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Enhancing Leaf Springs with New or Upgraded Shocks


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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Touring with a journey trailer or a fifth wheel could be a rewarding expertise, permitting you to discover the open street with all of the comforts of dwelling in tow. Nevertheless, the standard of your journey closely relies on the RV suspension system of your unit.

Customary RV suspension in most journey trailers consists of simply leaf springs with no dampening system like shock absorbers. The few trailers that do come outfitted with shocks are sometimes of low high quality. Nevertheless, shocks can improve your trailer’s suspension efficiency to new heights. On this tutorial, we’ll delve into the advantages of including shocks or upgrading the shocks you have already got, the choice course of, and step-by-step directions for putting in them.

The Significance of Shocks on Your RV Suspension System​

Shocks are crucial parts of a trailer’s suspension system. Their main operate is to soak up and dissipate the vitality generated from street imperfections, guaranteeing a smoother and extra managed journey.

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Including or upgrading shocks can provide a number of benefits over inventory or worn-out items:

  • Enhanced Experience High quality: Shocks present higher damping traits, lowering jolts and vibrations transmitted from the street to the trailer. This ends in a extra snug and satisfying towing expertise for you and your passengers. It additionally helps protect your trailer and fragile contents from the damaging results of sudden jolts encountered on tough roads.
  • Improved Stability: Shocks assist stabilize the trailer by minimizing physique roll and sway, particularly when navigating corners or encountering crosswinds. This contributes to safer dealing with and larger confidence behind the wheel.
  • Elevated Sturdiness: Premium shocks are constructed to resist the trials of towing, that includes sturdy building and superior damping know-how. They’re much less susceptible to untimely put on and efficiency degradation, guaranteeing long-lasting reliability.

Selecting the Proper Shocks for Your RV Suspension System​

Earlier than deciding on shocks on your trailer, take into account the next components to make sure compatibility and optimum efficiency:

measuring tap next  to RV shock under trailer

Measuring the shock to find out the appropriate dimension of upgraded shock. Source: iRV2
  • Measurement: If you’re trying to improve your current shocks, measure the shock to find out the appropriate dimension.
  • Load Capability: Decide the load score and payload capability of your trailer to pick shocks able to dealing with the supposed load. Overloading shocks can result in diminished effectiveness and untimely failure.
  • RVSuspension Kind: Determine a shock package that can work with the leaf springs on your sort of trailer. Be sure that the shocks you select are designed to work together with your particular suspension setup. Notice: Most newer journey trailers are outfitted with Lippert axles and leaf springs. This is a shock mount kit by Lippert.
  • Shock Design: Gasoline shocks, often known as gas-charged shocks, are most well-liked for his or her superior damping efficiency and resistance to shock fade. Think about putting in or upgrading gasoline shocks for improved journey high quality and sturdiness.
  • Adjustability: Some shocks provide adjustable options, permitting you to fine-tune damping settings to fit your towing preferences and street circumstances. Adjustable shocks present larger versatility and customization choices.
  • Model Status: Select shock absorbers from respected producers identified for his or her high quality, reliability, and buyer help. Studying opinions and looking for suggestions from fellow trailer homeowners will help slender down your choices.

Putting in or Upgrading Shocks on Your Leaf Spring Suspension​

Whereas putting in shocks or upgrading shocks on a journey trailer requires primary mechanical abilities and instruments, it’s important to comply with the producer’s directions fastidiously to make sure correct set up and alignment. Right here’s a step-by-step information to putting in or upgrading shocks in your journey trailer:

1. Collect Instruments and Supplies​

  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Jack and jack stands (Jack stands are important if you’ll be eradicating the tire and wheels from the trailer.)[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Lug wrench[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Socket set / field wrench set[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Tape measure[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Torque wrench[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Penetrating lubricant[/COLOR]
  • [COLOR=var(--contrast)]Premium shocks if upgrading from current shocks or a shock package if putting in shocks for the primary time.[/COLOR]
  • Drill motor and applicable drill bits, as most shock kits require holes to be drilled.

