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Old 06-24-2006, 09:48 PM   #1
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How does the suspension on an Avion trailer work?

OK, before you guys flame me...let me just say that I was looking at a '77 Avion today, one of the "other" silver trailers out there.

I wanted to know what kind of suspension it had, so I took a peek under neath it. It does not use the dura-torque type swing arm rubber axles that Airstream uses. It was not leaf sprung either.

The Avion had some type of suspension that threw me for a loop. It had beam axles, and shock absorbers. However, I saw no actual spring attaching the axle to the frame. There seemed to be some type of horizontal bar on each side attaching the front axle to the rear axle, and there was a very large pivot in the center. There looked to be a very small leaf spring attaching this center pivot to the two axles, but it was not attached to the frame at all. It looked like the entire affair floated.

I could not tell what the actual springing medium was. I saw no real attachment from the frame to any kind of springing source to the axles.

There was also a very heavy duty looking device between the tires on each side. It looked like some kind of super heavy duty stabilizer jack. But, I didn't see a switch inside to actuate it. As well, this thing seemed to tie into where the big pivot was between the axles. Maybe this was some kind of suspension part?

I looked on SilverAvion.com and saw in one of their manuals they call it "smooth glide" suspension, and it's rubber suspended, but the manual gave no info at all beyond what I just mentioned.

I feel embarassed, as I'm a good mechanic and all, but this suspension setup has me stumped. I've never seen anything like it.

Does anybody know how these systems work? Is this what they call Moer Ride (or however you spell it)? If it is Moer Ride, how does it work? I saw the shocks attaching to the frame, but no actual springs. Does anybody know how this works?

It was built really well. The frame rails were 6" deep, and it had three of them. The ones on my trailer are only 4" deep. Huge difference in strength. My trailer is starting to show a little bit of the "sag". That wouldn't happen with a 6" frame. The Avion had a lot more apparent room inside than my 'Stream does too. But, I liked the larger bathroom better in my trailer, and I think the AS has it all over the Avion in looks. AS is also much brighter on the inside. Still, I can't bash the Avion, it was made very well.

Just wish I knew how the suspension worked

HELP!
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Old 06-24-2006, 11:35 PM   #2
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I think you were looking at the Moer Ride, or however it's spelled, MoreRyde? Anyway, the company, MoreRide <sp> is still in buisness. If you can figure out how to spell it they have a good website that explains it. As I read it it's sort of like a motor mount; two steel plates with a block of rubber in between they call a shear spring.

OK, I couldn't stand it any more, I had to go Google it:

http://www.morryde.com/
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Old 06-25-2006, 12:45 AM   #3
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This is one I was considering before finding our Argosy. That's why I'd done the research on the Morryde:

http://bellingham.craigslist.org/car/168608182.html

If someone needs a retro project this TT has been for sale at this price for several months. The owners use it as a stationary cabin so it would need some attention before moving. Looks almost funky enough to fit in with the Tin Can Tourists show cased on the RVCrazy show on the Travel Channel. FYI show repeats tomorrow on Comcast.
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Old 06-25-2006, 12:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I looked on the MOR/ryde website. The Equalier RE system is the closest thing to what I saw on the Avion. However, there were no leaf springs on the Avion. I would imagine that Avion maybe partnered with MOR/ryde thirty years ago and worked out some type of system. The big slider block shown on the MOR/ryde website seems to be a newer version of the massive thing I saw between the tires on the '77 Avion.

So, my guess is that the old Avion has the old version of teh MOR/ryde suspension.

So the next question is...what goes wrong with it? Is it Mondo-Expensive to repair/replace it? I'm considering buying this trailer, but the suspention could be a deal killer if it costs a small fortune to make it good (assuming it's not as the rubber in it is thirty years old). Do you guys know anything about the longevity of it? Is it like our Henschens where you get 15-20 years and time to replace? It did look like a much more complicated setup than what Airstream uses.

