Jump to content
farmerhouse@verizon.net

Adding Steering Stabilizers

Recommended Posts

We are considering adding a steering stabilizer to our 2004 35-foot Fleetwood Flair motorhome. Our primary reason is to better control sway when being passed by large trucks or in heavy winds. Safer reactions from blowouts seem to be a major claim. Most also claim to make my drive more comfortable, as well. Anyone do this? If so, are you happy with the results?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

Yes, many have added steering stabilizers.

But, my recommendation is to address suspension issues that are free/inexpensive first. If they don't solve the issues, THEN consider fixing deficiencies. If that doesn't solve the issues, THEN consider add ons.

What chassis do you have?

How many miles on it?

Original or newer shocks?

Have you checked the sway bar bushings. Many chassis used inexpensive rubber bushings that broke down quickly, rendering the anti-sway bars ineffective. Quality polyurethane bushings are much better.

Have you set tire pressures to those recommended by your tire manufacturer for your actual weights, plus, perhaps 5 PSI safety reserve?

Brett Wolfe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We installed a steering centering device on our 1994 Monaco Dynasty. This device is basically a pair of strong springs or in some cases air cylinders which maintain the steering gear in the center position. They are only adjustable when the vehicle is stopped and then by loosening the bolts on the steering link to re-center. When you encounter strong winds, they will help keep the wheels centered but you may need to steer into the wind slightly. I looked at remotely adjustable systems and would have purchased them but they were so expensive that I couldn't justify the expense.

The improvement in steering was noticeable with this system. I would have transferred it to our current coach but it wouldn't fit the heavier steering link of the new coach. As it turns out, the steering on our current coach is much better than the old coach. I do sometimes wish for an adjustable steering control to help with long drives on windy days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest 2driftrs

We first installed a Steer-Safe stabilizer (like Tom said, a set of heavy springs) on our 1988 Escaper 24 foot class C, simply because on a windy day it would steer itself! The stabilizer made the rig much more tolerable in cross winds, but you'll still sense a little wander.

On our current rig, we added the Steer-Safe shortly after our first trip up I-81 in PA. On a windy day, the rig would wander so bad in the cross winds that your arms and shoulders got tired from constantly compensating. The result was exceptional improvement, but again, it won't equal calm day driving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Farmerhouse,

I have had a steering stabilizer on every coach I have owned. All were added shortly after purchasing a new coach. Brett's recommendation to ensue the suspension has no worn or out of adjustment parts is a good place to start. Technology has improved steering stabilizers. If I was to make this purchase now, I'd recommend you to consider the Blue Ox Tru Center (http://www.blueox.com/TruCenter/tru_center.html). The reason is because the driver can readjust the center point of the stabilizer, from the driver's seat and on the fly. My current steering stabilizer (Howard Precision Steering System) has this feature. From now on, this is a must have for me. I would recommend the HPSS system, but the company is out of business. The advantage of being able to recenter the steering stabilizer is because if one needs to drive off center (crosswind) for any length of time, the driver must overcome a static steering stabilizer that is trying to return the wheels to the center position. I can go for days/weeks without recentering my system. However, on days where the cross wind will be with me all day, recentering the stabilizer returns me to driving the coach with very minimal effort.

The new computer controlled steering systems (Column Drive from TRW) use this recentering philosophy. The computer will recenter the steering many times a minute. This reduces driver fatigue to a minimum. Column Drive is available only on new coaches from a few coach manufacturers (Newmar is and example). At this time there is no plan to retro-fit the product to existing coaches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are considering adding a steering stabilizer to our 2004 35-foot Fleetwood Flair motorhome. Our primary reason is to better control sway when being passed by large trucks or in heavy winds. Safer reactions from blowouts seem to be a major claim. Most also claim to make my drive more comfortable, as well. Anyone do this? If so, are you happy with the results?

When we purchased our motor home new, in 2003, the body sway was very bad, especially when an eighteen wheeler passed in either direction. The ride also left a lot to be desired, the bounce was also bad. Mind you this is a brand new unit. After some investigating, and talking to others, we found that Workhorse had used another brand of shocks on some of their chassis, and ours was one of them. With twelve hundred miles on it, the original shocks were removed and four new "Bilsteins" were installed.....what difference. The sway, from passing trucks improved, but was still somewhat present. At this point we had a steering stabilizer installed, "safety steer," and had a "Super Steer" rear stabilizer bar installed. Now the crosswind/trailer truck sway is non-existant. I personally believe that the rear sway bar is what corrected the problems. Last summer we left Maine for Prince Edward Island, Canada and ran into not one but two downgraded hurricanes, but the wind and rain was very strong. The driving was not good, but we got through okay, thanks to the installed improvements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a 2004 30 ft Monaco Monarch SE as far as added steering from factory there was none. I had Rear Stablizers put and and the steering on front. Now it is a joy to drive. I used to hate the 18 wheeler coming and passing me as it almost drove me off the road. Now I can't tell when they come up or pass me. It will difinitly help in gas mileage as I'm not on and off the gas pedal and braking as much and can keep a constant speed. All totaled it cost me 700 US. The rear stablizers I had done at Northwest area rally and saved 300 dollars the steering I got on sale at Camping World and saved 100.

