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Author Topic: What have you done to resolve the choppy ride when towing on concrete roads?  (Read 2037 times)

DonPam

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I am looking for suggestions from those that have resolved this problem. Today I bumped into a Jayco Owners blog, that indicated many owners going through the same dilemma, with no solution. The consensus there goes something like thatís the way it is on concrete roads.
Iím pulling a Grand Design Imagine 2950RL - a 30í travel trailer. My tow vehicle is a 2015 Chevy Silverado LTZ 2500HD, 4x4, standard bed, extended cab (not crew cab).
We are using an E2 WDH with 1200# bars.
Iím considering shocks on the trailer, different WDH.
PLEASE donít offer suggestions if you HAVE NOT lived through the problem and resolved it.
TIA
Don
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

SeilerBird

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Move to Florida, we don't have choppy roads down here. ;D
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DonPam

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Haha! Wisconsin has the worst! I-80 in Iowa is bad too!
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Rene T

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Haha! Wisconsin has the worst! I-80 in Iowa is bad too!

Wrong!!!  Southbound on I-95 just as you enter So Carolina from NC. The road is probably 50 miles of continuous thump, thump and thump. 2 thumps every second @ 55 MPH. It blew out one of my RV tires a little over a month ago. The road is littered with remnants from blowouts. You can't go 10' without seeing chunks of rubber. I'm taking a different route back in March.
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lavarock1210

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What is your tongue weight percentage?

Had a similiar problem with a fifth wheel and when I increased my pin weight percentage from 15 percent to 22 percent it made a dramatic effect on the ride on concrete roads a rough railroad crossings.

DonPam

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Ha ha, if this was Facebook, Iíd ďlikeĒ your comment!
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

DonPam

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Lava rock,
I have the data. I have to come back to you. When you increased your TW, did it improve it? Iím also running a TT vs. your 5er.
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Molaker

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edjunior

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I've hired a new chiropractor!
<gigglesnort>

I honestly don't remember with my TT, even though we had it for 5 years here (Houston area).  Maybe it wasn't so bad I couldn't deal with it.  Or maybe I did most of my trips with only a short ride on the concrete.  I really can't remember.  But I do have the issue with my 5th wheel.  I don't know if it works the same with a TT, but I put air bags on my truck, partly to help with the squat of the truck.  But I have found that pumping them up a bit more helps greatly with the bouncing and jouncing of the concrete highways.  I have the wireless compressor, so I can adjust the air pressure on the fly.  I can usually run with 35 - 45 psi on "normal" roads, once I get off the concrete.  But on the concrete highways around Houston, I usually pump them up to 65 - 75 psi. 

In the long run, I don't think you will ever get rid of it, but you can make it manageable.  And even with the psi pumped up, I still have to slow down in some areas where the concrete is just beyond help.

Good luck.
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DonPam

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To Lava rock
Iím at 16%. Iíll increase and give that a shot.
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

scottydl

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DonPam, can you describe what you mean by "choppy"... and are you referring to the ride in your truck, or the trailer bouncing up and down on hard roads?  By towing "on concrete" do you mean heavily-traveled interstate that is in poor condition?  Or any concrete slab roads with sections that can be uneven?

Your truck's towing capacity should be more than fine for your trailer... but my TT (a few feet longer than yours) was really giving my older 3/4 ton Suburban a whooping on rough roads.  On a hard bump, the vehicle suspension would bottom out with a mighty BANG and practically shake the fillings out of our teeth!  I'd grimace in advance anytime I saw a bridge seam or pothole coming up.

What helped my towing quality immensely was the installation of airbags (air helper springs they're called) on the rear suspension of my Suburban.  Actually the system was already there from the previous owner, but the bags were dry-rotted and mounts rusted to pieces... I had it all replaced with new parts from Air Lift, who I highly recommend because the parts are quality and were covered for free under lifetime warranty (even though I wasn't the original purchaser).

With about 40psi in the airbags, our ride while towing is MUCH smoother now and some of the road bumps (that used to rattle our brains) can barely be felt now.  And with the extra air cushion/buffer to hold the TT's tongue weight, in theory it's supposed to also improve trailer sway and overall stability (in addition to ride quality).
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longhaul

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Don
 there is no silver bullet in eliminating freeway hop/chucking/bucking issues as each truck/trailer combo has different mechanical issues working.
 I've hauled for a living with mostly one ton drw trucks pulling GN/pintle hitch and bumper pull trailers from a 7k enclosed trailer up to 22k GN flatdeck trailers.

