Using shocks on your trailer. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-16-2016, 11:56 PM   #1
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Name: Alex
Trailer: Boler 1300
Alberta
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Using shocks on your trailer.

I just purchased a 1974 Boler. When I get it home to Alberta I plan to build a new frame complete with new axle. I've noticed already the trailer bounces and jostles a fair amount behind the truck. I'm chalking this up to the current axle being old and worn out. Looking ahead I'd like to minimize this bounce if I can, so it makes sense to me to use shocks in my future suspension setup (leaf spring & straight axle setup). I've heard that this is maybe not a good idea, can anyone tell me why? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:20 AM   #2
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Will let someone else explain the reasons for no shocks but I honestly do not think you will need shocks if you replace the axle. With a new axle you will notice the difference quickly! There should not be much if any bounce if you have it sitting level behind the truck.
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:40 AM   #3
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Originally Posted by AJCmedia View Post
I just purchased a 1974 Boler. When I get it home to Alberta I plan to build a new frame complete with new axle. I've noticed already the trailer bounces and jostles a fair amount behind the truck. I'm chalking this up to the current axle being old and worn out. Looking ahead I'd like to minimize this bounce if I can, so it makes sense to me to use shocks in my future suspension setup (leaf spring & straight axle setup). I've heard that this is maybe not a good idea, can anyone tell me why? Thanks in advance.
If the axle is from '74 it may well be worn out. Can't tell you if changing to a straight axle will be better than a stock replacement other than your ride height will be higher. From videos, adding shocks certainly can't hurt. Trailers, any kind, ride rather rough, just the nature of the beast. I think folks would be surprised if they had a GoPro mounted up front facing to the rear with the curtains open for a reference point to ground outside. What looks and feels like a smooth ride from the tug would look like a bounce house in the trailer to the camera .
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:29 AM   #4
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Name: Jack L
Trailer: Bigfoot B-17 CB
Washington
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Are you changing from a torsion axle to a leaf spring axle ? Some leaf spring set ups do have shock absorbers added. There are kits available for this addition. I'm not sure how or if you could add shocks to a torsion axle.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:44 AM   #5
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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All our campers have no shocks and do bounce a lot, to the point of cushions move and cabinets have to be locked shut beyond the standard latches. There is an aftermarket shock kit for Casitas, and everyone that has installed it is very happy with the results. A little expensive, but considering the engineering and low volume quality production in the product, it is a realistic price. On my wish list for future purchase. I would stay with a torsion axle
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:53 AM   #6
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Trailer: Amerigo FG-16 1973 "Peanut"
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The trailer ride has been called, "A rolling earthquake."

Our little Shelly tows a LOT better when fuller;
empty, she tows like a kangaroo on acid.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:23 PM   #7
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Scamp
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I have a 2014, 16 ft Scamp side dinette with wet shower. My TV is a 2002 Montana V6. In preparation for a 10,000 km trip to the Maritimes and back I installed a set of Shocks from Texas. I had one year of towing behind me which at times was hair raising. I did not want to be under that kind of stress for 10,000 kms of curves, bumps, and hills.
Jim Britton, from Orbital Machine in Texas, sent me the test results of trailers with and without shocks, over a series of bumps. The trailers without shocks recovered quite well from the first bump, but with each succeeding bump there was ever increasing rebound effect. The trailer with shocks, did not experience the rebound effect with the succeeding bumps, but continued to recover well each time. I was convinced.
Together with the shocks, I also installed a friction style anti-sway attachment to my hitch. Whether driving 80 km/h on a humpy secondary road, or 120 km/h downhill on a freeway surrounded by semis, my Scamp towed true and straight with out wobble.
I don't know how much to attribute to the shocks, but I have no doubt about their value in the big picture. I definitely found out about the anti-sway attachment one day. We had checked out of Fundy National Park and as we were cruising along I felt like the trailer was not towing as true as it should. I pulled over and found I had failed to hook-up the anti-sway attachment. There I had my proof.
I no longer have those (what do I do now) moments, when the trailer would start to dance after going through a hump on the highway going down hill at 90 km/h. I think everyone, with a single axle trailer like mine, should use an anti-sway attachment .
Jim
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Old 03-18-2016, 01:03 AM   #8
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Name: Alex
Trailer: Boler 1300
Alberta
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Thanks for the info everyone, it seems the general consensus is to use shocks. I plan to put leaf springs on the trailer in which case I can use shocks. I do want the higher ride height so leaf springs aren't much of a concern. If anyone can chime in on leaf springs vs. torsion axles I'd like to hear it. Thanks again everyone.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:50 PM   #9
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
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Leaf springs squeak constantly. Torsion axles are nice and quiet, and when in good condtion they are supposed to relieve bounce better than springs (assuming no shocks are installed).

