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Old 11-20-2020, 12:12 AM   #1
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Default Steering Wander

I am a new owner of a Ď02 Dodge 3500 Popular. I love it EXCEPT it tends to wander left or right on smooth roads with no traffic at 50-70 mph. Iíve had linkages checked and an aftermarket steering box stabilizer installed. No improvement. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-20-2020, 12:36 AM   #2
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correct tire pressure and front alignment +caster
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Old 11-20-2020, 02:18 AM   #3
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Like Robert said... yes an alignment is next step after being sure that all front the suspension and linkage are OK. It is not a waste of money to get it aligned either way. Make sure bushings, tie-rods and ball-joints are OK. Wheel bearings should also be checked.

If no better, than if the tire pressure is ok, it is most likely the tires themselves.
Uneven worn tires can produce this kind of behavior.
A test could be to switch rear with front and see if there is any changes.

Good luck.
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Old 11-20-2020, 02:49 AM   #4
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There are lots of discussions on here about Dodge handling issues, so a search would probably be in order so you can see all the details.


Dodges appear to need more than an alignment, although and alignment to the Dodge TSB for handling improvements is one of the things.



Stiffer rear springs


Better shocks


A good steering gear like a Redhead rebuilt, not parts store ones


80/65 tire pressures


I would also do a rear sway bar and make sure the front one has good links and bushings.


Front wheel bearings adjusted properly


Maybe rear wheel spacers to even out the track width



The short wheel base, big overhang makes it tough to get rid of the wander especially in the post 1998 units, we have heard.


Most can be made a lot better, but they will not likely ever be considered great handling vans, I think.
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:52 AM   #5
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Owner of 1997 PW on Dodge 3500. I experience "light" steering at high speeds but I can take my hands off the steering wheel and get no pull whatsoever to either side. Unless road is crowned it just keeps going straight. Suggest alignment but contact RV mfg. My alignment specs from PW are different than the Dodge alignment specs. Also recommend what previous posters have suggested including booster's extensive comments. I've never done the rear wheel spacers, though.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GjsGjs View Post
I am a new owner of a Ď02 Dodge 3500 Popular. I love it EXCEPT it tends to wander left or right on smooth roads with no traffic at 50-70 mph. Iíve had linkages checked and an aftermarket steering box stabilizer installed. No improvement. Any suggestions?
Hi, as I already did the following mods on several B3500's with the same issue, for my friends and a few fellows RV'ers with noticeable improvement , I suggest these 2 easy mods to begin with.
1- Rear wheels spacers 1-1/2" should give you an easy 20% improvement
2- Rear Air Lift ( Firestone or Air Lift) kept at 55PSI is another easy 20%

The Air lift will transfer some weight to the front axle and also reduce sensitivity to crosswind .
There is a lot you can do to improve the handling , but these 2 items are on the easy path
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:14 AM   #7
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I am no engineer, but I believe Soyouz9 is on the right track. Any vehicle with long overhangs in the rear will lighten the weight on the front end and the wondering you feel is what I call being steered from the rear weight of van. At HWY speeds your front also lift due to air hitting the front, so I would vote to implement the improvements Soyouz9 recommends.
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Old 12-17-2020, 12:06 PM   #8
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Airbags or other lifts in the back actually transfer minimal weight to the front because of the small angle change. What they actually do to improve the handling in most cases is stiffen and/reduce rear motion and momentum that can show up in the front as porpoising. Stiffer rear springs and shocks will also reduce understeer in the front, and big rear swaybar will reduce the understeer even more. Rearranging how you load the van can move significant weight to the front.



If front air pressure lift is considered and issue an air dam, aka chin spoiler, can take care of that.
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Old 12-17-2020, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Airbags or other lifts in the back actually transfer minimal weight to the front because of the small angle change. What they actually do to improve the handling in most cases is stiffen and/reduce rear motion and momentum that can show up in the front as porpoising. Stiffer rear springs and shocks will also reduce understeer in the front, and big rear swaybar will reduce the understeer even more. Rearranging how you load the van can move significant weight to the front.



If front air pressure lift is considered and issue an air dam, aka chin spoiler, can take care of that.
As usual Booster you make a very compelling case of how to fix this issue and makes perfect sense. On another note can you steer me in the right direction of brakes. I read a thread the other day where you talked about metallic pads and grooved rotors but I cannot remember where to find that one?