2. Put together the Trailer​

Park the trailer on a stage agency floor. Use a jack rated for the load of your trailer to boost the trailer’s body, supporting it securely with jack stands. Click on right here in case you are unsure safely jack up a trailer.

Professional Tip: For added stability, depart the trailer related to your tow car with the tongue/leveling jacks down. It will act as a parking brake, stopping it from presumably transferring ahead or backward whereas it’s jacked up.

For added accessibility and comfort, it’s possible you’ll wish to take away the trailer’s tires utilizing the lug wrench.

3. Take away the Outdated Shocks (If Upgrading Current Shocks)​

  • Find the shocks presently hooked up to your trailer’s suspension mounting brackets. You will discover the shock’s backside related to the axle’s U-bolt plate (often known as the tie plate). The shock’s high connects to a bracket that’s more than likely welded to the trailer body.
  • Use a socket or field wrench to loosen and take away the bolts/nuts, securing the shocks in place. Notice: Trailer shocks will sometimes have both “eyes” or “studs” on the tip for fastening. Bolts cross by the attention and are bolted to the mounting floor secured by a nut. Studs are handed by the mounting floor and secured with a nut.
  • If wanted, apply penetrating lubricant to cussed bolts/nuts and rusted parts to ease removing.
  • As soon as the bolts/nuts are eliminated, take away the shocks from the mounting brackets.

4. If You Are Putting in a Shock Package on a Trailer that Has Leaf Springs Solely:​

  • Connect the decrease mounting bracket. Notice: With some kits, the decrease mounting bracket will connect to the prevailing U-bolt plate (aka tie plate), whereas different kits, like Lippert, would require altering out to the U-bolt plate.
  • Utilizing the {hardware} supplied, safe the higher mounting bracket. This will likely require drilling holes for the mounting bolts. Carefully comply with the producers’ directions for measuring the proper location for the holes earlier than drilling.
  • After you have put in the decrease and higher mounts, proceed to step 5.

5. Set up the New Shocks​

  • Place the brand new shocks in place by aligning the studs of the shocks by the holes within the mounting brackets. Appropriately place any washers or grommets earlier than inserting the shock stud into the corresponding holes. If the shocks have eyes on the ends, align the eyes with the corresponding holes, then bolt them in place.
  • Tighten the bolts /nuts securely to the producer’s specification utilizing a socket set/field wrench adopted by a torque wrench whereas guaranteeing correct alignment.

6. Reinstall the Tires/Wheels if You Eliminated Them To Set up the Shocks.​

Torque lugs to specs.

7. Double-Verify Set up​

  • Are the shocks securely mounted? Verify that each one nuts and bolts are in place and aligned with the suspension parts.
  • Torque all nuts and bolts to the producer’s specs.
  • Carry out a visible inspection to double-check that there are not any free or lacking parts.

8. Decrease the Trailer​

  • Utilizing a jack, fastidiously raise the load of the trailer off the jack stands.
  • Take away the jack stands from below the trailer. Warning: By no means crawl below a trailer with out the right helps. Don’t rely upon a jack as the only help.
  • Slowly decrease the trailer utterly to the bottom permitting it to relaxation on its suspension.

9. Take a look at Drive and Adjustment Your Upgraded RV Suspension​

  • Take the trailer for a take a look at drive to guage the efficiency of the brand new shocks.
  • Take note of journey high quality, stability, and dealing with traits.
  • If vital, modify the damping settings on adjustable shocks to attain the specified journey consolation and stability.

Wrapping Up RV Suspension Upgrades​

Upgrading or including shocks to your trailer’s leaf spring suspension system can considerably improve its journey high quality, stability, and sturdiness. By selecting the best shocks and following correct set up procedures, you possibly can take pleasure in a smoother and safer towing expertise in your subsequent journey.

Whether or not you’re navigating winding roads or traversing tough terrain, upgraded shocks will present the consolation and confidence you want to take advantage of your travels.
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