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Old 04-22-2024, 08:02 AM   #1
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Trailer suspension upgrades?

For now, I'm asking Surveyor owners, because of the consistency of design and parts but I'll measure the axle centers in a bit and anyone with the same configuration, is welcome to join in. I'm interested in toughness (for minor off roading / boondocking and smoothness. There can be trade offs on this, whereas maximum movement for off roading is desirable, maximum dampening and rigidity, would be better for one that never leaves pavement.

I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet but have been nosing around the various options and decided to ask you all what, if any suspension upgrades you've done and the results.

What I know for sure.

1) Upgrading to wet bolts, heavier duty shackle hangers and bronze bushings, seems a no brainer. I've seen vids of the nylon bushings being worn out, after just a few thousand miles and the stock hangers, aren't indefinite either.

2) People who stay on the road, love Sumo Springs. The dampening really does smooth out the ride inside the trailer. Multiple vids confirm this but there can be problems when off roading and at least one camper was totaled out because of it. Bent the frame.

3) A number of people of many brands, reinforce the frame at the hangers and the equalizer locations. I'm certainly not opposed to this but it isn't something I'd do on my own.

What I'm pretty sure I know.

1) CRE3000 equalizers won't fit. Too wide and too tall. EquaFlex will fit but even then, may raise the camper by an inch or so. Dexter makes one that is a direct fit but doesn't seem to have as much give to it.

2) Another one for "on roaders" is XBrace. Ties the 2 sides of the axles together, greatly helping with the stresses of sharp turns. My concern is cost, weight and perhaps making things too stiff, for when off roading.

For me, swapping to independent suspension is out. A bigger price tag than I willing to commit to. So, I want to make some of the more obvious upgrades, giving more movement AND dampening, while not making things so rigid that forces transfer to places not built for it.
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Old 04-22-2024, 08:16 AM   #2
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Things I did to my 5er suspension that I like:

1. Replaced 4 pack leaf springs with 6 pack. For some reason FR loves to put springs on that are rated for exactly the weight of the trailer. Works on paper, but those 4 packs were flat as a pancake. Doing this adds 1" of height to the trailer.

2. Shocks. This was the best upgrade. Easy to install. My test for effectiveness was simple. Without the shocks, the chain on my ceiling fan would always end up in the light cover and the two cabinet doors next to the stove would pop open. That did not happen anymore once I installed the shocks.

3. Road Armor equalizer and wet bolts. No idea if this helps but it was easy to install these when I replaced the spring packs.

4. I added a 4" subframe to lift the 5er because it was nose high. When the welder installed it, I had him reinforce the spring hangers by welding side plates on both sides of all of them. He also installed cross braces. For offroad, I would do the hangers but maybe skip the cross braces.
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Old 04-23-2024, 09:30 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
Things I did to my 5er suspension that I like:

1. Replaced 4 pack leaf springs with 6 pack. For some reason FR loves to put springs on that are rated for exactly the weight of the trailer. Works on paper, but those 4 packs were flat as a pancake. Doing this adds 1" of height to the trailer.

2. Shocks. This was the best upgrade. Easy to install. My test for effectiveness was simple. Without the shocks, the chain on my ceiling fan would always end up in the light cover and the two cabinet doors next to the stove would pop open. That did not happen anymore once I installed the shocks.

3. Road Armor equalizer and wet bolts. No idea if this helps but it was easy to install these when I replaced the spring packs.

4. I added a 4" subframe to lift the 5er because it was nose high. When the welder installed it, I had him reinforce the spring hangers by welding side plates on both sides of all of them. He also installed cross braces. For offroad, I would do the hangers but maybe skip the cross braces.
As I said, I'm not really locked into anything yet, except that one version or another of a cushioned equalizer, wet bolts and upgraded shackle kit, are in my near future.

I need to take some more measurements. I really want the CRE3000.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:11 PM   #4
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Trailer suspension

I don't know the centerline dimensions between the axles on your trailer, but what did you mean by; 1) CRE3000 equalizers won't fit. Too wide and too tall.? They sell them with 33", 35" and 42" tandem axle centerline.

I put the MORryde CRE3000 on my trailer (42" centerline between tandem axles) 271RL Wildwood Heritage Glen. It fit within the factory bracket on my trailer. It did raise the trailer 1", which necessitated adjusting the BlueOx WDH.

I also installed the wet bolt kit. Note that it is important to follow the installation instructions regarding the orientation of the hole in the bolt so that the grease can freely exit the bolt and lubricate between the bolt and sleeves.

