Mod #77: Leaf Spring Equalizer
Submitted on: 03/27/09
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Like the shock absorber mod, the leaf spring equalizer mod is a great way to improve ride quality and reduce frame stress on your dual or triple axle towable RV. And since this area of suspension is subject to a lot of wear, and is an often neglected maintenance item, breakage of the rigid factory equalizer can occur, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Modding your towable with a rubberized leaf spring equalizer will go a long way in preventing suspension failure, and improve your ride considerably.
Leaf spring equalizers help to ensure equal loading of all axles even if only one of the axles is seeing a high transient load. This means that if one axle on your towable sees a spike in load, such as from a pothole, the equalizer works to distribute some of that load to the other axle through mechanical leverage, thereby synchronizing the axle shock and vibrations across multiple axles. This helps improve ride quality but also subjects the rigid equalizer to a lot of wear and the frame to a lot of stress.
To alleviate major wear and tear on the rigid equalizer, several manufacturers have come up with a rubberized version of the equalizer that uses wet bolts. Wet bolts are bolts that have Zerk (grease) fittings on their ends. Each equalizer pivot bolt can then be lubricated regularly to prevent rusting and breakage. The rubber in the equalizer unit is what helps absorb and distribute shock and vibration during suspension loading. And now, many RV manufacturers are beginning to offer this option from the factory. But for those who still need to do this mod, here’s how.
This mod requires that you have some way to support your towable by its frame, providing enough clearance to remove both (or all three) wheels from one side. Jack up the trailer and remove the wheels. You will also need to support the axles before disconnecting the equalizer. You can use a floor jack for this. Support all axles and remove the leaf spring thru-bolts from the equalizer. You may have to spray some penetrant on the nuts to help ease removal as this area is prone to rust. Now remove the bolt holding the equalizer on to the frame, being mindful of what position in the frame bracket the bolt goes through.
Now you need to replace the leaf spring eye bushings with the brass bushings that came with the leaf spring equalizer kit. They should slide right in. The wet bolts are a press fit and will have to be pressed in to the shackle using a vise. Attach the equalizer assembly to the frame (using the same mounting hole you were keeping track of) and then attach the leaf springs to the equalizer. Torque everything down to the specifications in the installation instructions and then grease all wet bolts. Bolt up the wheels and torque lugs to manufacturer’s specifications, usually around 90 ft. lbs. Some are more, some are less. Duplicate these steps for the other side of the axles.
And that’s really all there is to it. This mod was rated as challenging in terms of difficulty since you are working on a major support system of your towable. But if you have basic mechanical skills and the right tools, this mod is only challenging if you don’t have a helper friend to split a beer with.