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Old 05-13-2021, 12:12 AM   #41
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If you think you can do it I would highly recommend getting your own grease gun. The one time I had a shop do mine I found half the joints had a big glob of grease around the outside of the fitting. There is a little bit of art to it. Should be some good instruction on the internet. So no grease got in the joint and if it had it would have been too much. I have a small handheld gun with about a 14-inch hose and a 90-degree tip. Get as good a quality gun as you can as cheap ones have trouble priming sometimes.
To your earlier question, I was afraid the parts had never been greased previously and the zerk nipples might not take grease. So I thought it might be more of a job and I just decided to "let the professionals handle it". I cleaned the fittings of dirt and old grease before taking it into the garage and authorized them to change any fitttings that would not accept grease. Turns out that I worried for nothing.

But yes, the "professionals" left grease blobs on the fittings, however, they did get gease into the joints as there were signs that some fresh leakage around the boots. Hopefully, they were careful and didn't tear anything by overfilling, but I don't think that is the case. It also appeared they wiped excess grease from their hose tip by just wipping it underneath in several places. Grease blobs on a couple of suspension parts and even under the right front fender. Luckily, because of my recent van lift, I could get under and wipe these places before the blobs fell on my driveway.

I also wiped the boots again after about 50 miles since more new grease oozed after driving for a bit. The boots looked ok and I found no excessive grease after that second check.

Bottom line, it's an example of "If you want a job done right . . . "
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:44 AM   #42
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Grease around the fitting and none in the joint is the number one indicator to worry about stuck zerk fittings. It happens all the time and they can stick in only a couple of years of non use easily and sometimes even when regularly used. When I got my old Buick, it had obviously been regularly greased, but two zerks wouldn't take grease, for who knows how long.


Fittings are cheap, just buy an assortment and put in new where needed. Very easy to do.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:16 AM   #43
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Grease around the fitting and none in the joint is the number one indicator to worry about stuck zerk fittings. It happens all the time and they can stick in only a couple of years of non use easily and sometimes even when regularly used. When I got my old Buick, it had obviously been regularly greased, but two zerks wouldn't take grease, for who knows how long.


Fittings are cheap, just buy an assortment and put in new where needed. Very easy to do.
On mine, none of the zerks were stuck. The "tech" simply did not get the grease gun tip on properly. Happens to me sometimes too, but I can tell when grease is pouring out the bottom side of the gun tip. I just reinstall the gun tip and then the grease goes in fine.

That trip to Grease Monkey west of Denver was because I had been on the road for 8000 miles and needed oil change and lube. When I got home I found the oil filter seal was just barely touching the engine seat flange. How it did not leak the oil out I don't know. Next big trip (10,000 miles) I changed the oil myself while on the road at 6000 miles. A hassle but I had to for peace of mind. I did lube front end before leaving so I went further than I like but again, I know someone did not mess things up (overfill joint and bust boot, get grease on brakes, etc).
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Old 05-15-2021, 03:15 AM   #44
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Let us know how it drives after these parts are replaced.

One item that may help also is the alignment specs. Booster has studied this and may have a recommendation for you to pass on to the alignment shop.

Also, if the van "wallows" too much for you then adding a rear sway bar would help alot. Again, Booster is the expert on this. Let's see how it does after you replace the planned parts.

DOn't give up. These vans are great and it should be fixable to make it drive good and safe. But don't expect it to drive like a car.
I had the parts replaced, an alignment, corrected the tire pressure and have minimal improvement in handling, which is very disappointing. The guy who did all the work said if I bring him the steering damper, he'll install it for free. He also talked about rear airbags, and showed me what they are (I had no idea). He doesn't do that work but can refer me if I decide to go that route.
I'm wondering if I'm unrealistic about the handling? I'm thinking I should go drive some RV's and cargo vans to get an idea.
I best way to describe the front end is "skipping" or "skates" on the road... I guy I bought it from is baffled.
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Old 05-15-2021, 03:39 AM   #45
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Thanks for the update, but sorry to hear the disappointing results.

