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Old 01-31-2013, 02:25 PM   #1
OregonCanuck
 
2012 19' Flying Cloud
Portland , Oregon
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'Active Suspension' versus WD Hitch

I have an Active Suspension installed on my 2005 Tundra SR5 Access Cab 4x4. I'm wondering how many other folks have considered using this system versus buying the more expensive weight distribution hitches. I'm towing a 19' 2012 Flying Cloud and feel that I'm pretty safe because of that active suspension system. I believe that these coil springs add at least 1/4 ton to the tow vehicle capacity which, I think, translates to greater tounge weight capability. Or is tounge weight capacity rated by the hitch mount capability? Now You’re RVing | Roadmaster Active Suspension Kits | Helper Springs | Overload Springs
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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1981 31' Excella II
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Jacking up the rear of the truck so it is level does not redistribute weight to the front steering wheels of the truck. You still have problems with instability and greater chance of the front end washing out in a turn or in wet weather. Ultra stiff suspension usually beats the crap out of your trailer and Airstreams are very sensitive to vibrations and shock. Typically, you run load bars that have a capacity pretty close to the tounge weight of the trailer. If you have something like an F350 you would probably run bars that are lighter than the tounge weight. If you have a weekly sprung SUV you would probably use bars that are slighly heavier than the tounge weight. Contrary to popular belief, bigger springs are not always better. You want some bobbing up and down when you hit a rough spot or if you are on cement slabs. Better to upgrade your shocks than go with massive springs or air bags. You can get used weight distribution hitches for $200 or less including a sway bar. The sway bar is important as well. The added lever arm between the wheels and the ball tend to make bumper pull trailers unstable. Weight distribution hitches stick out past the receiver a good ways which can make sway worse if you don't use sway control. Why do they make them stick out? Well mostly it is to reduce the chance you will jack knife the trailer when backing up. You can get close to a 90 degree angle when backing and the hitch will usually interfere before you crush the corner of your trailer against the truck bumper.

How much does a hitch cost compared to what you spent on the trailer?

Perry
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
OregonCanuck
 
2012 19' Flying Cloud
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So, you don't believe the Active Suspension marketing page?
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by OregonCanuck View Post
So, you don't believe the Active Suspension marketing page?
NO! All it does is make it level and LOOK distributed. Load up and go to the scales and you'll see. The rear axle will still be heavily/overloaded and all will look just fine.

Level and distributed weight aren't always the same thing....and it won't be with a jacked up air suspension.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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OregonCanuck,
The active suspension system that you linked to is essentially a variable rate helper spring for the rear axle. It senses the ride height for the rear frame over the rear axle. When the bed weight increases, the active suspension system kicks in to attempt to level the vehicle to the original height.

This sort of thing might help somewhat with a fifth wheel as the trailer imposes a downward load on the bed just forward of the rear axle of the truck. With a "bumper tow" trailer that uses a ball hitch that is to the rear of the bumper, the physics are significantly different. The distance between the rear axle center and the ball represents a lever arm of a significant length. The load on the hitch ball really lifts a lot of weight off of the front wheels and places a significant load on the rear wheels. I could go on, but I won't as this subject has been covered in length in many places.

The short answer is that you need a weight distributing hitch on your Tundra in order to tow your Flying Cloud with some margin of safety!

Steve
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:25 PM   #6
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I have a full automatic air suspension system (no springs at all) on my 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It always tries to keep things level. You can put 700 # of tongue weight on the hitch and fill the back with stuff and it will be level. BUT IT IS OVERLOADING THE REAR AXLE!

The WD hitch is necessary to move some of that rear axle load to the front. I can easily over load (measured on the scales) the back axle on my Jeep and still have it level. WD hitches are necessary still.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:59 PM   #7
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So how does this active suspension act when you go over a dip or something? I would think that if it is constantly messing with things it might cause some problems.

Perry
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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So how does this active suspension act when you go over a dip or something? I would think that if it is constantly messing with things it might cause some problems.

Perry
The Autoride system on our 2500 Burb has the active suspension w/o auto leveling. The Bilstein shocks have variable magnetic dampening. Instant reaction to road conditions.

The 1500 Autoride suspension with air compressor and suspension position sensors will adjust ride height according to load. It also uses the Bilstein shocks.

Bob
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #9
OregonCanuck
 
2012 19' Flying Cloud
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Thanks for all of your inputs/opinions. I've decided to go with the local AS dealer's recommendation (and others on the Forum) and so I bought an Equal-i-zer hitch. The comment about the price of the trailer versus safety and investment made sense to me.

OregonCanuck
Tigard, Oregon
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
CLOUDSPLITTER "Tahawas"
 
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Thanks for all of your inputs/opinions. I've decided to go with the local AS dealer's recommendation (and others on the Forum) and so I bought an Equal-i-zer hitch. The comment about the price of the trailer versus safety and investment made sense to me.

OregonCanuck
Tigard, Oregon

Good idea...

....the add-on "helper" springs do nothing to increase the total load capacity of the vehicle, that is determined by axle weight ratings.

The advantages of a well designed hitch system...weight distribution and sway control.

Sweet Steams

Bob
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #11
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So how does this active suspension act when you go over a dip or something? I would think that if it is constantly messing with things it might cause some problems.

Perry
There is enough delay built into the system so it is not instantly reacting to every bump in the road. It is interesting to get out of the rig (my Jeep GC) when it is not parked level, and find it moving around to "look right" (level) a minute or so after it the doors are closed. There is an air reservoir to allow it to do that.

To set it up with a WD hitch, you really need to turn off the suspension system so you can make it right by either method of adjustment, measuring the wheel well height or on a scale measuring actual weights. You also need to turn it off when changing a tire, a "secret" which can be fun if you are not aware of it.

The new Ram 1500 series of trucks has this air suspension system on it as an option, so you are going to see and hear more about it as time goes on. I like mine very much, but it is a bit different.

The air suspension system works fine with the Andersen hitch once you turn it off to set it up right the first time. After that, you just adjust the thread length on the chains the way you set it up to begin with.
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