I've been intrigued at the possibility of increasing the capability of our front axle and brakes. A visit to a CAT scale showed that the axle was at 99% of its 4600 pound capacity. So... a number of phone calls ended in a 400 pound pallet of takeoff axle parts shipped to a nearby freight terminal. I used a shipping agent called Freight Management Logistics and they were wonderful. Great Carrier, On Time, Super Price.
Terminal loaded the pallet in my mini pickup with a forklift. I had to unpack the heavy duty cardboard carton fastened to the pallet every time I wanted to move the thing. I quickly found out that the Rotors are the heaviest of the parts. The axles came with the spindles attached which made them awkward but they weren't as heavy as rotors.
I didn't actually jack the RV up. I had it on our concrete driveway and put 2x4 blocks under the Front HWH leveling jacks. I then extended the HWH all the way, and slipped 6-ton jackstands under each frame rail. That put the tire treads about 3 inches off the driveway.
At first it was like a brake job. Remove Caliper, Disconnect Brake Hose (new axle calls for different ones). I capped the steel lines with wiper hose plugged with golf tees. Then remove Caliper Bracket (21mm socket and Breaker Bar). Then Rotor at the Bearings (1-1/8" socket). With all that off, I removed the Offset Caster/Camber bushings and the axle looked like this
Then I put a floor jack under the lower ball joint, removed the spring clip at the top of the spring and disconnected the lower shock absorber mounts. Lowered the jack and the spring just tipped out. There is NO NEED of a Spring Compressor and the possible associated hazards.
With the Spring out, I could easily remove the Shock with a Box Wrench on the Nut and Open End on the Shaft
My "parts kit" included a new pair of shocks. These use bigger bushings and bigger fasteners than the original ones. The OEM shock bushings (Ford calls them Insulators) are somehow forced into the frame and I had to break them to remove. In this pic, you can see how late model insulators center themselves in the frame hole. The upper Insulator is integral with Nut and Washer. Those did not come in the parts kit. I had to buy them at Ford along with the Radius Arm to Frame Bracket Bolts which are odd to find at 18mm diameter. More on that later. Shocks...
Each Axle is bolted to the Front Crossmember. Nut and Bolt for the Passenger Side Axle are easy to get at (21mm socket and 21mm wrench) but the nut for the Driver Side is recessed and sits right in front of the Oil Pan
A hose blocks access to the Nut but once moved, the 21mm box end will slip right on.
The new axle uses a different Radius Arm and the new arm requires new Brackets to the Frame. The biggest Bolt in the project goes through the Radius Arm and Axle. I used a 3/4" drive 1-3/16" socket and breaker bar on the nut. Sorry, I forget bolt head size. The torque spec is around 250.
Then I unbolted the Frame Brackets which have 3 bolts into captive nuts (15mm socket) and installed the new Brackets and Radius Arm. The new Arm uses a rubber bushing "Heim Joint" instead of the shaft and rubber bushing each side of the Bracket. This should help maintain alignment longer.
The new axle incorporates Splash Shields for the Brake Rotors
Here is the new axle in place. You can see where Ford added bosses for Sway Bar End links but left the hole for the old-style sway bar end bushings. The bracket for our Hellwig front Sway Bar shows here and illustrates that the early style bar will work with a late model axle. Naturally if you have a late model E-Series you'd want to order the appropriate bar kit. But if a used one was available, it would work. I worked alone on the entire project and it was easy to install the axles. I put the Spindle end on a Creeper and rolled it under. The Bolt end was easy to lift to the mounting points in the crossmember and I could roll the creeper around till the holes lined up.
I installed the Shocks to the Upper Mounts while Springs were out, then installed the Springs by pushing up with the Floor Jack. Then I attached the Lower Shock Mounts. They require a twisting action to get the Bushings over the Studs.
I torqued the Radius Arm to the Axle but left the Axle Bolts and Radius Arm to Frame Bracket Bolts loose.
Then the Rotors (New Left and Old Right) where you can easily see how much wider the braking surface is. Looking carefully, you can see how much thicker the new rotor is also.
And the Brake Assemblies (Old Left and New Right). The pistons and pads are larger and the pads are spaced farther to allow the thicker rotor.