If you ever hit an obstruction and ruin a torsion axle, having a replacement made and shipped can take a couple weeks, whereas spring axles are almost as common as dirt and rarely have to be special-made. Don't ask how I found out...

Optimal treatment of torsion axles includes putting the trailer on jacks to take the load off the torsion rubber when the trailer sits for a long time. Springs hardly care; park 'em and forget 'em. This is a non-issue for a full-timer or frequent camper.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:16 PM   #10
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Name: Alex
Trailer: Boler 1300
Alberta
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Leaf springs squeak constantly. Torsion axles are nice and quiet, and when in good condtion they are supposed to relieve bounce better than springs (assuming no shocks are installed).

If you ever hit an obstruction and ruin a torsion axle, having a replacement made and shipped can take a couple weeks, whereas spring axles are almost as common as dirt and rarely have to be special-made. Don't ask how I found out...

Optimal treatment of torsion axles includes putting the trailer on jacks to take the load off the torsion rubber when the trailer sits for a long time. Springs hardly care; park 'em and forget 'em. This is a non-issue for a full-timer or frequent camper.
Thanks Mike! I'm all too familiar with squeaky leaf springs, although I think the benefits outweigh the downsides that you've laid out. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:55 PM   #11
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Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
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Originally Posted by AJCmedia View Post
Thanks for the info everyone, it seems the general consensus is to use shocks.
I am not sure you can assume that based on the very small sampling of responses you have received. Believe you will find the majority of small fibreglass trailer owners do not have shocks on their trailers.

Have towed my trailer 1000's of miles for the past 7 years over paved, gravel and dirt roads and have not had issues with cushions bouncing off to the floor .... except once.... I had just purchased the trailer and I did not have it set up as level as it could be and it had a very poor set of tires on it at the time.

When I first got the trailer I did have an issue with a couple of door pooping open but after adjusting the latches - all good - except if I do not pack the cupboards well and leave heavy items to roll around inside the cupboard and bang up against the door.
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:16 AM   #12
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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[QUOTE=Carol H;577034]I am not sure you can assume that based on the very small sampling of responses you have received. Believe you will find the majority of small fibreglass trailer owners do not have shocks on their trailers.

I'm sure the majority do not have shocks, but the main reasons being they are not installed as original equipment and conversion kits are not available or if so, they are somewhat expensive. The kit for Casita's is about $350. For a low production item, and the time to design and fabricate, a reasonable price in my opinion. The other option is for a trailer owner to fabricate their own, and how many are capable and have the equipment to do that. I'll eventually buy the kit for our Casita. As for the Uhaul which we don't use so much, I'll live with the bouncing.
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Old 03-19-2016, 11:33 AM   #13
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: Casita
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I put the after market shocks from Orbital on my 2010 17 ft Spirit Deluxe. The difference was certainly worth the money in my opinion.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:17 PM   #14
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
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I put the after market shocks from Orbital on my 2010 17 ft Spirit Deluxe. The difference was certainly worth the money in my opinion.

X2
I put OMW shock kit on our 1999 Casita 17' SD and they made a night and day difference in the ride in my full size Chevy Silverado Z71.
Our favorite site is a 14 hour drive and since the shocks we don't feel like we've been riding a bucking bronco all day. We also use a WDH and anti sway bar.

All those doubters try taking the shocks off your car and see how it rides. lol

Joe
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