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 > Your search for posts made by 'Wes Tausend' found 2 matches.

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RE: New Ford V8

I've noted a lot of folks have found fault with the steering of new Ford E-450 chassis. Having experienced this myself (along with a buddy who bought the same year), we discovered that a new 450 chassis apparently has exceptionally stiff ball joints. Consequently, the steering direction tends to stick wherever the last road bump deflects it. E-Series steering has been an issue for many, MANY years. You need to find and old fashioned alignment shop and tell them your issues. They will adjust the caster outside of the factory specs. The steering will stay centered with no wandering. This will NOT cause additional tire wear ! The main reason I became more acutely aware of the slight bind in new Ford ball joints is because I learned from a used F-250 I bought a few years ago (4dr 2000 4x4 diesel tow vehicle with a 6.5 foot bed). The F-250 spent most of its life in a garage, ran well, had low mileage, new tires and new ball-joints, so I paid a little over book for it. Unfortunately, it steered very poorly, even as I test drove it. I initially thought some simple thing was still loose, or it was slightly toed out perhaps, but thought that it would be an easy, cheap fix. Still, the tires showed absolutely no sign of the inside feathering from toe-out. At the same time, I also owned (and still own) a 2000 4x4 Ford Excursion which has a nearly identical chassis except the Ex chassis has a shorter wheelbase, that of just a 2dr F-250 extra cab. After buying the F-250 and checking further, it still made no sense for months why it steered and handled so much worse. Yet back then, the worn Excursion steered and handled just fine on new tires in spite of having a rather loose original passenger ball-joint with about 120k miles on it. Research on the net turned up only one guy who knew what he was talking about. He knew he had experienced a bind (as opposed to all the other forum replies that were foolishly doubting him). I also dug up info from Moog that their replacement steel-on-steel ball joints required a very specific tightening sequence, or the ball joints would be forced together during assembly and then bind. So, I dug around more and followed a little-known Ford shop TB procedure I found, by setting the front axles of both trucks up on jack-stands, tires off the ground. In that way, with the engine dead, I measured the relative amount of free-wheel steering torque required to steer the trucks using a fish scale. The F-250 required 15# and the Excursion only 5#. These axles should be identical. I also found info that Ford had realized that the Excursions were expected to have more car-like handling than truck-like, and Ford had specifically chosen special slippery OEM ball-joints for them. The ball joints had a nylon cup in them that allowed easier car-like steering, but the design did not allow for a zerk. They were considered life-time lubricated. They may have been used in other light trucks. Over the years, scads of Ford owners, especially diesel owners, complained that the Ford engineers were apparently too dumb to install decent ball joints and almost all folks who needed repair installed steel-on-steel after-market ball-joints with zerks because it seemed obvious they should last longer. Then, because of perceived wandering, many then went about adding all kinds of expensive, useless suspension do-dads trying to get their binding steering and handling back to OEM standards. It turns out that the Ford engineers weren't so dumb after all. Like I mentioned earlier, the original zerk-less joints on my Excursion went over 100k and any ball-joint life with Ford (and Dodge/Ram) heavier diesel engines is/was about 80k tops. Worn ball-joints usually self-center, socket-to-ball, tracking just fine for many years without tire wear until they are so loose the ball pops out of the socket when the wheel hops. I suspect a lot of shops capitalize on early detection by showing customers a little wiggle play when there are still years of service actually left in them. I also know folks that let them get so loose they fell apart on the road. So finally knowing what was wrong, I checked first with the tire dealer that had done the new joints for the previous owner on the F-250, offering to pay for loosening, then resetting them correctly. I had been buying tires from them and liked their shop. However, when I pointed out that I wanted him to be sure his guy reset the joints in the correct sequence, the manager suddenly claimed there was no such sequence thing, that all F-250s steered like I mine did, even his. He didn't want to take a test drive, so I lost faith and left. Checking with a local Ford dealer, they told me that another tire dealer near them did all their suspension work, so I went over there. This tire shop would not touch it unless I had them install all new ball joints for hundreds of dollars. The joints were already new, just set too tight. I finally went to a respected truck shop that does a lot of school buses, commercial trucks and the like. The manager knew exactly what I was talking about on binding joints and they happily reset the F-250's ball-joints and added a damper, all for about $300. I didn't have 'death wobble' but what the heck. The truck immediately steered much better and the next day I checked the steering torque, back up on jack-stands, and it measured only 8# (even with new damper drag), quite a bit down from the earlier 15#. Then some 'lady' totaled the parked F-250, right in my driveway, so back to the Excursion. Since the ball joints were working, I was most concerned about replacing shock absorbers and doing brake work in it. Off-hand, I had also ended up sticking a new V-10 in it early-on, the winter before I found the F-250 diesel. I liked the truck shop's work, so I later took the Excursion in for full brake work, ball-joints and shocks. I requested OEM nylon ball-joints if they could get them, but they could only find two, the uppers, I believe. The bottom joints are steel-on-steel, correctly installed. The SUV steers straight as an arrow, easily with two fingers, probably couldn't be better. One thing not great: now that I don't need a heavy-duty tow vehicle, I wish I had a smaller back-up vehicle with better fuel economy. All in all, it's true, enough extra caster can overcome binding in steering. But in my opinion, Ford chassis with modified extra caster will still steer easier (two fingers) set back to factory specs when they are broke in. I'm not sure about the magnitude of extra tire wear due to incorrect over-caster, but on any slope, the wheel will fight the driver to steer 'uphill' as though it's turning a constant corner, if that is any indication. Consider this: if extra caster was a good thing, a man might think all vehicles would come with it from the factory. Otherwise, I believe incorrect toe settings are the only thing that significantly affect tire wear. Wes
Wes Tausend 07/16/22 07:28pm Class C Motorhomes
RE: New Ford V8

