Get a Safer & More Stable Ride With an Air Suspension Hitch
All of us with air suspension hitches appreciate their value. However, I still hear from people with solid mount rigid fifth wheel hitches who tell me they do not have any problems with how their trailer rides. Just because the TV stays in place does not necessarily mean they have a good ride. When discussing suspension systems, you hear words like inertia, mass, sine waves, kinetic energy, etc. We are taking a simple problem and making it complex. There is ONE word to describe why we need additional suspension for our 5th wheel. It’s BUMP!
Let’s look first at the suspension on a pickup truck, normally leaf or coil springs with shock absorbers. When we hit a bump, the tire is the first thing to make contact. The tire itself will absorb approximately 25% of the bump, but what is not absorbed by the tire is transmitted to the springs and shock absorbers. The springs bend to dissipate the bump and the shocks move in conjunction with the springs to dampen the movement of the springs and also absorb more of the bump. If the bump is so big that the tires, springs, and shocks can’t absorb it, then the remainder of the shock is transmitted into the frame of the vehicle. When this happens, the portion of the shock transmitted into the frame of the vehicle results in stress and fatigue.
The suspension system on light duty vehicles is designed for a given weight load. Normally this load will not vary more than 500-1200 pounds. Given that factor, the suspension is designed to absorb most of the bumps the vehicle comes in contact with, making for a smooth ride under most conditions. An often overlooked factor is the weight ratio between the pickup and the trailer. When the trailer grossly outweighs the pickup there will be adverse effects on the ride of the pickup. When the RV trailer tires come in contact with a bump that is so large that the trailer suspension cannot dissipate the energy, it is transferred to the bed of the pickup via the connection of the rigid 5th wheel trailer hitch. This energy is then translated into the jerking action felt in the truck. When a separate suspension system is installed in the bed of the truck (an air ride trailer hitch) the energy from the bump is now translated into the movement of the 5th wheel trailer hitch through the air springs. By using an air ride trailer hitch almost all of the fore/aft and up/down motion is removed from the trailer and truck.
So if you think you do not have a problem with your trailer’s ride just because the TV stays in place, isn’t necessarily true. The bouncing and chucking of the 5th wheel can cause damage that will remain unnoticed until a costly repair becomes necessary.
Remember, when your truck rides too rough you cannot simply release air from the air springs on your truck. That changes your driveline angle and causes more problems. The proper way to solve the hard ride is to install an air suspension system between your truck bed and your fifth wheel trailer. An air suspension hitch will prevent damage to your fifth wheel RV trailer and truck. It’s also a lot easier on your back!