RV Repair Manual
  for the RV Do-It-Yourselfer

 
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RV Springs, Suspension and Alignment

Leaf type RV axle springsThere are various spring arrangements used on RV suspension systems with the most common being the leaf type or "buggy" type system. This worked well in the horse and buggy days and is a carry over from that time. The leaf type suspension system has several sections of slightly curved steel springs layered upon each other to provide the required stiffness or load carrying capacity, while at the same time being flexible enough to absorb the shocks of road travel.

The ends of the springs are rounded into an eye shape to allow them to be mounted onto a bolt and each point must be able to pivot around that bolt. Bushings are installed as wear points at these locations.

The weight of the coach is carried by the ends of the springs and the center of the spring is bolted to the trailer axle which, of course, is attached to the wheels and tires. This whole arrangement provides a smooth ride for the trailer, with the springs absorbing the unevenness of the road surface. Further dampening of road bumps can be provided by the use of shock absorbers.

To minimize wear and stress on the wheel bearings and tires, it is imperative that the tires are pointed in the right direction and at the proper angle relative to the road surface. This is called camber and castor by wheel alignment gurus and it is beyond the scope of this writer to explain the complexities of these matters.

The average RV dealership or repair facility is not equipped to handle wheel alignments and it is definitely not a do-it-at-home project. Only an alignment shop with the neccessary equipment and trained personnel should be called upon to adjust the trailer wheel alignment.

Most major cities will have at least one of these specialized shop. Check with your local dealers for a reference.