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Topic: Steering "play" or "slop" with workhorse chassis

Posted By: Lynn Bryngelson on 05/26/04 08:43am

I have just purchased a new 30' Admiral SE with the 18,000 lb Workhorse chassis and an Allison 4 speed trans. While driving along the steering seems to be loose or constantly needing correcting and each movement of the steering wheel seems to want to over-correct, so you go in a constant back and forth steering -- just enough to be annoying and prevent you from relaxing and enjoying the trip. The dealer said that is the norm for a Workhorse chassis----is it???? What have you folks out there experienced? (My dealer has the rig now to check it). If he still says that it is normal or Workhorse will not do anything, would something like the Blue Ox TruCenter or Safe T Plus help this? Any comments or suggestions would really be appreciated.

30' 2004 Holiday Rambler Admiral SE
P32 Workhorse W/8.1, steer-safe
Henderson Super Steer Rear Trac Bar
Honda Accord for Toad
Lynn, Sue and an old Cocker Spaniel, Murphy

Posted By: Sully2 on 05/26/04 09:14am

Two things: First off...if the steering is like the old P30's MAY NEED a stronger "steering stabilizer" put on.

Secondily..if may be YOU! If you are driving while "looking right in front of you"...then its YOU "constantly correcting" for "various things" going on. You MIGHT TRY ..?.."aiming" the rig. Looking a LOT further down the highway and steering toward that.

Its like being in a rowboat.. You cant "steer" in a pick out something on the distant shore and "aim" for that object. Does that make any sense?? ( I doubt

My wife does the same thing....she trys looking at the road..etc..etc she was driving a compared to looking FAR down the highway.

2002 Jeep Liberty
2016 Ford Escape

Posted By: kd7cxg on 05/26/04 09:28am

I have a Winnebago 30' on the P32 18,000lb chassis. When I first bought it the steering was sloppy. To correct the problem I had heavier coil springs installed, also installed a load controller system. The load controller is an air compressor that connects to the air bags and has switches and a pressure gage located in the cockpit so you can adjust the pressure while driving down the highway. The air bag pressure is critical to the steering sensitivity. At between 60 and 65psi mine drives like a car, only need one hand on the steering wheel, at below 55psi and above 75psi it begins to wander. Also with the original springs the front end looked like it was about 2" lower than the rear. Hope this helps you. If you have any questions you can email me at

2002 Winnebago Brave 30W 8.1L
TOADS: 2004 Jeep Liberty, 2010 Toyota Corolla
Brazels Ultra Power Mod(CAI,ECM,Aero Turbine Mufflers,Plugs & Wires)
Rear Trac Bar,Safe-T-Plus,UltraTrac Bellcrank
Park Brake Upgrade Kit
Good Sam Lifetime Member
FMCA F277504

Posted By: JDK on 05/26/04 09:35am

I agree with the oversteering. When I moved from a Class "C" minnie to a class "A" I was all over the road. My Son (over the road truck driver for several years)told me what the problem was. As I became more familiar with the coach and learned to look way ahead the oversteering became less of a problem.

Jim and Jackie
2004 Damon Daybreak 3270
2004 L300 Saturn Toad

Posted By: Bruce Brown on 05/26/04 09:38am may not want to hear this but...
First thing, if it's an 18,000# chassis then it's a P32, which has independant front suspension. This is an update to the old P30 chassis which is notorious for the condition you describe. There are many aftermarket items to help improve the handleing but it is what it is. I'm sure others can offer more.
Second thing, it is not an Allison transmission. The transmission used in the P series chassis is a GM HydraMatic 4 speed automatic. Allison MH transmissions of todays vintage are all 5 speeds or more.

Would it be safe to assume this was a left over? I checked the Workhorse site as well as the Holiday Rambler site and no 30 foot'er is listed for '04. All of the '04's come with at least the W-20 chassis. But as always, spec's are "subject to change" and the web sites aren't always quick to reflect these changes.

If you have the W-20 then you've got a 20,000# chassis with a 5 speed Allison and a straight beam front end. If thats the case then disregard the above items.

Either way, good luck - I hope you get it straightened out to your satisfaction.

There are 24 hours in every day - it all depends on how you choose to use them.
Bruce & Jill Brown
2008 Kountry Star Pusher 3910

Posted By: Fyr guy on 05/26/04 09:41am

Lynn Bryngelson, Here's a vote for the Safe-T-Plus, it works wonders for the Workhorse chassis. I also upgraded the rear with the Davis True Trac as well for the finishing touch.

"Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
-Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

2005 Pace Arrow 37C "Bronze" Workhorse 8.1 "Ultrapower" upgrade
2004 Honda CRV

Posted By: jefkar3 on 05/26/04 09:49am

You could also have a wheel out of alignment. This can make it difficult to hold a straight line also. Most new coaches come from the factory in need of a front-end alignment. If you complain loud enough, Workhorse may even send you a coupon that you can use towards an alignment. When Workhorse build the chassis, they can't really align it properly because there's no wieght on it at that point. The coach builder can't do an alignment because thier not set-up to do that sort of work.

Jeff and Karen
Good Sam Life Members, FMCA Members
2003 Itasca Sunrise 36M, W20 Chassis

Posted By: JTrac on 05/26/04 09:55am

The first trip in my W22 last year was white knuckle all the way. Could not keep it in a straight line and the steering felt vague and loose. When I got back I called HR and they asked if I had checked the tire pressure. Of course I hadn't, assuming it came from the dealer with the correct amount. Well, the fronts were about 15lbs over pressured according the Michelin chart after having the coach weighed. With the correct pressure it handled much better. Four new shocks totally corrected the problem. I am now a frequent tire pressure checker.

