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Donvel Motion Controls?


CrazyCooter

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Anyone used them? http://www.donvel.com/

 

I sold/installed them over the years for air ride diesel pushers under the Super Steer name, but never knew who actually made them. Looks like Donvel caters to the class 8 truck crowd.

 

I went ahead and ordered a pair for the cab and seats to start with, but I'm also interested in the steer axle system.........The truck rides pretty well already, but there are always little improvements that can be made. With the set back axle, things have been know to get a little rowdy on the back roads.

 

Last week I installed new cab bushings as mine were cracked and compressed pretty good. Hoping for some more isolation and noise reduction.

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Interesting. The 610 Volvo just has the leaf spring and shock front end. I thought about cobbling an air ride system together to just soften the ride a little more than what new shocks do.

When I do the cab air bags and shocks, I'll add a set of these in. We do have some bounce and roll in the cab. But the shocks are 18 years old by my best guess.

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I never noticed what the bag and shock spacing off center was for the other brands, but on my Peterbilt, the bags are spaced about 40" apart and the shocks are only 16". Not much to dampen side to side rocking......this is what put me on the Donvels.

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The basic concept is fine. My problem with any aftermarket product like this is they are a little late to the party. These types of things to be really effective need to be engineered right into the component. And most class 8 tractors these days have some flavor of air ride front axle. I am betting the OEM's have changed the steel spring/shock rates on those axles to allow the air ride to do it's job effectively. Air bags added onto a steel spring that is rated for use without any other just don't have those variables done right.

And modern seats have all of the things mentioned in the website already.

Let us know if the placebo effect was worth the money.

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I know the motion controls work on the suspension as I have been installing them for 20+ years on motorhomes. I'm pretty sure they will help with the cab, but the seats I'm a little skeptical on. Figured they were cheap and have a money back guarantee.

 

The front air ride, I'm not sure would be worth it.....Those might be a waste of money, however they get good reviews on the trucker websites from cabover owners.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was introduced to Don and Velma Vale in 1999. They both are retired owner/operators otr drivers. Don was always plagued with the rough ride and poor handeilng of his trucks so he engineered and perfected this device. I used to use shock absorbers on the air ride hitch I was manufacturing. Once I started using the "DVIs" I was able to discontinue the shocks. He will tell you that the device is not a one size fits all. I also used them on a 2004 Peterbilt that had air ride seats. We tried a few different sizes (orfice size) until we found the perfect ones. From that point on my wife would not let anyone sit in her seat! Don is a great man to work with, he will do you right.

 

USCWP

WI

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I think Don retired and the kids are running now. The woman I spoke with when inquiring and ordering was super friendly and helpful.

 

I actually road tested the truck for the first time this morning since installing the Motion Controls. The cab was night and day difference! I could tell the rocking was almost completely gone before I left in the dirt lot I park in. The seats might take a little more time under rougher high speed conditions before I feel the difference although the seat seems to compress a little slower when I first sit down. Thinking I'm going to go ahead and get the Motion Controls for the drive axle and some for the Dodge's drive axle too.

 

When I ordered the seat controls, she asked for weight and height of the people riding in them for a tailored ride. I assume they will recommend something a little lighter than normal for the Pete's drive axle since we don't run fully loaded all the time like something in a commercial application.

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In some of these trucks, the air lines from one side to the other are common. So when force is place one one bag, the air move to the other. Others are valves that either allow air to blow out on rise and inflate on drop. By placing these devices in place, they act as restrictor or preferated check valve. Air can move in quickly but in exiting its slowed way down forcing the bladder on the bags to cushion more vs deflating. This can also be done by changing the leveling valve to another type that has a delay on movement. The valve allows for a certain amount of suspension movement before either inflating or releasing. The other is to insert a speed controller which allows you to adjust and tune the rate of air release for your usage. They look like this:

post-54993-0-92385400-1464747291_thumb.jpeg

 

About it install a speed controller on my cab. On winding roads with lots of ups and downs in a short space, the cab rides up, bags deflate, then cab comes down hitting the rubber stops and bags inflate again ....

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  • 1 month later...

After about 1000 miles seat time I was sold on the Motion Controls for both the seats and cab, so I added a pair to the drive axle last week too.

 

One complaint I have always had with the way this truck drives compared to my pickup or shorter wheelbase Jeep is understeer especially while pulling the 5er. In my smaller vehicles I would add an anti-sway bar or maybe a heavier spring rate to the rear.....Not that easy with Airleaf, but Motion Controls could provide a similar effect. Drove 100 miles of tight back roads yesterday and very pleased! Roll the corners with confidence at 1.5 times the rec. posted speed with ease......Can't wait to hook up! Purposing and side/side rock reduced as well!

 

These little bullets are by far the cheapest major improvement I have made to the Pete.

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It would have to help.....

 

The only thing I find annoying since the install is that since I'm running lower air pressure now, when my 10lb dog jumps on my lap I have to air the seat up or I bottom out. That's a small price for not topping out the seat running higher air pressure without the motion control.

 

They offer a money back guarantee, so why not try one if it makes your work more comfortable? I have friends who drive OTR and Logging and they will not spend a dime for comfort......... If that was how I made my living, I'd do anything to not be tired/beat at the end of the day!

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Yes, the motion controls restrict the speed at which the air leaves and returns to the bag. On a Peterbilt, the shocks are center mounted with only 2.5-3' of separation and do almost nothing to damp the rocking, just up/down. Reduced the rocking by at least 70% with just the cab controls alone.

 

Here is a pic...... Literally, just cut the air line as close as possible to the bag and insert in between! 5 min job. The drive axle took 20 mins since they threaded in and I eliminated some plumbing from when it was tandem.

 

teaserbox_4214773640.png?t=1445545558

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, the motion controls restrict the speed at which the air leaves and returns to the bag. On a Peterbilt, the shocks are center mounted with only 2.5-3' of separation and do almost nothing to damp the rocking, just up/down. Reduced the rocking by at least 70% with just the cab controls alone.

 

Here is a pic...... Literally, just cut the air line as close as possible to the bag and insert in between! 5 min job. The drive axle took 20 mins since they threaded in and I eliminated some plumbing from when it was tandem.

 

teaserbox_4214773640.png?t=1445545558

 

Have you pulled your 5er yet?

 

I just ordered the cab and drive axle controls for the 610 I have.

Robin stated that I should install the cab controls first and drive for a week or so, then install the drive controls to see the improvement.

 

That was my plan all along, and he stated that the front axle controls would make a big improvement, but if I was happy with the cab and drive controls, don't install the front axle control kit.

 

I will report back on the improvement it made.

 

Roger

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  • 4 months later...

I installed both the cab and rear bag controls just before I left for Florida to go the the Tampa RV show.

Boy, not the same truck, great ride and the steering is much improved, wind did not effect the cab or steering.

 

I am sold and recommend this product.

 

Roger

How is it bobtail?

Donvel also has an air bag/air ride system for the front end of our trucks. Don't know how much it would improve, but it should help dampen the rebound.

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How is it bobtail?

Donvel also has an air bag/air ride system for the front end of our trucks. Don't know how much it would improve, but it should help dampen the rebound.

Jim,

I haven't bobtailed very far, but as far as I can tell it has a improvement as well.

We did bobtail from Tampa to Clearwater, in a good side wind, drove the same as with the trailer.

 

Roger

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