Flipside, my wife thought it was a much uglier trailer than our current one. However, the thing is filthy. Sat behind a church for eight years with no TLC at all. Very dirty. It wouldn't look too bad with a scrub job though. Can you polish Avion's? Or, are they anodized such that you cannot?
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Old 06-25-2006, 12:52 PM   #5
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JUst a note on the mor/ryde,

I had a 2000 f450 superduty v-10 motor home that hsd the mor/ryde rubber
mount setup .That style replaced the rear shackle for the leaf springs .The verticly mounted rubber mount act againts each other as sort of a motor mount type cushion .There are too of them bolted together .The bad part was that the weight of the coach had ripped it all apart and broke the plates
retaining the mounts .A call to mor/ryde tech assistance revieled many failures of this type on motor homes and school buses etc, The mor/ryde technition said to remove it all and install the factory parts (no lie) so I
procured the shackle and the saddle mount and put it back to stock.Problem
solved .I would call Moir/ryde on the avion suspension to confirm thats what it is and if it can be repaired/refurbished etc.

Scott
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:45 PM   #6
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Yup, it is indeed a MOR/Ryde setup on there. I contacted them and one of their tech reps got hold of me. Sent me a pdf of the manual showing the whole setup. I could stick it on here if anybody cares to see it. It is a beefy setup. I'm not convinced that it's that superior to leaf springs with shock absorbers, but they say it is. He said the only thing that really wears out is the rubber, and you can replace all of it for $510.

Now I just have to think...do I want the Avion...
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:55 PM   #7
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Who provided Avion's awnings? Just curious if it was Zip Dee.
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:25 PM   #8
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Minnie, there was no awning on it. He dug it out of the woods a week later and told me it was bent in three places; a windstorm wiped it out. But he didn't tell me the brand. Sorry... I don't think I'm going to get it; I like my Excella better.

It could be a neat rig though...
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Old 07-13-2006, 08:32 PM   #9
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I know of one '85 Avion 31' that had ZipDees all over.
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:51 PM   #10
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Avion Awnings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Who provided Avion's awnings? Just curious if it was Zip Dee.
Avion used awnings by Carefree, Zip Dee, and A & E throughout the late sixties and early 70's. When Fleetwood took over the build in 1978 it seems that Zip Dee was used exclusively through 1987 as factory installed equipment. Beginning with the 1988-1990 silver trailers, A & E 9000 series awnings were installed as standard equipment.
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:02 AM   #11
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I've been having a look at Avion suspensions this morning. Looks as though the first generation was a conventional leaf spring arrangement, and at about 1966 Avion partnered with the new Mor-Ryde Corp to develop a superior, longer lasting suspension for travel trailers: Smooth Glide

From Dr. Gradeless' AVION site: (1972 sales brochure)
http://avion.gradeless.com/1972Avion/1972_AVION_08.jpg

http://avion.gradeless.com/1972Avion/1972_AVION_09.jpg
(Think of the lucky photo assistant who got to dig that hole . . . and note Brutus careful handling of that rig through the sand while in Park.

The resulting design was a variation on the old (1920's) HENDRICKSON Walking Beam axle used for tandem drive and trailer axles on HD trucks since that era. Pretty much any concrete truck, refuse truck or logging truck uses a version (as well as military, off-road firefighting, etc). The design is simple and rugged.

Hendrickson Europe: History

A center pivot on each side of the trailer holds a beam which itself holds a wheel at either end. Think of the playground teeter-totter but with wheels at the ends.

MOR RYDE developed this using a rubber block that dampens shock via a shearing action (up/down from two opposing plates with rubber between) instead of the traditional (and rough riding) steel leaves; (today there are air-ride versions). Four shock absorbers -- mounted vertically near each wheel end -- dampen resonant harmonics walking beam suspensions are prone to. MONROE makes them according to MOR RYDE specs; a specialty item.

The advantages over a conventional leaf spring arrangement is:

greater simplicity (fewer wearing parts)
better weight distribution (center pivot points [two])
better braking
longer tire life
better terrain following (towability)

Whether to call this an independent suspension or semi-independent is a bit of a grey area; it looks to me more to the "higher" side of semi-independent.

Comments from AVION owners indicate that the system (unless abused) lasts about forever, with replacement of wearing parts (exclusive of shock absorbers) at about $550. Little can go wrong.

Other reports, about tire wear and axle alignment, indicate (from one comment) that AVION recommended a 7.00 x 15 steel radial truck tire of Load Range D or so. The YOKOHAMA RY-215 I had on my SILVER STREAK look to be a choice commensurate with the low empty and GVWR rates of the 1966 through 1978 tandem axle coaches. (A 1971 28' I was looking at
was rated 4,550/6,375).

