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RV suspension


India and Randall

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Hi all, we are full timers this year and loving it. I have a 2008, 36 foot, cedar creek 5th wheel. I pull it with 2004 Dodge Ram 3500 dually. When the highway is not perfect, The rig has a lot more rear movement vertically than seems normal. A good example might be a poor bridge to road transition. When I go over it at 55 mph the rear of the camper can start bouncing 3 or 4 times at 12 inches or so which has got to be rough on the system and my nerves. Under the camper there is only leaf springs and axles. I have new shocks on the truck and air bags. I looked under a more modern RV and saw shock absorbers. can I get some feedback on this problem and is adding a third axle a possible solution.

 

Randall

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My 1995 Jayco had shock absorbers, so this is not a new thing for 5 wheels. I also did not have problems with rear bounce, and I had a rear kitchen in the Jayco. I think some shocks on your CC would probably solve your issue, and they will be a LOT cheaper than a third axle.

 

Finding the right size shocks will be the issue. CC may have even offered shocks as a factory upgrade. Perhaps give the factory a call and see if they can give you a model number for some shocks.

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Solid axles, leaf springs and no shocks amounts to my grandfathers' suspension systems (and they were both born in the late 1800s...). The reason so many RV manufacturers still use this setup is because it is the least expensive to produce. The typical solid axle/leaf spring RV suspension allows for about 2 - 2-1/2" of travel. If an irregularity in the road - or the RV's reaction to it - is greater than that, the whole RV moves up and down.

 

That said, we had an additional problem with our suspension system (a bent axle/spindle that was causing excessive tire wear on one tire). I was also unsatisfied with the performance of the OEM drum brakes. Rather than replace the one axle and upgrade to disc brakes on an outdated suspension system, we pulled up to MOR/ryde in Elkhart, IN, and had the MOR/ryde independent suspension system and electric-over-hydraulic disc brakes installed. The system allows for up to 5-1/2" of travel, is not nearly as stiff as leaf springs, and has shock absorbers. Tire wear issues are gone, the rig us MUCH more stable, tracks straight, and stops in about 1/3 the distance. The trailer now rides better than the truck! I'm certain that both the trailer and truck chassis as well as the interior of the RV will all last longer. It's not cheap, but as full-timers, we see it as good insurance for our home.

 

http://www.morryde.com/products/87-independent-suspension-system

 

Rob

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Some options to consider

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are happy to have you join us here and we will do our best to answer any questions and to support you in any way that we are able.

 

Reading the responses already given, I'll simply say that it appears the issue has bee well covered so I have nothing of value to add.

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Hi Rob,

 

This Mor/Ryde thing seems to be the cat's meow! :-) seriously, can you tell us how expensive it was to purchase and install?

 

Cheers,

--

Vall.

 

Ron's number is a bit low. Our 7,000 lb (x2) system with the disc brakes, controller, adapter module and labor was about $6,200 out the door. The 8,000 lb. "axles" are a bit more. The experience was as good as it gets for this type of thing.

 

Rob

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Interesting. Have not gotten there yet, but in August I had a quote from Mor/Ryde for independent suspension only, no brakes, of $3,100 parts and labor for 7k and $3,600 for 8k axles with duals.

 

Probably going to get it done this winter when we get into our new house.

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Had the MORryde independent suspension plus disc brakes installed in May in Elkhart. $6500 with Prodigy P3 controller. Love it. We also got the Trailer Saver BD3 air ride hitch. $2500. Love that too. Since then we have pulled our 40' Montana about 10k miles. The improvement is amazing. Expensive, Yes. Worth it. Yes. Don't worry about which weight axles to get. The first thing they do is weigh your rig. Then they manufacture the proper capacity components on site. We also got a couple cool t-shirts!

 

I put air bags on our Ram 3500 a few years ago. $400. Installed myself. Glad we did that. It takes a bit to get all the air-ride items set up right but when everything is in its sweet spot, they are all worth it.

 

Something to consider: Take a look at all the things in your trailer. The excessive bouncing could be due to too much weight in the rear.

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Thanks RonMon, Rob L, Dennis M and Kevin H for the info on pricing.

 

I'm also very interested in this:

Don't worry about which weight axles to get. The first thing they do is weigh your rig. Then they manufacture the proper capacity components on site.

I wonder whether this "custom axle" thing could be used to upgrade the rather flimsy CCC of our currently preferred floorplan, the Grand Design Reflections 30BH. The factory spec is 11995(GVWR) - 9105(UVW) = 2890 lb, and we'd like to have at least 3500 and preferably 4000 lb.

 

Could any of this be reachable by just upgrading the factory axles (probably 5k if my math is right) to 6k as part of the suspension overhaul? Or would there be any frame/structural/whatever issues?

 

Cheers,

--

Vall.

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Our trailer came with three Mor/Ryde IS, 7000# axles and a Demco Glide pin box. We tow with a TrailerSaver TS3 air ride hitch in the truck. Overall the ride is good unless you get on some really bad roads, which there seems to be plenty.

 

If the OP is getting a lot of rear end bounce, I would suspect he may be light on the pin.

 

Ken

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Hi; this is Randall, I am so thankful fo everyone's advice so far. I should not be so surprised as you all are my new extended family as fellow Escapees. At first I was going to respond to individuals by gmail but that didn't make any sense on a Forum platform.

 

We did weigh the camper and we are within the gross weight numbers on the kitchen cabinet.

 

I will read everything and try to get info from Cedar Creek.about what shock to use or other solutions. I have a blog where I talk about our trip. In Virginia the shackles that connect the leaf spring assembly together broke and we had a Good Sam weekend stranded in a Food lion parking lot.

 

We thought that was behind us and then in South Dakota it happened on the passengers side an this time the leaf springs were just a mangled mess. At great expense we had a fabrication shop create a whole new beefed up steel frame to support new leaf springs and hardware. The welder/ owner said he normally sees leaf springs like mine on a ski boat trailer. I love my camper but I'm a little mad at Forest River for the design that is mean't to fall apart at 7 to 10 years. Maybe their research says that this works as a business model as people trade in for a new camper before problems like mine occur.

 

We live in a disposable society and I'm fine with that for a bic lighter or a 50 dollar VCR but it should not be that way for things flying down the highway at 60 mph.

 

This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for my new found friends in the Escapees.

 

Randall

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I have had three rv's with Mor/Ryde IS two tandem dually and one triple axle we just bought a 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire which has twin Dexter 10k tandem dually axles and can't wait to convert over to the MR it makes all the difference in ride and tracking of the fifth wheel. The people at Mor/Ryde said it would take a few months to gather up all the parts to make the swap since they have not done a tandem dually MR since 2007. The cost est was $9,200 for the conversion but it will be well worth it. Hopefully I can find someone that would like to buy two 10k Dexters with duals.

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