I assume the front end was aligned after the work. What was the result? Again, my model is 5 years newer, but this is what my post-alighment figures were after the installation of Sumospring bump stops and 3" Supreme Suspensions lift front & rear.
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:06 AM   #46
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What does the guy that did the work say; has he driven it? He should know if it is not driving or steering correctly. Ride with him when he drives it to see if you detect the skating so you can point it out.

Other suggestions: 1. Check the tires. One way is to rotate them. If you have a bad tire the driving characteristics should change as the bad tire is moved to another location. 2. Has the steering box been checked for looseness or other wear. 3. Were the control arm bushings checked. 4. Check wheel bearings for looseness.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:41 AM   #47
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What does the guy that did the work say; has he driven it? He should know if it is not driving or steering correctly. Ride with him when he drives it to see if you detect the skating so you can point it out.

Other suggestions: 1. Check the tires. One way is to rotate them. If you have a bad tire the driving characteristics should change as the bad tire is moved to another location. 2. Has the steering box been checked for looseness or other wear. 3. Were the control arm bushings checked. 4. Check wheel bearings for looseness.

I agree with all of this, and if you can get them the final settings of the alignment.


When you describe the front end "skating" I think of it sliding, only to a lesser degree, as it would on ice when turn the steering wheel. You basically turn but it goes straight for a while?


If that is the case it would indicate understeer from the van which is the way most of them are because of the heavy rear weight. You will also need larger than you might like correction from the steering wheel of maybe an inch or two of turn to correct an offline from gust of wind.


If this is the case, improvements can be made to make it better. In general the things that will reduce understeer would be:


Increased front tire pressure (did you ever check to try the 65 front, 80 rear that was recommeded)


Stiffer rear springs and higher damping shocks (or just getting better shocks all the way around is most common)


Adding a rear sway bar


Possibly better tires


Possibly better alignment settings


Possibly a wheel change if you have the aluminum wheels


Understeer is an odd handling that is defined as the front tires having less traction than the rear so the vehicle does turn as much as it should because the front tires are slipping some (skating?).


It is also a thing that has a very wide range of how drivers think about it. Some drivers, like me, want as little understeer as is possible while others think that a vehicle with very low understeer is "twitchy" and hard to drive (think sports car). They prefer the more lazy, slower responding, steering which requires larger steering inputs (think 1970s Cadillac). Personal observation is that folks that like having some understeer would be the ones with the 10 and 2 very firm grip on wheel (big inputs kind of natural in that position, I think) while the one light hand on wheel folks or two lightly on the bottom like less understeer as big inputs aren't as easy to do from those positions.



Bottom line is what the driver prefers determines what the best setup is for handling.


A decent indicator of how much understeer you are seeing would be how far you need to correct normal offline events at freeway speed. When you start to get to much over an 1-1.5" it generally would seem to be getting too high for many people.
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:31 PM   #48
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Yes... It's understeer!! I'm a one hand, relaxed kind of driver so prefer less.
I did increase the front tire pressure to 65, with minimal handling change. The steering box was rebuilt, so should be good. It was aligned and balanced as well.
I'm wondering about the tires that the seller put on about a month prior to selling it. They are Bridgestone Dueler LTH.. Which are for light duty trucks. Is a RT considered light duty?
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:49 PM   #49
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Yes... It's understeer!! I'm a one hand, relaxed kind of driver so prefer less.
I did increase the front tire pressure to 65, with minimal handling change. The steering box was rebuilt, so should be good. It was aligned and balanced as well.
I'm wondering about the tires that the seller put on about a month prior to selling it. They are Bridgestone Dueler LTH.. Which are for light duty trucks. Is a RT considered light duty?

Now we are getting there. Rebuilt steering boxes are always suspect unless done at a very reputable place, of which there aren't many. Where was it done?


For understeer in a 210 good shocks are a necessity, many like Bilstein and that is what we also have. Air bags or modified/replaced spring packs to get the van off the overload leaf in the rear. Big rear sway bar. Move as much weight forward as you can as the front tends to run light and the rear heavy on the 210s because of the big overhang in the rear compared to a 190.


