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Still working on my "ruff" ride. (Air ride on 5th)


oletimer

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When we ordered our new 5th, I added air ride to the build, thinking I wanted the best ride possible. In the last few months, I have posted(?) or sent PMs to several experts here for help, and as always got good response. I have rebuilt hitch (ET), adjusted, lowered tire pressure, changed bag height, monitored with camera while in route, etc. Still have more damage than on any of our other trailers. BTW, this is our 5th new 5th. We have had leaf spring, Tort-a-flex(sp), Mor/Ryde RE, Mor/Ryde IE, so have been disappointed. The ride "looks" smooth, but the bouncing/chucking is not good, had a lot of damage. The trailer is at the factory, (good folks), and we are both thinking that we need to add weight to the rear of the trailer. I did find, my leveler valve on the Volvo was malfunctioning some causing the hitch height to be inconsistent while in transit, got that fixed, and that helped a lot. I know I need to have each tire weighed, but none close by, so I have did the best with what I have.(60' platform scale) The front axel on the Volvo is light at 6,500#, so I removed some tool boxes so the Jeep can move forward some, the total trailer weight is about 23,000# with the pin weight at 6,200#, and as best as I can tell, the rear trailer is about 1,000# lighter than the front axel. I know this is a LONG story, but we are now thinking it might help to move the batteries(10-6V AGMs) from the front to the rear. In doing that, I think it would add a little weight to the front truck axle, remove some pin weight, increase the rear trailer axel weight, there by, reducing some of the "bounce". Any thoughts? My biggest concern is the batteries would then be about 25' from the inverter, solar controller, etc., and it is now working better than ever. This winter even with about 50% cloudy days the first month, we used very little generator. We are checking cable size, voltage drop, etc. Trying to get this all done incase we decide to run somewhere after the next election!! Just kiddin' (I think). As always, Thanks for any & all comments.

 

Dick T

2006 Volvo VNL 630(VED12 400HP)
10 speed autoshift,3.58 gear 236" twin screw, w/ET, Jackalopee, Blue Dot
2016 Space Craft 37'

Blu/Dot, Dexter 8K triple axel, HD Drum hydraulic brakes

Feather lite air ride
2005 Jeep Rubicon
2007 Suzuki DR 650

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I wouldn't remove pin weight. If the ET is doing its job let it be.

I would look at the current suspension under the trailer. Are the current air bags rated for the weight they are carrying? Or are they inflating to 75%-100% of air pressure? The more air pressure the stiffer the bag the harder the ride.

Are there any shocks on the axles? Replacement?

Not knowing your rig, is this one of the tandem wheel, tandem axle Teton's?

A triple axle will ride smoother than dual because when 1 wheel falls into a hole, you still have 2 on that side to carry the load, on tandem wheels, what 1 wheel hits affects the other wheel beside it.

I would get weighed somehow, adjust airbag suspension pressures, and adjust tire pressures.

Henry may suggest going to the 1 big air bag on the hitch instead of the 4 smaller ones. That may help on the front of the rv.

Jim's Adventures

Old Spacecraft.... Who knows whats next

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Dick, I have been exploring the air suspension system since you and I talked before, and found that Dexter changed it system in May of 2010 away from the system that you and I had on the Tetons. I also found that their new system cannot be added as after market. It has to be part of the build process.

 

Jim, this is on Dick's current Spacecraft.

 

Dick, that new suspension doesn't look like it has the same amount of travel that our old systems had. There are supposed to be installation instructions on Dexter's website. I'm going to try and take a look there to see what leveling valve (I believe they call it their Height Control Valve Kit now) is supposed to be set at, for height and for air pressure.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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I did not see where it mentions the air pressure in the bags? It does talk about the tank compressor coming on at 110 lbs, and shutting off at 145 lbs. As you know, your newer control system is way different than what you and I had on the Tetons. Have them install a pressure gauge in between your Height Control Valve (which I now believe has only one set up similar to the old system) and one of the bags. I guess you'll have to contact Dexter to find out what that pressure should be. But like Jim said, if that line pressure is way up there, you now have a rubber bumper causing you issues.

 

If that swing arm is now in a fixed postion (because of too high air pressure) I'm not sure the torsion part of the system is doing anything?

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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Thanks guys, I will check the bag pressure.

Jim, I have now updated my profile to show new unit sorry for the confusion. Speaking of which, I had even forgot how to do that, so I now updated my brain some!

Rocky, You are right, I have about 4-5" of total travel only. I have played with that with no luck. Maybe I will add a pressure regulator to the trailer bags though.

BTW, how's the new knee, are you in KC area now? Dick T

 

On edit, the changes on my profile are not showing up, so I guess I now need some more work on the brain part.

