Suspension secrets

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Suspension secrets

Postby Socal Tom » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:46 am

I've seen some folks complaining about the ride of these little trailers, and I haven't seen any leaf spring tips short of derating springs, so I thought I would throw out a couple of things I've learned over the years.

First, Tire pressure. Most folks fill trailer tires to the max rated value and that's what they always use. Well, the fact is, you can adjust the pressure to match the load.https://plus.google.com/photos/114867801377029987835/albums/5724969015102653937/5724969012806313154
This chart can help determine the correct pressure for your load. For example my tires are rated at 1360lbs @50PSI. Combined the capacity of the tires is over 2600 lbs. I'm carrying something closer to 1/2 that. While the chart doesn't go to 50 psi, I'm just going to use the relative numbers. If I start at about 1360 on the right hand side, I can drop about 20 lbs and be at about 800lb capacity per tire, which should also give me a smoother ride and better tire wear.

You can also determine proper tire pressure using this method http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojGsavK0Uwc WARNING there is some foul language in the video.

While I'm on tires, radials are much smoother riding than the bias ply tires that most of us got from HF, or where ever you got your tire.


Now, the other important thing to check is the bolts on your leaf springs and shackles. The shackles are intended to move during transit. Almost every time I've checked shackle bolts on a vehicle or trailer, they were so tight that the shackle couldn't move. when that happens your 2500lbs springs become 4500lbs springs. They way that you can check that you have movement, it to put a wrench on the head of the bolt going through the shackle, and turn it. If it won't rotate, then the spring it probably too tight. Loosen the nuts until you can turn the bolt with some effort. WARNING, be sure that you are using locknuts on the spring and shackle bolts. I prefer the nylock style nuts, but the nuts with the divots in them are also locknuts, but the cheapest variety.
Here are directions from a trailer mfg as reference http://www.cerka.ca/catalog/SUSMAINT.asp.
I hope this is new to some of you.
Tom
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Shadow Catcher » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:19 pm

One of the problems is the quality of the tires and at least Good Year recommends boosting tire pressure during hot weather by five to ten pounds. I am about to switch to Michelin Harmony (not trailer tires). The Dexter Torflex axles on CR don't seem to bounce a great deal but one of the next tasks is installing the air shocks to gain height when I want/need it. The addition of shocks to a spring mount set up should be fairly straight forward.
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Socal Tom » Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:45 pm

Another couple of tire inflation charts
This one is from Toyo tires
http://cache.toyotires.com/sites/default/files/imce/LoadInflationTable.pdf

This one is for Maxis trailer tires

http://www.maxxis.com/Repository/Files/m8008load.pdf

My TD tires are consistent load range/pressures with the Maxis. They are rated to carry 905lb each at 25PSI. ( about 2x the actual load). At 50PSI the trailer gets airborne when hitting a bad seam at highway speeds, at 25 PSI its a much smoother transition.
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Mary C » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:04 pm

Thanks Tom for bringing this up, I was wondering how to ease the bumps. I will check the tire pressure and check on that bolt too.

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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby slowcowboy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:58 pm

slow uses the monroe 12 inch rv gas shocks on his teardrops leaf springs. they work really well and I got lots of photos on my gallery on how I do this.

basicly I had dad weld a large half inch bolt 7 inches long on to my plate on my leaf springs that holds my u bolts.

and then drilled a hole in the frame of my harbor freight trailer and put a bolt though that.

the gas shocks bolt to that.

the syetem works really well on the rocky roads in the wind river moutains in wyoming and theres no bounce from the tear on pavement.

I would put some photos up. but I am wore out from deliverying propane all day and driving to china.

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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby slowcowboy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:06 pm

tired and pooped but my brain needs to slow down and going to bed is not going to work.

so your in luck heres some photos. to help on monroe gas shocks.

Image

okay. thats enough photos for tonight.

