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Author Topic: Got my bus back with rebuilt steering gear today  (Read 4412 times)
belfert
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« on: April 03, 2009, 08:05:07 PM »

I went and picked up my bus today after a local shop pulled the steering gear and sent it out for a rebuild.  The steering is certainly tighter now.  When I first drove the bus around to the front of the shop it felt like there was less power steering boost, but it feels normal now after driving the 30 miles home.

I am disappointed that the steering is not as improved as I expected.  The original issue was a fair amount of steering input required to keep the bus going straight down the road.  The issue is better, but it almost seems like something is worn out and the first bit of steering input in either direction isn't making it to the steering gear.  I have a tilt steering column.  Could something be worn in the steering column itself?

I had the steering gear rebuilt as everything else in the steering system checks out according to multiple shops.  The shop that did the work is known nationally for fixing steering and control problems in motorhomes and other large vehicles.
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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: April 04, 2009, 12:51:31 AM »

Brian,

It depends how much of an angle your steering column deals with, but I tracked my own steering slop to two U joints in my tilt/telescope column being a bit worn.

When you factor in two or three loose U joints, it adds up to what you may be experiencing.

HTH

Jay
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 04:24:28 AM »

Have you ever drove another bus? What you are experienceing may be normal.    Jim
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johns4104s
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2009, 05:33:02 AM »

Belfer,

What type of bus do you have? My 04,s have several places were you can adjust plus shim to take the play out.
John
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2009, 08:46:05 AM »

Belfert,

Capture the steering shaft at the input to the steering gear.  Use a vice grip and clamp....anything to keep the input shaft from turning even the slightest bit.  Then go in and try the wheel with little force.  Should be almost no movement at all.   If there is....I hope you have u-joints.

Your problem with the coach being "hard" to keep straight or keeping you "busy" isn't likely to be in the steering box.  It is usually "binding or sticking or worn" KING pins.  A frozen tie rod end would also do it but I have never seen them fail that way.  If you have two sets of u-joints in you steering column and the bottom one is rusted and binding up AND the top one has excessive play, that would also give your symptoms.  The alignment could also be out.

Your front wheels should "return to center neutral" position on their own and stay there till they are forced off by steering input.  The caster has to be set to cause that centering force.  The toe, if not set proper, will load the fronts and cause them to not return to center or pull off to one side.  If anything in the front prevents absolutely free movement of the front wheels and the front can't easily find center....you will be a busy beaver keeping it headed down the road.  This freedom of movement must be verified with the fronts loaded with the weight of the bus.  To do that the fronts are set on lazy susan type ball bearing platforms and the tire, with the ball joint/tie rod disconnected, is pushed through a right lock to left lock arc.  There should be ABSOLUTELY no spot where the thing binds and becomes hard to move. 

I have been through this and I started of with multiple problems.  When I FINALLY got it sorted out I knew way more about front end geometry and failures and anomalies than I EVER wanted to.  This is dismal experience talk'n here.  You can have the sloppiest steering wheel and ball joints and idler arm on planet earth and if the alignment and kings are good it will run true and track straight down the road like it was on rails.  A bump, dip or cambered road will interfere with that theory but you get the point.

Keep testing and fixing, Good luck

John
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2009, 04:45:54 PM »

No, I have not driven another bus, ever.  I do suspect my bus steers better than 75% of the buses owned by members of this board.  I might be trying for perfect steering that just doesn't exist on a vehicle of this size.  I know it will never steer as well as a car.

The tie rod ends were replaced about 12,000 miles ago.  The king pins have been checked by multiple shops who claim they are good.  The bearings in the steering control arms have been replaced.  The wheels were aligned after the steering gear was reinstalled.

