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Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Steering and Suspensions Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach's Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Steering and Suspensions and related components.

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  #11  
Old 02-01-2016
Tim T.'s Avatar
Tim T. Tim T. is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Longmont
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Randy,
I don't mean any disrespect to you nor is it my intent to bad mouth the Safe-T-Plus product. Quite the opposite, I've followed yours and others efforts to improve the handling of your coaches with great interest. I've probably tried or checked everything that others have done previously in an effort to resolve my handling problem.

In my case, I don't think I could have removed the Safe-T-Plus before the steering gear box rebuild with satisfactory results. I think that it took both actions and all the other improvements previously suggested by all of you to get to where it is now.

There is a possibility that I a so pleased with the handling improvement of our coach that there is still some improvement to be had with a professional all axle and front end alignment.
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Longmont, Colorado
2003 43 LXI - Sold
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2016
Randy Dupree's Avatar
Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim T. View Post
Randy,
I don't mean any disrespect to you nor is it my intent to bad mouth the Safe-T-Plus product. Quite the opposite, I've followed yours and others efforts to improve the handling of your coaches with great interest. I've probably tried or checked everything that others have done previously in an effort to resolve my handling problem.

In my case, I don't think I could have removed the Safe-T-Plus before the steering gear box rebuild with satisfactory results. I think that it took both actions and all the other improvements previously suggested by all of you to get to where it is now.

There is a possibility that I a so pleased with the handling improvement of our coach that there is still some improvement to be had with a professional all axle and front end alignment.
No disrespect taken!
I was interested in your thread,since i am still trying to make mine the best driving Bird on the planet!
The only diff between your quest and mine was,i took the Safe-T-Plus off first.
Mine was pretty rough looking.
But,i had other issues,the drive axle air bags were half full of water.
And other things..
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Randy Dupree
2000 LXI 43
Bainbridge,Ga.
Port St Joe Fl.
www.buybyebluebird.com

randy@randydupree.com
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2016
jgm jgm is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Boardman
Posts: 120
Default Safe-T-Plus

Good write up Tim.

The Safe-T-Plus do wear out.
My steering problem:
difficult steering right and left, especially slow speeds, and a loud moaning from the steering gear and the pump. They were really working hard.
Small World needed a new pump when it lost the pulley on old pump and chipped the shaft.
No change in steering
I took it to an alignment shop next.
The alignment corrected a -27/32 in. toe,
replaced tie rod ends & drag link ends - they were all worn,
removed the 13! year old Safe-T-Plus and was suggested I leave it off.
When I got the coach back- MUCH easier steering and no noise. There was only a slight pull to the right. I rotated the steer tires side to side
and now it it tracks straight with hands off the wheel.
I talked with Safe-T-Plus during this time and sent them pictures of the old unit. The diagnosis from pictures was the rust you see probably extends into the cylinder and was causing it to bind. Possibly, the S-t-P was keeping the coach from pulling to the right while it was on. This is not good and not it's intended function according to the rep. It was out of warranty so wasn't worth sending to factory for further analysis. I need a new one.
Now to really complete this test I should probably put the old rusty one back on and see what the steering is like to isolate the Safe-T-Plus as main problem and not the toe in or ball joints. I'm not going to do that!
Still have a problem with power steering, it goes manual in gradual turns of a cloverleaf. Next, I'll do the hydraulic test described in the TRW manual see if steering gear and pump are up to spec.
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John McKay
Boardman, WI
"Small World"
89 SP 36
Body #F82224

Last edited by jgm; 02-01-2016 at 04:23 PM. Reason: capital for SW
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  #14  
Old 02-09-2017
crewsro crewsro is offline
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Hi Folks,

After attending the latest FMCA and Quartzsite Rallies, and listening to the Safe-T-Steer reps, I decided to have a Safe-T-Steer control kit ( blue unit ) installed on my 2000 Non-slide 43LXi. Despite what they told me there is noticeable steering effort at slow speed street corner occasions, but that disappears at faster ( and highway ) speeds. After more time behind the wheel the difference in steering effort seemed to melt away. On the same day I visited another RV repair shop, and that owner made an interesting statement I believe is true. "The Safe-T-Steer unit doesn't alter the wandering or hunting that much ( my opinion is approximately 5% ) but alters how we perceive the steering affects and alters our reactions". Note, our steering box doesn't have a centering detent, and the Safe-T-Steer unit, though originally designed to help drivers defend against front tire blow-outs, has two opposing springs that keep the steering more straight when affected by uneven road surfaces. I will admit it’s greatest asset is the positive steering capability over quick uneven road surfaces; in short, it is a bit less twitchy under normal driving. It has a subtle way ( maybe 5% ) of dealing with the left /right road imperfections and our reactions to those steering wheel shudders. I admit the unit must be installed correctly so there is no side pull. I overpaid ( retail price + high LA labor installation costs ) for my Safe-T-Plus steering unit, but I feel when installed correctly it does help our steer-ability a small amount.