2020 Jayco Pinnacle 32RLTS, 2020 Ford F350, Platinum, 6.7 diesel, 4X4, CCLB, SRW, 12,400 GVWR

Posted By: Sully2 on 05/26/04 09:59am

JTrac: "Loading" has some effect also. Put ALL of the weight in the back and "unload" the front axle and take her for a drive....LMAO Its kinda like ...OH LORDY...what WILL we do!..

Posted By: TradingPlaces on 05/26/04 11:01am

We did the following:
Installed Safe-T-Steer
Replaced Bell-Cranks
Installed Rear stabilizer
Got free allignment with coupon from Workhorse
Lowered tire air pressure to 85 psi.

We had a considerable improvement.

Posted By: wolfe10 on 05/26/04 11:39am

In this order:

Load coach as you will be going down the road, including people, fluids and your stuff.

Weigh each axle (four wheel position weighing is even better).

Move weight forward if the front axle is underloaded. If you can get to within about 300 pounds of front GAWR (when you are loaded to the max) that will help wander. Do not get much closer than 300 pounds, as your full fuel tank is BEHIND the rear axle and as you use fuel, your front end will actually gain weight!

Set tire pressure based on tire manufacturer's recommendations plus perhaps 5 PSI.

Inflate the front air bags to near their maximum recommended setting and reduce them in small increments until the ride is acceptable. The more the pressure, the more stable and less wander you will have.

VERY IMPORTANT: After settling on a bag pressure, HAVE A COMPLETE WHEEL ALIGNMENT DONE. First, few coach builders align the front ends. Secondly, until it is loaded AND BAG PRESSURE IS SETTLED, front end settings DO CHANGE. It is likely that yours could be WAY out.

ONLY NOW BEGIN TO LOOK AT AFTERMARKET DEVICES: Two I would put high on the list would be heavier IPD sway bars and Bilstein shocks which work well on the P chassis.

As stated above, the P chassis comes only with a GM 4-speed transmission, NOT an Allison 1000 5 speed as you get with the W chassis.

Brett Wolfe
Ex: 2003 Alpine 38'FDDS
Ex: 1997 Safari 35'
Ex: 1993 Foretravel U240

Diesel RV Club:

Posted By: slgjeg4 on 05/26/04 11:40am

I had the same problem with my winnebago sightseer and found that the air in the front bags was to low. I put 70 lbs in both bags and the problem seems to be much better.I went 3500mi in april and it handled great.


Posted By: Lynn Bryngelson on 05/26/04 06:57pm

Much thanks to all of you folks who have responded so kindly to my plea. I will take advice from just about everyone as you all seem to know what I am talking about! Since we are leaving tomorrow for a short trip over Memorial Day weekend, I will try the "aim down the road" advice and move on from there when we return (if more is needed!). I must admit that I am guilty of looking at the road too closely---worried about keeping in the middle of my lane..... Also, as the saying goes "a little learning is a dangerous thing". When I saw the Workhorse chassis I assumed (a dangerous thing) that it had an Allison transmission. I kinda feel that the salesman sidestepped the issue when I asked if is was a 5 speed Allison he responded no, a four speed.......... oh well. Since this is a P32 chassis, I presume that Holiday Rambler had a few left over and put out this 2004 "Special Edition" -- the title did say 2004. Anyway, when I get through this steering problem (and I am sure I will, one way or another)I really like the rig. THANKS AGAIN all of you!!

Posted By: Bruce Brown on 05/26/04 07:33pm

With that attitude you can conquer ANY little issue a MH might bring up! [emoticon]

Enjoy your new home!

Posted By: FritoBandito on 05/26/04 02:02pm

We changed tires last summer (235's to 255's) on our '98 Holiday Rambler Endeavor, with Freightliner chassis. We had a new SuperSteer bellcrank installed and a front end aligned. The "toe-in" (+ or -) specs were much more liberal than the technician liked. He set the "toe" to a much more stringent spec. Even with the new tires, weight per axle/spindle in spec, I seem to feel that the "wandering" has NOT improved. In fact the "wandering" may have gotten worse.

I know your equipment is different than mine, but my suggestion is:
1) IF you have the front end aligned, make sure your dealer takes "Your Coach" to a "reliable" truck dealer that has the newest equipment for "big" trucks. Dealers often DO NOT do motorhome chassis work, etc.,. They send the coaches out for alignment.
2) Drive the coach on an "extended" test drive, so that YOU are satisfied with the "feel".

Posted By: jenks60 on 05/27/04 02:59pm

Here is one PLACE.

jenks, fulltiming with the DW.
92 Southwind P3(32) 33 ft.
99 Saturn SL2
Rallys attended-TX 2, LA 2, MS 1, AL 2
MA. 1 drop in for visit.

Posted By: JohnnyT on 06/10/04 11:36am

Lynn, I am wondering how you doing with your motorhome... Have you gotten more conmfortable with the steering? Or do you still have the same problem.. How about an update?

Thanks JohnnyT

Posted By: broy on 05/26/04 08:59pm


Have the same 04 Admiral as you do. Try adjusting the air-pressure in the front air bags to between 70 and 90 psi. I have mine at 90 and seems to be much better. I would suggest getting an extension set for the air bags, so you can check pressure or fill from under the hood. Will cost you approximately $30.00 and you can install yourself.

Also keep the air pressure in the tires at 95 psi if you have the Michelin's like mine. Been satisfied with ours, approximately 6000 miles now. Only problem was at 3500, needed new plug wires because of a skip that developed.

Let me know if I can help with any other questions, and enjoy!

Brian Roy
2012 Ford F350 4x4 SRW
2016 Heartland Sundance

Posted By: Snowwolfe on 05/26/04 09:16pm

where can you buy extensions to check the air bag pressures under the hood? Sounds like a great idea.

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