Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
 
 


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-06-2021, 01:02 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default Wandering Dodge RoadTrek (1992)

I test drove a 92 Dodge Roadtrek Popular 190 today - we'd like to purchase it. It recently had a new steering box put in, and front end alignment, oil changes and mechanicals inspected (by seller).

However... it wanted to wander left or right (though pulled to the left mostly) and steering was, well, it just didn't feel like it went left when I moved the steering wheel left, same for the right, and so on. Perhaps a better way to write it - the steering felt eerily disconnected with the direction it was headed in.

A week prior I had test driven an 89 Dodge XtraVan, which drove fine and while the steering wasn't tight like my daily driver (MINI Cooper) you felt like you were in control.

I did some research and it seems there are some upgrades and tire pressure settings that can alleviate some of these issues.
  • 2" spacers for the wheels
  • rear sway bar
  • front steering damper (the brackets were present, but the shock was missing)
  • higher rear tire pressure
  • Hi pressure in the rear air bags (forgot to ask if these were installed)
  • Additional rear springs
  • Better shocks

It's a tough decision - while the camper is by no means perfect, it is all original inside with minor changes (new vinyl on the floor) - and while it may be overpriced (when compared to pre-covid pricing), post COVID it's around what they are selling for in my area ($16K).

Any thoughts? They are going to install a front steering damper but they were skeptical it would help. Should we move on? We'll be driving cross-country and will be looking at RV's in the areas we are in if this doesn't work out but are not hopeful - once you add taxes, and budget for repairs, that's about as much as we can afford, and finding a B at this price range right now is, well, difficult.

Thanks!
__________________

ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2021, 01:04 AM   #2
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

I did not notice any death rattle, right and left turns felt fine. It was a little windy, maybe 12mph winds? Not sure the wind at that speed could have had an impact.
__________________

ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2021, 11:16 AM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Just to followup (sorry for so many posts) - a few additions:

1) It pulled to the RIGHT, not left (I wrote it wrong)
2) Took it up to 55mph - under 35 it was sort of fine
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2021, 12:29 PM   #4
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Alberts
Posts: 17
Default

1998 b3500 wide body. I had wandering problems, not anymore. What I did. 2" wheel spacers,rear. Monroe HD shocks,all around. Air bags inflated to 70psi. Tires, front,65psi,rear 75psi. Wheel alignment, there is a Chrysler service bulletin about changing the alignment specs from factory.I got it,helped a lot. Before it felt like, when I was turning corner,I was falling of a cliff, now it is fine, a small amount of wander,but normal with these vans. Mostly drive with one hand only. Good tires also!
Frumpster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2021, 08:59 PM   #5
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Arizona
Posts: 761
Default

This may not apply since I have a 1997 PleasureWay on Dodge 3500 chassis but the alignment specs for the Dodge 3500 VanWagon (the chassis on which the PW is built) are different from the PleasureWay specs. IOW an uninformed alignment shop may inadvertently use the wrong (Vanwagon) specs instead of the PleasureWay specs. I gave my alignment place the specs that Pleasure Way tech had sent me to avoid this issue.

I didn't do the 2" spacers on the wheels like Frumpster. But pressures in the tires and airbags are important. I don't set mine as high as his.

I recently had springs, airbags and Bilstein shocks put on. That changed the handling for the better. It holds well on cornering. I also put a stabilizer on the steering box which improved handling as well.
GallenH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 12:03 AM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Well… they put a steering damper on it (the brackets were there), and wandering was eliminated - at least improved things enough that we think a safe t steer would improve it even more. So we bought it…

An hour down the roar billows of white smoke. Pulled over and the transmission/engine interface was leaking like mad - it poured out - trans dipstick was empty and smoking, engine oil dipstick was fine. Called them and they are sending a tow truck. They will be repairing it at no cost.