It will never handle like a well handling car, but should be able to comfortable to drive. Our 190 probably has .5" or less movement of the wheel, so pretty easy for lazy me
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Old 05-15-2021, 08:06 PM   #50
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Now we are getting there. Rebuilt steering boxes are always suspect unless done at a very reputable place, of which there aren't many. Where was it done?


For understeer in a 210 good shocks are a necessity, many like Bilstein and that is what we also have. Air bags or modified/replaced spring packs to get the van off the overload leaf in the rear. Big rear sway bar. Move as much weight forward as you can as the front tends to run light and the rear heavy on the 210s because of the big overhang in the rear compared to a 190.


It will never handle like a well handling car, but should be able to comfortable to drive. Our 190 probably has .5" or less movement of the wheel, so pretty easy for lazy me
The steering box was just rebuilt. The alignment / suspension shop that replaced the parts sent it out to a specialist. It has Bolstein shocks that were added about 5 years ago. I just learned about Air bags and will look into them.
What's your opinion on the tires I mentioned?
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Old 05-15-2021, 08:58 PM   #51
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The steering box was just rebuilt. The alignment / suspension shop that replaced the parts sent it out to a specialist. It has Bolstein shocks that were added about 5 years ago. I just learned about Air bags and will look into them.
What's your opinion on the tires I mentioned?

No experience with them myself, but they appear to be a private label tire for Discount tire. They should a bit under $190 so not a cheap or expensive line. No reviews on Tire Rack of course, and those are always the better ones. A quick search on Google brought up a discussion on Bob is the Oil Guy that trashed them pretty hard, though.
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:34 PM   #52
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No experience with them myself, but they appear to be a private label tire for Discount tire. They should a bit under $190 so not a cheap or expensive line. No reviews on Tire Rack of course, and those are always the better ones. A quick search on Google brought up a discussion on Bob is the Oil Guy that trashed them pretty hard, though.
If you can get the tire receipt from the previous owner that would be good to have. I would take the vehicle to Discount Tire (DT) and tell them what is going on. I have found DT to be excellent in taking care of tire problems. Have them check the tires and balance them. Have them rotate the tires too.
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:04 AM   #53
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If you can get the tire receipt from the previous owner that would be good to have. I would take the vehicle to Discount Tire (DT) and tell them what is going on. I have found DT to be excellent in taking care of tire problems. Have them check the tires and balance them. Have them rotate the tires too.
I have the receipt and there is a Tire Discount Store a couple of miles away. Will take it the early next week. Appreciate everyone's assistance! I wish I knew more about this stuff!!
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Old 05-16-2021, 12:18 AM   #54
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I have the receipt and there is a Tire Discount Store a couple of miles away. Will take it the early next week. Appreciate everyone's assistance! I wish I knew more about this stuff!!
Have the tires taken off and throw them through Discount Tire's front window.

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Old 05-16-2021, 01:42 AM   #55
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I have the receipt and there is a Tire Discount Store a couple of miles away. Will take it the early next week. Appreciate everyone's assistance! I wish I knew more about this stuff!!
I am going to bring up a detail on tires that is somewhat of a nit, but might help in the present situation. Not solve it, but perhaps help.

I would recommend you put on tires that meet the GM/Chevrolet specs for the Express 3500 vehicle, especially since you are experience handling problems. The most important spec is that they are E-load rated, which the tires you have are. But another, less common spec that most people don't pay attention to is the speed rating. GM specs an "S" speed rating, which will generally have a stiffer sidewall than an "R" rating. This primarily affects handling and cornering for heavy vehicles. The tires you have are speed rated "R". Some tire stores are aware of this and will only install "S" speed rated tires. DiscountTire should not have installed the R-rated tires on your Roadtrek. I would bring this to their attention and request they install S-rated tires to meet the GM spec.

I came across the speed rating issue when I called Yokohama a few years ago with a question on their tires and they said they did not recommend their R-rated tires for the Express/Roadtrek van. They would not warranty the tires and implied they would not accept any liability because they were not at the GM specification. I think Yokohama has recently updated their 245-75-16 tires and they now meet the S speed rating.

I know the Bridgestone V-Steel is S-speed rated. As I recall there were a few other brands with an S-rating, but most were R or below. Yes the S-rated tire will ride a little rougher, but that is the tradeoff for better lateral stability.

