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Steering gear box leak
#1
I left Oklahoma with the hydraulic fluid reservoir 1/2 way between add and full. Somewhere in the 3 day trip to Spearfish SD I developed a steering  gear box leak which I found when parking at Elkhorn RV resort. I had lost 1/2 gallon of fluid which meant I was right on the add line. I tried to find a mobile mechanic but this was a big job the steering gear box is 130 lbs and requires serious air tools to remove. The mobile mechanic I found said he had done the repair on an 18 wheeler. I ordered the seal kit which was for a Sheppard M110P1 gear box. The mobile mechanic as a no show for 2 days with what seemed like legit excuses. However, I needed to get fixed and leave, and there was no commitment when he could arrive. After calling repair shops nobody would install the seal kit - too much liability. Thus, I opted for a reman unit shipped to the repair facility. I chose Floyd’s Trucks a Freightliner facility. The reman unit was due to arrive Wednesday. I made the tough decision not to try to drive 50 miles to repair facility, but opted to be towed. The unit was leaking sporadically. Towing was covered by FMCA roadside assistance. I tried to schedule 4 days In advance but that was not possible.  I had a recommended towing company, Plains Towing, from the repair facility. Thus, I called FMCA about noon on the day I wanted to be towed and told them about the preferred towing company which I had already talked to and determined that they should be qualified. The towing company turned out to be amazing, another post. The repair facility, Floyd’s Trucks Freightliner, struggled the first day to remove the pitman arm. They decided to have a local machine shop modify their tool the morning of the second day which worked well removing the pitman arm. They got the new unit installed just before end of day, and we headed back from Rapid City SD to Spearfish SD. I had indications that the steering radius was limited on the way back but figured it out when I could not make the turn into the RV park. Research overnight led me to believe they did not adjust the poppet valves correctly even though they said they adjusted them. I talked with gurus and the rebuilder, then showed up first thing in the morning at their shop. Apparently the tech was not familiar with manual adjustments and thought that all were auto adjustments. We worked from 8-11am to set them per specs which gave me better turning radius than before! Back on the road the coach has no slack In the steering anymore, and is surprisingly quieter. While painful and expensive, this was an upgrade I should have done in the past as I am finally pleased with the coach handling, a one handed operation even in SD heavy cross winds.
Mike & Jeannie Ginn
2000 Newell #555
2013 Chevy Avalanche
#2
Mike,
Bad experience, but good write up. When you say noise...you mean while turning? Or something else?

Can you explain a little more about poppet valves?

Bill
Bill Johnson
2003 Newell #653 Quad Slide Cat C-12 engine with Motorcycle lift 
2011 Jeep Wrangler, 2018 BMW 1200GS Adventure Motorcycle
Auburn, Alabama
#3
The steering gear box is very powerful. The poppet valves are set to release the hydraulic pressure just as the steering mechanism reaches either of the mechanical stops. Otherwise you would bend or break something. The poppets are internal to the steering gear box. On a reman box they should come from the reman set very conservatively to prevent damage. They then need to be set once the box is installed
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
#4
Thanks Richard for poppet valve explanation.

I am very sensitive to noises (rattles etc.) while driving. I am not sure whether to equate a quieter ride to the steering gear box or drive shaft U joint also installed, but a Cadillac quiet ride is my preference.
Mike & Jeannie Ginn
2000 Newell #555
2013 Chevy Avalanche


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