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Old 06-22-2013, 05:41 PM   #43
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Shocks are designed to do one thing and one thing only. If you hit a bump in the road with no shock(s) you would bounce and continue to bounce with decreasing oscillations maybe 3, 4, or 6 times depending on how bad the bump was. Each succeeding movement would be less because the energy is dissipating. With a good shock installed you would bounce once then maybe 1/4 to an 1/8th more chassis movement then nothing. The shock would absorb the remaining heat/movement and the vehicle would settle.

I agree with your next statement that the dampening of the suspension movement would result in a firmer ride because the vehicle does not continue to bounce and yes that does improve handling. That's exactly why shocks should be installed in all TT's to smooth out the ride and improve handling.

I don't agree with your last statement that the TT just trails behind the TV and has little choice. When your TT sways does it effect the TV??? When it bounces does it not pull and jerk on the TV?? I've pulled a TT many thousands of miles and the answer is YES, YES. The TTs uncontrolled movement can and does negatively effect the TV. As a matter of fact it is my strong educated belief that good shocks will considerably reduce the chance of TT sway from happening. If shocks can control the roll and bounce it has to minimize the chance of sway. The more stable the TT platform the less it will effect the TV. I've watched my TT begin to sway and noticed how it began to pull and jerk the TV side to side.

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Old 06-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #44
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What about the effect of spring rates? Some trailers have more leaves in the spring assembly and/or stronger springs.

What about the effect of the spring bar in a WDH? Does a higher rated bar change the bounce in a trailer much. In my recent experience, going from 800 to 1200 lb bars seems to have made quite a difference in bounce.

Shocks that are available for travel or 5th wheel trailers seems to come in one size fits all. What about shock compression and rebound rates vs spring rates? Is there any info. out there on this or does it matter much on an RV?
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:51 AM   #45
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I'm not a suspension expert but I do know this. Stiffer springs (spring quality or steel, width or thickness ), more leafs and longer leafs will effect the ability to carry more weight. The rate of bounce or spring rate is also part of the equation. What I do know is that none of these factors involve what the shock is designed to do and that is to dampen or minimize the effect of the spring bounce.

As far as your statement, "One size fits all" if that's the case I would believe it. It has also been pointed out to me on several other threads in different forums that many of the shocks mounted on the mid to higher end units are for the most part useless. Many are mounted almost parallel to the ground. Tell me how a shock mounted in that position is going to control a suspension that moves up and down almost vertically. Well guess what it does not work. Since the TT industry is not to concerned about the shock mount location to make it effective there's no wonder that they think one shock fits all.

When I was doing research to find a shock for my TT I contacted a shock company, gave them the compressed and extended distances that I was working with and the weight of the TT. They recommend a shock to fit those specifications. Was it the absolute best for my situation??? Well it did the job. There might have been a better shock but it reduced the roll, and pitch and the effect that it had on the TV. If I were to do it again I Would get one that resisted compression and expansion. A shock that can resist/dampen movement in both directions would also help in reducing sway and roll.

I think it was on the Monroe web sight that they gave a primer on how to determine what shock to get for applications that fell outside the normal request. There's a lot of people that build off road stuff and there is nothing listed for their one of a kind application. If it wasn't Monroe just do a search do a search for that idea.

TeJay
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:00 AM   #46
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That's a real good question. We have had 2 MH's and then in 2010 switched to TT's. I was shocked, no pun intended, when I realized that the TT did not have shocks. I put some on and it really improved the ride. When a TT or MH or any vehicle travels down the road there are three axis of movement that need to be reduced, controlled and or dampened. They are up and down, usually controlled by the shocks, side to side or sway, controlled by anti-sway bars, and yawl or twisting of the chassis left and right and controlled by track-rods. Yawl is like when you encounter a semi on a 2-lane road or if one comes from behind the TT or TV will try to move left and/or right until the disturbance of the wind ceases. TT's don't have shocks, anti-sway bars nor track bars/rods. I taught automotive for 35 years, aligned vehicles and do understand the need to control these forces but the TT industry is only interested in making $$$. Now think about this. If you installed shocks it would dampen the effect of both up and down but also rock and roll or the side to side movement. If you hit a bump with the left side the shocks would tend to dampen the movement of the TT and reduce the sway. So why not install shocks???? Well they want you to spend $400 $800 for a WDH which also has some anti-sway control capability as well. Bottom line is just that. They want you to spend the extra $$ to control something that they should build into the unit. Ask yourself these questions. Why do most TT still use drum brakes. They figured out how to activate drum brakes with an electric magnet. Why can't they invent a way to activate disc brakes as well. Anybody with any intelligence at all knows that disc brakes are much better than drum. Would you be surprised to know that Lippert one of the major axle builders still sells axles with drum brakes and they are not self-adjusting brakes. Self-adjusting brakes came out in the early 60's. They expect you to re-pack your bearing every 12 months or 12,000 miles and to adjust your brakes while you're at it. Dexter does make self-adjusting brakes on their axles. They still expect you to re-pack your wheel bearing every year. That's stupid real stupid. Bearing on cars and truck, those tht have front wheel bearings only need to be re-packed every 30-40,000 miles. Why are TT different???? Some will tell you that they carry more weight and are expected to carry a bigger load. Then put bigger bearing on the axles. Don't make the consumer bear the expense of re-packing bearings and adjusting brakes every year. TT are built on the cheap, cheap, cheap. Our last TT weighed 6,000 and had a maximum capacity with cargo of 7,000. It came from the factory with 2-3,000 -LB axles. That's only 1,000 LBS under capacity. They will tell you that the tongue weight is subtracted for the axle weight. There may be some truth to that but you are still on the edge of overweight and over capacity.
AS you can tell I have written about this subject many, many, many time on the different forums. I know what I am talking about and I will stick to my guns. TT's are built on the cheap and they will get away with it until they get sued.

