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trailer suspension

Jack1776
Explorer
Explorer
I bought a 2020 gulfstream vintage crusier single axle and towing it with my 2021 Ford 150. My queston is: Is it practical to upgrade the trailer suspension for a smoother ride and/or sway? and if so, what would someone recommend?

Thanks...Vincent
31 REPLIES 31

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
wanderingbob wrote:
If it ain't broke , fix it till it is ???


Yep, that crowd probably just sent the OP packing, to never return…
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

wanderingbob
Explorer II
Explorer II
If it ain't broke , fix it till it is ???

aftermath
Explorer II
Explorer II
Jack1776 wrote:
I bought a 2020 gulfstream vintage crusier single axle and towing it with my 2021 Ford 150. My queston is: Is it practical to upgrade the trailer suspension for a smoother ride and/or sway? and if so, what would someone recommend?

Thanks...Vincent


Vincent, so now you have had all the ideas one can consume. I will simply say, your trailer will be fine. It is important to look at the tires though. Check the Load Range against the weight of the trailer and air them up as needed. If the load range is just slightly above the weigh of the trailer air the tires to the max.

Load the trailer avoiding putting heavy items at the back. Better to have more weight on the tongue.

BUT...get a good WD hitch with built in sway control and get it dialed in as per manufacturer's recommendations. Trailer sway is something to be avoided.
2017 Toyota Tundra, Double Cab, 5.7L V8
2006 Airstream 25 FB SE
Equalizer Hitch

PButler96
Explorer
Explorer
Jack1776 wrote:
I'm sorry I didn't make my self clear. I haven't experienced any significant problems, but my wife and I are planning an extended 3 to 6 month trip and wanted to be pro-active. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks again.


If you have no problems now, why do you expect problems? Or spend away applying solutions to non problems like you'll be told to do on this and every other RV related board on the net.

You need a Moryde,Goodyear Endurance tires, wet bolts, shocks, disc brakes,a $4000.00 Propride hitch, and a schwansoculator. By the time some of the knuckleheads on thesr boards are done you'll have more $ in the suspension than you paid for the whole trailer of you listen to them.
I have a burn barrel in my yard.

profdant139
Explorer II
Explorer II
For whatever it's worth, I have had small (12 foot box!) single axle trailers for the past 17 years. My first one had a torsion suspension. It was not a smooth tow -- bouncy and noisy.

After six years, I got a new trailer (virtually identical to the old one) and had the dealership install leaf springs, shocks, and an axle flip (for better ground clearance).

Since then, I have towed about ten thousand miles a year, with no bounce. We tow on everything from rough California freeways to two-track forest roads.

I have an anti-friction sway bar -- the trailer is too small for a WD. I do pay careful attention to tongue weight, and I am running Endurance Load Range D tires -- which is way more tire than I really need.

But this is just anecdotal info -- I am NOT an expert.

I should also add that I use a "quiet hitch" type device to take the slop out of the connection between the ball mount and the receiver. It makes a big difference -- absolutely no "porpoising," lugging, or chugging.
2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."

propchef
Explorer
Explorer
Today I learned that shock absorbers are "...modern or exotic aftermarket gadgets..."


Good luck OP. Let us know what you decide.

ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
not sure how much it will help on a smaller trailer like the OP has, but the item that made the biggest improvement in TV ride with our 34ft TT was an air safe air hitch. It does a great job of isolating trailer and truck movement. We can watch the trailer move up and down on frost heaves an hardly feel it in the TV.

Now that said. the hitch is expensive and heavy. So unless you travel a great deal it probably isn't worth it. For us it's been great. They now have a class III air hitch for smaller trailers which looks lighter and likely is less expensive. Mine is a class VI.

And the Air safe air hitch is compatible with most WD and sway control systems. We use the Reese dual cam system with ours.
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
2004 14' bikehauler with full living quarters
2015.5 Denali 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison
2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
propchef wrote:
valhalla360 wrote:
propchef wrote:
OP, the suspension on nearly all bumper-pull RVs and 5th wheels is state of the art directly from the 1920's. VERY rudimentary. It's one of the major causes of tire failure.


Just because it's been around a while, doesn't mean it's bad.

Your heavy duty pickups all use leaf springs. I think only Dodge has tried coil springs on the 3/4 ton trucks (1 ton they still use leaf) and there are mixed thoughts on that use of more advanced technology.

Typically failures can be traced to...road debris, overloading and/or low tire pressure. Do you have any documentation (not anecdotes) that leaf springs are the cause of tire failure? I've never heard that before.


I think you're reading into my post a bit, so let me clarify. I never said leaf springs were "bad" or even the cause of tire failure, I said RV suspensions are very basic and rudimentary and that these overly-simplistic barely-meets-spec axels need as much attention and maintenance as the inside of the RV. Who checks them for alignment? No one. What you can find with regularity are examples of RV leaf springs and associated shackles failing.

That 3/4 ton truck likely has progressive leaf springs (most do) and are very different from the ones on a TT which are usually a single or thin double, and are rarely progressive. Passenger vehicles will also have shocks and other links to help locate and dampen the axel.