Good Engine, easy to maintain, air filter size is small so it clogs easily. Keep a spare. Oil changes are easy, has variable cam timing so change often such as at 5000 miles to keep the variable device from silting up. We have a Forest River 2551TS which weighs 13,600 loaded and gets 9.5 to 9.7 mpg at 65 mph. Plenty of power, crests Eisenhower Tunnel at 65 mph. When new it would only do 45 at the last stretch, likely a Ford break-in de-powering mode. The engine is suppost to be limited to 3900 rpm; however, it will run up past 4500 at full throttle. The interior engine cover stays cool. The E450 chassis like all chassis needs alignment after Forest River adds 7000# to the partial chassis. For us this was a 1-1/4 degree camber/caster bushing (passenger side) installed all toward caster and 0" of toe-in. This chassis hates toe-in, as it caused poor steering response and a measurable reduction in fuel mileage. Good post. I've noted a lot of folks have found fault with the steering of new Ford E-450 chassis. Having experienced this myself (along with a buddy who bought the same year), we discovered that a new 450 chassis apparently has exceptionally stiff ball joints. Consequently, the steering direction tends to stick wherever the last road bump deflects it. During this break-in time, following tire deflection, the driver is forced to constantly slightly correct the steering which is tiresome. Strangely, it may feel as though the steering must be loose instead of too tight and also gives the impression that the new RV truck chassis wanders. Normally these binding ball-joints break-in (loosen) after the first few thousand miles and then the rig steers just fine, as it now does for my buddy and I. Ford really should earnestly publish a statement to owners, RV dealers and Ford service centers that this break-in situation may or does exist, as it seems not well understood, and I imagine it seriously irritates the majority of new owners. One questionable fix has been to increase castor beyond factory specs which then becomes unhandy after break-in. The reasoning is that the normal recommended castor setting is only temporarily inadequate to auto-return any brand new "binding-steering" to dead-center, after any minor road deviation diverts it. Later the extra castor is undesirable as it constantly causes the front steering wheels to want to climb the crowns and slightly depressed wheel-track ruts in asphalt roads. Excess castor also unduly increases steering effort to turn during hard, emergency braking. Also, I'm not so sure that the factory alignment is always off. It certainly may be in some cases, but it seems it shouldn't be by much just on account of the constant "house-load". If this were a chronic design failure, then all van-bodied Ford 450 chassis would greatly suffer between loaded and unloaded conditions. Maybe they do? I don't have any experience in that, just in my RV. That said, I would certainly have to concur that alignment could be possibly idealized by the assumption that a near-constant heavy load like our RVs would mean alignment could be purposely fine-tuned to the upper range. That may be why some rear suspensions have been boosted level by either air bags or newer plastic jounce spacers. I suppose any toe-in might already be too much if the suspension is new too. The very idea of toe-in is because there is normally a bit of slop in worn suspension and rubber mounts. The drag from forward motion then causes a slight spread (to toe-out) and the toe-in setting somewhat pre-compensates for this. Note that front wheel drive cars are normally set to toe-out because the driving force of their traction effort (instead of drag) tends to allow any slop to alternately allow toe-in. You are correct. Toe-in does cause muted steering response. Some auto-cross racers purposely set their normal toe-in to toe-out for quicker steering response. Wes
Wes Tausend 07/12/22 02:33pm Class C Motorhomes
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