We had an RV suspension problem. Our silky smooth, even floaty RV ride was getting bouncy. I was convinced that we needed new shock absorbers. We needed professional help, professional RV suspension expert help. Henderson’s RV suspension experts helped us get the bounce out at Henderson’s Line-up. Here is the story about what caused the problem and how we fixed it.
Get the lead out
Last fall I gave away my four hundred and sixty pounds of fully functional lead-acid AGM batteries and replaced them with one twenty-two-pound lithium battery. I didn’t do this to prove a point, but rather because my RV was five hundred pounds heavy on the rear axle. I started this electrical revision after we made some suspension revisions in Grants Pass Oregon. Here is a link to that story. Can one lithium battery replace four lead-acid batteries?
Until my visit to Henderson’s Line-up, I was convinced that my RV was operating at near but less than maximum weight. We had even weighed our RV on some scales in Oregon to check it. Anyway, if you don’t know the back story, here is a link to our trip to Grants Pass. Southbound In The Willamette Valley
What we did in Grants Pass
Part of our stay was just like most of the other wonderful Oregon State Parks. We were in Rogue River State Park, right along the river. Henderson’s Line-up in Grants Pass was only a few miles away. So after our stay, we went to Henderson’s Line-up and had our suspension evaluated. I was concerned that I was operating on the original shock absorbers and that they were at the end of their life. This proved not to be true, the shock absorbers were not thirteen years old and they were adjustable. Making the adjustment helped take the bounce out. Adjusting the shocks is way less expensive than new shocks.
Get the bounce out
The things we did at Henderson’s Line-up addressed a few other issues. The issue that resulted in changing our batteries was that we measured the weight of each tire independently. We found out that our RV was five hundred pounds overweight on the rear axle, even though we were within our RV’s total weight limit.
Another thing we did at Henderson’s was some test drives. If you have never (and I had never) sat in the back of your RV when a suspension professional is at the wheel you are in for a real ride. Robert introduced us to some “performance” tests that we had never done. These tests included full braking stops, abrupt lane changes, and fast driving down bumpy country roads. These tests and more were performed and our floaty RV had room for improvement even after they adjusted the shock absorbers to remove the bounce that I was initially worried about.
So what we did at Henderson’s to improve the ride of our RV was to put some flow restrictors on our air suspension and add a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer.
Our RV has an air suspension system. After starting our engine, before driving, our air pump raises our ride height by inflating the four airbags, one at each wheel. These airbags are our springs. When you hit a bump or pothole the air compresses to soak up the bump. These flow restrictors inhibit airflow into and out of the airbags making the airbags act more like a spring.
Air needs to be able to enter and exit the airbags but should not go anywhere when they are acting as springs. These flow restrictors assist the shock absorbers. The real name for these flow restrictors is SuperSteer Motion Control Units. The result while driving is that we have a smoother ride with less body roll and less bounce. Everyone at Henderson’s said that we would notice the improvement immediately and they were correct. Here is a link to the manufacture of these flow restrictors. SuperSteer Motion Control Units
We also had a Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer installed. Remember that I described our RV suspension as floaty? Smooth and floaty. The Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer helps reduce the floaty feeling in the steering and tremendously aids the steering wheel to recenter after displacement. This recentering helps our RV self-correct and reduces required steering inputs when driving. A description of “our RV wants to go straight” would be accurate.
After the installation of the Safe-T-Plus steering stabilizer, we made two more test rides to adjust the steering wheel’s center position. The Safe-T-Plus should also help keep the RV on the road in case of emergency. I described abrupt lane change testing above and the test showed improved handling. With the Safe-T-Plus the slight wandering was improved. If we ever have a steering tire blowout, the Safe-T-Plus should help us maintain control. Here is a link to the manufacturer of the steering stabilizer. Safe-T-Plus
Long term evaluation
We have used our steering stabilizer and motion control units for almost six months now and they are just as effective as when we installed them. The one and only slightly negative thing that we have noticed is that the motion control units take a little longer to put air in the airbags during startup and quite a bit longer to remove the air from the airbags when we shut down.
Do it yourself suspension work
It is quite possible that I could have added these products to my RV myself. The Motion Control Units were simple enough that Henderson’s didn’t charge me for installation. The steering stabilizer was quick to install, really tuning the stabilizer during test drives took more time to perform than the installation. It really helps when you have a shop with all the tools. It also helps if you know what you are doing.
We also did a few other things at Henderson’s and I am very satisfied with the results. An additional plus is that Oregon (and thus Henderson’s) does not collect sales tax. Next fall I plan to stop by Henderson’s for an additional inspection and test ride.
Something else about Henderson’s is that in 2018 I listened to a presentation by Robert and was considering using his services to tame my 2013 RV. More than once I told people that my 2013 RV on a Ford (truck frame) drove like a school bus. I am convinced that Robert could have fixed it. Rather than that, we started over again with our new (older) RV. Here is a link to those stories. Our RVs and Projects
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