So… mixed emotions… I gotta say.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 7CE0E45D-809E-4FD2-9EC3-476224F53D75.jpg (229.0 KB, 16 views)
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 12:06 AM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Also… not sure 2” spacers are necessary. I’m thinking we have the front end worked on (some of the bushings looked bad), and see how it feels. Since it doesn’t wander anymore (heh, or drive forward :P), will be holding off on any other changes for now.
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 11:52 AM   #8
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Maine
Posts: 36
Default

If you get on a road that has worn tracks in it you will wish you had the spacers. Also check the steering shaft for play in the u-joints.
Tim R. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 12:10 PM   #9
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,700
Default

Before putting in spacers it is always a good idea to find out if the vehicle really needs them. The 1992 may or may not have a track width difference front to rear as that can be different year to year. What works for a 1998 may not be right for a 1992.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 12:37 PM   #10
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Maine
Posts: 36
Default

^ Good point. Measure F and R tracks first. The wide bodys always look like they do not have them because of the wider rear wheel arch.
Tim R. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 12:40 PM   #11
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Yes - I intend to measure the track width when I get it back. Visually they look spaced the same - the tires were a factory upgrade and are a bit wider than stock, though I don't have the specs handy at the moment. It's also a 3/4 ton van - not 1 ton - which presumably is different (as it seems the later models are all 1 ton).

I presume I shouldn't freak out too much about the transmission issue, especially since it's being covered?
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 01:02 PM   #12
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Quote:
Also check the steering shaft for play in the u-joints.
Oh, good one - that might explain what I felt as I was (attempting) to drive it home. While it didn't wander as I was driving it *felt* like there was about a 1/10th to a 1/12th of movement with the steering where it just didn't change direction of the vehicle. Almost like you could move the wheel without any resistance. During the test drive this wasn't apparent, nor in the parking lot where I observed the wheel turn and the tires move (but I wasn't the one turning the wheel, which is where I went wrong with that test).

On the longer 1 hour drive I really got a sense of what was off. I think the damper helped because there was this play in the steering - and it essentially helped (but didn't fully prevent) the wheels from moving on their own.

Also... watching videos on YouTube it seems the steering box can be adjusted to add/remove play and perhaps they just didn't do that with the replacement box.
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 01:14 PM   #13
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,700
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ururk View Post
Yes - I intend to measure the track width when I get it back. Visually they look spaced the same - the tires were a factory upgrade and are a bit wider than stock, though I don't have the specs handy at the moment. It's also a 3/4 ton van - not 1 ton - which presumably is different (as it seems the later models are all 1 ton).

I presume I shouldn't freak out too much about the transmission issue, especially since it's being covered?

As long as they do a good job of rebuilding the transmission, it should be a good thing on an older van. How many miles on it?


Re the loose center of the steering. Rotational degrees are a bit tough to guess on for me, how much does the steering wheel move back and forth between the points it actually starts to turn? Personally, I like a little a possible, and other prefer a bit of softness in the middle to address what they fell is twitchiness. Once you get between 1-2" of movement, most people would start to notice it I think. We had a guy behind us once in a Dodge Roadtrek that was saying wheel continuously, probably at least 6" back and forth, and he thought it drove great when we met him later in the same campground we were in. He also went white line to white line while doing it.


Adjusting the gear might help, or not, based on what we have heard from others. Getting the steering parts tight and a correct alignment are a big deal, as are tire pressures. If you need to replace the steering gear they also make a reinforcement for it that supports the unit and output end bearing to prevent wear and play. It may apply to a 1992, but not sure on that. Good rebuilt steering gears are hard to find, as the quality is often very poor, from what I have seen. Redhead does probably the better job on them and it is often best to send in your gear for rebuild so you get the stock mix of parts and not a Frankenstein of parts.
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 01:18 PM   #14
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Maine
Posts: 36
Default

I would not be concerned with the tranny if they are replacing or rebuilding it. It sounds like the front seal failed and you lost all the fluid. That could have done damage.

