Mod #77: Leaf Spring Equalizer

Mod #77: Leaf Spring Equalizer

Submitted on: 03/27/09

     Category: suspension
Mod Rating: 12345

(76 ratings)

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Mod Description:

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.

Mod Difficulty:

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.

TipBe sure you specify that you want the brass leaf spring bushings with the equalizer kit. Many factory rigid equalizers have a teflon insert that wears quickly and may be even missing completely when you disassemble the leafs from the equalizer and frame mount. Using the brass bushings will ensure a long wear life and added safety factor.
TipTo make it easier to grease the equalizer and leaf spring pivot points, ensure you install the wet bolts so the grease fittings face towards the inside of the trailer. If you don’t, you may have to remove the tires to be able to get to the grease fittings. That is a lot of work just to perform some simple maintenance. An alternative is to use angled grease fittings which might give you just enough clearance to get your grease gun in there.


ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
http://www.trailair.com/products/equaflex/
Tandem Spring Equalizer Bar

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7 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Bob Vaughn

    Is this a Mod that the average moder could do? Does it have any effect on allignment ? Where do you turn if you get in trouble during the process?

  2. ModMyRV

    Well…that depends on what your definition of “average” is. This mod is rated as challenging because you’re dealing with the suspension that holds up the RV. So the “average” modder should have good mechanical skills and the right tools for the job.

    As far as alignment goes, unless the alignment was out beforehand, it should not affect it. You should check for unusual tire wear as that is the key indicator of poor alignment.

    And if you get in to trouble, you can always post here with pictures and we can try and help out. The next best bet would be to call the manufacturer of the equalizer for help.

  3. tvman44

    I love it did ours about a year ago, what a difference in ride quality. If I ever get another 5er that will be the first mod I do!

  4. jbgreen68

    Fantastic write-up (picks are worth a thousand words)! :-) Do you (or anyone else out there) have any opinions on which of these are “better” (I know, that’s a loaded word)?

    Trailair - looks good, but in a google search, a bit more expensive.

    Dexter EX-Fles - also looks good, has that dampener in the middle, a bit cheaper than Trailair.

    Very interested (we have a new 2010 Salem 27RBS) and looking at the 6000# axle kits. Any feedback/experiences appreciated.

    Thanks!

  5. Travis

    I just did the Dexter EZ flex and a spring flip. My travle trailer sat way too low with the axle on top of the spring so we got the Dexter flip kit. It took 3 guys ( me and 2 friends ) 7 hours to do the whole job. That included welding the flip kit bracket to the axle. Any weld shop can do the job in 10 minutes. It can be done in your driveway with hand tools and 3 floor jacks. Air tools would help with disassembly, thats what we did. A torque wrench is required. The kit has grease fittings and we put them facing out since we had space to grease them that way. Dexter advised to mark the bolts where the grease comes out and install them at the 3 or 9 o’clock position for best results. I am very happy with the system so far.

  6. Dennis

    I had this mod done to my 5er by a local RV dealer. I used the Trail-Air Equa-Flex. After installation my 5er sat about 3″ lower. I had to raise the pin-box to in order to lower the front of the 5er. Not what I expected.

  7. Rosey

    I installed the Trailair Equiflex last July. Ordered the parts from Trailair (Google them). The 5er seems to ride better and I like the fact that I can now grease the “wet bolts). If you are going to do this mod yourself do your homework first. You will need a heavy duty bottle jack to lift the side of the 5er and some heavy duty jack stands. I also got a ball joint compressor to squeeze the serrated wet bolts @ bronze bushing into the spring hanger holes….very difficult to do without. All in all I didn’t think that this was “piece of cake job” …requires patience and if you have a buddy to help will make the job alot easier. There are some good write ups on some of the RV websites with pictures reference this install. Good luck.

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