Is my Sprinter the only one that weaves all the time? (1 Viewer)

GWAYGWAY

Free Member
Sep 6, 2014
4,213
3,306
Dover
Funster No
33,216
MH
Hymer ML I 580
Exp
4 years
Following my recent trip down to Gibraltar, and back early I found that with all the Autovia and Autoroute driving, my wrists were very painful. With all the CONSTANT steering correction the Sprinter need to keep in the lanes, I was cramping and needed to keep flexing my hands. When a lorry went passed It was weaving badly from the slipstream hitting the back and then the front of the body. That was understandable owing to the large overhang on the front and rear of the bodywork on the Hymer, along with the short wheelbase of the 680 as against the 620. It is the constant corrections that get me all the time, an input one way and then pressure the other, just to keep in the lane middle. When I got it the tyres pressure were high at 80psi alround, so I looked in the manual and weighed it then also asked Continental the calculated pressures , I have 50 front and 65 rear as the setting they gave me. Any lower and the tyre would overheat. The tyres are wearing very well and at 26000 miles now they are hardly worn and show no wear patterns of undero or over inflation nor any tracking wear pattern.
The power steering is very light and there seems to be little self centring form the trail affect so it might just be that Sprinter vans are set up for Town and city driving only, and would need more trail to make them steady at motorway speed. Mercedes have stuck to the technical methods of auto lane following, and lane wander warning devices. I do not need warnings I just need the damned thing to be able to follow a straight line. Does anybody else have this problem? Or are there others with suggestion about how to make it go in a straight line.. I am seriously thinking about fitting NACA fittings all across the rear to change the aerodynamics, that might well help the lorry disturbances but not the super light steering, it seems the power steering get lighter the faster I go, I asked the MB dealer about it and they thought I was exagerating the problem, Well I never had a problem with my Chausson on a Ford Transit chassis , that was rock steady all the time including side winds.
 

pappajohn

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 26, 2007
43,428
50,237
Dark side of the moon
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172
Exp
Since 2005
You may be stuck in 'tramlines'
slight depressions in the road surface caused by trucks over the years.
Wheels on one side sat in the bottom of the depression and the other wheels slightly up the side of the other depression then swapping over repeatedly. Sort of sideways swinging effect.
Easiest way to find out is move closer to the lane edge out of the 'ruts' and drive there
 

Glandwr

Banned
Jul 10, 2014
1,057
3,301
the Berwyn Mountains
Funster No
32,350
MH
Hymer S740
Exp
since 2009
Worth checking your wt distribution between axles. Mine, a 616, wanders when it is light on the front axle, easily done with 800lts of water, garage contents and scooter on two bar rack all well behind the rear axle. Sidewind or buffering when passing trucks make it worse.
 

sdc77

Free Member
Jan 28, 2013
3,244
4,550
Weardale, Co Durham
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24,456
MH
Coachbuilt
Exp
since 2011
Following my recent trip down to Gibraltar, and back early I found that with all the Autovia and Autoroute driving, my wrists were very painful. With all the CONSTANT steering correction the Sprinter need to keep in the lanes, I was cramping and needed to keep flexing my hands. When a lorry went passed It was weaving badly from the slipstream hitting the back and then the front of the body. That was understandable owing to the large overhang on the front and rear of the bodywork on the Hymer, along with the short wheelbase of the 680 as against the 620. It is the constant corrections that get me all the time, an input one way and then pressure the other, just to keep in the lane middle. When I got it the tyres pressure were high at 80psi alround, so I looked in the manual and weighed it then also asked Continental the calculated pressures , I have 50 front and 65 rear as the setting they gave me. Any lower and the tyre would overheat. The tyres are wearing very well and at 26000 miles now they are hardly worn and show no wear patterns of undero or over inflation nor any tracking wear pattern.
The power steering is very light and there seems to be little self centring form the trail affect so it might just be that Sprinter vans are set up for Town and city driving only, and would need more trail to make them steady at motorway speed. Mercedes have stuck to the technical methods of auto lane following, and lane wander warning devices. I do not need warnings I just need the damned thing to be able to follow a straight line. Does anybody else have this problem? Or are there others with suggestion about how to make it go in a straight line.. I am seriously thinking about fitting NACA fittings all across the rear to change the aerodynamics, that might well help the lorry disturbances but not the super light steering, it seems the power steering get lighter the faster I go, I asked the MB dealer about it and they thought I was exagerating the problem, Well I never had a problem with my Chausson on a Ford Transit chassis , that was rock steady all the time including side winds.
So you obviously weighed the axles to get the correct tyre pressures. Sounds like you need air suspension.

