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Old 03-30-2006, 11:29 AM   #1
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Rough ride on some concrete freeways

Some truck / trailer combinations can develop a "hopping" or "bouncing" sensation on some concrete freeways. In some cases, the ride can be bad enough that the owner has to avoid certain freeways.

Has anyone encountered this problem and found a solution?
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:34 AM   #2
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Sounds like it may be a weight distribution issue, with your weight distribution hitch properly adjusted I don't believe you should have that happen.
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:35 AM   #3
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I think it means...

I think that when that sensation hits, it means pull out the trailer life directory, find the nearest RV park, and start camping! To me, roads are just an unavoidable necessity between fun zones!
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNM
Some truck / trailer combinations can develop a "hopping" or "bouncing" sensation on some concrete freeways. In some cases, the ride can be bad enough that the owner has to avoid certain freeways.

Has anyone encountered this problem and found a solution?
California in some places, is overloaded with "washboard" highways.

There are 3 fixes.

1. Stay under 40 MPH.

2. Stay over 85 MPH.

3. Use other highways.

Changing the hookup on a load equalizing hitch, "WILL NOT" change the road condition, or effect. Save the effort.

Andy
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:48 AM   #5
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Don't forget to change your shock absorbers on older units. Ours where rusted into a solid block of steel. Especially if you live in one of those high humidity areas.
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:54 AM   #6
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I have to disagree. On my first tow I did not have the weight distribution hitch adjusted correctly. Because my front end was still entirely to light, the "waves" in the road resulted in the front end being pushed up by the weight of the trailer. Adjusting the hitch correctly so that the weight was evenly distributed immeadately fixed this.
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:01 PM   #7
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Check tire pressures too...

Rough roads are simply rough. The even spacing of joints on concrete highways can set up an oscillation that can be annoying.

I've recently increased the tire pressure all around and it seems to reduce the annoyance. Perhaps, my tire pressures were too low to begin with and are just correct now. In any event, I'm going to pay much more attention to tire pressure from here on.
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
I have to disagree. On my first tow I did not have the weight distribution hitch adjusted correctly. Because my front end was still entirely to light, the "waves" in the road resulted in the front end being pushed up by the weight of the trailer. Adjusting the hitch correctly so that the weight was evenly distributed immeadately fixed this.
Please visit southern California. Or ask anyone that tows a travel trailer on it.

You will change your opinion, faster than a speeding bullet. Also watch the back end of "ANY" semi-trailer, gravel truck or the like, on our highways.

They all will shake you and your teeth, pronto.

Increasing tire pressure will aggravate the problem.

The problem decreases when the ride is "cushioned". Therefore the softer the ride, the less effect. However, you cannot, under any circumstances, "STOP" the shaking. The best that you can do, is to minimize it.

Andy
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Old 03-30-2006, 12:28 PM   #9
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I've encountered this problem here in Illinois. We have two areas I have found in the Chicagoland area that have this washboard type problem. It can be noticed even if not towing, though when towing it is more pronounced. One of the highways is being replaced and really outside of what Andy has said, there is little else that can be done minus the road being replaced.

It's worse with the Suburban (or any truck I would assume) than it was with the softer suspension Impala SS.

I've been thinking of getting one of these:

www.airridehitch.com

...to help soften the ride for our Safari.
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:03 PM   #10
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I prefer the washboard over the scary dips. The dips are those areas where the roadway suddenly dips causing the hitch to drop quickly only to rise just as fast. There is a bad one on I-55 southbound just south of Springfield Illinois as you are near Lake Springfield. It's multiple dips so you almost come out of your seat as the trailer pitches up and down. While its not so fun in a 3/4 ton vehicle, try hitting it when towing with a half ton. It almost literally takes your rear suspension of the tow vehicle to its up and down limits. There is another one on Illinois I-55 northbound just north east of St. Louis about a mile past the exit for Illinois 157.

To add to the fun there is Illinois I-255 south of I-64 where the overpasses were built higher than the roadbed. The fix was patches on each side of the overpasses which again causes you to rocket up and down. In all these cases no warnings or signs to allow you to slow down before encountering these conditions.

These types of dips push the limits of spring bars on some equalizing hitches. In these cases if your bars are hitting their capacity limits, the extreme flexing could potentially snap them.

Jack
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:09 PM   #11
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Gotta love Illinois roadways.
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:52 PM   #12
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It seems to me that there are two different issues involved here. First is the rhythmic “thump thump thump..” resulting from road seams; the second is the front end of the tow vehicle oscillating caused by (for lack of better terms) trough and wave patterns that eventually develop in concrete highways.

The language of the original post (ie. hopping and bouncing) leads me to interpret the case to be the latter. If this interpretation is incorrect then so is my suggestion to look at how the weight distribution is set up.

I completely agree with everyone who has said that there is a certain amount of bumping inherent in concrete highways that can not be eliminated. And I am also in agreement that a rough road is simply rough. However, I maintain that a rig that does not have sufficient weight on tow vehicles front axle will experience exaggerated front to back oscillation on these roads with excessive peaks and troughs. This situation is more than annoying, it is dangerous in that there is insufficient weight on the front axles to maintain proper braking and steering.

Baring evidence that southern California operates under different laws of physics than the rest of the planet I will pass on making a special trip
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Old 03-30-2006, 02:56 PM   #13
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Almost everywhere in Illinois. Our politicians steal the road funds, our contractors cheat on the specifications, and the inspectors are often the best that money can "buy".
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Old 03-30-2006, 03:20 PM   #14
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Almost everywhere in Illinois. Our politicians steal the road funds, our contractors cheat on the specifications, and the inspectors are often the best that money can "buy".
What do you expect?

They probably were trained in California.

Andy
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