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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > Looking to find the toughest TT for many years to come.

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hvac

michigan

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Joined: 01/15/2012

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Posted: 01/26/13 07:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been using various RV's for over 30 years to develop territories and the way they all fall apart over time is well, a long story. The last was a class B on a sprinter chassis that was due to poor suspension shaking the inside to the point a phone call was not in the cards. Not good when on business.

The one that did hold up for abouut 40k miles in 2 years was a 2004 Airstream 28 foot. Soon after that number the the frame started to crack, the clear coat was peeling off the floors were getting soft from moisture trapping etc etc.

I just purchased a Camplight 16 with a dry bath and full queen. Quick trip of about 3k miles from Minnesota to colorado then on to New Orleans and back home to Michigan revealed no issues. No need for sway control or weight distribution, a big issue as I un hook often. No stone chips or dents from Ice and salt. Rock Guards on the Airstream were trashed after 10k miles.

I wont go into construction, but no other RV, none is built like this. These guys are on to something, crude yes,but you have to see it and truly compare to understand where I am coming from.

I just purchased a shocker air hitch that fits into the receiver of my truck. I noticed that I had lots of suspension transfer form truck to trailer, had it with the Airstream and that is why the frame cracked.

I will keep you all posted. This year looks like another 30k mile year, coast to coast. Stay tuned..

RVcrazy

Puyallup, WA, USA

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Posted: 01/26/13 07:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Arctic Fox or older Nash

westend

all over

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Posted: 01/26/13 08:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hvac wrote:

I have been using various RV's for over 30 years to develop territories and the way they all fall apart over time is well, a long story. The last was a class B on a sprinter chassis that was due to poor suspension shaking the inside to the point a phone call was not in the cards. Not good when on business.

The one that did hold up for abouut 40k miles in 2 years was a 2004 Airstream 28 foot. Soon after that number the the frame started to crack, the clear coat was peeling off the floors were getting soft from moisture trapping etc etc.

I just purchased a Camplight 16 with a dry bath and full queen. Quick trip of about 3k miles from Minnesota to colorado then on to New Orleans and back home to Michigan revealed no issues. No need for sway control or weight distribution, a big issue as I un hook often. No stone chips or dents from Ice and salt. Rock Guards on the Airstream were trashed after 10k miles.

I wont go into construction, but no other RV, none is built like this. These guys are on to something, crude yes,but you have to see it and truly compare to understand where I am coming from.

I just purchased a shocker air hitch that fits into the receiver of my truck. I noticed that I had lots of suspension transfer form truck to trailer, had it with the Airstream and that is why the frame cracked.

I will keep you all posted. This year looks like another 30k mile year, coast to coast. Stay tuned..

The Livin Lite is probably one of the best built out there, hope you get many happy miles.
If I had more time, I'd be tempted to build a frame-up aluminum TT. Since I live in the Great White North, I'd increase the wall, floor, and ceiling dimension of the frame to accommodate additional insulation. Other than that, probably copy Livin Lite's interior space, they really built that to last and they seem well laid out.


'03 F-250 4x4 CC
'71 Starcraft Wanderstar -- The Cowboy/Hilton

hvac

michigan

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Posted: 01/26/13 12:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Time will tell. If this holds up and resale is good, the new 21 with a slide will be more realistic for my personal needs. This one is a test, and so far it is indeed a unique design. I had all the decals removed, lots of questions from curious folks.

Wes Tausend

Bismarck, ND

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Posted: 01/26/13 01:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RobertRyan wrote:

Wes Tausend wrote:

You can pretty well bet that one of the main off-road advantages of Australian RV's is less average weight than the luxury behemoths built here.


Maximum weight is roughly 8000lbs. A lot weigh that. There have been 27ft Off Road Caravans about 11,000lbs but you would be struggling with an Ford F450 pulling that Off Road. The stop go nature of Off Road Caravans puts a lot more strain on hitches etc than running on a road.
This "Mack" basically a rebadged Renault Truck was used eventually to pull this 27 ft Bushtracker. It was a combination Horse Float and Tow Vehicle. Slightly ridiculous solution that worked, but shows the problem of having too heavy a Caravan Off Road. Wes,after talking to a Caravan builder he put the Main advantage down to much more sophisticated suspension systems and there is a very wide variety of those available here.
(Images deleted for brevity)


Hi Robert,

I wasn't aware that heavier camper trailers were available in Australia. Many of your picture examples have been single axle. Thanks for the corrected info. My bad. What might be the difference in Australian suspensions?

I an aware that some trailer air suspensions are available as a retrofit. I don't believe any of these are OEM here in the States.

Other than cost, I can see where air suspensions would be a valuable asset to off-road/rough-road travel. Most leaf-sprung axles must get by with an off-the-shelf approximation of load range. The axle and steel spring are usually selected too stiff for dry weight in order to accomodate extra carrying capacity whether it is all used or not. An air suspension allows one to tune the ride to match the load amongst other advantages.

