A deep dive into the P30/P32 chassis
For those of us who cherish the classic charm of Chevy P30/32 motorhomes, the experience is often marred by less-than-ideal steering and handling. Despite their timeless styling and solid build quality, these motorhomes can sometimes be a handful on the road. But don't worry, there are solutions, and Henderson's Line-Up has dedicated years to perfecting them.
A Legacy of Expertise -
As a company we have spent countless hours delving into the intricacies of the Chevy P30 and P32 motorhome chassis. Dating back to the 1960s, these chassis have been a staple in the class A motorhome world, lasting well into the 2000s. Unlike their contemporaries, such as the Ford F53 or Workhorse W series, the P30 and P32 chassis featured an independent coil spring front suspension. While this provided a smoother ride, it also led to a complex steering linkage with multiple wear points, often resulting in steering looseness.
First SuperSteer Innovation -
Our journey into improving these motorhomes began with the P3032 bellcrank, our first SuperSteer product. The original OEM bellcrank used bushings prone to wear and play, even when new. Our upgraded version, utilizing tapered roller bearings, allows for adjustability and reduces steering play significantly.
Solving Steering Challenges -
In our quest to enhance the P32, particularly, we tackled issues like poor returnability due to the upgraded dual piston Saginaw steering gear. The stiffness in the steering gear often led to a lack of responsiveness in returning to center. Our solution? The Safe T Plus self-centering steering stabilizer, which not only improves return to center but also offers added safety in case of a front tire blowout.
Discovering the Importance of the Rear Axle -
An interesting revelation came when we realized the significant role of the rear axle in steering. When working on a customer's P32, we noticed that an improperly positioned rear spring eye bolt affected the steering. This led to the creation of the SuperSteer Rear Trac Bar, allowing the axle to move up and down freely without sideways motion, thus improving steering responsiveness.
Beyond Steering: Suspension Upgrades -
As we delved deeper, we found that suspension upgrades were crucial. The factory front springs, while initially providing a smooth ride, were inadequate for heavier coaches. Chevy's solution of installing helper airbags within the front coils often led to air leaks and maintenance issues. Our approach was to collaborate with a spring company to develop coil springs tailored to the coach's weight, eliminating the need for airbags.
A Holistic Approach to Handling -
Handling issues, such as sway, were also a major concern. We found that upgrading to a larger front sway bar and improving rear bushings significantly enhanced stability. Additionally, the Koni FSD shocks proved to be an excellent choice for balancing ride and handling, especially with their Frequency Selective Damping feature.
If you own a Chevy P30/32 motorhome and have been struggling with steering and handling issues, know that there are solutions. At Henderson's Line-Up/SuperSteer, we're committed to helping you enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Share your experiences or questions by EMAIL US HERE , and let's keep the classic motorhome spirit alive and well on the road!