A Basic Guide to RV Handling and Suspension Systems
Whether you’re going on a trip down the beaten path or opting for an exciting off-road adventure, one of the most important things that RV owners always look for is a comfortable, smooth ride. When you’re out shopping for an RV, you tend to look for lots of space, color options, room layouts, and the furniture. But when you’re actually driving that RV, the aesthetics will always take a backseat compared to how comfortable the ride is.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first time going on an RV trip or you’re already a veteran; sooner or later, you’re going to have to pay attention to your RV’s handling and suspension. If you’re a beginner, this guide will put you on your way to understanding the different RV suspension types.
First off: your RV’s handling and suspension system will be the same as any other vehicle’s. It will basically consist of the tires, springs (or any other shock absorbers), and any other mechanisms that connect your RV to its wheels. This system will control how your vehicle and wheels work together to provide a smooth ride, if configured properly.
One of the most common type of handling and suspension systems involve the use of coil springs. These are found in all types of vehicles, including RVs, trucks, and cars. The coil spring system essentially uses metal coiled springs that will help cushion the impact from the road. It’s the most common but not the most comfortable.
Another popular but better choice for your RV’s suspension would be leaf springs. Leaf springs consist of a single or several layers of slightly curved pieces of metal. These springs are designed to bend along with the bumps on the road, and are available either for highway traveling or off-road rides. Leaf springs are incrementally better than coiled springs, but not by much.
Torsion bars are also a popular choice for RV enthusiasts. These are round metal bars connecting your RV to a control arm, which allows the torsion bars to twist and bend along with the road to help provide a more comfortable ride. These are great for RVs with a low center of gravity, plus they can be used in conjunction with other handling and suspension systems. Torsion bar systems can also be upgraded or modified depending on what the owner needs.
The best (and therefore the most expensive) handling and suspension systems for RVs involve a combination of air bags or air springs. These are excellent for cushioning any road bumps.
A typical system would consist of four or eight air bags or springs working together with another suspension type. These systems will provide the “cushiest” ride among all the others, but will be among the most expensive.
Loadlifter 5000 Leaf Spring Leveling Kit – This air suspension kit is designed for up to 5,000 lbs. leveling capacity, and will help keep your vehicle from swaying, squatting, and bottoming out.
Heavy-Duty Air Systems Dual Electric Air Command – Provides front-to-rear or side-to-side leveling support, controllable via a modern electrical control system. Dual gauges and a heavy-duty compressor will help you keep track of air pressures and inflate the air springs individually as needed.