Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-29-2014, 12:22 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
vanster's Avatar
1967 17' Caravel
Oakland , California
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 110
Images: 1
Why do you need shocks?

Our 67 Caravel has shocks but with the design of the axle, why does a
3000# trailer require shocks? If so how soft or hard should they be?
We are about to put the frame back under the shell and now is the time to address this issue.

vanster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 12:39 PM   #2
Rivet Master
m.hony's Avatar
2013 30' Classic
Greenwood , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 10,249
I always thought it was to make the trailer ride even smoother- so everything stays where you put it.
Airstreams are the only trailers I know of that have shocks.
Airstreams are also the only trailers I know of that have reverse lights.

2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
2006 Vivid Black Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1999 Black Nissan Pathfinder LE
TAC #MS-10
WBCCI #1811, Region 6, Unit 56
Airforums #70955
m.hony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 12:46 PM   #3
Rivet Master
Belegedhel's Avatar
1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,902
Well, there are several other threads about shocks, and whether they are needed/effective or not. If I remember correctly, the Professionals recommend them and contend that without them, you will do your body/interior more damage, wear, etc. than without. I suppose the way I see it is that no company wastes time and money adding a feature to a product that isn't needed, so I assume that Airstream convinced themselves (via some kind of testing/experimentation) that shocks were needed, and that the installation is effective even though there isn't much travel in the shock.

Seems that there is also an overwhelming opinion that you have to use Airstream OEM shocks because they are designed to be mounted horizontally (though again, I wonder, in a gas filled shock, what difference orientation makes). Anyway, these particular shocks can be acquired without much hassle from places like Inland RV or

You may find that it is extremely difficult to get your shock on or off without removing the entire axle, because of tight clearances. I believe that has a little video on their site showing how they do it.

Good luck.
Belegedhel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
Moderator dude
Action's Avatar

1966 26' Overlander
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,786
Images: 13
I am assuming since you have an Airstream manufacturered after 1966 the shock mounting is more or less horizontal. This was a touted feature for the 1967 model year and was done to increase interior coach space over the previous arrangement.

If it is a horizontal mounting the only vendor for this shock is Airstream and it's network of dealers. This shock is sold in so few numbers other vendors do not want to carry this shock. And a shock designed for vertical installation does not work in a horizontal mounting because the valving and the effects of gravity. DO NOT USE A GAS PRESSURIZE SHOCK. The mounts are not designed to handle the stress of that type of shock.

As to if it is needed, that is a judgement. Airstream says absolutely it is needed. There is a user here that did a electronic measurement inside his trailer before and after axle replacement and before and after shock installation. Was there a measurable difference? You bet there was. Well at least the difference was dectable by a machine. Could you or I detect a difference if we were riding inside? I am not so sure.

I personally have not had to make that choice as my trailer was a 1966 and was mounted vertically. My guess is I would reinstall an old one and forgo the expense of a new one. These trailers need lots of work and I can always find other areas of the trailer to spend my next dime on.

Good luck making a choice.

1966 Mercury Park Lane 4 DR Breezeway 410 4V, C-6, 2.80 - Streamless.
1966 Lincoln 4 door Convertible 462 4V 1971 Ford LTD Convertible 429 4V Phoenix ~ Yeah it's hot however it's a dry heat!
Action is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 05:00 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
St Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 28
There's always the entertainment value when the guy in the neighboring SOB exclaims "Airstreams have shocks?"
JamieEllis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 05:00 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Airstream Dealer
Inland RV Center, In's Avatar
Corona , California
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 16,501
Images: 1
Originally Posted by vanster View Post
Our 67 Caravel has shocks but with the design of the axle, why does a
3000# trailer require shocks? If so how soft or hard should they be?
We are about to put the frame back under the shell and now is the time to address this issue.
Try riding in a car, with no shocks.

Shocks are exactly that, they reduce the road shock that goes to your car, or in this case, your Airstream.

Airstream over the coarse of years. has made some mistakes, but then who hasn't????

But, I assure, using shocks on the Airstream trailers, save you money in time, as it adds to the "soft ride".

Shocks cost less than $ 30.00 each, so if you want to save 60 bucks, skip the next couple of happy hours, but don't deprive the Airstream.

You will be very sorry if you left them off.

A few of the damages that are caused by NO SHOCKS, is. fatigue cracks in the frame. fatigue cracks in the shell, busted copper tubing in the water system and AC, broken wires, shearing inside and outside rivets, AND A TON OF WATER LEAKS.

So put the shocks on, and then go and enjoy your happy hour with a BIG SMILE.