We just traded out thrid TT in for a new Winnebago MH. I was tired of the crap they pawned off as quality units. I was always adding stuff, spending $$$ to make them safer and more reliable. I didn't want to get stuck with a broken down unit.

JM2CW
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I agree 100 %, also, Why do they void the warranty on a 5th wheel if you convert it to a goosenck. Simple answer is that they do not make the frames strong enough to handle the strain, yet they use goosenecks on stock trailers that haul much heavier loads without failing. Kind of makes you wonder !!
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Old 06-24-2013, 02:05 PM   #47
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It's sorry to say, and if it sounds like I am bashing, I am - Lippert frames are very substandard and are crap. I know first hand. We have a 2 month old new TT and had the frame inspected and it is... crap. Just do some googling and you will find all kinds of posts and complaints about broken and failed Lippert frames. They own something like 95% of the market and there are no gov't mandated safety or design standards so they flog what they want to. Our frame is paper thin and the I-beams are made from 3 pieces of sheet metal welded together. The frame shop says it has "extreme flex". "Terrible, terrible, terrible" is also what the frame shop said. After only 2 months, it is showing signs of failure. Unbelievable. I can go onto any dealer's lot and find the same frame as ours. How can this happen?

The flex in our frame may in part explain why I can see the rear of the trailer bouncing up and down like it does? When our dog walks in the trailer when set up, you can really feel the bounce (or deflection in eng. terms). I am guessing that shocks would reduce vertical flex in the frame at the very rear of a trailer (while travelling) which has to be a good thing. Excessive movement/flex in a frame is going to lead to fatigue and stress cracks and failed welds so shocks should minimize this possibility. I would have to assume that when adding shocks, you should also look at strengthening the frame in the area of the suspension.

I've seen photos of shocks mounted at an angle, including Monroe. Doesn't make sense to me either when the movement is primarily (or all?) in a vertical direction. A trailer is going to pivot vertically around the hitch so I can't see the axles actually moving in a horizontal direction. Unless there is something faulty or worn out (which of course seems to happen a lot) so maybe they build this factor in? (Being facetious )

(Crappy frames are currently a hot topic for me and don't have much nice to say about the manufacturer, esp., when there is a lot of this problem happening out there.)
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #48
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I worked on a Weekend Warrior that my son bought brand new. It was the biggest piece of junk I have ever worked on. It looked like it was built by the guys that stand in front of Home Depot.
The rubber roof material was cut too short allowing the water to get into the ceiling , dry rotting the rafters. The hubs and all the suspension parts had NEVER been greased. We're as dry as a bone and had to be taken apart and cleaned out so they could be greased. The frame was a pieced together affair that was poorly done.
This was the worst I have seen although there are a few brands out there that have many complaints and never seem to be willing to make them right according to people writing in to the magazines seeking help .
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:19 PM   #49
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Our first 5th wheel was a used '97 Thor. The first few times I towed it, it jerked up and down quite hard at the hitch so I wondered if this was how 5th wheels acted. I looked underneath and the trailer had shocks, but 3 of 4 upper mounts had failed at the frame weld, so the shocks were useless. I fabricated new mounts and got all shocks well secured, and my jerky hitch issue went away.

Our 2nd 5th wheel was a '05 KZ Durango. It had factory shocks, which was the main reason we bought it over a few other brands. Also had a rear kitchen. It towed and rode very well, and no surprises in the kitchen (once I re-secured the drawer guides, but that's another story).