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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Vedette » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:07 pm

Choose the right Dexter Torflex (Rubber ride) axle for the weight of your trailer.....and just tow it without worry! :thumbsup:
No problem!
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:05 am

slowcowboy wrote:slow uses the monroe 12 inch rv gas shocks on his teardrops leaf springs. they work really well and I got lots of photos on my gallery on how I do this.

basicly I had dad weld a large half inch bolt 7 inches long on to my plate on my leaf springs that holds my u bolts.

and then drilled a hole in the frame of my harbor freight trailer and put a bolt though that.

the gas shocks bolt to that.

the syetem works really well on the rocky roads in the wind river moutains in wyoming and theres no bounce from the tear on pavement.

I would put some photos up. but I am wore out from deliverying propane all day and driving to china.

slowcowboy


Shocks are great at keeping the rig from bouncing, but if your shackles are too tight, then they won't help. When the tire pressure is too high, then more of the bump goes to the springs, then the shocks would help reduce the bouncing that results from that.
I'm probably going to copy your shock install method when my TD budget gets enough money to get the shocks.
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby 48Rob » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:25 am

Shocks are great at keeping the rig from bouncing, but if your shackles are too tight, then they won't help. When the tire pressure is too high, then more of the bump goes to the springs, then the shocks would help reduce the bouncing that results from that.
I'm probably going to copy your shock install method when my TD budget gets enough money to get the shocks.
Tom


Tom,

I'm a firm believer in trying to create, or adjust a suspension to match the load.
I have nothing against shocks, but in general don't find a need for them on a trailer if the suspension is matched to the load.
In the past, the trailers I've owned that did need shocks were fitted with long leaf springs that offered a very soft ride.
Because the springs were too soft for the weight they carried, shocks were required to limit the bounce created every time a rough road or pothole was encountered.
Trailers that have springs rated to carry far more than the actual weight placed on them, and or overinflated tires, rusted spring packs, worn sleeve bushings, improperly balanced loads, etc, will also benefit from the use of shocks to "soften" the harsh ride created by those conditions.

I regularly pull my trailers at Interstate highway speeds (75-85mph) and can tell you that it is a joy to have a trailer on a properly designed and maintained suspension!

Rob
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Jdw2717 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:34 am

Mine rides well with no shocks at the rated tire inflation. I saw the video linked on this site about rebuilding your springs that I think really made the difference. My trailer was an old tilt trailer that I got off of craigslist. The springs were fairly rusty and the bolts and shackles were rusty also. I took the springs apart, wire wheeled and painted them and put a little grease in between them as stated in the video. I also put on all new hanger hardware and bolts / bushings when I moved the axle location. It has towed smoothly the whole time and mine only weighs about 750 lb or so on 1800 lb springs.
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby doug hodder » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:46 pm

A properly sized shouldered bolt with a lock nut is a great + for getting the springs installed correctly. Also, don't forget nylon bushings and some lube. Just my opinion. doug
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Redneck Teepee » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:24 pm

Another smoother ride secret is to install your shackles with the bottom of the shackle where it goes thru the spring eye leaning towards the front or axle about 1/2", when the spring flexes it forces the frame and trailer in a ever so slightly upward motion, in other words it does not bounce within the spring flex as long as all the other criteria such as, but not limited to tire pressure is within tolerance. ImageImageImage
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:29 pm

I don't have any complaints about my on road ride. At least once I loosened the shackles and lowered the tire pressure. The shocks would be because i intend to spend more time on washboard roads, shock shouldn't make the ride any firmer, but it would reduce the bouncing on the bigger bumps. I agree, if the suspension is right you shouldn't need shock for the street.
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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby tony.latham » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:12 pm

I know it was briefly mentioned, but on my second 'drop, I'm running radials and it's a lot smoother than #1. There's a weight/axle difference so it's not a scientific test, but this new trailer floats like a dream –and I'm convinced it's the radial tires.

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Re: Suspension secrets

Postby jonnyo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:19 pm

Vedette wrote:Choose the right Dexter Torflex (Rubber ride) axle for the weight of your trailer.....and just tow it without worry! :thumbsup:
No problem!
No Brainer!!
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi


i have to agree. And even more, in canada, no reason to not get a Flexiride instead of dexter. Cheaper and adjustable. with3-5 day lead time... it s hard to beat!!!

gome mine from Cerka in ontario and ship to Penticton, bc. took 7 days from the day i ordered!!!
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