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Old 09-25-2017, 07:10 PM   #1
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Seneca suspension upgrades.

Brand-new, here, couple hours ago. Been trying to nail down some of what I need to do to get our 2008 Seneca GS35 to handle better.
We're full-timers, since about 2002, and have lived in a Mountaineer TT,
pulled by a Sierra Dura Max CC-LB since 06. Well, I bought a 2016 Miata in late November, down in the RGV (Brownsville, TX) where we've wintered since ~ 04. Needed a means to have the Miata along, wherever we went, so --- comes the Seneca, with only 8900 miles on it, having spent most of it's life parked in the Texas sun. Away go the Sierra and Montana, and, soon, along comes a Wells Cargo trailer/garage for the Miata, and a new adventure started.

Learned very soon about Seneca handling, or lack thereof. Got by, without too much hassle, driving from Tx to Oregon, then on to Vermont, in May, but it sure would be nice if the Seneca would handle more like a Miata!

Just searching the web only confuses things, looking for sources and experience, when you're looking for aftermarket suspension upgrades.
So, I've come over here, looking for those upgrades, experience, and sources.

Found out right away that Jayco didn't use the GM front stabilizer bar on the 45-5500 chassis! I think that's gonna be my first addition. I'm assuming that the two rectangular bosses under the front of the front leaf springs have something to do with anchoring the sway bar? Another question, based on what little info I've seen, that the stock bar is 1 5/8 in. in diameter. Is there a heavier one available?

Beyond the sway bar, I'd like to know what else is available and from where, and, who on the Jayco page has experience with them.

One specific thing; my steering gear has too much play in it, and i'd like to know if anyone, here, has done a DIY pre-load and backlash adjustment on one in a 45-5500 chassis. ??? Never have had a problem adjusting other (smaller) units.

Went through 16 pages of this forum, looking for a thread, or two, about the lousy suspension on the Kodiaks. Did I not go back far enough, or have I missed an archives section on the subject?

Thanks for listening.
DW
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Wells View Post
Brand-new, here, couple hours ago. Been trying to nail down some of what I need to do to get our 2008 Seneca GS35 to handle better.
We're full-timers, since about 2002, and have lived in a Mountaineer TT,
pulled by a Sierra Dura Max CC-LB since 06. Well, I bought a 2016 Miata in late November, down in the RGV (Brownsville, TX) where we've wintered since ~ 04. Needed a means to have the Miata along, wherever we went, so --- comes the Seneca, with only 8900 miles on it, having spent most of it's life parked in the Texas sun. Away go the Sierra and Montana, and, soon, along comes a Wells Cargo trailer/garage for the Miata, and a new adventure started.

Learned very soon about Seneca handling, or lack thereof. Got by, without too much hassle, driving from Tx to Oregon, then on to Vermont, in May, but it sure would be nice if the Seneca would handle more like a Miata!

Just searching the web only confuses things, looking for sources and experience, when you're looking for aftermarket suspension upgrades.
So, I've come over here, looking for those upgrades, experience, and sources.

Found out right away that Jayco didn't use the GM front stabilizer bar on the 45-5500 chassis! I think that's gonna be my first addition. I'm assuming that the two rectangular bosses under the front of the front leaf springs have something to do with anchoring the sway bar? Another question, based on what little info I've seen, that the stock bar is 1 5/8 in. in diameter. Is there a heavier one available?

Beyond the sway bar, I'd like to know what else is available and from where, and, who on the Jayco page has experience with them.

One specific thing; my steering gear has too much play in it, and i'd like to know if anyone, here, has done a DIY pre-load and backlash adjustment on one in a 45-5500 chassis. ??? Never have had a problem adjusting other (smaller) units.

Went through 16 pages of this forum, looking for a thread, or two, about the lousy suspension on the Kodiaks. Did I not go back far enough, or have I missed an archives section on the subject?

Thanks for listening.
DW
Hi Dick,
Welcome to this forum.
I purchased a used 2006 Seneca 35GS with 51,000 miles this spring with the suspension issues as you are talking about.