Thanks
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:35 PM   #10
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As usual Booster you make a very compelling case of how to fix this issue and makes perfect sense. On another note can you steer me in the right direction of brakes. I read a thread the other day where you talked about metallic pads and grooved rotors but I cannot remember where to find that one?

Thanks

You would probably be able to find the threads by searching using the advanced search, search by thread starter, booster, with both places checked to show results as threads. There are quite a few pages of them, but the easiest way to find them as the search here often doesn't work well. That is how I would find them.


Bottom line is to use top of the line semi-metallic pads, some are rated as "police" compound even. Hawk had always been my preference, but there has been some concern about rivet failures on them. Peteco had a thread on that. We have heard good results with the major brands like Raybestos, Wagner, Bendix if they still are doing the high end semi metallics.


The rotor information has also been trickling in over time and it appears the original guess of high quality rotors with small slots in a random pattern may be the best choice, but nobody makes them anymore. Most have bigger slots in them so probably not as good because of reduced mass and area, but the ones with least slot area are probably good and not a problem. We have also had quite few reports of plain rotors doing just fine, which is also not surprising as on the test I have seen didn't indicate the slots and hole is rotors don't do much if anything for cooling, only pad cleaning. Good quality aggressive semi metallics tend to not need as much cleaning. Even stock Chevy rotors seem to work OK for people, and I think would always be OK on the rear, and probably on the front as long as they run true. I don't know if there have been any changes in the Chevy rotors over the years, though, as stuff like that does happen often. IMO, the big thing to stay away from is any rotor with holes as they don't do much if anything and can cause cracking.


The pads have turned out to be, I think by a large margin, the biggest issue in the juddering problem that has been seen by many of us, but goes away with good pads. Don't let any brake guy tell you it is heat warping of the rotors that goes straight when the cool down, as that is not the cause of the juddering. It is caused by the uneven material transfer to the rotors from ceramic pads that GM used.


If you do the brakes yourself, be sure to find Peteco's writeup on the correct grease for the guides pins and boots as the old "brake grease" will ruin the new rubber compound the use now, so only silicone like Silgyde should be used. I had to redo all the rubber parts in those areas in two vehicles, including the Roadtrek, after that discussion, and yes all the rubber parts were damaged by the grease.
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Old 12-18-2020, 03:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
There are lots of discussions on here about Dodge handling issues, so a search would probably be in order so you can see all the details.


Dodges appear to need more than an alignment, although and alignment to the Dodge TSB for handling improvements is one of the things.



Stiffer rear springs


Better shocks


A good steering gear like a Redhead rebuilt, not parts store ones


80/65 tire pressures


I would also do a rear sway bar and make sure the front one has good links and bushings.


Front wheel bearings adjusted properly


Maybe rear wheel spacers to even out the track width



The short wheel base, big overhang makes it tough to get rid of the wander especially in the post 1998 units, we have heard.


Most can be made a lot better, but they will not likely ever be considered great handling vans, I think.
I am posting this picture showing the difference in wheelbase with GM and Ford. Back in the late 80's, Dodge wanted to compete in the minibus conversion market with the 2 other players so they introduced the extended version of the B-van but went the cheap way and avoided the redesign cost of moving the rear axle backward. This was highlighted in a US inquiry following a serie of rollover incidents involving those vans back then.

Now with this knowledge in hand we can implement various solutions for the steering wander problem and they are all related to the extend which an individual will go and spend money to improve the behavior of a vehicle born with such flaws. A poor design remains a poor design but from my experience I know that they can be improved a lot with a reasonable amount of money and this is the point of my previous posts.

I still stand up to my point about the wheels spacers being a no brainer for these units if you have the original version of the truck .

As for the stiffer rear springs, they will work for sure, but I do prefer the flexibility of having the Air Lift system because it allows me to find the sweet spot between tire pressure and air bags stiffness and you can use them as a leveling aid for uneven ground if you chooses the independant double control

By the way I also put the Hellwig sway bar a few years ago and it was indeed quite an improvement.

Have a nice day all
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Old 12-19-2020, 09:36 PM   #12
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I have read many times about Dodge and handling issues but I have not experienced any on mine. BUT I had a Chevy 4x4 Quigley van once (could have been anything though) I had bad problems. It needed tires so I had them put on and they aligned it without my permission. They also didn't have the conversion spects for the conversion either. I had it back to them and all they did was refund my money. I took it to another place and they said how my whole front end was so bad it was going to fall off. No way did I believe them so I went to work myself. Other than them messing the alignment The original problem was that it was low on power steering fluid and had an air pocket in it. I blead that out, aligned it and it was fine.
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Old 12-20-2020, 06:14 PM   #13
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Default Worn out power steering box

This worked for me:

Dodgeramsteeringstabilizer.com

About $120 + shipping. It's a cheap fix for a worn out PS box, and it will also keep a good PS box from wearing out.

