Steering Problems

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Kensmith314, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Hello everyone,
    I am very new to motorhoming - 9 weeks and counting.
    My name is Ken and my wife is carol.
    So far we have toured the UK for 9 weeks and have just returned from Cornwall - a truly lovely place.
    I have one problem and would really appreciate any advice.
    My motorhome is a Knaus Sky Ti on a Fiat Ducato 130 chassis.
    It is two years old and 'as new' in every respect.
    I bought from a lovely couple who advertised it on this forum.
    My problem is in driving it on motorways.
    The steering is extremely light and I have to really concentrate on keeping it in a straight line.
    On the M5 this morning, on some stretches of concreted motorway it was drifting all over the place and I had to reduce speed to 45 mph just to have any control.
    I can never go above 60 mph because it seems so unstable.
    Any help or advice, please, would be very welcome.
     
  2. f6c

    f6c Funster

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    Garage ASAP
     
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  3. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Some motorways, usually those with poor or overdue maintenance, are badly rutted by HGV's.
    Their wheel track is obviously wider than that of a light commercial chassis so you tend to hop from one rut to the other which gives the impression of instability.
    Try driving closer to the shoulder or lane dividing lines to get away from the ruts and see if that helps.
     
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  4. gozomike

    gozomike Funster Life Member Life Member

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    My first check would be the tyre pressures. Also is there any free movement turning the steering wheel gently where the road wheels do not turn sideways.
     
  5. Al-Di

    Al-Di Funster

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    don't overload the rear end
     
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  6. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Could be tracking, ie toe in/out but as suggested take it to a garage. Although only two years old it might have hit a pothole or curb and bent something.
     
  7. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the amazingly quick replies.
    The try pressures are 58 psi at the front and 73 psi at the rear.
    There doesn't seem to be any play in the steering wheel.
    But, when I got in my car this afternoon after driving 330 miles in the motorhome the difference was pronounced.
    In the car I can just relax and the steering takes care of itself, almost.
    The steering wheel in the car wants to be in the central position as you drive.
    In the Knaus, it is so light in the steering I have to concentrate all the time.
    Straight to a garage, as already advised?
    A final question?
    Should I be able to drive it at 70 mph in comfort?
    Thanks.
     
  8. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Yes to the last question.

    A cheaper answer to the penultimate question would be to take it to a good tyre place and check wheel alignment but if something is more seriously bent they may not pick it up. You need to ask if they can check the castor angle - which is the thing which makes the steering self-centered, which is what is missing.

    Tyre pressures are a subject in themselves. The only sure way is to take the MH to a weighbridge and find out the axle weights. Then consult the tyre manufacturer for the recommended pressure for that load. The handbook can be misleading.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  9. motorhomer

    motorhomer Read Only Funster

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    Is 58 psi as recommended for this van? Sounds low to me. Mine runs at 65 front and 73 rear, and previous vans have been more. That said, yes you should be able to cruise comfortably at 70. The steering IS light, however.

    But I would get it checked.
     
  10. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    You may need to go to a commercial tyre depot. ATS Euromaster have a number of branches that do large and heavy vehicles
     
  11. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    And the other thing in line with all the above are ALL the wheel nuts tight ,and wheels running true ?
     
  12. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    Have you checked you weight and loading?it sounds like you are heavy on rear making steering light.
    Worth going to a weighbridge before garage only cost a few quid .
     
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  13. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Thank you all very much for your replies.
    Because it is such a safety issue I will take it to my usual garage as soon as I can book it in.
    Because it is the one and only motorhome I have ever driven I couldn't be totally sure that this is just how they are.
    However, the number that have passed me in the last 9 weeks made me realise that there probably is something wrong with the Knaus.
    Thanks, everyone.
    Ken
     
  14. chaser

    chaser Funster

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    One thing, was it windy?, hell of a different thing to drive than a car in wind especially if overtaking lorrys or being overtaken.
    Just seen your last post saying you were being overtaken. Could well be the problem if you have no experience of driving high sided vehicles.
     
  15. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    Please let us know how you get on and what you discover.
    Hope it's not too costly
     
  16. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Hello Chaser,
    No, no wind at all.
    The problems are all to do with lightness of steering and no self-centreing.
    I tend to drive a car with one hand (I know I shouldn't) but daren't drive this with one hand.
    And wouldn't ever risk going over 60 mph.
    I've done over 2000 miles now and it isn't getting any better.
     
  17. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Yours does sound an extreme case & it's worth getting it checked. But be aware that the Ducato steering is always horribly light & with a tendency to wander. It is the worst thing about an otherwise lovely drive. Also rather vague around the straight ahead position if you are used to a good car setup.
     
  18. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    could be a few things as already stated. get a garage to check it thoroughly. I had similar years back with a new 4x4, the steering was super sensitive and wouldn't re-centre. that was diagnosed as faulty power steering rack

    as for the draught of other big vehicles on the motorway destabilising the steering, consider fitting airbags on the rear suspension. they help massively
     
  19. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for your reply, TheCaller.
    What you describe does sound like what I am experiencing.
    Surely I should be able to go over 65mph, though, shouldn't I?
     
  20. Kensmith314

    Kensmith314 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks, TheBig1.
    My first resort will be my local garage.
    They are very trustworthy but I'm not sure they do commercial type vehicles.
    If they don't, I'm sure I can find a garage that can help.
    I will fix the issue one way another and post the outcome on this thread.
     
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