The steering stabilizer and box adjustments are band-aid fixes. The best fixes I know of are these assuming all your steering components are sound(tie rods, steering links, pitman arm, etc):

Proper alignment(Specs from Roadtrek)
Good quality E rated tires
Good quality shocks
Tight steering box

Start with the easier stuff like the alignment

The feel will never be as good as a car but it can usually be improved. If you do not understand how the steering components work together I would recommend have a good mechanic go through it.
Tim R. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 01:32 PM   #15
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: MI
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks! I wondered about the front seal, as that was where it looked like the oil was coming from.

I would say there's 2-3" of play - not 6" - though I don't know for certain since I would need to stop it and inspect wheel movement with the door open while I'm moving the wheel. I can say with certainty that I could move the wheel left-to right 2-3" before feeling a little resistance.

It has 92K miles - and we did expect some mechanical work - but not a transmission failure in the first hour (or less) of ownership.

I called around and got prices to get a sense of worst-case scenarios, and transmission failure was one of my concerns, though I never got a direct price quote..
ururk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2021, 01:40 PM   #16
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 9,700
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ururk View Post
Thanks! I wondered about the front seal, as that was where it looked like the oil was coming from.

I would say there's 2-3" of play - not 6" - though I don't know for certain since I would need to stop it and inspect wheel movement with the door open while I'm moving the wheel.

It has 92K miles - and we did expect some mechanical work - but not a transmission failure in the first hour (or less) of ownership.

I called around and got prices to get a sense of worst-case scenarios, and transmission failure was one of my concerns, though I never got a direct price quote.

At 92K it is probably the first rebuild, as the Dodges seem to make about 150K based on others, some longer, some shorter, but age also matters. Could be front seal, possible broken pump housing, most likely. If it ran dry that quick, if it was full when you started, it was big leak. Big question is how much other stuff got torn up from no fluid. Most stuff can be easily fixed by a good shop, and they will also do a good job of cleaning out the cooler and lines from the debris that will have gotten there,
booster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2021, 03:57 PM   #17
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 6
Default

I also have a 92 Dodge RT. The only time I've experienced pull or sway was when the brake cylinder went out. I replaced the left only to have the right go out a few months later. I now recommend doing both at the same time. Other than that, she has over 5000 of my driven miles on it and I haven't had an issue with sway or pull. Good luck and happy camping!
Kobieta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2021, 04:21 PM   #18
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Huntington Beach California
Posts: 3
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ururk View Post
I test drove a 92 Dodge Roadtrek Popular 190 today - we'd like to purchase it. It recently had a new steering box put in, and front end alignment, oil changes and mechanicals inspected (by seller).

However... it wanted to wander left or right (though pulled to the left mostly) and steering was, well, it just didn't feel like it went left when I moved the steering wheel left, same for the right, and so on. Perhaps a better way to write it - the steering felt eerily disconnected with the direction it was headed in.

A week prior I had test driven an 89 Dodge XtraVan, which drove fine and while the steering wasn't tight like my daily driver (MINI Cooper) you felt like you were in control.

I did some research and it seems there are some upgrades and tire pressure settings that can alleviate some of these issues.
  • 2" spacers for the wheels
  • rear sway bar
  • front steering damper (the brackets were present, but the shock was missing)
  • higher rear tire pressure
  • Hi pressure in the rear air bags (forgot to ask if these were installed)
  • Additional rear springs
  • Better shocks

It's a tough decision - while the camper is by no means perfect, it is all original inside with minor changes (new vinyl on the floor) - and while it may be overpriced (when compared to pre-covid pricing), post COVID it's around what they are selling for in my area ($16K).

Any thoughts? They are going to install a front steering damper but they were skeptical it would help. Should we move on? We'll be driving cross-country and will be looking at RV's in the areas we are in if this doesn't work out but are not hopeful - once you add taxes, and budget for repairs, that's about as much as we can afford, and finding a B at this price range right now is, well, difficult.

Thanks!
If you going to travel Across the state with a problem with a steering wheel pulling left to right and not able to find out exactly what the problem is from that mechanic and how much it would cost if you break down I would MoveOn keep looking and searching for a better one good luck to you
__________________

hbroadtrek2000 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT. The time now is 03:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×