Inland RV Center, In is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 05:42 PM   #7
HiHoAgRV's Avatar

1991 34' Excella
1963 26' Overlander
Central , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 5,002
Images: 29
Blog Entries: 49
Do you need shocks? No. The often used comparison to a car with out shocks would only be valid if you picked a car with rubber torsion suspension, I'm not aware of any that were ever produced. I measured the ride of my Airstream before an axle replacement and again after the new axles were installed. Old axles with shocks vs new axles with out shocks. No measurable difference so I'm 100% sure that no person could ride in the trailer and tell a difference. I trailered thousands of miles with no shocks on that trailer with no ill effects.

I suspect the reason that Airstream kept shocks when they switched to rubber torsion axles is because 'everyone knows that you need shocks!' And we all know that they 'didn't make changes, only improvements'. I am sure that in the early 1960's there wasn't any accurate technology to quantify ride quality with a true measurable to justify shocks.

Then again, we 'Streamers rarely make trailer decisions on pure data, it's usually based on passion. The same goes with discussions on shocks.
Hi Ho Silver RV! Vernon, Sarah, Mac the Border Collie -
A honkin' long 34' named AlumaTherapy
and a 26' '63 Overlander, Dolly
HiHoAgRV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 06:25 PM   #8
2 Rivet Member
1976 27' Overlander
Hartford , Alabama
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 74
I don't know why everyone says SOBs don't have shocks. My 2005 Montana came with them, every 5th wheel I have looked at since has had them. Granted I don't look at low end trailers any more, but I can testify that the Montana rode like a dream, a coke can stayed on the kitchen counter going up a crushed rock road that I had to slip in 4 wheel drive to get up the hill. Rarely did anything move around while traveling.
Valacidor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 08:23 AM   #9
Rivet Master
TG Twinkie's Avatar
1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,676
Images: 2
Blog Entries: 5
Shocks are used to dampen the recoil action of metal springs.
A car with bad shocks goes Boing Boing Boing down the road. Lack of good shocks can cause handling problems in a car or truck.
I am not aware that torsion type axles have any recoil action. They simply return to the relaxed angle.
If you have bad axles, the rubber is ridged and does not flex. Since the spindle arm cannot pivot in this case. There is no movement in the suspension. Therefore it is akin to riding on steel. Shocks will not do a thing if the suspension can't move.
I believe shocks do help on trailers with metal springs. Not sure how much if any benefit they are on a torsion axle.
If it makes you feel better. Install the shocks.
Knowledge: "A gift to be shared. A treasure to receive."
TG Twinkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 08:44 AM   #10
Rivet Master
Alphonse's Avatar

2010 28' Flying Cloud
Lower Alabama , USA
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 643
Short answer, you need dampers in a vibratory system.
"If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you never tried before!"

Air #64439
Southeastern Camping Unit WBCCI #5033
2017 Canopenian
Alphonse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 11:18 AM   #11
3 Rivet Member
vanster's Avatar
1967 17' Caravel
Oakland , California
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 110
Images: 1
Thanks to everyone for rapid response. Our moderator seems to have nailed it.
Airstreams have a torsen bar axle which although appears to look like a solid axle, has 4 rubber cushions that control the movement and torque of the axle as it moves down the road. This is similar to a 911 Porsche or an older rear engine VW only without the rubber casing. Our Caravel has vertical shocks that were purchased from Inland RV in 2008. They appear to be the basic garden variety oil filled shock with a short life. This led me to believe that this was over kill and could possibly make the frame too stiff similar to sport gas shocks on your family sedan and could cause excess vibration inside the trailer when going down the road.
The question is, did Airstream keep shocks when the went to this type of axle from the old leaf springs as a marketing tool?
( I going to leave them on, but just curious)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	shock.JPG
Views:	137
Size:	151.5 KB
ID:	204634  
vanster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 01:01 PM   #12
Rivet Master
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 5,280
The rubber torsion spring axle has alot of damping from the rubber springs. Does it have enough? If you use conventional springs you really need them. If you don't have enough damping, I would think you would see the trailer tending to pogo over bumps. It would also tend to dance around alot.

perryg114 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 02:28 PM   #13
La Casita
Dan and Liz's Avatar
1987 25' Sovereign
Fort Collins , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 193
Part of the answer is -- they help keep the tires on the road, and damp vibration.
Dan & Liz H

"I'd rather be happy for just one day than miserable for the rest of my life."
Dan and Liz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2014, 03:16 PM   #14
Rivet Master
dznf0g's Avatar

2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8,192
Originally Posted by Alphonse View Post
Short answer, you need dampers in a vibratory system.
What he said.


"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Gabriel Shocks rwkrapfel Shocks 4 05-23-2012 01:45 PM
Shocks on a '57 Overlander? 65Safari65 Shocks 5 12-08-2011 11:54 AM
Rancho shocks on TV LI Pets Shocks 5 10-08-2011 11:18 AM
Question on front shocks on 345 moeriv Classic Motorhomes 24 08-26-2011 02:31 PM
Bilstein Shocks on Tow Vehicle texascanuk Tow Vehicles 0 08-23-2011 04:20 PM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:54 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.