RV Springs, Suspension and AlignmentThere 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
Either end of the main leaf spring is attached to a spring
hanger on a single axle trailer or to a spring hanger and an equalizer on a tandem axle setup.
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.
A plastic or nylon bushing (see replacing bushings) is inserted
in every pivoting point on the suspension system to take the wear and tear on these parts. These bushings
should be inspected periodically, depending on mileage, and replaced as required. As they wear, they allow
more "sloppiness" in the suspension, resulting in unnecessary tire wear and other related
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 is provided by the use of shock
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.
However, tire wear patterns will indicate certain alignment
problems and suggests the repairs required to fix the misalignment.
An out of balance wheel or a bent wheel will cause a cupping
wear pattern in the tires circumference. An improper camber alignment will wear the tires on one side more
that the other and an improper castor angle will scrub off rubber in various ways.
The average RV dealership or repair facility is not equipped to
handle this type of repair 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
Most major cities will have at least one of these specialized
shop. Check with your local dealers for a reference.