I have often followed trailers and many (not all) show what I consider excessive axle or body bounce which would most likely be fixed with shock absorbers. The unbalanced wheels are easy to spot. If the owners saw their rigs in motion over rough pavement from the rear, they might be concerned.

IMHO, most trailers are designed for eye-candy appeal with generally poor construction and underpinnings. No real advancement in 40-50 years, and that's real disappointing. I think it will take some foreign competition with fresh ideas to force improvement, just like the car industry.
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Old 07-06-2013, 07:52 AM   #50
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two2go,
It would be my guess that your first TT with the shocks had the shocks mounted at an almost level position and they had very little room to move. That resulted in broken shock mounts that were useless. I've had guyys tell me that with a situation like that when they took their shocks off it made no difference in the ride. Of course not. If they were mounted like that they couldn't do much good. You did what I did. mounted the shocks correctly with new mounts and it made a world of difference.

Tire balance is another issue. Why wouldn't you have TT tires balanced???? That seems a mute point to me.

Years ago I had an 1953 GMC pickup with straight front axles. It came with bias belted tires. After it was restored I took it for a ride and had to white knuckle drive it home. It was awful. When you hit a bump with the left wheel it raised the axle up and pushed the front over to the right. Road ruts were awful as well. I went back to the shop and found two old Radial tires laying around. I put those two tires on the front and I drove it home with two fingers on the steering wheel. That one example absolutely sold me on radial tires. Still some manufacturers do not put radial tires on TT's.
Shocks have to help with trailer sway as well as bounce. You have two straight axles, unless you have the Dexter Tor-Flex axles with the independent axles, when one tire hits a pump it throws the TT the opposite direction. Shocks minimize that effect.

TeJay
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #51
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If you would ever check your brake drums for balance, then you might understand that balancing trailer tires is a waste of time. My drums, on my current trailer, were out by 5-1/2 oz. I balance the complete assembly. Of the 26 hubs I've owned over the years, none were in balance.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:44 AM   #52
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Are you saying that the TT industry does not balance their drums before they are installed on the axles??? If that is what is happening then there's another reason why we went to a MH. I don't want the headaches involved with an industry that operates so poorly just to save a buck.

If you have access to equipment that balances the complete assembly that's great. Most people don't and it's hard to find a place that does.

Drum balance would be a consideration if it weren't for this. In all my years working on cars the drums were balanced. How did I know?? The drums had weights spot welded on them. The same is true for discs. There were holes drilled in the rotors to remove weight or weights placed on the vented rotor fins to add weight. It is still possible to throw or loose a weight I would agree. So if I balanced a wheel and still had an imbalance problems then I would look for lost weights.

Almost all vehicles have their wheels balanced without taking into consideration the drums or rotors. Yes there were some on the car balancers, the Hunter spin balancer comes to mind. We had one and I liked balancing with it since it did take into consideration everything that was spinning. Now everything is computer balanced unless you go to the expense of a Road Force Balancer. They are very good by the way.

I guess I'll continue waisting my time balancing my tires the best way I can to eliminate the negative effects on the bearings and suspension parts.

TeJay
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:58 AM   #53
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Are you saying that the TT industry does not balance their drums before they are installed on the axles??? If that is what is happening then there's another reason why we went to a MH. I don't want the headaches involved with an industry that operates so poorly just to save a buck.

If you have access to equipment that balances the complete assembly that's great. Most people don't and it's hard to find a place that does.

Drum balance would be a consideration if it weren't for this. In all my years working on cars the drums were balanced. How did I know?? The drums had weights spot welded on them. The same is true for discs. There were holes drilled in the rotors to remove weight or weights placed on the vented rotor fins to add weight. It is still possible to throw or loose a weight I would agree. So if I balanced a wheel and still had an imbalance problems then I would look for lost weights.

Almost all vehicles have their wheels balanced without taking into consideration the drums or rotors. Yes there were some on the car balancers, the Hunter spin balancer comes to mind. We had one and I liked balancing with it since it did take into consideration everything that was spinning. Now everything is computer balanced unless you go to the expense of a Road Force Balancer. They are very good by the way.

I guess I'll continue waisting my time balancing my tires the best way I can to eliminate the negative effects on the bearings and suspension parts.

TeJay
That is what I am saying. The drums have not been balanced for many years, in fact now thay are cast and machined so poorly that thay can be extremely out of balance. You will not eliminate effects of imbalance unless the complete assembly is balanced, thus the waste of time.

I have a tool & die shop and made simple balance equipment to correct my problems.