 When I had my construction business we used 5 trucks (3 GM/1 Ford and 1 Dodge) all different year models.... cab selections... wheel bases/etc pulling 5 GN trailers loaded with wheeled equipment.
  We learned by trial and error how to load each trailer for a particular truck to stop freeway hop issues. What worked on one may not work at all for another truck.

 Sorry I can't help as its a vexing problem .  Keep huntin' for a fix for your combo.
 

butch50

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One thing I have noticed that I have done is change my speed. Might have to go a little slower or faster. Just have to play with it and then it is going to change when you hit a different stretch of road.
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BIG JOE

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One thing I have noticed that I have done is change my speed. Might have to go a little slower or faster. Just have to play with it and then it is going to change when you hit a different stretch of road.

Agreed. And another .03 (?), try driving a bit to the Left, or Right.. of the travel lane (rut).. especially going over and under bridges ?
Joe

Tow an 016 29RS "Reflection" 5r w/Trailair pin box...with a 2012 Ford DRW, F-350, 4x4, Loaded de-Blinged Lariat CC, 6.7 Diesel.. Wife & I, Beck & Sheeka the Dogs.. And as of 5-17.. Lizzie, the Cat in charge.

DonPam

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Scottydl
The choppy ride I am talking about is the sensation that we feel in the cab passing over joints. On one particular divided state route in Wisconsin this summer headed east toward Sturgeon Bay, we actually had to get off the road, the chop was so bad.
The source of the problem is the joints in the concrete roads. You see, the concrete slabs are curling as they age. That is, despite all the rebar that goes into those joints, the slabs curl up at the ends. Some worse than the others. I could bore you to death with the science of it, but trust me. If not Google ďconcrete curling.Ē
As we pass over the joints, having tried differing speeds, we get the truck reaction, and the trailer reaction, that will rattle your teeth loose. The truck isnít bottoming out or anything like that - in fact it may be too rigid. Since the trailer doesnít have shocks, itís trying to bounce. Iím contemplating shocks for the trailer, but am waiting to see if someone says YES THAT WILL IMPROVE IT to a 5on a scale of 1-10.
One minor thing that could be contributing in a small way is the hitch socket on the truck. The 2500HD comes with a larger socket, I think 2 1/2Ē and an adapter at 2Ē that has a little play (less than snug) and the trailer hitch fits typically (somewhat loose)in the adapter. Iíve thought about welding the adapter to the main socket to make it permanent and tight, but Iím going to try set screws on all 4 sides between the adapter and hitch tongue to make the hitch and adapter perform like a single unit. This is minor in the big problem, but nonetheless a contributor.
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

DonPam

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Thank you all for your comments and thoughts. It seems that long haul might be right. There are many on the Jayco blog and in the Grand Design Imagine groups that are dealing with the same issue.
Iíll keep asking, searching and trying things. Fortunately the asphalt highways are wonderful, and rewarding after getting off the concrete ones!
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

wackymac

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Move to Florida, we don't have choppy roads down here. ;D
Wrong!!!!  Just visit and leave all your money here.
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Hammster

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Our Arctic Fox has shocks and they don't help all that much with the choppy ride on concrete. As others have said, slowing down is probably the best thing and hope to get off of the concrete sections as fast as possible.
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lynnmor

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I installed shocks, they help on shorter bumps, but where each slab is curled or tilted the ride actually got worse.  My opinion is that 90% of the time there is an improvement and 10% is worse.  There is one stretch in NY that I can't hold the minimum 40 MPH speed and even then it is unbelievable.

Gary RV_Wizard

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There are two ride problems associated with the expansion joints of concrete highways:

1. The fixed distance between the joint "bumps" sets up a harmonic rhythm that gets the trailer tongue repeatedly plunging down and then jerking up again. This harmonic is dependent on the truck and trailer wheelbases, i.e. the distance between the two truck axles, and also the distance from the truck rear axle to the trailer axles. Different rigs experience it at different speeds, or not at all. Furthermore, different highways have different joint spacing (based on the size of the slabs), so what works on one highway can be ineffective or even worse on another. The concrete slab length and the size of the expansion joints is determined by engineers based on climate and the composition of the ground under the highway.

