Saturday, April 14, 2012

Front suspension

8AM - Front suspension
As you may have guessed from yesterday's post titled: "What is MsTioga doing now", much of the front suspension is being overhauled.

It all began when Tioga went to a shop in Tequisquiapan to get a front wheel alignment. A prerequisite for an alignment, is that suspension components be in good condition. If some components are worn, such as the spindle pins or steering linkage, these must be repaired before an alignment may be done.

MsTioga does not have ball-joint suspension. She has spindle pins. When Tioga makes a turn, her tires rotate about these pins. The spindle pins sit in bronze bushings. Thru driving on rough roads, these bushings become worn. And that is what was found when Tioga went in for her wheel alignment.

In order to check for a worn spindle pin/bushing, the mechanic jacks up the front end. Then a bar is placed underneath the tire and using leverage, the mechanic checks to see if there is up-and-down play. Then the mechanic grasps the tire front and back to see if there is excessive movement. And finally, the tire is grasped top and bottom, to check for excessive play.

Both of Tioga's front wheels did not pass this "movement" test which meant that the spindle pin, or more likely the spindle pin's bushing, was worn and needed replacement. As you may see in the pic below, when replacing the spindle pin and bushing, much of the front end is taken apart. There are other rotating axis points with bushings that should be replaced at the time the spindle pin and its bushing are replaced. That is why Tioga's front end appears to be completely disassembled.

The estimate for doing the spindle pin overhaul is, 6000 pesos [$462US], labor and parts. Maybe you know what this work costs in the USA. The estimate at the Goodyear Shop here in Querétaro, Mexico, seems very inexpensive to me.

Shock absorbers
MsTioga's shocks need replacement too. It has long been my opinion that the specified shocks for the Ford van chassis are insufficient for the load the size of MsTioga. Fleetwood Industries, the company that built Tioga, have specs that for call for a maximum load for an RV on this chassis to be 10,500 pounds. However, Tioga weighs in at 13,200 lbs.

I have asked for replacement shocks to match Tioga's load. These would likely be truck shocks. The Goodyear shop service adviser is looking for these altered specification shocks. So far, he has not found them to be available in Mexico.
Tioga looks sort of toothless in her disassembled state!

12 Noon - Mexican vs American auto shops
Tioga and I have visited auto mechanics all over the county of Mexico. We have never once seen a sign at one of these shops that prohibited customers from going out on the shop floor.

We have all seen a sign such as this one at auto shops in the USA.

But at the Goodyear Shop in Querétaro, and at auto shops all over Mexico, we have gone out on the shop floor, talked with our mechanic, even helped him, even worked on MsTioga, and never have been cautioned about staying out of the shop.

Even at Ford dealers in Mexico it is the same. Customers are allowed to be on the shop floor.
Jorge, customers, mechanics
Pose for pic on the shop floor