There's some talk on different forums about weak rear springs ratings of #15,000 vs #19,000, and that Jayco was replacing the weaker springs on the earlier model years. With that knowledge, I checked my situation and found I have the #15,000 rear springs, and decided to change my rear springs for a heavier rating. I knew that Jayco wasn't going to flip the bill for me on a used unit, so I went to a spring shop and had them install new rear springs and installed new Koni shocks front and back.
It raised the rear end 2 1/2inches, and improved the ride greatly. Next I installed a rear track bar and that took care of my tail wagging when towing.

So I went from my steering, sawing back and forth and wandering on the road to a pleasure to drive and relaxed feeling.

I purchased my shocks and rear track bar at supersteerparts.com
Koni front 8805-1023 $179.00 each
Koni rear 99B-3174 $223.00 each
Rear track bar SS500TB $525.00
The rear springs cost $2000.00 installed.

So, I probably have $3400.00 into the coach to make it feel right. Was it worth it? For me it was, cause my purchased price was low enough to make these kind of improvements, and not feel upside down in value.

Maybe you could start with new shocks and a rear track bar and that might satisfy you.

I hope any of this information is helpful for you. I know there's other people with more wisdom then myself with these older Senecas that could be helpful for you. I know a fellow on here that goes by Grumpy that had a coach same year as yours.

Krappa



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Old 09-26-2017, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for your info. Just what I'm looking for.

Being an 08, my Seneca already has the 19 K rear end and springs, but all the rest is in need of help.

Does yours already have a sway bar in front? It's definitely a glaring fault with mine (the absence of the bar). I'll be checking with your source for availability.
Further down the line, I'll be looking to add another one, in addition to the one already in the rear.

Anyone else with input for me? Looking for all the help I can get.
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:46 PM   #4
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I bought a 2007 Seneca 34SS a few months ago. There is a Super Class C RV Facebook page which has been talking about this recently. Based on recommendations, I just ordered the 19K springs (I have 15K) and the Bilstein HD rear shocks. I'll let you know how they work as soon as I get them installed. We initially discovered that our tie rods were shot. Once we got new tie rods and got the wheels aligned, handling improved significantly, but I'd still like to get rid of the rear bounce.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:05 PM   #5
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"One specific thing; my steering gear has too much play in it, and i'd like to know if anyone, here, has done a DIY pre-load and backlash adjustment on one in a 45-5500 chassis. ???"

FWIW, the "loose steering" can also be a symptom of having too little front end caster.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:30 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys.

My loose steering gear is obviously loose inside, as when I open the hood and reach in and rotate the steering shaft from the steering wheel to the box there is much noticeable play/rotation. Maybe up to 1 inch on the S/wheel rim. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has actually done an adjustment of that steering gear. "Normal" Chevy dealers don't deal with the 45-5500 chassis vehicles, and there are no HD truck dealerships in my area. Just had a thought: I've actually done some business with a truck outfit in Burlington, which just might be a good place to contact and talk to about adjusting mine, and do it "right".

Making thorough note of each response and I'm sure to make good use of your experience.

Thanks again.
DW
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:45 PM   #7
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The "adjustment" in Saginaw steering gear boxes is not really an adjustment.... it just pre-loads the tension on the worm gear, which can temporarily mask the symptoms of a worn box, but it's short lived and actually increases wear. I've done it on older trucks but the results aren't impressive . Have you checked the U-joint in the steering shaft?


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Old 09-29-2017, 05:43 AM   #8
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Quote: Have you checked the U-joint in the steering shaft?

There's very little play in anything, other than the steering box. This Seneca has just 15,000 miles on it, since it (apparently) never left the Rio Grande Valley. It had just 9000 on it when we picked up last Dec. I had done that test on the steering shaft that I mentioned in my other post before we even drove it. For whatever reason, there were nearly new tires on it, all the way around. I've always thought that the original tires were badly checked, due to the hot Texas sun. The unit looked like brand new on the outside, except, the clear Diamond coat on the flat surfaces, front and rear, are all peeling where they face up a bit.

Your info on that Saginaw gear is interesting. Thought it looked different in the way that I couldn't see a normal sector shaft adjustment.

Thank you,
DW
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