Time. And miles. One of the most simple, yet overlooked facts is than rarely do things “go out overnight.” We’ve seen over and over during our Road Performance Assessments that simple wear and tear (and time on the road!) have been the main causes of “play in the steering” and other such ailments. Most of the time, the decline in road performance is so gradual that driver’s grow used to the problem and simply don’t realize an issue even exists.
Recently, at the Beaver Coach Rally in Harrisburg, Oregon (at River Bend Resort) Robert of Hendersons Line Up performed a visual inspection on a gentleman’s coach. After hearing a “clunking” noise, however, the rear joint on the drag link was so loose it was clunking in the steering arm. The customer wasn’t even aware of any issue and simply asked for the inspection after our seminar. The driver decided it would be a good idea to “get things checked out.” To everyone’s suprise, the rear joint on the drag link took two good turns before the stud on the drag link was fully seated. “If we wouldn’t have found it and fixed it, the whole drag link and steering arms would have eventually had to be replaced.”
“Like Thomas Edison said, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” At the Redmond FMCA rally, we found nuts loose that hold down the steering wheel, a steering box itself loose on the frame, and play in the steering tilt column assembly. Loose bell-crank arms, loose bell-cranks and loose Safety-Plus steering control attachment bolts were also found. All these coach owners were unaware of their motor-coach’s problems!
“It goes to show that things rarely go out overnight,” says Robert. “Like the writer of Ecclesiastes says, ‘Time and Chance’ happen to us all. Likewise, “Time and Steering Play can happen to us all–as well!” These recent lessons have reinforced the value of a good inspection on anyone’s coach. This is one of the most important parts of the Road Performance Assessment and, at a future time, we’ll discuss the RPA in depth. Stay turned!