Some other suspension improvements might be rubber mounted springs such as found in Mor/ryde blocks or rubberized torsion tubes. These are offered OEM here in the US. Another successful method might be to use lighter sprung triple axles instead of HD tandem axles.

TRIVA
Tuning an air suspension might partially be in the form of lowering the TT for highway travel, then raising it for off-road, or even drive-way clearance. Parking would be greatly enhanced by lowering the "high side" rather than blocking up the low side as we do now. The overall step-up entry height could be much lower than is common now, by simply collapsing the entire frame nearer the ground.

One other advantage is that when an air bag is normally compressed, the spring rate rises rapidly as does a leaf spring. If we were to say that the TT weighs 10,000 pounds for instance, and the 4 wheel suspension each has it's own air bag, then each bag must hold up 2500 pounds. The air bags actually do this exactly by expanding until the interior air pressure is reduced to a volume balance point at "rest suspension height". This might equate to 100 "static" pounds sq/in per bag depending on equivalent "piston size". If we add one more pound "of air" the bags will again rise until they balance volume at 100 pounds sq/in again at slightly raised "rest height".

If we add one pound to the TT weight however (10,001 lbs), the bags will compress and the static air pressure will go up. If we add more air again, it will rise and balance again at the latest necessary static pressure to support the new weight. The point is, this pressure-change process also occurs in theory whenever the TT hits a bump and inertia causes a simulated momentary weight gain, or rather simulated mass gain, caused by the TT falling back down hard from a jounce. If the air bags are small, the pressure rises rapidly and transfers much of the shock to the TT frame. Larger bags gain less pressure and consequently ride softer for the same wheel travel.

But there is a way to soften the air ride even more. In theory the best ride for a 10,000 pound TT would be springs that never rise more than the 2500 pounds/100 psi each, the ratio that they started with. This would ensure that no more shock would be transmitted to the frame than was already there at calm rest. Of course there would be no reason that the suspension would ever return to normal height since no increase in air pressure occurs to "lift" it in this scenario.

The trick, then, is to allow a very moderate increase in bag pressure upon compression. Even with very small bags, this can be obtained by adding an auxilary expansion reservoir to each bag. Then when the bag is compressed, there will be far less air compression in the overall greater volume, therefore far less pressure rise, therefore far less shock transmitted to the frame. The reservoirs can even be made with adjustable volume to tune "spring rate" in seconds. There is a name for such auxilary reservoirs, but I forget it right now. The key is such an elaborate suspension would ride better than a Buick.

What might be the difference in suspensions now found in Australia? Anything elaborate?

Wes
...


Days spent camping are not subtracted from one's total.
- 2000 Excursion V-10 - 2000 F-250 CC 7.3L V-8
- 2004 Cougar Keystone M-294 RLS, 6140# tare
- Hensley Arrow - Champion 4000w/3500w gen
- Linda, Wes and Quincy the Standard Brown Poodle
...

RobertRyan

Australia

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Posted: 01/26/13 02:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wes Tausend wrote:

What might be the difference in suspensions now found in Australia? Anything elaborate?

Wes trying to find examples on the net, this is far from a comprehensive listing so in Broad categories:
Independent Suspensions
Can be Air, Oil or Leaf. Airbag, torsion bar. If not going off road leaf springs. There is roughly about 10 different types of suspensions you can get.



RobertRyan

Australia

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Posted: 01/26/13 03:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Large Caravans from 28-33ft long . On road primarily maybe some dirt road.
The example shown does not have a slideout. Other do, depends on the customer and their wants.





A 33ft Caravan


Wes Tausend

Bismarck, ND

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Posted: 01/26/13 04:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...

Wow!

Robert, independent air suspension yet... the triple axle deal... that is much more elaborate than I could have ever imagined. Far beyond anything offered OEM here in the States that I know of. Thanks for the info again. Very inspiring.

Wes
...

x96mnn

Nova Scotia

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Posted: 01/26/13 05:29pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Keystone Sprinter!!!! It even states right on it rated for Alaska...has to be OK.

Just kidding, I do own a sprinter but cannot say if it could handle rough rough roads or not but seems to be built fairly well. There are some pop ups out there trail rated I have looked at but most likely not meet other needs.

profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 01/26/13 06:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm late to the conversation, but I have "up-armored" my stock Fun Finder with heavy duty axle and suspension, better clearance, bigger tires, armored wheel wells (really!), extra mud flaps, reinforcing straps around and under my tanks, extra insulation, extra battery, and so forth, all so I can go onto rougher roads and into colder conditions.

So far, so good, but it is only 18 months old, so I don't really know if it will last a long time. I would not hesitate to take it anywhere -- but I tend to drive slowly in really bumpy conditions.


2012 Fun Finder X-139 "Boondock Style" (axle-flipped and extra insulation)
2013 Toyota Tacoma Off-Road (semi-beefy tires and components)
Our trips -- pix and text
About our trailer
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single list."


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