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Feb 24, 2013
13,139
101,671
Bolsover, Derbyshire
Funster No
24,833
MH
Hymer S800
Exp
not long enough
When you look at how much body overhangs the axle width it is no wonder

Ours had manually adjusted rear air suspension when we bought it, since added full rear air and our only issue which has not been improved is sideways rolling typically on sites, or rough roads at slow speed

Sounds like you might need to beef up the suspension in some way
 

Chris

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May 5, 2010
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10 years
One day I was driving our old Burstner in the New Forest and went round a bend that was slightly downhill. Not going fast , maybe 50 mph. I completely lost control of the van for a few seconds. I don’t know what happened but I think it might have been weight distribution or tyre pressures.

It was quite scary though.

If I hadn’t had driving skills better than Lewis Hamilton it could have been nasty.
 
Apr 17, 2016
6,061
35,921
South Coast
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MH
White One..
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3 years….
One day I was driving our old Burstner in the New Forest and went round a bend that was slightly downhill. Not going fast , maybe 50 mph. I completely lost control of the van for a few seconds. I don’t know what happened but I think it might have been weight distribution or tyre pressures.

It was quite scary though.

If I hadn’t had driving skills better than Lewis Hamilton it could have been nasty.

Could have been the crates of beer shifting in the back making it unstable:)
 

MikeD

Free Member
Dec 21, 2011
3,936
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London
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IH PVC
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Since 2012
Our Autotrail Tracker on a Fiat chassis used to do that - we always thought we were going to the scene of a accident.

Air assist rear suspension cured it. Much, much nicer the drive after it was fitted.

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Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,066
152,563
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
You may be stuck in 'tramlines'
slight depressions in the road surface caused by trucks over the years.
Wheels on one side sat in the bottom of the depression and the other wheels slightly up the side of the other depression then swapping over repeatedly. Sort of sideways swinging effect.
Easiest way to find out is move closer to the lane edge out of the 'ruts' and drive there
Unlikely in Spain they don't have sh*t roads like us.:D2
 

Silver-Fox

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 5, 2014
9,290
29,343
Cheltenham Spa
Funster No
33,201
MH
Rapido
Exp
im a not so newbie
Ive got air on the rear and she is a peach to drive.
Only one hand on the steering lightly to hold a steady course.
If non of the above suggestions maybe one or both the front tyres have rubber issues that you can't see.
 

Jaws

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Sep 26, 2008
23,854
73,079
Thetford Norfolk
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C class, Chieftain
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since 2006 ( I think ! )
Following my recent trip down to Gibraltar, and back early I found that with all the Autovia and Autoroute driving, my wrists were very painful. With all the CONSTANT steering correction the Sprinter need to keep in the lanes, I was cramping and needed to keep flexing my hands. When a lorry went passed It was weaving badly from the slipstream hitting the back and then the front of the body. That was understandable owing to the large overhang on the front and rear of the bodywork on the Hymer, along with the short wheelbase of the 680 as against the 620. It is the constant corrections that get me all the time, an input one way and then pressure the other, just to keep in the lane middle. When I got it the tyres pressure were high at 80psi alround, so I looked in the manual and weighed it then also asked Continental the calculated pressures , I have 50 front and 65 rear as the setting they gave me. Any lower and the tyre would overheat. The tyres are wearing very well and at 26000 miles now they are hardly worn and show no wear patterns of undero or over inflation nor any tracking wear pattern.
The power steering is very light and there seems to be little self centring form the trail affect so it might just be that Sprinter vans are set up for Town and city driving only, and would need more trail to make them steady at motorway speed. Mercedes have stuck to the technical methods of auto lane following, and lane wander warning devices. I do not need warnings I just need the damned thing to be able to follow a straight line. Does anybody else have this problem? Or are there others with suggestion about how to make it go in a straight line.. I am seriously thinking about fitting NACA fittings all across the rear to change the aerodynamics, that might well help the lorry disturbances but not the super light steering, it seems the power steering get lighter the faster I go, I asked the MB dealer about it and they thought I was exagerating the problem, Well I never had a problem with my Chausson on a Ford Transit chassis , that was rock steady all the time including side winds.