I pulled my trailer for nearly 700 miles in a day and it was by far much less stressful than previously. Maybe the Goodyear Endurance tires added to the overall stability of the trailer while underway.

happy to share photos and answer questions on the installation.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:26 PM   #5
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I don't know the centerline dimensions between the axles on your trailer, but what did you mean by; 1) CRE3000 equalizers won't fit. Too wide and too tall.? They sell them with 33", 35" and 42" tandem axle centerline.

I put the MORryde CRE3000 on my trailer (42" centerline between tandem axles) 271RL Wildwood Heritage Glen. It fit within the factory bracket on my trailer. It did raise the trailer 1", which necessitated adjusting the BlueOx WDH.

I also installed the wet bolt kit. Note that it is important to follow the installation instructions regarding the orientation of the hole in the bolt so that the grease can freely exit the bolt and lubricate between the bolt and sleeves.

I pulled my trailer for nearly 700 miles in a day and it was by far much less stressful than previously. Maybe the Goodyear Endurance tires added to the overall stability of the trailer while underway.

happy to share photos and answer questions on the installation.
Thanks a lot. I took that it wouldn't fit, from another source but have since dug deeper. Moryde has a worksheet to see if it will fit. Plan to go through that later today.

I'll bring the findings when I have them.
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Old 04-23-2024, 02:49 PM   #6
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According to MoRyde's worksheet the CRE3000 will fit.

The only close thing was the distance between the top of the tire and the floor but in spec.
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Old 04-23-2024, 03:43 PM   #7
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Correction. It will not fit.

Forgot to measure the distance between the axles. 30-3/4"

Grrr!
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Old 04-23-2024, 04:38 PM   #8
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Another correction. Maybe.

Talked to etrailer, they said the 30 3/4 is more commonly known as 31.

And their work sheet has a spot for 31. I just can't find one for sale.

Will call Moryde next
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Old 04-24-2024, 09:28 AM   #9
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Gennifer at MorYde, confidently tells me that if I passed all the other measurements on the worksheet, the 33" model will fit.

She didn't have to think about it. She knew exactly what I was talking about.

I had reluctantly decided that if this wasn't the news this a.m. I'd go with the Dexter, for its direct fit but I really wanted the CRE so. Gonna give it a go.
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Old 04-24-2024, 11:03 AM   #10
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Further digging and myth busting.

Was reading some more reviews and came across someone claiming they had to re-set their WDH, because adding the CRE3000 added 3" to their trailer.

Another call to Jennifer.

She is more than your typical phone help and actually knows what she is talking about. She walked me through the fitment page and showed me how to calculate what rise there will be. .5" or less.

That I can live with. 3" would have been a no go.

She guesses that is because the unit provides 3" of additional travel, people assume that comes from raising overall height.
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Old 05-02-2024, 04:07 PM   #11
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Installed the CRE3000 and hvy duty shackle kit the other day and took it for a test drive today.

Its windy here today, so couldn't notice anything material re sway but it did noticeably soften the bumps.

It is a tight fit but the 33, will mount to a 31" axle spread.

The true test will be when we leave pavement but best I can tell, its a positive.
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Old 05-28-2024, 09:53 AM   #12
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DJ252, any updates? I'm buying a Grand Surveyor and was gonna have the Morrryde installed at the Dealer.
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Old 05-28-2024, 10:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrschneider99 View Post
.......

I pulled my trailer for nearly 700 miles in a day........
Wow! Where's the fun in that? No recreation there. Too much windshield time to suit me.
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Old 05-28-2024, 10:12 AM   #14
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Still haven't taken it off proper roads yet but nothing bad to report so far.

Weather got me flustered when I was doing it and by the time I remembered to take the before, ground to frame measurements, I already had it in the air. Top of tire to bottom of floor didn't materially change but I did raise the ball on the hitch 1".

Still won't be leaving roads but taking it on a few hundred mile trip very soon.

I'll get back with ya.
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Old 05-28-2024, 10:30 AM   #15
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Modern rvs appear that they have been lightened.

We had our rv suspension toughened by a Cedar Creek specialist.

Wet bolts. Heavier springs. Cross bracing of the frame. Plates welded over the hangers. Several structural improvements inside the rv. Rebuilt the bed structurally. Rebuilt the kitchen cabinet holding the sink. Mods to the front of the fiver. Prevents cracks opening. 50 screws to attach sheet metal. Factory used a screw every 3. Changed to 6. Sheet metal strengthens the frame. New axles. New brakes. Commercial Goodyear trailer tires.