The Brake Hoses are different so they went on new. Parts Kit didn't include the "banjo bolts" that hold the Hoses to the Calipers but the old ones fit the new calipers. Since the 2008+ chassis uses a different ABS setup, the connectors on the new ABS sensors were different and I re-used the old ones.
I installed AirLift 1000 Series Airbags into the Springs before putting the Springs back. This is the Left/Driver side complete
and the Right/Passenger side
I didn't add a compressor for the airbags and ran the lines into the Radiator area using these existing mounting screws
There is good access through the upper openings in the grille.
I left the Axle and Radius Arm bolts loose because I don't like locking them down when the suspension is topped out. Not enough room with the wheels on the ground so I lifted the suspension with my floor jack under the wheel lug flanges on the rotor hubs.
That was it. Hung the wheels, set it down and torqued the nuts. Installed Wheel Simulators.
STILL putting Tools away and wondering what I'll do with a big carton of serviceable used parts. Those include a recent brake job with rebuilt calipers, new hoses, new pads, bearings packed, rotors resurfaced.
Now to drive it...
I'm curious, which side of the trailer did this happen on?
And have you tried the other wheel on that side?
The wheels on the other side?
I ask because road action tends to tighten the passenger side lugs, and loosen the driver side. It used to be common to use Left-Hand threaded fasteners on the driver side wheels, but not much anymore.
If one side is going to work loose before the other, it's going to be the driver side. I don't know if that's ever meant the passenger side becomes over-tight...
The "pre-08" look was 1992-2007 Ford Chassis Model Years. Still, there were minor changes in the grilles between years. But I think all those grilles would interchange.
Looked at the file Bryan linked. Glad to see they ditched that driveshaft-mounted parking brake.
E350 got interesting changes too. More optional GVWR, wider rear track, hydro-boost brakes standard.
Suggest you weigh both units before you commit to this. We did, and our coach and toad truck were both at least 10% heavier than we anticipated.
Also, be sure the 'burb is a towable truck. We have a Dinghy Towing forum that can help with that question.
It's a SteerSafe made in Deming NM. It's a centering device like the springs hidden under a cover on Safe-T-Plus.
I say "Centering" because it doesn't incorporate a hydraulic damper. Has to rely on the coach having its own.
No, Mike. If it's for the transmission cooler, there is in fact "Transmission Cooler Hose." When I needed some, not all the big box chain auto supplies had it. Maybe only one and it might've been Autozone. Subject to change, of course, and I'm sure NAPA would have it. I'd use fuel line hose in a pinch, but not hardware store water hose.
Weigh the four corners. If a side or corner is heavy and that's where it sags to, then spacers >> adding a leaf to that spring/side would make sense. But if it's well balanced side to side weight wise, then time for new springs.
At least that's my logic. If there's a flaw in it let me know.
Or first Class C sagged in the rear. We corrected that with "repair leaves." Those are a generic part available in different Lengths, Widths and Thicknesses. They have to be sheared to length and have the center hole punched in them. A good spring shop can do both. Then it's a matter of removing the U-Bolts and breaking the spring stack down to shuffle the leaf in. Then of course reassemble. The center bolt will have to be replaced and it's recommended to replace the U-Bolts also. The repair worked out very well, but rear was then a little high. I think we used 1/2" thick leaves. If there'd been 3/8" the coach probably would have come out level front-to-rear.
Look for "Direct Acting" jacks in the BF or HWH brands. Both Class C's we've owned have HWH "Kick Down" jacks. These have to swing down to get into leveling position. That's been the worst feature (really the only bad feature) of those HWH systems. They'll often extend before reaching vertical. Also, since they have hinge pins to swing on, they aren't as steady as they would be without them and mounted solid to go straight down.
A little off topic, but our Front and Rear Hellwig heavy duty Sway Bars do more to keep the coach steady on the campsite than the jacks do. Of course the bars are no help in leveling.
I went with MaxxAir-II vent covers. RV shop told me that was what they commonly use. I can see where anything that either 1. Keeps the Lid from going all the way up or 2. Requires air to flow through louvers, would reduce air flow.
All I can say is that I'm satisfied with the performance of our two FF's under the MaxxAir-II covers.