2. The bumps themselves can cause a poorly balanced trailer to jerk the hitch ball or pin.

#1 is very difficult to alleviate. It is both speed and length dependent, and some truck or trailer suspensions react more violently than others.  More pin or tongue weight may help, and for 5W's the use of an air cushioned pin box softens the effect. Sometimes changing the length of the 5W pin box can help to (it effectively changes the trailer wheel base). A stiffer rear suspension on the tow vehicle may help, and adding shocks to the trailer suspension can help as well (for the many trailers that have leaf springs and no shocks).

#2 is largely a tongue or pin weight issue. The greater the tongue/pin weight, the less tendency to jerk upwards after a bump.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 08:07:20 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Danny Pyle

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Scottydl
The choppy ride I am talking about is the sensation that we feel in the cab passing over joints. On one particular divided state route in Wisconsin this summer headed east toward Sturgeon Bay, we actually had to get off the road, the chop was so bad.
The source of the problem is the joints in the concrete roads. You see, the concrete slabs are curling as they age. That is, despite all the rebar that goes into those joints, the slabs curl up at the ends. Some worse than the others. I could bore you to death with the science of it, but trust me. If not Google ďconcrete curling.Ē
As we pass over the joints, having tried differing speeds, we get the truck reaction, and the trailer reaction, that will rattle your teeth loose. The truck isnít bottoming out or anything like that - in fact it may be too rigid. Since the trailer doesnít have shocks, itís trying to bounce. Iím contemplating shocks for the trailer, but am waiting to see if someone says YES THAT WILL IMPROVE IT to a 5on a scale of 1-10.
One minor thing that could be contributing in a small way is the hitch socket on the truck. The 2500HD comes with a larger socket, I think 2 1/2Ē and an adapter at 2Ē that has a little play (less than snug) and the trailer hitch fits typically (somewhat loose)in the adapter. Iíve thought about welding the adapter to the main socket to make it permanent and tight, but Iím going to try set screws on all 4 sides between the adapter and hitch tongue to make the hitch and adapter perform like a single unit. This is minor in the big problem, but nonetheless a contributor.
I had the adapter welded to my hitch bar instead of the truck hitch. It did take a lot of play out of it.
2017 Z-1 231FB
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RVRAC

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The road to Sturgeon Bay is pretty bad.  I know I live in WI.  I take the left lane.  However, I believe every state has a section that is pretty bad. I slow down. Non worse than I-10 in the Lafayette, LA area.
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DonPam

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Gary RV Wizard,
I always love your responses! They are always thoughtful, informative and thorough! You must teach in a college somewhere!
Thank you
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Gary RV_Wizard

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LOL! I was a computer systems design engineer by trade, so "thorough" goes with the territory. Never taught in a college, but have taught some professional training classes.
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

John97031

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Scottydl
The choppy ride I am talking about is the sensation that we feel in the cab passing over joints. On one particular divided state route in Wisconsin this summer headed east toward Sturgeon Bay, we actually had to get off the road, the chop was so bad.
The source of the problem is the joints in the concrete roads. You see, the concrete slabs are curling as they age. That is, despite all the rebar that goes into those joints, the slabs curl up at the ends. Some worse than the others. I could bore you to death with the science of it, but trust me. If not Google ďconcrete curling.Ē
As we pass over the joints, having tried differing speeds, we get the truck reaction, and the trailer reaction, that will rattle your teeth loose. The truck isnít bottoming out or anything like that - in fact it may be too rigid. Since the trailer doesnít have shocks, itís trying to bounce. Iím contemplating shocks for the trailer, but am waiting to see if someone says YES THAT WILL IMPROVE IT to a 5on a scale of 1-10.
One minor thing that could be contributing in a small way is the hitch socket on the truck. The 2500HD comes with a larger socket, I think 2 1/2Ē and an adapter at 2Ē that has a little play (less than snug) and the trailer hitch fits typically (somewhat loose)in the adapter. Iíve thought about welding the adapter to the main socket to make it permanent and tight, but Iím going to try set screws on all 4 sides between the adapter and hitch tongue to make the hitch and adapter perform like a single unit. This is minor in the big problem, but nonetheless a contributor.

