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Old 08-08-2011, 06:09 PM   #21
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Buying SMB sight-unseen

Your girlfriend is behind the wheel of your new Sportsmobile and has a big ax within reach - I think you best behave.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:13 PM   #22
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Sweet!
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #23
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

So Sunny is making her way back up through California, right now going past Mono Lake having overn ighted in Yosemite. She keeps sending me pictures, and I remain suitably jealous.

She has had a problem with violent steering shake a couple of times, though, braking downhill into right handers. No idea what is going on there ... Difficult to diagnose from here, but nothing appears loose and they had a front end alignment done just prior to picking it up ... which in itself is making me nervous that they decided to do that to a vehicle they were selling. Any ideas?



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Old 08-10-2011, 01:08 PM   #24
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Could be something simple like out of balance tires, uneven brake pad wear, or something more complex/costly like a warped rotor.


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Old 08-10-2011, 01:09 PM   #25
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

"warped" roter: viewtopic.php?f=39&t=7075&hilit=warped

Driver's side gets more weight in a right hand turn, so I'd say that side. Could also be ABS sensor. Where is the destination?

A quick check would be to swap roters and see if the problem switches sides... but I guess if you were going to do that you might as well have them checked at a brake shop.
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Old 08-10-2011, 01:56 PM   #26
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Sunny's heading for Seattle, and has modified her driving style to suit ... she rides my sidecar rig, so is well used to approaching left and right hand turns completely differently.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #27
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Congratulations on your new van.

Your steering problem sounds like the 'death wobble' that's been discussed here before. Search on that term to find the threads.

It could be caused by tires, worn tie rod ends, bad alignment in addition to brakes.

Bottom line: get it to a mechanic who knows 4x4 suspension & front end and make sure they use the quigley specs to check the alignment.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:32 AM   #28
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Regarding that shimmy..

I have an older Sportsmobile 96' that I have had rehabbed thru the years. Had a similar steering shake when I first got it, not violent though but annoying enough for me to have the rotors replaced. They had to be replaced since even re-surfacing the front brake rotors didn't work. After replacing it with new ones, I could see where the imperfections (cracks) were on the old rotors... I think the rotors turned out to be for an F-450..
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:45 PM   #29
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

Well, Sunny made it home last night, safe and sound!

After a first quick look around and spin around the block, I am very happy with my purchase.

Of course, there are a few issues to address, especially the death wobble, which occurred 4 times in the 1400 mile drive home. Then there's a couple of hinges and latches to fix and a lot of stickers to remove, before I get on to modifications and improvements (wheels, tyres, cure the rear end sag, ICE, etc ...).

First order of business is to figure out how the hell the 'RV' part of the van works, as we are heading off for a week with the kids tomorrow lunch time.

Thanks for all the comments and advice thus far, I'm sure there are going to be plenty of questions over the coming weeks to bug you all with!
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:36 PM   #30
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Re: Buying SMB sight-unseen

If your van has the dreaded 'Death Wobble', it is because something has too much play in the steering system.

First place to start looking is under the van. Have someone sit in the van and turn the steering wheel back and forth, hard and quick while you lay under and watch all the pieces and parts for some improper movement.

On my van it was the track bar that was loose. Others have have loose steering gears, ball joints, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, etc.

Good luck with it. And hang onto your GF, she's a keeper. If my wife ever felt the Death Wobble, she wouldn't get back in the van, let alone drive it.

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