There are many issues that require perfect mechanical attention/ correction as stated above. It's also unfortunate that the R226 Ridewell suspension is an old design best intended as a trailer suspension but not as a steering axle suspension for a luxury coach. It was unfortunately procured as an economical and safe suspension using off-the-shelf components. As you are all aware the four (4) front axle air ( bag ) springs are set too close to one another, thereby requiring a large anti-sway bar to help keep the coach from leaning during sharp turns. The large sway bar then negatively affects straight line/ highway feel. Also, the heavy air spring bridge( saddle ) assemblies ( one for each side of the steer axle ) add too much unsprung weight to the heavy solid steer axle. All the above causes and results in excessive up/down ( compression/tension ) and side thrust reactions into the chassis. Note, that the best riding steer axles today are IFS systems designed by ( and used on ) the major commercial bus companies, and also provided by ZF ( a German co. ) as used on the Newell, and by Rayco Granning ( an American suspension co. ) as used by Spartan on Newmar King Aire and Foretravel coaches today. The side-to-side steer hunting often found on our heavy 43ft coaches is also aggravated by the short ( 259" ) wheel base; longer wheel based designs like the Prevost ( 315" ) and MCI buses resist side-to-side sway effects.
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  #15  
Old 02-09-2017
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Crit Bliss Crit Bliss is offline
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Maybe you have something else going on in the front end? Safe T plus is only helpful. I spent a lot of time and money getting my coach back to factory spec, the Dupree Adjustment is a very good idea.
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  #16  
Old 02-09-2017
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Rick Rick is offline
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Perhaps, just an ideal here, your expecting too much from your house on wheels. That thing is not a car and will never drive like one. My little lx is a pleasure to drive after owing an FC and a SP. I'm sure what you describe is there but it's not a bother.
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2000 LX
Vise Grips
Bellefonte, AR
F127656
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2017
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KCSS KCSS is offline
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After several adjustments I have settled on a slight left pull to compensate for road crown - we spend the majority of road time on 2 lane roads or in the right hand slow lane on freeways. I find this to be very helpful.
Of course on a perfectly level surface the drift will be toward the left - but again, this is a rare occasion.
Before this adjustment I was OK on a perfectly level road but always drifting annoyingly to the right due to our lane choice.

Here is the biggest problem I have encountered with the Safe-T-Plus - - - - - - when attempting to grease the front end with the wheels in the air, the steering wheel remains centered I need to have another person hold the wheel left & right to properly grease the king pins. There have been times when nobody was available so I was forced to resort to Red Neck injuneering I would place the steering wheel where I wanted it and rope it off to my milling machine Brilliant heh?
Unless properly medicated - don't try this at home - - - - - - - YMMD
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DeLand, FL
2000 LXI
"Bordering On Adequate"
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  #18  
Old 02-09-2017
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Mallie Lennon Mallie Lennon is offline
1995 WB 42’ Series 60
 
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Location: Eufaula
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I think Rick S is correct in many cases. It is a 50,000 # truck with a solid front axle, never going to drive like a car. Mine drove as good as a truck could. The addition of the Safe t steer, just made it easier with less corrections. We put 500 mile on yesterday with a good wind. Easy.
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  #19  
Old 02-09-2017
Joatha Joatha is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pensacola
Posts: 1,653
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Dupree View Post
Tim,i am a dealer for Safe-T-Plus.
FYI
I sort of know the owners of Safe-T-Plus. I haven't met the guy that runs it but I have met his mother or aunt (not sure of the relationship) on a couple of occasions. She is the real owner I think or at least the controlling entity. My wife's uncle (may he RIP) is cousins (I think?) with them and he actually built the a house for the guy that started the company way back when (T.A. Sexton was his name). TA and our uncle were also sort of in business together back in the 60's or 70's. They did a lot with air compressors and the like - not sure exactly what the details were.

In any case, my wife's aunt (the surviving widow and my MIL's sister) currently owns about 2 acres of land right in the middle of about 200-250 acres that the family all owns (spread across about 5-6 plots) down south of Atlanta in the Hampton area. I'm trying to sell it for her (or at least handle the deal) as she is 81 and needs the money more than a piece of property she'll never build or live on. They are all trying to sell it as one big piece of property together. But, they want a ridiculous amount of money per acre (about double its actual value) and I'm getting tired of waiting on them to come to the realization that they'll NEVER sell it at that price.
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Marietta, GA
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  #20  
Old 02-09-2017
Bill Pape's Avatar
Bill Pape Bill Pape is offline
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Location: Commerce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCSS View Post
After several adjustments I have settled on a slight left pull to compensate for road crown - we spend the majority of road time on 2 lane roads or in the right hand slow lane on freeways. I find this to be very helpful.
Of course on a perfectly level surface the drift will be toward the left - but again, this is a rare occasion.
Before this adjustment I was OK on a perfectly level road but always drifting annoyingly to the right due to our lane choice.

Here is the biggest problem I have encountered with the Safe-T-Plus - - - - - - when attempting to grease the front end with the wheels in the air, the steering wheel remains centered I need to have another person hold the wheel left & right to properly grease the king pins. There have been times when nobody was available so I was forced to resort to Red Neck injuneering I would place the steering wheel where I wanted it and rope it off to my milling machine Brilliant heh?
Unless properly medicated - don't try this at home - - - - - - - YMMD
One could also adjust the height control valve, if you would like your butt level with the crown.
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1988 FC, Silver Edition
Commerce, Michigan
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