a 1995 and it appears from the DDEC to have less than 400,000 miles.
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2009, 10:24:35 AM »

Look further down the road. When ever I find I'm having to make lots of corrections, it is because I'm looking too close to the front of the bus. I look further away & the steering problem minimizes it self.

I've also noticed that as I get tired, I tend to look closer to the front of the bus & it takes longer to correct the lane drift . . . .
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2009, 10:53:53 AM »

That is exhausting. Before I installed the integral steering on my mc5 It would take 3 guys running shifts for 48 hours to get to Texas and We would all be completely destroyed, unable to function for 2 days. After the installation, 2 guys can run the same 48 hours completely rested and ready for the holiday... I dont know what you are running now but get it sorted out! 
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2009, 11:05:43 AM »

good point about the tags at the top of this thread.
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