Our Cedar Creek 34, 2018, has seen lots of miles.

The leading bolt on the suspension fell out in California. $7,000 to get rolling again.

We bought an above average quality unit. But, it needed improvement! Costly, yes. $6-8,000.

Our rv pulls better now. Stops really well.

This hobby is not cheap. Due to age, we are doing less diy stuff. Likely a total of over $20,000. But, now ready for another 10 years.

Staying in motels would likely be cheaper. However, we like living in style!

Roasting in Houston right now. Geez, over 100 every day. Predicted heavy storms today with scattered tornadoes. I love Houston, not! Visiting the grand babies.
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Old 05-28-2024, 11:29 AM   #16
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My findings in Tennessee it is not legal for a person to ride or occupy a travel trailer or fifth wheel while in motion unless the trailer is so equipped with safety features such as seat belts and airbags and two-way communications to the driver.

Bob

2) People who stay on the road, love Sumo Springs. The dampening really does smooth out the ride inside the trailer. Multiple vids confirm this but there can be problems when off roading and at least one camper was totaled out because of it. Bent the frame.
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Old 06-01-2024, 05:21 AM   #17
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"My findings in Tennessee it is not legal for a person to ride or occupy a travel trailer or fifth wheel while in motion unless the trailer is so equipped with safety features such as seat belts and airbags and two-way communications to the driver."

I believe that is true for most states. I can still feel the difference between how the trailer reacts to bumps with the stock equalizer vs the cushioned.

"2) People who stay on the road, love Sumo Springs. The dampening really does smooth out the ride inside the trailer. Multiple vids confirm this but there can be problems when off roading and at least one camper was totaled out because of it. Bent the frame."

Yep. I'm aware of both. The latter, convinced me to forgo Sumos on the TT, since we will be mostly dry camping and much of that, off road but I'm pleased with how they performed on the truck.
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Old 06-01-2024, 07:46 AM   #18
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Hi, I won't comment on your TT configuration (nice rig BTW) but mine is close in length and I had similar concerns. Not so much for boon docking or off roading but more for the travel and negotiating some of those challenging (non glamping) campgrounds that are out there. The mods I did do made a world of difference on rough/rutted roads, bridge joints (no white knuckles) and have given me piece of mind that I won't break spring hangers from the stress of having to turn tightly or backing into tight spots:

On my trailer:
  • Heavy Duty shackles with wet bolts
  • Dexter EZ-Flex equalizers
  • Roadmaster Comfort Ride shock absorbers
  • MORryde X-Factor crossmembers (3 total)

On my Tow Vehicle
  • Replaced my 2" WDH shank with a 2-1/2 shank (no more 2"-2/12" spacer)
  • Rear SumoSprings SSSR-312-47

Thanks for the post, its interesting to see your progress and the comments others are making.
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Old 06-01-2024, 08:40 AM   #19
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Hi, I won't comment on your TT configuration (nice rig BTW) but mine is close in length and I had similar concerns. Not so much for boon docking or off roading but more for the travel and negotiating some of those challenging (non glamping) campgrounds that are out there. The mods I did do made a world of difference on rough/rutted roads, bridge joints (no white knuckles) and have given me piece of mind that I won't break spring hangers from the stress of having to turn tightly or backing into tight spots:

On my trailer:
  • Heavy Duty shackles with wet bolts
  • Dexter EZ-Flex equalizers
  • Roadmaster Comfort Ride shock absorbers
  • MORryde X-Factor crossmembers (3 total)

On my Tow Vehicle
  • Replaced my 2" WDH shank with a 2-1/2 shank (no more 2"-2/12" spacer)
  • Rear SumoSprings SSSR-312-47

Thanks for the post, its interesting to see your progress and the comments others are making.
Thanks.

I plan in the future, to have the shackle and equalizer hangers reinforced and install the 3 X factors. Maybe shocks, down the road.
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Old 06-06-2024, 07:42 AM   #20
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One objective observation, since adding the cushioned equalizer, is that we're finding much less things jumbled around after a travel day.

Prior, you sometimes needed to be careful on the first opening of a cabinet or fridge door and would occasionally find that a puck light cover had fallen off.

We use bars and bungies but its still, quite a noticeable difference. Same for the ride but that is more subjective.
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