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Old 09-17-2018, 06:43 PM   #1
Jim J
 
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2014 30' Flying Cloud
Austin , Texas
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Function of shocks

I work at a road race track. The car owners spend a lot of time adjusting the shocks to achieve the best handling characteristics for their race cars.

Here is why: When you go down a level road straight, the car, or in this case, Airstream should be perpendicular to the roadway. Go around a left turn and the trailer will rotate towards the right of perpendicular, leaning its top to the outside of the curve. If you come back to straight road gradually it will rotate back to normal position gradually.

Now you are going down the interstate in the right lane at 60 MPH, and there is a large piece of debris in the road ahead of you in your lane, you cut over to the left lane and see another large piece of debris which you must swerve back to avoid. With nothing to dampen the motion, you are going from neutral, to full right lean to full left lean and back to neutral very quickly. That will cause the trailer to oscillate back and forth until the motions are damped out. Damping is what the shocks do.

Too much damping = not enough lean and the car/ trailer does not want to turn. This is understeer. Too little damping and the car/trailer leans too much and wants to turn too much. This is oversteer.

Just the right amount of damping is called critical damping and this can be calculated if you know the spring rate (including the spring rate of the chassis) , the mass, and the center of mass, or you can arrive at the correct amount through trial and error.

Airstream wants us to have good handling trailers. That is one of the benefits of having them ride so low, and having a lower center of mass than other trailers.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:50 PM   #2
Jim J
 
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Video showing double lane change of Airstream vs SOB with insufficient damping illustrating oversteer and oscillations in case of underdamping


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