What you can do without any equipment:
The next time that you have a drum off, remove the seal and bearings.
Wash the bearings, spindle and hub to remove all traces of grease.
Back off or remove the brake shoes on one spindle.
Reassemble with a few drops of very light oil on the bearings and no seal.
Keep the bearings slightly loose and perfectly clean.
The drum will rotate to where the heavy side is down.
If known, the heavy side of tire goes opposite the heavy part of the drum.
Install the tire/wheel on the hub, using all the lugnuts.
The heavy side of the assembly will rotate to the bottom.
Apply wheel weights to wheel till balance is accomplished.
Mark heavy spots on wheel and drum.
Mark lug locations.
Balance all wheels on that one cleaned spindle.
Clean, lube, assemble and adjust brakes as usual.
This is a lot of work, but you can achive balance within 1/2 oz.
I use the stick on weights from Harbor Freight so that I can keep the weights more in line with the drum.

I doubt that anyone will do the above, but I just wanted to offer a solution.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:35 PM   #54
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I agree with this. I have become so skeptical of RV quality now, esp. trailers. If it's not there on things you can see or easily find, why would there be quality parts that most owners never touch or get involved with? To provide properly balanced brake assemblies and the wheels, that would, hmmm, cost RV makers more money so why would they do that if they can get away without it?

We were supposed to get Alko brakes on our new custom ordered trailer but instead got ones labelled AxleTek. They are, surprise, surprise, made in China. Can't find out much about them on the internet, but the frame shop we took our (brand new) trailer to recently said that the AxleTek brakes are junk. If I were to check them, I am pretty sure that I'd find them out of balance, and maybe a lot.

The average trailer owner isn't going to know about or understand things like this until a few years down the road after warranty and have to repair something. Then they're told that's typical and you have to live with it. The dealers and repair shops must do well because of this kind of thing.

Sounds like it would be prudent to remove the drums on a new trailer and get them checked for out of round and balance? It took over a year on our last trailer for the dealer to find out that the drums were out of round and needed replacing. The brakes were a real problem from day one. Lippert brakes - 'nuf said.....
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:12 PM   #55
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I agree with this. I have become so skeptical of RV quality now, esp. trailers. If it's not there on things you can see or easily find, why would there be quality parts that most owners never touch or get involved with? To provide properly balanced brake assemblies and the wheels, that would, hmmm, cost RV makers more money so why would they do that if they can get away without it?

We were supposed to get Alko brakes on our new custom ordered trailer but instead got ones labelled AxleTek. They are, surprise, surprise, made in China. Can't find out much about them on the internet, but the frame shop we took our (brand new) trailer to recently said that the AxleTek brakes are junk. If I were to check them, I am pretty sure that I'd find them out of balance, and maybe a lot.

The average trailer owner isn't going to know about or understand things like this until a few years down the road after warranty and have to repair something. Then they're told that's typical and you have to live with it. The dealers and repair shops must do well because of this kind of thing.

Sounds like it would be prudent to remove the drums on a new trailer and get them checked for out of round and balance? It took over a year on our last trailer for the dealer to find out that the drums were out of round and needed replacing. The brakes were a real problem from day one. Lippert brakes - 'nuf said.....
My son and I each have Al-Ko brakes and we both have the same amount of off-balance, 5-1/2 oz. There is little provision for balancing the drums, On mine, I ground off the heavy side as much as I dared and still had several ounces to go. My son turned his in a lathe and was able to get his a bit closer, but not right. The final balance was done by the method described above.

I had Dexter brakes that were nearly as bad as the Al-Ko. I tried the Chinese made brakes on another trailer, due to repeated issues with the Dexters on it, but the magnet wires broke off first trip.

Many drums do not run true causing the brakes to pulsate, but if you have the self-adjusting feature it can be even worse. The runout can cause the brakes to over adjust.

Yes, it would be prudent to check the drums for runout. Most auto machine shops can turn the drums true, just make sure that they use the bearing races to locate the drum. There is no point in replacing a drum as the new one might be as bad as the original.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:02 AM   #56
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lynmor,
Thanks for the procedure to balance drums. I have never heard of that method but it makes perfect sense. I guess I can go back to bed because I did learn something new today.

I am very disappointed, but not surprised that the TT industry would be so lax in something so important as drums and brakes. I should have realized it when our first TT came with no self-adjusting brakes. I asked the question and got the usual answers: Who want's to back up and stop a dozen times just to adjust your brakes??? You're supposed to service your bearings and wheels every year and adjustment is part of that service, and on and on and on.

Out last TT had the Dexter Tor-Flex axles and I liked them and they did have self-adjusting brakes. We only put a few thousand miles before we traded it for our MH so I don't know if the adjuster and drums were good or not.

Again, lynmor, thanks for the information about balancing drums.

TeJay
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