Smoothing the ride - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-12-2009, 02:52 PM   #1
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Trailer: Escape 19 ft
California
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I'm towing an Escape 19 with my 06 Tacoma. I bought it with towing in mind -- V6, Auto, factory tow package. We towed the Escape home from Canada in July without a WD hitch or any spring mods, and experienced a very rough ride when we encountered bad pavement (Portland and Seattle's pavement seems to be disintegrating). I found out about the wimpy leaf spring set-up on Tacomas when we got home and got a WD hitch and Air-Ride springs to compensate. The shop recommended I tow with about 10 lbs. of pressure.

We just returned from a trip where we again encountered some really bad pavement. The ride was better, but still not what I'd call satisfactory. On good pavement, the rig tows very smoothly. The suspension isn't bottoming out any more on bad bumps, but the bounce on a bad bump (or bumps) is still quite harsh. I'm looking for recommendations on how to further improve the ride.

Some possibilities I've considered:

1. Increase the Air Ride's pressure. 10 lbs. for towing seemed low to me. If so, how much? Or, would this just make the ride more harsh?

2. Upgrade the stock shocks. The truck has 72k miles on it, but the shocks seem fine, especially when not towing. I know I wouldn't want much firmer shocks. Any particular brands/types recommended?

3. Maybe try towing without the WD hitch, just running up the pressure in the Air Rides. However, I really do like the added firmness and "connectedness" that the WD hitch gives when I'm towing, and would only consider giving it up as a last resort. We came home through some strong, gusty cross winds yesterday and the rig tracked beautifully. We didn't realize how windy it was until we got out for a break.

I'm open to any and all suggestions with this problem. This is our first trailer, so I'm hoping there are some wise heads out there with sage advice. Thanks in advance -

Bruce
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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Name: Don
Trailer: Compact Hunter I
Colorado
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Regarding the WD hitch, a couple of things to look out for (which you may already know) -

1 - Make sure that your bar or bars are not over-rated for your actual tongue weight. A 1000-lb rated set of bars used with a tongue weight of say 300 lbs, or even 500 lbs, will give you a very harsh ride over bumps. The bars are intended to provide a certain amount of spring, and if too stiff, they'll transmit shocks to your TV frame through the hitch, which will in turn be transmitted to all of your axles.

2. Don't over-tighten your bars. Park on a level place, put masking tape on the four corners of your TV, and make a mark on each of them at any pre-measured height. After you hitch up the trailer, cinch up the WD bars enough to bring the marks on the TV back to the original heights. I'm not sure about air suspension, but I would think that you would only dial it in as needed, and only after doing the above. I'd think you'd need very little help from the air springs once the WD hitch was set up.

Although I have no experience with air springs, it seems to me that you should only need one or the other, the WD or the air springs, but not both. Why not try them one at a time in a local test drive, to see how they feel? Also, you might try leaving the rear a little low when adjusting the WD bars, and then bring it up to height with the air springs (?).

It seems to me that changing to stiffer shocks should not be necessary at all - aren't the air springs supposed to eliminate the need for that?
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:30 PM   #3
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Name: Bruce T
Trailer: Compact jr
Indiana
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Quote:
Regarding the WD hitch, a couple of things to look out for (which you may already know) -

1 - Make sure that your bar or bars are not over-rated for your actual tongue weight. A 1000-lb rated set of bars used with a tongue weight of say 300 lbs, or even 500 lbs, will give you a very harsh ride over bumps. The bars are intended to provide a certain amount of spring, and if too stiff, they'll transmit shocks to your TV frame through the hitch, which will in turn be transmitted to all of your axles.

2. Don't over-tighten your bars. Park on a level place, put masking tape on the four corners of your TV, and make a mark on each of them at any pre-measured height. After you hitch up the trailer, cinch up the WD bars enough to bring the marks on the TV back to the original heights. I'm not sure about air suspension, but I would think that you would only dial it in as needed, and only after doing the above. I'd think you'd need very little help from the air springs once the WD hitch was set up.

Although I have no experience with air springs, it seems to me that you should only need one or the other, the WD or the air springs, but not both. Why not try them one at a time in a local test drive, to see how they feel? Also, you might try leaving the rear a little low when adjusting the WD bars, and then bring it up to height with the air springs (?).

It seems to me that changing to stiffer shocks should not be necessary at all - aren't the air springs supposed to eliminate the need for that?
I'd try good shocks first.....at 76,00 miles I doubt any stock equipment shock could dampen(and thats what they do) all the extras youre throwing at it
...especially if you feel the truck is riding waves alot...so to speak............Bruce
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:06 PM   #4
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Name: Marv
Trailer: Escape 5.0 (sold) :(
Texas
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Bruce, you might check the manual for your air springs, that doesn't seem like enough pressure for towing. I have the Ride-Ride air bags; they recommend 8-10 psi when not towing and 25 when towing. At 10 psi, they are mostly out of the circuit. The Ride-Rite product for a Tacoma has a recommended maximum of 100 psi.

Marv
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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Trailer: 1988 Perris Pacer 13 ft / 2005 Honda Element
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If you're going to purchase new shocks, get Bilstein brand. I highly recommend them. As far as the air bags, 10 psi should be minimum. This is to keep the bags inflated just enough to keep their shape. That way they don't get deformed, pinched, and possibly punctured. You want more pressure to carry extra weight. That being said, I wouldn't think you would need WDH and air bags for the trailer. WDH alone should handle the trailer fine. Use the air bags when carrying heavy payloads or trailers without WDH.

Just my $0.02
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Old 10-23-2009, 07:01 AM   #6
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Trailer: 2014 Escape 5.0TA / 2010 Nissan Frontier
Ontario
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Hi: Bruce Wray... One thing Ford had in the owners manual for trailer towing was to up the rear tire pressures 5 psi. This took away the "Chucking" effect of the tongue wt. on the back of our Taurus. A simple solution but effective!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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