Hey, Ron! I just changed front shocks (and a lot more, new thread to follow) but what I did was completely remove the front spring. On E-Series, no spring compressor is required. Undo the shock at the lower mount with a floor jack under the end of the axle. Remove the upper spring clip (10mm wrench) and lower the jack. With the spring out, it's easy to put a box wrench on the top nut of the upper shock mount, then back the shock out with a wrench on the shock shaft. With spring out of the way, it's easy to get about 1/3 of a turn and it goes fast. 15mm on top, 18mm on shaft, but the late model ones I installed are 21mm top and about the same bottom. Odd size on Ford's late model shocks, I used 13/16 and it was sloppy but 3/4 and 19mm were too small.
Kit, then your chassis should have rubber bushings through the axles, and the ends of the front sway bar poked through those bushings. The Hellwig bar comes with bigger brackets to tie to the frame, and heavy steel plates that bolt to the axles. Then the sway bar ties to those plates with traditional end links. It's an easy no-drill installation and the brackets stay put.
On ours, the Hellwig rear bar also installs no-drill. I recommend Hellwig because the bars have the same specs as the much more expensive Roadmaster. You can buy both Hellwig bars for not much more than one Roadmaster. I, along with several others, bought ours through SDTruckSprings.
Ford upgraded the chassis, largely front axle improvements, with 2008 Chassis Model Year. A "2008 RV" might be on a 2008 Ford or an earlier year. Just remember the Chassis and RV "years" often do not match.
Our E-Series had wear like that when we bought it. Found the front wheels were "Toe-Out" by much more than the specs allow. Turned out the tie rod ends were worn and I eventually replaced them. In the mean, I cranked the adjusting sleeves shorter and got to slight toe-in.
You can check Toe with a Helper, a Tape Measure, and Two Hat Pins. Drive straight on a smooth flat surface and come to a gradual stop. Sight across the tread of the tires behind the axle and stick a Hat Pin into the tread, square with the tread surface. One each side, as high as the truck will allow your tape measure to go across without interference. Measure and record the spacing of the pins. It doesn't matter What the Spacing is, only that you'll compare with another measurement. Drive the truck forward till the pins are forward of the axle, low enough that you can get a straight measurement across the pins. If the front measure is More than the Rear measure, it's Toe Out. If so, I'd suggest you try to work the adjusting sleeves to get Zero (equal spacing between the pins) or a little Toe In. We went from 3/8" Out to 1/8" In. The wear stopped and it tracked better.
I added Hellwig sway bars front and rear and saw huge improvements. Our chassis is older than yours but the rear sway bars are the same. Wanted to let you know that although the 2008+ chassis uses a different Hellwig part number, the 2007- bar will also mount. Buying new, you'd want the part specified for the late model chassis, but if a used older one showed up, you'd be able to use it.
And for the Chevy Fans. YES, their Front End (Independent Twin Wishbone) inherently handles better than Ford's Swing Axle (marketet as Twin I-Beam).
Another factor is Ford allows more of a chassis stretch than Chevy does. That means the Chevy-based Class C's won't run as big as the ones on Ford.
And Sprinter Fans... Mercedes allows NO stretch, so there'll be strict size limits unless something changes.
Looking at Floor Plan along with Wheelbase begins to illustrate the problem. If Floor Plan is Rear Queen w/ or w/o Walk Around and/or Slide, a pretty-much-standard rear overhang and corresponding weight is going to be behind the Rear Axle. If the coach is over 30-feet, then there is enough house in front of the axle to offset that heavy rear overhang and put a respectable portion of total vehicle weight on the Front Axle.
Long Wheelbase WILL track better than Short, but the Loading still has to be right. And of course the Alignment and Weight Distribution have to be right.
Take this 29T to a Truck Stop. Set FRONT tire inflation to 60 and REAR to 80. Take it across the CAT Scale and get the Weight Slip. Drive it again with those tire pressures, see if it handles any better, and let us know what your weights were.
29T has too short a wheelbase. 190" for a 30' coach. Look at the 31C with 220" for 31'.
It seems the Class A can get away with a proportionately shorter wheelbase than a C. I'd think of several reasons.
The front-to-rear weight balance might be better
The chassis could be stiffer
A modern Class A is on a "motorhome" chassis vs. a "truck" chassis. A Class C is on a "truck" chassis. Difference? The MH chassis has a wider front track. The wheel spacing on a truck chassis is narrow.