For more information, see the following at the MOR RYDE site:

Choose "Service Documentation"
MOR/ryde - Products - Documentation

Choose "Legacy Products: Tandem Axle Service Manual"
http://www.morryde.com/pdfs/Tandem%2...e%20Manual.pdf

AVION was sold by its second owners in 1976 to FLEETWOOD who changed a good deal about the trailer, including suspension, which from 1978 to 1988 was a leaf-sprung stub axle with shock at each wheel; and in the final two years of production were AL KO axles similar to HENSCHEN.

As you can tell I really admire the MOR RYDE Tandem Axle system. I wonder that it hasn't been used on other travel trailers, and hope to hear or read other comments.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:27 AM   #12
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Holiday Rambler used Mor-Ryde suspensions for the drive/tag axle on their '80's class A RV's, I had one for years. It was a real collection of stuff when used with a conventional rear axle. A full sized P30 Chevy axle, two 'teeter-totter' beams, tube tag axle, transverse links...

The teeter totter action made speed bumps much smoother than a typical single rear axle RV.
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Old 07-05-2009, 12:53 PM   #13
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Good Research!

It sounds like a very good system. That '77 was just a little rough otherwise and it was very dark inside.

I did wind up selling the Excella two years ago and bought an '87 Avion 34X. I talked to Dr. Gradeless a lot before I bought it, and he told me all the stuff to look for. He is the Inland Andy of Avions. Anyway, I went down to TN to look at the trailer, and aside from being filthy, it was very solid.

It has the Adjust-A-Ride suspension that you mentioned that is a Dexter axle cut in half and a pivot fitting attached. It attaches to a pivot point welded to the center frame rail. I don't know if it's as rugged as the Moyr-Ryde, but it gives you a fully independant suspension with six individual spring packs, six shocks, and six indepenandly sprung wheels. It rides very well.

I have been towing with 55 psi in the D rated tires and the ride was stellar. I upped it to 60 psi on my last trip and the ride was much harsher. I'm going to back it back down to 55 psi. I never had any heat issues at 55 psi; the tires ran nice and cool. And the ride was a lot better. With six tires and a gross weight of "only" 9600 lbs, I've got way more tire capacity than I need (as compared to say my Dad's 5er that has four tires and weighs 13,500 lbs).

The newer Avions (at least the '86 and above) had larger windows than the old ones. The '86 and newer 34 footers all came standard with a picture window in the living room that is very large. This trailer is very light inside. It's as bright as any trailer I've been in that didn't have Vista Vue windows. Nothing's as bright as one with Vista Vue's....but the ones on my Excella were trashed. I liked the Excella, but it needed a frame off rebuild. I wanted to do it, but sadly just didn't have the time. So I sold it to some folks in MD that already had an Airstream they were camping in and wanted a 31 footer to do a frame off total rebuild. So it went to a good home.

Anyway, thanks for the research REDNAX. That Moyr-Ryde system is slick. They're nice folks to talk to as well.

By the Way, I don't know how to edit the profile line to say I have an '87 Avion 34 foot. I would if I could....I just chose the closest trailer to what I have. I'd like to buy my grandpa's '58 Airstream Traveler. Then I'd have a little one and a big one I'm working on him...I'd like to pull it behind my '65 Plymouth Sport Fury. That'd be cool!


Here's a picture of my Avion. Yeah, I have the rafter arms setup wrong here...I've since fixed them so that they'll actually lock on the roll like they should (PO was very rough on it) I also need a new awning spring and fabric on the patio one. The other four are fine. All ZipDee. We really like it. I sanded and repainted the frame and suspension, new shocks, new tires, new wiring harness, then later on new water heater, new ceramic toilet, new Moen faucet, and recently new fridge and a/c. Oh, I also painted the roof white to cut the heat gain. I've got an Intellipower converter/panel setup to convert it to 50amp, but that'll have to wait 'til the camping season is over. We're having too much fun right now

Take care and see ya on the road!
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:47 PM   #14
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We looked at a Silver Anniversary 34 AVION prior to buying a 34' SILVER STREAK, almost wish I'd gotten the former, but wanted to avoid an overly heavy trailer (to my mind; a nearly 10,000-lb trailer, gross, versus one that would ride in the mid-7's), yet came to admire the spread of the load over six wheels versus tandems.

With a 34', I, too, would convert to 50A service to run [2] A/C units. If a nice rear bedroom 34' pops up, I might go for it. In the meantime, I'd prefer a 28' and am in admiration of the 1972-1974 AVIONS at present. The prices are good, very good.
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