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Old 11-21-2008, 09:42 AM   #15
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1990 29' Excella
St Louis , Missouri
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I welcome any earful. I'm new here, I'm bound to get a few earfuls once in a while. I don't have a lot of experience towing an AS, but I have a reasonable amount of experience with trucks, and I have a reasonable understanding of vehicle dynamics.

I had a 5-ton Ford box truck, a '75 with no shock absorbers. Unloaded that thing had a harsh, bumpy ride. With 3 tons of load in the bed (14 foot box) it settled down quite nicely. The same things happen with my pickup. Put a bunch of load in the bed, and ordinary bumps at ordinary speeds are nicely managed and damped. Unloaded, normal bumps at normal speeds will cause things in the bed to hop around. Under normal bump-and-speed conditions, the tongue of the AS will experience far less perturbation when towed by a truck whose load matches the spring rates, i.e. a stiff truck with load in the bed, or a soft truck/car/SUV lightly loaded, than it will behind a vehicle whose suspension is too stiff for the load.

With reasonable non-trailer load on the rear of the pickup, cranking up the WD bars to push the load toward the trailer wheels and pickup front axle is more appropriate (or necessary) than in the case of a stiff, unloaded pickup. A stiff, unloaded pickup is asking for more load in the rear.

When I said 'hooked to the bumper', of course I meant 6 inches behind the bumper, where the receiver ball sits. There's not much difference there.


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Old 11-21-2008, 10:14 AM   #16
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1990 29' Excella
St Louis , Missouri
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One other comment...if the specific issue is wear-and-tear on washboard roads, well, good luck. I'm sure there's some combination of suspension stiffness, damping and speed that will minimize shock and vibration to the trailer, but that could be a real challenge. Any given configuration of a passive spring suspension will perform well under some range of conditions (load, speed, bump geometry) only at the expense of performing well under other conditions.

I love those truck commercials where they show a pickup zooming along over a bed of railroad ties, wheels hopping up and down dramatically while the cab and bed maintain a nice, level ride. Of course they chose the spacing of the ties and speed of the truck to optimize the response of the suspension. Much slower or much faster and the results aren't nearly as impressive.


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Old 12-01-2008, 08:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
I have been following recent threads about 3/4 and 1 tons transferring too much shock to the trailer. I have an F250 Superduty 2wd. Short of getting another TV are there valid options to create a softer ride? Ideas such as removing some leaves from the rear spring, air bag suspension, and air ride hitches come to mind. What works and what doesn't. What is the easiest solution and would give the most bang for my buck?
One idea is to see if the 2 wheel drive version is giving you a softer ride than 4x4. Most weight distribution systems have a harder time transferring to the front axle on a 4x4. My suggestion is the bumper bounce test. Hook her up as you have it now jump on the back bumper. If you have 2-3 inches of travel then most likely damage will be minimal. If not, try different bars to send more weight to the front, that way you will be in the soft portion of your rear springs. You might even want to reduce weight in the bed and put more stuff in the trailer as well. The load shock increases dramatically on a 250 and up when riding deep into the leaf spring. Just a thought and simple first before getting complicated.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:20 AM   #18
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Kelderman, Mor-Ryde and some other aftermarket suppliers have websites that provide some info. But, just how applicable is another question.

I have a 3/4T Dodge, and it is about impossible, empty or loaded, to EVER get the back end to bounce. I weigh nearly 200-lbs and it ain't happenin' on my non-A/S trailer. Too stiff, yes, but to modify (mine is out of warranty) also includes being concerned about solo driving, loaded and unloaded, and the handling characteristics.

An item on my list is to replace the front anti-roll bar on the truck with one barely larger (and replace the soft rubber bushings with polyurethane ones; they "react" more quickly and last longer, no deterioration from ozone) and to install one in the rear (Dodge revamped the springs on the HD trucks for this generation and deleted the rear bar formerly standard) since, with my LEER bed topper, a big sail area is now present that causes me the single indication -- by feel through the steering -- that a "big truck" is passing me. With the trailer, and the topper, I feel these changes are warranted.

I have already replaced the standard shock absorbers with BILSTEIN units. (Others recommend RANCHO 9000 shocks that can be controlled -- compression & rebound -- from the cab; they report that solo and loaded reactions can be better controlled).

Anti-roll bars of a larger size tend to "stiffen" a suspension (remove road compliance), and "better" shocks may do the same.

Matching tire pressure to loads (no guesstimates, real numbers, please) and tracking tread wear and road temps (real numbers, no "hold hand on sidewall; using a tread depth indicator) will probably help.

With springs, the rear, one can modify. But, IMHO, I believe that this would best be done with a shop that specializes in modifying suspensions for off-road work simply because they are used to dealing with big changes of this sort; have the proper materials at hand; have a great deal of fabricating experience.

It may be that simply removing the overload leaf will help. It can always be replaced (always use new U-bolts and fasteners, with any change), but the "rating" of the rear axle is changed.

And, how it is changed is the question. The big question for moral/ethical liability.

My thoughts on it are that one may modify a HD light truck to be a dedicated puller, BUT that this cuts into the utility as designed by the factory. With that approach, and careful records (weighing on long trips; comparing changes one-at-a-time) one may come up with a work-able solution, even if it is half-way to the goal.

My other thought is that a truck not needed for business purposes is not necessarily the best TV for an Airstream -- unless one is a fulltimer who carries waaay too much stuff along with him -- and that the CanAm Rv approach needs investigating.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #19
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In general, most 1/2 ton trucks have a softer (more "car-like") ride than 3/4- or 1-ton trucks. Again, speaking broadly, the stiffer suspension necessary to support heavier loads can transmit shock or vibration to a trailer. Having just driven 700 miles with an empty (and very light) Overlander, I can say without hesitation that over washboard roads at highway speeds, a trailer can transmit vibration to the tow vehicle.

Having driven my share of 3/4- and 1-ton trucks, I can say that the generally ride better with a load on. The weight tends to make the truck movements longer and slower... rather than a "jittery" vibration. There's a noticeable improvement when you swap in a quality aftermarket shock like Bilstein on almost any truck. I tend to agree that an "overtight" WD hitch and "overly stiff" bars will transmit more shock than a softer set up. I think good trailer axles help absorb shock. I also think a trailer gets more jittery if light. Sometimes, it takes a bit of load over the axles to settle things down. Of course, slowing down can help.

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