I would difintely say go ahead and do it!!!!!

Barb Harkness F351103

KM International Chapter

Pres and Nat'l Director

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you can see from these posts, there are a number of aftermarket devices in addition to two kinds of steering dampners being discussed.

Again, my recommendation is to share with us what chassis you have, etc (my first post). That way you are MUCH more likely to get answers specific to your chassis and needs.

If you have a Workhorse P chassis that is loaded to GVWR, advice on what worked on a Ford F53 with light load will really be irrelevant (or worse misleading).

Brett Wolfe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me tell you my story on Stabilizers

In Jan of 2006, (jan-2 in fact, about 3AM) I pulled out of my lot at home and found I had an electrical problem, Found a work around and headed to Las Vegas. (The electrical problem is not an issue in this thread)

It was a tough drive.. I shared driving with a professional driver we took along for the ride and let me tell you when I got to Vegas and un-hooked the towed it was a pleasure to park the motor home and drive the Lumina Mini-van.

I got the electrical and a few other warranty issues fixed and returned to Michigan. Over the summer I had two modifications made

1: Blue Ox TRUE CENTER steering Stabilizer

2: Davis Tru-Track track bar (Also called a pan-hard bar)

Now, after install (2 different locations) I did not notice much difference but.... See notes below

IN November of 2006 we headed back to Vegas (Left the tuesday before Thanksgiving, Had dinner in Benton Harbor MI the next day with my Brother, then on to Nebraska (Blue Ox, Needed one more "Toy" and fix a problem my dealer caused) and then on to Salt Lake City (Another technincal issue with an after market device) and Las Vegas.

Got to the Moose Lodge in Vegas and unhooked.

MAN was that Lumina hard to drive

Same car, Same motor home,, Difference in how the MH handled.

The Notes:

Most steering stablizers try to center your wheel for you. The Blue Ox is no different, However....

From time to time you may not want it exactly centered.. For example if you have a steady 20mph cross wind the rig will want to wander "Down wind" and if you are on a high crown road it will drift toward the low side. HOW nice would it be if you could easily Re-Center the stablizer to compensate? (Very nice indeed)

Well, most units to re-center you need to estimate the amount of ajustment, then crawl under the rig with wrenches and hammer and .. Well.. Adjust.

With the blue ox you push a button next to the driver, don't even have to get out of the seat

Blue ox tells you to estimate the amount of adjustment, pull off, stop and THEN press the button.

Naturally, the temptation is to press in motion

Ever see those Airplane involved movies where the novice pilot has to land the passanger plane with the tower talking him in.. The tower says to turn off the auto pilot and the novice pilot immed looses control of the air craft.. Of course in the movie he recovers and lands safely.

Well..... Let me tell you that's not far from how I felt when I pressed that button!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some years ago (at least 10), I had the Howard Power Steering Stabilizer installed on my coach. At times I was uncertain as to how much it actually helped, and it was expensive. The settings were easily controlled from the driver's seat. What really brought it home to me was a trip to Alaska. Several times on the trip, we encountered high winds. A friend was following me in another coach. When we stopped for the day, he asked how I could maintain such a straight course while he was pushed all over the road. And he was very tired, while I was fairly relaxed. We decided it had to be the Dee Howard system.

Now I come to a problem. Last year the hydraulic cylinder attached to the steering developed a leak. Dee Howard passed away and no one at his firm can be reached. I have looked all over the San Antonio area trying to find someone who can repair the cylinder or replace it. One RV repair shop went so far as to take the cylinder off and send it to a hydraulic repair facility. It was sent back untouched. They said they could not work on "aircraft type hydraulics". So now it is on the coach, but unusable. I would really like to get it working again. Do any of you know someone who is familiar with the system and will work on it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been RVing for over twenty five years, and I would not even drive out of my drive way without a Steer-Safe installed. It does a great job of controlling your rig should you have a front wheel blowout or hit a pothole: I know from experience! And yes, it helps tame the road wandering. Another plus, if you ever go through Deming NM, you can stop in at their facility and they will be happy to crawl under your rig and make any adjustments necessary. On one occasion, they replaced the whole Steer-Safe with a new and improved version at no cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ajcarpenter,

I also have the Howard system. Unfortunately, there is no hope of spare parts. When mine no longer works, I will have the Blue Ox True Center installed on my coach. Being able to adjust the centering from the driver seat is a must have feature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Contact for Guaranteed Howard Power Steer Hydraulic Cylinder Rebuild:

Jess Harper

Lake Tool & Hydraulics, Inc.

2801 E. Napoleon St.

Sulphur, LA 70663

Phone: 337-302-5737

e-mail: lth5500@yahoo.com

So far, there are two known successful HPS rebuilds with custom upgraded seals. My re-installed HPS cylinder is working fine so far. Will soon-like give it a 5,000 mile road test.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...