2006 Volvo VNL 630(VED12 400HP)
10 speed autoshift,3.58 gear 236" twin screw, w/ET, Jackalopee, Blue Dot
2016 Space Craft 37'

Blu/Dot, Dexter 8K triple axel, HD Drum hydraulic brakes

Feather lite air ride
2005 Jeep Rubicon
2007 Suzuki DR 650

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Back in the day of boat building, our smaller boats (34-40') were usually delivered on triple axle trailers that had torsion suspension. As I remember they had 4-5" of travel. Never had any issues with that system. But I do remember when talking to the trailer rep, he wanted to know exactly what weights we would be transporting so the that the right tension spring was installed.

Talking with Robert Springfield at the past ECR about their SC, he mentioned that it rode well on the air setup. Don't know if this is the same air/torsion or if his is true "air" ride.

Jim's Adventures

Old Spacecraft.... Who knows whats next

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Dick, if your trailer is rising 4 to 5 inches upon inflation, then it sounds like it is getting full air pressure surpassing the height control valve. Or your valve is set too high. That pressure should already be regulated coming out of the tank, so I would have them just install a temporary gauge to see what it is, or unplug the line at the bag and attach it there to see what it is.

 

You've got the right hitch and I gotta believe that you are hitting some hard stops somewhere in that suspension.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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Looking at the schematic at Dexter, I don't see a regulator valve, so it must be the Height Control Valve that does it?

 

The manual does talk about an adjustment clamp nut to be put between 24 to 48 In. Lbs. Sounds like this might be where your bag pressure limiter is. Have them check that first. It doesn't show a gauge on it, might just be a marking.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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Rocky,

The travel was one of the things that confused me, because when I first talked to Wyatt, and we spoke about travel, I thought I would have that 4-5". In fact the travel is 2 1/2" down, and 2" up, so when I set the travel, and it is with a leveler valve just like on the Volvo, and ET, it is a height control valve, not pressure. I had a Trailer Saver hitch on my Freightliner hitch and with that hitch I controlled the hitch height with a pressure valve. It would be simple to add one to the trailer bags. I do have Dexter 8K axels, but Dexter doesn't have air ride for an 8K axel, just up to 7K. I didn't know that until I picked up the 5th, but I'm sure I would not changed anything.

My air ride is Feather Ride, I think, all my info is now in Concordia with the truck and trailer. I'm lost without all my junk. I'm hopeful we will get this worked out, but it made for an interesting winter. I had to throw my hat in the door every time I wanted to enter. There were times the "Top Dog" was not too happy.

2006 Volvo VNL 630(VED12 400HP)
10 speed autoshift,3.58 gear 236" twin screw, w/ET, Jackalopee, Blue Dot
2016 Space Craft 37'

Blu/Dot, Dexter 8K triple axel, HD Drum hydraulic brakes

Feather lite air ride
2005 Jeep Rubicon
2007 Suzuki DR 650

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That PDF also has complete instructions on how to set it up. Start with all air out of system. Measure height of trailer from ground. Air up system and adjust up or down on that valve to get the height to 2 1/2 inches. If it is lower, you're bottoming out. If is is higher, you're still getting some type of "jarring" situation, but not sure how much.

 

Like the leveling valve on our trucks, and on those hitches that have it, the amount of air pressure will be determined according to what the weight is and how much air it takes to get it to the ride height.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

30495168531_143d8fb8d6_m.jpg

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Rocky,

The travel was one of the things that confused me, because when I first talked to Wyatt, and we spoke about travel, I thought I would have that 4-5". In fact the travel is 2 1/2" down, and 2" up, so when I set the travel, and it is with a leveler valve just like on the Volvo, and ET, it is a height control valve, not pressure. I had a Trailer Saver hitch on my Freightliner hitch and with that hitch I controlled the hitch height with a pressure valve. It would be simple to add one to the trailer bags. I do have Dexter 8K axels, but Dexter doesn't have air ride for an 8K axel, just up to 7K. I didn't know that until I picked up the 5th, but I'm sure I would not changed anything.

My air ride is Feather Ride, I think, all my info is now in Concordia with the truck and trailer. I'm lost without all my junk. I'm hopeful we will get this worked out, but it made for an interesting winter. I had to throw my hat in the door every time I wanted to enter. There were times the "Top Dog" was not too happy.

Dick, if the valve on there is the same as our trucks, I don't think it is the correct valve.

Rocky & Sheri Rhoades
'01 Volvo 770
2016 DRV Mobile Suites, Houston
HERO Makers Ministry

 

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Dick, I cannot help with your suspension issues - Rocky is far more expert on that than I am.

 

I CAN comment on some other items, though.

 

First, you CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT mount the batteries that far from the inverter. DO NOT DO IT. Period. Anyone that advises otherwise does not know what they are talking about. If you want detailed reasons why, just email me. If you DO decide you need the weight back there then move the inverter as well. That would be no issue (technically).

 

You want 23% or more pin weight on an HDT, IMO. Henry can chime in if he wants, but that is what I would be looking for.

