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Old 08-24-2014, 04:35 PM   #1
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Aftermarket Shocks for Fifth Wheel

Has anyone added after-market shocks to their fifth wheel? I have a 40 foot Jayco and was considering the Joy Rider Shock System that was reviewed in the latest "Trailer Life" magazine. It's an easy to install bolt-on gas shock system. The shocks are angle outward 15 degrees and down at about 40 degrees so it seems to be very effective in damping the axel movement. The kit with 4 shocks is $495 but I was wondering if it was worth it. Here's their site.

www.rvimprovementsystems.com
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:43 PM   #2
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My first 3, 5ers , didn't have shocks , last one 10,000# GVW. Had them from the factory. If I was still towing , I wouldn't be without them.
Only problem I had in 5 years 60k miles towing, the rubber bushings pounded out and I had to replace them with nylon.

EDIT: My only comment , the upper shock mount , bracket to the frame attachment , you need to know if your frame at that point is strong enough to keep the shock secure, particularly as it appears the bracket is lag bolted to the frame. Even drilling the frame for bolts at that point may weaken it considerably.

Can't believe they didn't " L " the bracket up the outside of the frame to spread the load and widen the attachment footprint.
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Old 08-24-2014, 04:53 PM   #3
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Looks very interesting indeed! I would like to know as well.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:05 PM   #4
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I added shocks to a TT and it cost me about $150. One can cut and bolt plates a lot cheaper that the kits. That does depend on your abilities. I'm not exactly sure why they have them at such an angle. The axle moves up and down and not left and right so why the steep angle. Yes I did read what they said the reason was but I think it's perhaps more to allow a longer shock to be used. The shocks should be as vertical as they can be and this means a shorter shock. I still don't know why they use a bushing mount instead of a through bolt (referring to the last picture) which shows the incorrect mounting of a shock.

I've got a lot of background in steering and suspension and still am at a loss why TT's don't all and I mean all come from the factory with decent shocks mounted correctly. It's still a mystery to me except it's cheaper to not have them.

TeJay
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeJay View Post
I added shocks to a TT and it cost me about $150. One can cut and bolt plates a lot cheaper that the kits. That does depend on your abilities. I'm not exactly sure why they have them at such an angle. The axle moves up and down and not left and right so why the steep angle. Yes I did read what they said the reason was but I think it's perhaps more to allow a longer shock to be used. The shocks should be as vertical as they can be and this means a shorter shock. I still don't know why they use a bushing mount instead of a through bolt (referring to the last picture) which shows the incorrect mounting of a shock.

I've got a lot of background in steering and suspension and still am at a loss why TT's don't all and I mean all come from the factory with decent shocks mounted correctly. It's still a mystery to me except it's cheaper to not have them.

TeJay
So are you saying in your opinion this kit is not really a good kit or not worth it? What you said makes alot of sense, I just cant fabricate brackets that well, but if the kit isn't worth $400, I wouldn't go that way either. Did your shocks make a good difference you think? Im baffled why manufacturers dont add then standard, they cant be that much more expense.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:29 PM   #6
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I'm sure , TeJay, would agree, shocks are worth the effort to install, but this kit is over priced, and adding that upper bracket to a new trailer, frame, may effect your warranty. I'd want to check with the manufacturer before drilling or welding to the frame.
PIA: But you may have to wait till the warranty is over before attempting this modification.
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:37 PM   #7
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Monroe gas matic is was I replaced my no name OEM shocks with...big difference.
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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I have brackets for shock absorbers welded to the outside of the frame. The Joy Rider system bolt on brackets mount inside the springs and drop below the axels. I'm not sure that they would be more effective than a gas shock mounted at a 40 degree angle outside the frame. Also, my brackets are at an opposing angle. I think I already have a good solution and just need to figure out how to apply it.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:48 PM   #9
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I have an Excel 5th wheel that has Dexter axles. This came with cheap Made in China one way acting shocks. I replaced them with Made in USA Monroe Gas Magnums at $25 each from Stengel Brothers. I haul a Harley at about 900 lbs. on a Hydralift on the back of the trailer and the Monroes made a big difference.

I'm sure Stengel Brothers can help you out. Here is a link to their website. Leaf Springs, Air Springs and Suspension Parts and Service
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:57 PM   #10
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As far as warranty is concerned. What would shocks do to affect the warranty. Nothing. I can't imagine how adding shocks would affect anything on the frame that might be covered under warranty. Install em if you have the money, well worth it.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:06 PM   #11
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Drilling holes in a frame would change the structural intergrity of the frame. Also adding struts to specific points on an axle would also cause stress. This is why they could void a warranty. They do engineer trailers. They don't just have a bunch of mechanics whip these together ; o )







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As far as warranty is concerned. What would shocks do to affect the warranty. Nothing. I can't imagine how adding shocks would affect anything on the frame that might be covered under warranty. Install em if you have the money, well worth it.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:10 PM   #12
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I actually asked about this kit on a TT thread. Seems like a good idea, but as you have pointed out the kit doesn't seem to be executed very well..

Quote:
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...Can't believe they didn't " L " the bracket up the outside of the frame to spread the load and widen the attachment footprint.
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Old 08-25-2014, 08:20 AM   #13
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My point was as stated. I just don't think adding shocks needs to be that complicated. You usually don't see that kind of a set up on cars/trucks. There's just a shock mounted at a reasonable angle and attached to the frame and suspension.

You've had your question answered. Yes shocks will make a difference. How much is very much dependent on all the usual variables involved: length, loading, tires, pressures, etc, etc. To many to list. Look at it this way. If the spring movement is dampened it has to help and there is no better answer than that. Those springs have to be dampened. Shocks can and are made to dampen in both directions and with different types of valving.

Adding brackets should not be that difficult. Make them out of wood and have somebody make them for you. Send me a PM and I'll see what I can do to help.

AS far as drilling into a frame and destroying what these engineers built well I've got a lot of opinions about that. First of all when I installed brackets I used one hole which was already drilled in the frame. Then I drilled a second hole so the bracket wouldn't move. Then I made a plate the same size as the bracket and used that as a backing plate on the bracket. That made that area stronger than it was originally. So there was no weakening of the frame.

Second opinion. How many times have you read about threads discussing weak frames, stress cracks all related to thin metal flexing of weak frames and not enough braces. Don't tell me about engineers designing these TT frames. Sometimes it seems like they do just throw them together. As far as I'm concerned: Untralight, Super Lite Mega Lite, etc. phrases all spell disaster.

On our last TT we would park, extend the 4 corner braces, I added two scissor jacks under the center on each side then added two jacks under the slide. The dumb thing still flexed like a trampoline. Junk, absolute junk. That's why we went back to a MH.

TeJay
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Old 08-25-2014, 11:10 AM   #14
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Drilling 4 small holes on the bottom flange of an I-beam will do virtually nothing to cause any beam failure. Look around any RV trailer frame and you'll see holes all over. Gas lines and that plastic underlayment are all screwed to the bottom flange. If it is a Lippert frame I'd be more concerned about the poor welds holding it together.

I do agree with TeJay that the kit is over complicated.
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