I am assuming you are using a WDH to pull your trailer? If so change out your 2" shank on the WDH to a 2 1/2 inch shank. Not sure if it will help your ride but it makes a lot more sense to use the right shank instead of welding an adapter....
2017 Ram 2500 4x4 Cummins 6.7L
2017 Jayco Jayflight 28BHBE
Prior 2011 Jayco Greyhawk 26DS

Oldgator73

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Growing up in Florida in the 50's and 60's I drove on many "wash board" roads. There were two ways to alleviate the tooth shattering ride; slow down to a creep-effective but takes hours to get where you're going; go as fast as possible so tires only skim the tops of the ruts. When we fulltimed in a 5th wheel we encountered some really rough concrete highways. I had to find a place in the road to drive that was the least offensive to our comfort. Sometimes this was in the left lane which irritated the big rig drivers, but I didn't care too much about their feelings. I would posit the most effective solution would be to plan your trip so as to avoid these highways.

DonPam

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Thanks again all!
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Bill N

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The problem definitely exists almost nationwide on concrete roads.  The curling problem is being addressed in many areas for the past few years by removing concrete about 3 feet on each side of the joint and then laying in 6 foot sections of rebar to join the two sections together after repouring the concrete (no joint).  This does dramatically smooth out the highway but time will tell if the curling now occurs at the new joints on each side of the old joint. 

Bill
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Quote
One minor thing that could be contributing in a small way is the hitch socket on the truck. The 2500HD comes with a larger socket, I think 2 1/2Ē and an adapter at 2Ē that has a little play (less than snug) and the trailer hitch fits typically (somewhat loose)in the adapter. Iíve thought about welding the adapter to the main socket to make it permanent and tight, but Iím going to try set screws on all 4 sides between the adapter and hitch tongue to make the hitch and adapter perform like a single unit.

There are devices available for this that do not require welding. etrailer.com offers  a couple different varieties.

https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Hitch_Anti%7ERattle-sz-Accessory_Anti%7ERattle-pc-Fits_2%7E1%7C2_Inch_Hitch.aspx
Gary
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Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

DonPam

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Gary,
I think one of these could do the job! It accomplishes, if it works as advised, and I see no reason why it wonít. It will eliminate the play in both pieces, shank to adapter and adapter to hitch socket. The set screw idea I had only tightens the shank to the adapter.
I had forgotten e-trailer.

Thanks again!
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Oldgator73

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Gary,
I think one of these could do the job! It accomplishes, if it works as advised, and I see no reason why it wonít. It will eliminate the play in both pieces, shank to adapter and adapter to hitch socket. The set screw idea I had only tightens the shank to the adapter.
I had forgotten e-trailer.

Thanks again!

I don't think that will eliminate the discomfort you experience on concrete highways. We had a fifth wheel and it was tight in the hitch and we still experienced a great deal of discomfort on those highways.

John97031

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2017 Ram 2500 4x4 Cummins 6.7L
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Prior 2011 Jayco Greyhawk 26DS

lone_star_dsl

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If you have airbags on your truck, my trick works!

I found that airing up the bags to their limits and basically removing any rear end suspension movement will eliminate almost all of the bouncing. To do this, you will need an on board compressor though.
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edjunior

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If you have airbags on your truck, my trick works!

I found that airing up the bags to their limits and basically removing any rear end suspension movement will eliminate almost all of the bouncing. To do this, you will need an on board compressor though.

Which is what I said back in my post, however, I don't know if the same thing applies to a TT as opposed to a 5th wheel. 
Ed.....KF5INW
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2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
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DonPam

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Gary, I ordered the hitch rattle device from etrailer. At a minimum it will show me what results I might get by bumping up to the 2 1/2Ē shank by Equalizer that John97031 located.
Lastly, someone suggested air bags on my truck. Currently I do not have air bags on my truck, but if I move that direction, I will consider an on board compressor setup.
The next step I will take will be the rattle bracket at the hitch, then shocks on the trailer.
As I have progress with results worthy of sharing, I will update this post.
What I have heard is that I can improve the ride a little, but not eliminate it. For now, Iíll take improvement!😏
Thank you ALL for your recommendations and humor.
Don & Pam Cima
Dayton, OH

2017 Grand Design Imagine 2950RL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Let us know how it works.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL