Winterization and Trailer Suspensions Systems

December 01, 2022 — by Jack Enfield

For many RV’ers the camping season ends when the fall leaves hit the ground. Sights shift to Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas making it time to put the trailer up for the winter. And winterizing is all about fluids, seals, caulk and tape, right? That’s what most consumers and dealers focus on. The reality is the winter is the perfect time to pay attention to the running gear of the trailer. After all the running gear is part of the foundation of the RV and since a house is only as strong as it’s foundation it makes sense to take care of the foundation of your house on wheels. So let’s spend some time looking at how you can use winter to take good care of your trailer suspension system and running gear.

Winterization starts with inspecting things. And that’s no different when it comes to your suspension running gear.

INSPECT

• Wheel bearings — winter or spring is a perfect time to pack your wheel bearings.  Inspect them, clean them, grease them. Every 12k miles or once a year is the prescribed timeline, so why not use the winter downtime to make sure you’ll be ready to go in the spring.

Check your brakes — make sure there aren’t any loose parts. Check the springs and magnets

• Inspect your shackles, bushings and bolts — trailer leaf spring suspension systems come with attaching parts that connect your leaf springs to the spring hangers and equalizers.

• Inspect your leaf springs and hangers — on the hangers, check the welds that attach them to the frame.  Make sure the hangers are not bent inward or outward.

  • • Equalizer and spring frame hanger — you’re looking for any cracks or bent components.
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  • Once you’ve done your inspections, you can shift and look at potential upgrade options

UPGRADE OPTIONS

• Bearing Upgrade —Timken is a high quality, USA made bearing that is a popular upgrade with consumers. 

• Disc Brake Upgrade — disc brakes are a superior alternative to traditional electric brakes, offering a more automotive style braking. Using a booster it pumps hydraulic fluid to each of the wheels. Consumers notice shorter stopping distance (up to 30%+) and smoother, quieter braking. An installation can be done in 6-8 hours and trailer owners will notice the difference right away and thank you for making their towing experience safer. After all, braking is all about safety. 

 Heavy-Duty Shackle Kit  — the standard trailer kit comes with ¼” brackets, plastic bushing and a dry bolt. The upgrade kit comes with a grease-able bolt, ½” thick brackets instead of ¼” and bronze bushings instead of plastic bushings. Those plastic bushings wear, which in turn causes the bolt to rub on the ¼” bracket. That bracket then wears and runs the risk of breaking. The heavy-duty kit prevents this as the ½” bracket is so much stronger than the ¼” and the bronze bushings are a definite upgrade over plastic bushings. Durable components mean peace of mind for trailer owners. 

upgrade1

• Upgraded Rubber Equalizer — roads are rough and conventional equalizers are no match for rough roads. Equalizers typically just rock back and forth and are made of steel.The combination of the leaf spring and equalizer provides around 2″ of suspension travel. Winter is a great time to install either CRE3000 or the SRE4000. Both use rubber to cushion and absorb road shock, providing smoother towing and better protecting the trailer from damaging road shock. 

• X-Factor Crossmember — this crossmember attaches to the leaf hanger and spans side to side to the opposite frame hanger. It reduces the lateral strain on the frame by 90% at each attachment by providing a solid connection. This added support means the frame is stronger and can withstand those lateral forces, like when backing in real tight to a campground. The X-Factor crossmember can be installed as part of the equalizer upgrade or it can be installed with the OEM components. In either case, it’s a great upgrade.

upgrade 2
As you can see, winterization doesn’t have to be just about fluids, seals and tapes.  It’s a great time to do maintenance but also an excellent opportunity to install upgraded products that will help trailer owners enjoy their RV more so they can enjoy the RV lifestyle even more.

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