Absolutely true that overloading, improper inflation, and road debris cause tire failures. So does severe misalignment, which these axels are prone to, with many coming from Dexter (or insert other brands here) off by more than a few degrees. This is something that manifests itself more with a twin-axel setup but can still be an issue on a single. The worst part is that there are no adjustment points, and an axel that is off must be bent back into position. The out-of-position tire heats up and fails, and the owner storms off complaining about "china bombs."


:R

Your "reading" way to much into and over thinking this.

No need for trailers to have "progressive spring rates", no need for any modern or exotic aftermarket gadgets or perceived upgrades.

The main reason autos have progressive spring rates is solely for your behinds "comfort" in said vehicle.

Absolutely no one is allowed to "ride" inside a bumper pull trailer so absolutely no need for "comfort" related suspension parts.

The thing you are missing is OP may not have any substantial towing experience. They may be a bit over sensitive to the feel of their truck with a trailer attached.

Some of what they could be feeling is normal, some could be not having proper TW and/or WD setup.

No matter what supposed suspension upgrade you put under any trailer will alter the fact that the trailer is there behind you, there will be some changes that are simply normal and cannot be changed.

OP may just need to verify that they do have 15% TW, that the trailer tongue is not looking into the sun and then check the WD settings.

I have towed single axle and dual axle trailers, I prefer dual axles as they tend to tow a bit smoother.

I wouldn't change any tires or suspension on the OPs trailer at this time, OP simply needs to get some towing time under their belt..

In the end, your Tow Vehicle will not feel the same when towing as it does not towing and that is normal.

propchef
Explorer
Explorer
valhalla360 wrote:
propchef wrote:
OP, the suspension on nearly all bumper-pull RVs and 5th wheels is state of the art directly from the 1920's. VERY rudimentary. It's one of the major causes of tire failure.


Just because it's been around a while, doesn't mean it's bad.

Your heavy duty pickups all use leaf springs. I think only Dodge has tried coil springs on the 3/4 ton trucks (1 ton they still use leaf) and there are mixed thoughts on that use of more advanced technology.

Typically failures can be traced to...road debris, overloading and/or low tire pressure. Do you have any documentation (not anecdotes) that leaf springs are the cause of tire failure? I've never heard that before.


I think you're reading into my post a bit, so let me clarify. I never said leaf springs were "bad" or even the cause of tire failure, I said RV suspensions are very basic and rudimentary and that these overly-simplistic barely-meets-spec axels need as much attention and maintenance as the inside of the RV. Who checks them for alignment? No one. What you can find with regularity are examples of RV leaf springs and associated shackles failing.

That 3/4 ton truck likely has progressive leaf springs (most do) and are very different from the ones on a TT which are usually a single or thin double, and are rarely progressive. Passenger vehicles will also have shocks and other links to help locate and dampen the axel.

Absolutely true that overloading, improper inflation, and road debris cause tire failures. So does severe misalignment, which these axels are prone to, with many coming from Dexter (or insert other brands here) off by more than a few degrees. This is something that manifests itself more with a twin-axel setup but can still be an issue on a single. The worst part is that there are no adjustment points, and an axel that is off must be bent back into position. The out-of-position tire heats up and fails, and the owner storms off complaining about "china bombs."

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
valhalla360 wrote:
propchef wrote:
VERY rudimentary. It's one of the major causes of tire failure.


Do you have any documentation (not anecdotes) that leaf springs are the cause of tire failure? I've never heard that before.


LOL, of course he doesn't...just drivel and misleading information!
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

valhalla360
Nomad III
Nomad III
propchef wrote:
OP, the suspension on nearly all bumper-pull RVs and 5th wheels is state of the art directly from the 1920's. VERY rudimentary. It's one of the major causes of tire failure.


Just because it's been around a while, doesn't mean it's bad.

Your heavy duty pickups all use leaf springs. I think only Dodge has tried coil springs on the 3/4 ton trucks (1 ton they still use leaf) and there are mixed thoughts on that use of more advanced technology.

Typically failures can be traced to...road debris, overloading and/or low tire pressure. Do you have any documentation (not anecdotes) that leaf springs are the cause of tire failure? I've never heard that before.
Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2021 Gray Wolf
Gemini Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and RV

time2roll
Nomad
Nomad
Jack1776 wrote:
I'm sorry I didn't make my self clear. I haven't experienced any significant problems, but my wife and I are planning an extended 3 to 6 month trip and wanted to be pro-active. I appreciate any feedback. Thanks again.
What hitch is being used?
Is the trailer level when towing?
What brand, size and age are the tires?

Single axle would probably be just to add shocks but if it is OK now I would skip it.

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Single axle camper. New F150. WDH? Lol. Why?
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Boomerweps
Explorer
Explorer
Pro-active means fixing problems that don’t yet exist.
Waste of $$ in this case, IMO.
Tow it, get the WDH dialed in first. THEN consider suspension changes.
Shock absorbers are add on only with trailers.
Trailer tires are not balanced since there is no need for comfort. But balancing them will make for a smoother ride and less vibrations being sent through the trailer.
Shocks would lessen side to side rocking and how hard the road impacts affect the trailer and it’s cargo.
2019 Wolf Pup 16 BHS Limited, axle flipped
2019 F150 4x4 SCrew SB STX 5.0 3.55 factory tow package, 7000#GVWR, 1990 CC Tow mirrors, ITBC, SumoSprings,