Jack & Danielle Mayer #60376 Lifetime Member
Living on the road since 2000

PLEASE no PM's. Email me. jackdanmayer AT gmail
2016 DRV Houston 44' 5er (we still have it)
2022 New Horizons 43' 5er
2016 Itasca 27N 28' motorhome 
2019 Volvo 860, D13 455/1850, 236" wb, I-Shift, battery-based APU
No truck at the moment - we use one of our demo units
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Thanks Jack for the comment, and many times I have checked your page for information, and mostly follow it. I did however split my 50 amp service box on my pervious 5th, with no problem, except ONCE. I think that was why you don't recommend that split. I sometimes learn the hard way. In my earlier life I pulled a tanker with 5,500 gallon of fertilizer or water with an old Mack. In the field, and sometimes even on wet payment, with the front axel light it would slide. I was always careful, and with the Grace, never caused a real problem, but with this pin about 5-6' behind boggy, my front axel is to light, so I have moved the Jeep forward some, and was thinking if I could take a little weight off the hitch, I might be able to get to around 25% on the pin. That is/was what I was shooting for. As far as the batteries go, IF, I move them to the rear, I will do as you say, and move the inverter as well. I will also check about current from the panels to the controller as well. Sure gets complicated for an oletimer! Dick T

 

BTW, when that old Mack would slide on the payment in the city, the payment wasn't the only thing that ended up wet.

2006 Volvo VNL 630(VED12 400HP)
10 speed autoshift,3.58 gear 236" twin screw, w/ET, Jackalopee, Blue Dot
2016 Space Craft 37'

Blu/Dot, Dexter 8K triple axel, HD Drum hydraulic brakes

Feather lite air ride
2005 Jeep Rubicon
2007 Suzuki DR 650

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Dick, just another suggestion, you know this has been bothering me. Could it be that with all those "aggressive" suspension components you just have too much float in the entire system. I am thinking about Mark Shelley's rig very similar to yours, same manufacturer and also with air axle suspension. I actually rode side by side with his rig videotaping the behavior of the hitch and saw very little motion. Now this would be a radical departure and fix but sometimes desperate problems require desperate measures. Mark uses an ET Junior which has significantly lower profile and is limited only to couple inches of motion. I would be willing to help you with that to make it palatable if you wish.

 

The gimp, till the 14th of June!

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Looking at the photo of your truck/trailer wheelbase, hitch position, trailer axle position, and the weights you measured, my seat of the pant guess is you are perhaps experiencing a frequency coupling issue. I'd do some easy experimentation with the hitch, truck suspension, and trailer suspension air bag pressures and see if you can dial it out.

"There are No Experts, Do the Math!"

2014 Freightliner Cascadia DD16 600hp  1850ft-lb  18spd  3.31  260"wb
SpaceCraft S-470
SKP #131740

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Maybe dumb question, but are you experiencing the rough ride in the Front or Back of the trailer? On my trailer, the front rode terrible until I added the air hitch. All the clothes off the rod in the closet, etc. Now you can set a glass on the floor up at the front and it doesn't spill. But at the BACK...different story (torqueflex triaxle). My point is you may be able to determine which suspension is causing the problem by which part of the 5r has the worse bounce issues.

No camper at present.

Way too many farm machines to maintain.

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Jeff,

At first, the ruff ride was every where, but after rebuilding the ET with Henry, BTW, who is great pain with his knee problem, and tweeking the bags, etc., I think the problem might be, to little weight on the rear axel. Now, the damage is confined to the rear of the 5th. Plus after finding the leveler valve on the Volvo was malfunctioning, and fixing that, I think by adding some weight to the rear of the 5th, might be a big help. Will let folks know in the next few days. Also, like you, too many motors to maintain, not all tractors, as we now rent out our wheat ground, hay ground, and pasture, but with 3 tractors, 2 skid loaders, sprayers, mowers, trucks, cars, ATVs, boat, Seadoos, tillage tools, I counted the other day, and I service over 20 motors. Who said retirement was boring??? Ain't life great!!! God is good!!

 

Dick T

2006 Volvo VNL 630(VED12 400HP)
10 speed autoshift,3.58 gear 236" twin screw, w/ET, Jackalopee, Blue Dot
2016 Space Craft 37'

Blu/Dot, Dexter 8K triple axel, HD Drum hydraulic brakes

Feather lite air ride
2005 Jeep Rubicon
2007 Suzuki DR 650

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It's been said we cannot own too many engines ... it's too many batteries... B)

32 engines, 40+ batteries, and over 220 tires. Wife says it's time to thin the herd.

KW T-680, POPEMOBILE
Newmar X-Aire, VATICAN
Lots of old motorcycles, Moto Guzzi Griso and Spyder F3 currently in the front row
Young enough to play in the dirt as a retired farmer.
contact me at rickeieio1@comcast.net

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