Handling bumps in the road, a guide to suspension upgrades in an RV


Have you ever wondered why RVs experience so many blow outs when driving down the road? Having been on the road for 5 years, we’ve certainly seen our share of RV Tire Blow Outs, both for ourselves and for our friends who also travel fulltime. When researching the source of this issue, it generally comes down to a few possible options. The first problem is the tires that are used in the RV industry. Most of the time, the quality or grade of tire is very low, and the poor quality can lead to explosions driving down the road. However, most savvy RVers will remedy this, by simply upgrading their tires. I’m not going to really touch on this, within this post, but I will say, that we are currently running Goodyear G614 Tires, and we choose these tires because of their solid reputation. I’ll discuss tires in another post at some point in the future.

Back to the possible issues that cause blow outs. The second reason why blow outs occur is because trailers are overweight. If you are fulltime and you are trying to cram everything you need to “survive” life on the road, chances are that you will load a lot of stuff into your rig. I’ve spoken with and have read tons of posts about this topic. If you are a full-timer and trying to plan for how much weight you need to allocate for personal affects, I can confidently say that you should plan for anywhere from 400-1000lbs per person in your family. I’ll talk about weights and carrying capacity in another post, so stay tuned for that post in the near future. Until then, check out this blog post from our friends at learntorv.com on Dry Weights and Truth in Advertising around cargo capacity

So, if I’m not talking about tire selection and I’m not addressing overweight trailers, then what exactly is the purpose of this article? Well, it is the third and, in my opinion, the most important topic. That is the suspension system. Why do I consider this the most important topic? RV’s are a series of engineered systems and all engineered systems have points of failures. If you consider the Tires, Bearing, Axles and Suspension as part of a single system, what happens if you strengthen one part of the system but not the other? You essentially shift the breaking point to another part of the system. So, if I replace the tires to higher rated tires, but don’t address the suspension, what is most likely to give first? It’s the axle or the suspension. Know anyone who has ever had a flattened suspension or a bent axle? If so, you likely have met someone who has experienced a tire blow out as well. Why this is, is basically as you drive down the road, all of the stress of the road (bouncing, swaying, etc) is all transferred to your tires, if your axle is bent or your leaf springs are flattened, then the tires will have no choice but to give way…and then boom.


Now, I’d like to pause here for a minute and discuss RV suspension systems for a minute. Have you ever stopped to look at the design of a leaf spring suspension system? Seems okay, at first glance, but have you considered if this is the best option, or have you ever wondered where the design came from? Here is a hint…have you ever looked at the suspension system of a horse and buggy? The same type of suspension that is used on a small horse and buggy is the same type of suspension that is used on most 5th wheels and travel trailers. This is sub-optimal to put it at the least, as the shock is immediately transferred into the frame and tires on the rig. Why would we continue using a design that originated in the 1800’s? This can not only cause flattening of springs and blow outs, but it is also a leading cause to breaks on RV frame welds. It goes without saying that having a broken weld on a frame will lead to all kinds of problems, like frame flexing and eventually total loss of your rig.



What is there to do? Is there a better way? The answer is a resounding, YES!! I’d like to introduce you to our friends over at MORryde. They have engineered what they call the MORryde Independent Suspension System. These are replacement axles and suspension systems that make each tire sit on its own separate suspension and axle system. That means that each tire is free to flex and absorb road shock independent from each other tire. This results in an incredibly smooth ride, with little to no bouncing on the interior of the rig. Also, the design of the system virtually eliminates the transfer of impact from road obstacles on the frame. This results in a decrease on the chances of a frame weld breakage from road hazards. These systems are available in 7000 and 8000lb axle configurations and are designed for both tandem and triple axle configurations.


It’s important to note that these systems are specifically engineered for 5th wheel RVs. If you happen to have a bumper tow trailer, then all hope is not lost. MORryde does also manufacture a leading equalizer system, called the CRE3000, which helps transfer road shocks between both axles, instead of each axle absorbing all of the shock on its own. These upgrades are available in both 33-inch and 35-inch wheel base configurations. This is a huge improvement over the basic suspension and leaf springs used by many manufacturers. I would also highly recommend that if you go with the CRE3000, that you also replace the wet-bolts and shackles with their upgrade kit. In addition, you should install the X Factor Performance Cross Member U021-003. The shackles are a big failure item on the RV suspension system, and the cross member will help strengthen your frame by tying the left and right-side suspension systems together. If you need professional assistance in making these upgrades, please find a good reputable place to have it done. Also, even if you don’t upgrade the shackles, please note that the wet bolts that are currently installed on your rig can not be reused, as wet bolts are not designed to be taken off and used again. So, you will likely need to purchase the wet bolts to use with the CRE3000, and for less than $100, you can upgrade the shackles and wet bolts. This should be a no brainer.


We have a 5th wheel, therefore like stated before, we had the MORryde Independent Suspension installed. We chose to have MORryde personally do the work. They are located in Elkhart, Indiana. These guys are professional. They measure the rig, how level it is riding, and then get to work on designing the components that are custom fit for your setup. The process starts by removal of your existing suspension. Then, steel tube is added, to essentially form a large box under your rig. The box that runs front to back is mounted to the existing RV Frame, and provides the base for the MORryde Independent Suspension to attach. Then, the box is connected left to right with additional steel tubing. That strengthens and hardens your frame, by adding two points of frame connection from left to right. Then, the custom designed MORryde Independent Suspension is mounted to the upgraded frame box. Once those are connected, then the suspensions are connected left and right providing yet another 2 points of hardening and strengthening the frame from left to right. That’s right, you will now have 4 points from left to right to harden the frame. That means your frame is extremely solid when this is done. Once the MORryde Independent Suspension is done with install, you can have an optional brake upgrade installed, and then you also have an option for the bearings to upgrade to high performance bearings. We chose to do the brake upgrade as well as the bearing upgrade.




I hope you have learned a bit on this blog post and I hope that you prioritize upgrading your suspension system on your rig. To recap, if you have a bumper pull trailer, then consider the MORryde CRE3000 system, and if you have a 5th wheel, then consider the MORryde Independent Suspension system. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback or questions.

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We are the Varner family, but we go by the alias of The Roaming Home.  Why?  Over 5 years ago, we decided to stop playing in the rat race, in exchange for traveling the US. 

 

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