The kit uses two existing bolts to install the bracket, but the tricky part is getting the pitman arm nut off. I used a battery powered impact wrench. Took about 20 minutes.

I could tell within 500 feet how much better my steering was.

They also have a kit for Dodge Ram trucks.


I agree that the Dodge extended vans have a problem with the "tail wagging the dog."

There is also some concern that the rear wheels need wheel spacers added to equal the tracking of the front wheels. Some claim adding spacers for more offset helps.
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Old 12-21-2020, 01:52 PM   #14
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Start with the spacers. Dodge uses this axle for their diually setup. That is why hte read wheels are 4" closer together than the front. You need 2" SS spacers. Buy them from Wheeladapter.com. They custom build these high quality spacers and have excellent support.

Next would be to make sure you have 8 ply tires in good condition at the proper inflation. I run 55 in the front and 80 in the rear. Along with the tires get a proper alignment.

Roadmaster Active Suspension goes a long way to correct the shorter wheelbase on the Dodge.
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Old 12-27-2020, 05:28 PM   #15
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My 08 RoadTrek had same problem. After much reading I installed 4” wheel spacers on the rear. Wow, what a difference. Drives like a car now.
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Old 12-27-2020, 06:03 PM   #16
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My 08 RoadTrek had same problem. After much reading I installed 4Ē wheel spacers on the rear. Wow, what a difference. Drives like a car now.

What model was that? AFAIK, none of the models had the track width issues like the Dodges did, so spacers would create front to rear mismatch.
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:16 PM   #17
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2008 RoadTrek 200, did front end, bilstien shocks, helped but still wandered. Installed 4” spacers and it rides very nice. The rear wheels are wider but I guess it gives it stability. I hated driving it before because it required lots of concentration to keep it straight.
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Old 12-28-2020, 01:49 PM   #18
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2008 RoadTrek 200, did front end, bilstien shocks, helped but still wandered. Installed 4Ē spacers and it rides very nice. The rear wheels are wider but I guess it gives it stability. I hated driving it before because it required lots of concentration to keep it straight.

Interesting, as on the Chevies it has never come up before that I have seen, although we did see one dually conversion 210. I assume you also have a 210.



One thing that would be a bit of concern to me would be the rear axle bearings, particularly if you don't have the towing package option that included a larger, full floating rear axle. Even more if you have the aluminum wheels on it.


The smaller rear axle used without the towing package tend to have the axle bearings at the tires run quite hot even with the stock style wheels that put the weight nearly centered on the bearings. The aluminum wheels offset to the outboard side by 1 3/8" so like a mini spacer and widen track, and also move the weight outside of the bearings making them run warmer and be more loaded. Add another 2" on that and the loading on the bearing will go up even more and probably run hotter yet.


I think you may want to invest in an infrared temperature reading gun so you can see how hot the hubs are running. The guns are relatively inexpensive and even a Harbor Freight is good enough. On our 190 Chevy with the smaller axle and aluminum wheels, the hubs ran hot enough to heat the tires more than the normally would get. Our hub temps were in the 150+*F range. When we switched to stock offset wheels the temps for both the hubs and the tires dropped a bunch, nearly 30* on the hubs. Keeping tire temps reasonable is a big deal in helping to prevent blowouts in most cases.


The bigger rear axle would handle it better as it is much more robust and has two huge wheel bearings at each wheel, but if you have 3 3/8" offset, that is still a lot.
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:08 PM   #19
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I have a 1998 dodge B-3500(coach house) I had the same problem. The things I did was,Monroe shocks all round,2' wheel spacers(helped ) Wheel alighnment(Not the stock one,)Air bags running at 70psi. front tires,65psi,rear,70. (general Grabber at-2) One thing that I found was (bear with me,cant remember what they are called) the 2 stableizer bars that attach to the center link and the frame under front bumper were tightened to 1500 specs( 70ft/lbs?) I tightened them to 3500 specs,(110 ft/lbs) . I think this made a huge differance. Even on junk roads,i drive with one hand. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:56 PM   #20
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Default leisure travel widebody class b motorhome

is there any class b that does not wonder around? no left right left right bare knuckles driving? are the new dodge/Mercedes any better? we were behind one here on a windy day and it was all over the place
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