I was already planning to clamp the steering column at the gear to check for any play in the column.  I have another project going on so I won't be to get to this for at least three weeks.  (It will be a lot warmer then too.)
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2009, 05:15:25 PM »

I know that I have mentioned it before, but my former steering column would bind somewhere.  When coming out of a turn, the bus should true itself.  If you have to help it get back to center, something is binding.  Changing the steering column dealt with that issue.  It still does not steer as easily as I would like, but I do not think I could get it much better without changing from assist to integral power steering.
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2009, 07:18:18 PM »

Brian,

In my "adventure" I had had my kings replaced, also.  Everybody that looked at them looked for excessive play.  Being new, there was none of that.  The problem was that the dip that installed the kings didn't ream out the bushings to properly size them to the new kings.  Standard procedure I am told.  I think it was the fifth shop I had it in where the owner took a personal interest.  He had his mech remove the tie rod end and then he grabbed the wheel and turned it.  He grinned and said you do that.  Right at center it stuck and I couldn't push it through.  He said "your kings aren't properly sized.  I don't have to check the other side as this alone will cause your problem".  I took it back to the place that did the original work twice and I watched them jack it up, remove the tie rod ends on both sides and move the wheel freely from right to left.  After that I took it to a different shop every Sat till I found the problem.  Seems it needed to be loaded for the problem to present itself.  This is just background info fellow Knut, I'm not saying that this is your problem.  I worked hard and long to get that straightened out and I actually did none of the work....couldn't.

Good luck.

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2009, 07:30:46 PM »

Johned,

Great information,

John
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luvrbus
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2009, 07:38:28 PM »

Brian, have you aligned all three axles on mine I have it checked every 3 or 4 years and I have no road wander at any speed.If you are ever in Eugene OR stop at Kaiser Brake and Alignment they can align it where it will steer right on my Eagle it is just a hand laying on top of the steering wheel no white knuckles .    

good luck
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2009, 08:12:25 PM »

What Lvr said,

I know Dick Kaiser.  Great guy and Beaver and Monaco and Marathon favor him for any steer problem.

I may have mentioned this before but my friend got some of Kaiser's overflow from time to time.  We looked at a Beaver that had a tracking and wander problem.  It turned out that the massive box that held the steering gear would flex many inches from side to side sitting still and inputting steering load.  It was baffling!!!  The fix was to run bracing to the assy that held the steering gear.  After that it didn't move and the owner stopped in Cottage grove to call the shop and report that the bus handled amazingly well and all his problems were solved.  That steering box assy looked like something off of a army tank BEFORE it was braced.  Just another tid bit.

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2009, 06:33:15 PM »

The steering on my coach is nowhere near white knuckle, but it is annoying to constantly make minor corrections.  One can easily steer with one hand.  I'm going to look at the steering column and then give up if that is not an issue.

I am NOT going to do like Busted Knuckle's crazy mechanic and ride on a creeper under a bus going down the road.  He did that to diagnose the steering on another Dina bus.  That is BK learned about the bearing in the steering control arms.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
belfert
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2009, 03:45:49 PM »

Okay, I finally got out to the bus and looked at the steering column.  There is one u-joint in the column.  I clamped the steering shaft below the u-joint and thee steering wheel didn't move much so there is only a small amount of play in the u-joint.  I should probably crawl under the bus and do the same thing at the gear itself, but I expect the result will be the same.

I don't know anything about u-joints, but I suspect there is always going to be some play in them.  It probably would not make sense to replace the u-joint at this time.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2009, 07:16:18 PM »

BK,

Constantly making minor steering corrections is called normal driving. If these small corrections are not made you end up in the ditch.

You notice them now because you are so intense about your new steering overhaul.

Give this same attention to your steering while driving a car and you will see that you are doing this but the difference is that it is second nature and you don't normally notice it.

I became more aware of this recently while teaching a granddaughter to drive. Beginners tend to not move the wheel until they are almost off the road instead of making many small corrections.
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2009, 07:27:18 PM »

Brian...you said, "I am NOT going to do like Busted Knuckle's crazy mechanic and ride on a creeper under a bus going down the road."
Now where is your spirit of adventure buddy? 
Jack Wink Grin
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