When I have brought this up in various forums I get a lot of replies from people saying they have R-rated tires (mostly Michelin) and that they handle fine and ride smooth. Yes, they will ride smoother because they have a more flexible sidewall.

Again, this won't solve your problem but it might help, and the S-rated tires are what is supposed to be on the vehicle.
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:49 AM   #56
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I am going to bring up a detail on tires that is somewhat of a nit, but might help in the present situation. Not solve it, but perhaps help.

I would recommend you put on tires that meet the GM/Chevrolet specs for the Express 3500 vehicle, especially since you are experience handling problems. The most important spec is that they are E-load rated, which the tires you have are. But another, less common spec that most people don't pay attention to is the speed rating. GM specs an "S" speed rating, which will generally have a stiffer sidewall than an "R" rating. This primarily affects handling and cornering for heavy vehicles. The tires you have are speed rated "R". Some tire stores are aware of this and will only install "S" speed rated tires. DiscountTire should not have installed the R-rated tires on your Roadtrek. I would bring this to their attention and request they install S-rated tires to meet the GM spec.

I came across the speed rating issue when I called Yokohama a few years ago with a question on their tires and they said they did not recommend their R-rated tires for the Express/Roadtrek van. They would not warranty the tires and implied they would not accept any liability because they were not at the GM specification. I think Yokohama has recently updated their 245-75-16 tires and they now meet the S speed rating.

I know the Bridgestone V-Steel is S-speed rated. As I recall there were a few other brands with an S-rating, but most were R or below. Yes the S-rated tire will ride a little rougher, but that is the tradeoff for better lateral stability.

When I have brought this up in various forums I get a lot of replies from people saying they have R-rated tires (mostly Michelin) and that they handle fine and ride smooth. Yes, they will ride smoother because they have a more flexible sidewall.

Again, this won't solve your problem but it might help, and the S-rated tires are what is supposed to be on the vehicle.
Excellent information! I will definitely bring up the GM specs when I stop by Discount Tires. Thank you so much everyone... More to come!
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Old 05-17-2021, 05:18 PM   #57
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My Ford E 350 only says R rated on for it.
I am thinking of putting a larger say bar on the front, any suggestions as to what size I should go with, as of now it has the 1" bar. It looks like I can go up to a 1.33 or a 1.5" bar. Ant recomendations.
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Old 05-17-2021, 06:13 PM   #58
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My Ford E 350 only says R rated on for it.
I am thinking of putting a larger say bar on the front, any suggestions as to what size I should go with, as of now it has the 1" bar. It looks like I can go up to a 1.33 or a 1.5" bar. Ant recomendations.

If you are trying to prevent wandering and understeer, you don't really want to increase the front bar size. You would add or increase size of rear bar. Adding to the front bar could actually make it worse.


What are your axe weights and RV model?
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Old 05-17-2021, 06:14 PM   #59
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My Ford E 350 only says R rated on for it.
I am thinking of putting a larger say bar on the front, any suggestions as to what size I should go with, as of now it has the 1" bar. It looks like I can go up to a 1.33 or a 1.5" bar. Ant recomendations.
Wonder why GM says S and Ford R??? And how much difference does it really make???

If it does make a difference, our heavily loaded vans would feel it the most.
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Old 05-17-2021, 06:26 PM   #60
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Wonder why GM says S and Ford R??? And how much difference does it really make???

If it does make a difference, our heavily loaded vans would feel it the most.

It may be as simple as what tires they were putting on at the time they wrote the spec. Marketing might see the S as a selling point, but who want to drive the van over 100 anyway, if the governor would even let you. Most heavier duty tires are R, I think, except for a few brands and maybe more brands could be if they wanted to rate them there but do an R as a CYA to prevent bad things like somebody actually driving a van that fast.



I really don't know if the speed rating is mostly set by temperature gain or things like centrifugal force, but at least for me I haven't seen any need to worry about it. Our Michelin MS2s, which we just replaced with Agilis, didn't run hot at all once we changed the rear axle which was contributing a lot to the heat in the tires it appears.


The R rated MS tires handled and rode much better than the OEM Bridgstones at S, though.
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