Two things spring to mind..
Some older Sprinters have shock absorbers that are next to useless..They really are not fit for purpose and certainly well below what the spring rate demands...
Second thing is to get the tracking checked.. The wheels might be TOO straight and a lack of toe in ( or on some weird vehicles toe out ) will mean the steering will not self centre but tend to wander.. The tyre wear would look fine
 
Feb 19, 2017
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2,268
Leighton Buzzard
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47,391
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A class
Exp
Ten years
Two things spring to mind..
Some older Sprinters have shock absorbers that are next to useless..They really are not fit for purpose and certainly well below what the spring rate demands...
Second thing is to get the tracking checked.. The wheels might be TOO straight and a lack of toe in ( or on some weird vehicles toe out ) will mean the steering will not self centre but tend to wander.. The tyre wear would look fine


This sounds good, we bought an elderly Hymer on a Sprinter base, it wandered terribly and was affected by passing large vehicles. Our garage suspected knackered front shocks, they fitted a pair of heavy duty ones made by Monroe IIRC. This did improve the handling by some margin, further improvement was achieved by learning to relax into the way these old Sprinters work, with lets be honest fairly unsophisticated suspension.
 

Richard n Ann

Free Member
Jan 19, 2014
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Elddis Accordo 105
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since 2014
I drove a new sprinter van circa 1997. The lad I was working with loaded a big AC unit right at the back doors. It handled exactly as you describe. Dangerous weaving :eek: German crap :LOL:

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DuxDeluxe

LIFE MEMBER
Jul 10, 2008
14,675
73,238
Planet Zog
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3,243
MH
A woosh bang van
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since 2008
Sprinter 519 with air assist at the rear. No issues at all. Much better ride than previous Ducatos
 

filopastry

Free Member
Nov 11, 2013
1,016
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london
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littleun
Exp
newbie and learning every day
Incorrect tyres, right size incorrect sidewalls and compounds can have this effect. Also as previously mentioned too much weight in the rear of the vehicle will reduce weight on the front axle reducing the vans ability to track straight causing even small directional adjustments to become multiplied. Check not only the vans total running weight but also that of both axles. We have a laika 7.1G on a Fiat chassis, huge rear overhang, weight checked for run to Spain, full fuel and 50lts of fresh water, was 3560kg and she ran straight as a die. Fitting air suspension, whilst may redress the effect is not solving the underlying problem and for me.

As an after thought, check the rear axle mountings are not worn causing the rear axle to move slightly, or that there is excessive free play in the steering .

phil
 
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OP
GWAYGWAY

GWAYGWAY

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Sep 6, 2014
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Hymer ML I 580
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4 years
Thanks for the suggestions,but it came from the makers doing it so I put airbags on it which raised the rear end and stopped the wallow but not the directional instability. Rail roaming on busy truck roads is certainly an issue as the sprinters are much narrower that the trucks so always has one side in the groove. I have the original Vancouver winter tyres which are like rock for comfort, but grip well in the wet and cold, they are wearing very well which is surprising for softer mix compound.. the van has Goldstein rear dampers so they should be OK but there is not much else I can do. It is very tiring trying to go a long way on motorways and straight roads but great on backroads. I still think they have not enough trail in the system to make it easy around town,and that is a manufacturing decision the makers made. If only it was possible to turn down the power steering it might help as it definitely gets lighter as the revs go up in cruise. My Ford Fiesta has electrically powered hydraulic pum and the ECU turns the pump down and effort goes up the faster the car goes making it more stable on higher cruise but light when manoeuvring in town and parking., the opposite of the sprinter chassis.
Body length and overhang must make a difference because of the swinging effect of the garage and airflow passed it.

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Nov 25, 2013
1,129
1,790
kent
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29,170
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Swift Kontiki 669
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Since April 2013
How much lateral overhang is there of the body to the wheels. Is the axle track of the 3.5t narrower that the 4 and 5 ton ? I once had an A Class where the wheels were inset from the body. It was horrible to drive never in a straight line!
 
Apr 11, 2015
5,478
56,138
hull
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Laika Ecovip 300
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since 1988 with breaks until 2009
We hired one a few years ago, it was the same. was told that it is a 'charectaristic ' of the sprinter.
 

Augusta08

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Aug 25, 2015
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I would suspect tyre pressure too low, are you measuring the 50/65 with them totally cold? I run 60/69 cold and they are 68/77 when they've warmed up.
 

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